Viva la France! Road-trip Foolishness Pt. 6: Chamonix

The crowning jewel of our trip to France was Chamonix.

Chamonix, located near where the borders of France, Switzerland, and Italy meet, is a resort-town. We drove in mid-afternoon and spent the evening wandering around finding dinner before heading to bed for an early night.

In the morning I woke up, made some coffee, and bundled up to go sit on the balcony and enjoy the view of Mont-Blanc, the highest summit in France. Once everyone was up, a few of us walked over to the cable-car that would take us up the mountain. The cable car was cheaper than was listed on the website, and ended up costing us only 15 euros round trip.

If you’re making the hike up to Lac Blanc, I highly suggest taking the cable car to cut time off of your trip up the mountain. The hike up (sans cable car,) is barren, boring, difficult, and quite frankly, a waste of time. You would have to wake up hella hella early to even make it to the Lac Blanc refuge at the end of the hike, and even then you may get there after dark. So, be smart, and take the cable car.

Our early-morning hike was pretty interesting, as it was extremely cloudy. I didn’t mind, and neither did my companions, as the higher we went, the thinner the clouds became and leT ME TELL YOU, there are fewer things as sublime as hiking the side of a mountain and looking over your shoulder to see a break in the clouds and THERE THEY ARE, THE MIGHTY AND MAJESTIC ALPS. It was like peek-a-boo, only epic instead of weird.

The hike up to Lac Blanc Refuge wasn’t too difficult, the hardest part being the incline at the beginning. Now, I’m not the most active person, as I’m just mostly on my feet all day and I run some mornings (I’m not a marathon runner–hell, I’m not even a mile runner,) so when I say it is do-able, I really mean it. There is a part of the hike where you have to rock scramble up, but as long as you have the proper shoes the worst that will happen is you get a nice leg workout.

When we reached the refuge, the cloud cover pretty much cleared up, and we were able to take in panoramic views with our own eyes and cameras.

We hung out at the refuge for a while, ate some granola bars and apples, and took lots and lots of selfies. Eventually we knew we had to hike back down to the cable car, as it stops running at a certain time and we did not want to be stranded in the French Alps. The hike down took a while, as we had to be careful coming back down the rocks, and that incline from the start of our hike became the craziest decline– I definitely slipped on my ass a few times, and I wasn’t alone.

We ended up having to wait in line for about 45 minutes to catch the cable car down, mais c’est la vie. My group and I kept taking turns to hold our place in line to take pictures, and when you’re in the company of friends, 45 minutes waiting for a cable car in one of the most beautiful places in the world isn’t bad at all.

When we got back down to the bottom of the mountain, we walked back to town to meet up with the rest of our group. As we debated our dinner choices, we stopped and saw an aerial performance mother-daughter duo, who were using bungees to do stunts in the spaces between buildings. It was a little thing that made an already special day that much more excellent.

We all stayed up talking before we went to bed that evening, and the next morning we woke up to explore the town some more and do some last minute souvenir shopping. We came across an older gentleman who was selling dog key chains, except they were made out of pipe-cleaners and the man made them himself. I practiced my French a little because I wanted to get his photograph, and I opened the conversation with “Hello, how are you today?” and he just responded with “No, don’t ask me that!” I laughed and he let me take his picture when I asked. Not the best quality image, but still one of my favorites from the trip.

After our shopping trip we had to leave this gorgeous place and make the drive to Lyon. We were genuinely sad to leave and most of us shared that we would definitely make an effort to return and spend more time in the area.  So, if you’re ever in the east of France, check out Chamonix. There are hikes for everyone, skiing, and a charming town with an old guy making awesome key chains.

Safe Travels, and Happy Shooting!

Photo Diary Update

It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated my photo diary. For those unfamiliar, I carry around a small point-and-shoot film camera called a Fuji Natura Classica which is the best camera I have ever owned ever. I love this little thing and how sensitive it is to light and how close to reality it can capture.

I believe these images go all the way back to May or even April, but I kinda lost the roll and got it developed only recently.

My “photo diary” is titled that way because sometimes, I just wanna take pictures of things I like. My brain gets exhausted from thinking about photos from all sorts of theoretical and critical perspectives, sometimes it’s a good thing to turn off and be like “oooo purty like snap snap.”

Go take some pictures because you wanna! Happy Shooting!

Time Flies When You Are Missing Ireland

I went to Ireland about three months ago now (wow, it’s been that long?) and I finally got the money around to getting the rolls from my trip developed. I shot everything using my precious fuji natura classica (bless that camera’s little soul.) I spent two and a half weeks in the Burren, where I studied and made work at the Burren College of Art.

We then spent a few days in Dublin before heading back to the United States. This was my second time in Dublin, but my first time visiting the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA, as in, IMMA look at some hella rad art.) We also went to the Natural History Museum, where we saw one of the highlights of my trip, the bog bodies. Holla.

I can’t wait to travel again. I make photos all of the time, but they are so constructed. It feels good to just go out and take pictures without having to think too much or contemplate concepts or piece together a thesis. I’m already looking forward to my next adventure, whatever that may be.

Happy Shooting!

February’s Photos

February was a crazy month for me. I started hearing back from graduate programs and traveled for interviews, and I spent a total of 50 hours on a bus. I was sick for a week, and just generally really, really tired. I may be looking at grad school, but I’m still in undergrad making work. It’s a little rough.

