I've recently had the opportunity to work with another DC fashion blogger named Chimed, who runs NxStyle. The first shoot we did included a Topman jean jacket from their new collection. You can check out Chimed's post on his blog www.nxstyle.me. Here are my highlights!
My Aunt Mary has run Juilleret's restaurant in Charlevoix, Michigan for 28 years. At the end of this season she will be retiring. Before the restaurant closed I was able to shadow her on a typical day, starting at 4:30 am. This week's black and white is from that series, and it is one of my very favorites. Stay tuned this weekend for the whole series!
I recently acquired a macro lens and have been having fun with it. As my sister will tell anyone, when I first opened the box I mounted it on my camera and looked for any small objects in sight. The closest happened to be little figurines on my sister's desk, so I immediately got as close to them with my lens as possible. This meant however, that I was essentially laying on top of Kristine who at the time was seated at her desk. She was not too pleased with the set up. Anyway, the point is I have been taking lots of super up close photos, though now with a little more regard for my surroundings.
This week's black & white is with that wonderful lens, and of my sister's engagement ring. It is super lovely and I hope I was able to catch a little bit of the sparkle it gives off in person.
This weekend I went to Philly to visit my sister Kristine and her fiancé Matt. The main purpose was to take their engagement pictures! We (that is Kristine and I), had so much fun and Matt put up with us very nicely. (He's a keeper, lol.) It happened to be a long weekend so we also got to go to an arboretum nearby, and go out one night on Main St in Manayunk. I had a great time, and was so happy to see their new and first real place together. This week's B&W is from the arboretum, but stay tuned for some of the engagement pictures!
Trey Ratcliff's Photo Walk Across the USA came to DC recently. Trey was one of the pioneers of HDR photography, which stands for High-Dynamic-Range. Although people may not know the name of this type of image, nearly everyone has probably seen one, or many for that matter. These images are hyper saturated and hyper detailed, often giving the picture a surreal quality. This isn't my style, but I can completely appreciate the artistic and technical skill that goes into it.
I was very curious about the photowalk, and didn't know very much about Trey before I showed up. It ended up being a fantastic experience! At first I had been apprehensive that it would just be Trey pushing everyone to do HDR but that was far from the case. He was excited to see people do their own thing and encouraged everyone's own eye and style.
We generally followed Trey around the National Mall, taking our own pictures and then gathering around when he started to talk. Here Trey would explain what had caught his eye about the frame he chose, and what perhaps he was trying to depict or evoke. I liked that he tended to start with a more abstract, artistic, at times philosophical approach. That was something everyone could really relate to and use to inspire and analyze their own work. Then Trey would continue on to the technical end, telling what lens and settings he was using and why. I think he really had some good things to say, and seemed very down to earth, a trait I highly prize.
It was a great atmosphere in which to take pictures, surrounded by others just as enthusiastic about photography as me. On a lovely summer evening with a great excited energy in the air. Below are what I was able to capture.
Our family vacation to Alaska really gave us some time to relax, for Matt and Kristine they got to de-compress from 2 years of grad school, and we all just got to spend time with each other. My family is super close, but it was really nice to have time just for us, no running around for holidays or weddings, or just skpying from our separate cities. We were together and it was wonderful.
We indulged in the spa on board ship, and we ate a whole lot, and I mean a whole lot. Dinner was quite the event for us. We became close with our servers Liliana and Freddie. We normally had several courses, we tried new things, we shared, and we told stories and laughed at every chance.
With all of this great time, I got the chance to capture some really awesome portraits of my family. Here are a few of the best.
Our last port in Alaska was Ketchikan, where my dad and I went on a tour of Saxman, the native village there.
I have always been fascinated with Native American culture. In first grade I was Pocahontas, with a costume that my mom sewed with beads and feathers from our pet bird Stacy. I believe that costume was also reused one 4th of July when I was Sacagawea in our street's parade, in a "canoe" made from a wagon and pulled by my dad. So I really enjoyed seeing a little glimpse into a current native village and some of their history.
Being in the Pacific Northwest meant that there were lots of totem poles and wooden carvings in the stunning traditional style. We also got to see some dancing, in which I got to take part, and an artisan's workshop.
One of the most magical days was the day we were in Tracy Arm Fjord. The ship entered the fjord at 6:30 in the morning, so that's when we got up. We all ordered breakfast to our rooms, and ate on the balconies while watching the view. What a way to spend a morning. We were all bundled up but it didn't matter, everything we saw was spectacular.
