Embarrassing America, Pt. 3: Nevada is the Actual Worst, Glacier National Park, and Some Rock Heads

Oh, Nevada. I had no idea how useless you were.

(No offense, to those who live in Nevada. At least you have Las Vegas?)

We drove and drove and drove through Nevada, looking for gas, food, civilization, anything. There was nothing. We started to play a game: Ways to Die in The Middle of Nowhere, Nevada. We were getting very creative with how to end ourselves, should we be stuck in this desert purgatory. (We came up with 36 ways to die, for the record.)

Finally we found a place to stop for gas, in a little city town village place called Middlegate, Population 18 17. The town was a gas station at the side of the road and a sketchy motel. They had newspaper clippings from the civil war framed in the bathroom. It was that kind of place. So, lemmie tell you, we were more than relieved to get to Idaho and sleep that nightmare of a state off.

When we got up the next day, we powered our way through Idaho and Montana, and after a series of stops and wrong banana peeling (I’m looking at you, Sean,) we made it to Glacier National Park.

To be honest, we really struggled the first 24 hours we had in Glacier. We came just before the start of the season, so almost everything was closed. We got in to the park in the early evening and were hungry, and couldn’t find a place to eat, save for the random fancy restaurant where the cheapest meal we could get was $25. We were too poor for that, so we ran before the waitress could even give us water. We weren’t prepared for a $25 chicken strip.

What made up for our repetitive faux-pas was Montana itself. They call it “Big Sky Country” for a reason. It’s absolutely breathtaking, and a place I could totally live… If they had more than one Starbucks in the entire state.

But they did have a rainbow, so that’s a win from me.

We also needed firewood, and a tarp, and a lantern… It was much colder in Glacier than Yosemite, so when we woke up the next morning in a puddle from the rain the previous night, we were miserable. And nothing was open. So we did a lot of driving to get what we needed, acquired firewood and a tarp, and made it all work out in the end. We finally got to go hiking after spending most of our first day there trying to get our bearings, but after that was smooth sailing (or should I say hiking?)

Also Sean is a lumberjack.

We were very excited to see snow at Glacier. Granted it was still late May/early June so it wasn’t too surprising, but still neat just the same. This was my second time in Glacier National Park, and I still loved every moment of it. My favorite was Avalanche Lake, which was a super easy hike with a super gorgeous pay off in the end. I even made a deer friend– a little prince of the forest. It was a really lovely time. 10/10 highly recommend.

After our adventures in Glacier came to an end, we headed back east to our lonely, boring lives. On the way back we stopped at Mount Rushmore, which was rad. I seriously loved it. Yes, I know, it’s just a bunch of rocks that were carved into heads and yes it may be one of the tackiest, self-important things in the country, but you know what? I too am tacky and self-important, so that’s why I loved it. I live for this kind of tasteless thing. It was really neat, and a good way to end our trip (well, we did drive 14 more hours after this, so it wasn’t really the end, but… It was a good send off.) I think my favorite part about Mount Rushmore was the older gentleman who I photographed– well, I photographed his cool backpack, that had different patches from national parks. I asked him if I could take his picture and he told me “This is my better side anyway.”

Okay, old man. You’re classy.

It’s been like a month since the end of my trip and I’m still pining away for the mountains and my friends. I miss them terribly, and I can’t wait for my next adventure. I am truly happiest when I am traveling and taking pictures, so if you need me I’ll be on pinterest updating my travel board until my next journey.

Happy Shooting!

Old Camera, Old Graves

When I was in New Orleans, I brought along my Voigtlander Brillant. I thought it would be a great camera to bring, since the images that usually come out of it have a weird over-cast antiquated look, and New Orleans is, well, old. I thought it would work out well. Turns out I was right.

I took it to New Orleans Cemetery #3 (because that’s where I took most of my photos, to be honest,) and took some shots. Oh, I also took a shot in the French Quarter.

Isn’t that old effect cool?

Also, that last image– I’m not saying it’s a ghost but, I mean. there wasn’t a light or anything in the scene when I snapped the photo, and the content interested me because it’s a broken up grave site, so I mean… I’m not saying it’s a ghost or anything, but I’m not saying it isn’t. Let’s have fun and accept it’s really weird.

Happy Shooting!

New Orleans in 35mm

I went on a wonderful trip to New Orleans, Louisiana over my spring break for the national Society for Photographic Education conference. And, of course, I brought a few cameras with me, one of those being the camera I take with me everywhere, the Fuji Natura Classica.

So, here are some pictures from that wonderful 35mm film camera.

I started taking pictures in Nashville, and continued into Alabama, Mississippi, and of course, Louisiana. Getting down to New Orleans was quite the trip (because it literally was, y’know, a trip,) and I made sure to pull out my camera or my iPhone (do it for the snapchats!) whenever it was fitting.

I think some of the best places to take pictures are antique shops. We stopped at a few in Alabama (our butts were hurting from the driving, so we needed to walk it off and go on a treasure hunt in the process,) and man, you can find the coolest and weirdest stuff. I found a flashgun for my Polaroid Automatic 100 at one, so I’m looking forward to trying that out.

Actually, the southern United States are interesting in general. You should go if you’ve never been, and the rest stops are wayy nicer than they are in the north. They have security and everything, if you can imagine that.

Because rest stop areas are obviously the most important thing on any journey.

At least they are when you live in Michigan, and most of the rest areas look like a place where Freddy is hiding in the forest… Can’t really rest at those rest stops without sleeping with one eye open.

Well, that’s all for this installment of my trip to NOLA. Keep an eye out for some medium format prints, digital photos, and snapchats!

Happy Shooting!

New Orleans Cemetery #3

I had a very limited time in New Orleans. Of the four and a half days I was there, I had one day to sight-see. That day, my family and I went around the French Quarter and took one of those bus tours around the city. It was really nice, getting a crash course on New Orleans. We stopped at Cemetery #3, but were only allowed ten minutes to explore. So, naturally, I wanted to come back.

The day we were leaving we woke up at 6AM so I could go take pictures at the cemetery before driving alllll the wayyyy back to Michigan. If that’s not familial love, I dunno what is.

So, we went, and spent an hour walking around. I took a lot of pictures with my Lomo Fuji Instax Mini, and got to do some double exposures with it. It’s a neat little camera. I also took a lot with my medium format (my pitiful Voigtlander,) which I need to get developed. I love that camera because of the antique aesthetic is gives my images. Wow, that was a very hipster thing of me to say.

But yeah, antique? Old graves? I’m into that.

STORY TIME.

So my mom and I were walking at the edge of the cemetery, where there were these sort of tombs in the wall– think morgue, but lots of them. So we’re walking along, taking pictures because that’s not disturbing to do in a cemetery, and we start to hear this knocking sound. My mom and I looked at each other, made a “no freaking way there is not someone knocking in that wall” face, laughed at the ridiculousness of that idea, and continued taking pictures.

But the knocking sound continued. After a while my mom and I were like “okay, this isn’t funny,” and we were the only people we saw in the cemetery. So, who was knocking?

We weren’t going anywhere in a hurry, until I finally said, “THIS IS WHY PEOPLE DIE IN HORROR MOVIES.”

So, yeah. We left that place reallllll quick after that conclusion.

If you’re ever in New Orleans, I recommend Cemetery #3. The more famous ones are #1 and #2, but if you’re not in the mood for crowds, #3 is less visited by the touring masses.

Just. If you hear knocking… run.

Happy Shooting!