Sunday, November 16, 2014

Black & White Photo Challenge

I was challenged by my friend, Angie of AGLOW Photography to do the black & white photo challenge. My task was to post a b&w photo for five days and nominate someone else along the way. I decided to revisit my film days.

Because I didn’t have access to a scanner, my film photos never made their debut on the Internet.  So I picked out my five pictures and hunted for a scanner. I did!

 {Landaff Center, March 2012}

In high school I interned with Meg of Rodeo  & Co Photography. Although my internship ended at Christmastime, she still invited me over for shoots every so often. In the spring she had done an editorial shoot with EH Floral and took home the flowers, so we took these shots at her house. She was experimenting with medium format film, and I used 35mm.

{Remich Park, April 2011}

I took this photo on the first roll of film I ever developed and exposed. Because I took Photography I at Littleton High School, we visited Remich Park often to do our work. It was a rainy day before class and I had to finish exposing my roll, so I explored the park by myself. I love this shot because of the way it draws the eye across. I took it for my shape assignment, but I think it possesses more character than that.

{Littleton, November 2011}

I was admiring the vintage artifacts at just L in Littleton and began to just snap away. The bowl of vintage spoons stood out to me because my mom had a collection hanging on our kitchen wall in Derry. This shot came out better than I had hoped with the shallow depth of field.

{Sugar Hill, May 2011}

This is one of the craftiest shots I took. My friend, Eden and I were taking pictures on Sunset Hill Road when we decided to take a moment and admire the mountains from its overlook. There’s a tree stump in the middle of the platform with these jutting pieces of park that look rather cool in a macro perspective. I glanced down at my keychain and the little leather bug given to me at Christmas caught my eye, so I put the two together.

{Littleton, November 2011}

I saved my favorite shot for last. This was taken at just L the same day I photographed Vintage Spoons. The globe was sitting on a table and I thought it would contrast nicely with the orange stool I placed it on (even though it’s in black & white), but it was missing something. There was a wooden box sitting on the nearby counter with compartments of old typewriter keys. This word came to mind…

Saturday, November 8, 2014

'Cause nothin' lasts forever

My friend died a week ago. We weren't close, and it had been awhile since we talked, but the news was still a shock for me. He was good friends with my cousin, which is how I met him. His family had crammed into my house for a weekend in the notch, and we continued to talk after that. He'd tell me how many hoops he had scored in a game, and I'd laugh at how obsessed he was with Farmville. We'd talk about music, and jam to "Sweet Child O' Mine" together, even though he lived more than 100 miles away. "November Rain" makes me think of him.

I read through our messages the other day, and was upset to find that Facebook had deleted most of them. The few that were left still made me cry. It was two years ago that he told me his plans to take his girlfriend Black Friday shopping in Portland. I told him don't die.

His birthday was coming up, and I advised that 17 was a rough year because it's a long count to 18, and nothing exciting seems to happen. My birthday was a few months later, and I said I was planning on buying a lottery ticket.

Later, he asked if he could use personal pronouns in a narrative essay. I said yes; he was writing a memoir on the Red Sox game he went to the previous summer. I then told him that college is much easier than high school, because teachers (usually) don't assign homework over break. The last thing I ever wrote to him was "You're welcome. =)"

It may have been two years, but I can still remember how silly he was, and that he rarely complained about anything. I continued to like his graduation pictures, the time he went to a Portland Pirates game, and his excitement at buying a Mustang, but I never reached out to him.

It's amazing that the people we come across can still have an impact, even years later. I kept more in touch with his sister and saw her every so often, but for whatever reason, I think I was too shy to talk to him. This past week he's been on my mind, and how I wish I had at least asked what was new, or how he was doing. I don't have many regrets in life.