BUT ART IS SUFFERING. YOLO.

But my adventures in February were awesome. I went to Columbus, Ohio and Boston, Massachusetts.

I didn’t get to take many pictures in Boston, mostly because I was super sick, and when I got to my hostel I went straight to bed, as an attempt to feel better for my interview. And I did end up feeling better, so shout out to my friends Mucinex, Halls, and Kleenex. I don’t know where I would be today without their trusted companionship.

My adventures continue right now, actually. I’m on my way to New Orleans, so keep an eye out for photos!

Happy Shooting!

Every Photographer Needs Patient Friends

Gotta love that post-travel blues. Here are some more photos, this roll was shot at Versailles- the main reason why I brought my Natura on this trip with me. The rooms aren’t lit the best, so I figured a super light sensitive camera would do the trick. And I was right.

I also got some nice shots at the Musée d’Orsay and a few random places around Paris. And I think that statue with the “Hey! Look at this guy!” vibe goin’ on is from the Louvre. But I can’t remember but hey, lookin’ good dude!

Let me tell you how I have some really great friends right quick.

So we’re in Versailles, right? This is my second time there, and a couple of my friends are a little behind us, so we decide to set up a place to meet (the exit) in case we separated. I was anticipating being one of the first people done wandering, since I’ve been there before, so I kind of set up this plan thinking I was the responsible adult type and I would wait for the kids at the end should they get distracted by the pretty gilded ceilings and floral tapestries.

Ha.

They were waiting for me for a good 20 minutes at the end. That’s right- me. So, shout out to my friends who sat patiently while I stood in the Hall of Mirrors for fifteen minutes. Every photographer needs friends like these.

Happy Shooting!

Much Ado About Photography

Stratford upon Avon (or as I kept incorrectly saying, Straton upon Avon…) was a beautiful surprise. Being the town Shakespeare is from, I was anticipating a microscopic hamlet (ha, pun,) with a ton of Shakespeare themed shops. However, that was not the case, even though there were a plethora of Shakespeare shops (and a pub with a sign featuring Shakesbeer. I love the British sense of humor.)

We visited good ‘ole William’s home, snapped some touristy photos, and carried on our merry little way to burn eight hours in the town before seeing a production of Henry IV. A few friends and I carried on with our tourism and visited Shakespeare’s grave at Trinity Church.

And oh my word.

It was a spectacular experience.

While we were there, staring at the beauty of the church, a school choir (I imagine they were middle school age,) was practicing. It was so clear and pure and it made my heart flutter and melt all at the same time. It was one of those moments when you know that as long as you live, you will never forget how you felt right then and there.

So after having an overwhelming spiritual experience near Shakespeare’s grave, other adventures ensued, like wandering around the shops in town, getting lunch at a pub (not the one with Shakesbeer, I’m afraid,) and waiting for the play to start. When we were browsing shops, we went into an antique shop.

And guess what I found??

A twin reflex camera! I’ve been looking for one that actually works and reasonably priced and not on eBay for FOREVER, and there one was, in a display case, calling my name, saying, “Try me out! Play with all the knobs and buttons! Maybe I can fulfill your dream of having a medium format camera!” And, alas, was in working condition and it is now in my possession! I’m going to get film for it (I saw some at an Urban Outfitters I adventured into yesterday whilst window shopping,) and see what kind of results I can get from this ancient camera.

And that was my adventure in Straton Stratford upon Avon. I took a few pictures on my Natura, but obviously those won’t be shown off until I get the roll developed.

I’m pretty tired and I can’t think of a way to gracefully end this so. Bye. Happy Shooting!

 

So Much London, So Many Pictures

Good news: I found a film lab (give it up for Snappy Snaps, being virtually everywhere in London,) and I successfully managed to get my roll of film developed! Huzzah! So let’s jump right into that:

These are all from my Natura, from this past Wednesday, because I’m a forgetful person and forgot to put my memory card back in my camera. I’m also an over-prepared person and had three other cameras on me, including this one, so all was well. This was my first time shooting with Fuji Natura Film, the film make special for this camera, and man, the colors are stunning. I’m looking forward to shooting more. While my photos were developing, I adventured around Regent’s Park. I was trying to do some mock-infrared photos, but I think I under-exposed too much and am having a difficult time editing them properly. C’est la vie.

I was in Queen Mary’s Rose Garden, taking pictures of roses, when an idea struck me. Now, I don’t like taking pictures of flowers. For me personally, it was a phase in my early days to photograph flowers, like photographing shoes and photographing the sky. There are beautiful photographs of flowers out there in the world, but I am not a photographer who enjoys creating said photos. But when you’re in a place where there is literally nothing but flowers, you have two hours to burn before class starts, and you have a camera around your neck… You see where this is going. So I got creative.

slow shutter + small aperture + spinning the camera = this

I’m pretty excited about these. I want to do more, will do more, will probably make a whole series out of them because that is what I do with my life. In the late afternoon, I went out with some friends to Leicester Square and Covent Garden for a bit of window shopping. It was nice, being in a small group, and the area wasn’t too crowded so I was able to get pictures that I wanted. All in all it was a good day for photography, especially because I didn’t forget anything like a camera or a memory card.

I’ve taken so many pictures already this trip, and the excitement only continues from here on out! I’ve got a few more cameras to take out, many more series to execute, and a lot of homework to catch up on. So, with that… Happy shooting!