The cliffs facing us were dwarfing, and there were waterfalls everywhere. I think part of the magic came from the low hanging clouds that wound in out of the trees and stones, making them seem to appear from nowhere. The beautiful silence also contributed to the magic. Slowly we started seeing little icebergs, and then bigger ones until in the distance we could see the Sawyer Glacier. We went up to the front of the boat and got the perfect view. Our ship got pretty close to the glacier, relatively speaking. Here are my favorite photos from that day, though they barely even do it justice.
On this particular day we all clearly could not get enough of different kinds of transportation. We went from a ship, to a helicopter, to a dogsled, back to the helicopter, and then if that wasn't enough decided to hop a train to the top of a mountain as well. Totally and completely worth it though.
Each mode of transport gave a very unique way of seeing the wilderness around us. With the train you got to wind through the trees and the cliffs and slowly watch as the valley grew further and the peaks grew closer.
The train cars were nice with big windows and seats that flipped to face the other direction when we got to the top and went back down the other way. My mom and I however, spent the majority of the ride on the little platform at the back of our car. Here we, and our cameras, had an unobstructed view of the landscape and felt the wind whipping all around us. It was quite the ride.
The tracks that we went up were built for the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush and were completed in 1900. Before then hopefully miners would make the trip by hours, along with all their supplies and food for year. It was such a treacherous trail that 3,000 horses died there during the gold rush and before the railroad was finished. Now it is used simply for sightseeing.
I've been spending a fair amount of time on the National Mall lately, and of course, taking a fair few pictures. While most tourist only really see the National Mall when they visit Washington DC, too many locals don't take advantage of it, and this is sad on both accounts. DC has so much more to offer than just the National Mall, but it is an amazing place and I'm happy to get the chance to frequent it.
The best time to go is at odd hours and weird days, when the place isn't swamped with tourist. So super early hours during the summer, or just visit it in the off season. This also means that besides missing the crowds, you also miss the incredible heat and humidity that DC can throw at you. At these times you can find a nice place to sit and soak in the monuments and memorials. I find it always leaves me feeling calmer and more humble, and I love it.
This week's black and white shows one of those nice quite moments on the Mall. Enjoy!
Once we had landed after our amazing helicopter ride to the top of a glacier we were met with a dog sled summer camp. Which is a spectacular sight from the air, but is really quite a neat experience on the ground.
The camp is allowed to set up on the glacier for a few months in the summer as both a tourist attraction and a way to keep the gods in shape in the off season. So when racing starts back up in the winter the dogs are still rearing to go. A group of dogs trainers and workers live completely isolated for roughly 3 months with about 200 dogs.
Being set up on a glacier has some unique demands and restrictions though. There is the stipulation that nothing is left on the ground or let blown away. This means that all shed dog fur must be meticulously picked up, bagged and flown back down to town once a week, along with, you guessed it, all the dog poop. All supplies must be flown in and then out: food, shelter, dogs, you name it. Once the camp has melted a certain amount of snow under the camp they must relocate to 1 of the 3 or 4 locations picked out for them. Once they go through all the camps and all the designated amount of snow meltage (which I know is not a word but totally applies here), they are done for the summer, no matter when that end happens to occur.
Our dog sled trainer was a really nice guy who is just starting his own dog team from puppies and some other young dogs. He was really enthusiastic about what he does and very good with his dogs. Each dog has a little house that they can either sit inside or on top of, and is marked with their name.
When it was time to pick out his team for our run every dog was beside themselves with excitement, making every indication that they wanted nothing more than to be chosen. It was similar to when you say the word "walk" around my dog at home, only on a much larger scale.
Our team of 9 dogs pulled 2 sleds tied to each other. So you go a chance to sit and a chance to stand on the very back one. My favorite was by far the standing. It felt a little like skiing without the effort. Just as beautiful as skiing though, if not more because I didn't have to worry about where I was going, just got to enjoy the view.
I have always loved the mountains. I attribute it to growing up in Cleveland where it is nice an flat, so whenever I get into the mountains I still am amazed by them. And snow, of course, I just love. So put those two together and I am on cloud 9.
In the port of Skagway my entire family went on a helicopter ride to the top of a glacier. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen or done.
Viewing the Alaskan mountains from the air is just breathtaking. I cannot even do it justice with words. So instead I will go right to the photos.
The first morning on board my parents woke us all up at 6:30 am. My sister was not pleased. She tends to only growl at you before about 9 or 10 am, so this was really pushing the limits, especially on vacation.
However, you really couldn't blame them because of the view from our balconies, and the fact that we got to see several whales! Getting to see the slowly passing Alaskan coast was breathtaking. I could have sat there for days just watching.
Here are that morning's photos and whale fin or two.
kaitlin k walsh
Adventurer armed with a camera.