There are few things that are final, and those that are can be truly devastating. I can only imagine how his family and friends are feeling. My cousin was supposed to be in the car with him and the others. I've never believed in a god, and I don't think I ever could.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

True New Englander

I'll never forget my elation at seeing the drudgery of the misty gray clouds consuming the City of Boston as my plane landed. Although I had just spent a fabulous week in sunny Florida with my travel companion and friend, Patsy, I missed home. Florida had palm trees, warm beaches, St. Augustine, and oranges, but I missed fall leaves, mountain vistas, Littleton, and apple cider.

Traveling is incredibly fulfilling for me, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to leave home twice this year. I'm ecstatic to look forward and plan my trips for 2015, but I think travel is more delightful when one knows they have a glorious place to return to, a place of most contentment.

For me this is Franconia Notch, but Florida reminded me that I'm not just a North Country girl or even a New Hampshirite, but a New Englander. Although I can only handle urbanism in small doses, Boston is my city. Although it's a real nuisance to shovel out my car, I'd rather sweat in my winter coat than on the car seat in 90 degree weather.

Warwick Long Bay in Bermuda is the most stunning beach I have ever visited, but salty hair and rustic tug boats make me feel complete. New England is a diverse region that has not only coastline, but lakes and mountains as well. We enjoy four seasons (five if you consider mud), and the most beautiful Autumns in the world. I learned this when I began working for the Chamber.

We may be pretentious and keep to ourselves, but in my small town of Sugar Hill, I have seen neighbors come together out of help, support, and yes, gatherings. New England is home to the meetinghouse and many of our towns are still run by a Board of Selectmen and town meetings. 

These towns perpetuate history, and although I visited the oldest city in America (St. Augustine), New England history is what really fascinates me. We have Plymouth Rock and the first Thanksgiving, the shot heard 'round the world, transcendentalism, the nation's oldest college, the Old Man of the Mountain, and more. It's the rebellious spirit of American Revolutionary roots and the unconventional philosophy of transcendentalism that inspires and makes me proud to say that I am from New England. 

Not only that, it's the summer strawberries and autumn apples that keep me here. Tonight I dined at the Common Man in Lincoln and left satisfied by a New England supper. Our food is hearty and delicious. I could never give up cider donuts, acorn squash, blueberry muffins, maple syrup, or whoopie pies! Fall does have a smell and it is incredible.

I love New England for its history, beauty, cuisine, and activities. I can be found kayaking on a lake in summer or picking blueberries in the fields. Fall brings foliage hikes while in winter I ski. There are so many outdoor activities that I enjoy doing and New England is the place where I can do them all. It's fantastic to have this variance.

I was born in a Massachusetts port city, grew up in a suburb, and now live in the mountains of New Hampshire. I can never see myself leaving.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Vespa: La Dolce Vita

Tim has given up on me. He says I am too short, that we will never find an on/off road dirt bike that will fit my stature of 5'1"--nor his tall standards. It's a rather depressing prospect, seeing as I got my motorcycle license on May 3, 2013 and haven't been on two wheels since. Well, two motorized wheels.

I haven't given up hope. Even if I have to wait a few more years to stumble across an orange '70s bike with low suspension, I know one is out there. Bring on the kick-start.

For now I have developed a new plan, however, one that formulated from a flashback:

Italy. My 2011 transatlantic voyage and first time leaving the U.S. (Read all about it here.) Not only did I maintain my weight while licking gelato everyday, but I admired the cobblestone streets, fashions, and scooters that buzzed all over town. Although I had only purchased my bug a few months before (das Auto), I could picture myself whizzing by, a colorful blur humming down the street. If Germany's vehicle is the Volkswagen Beetle, then Italy's is certainly the Piaggio Vespa.

In the back of my mind I've always wanted a scooter. The list was bug, dirt bike, scooter. While waiting for a dirt bike that I can touch the ground on, I'd like to re-acclimatize myself to two motorized wheels, and a scooter is now the best option.

The Vespa LX 150 i.e. is probably their most popular model, and the one I would go for had it not been for the company's launch of the revived Primavera 150. Not only does it pack 117 mpg versus the LX's 75, its top speed is still 59 mph. At only $100 more retail, the Primavera's design is inspired by vintage models. Behold:

=') It makes me happy. Almost as happy as the bug. After researching my color options (because that's what we girls do), I've concluded that red is vibe for me; bold, retro, edgy.

(OMG she has a camera!)

Now to be the logical, rational thinker that I strive to be, I need to look at this from all angles. I live in Sugar Hill. Hill. They do not lie with the name- we have hills. It's not that the thing couldn't power me up it, I'd just be a tad nervous about it. It's not like I'd scoot down to Nanny's either (though it would look adorable on the streets of Newburyport!), I'd just drive it to work and to Littleton.

So this is on the list, which has changed from bug, dirt bike, scooter to bug, scooter, dirt bike. (I haven't crossed bug off the list, because I am actually in the market for a new one...).

Oh- and the license plate would be MGASCT.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

When I graduate...

Last week I registered at Lyndon for the last time. Although I'm ready for summer, I am also looking forward to snow again--because in December, I graduate! I will be completely DONE with school, an incredibly refreshing feeling. I'm at that point now where many people ask me, "What will you do after you graduate?", somehow thinking I will not be able to occupy all of the time I currently spend on school. However, I have an entire list of what I will be doing post graduation:

  • Building my business. I will have time to take the BETA (Business and Entrepreneurial Technical Assistance) course at WREN as well as other photography workshops, including those at C1M Academy in Amherst. I might also teach a few photography workshops of my own! (Stay tuned...)
  • Improving my photography. Along with workshops, I will also dedicate more time to shooting and submitting my work to galleries and contests as well as joining more organizations (Chambers, photography associations, etc.).
  • Traveling. I love new experiences and documenting the places I visit. Learning is not confined to the classroom, and I know my travels will provide me with a more in-depth education. Additionally, travel is an excellent way to improve photography!
  • Writing. I've always wanted to be a writer, even before I first picked up a camera. I will have enough time to write creatively and perhaps look into publishing. Furthermore, I have a few professional writing opportunities that I will pursue further, including guest blogging at MassFinds.
  • Crocheting. This is an old hobby of mine. I started in the third grade but have lost touch with it due to time constraints. I'm hoping to become a "happy hooker" yet again! (And maybe even learn how to knit.)
  • Homesteading. Another passion of mine, I'm going to help with my family's garden this summer and eventually make everything myself from food to toilet cleaners. My goal is to follow the Paleo and green lifestyles and everything advised by my favorite blog, Empowered Sustenance. (She's awesome! Check her out.)
  • Exercising. This has been a battle. As I'm dating a super active boy, I don't think it will be difficult, I just need the time! I'd like to kayak, bike, hike, cross-country and downhill ski. No gym for me!!!
  • Skiing. Today I went skiing on Cannon Mountain with my mom and cousin, Eddie. I forgot how much I love it. It took a few runs, but it finally came back to me and I look forward to improving. (One perk of being a college student is the 4NH Pass- an inexpensive season pass to Cannon, Bretton Woods, Cranmore, and Waterville Valley. I am definitely investing in this before I graduate.)
  • Buying a new car. I've had the bug for three years now and am praying it lasts until I graduate. After that I'm hoping to find a green 2010 with a sunroof and manual transmission. Is that too much to ask? Hahaha.
  • Buying a house. After working as a residential loan assistance and reading many books on finance, I will never rent an apartment. Instead of lining a landlord's pocket I'd rather put that money into equity. It may take a few years, but I can definitely do it.

I'm so excited because I know all of these things are feasible. I work for myself and love what I do, and I know my business will take off. (It already has!) In addition to that I'd love to be a freelance writer/photographer for Yankee Magazine and National Geographic, among a few others. What's also helpful in my situation is that I will be graduating with no student loans. NONE. I will have earned a Bachelor's, two Associate's and a minor without any federal or private aid. I'm so thankful for the opportunities I've had, as student loans are such a huge weight I will not have to deal with. (I'm also going to live with cats and plants instead of dogs and kids, which will allow me to spend my time and money on everything listed above.)

So for everyone who's wondering what I will do post college graduation, I have it all figured out. =)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tweet, tweet, buh bye!

I just deleted my personal Twitter and Instagram accounts. It was a rather spontaneous decision, but I'm so happy I did it.

Before I did, however, I had to think it through. (After all, one must be logical.) Was this an abrupt decision from a maniacal moment, or the result of much subconscious pondering? I concluded the latter. To affirm my sanity--as one must do every so often--I sought the insight of others; "permission" so to speak. I stumbled across this post from a blog on minimalism. It's an excellent articulation of my feelings, but let's make it personal:

Why I deleted my personal Twitter and Instagram accounts:
  • I have become too busy living life behind my phone. Yummy ice cream? Instagram it. Cat did something funny? Gotta tweet. Instead of living in the moment I was too preoccupied with sharing it, which leads me to my next point:
  • Nobody cares. Constantly I found myself bypassing a multitude of tweets simply because I really don't give a hoot about what shampoo a friend is in love with or how much fun they're having on vacation. If it was important we'd have a personal conversation about it. When I addressed my feelings of apathy it hit me: nobody cares about my microblogging either. (I did not shed a tear over this thought.)
  • Selfies. One of my biggest nuisances was the incessant selfies that bombarded my newsfeed; social media brought narcissism to a whole new level. My frustration with selfies caused me to evaluate myself and whether I was being self absorbed and boasting with my tweets and instagrams. I think I was.
  • It's depressing. I'm no psychologist but I know the woes of social media have contributed to many miserable feelings. From experience I've felt my life was boring and have been jealous over how awesome someone else's looks. But that's just it: looks. I recently finished reading an insightful psychology book geared towards people in their twenties. In it was a chapter dedicated to the facade that Facebook and other social media sites has allowed users to create.
  • "iPhoneography". I stumbled upon an e-card that read, "Bitch please, a cell phone and Instagram does not make you a photographer." This had me in stitches! I love following professionals who post incredible photos of people, landscapes, objects, etc. but these photos could not have been captured with a phone camera and Instagram filter. There's so much more to photography than "point and shoot" that Instagram has muddled.

That being said there are many benefits of social media. It allows us to connect and discover new ideas, people, and places. It allows us to stay in touch with friends. It also allows us to market ourselves or a product freely and efficiently. For these three reasons I am keeping my Facebook and Pinterest. Also, it is why I still maintain a few Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Whaaa? Allow me to explain: This post has been about why I deleted my personal Twitter and Instagram accounts; however, I do own a business and know that these platforms are excellent for promotion. The difference is with these accounts I do not post vacuous updates, I upload photos and tidbits about what's new with the business and what I am up to. Furthermore, I don't feel frustrated or depressed when working with these accounts, I feel inspired. The purpose is professional rather personal. My professional accounts also do not occupy nearly as much time or energy as my personal did.

Finally, I'm now the Social Media Manager/Photographer for the Franconia Notch Chamber of Commerce. (Ironic, eh?) I know there's a time and a place for social media, but I believe it has gotten out of hand. Thus I have deleted my personal accounts to focus on living my life rather than documenting it. So far I find it rather refreshing.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Left and Right

In Bethlehem there is an incredible organization known as the Women's Rural Entrepreneurial Network (WREN). WREN offers workshops and classes geared towards the budding entrepreneur or aspiring crafter. Their gallery hosts the work of local artists and in celebration of WREN's twentieth anniversary, they are holding a monthly "Write Night in the Gallery". I decided to join! It is held the second Tuesday of every month and the group responds to prompts given by our leader, WREN's gallery coordinator Katherine Ferrier (Check out Thread!). As the exhibit changes monthly, we write about a different piece that draws us in. In January my eye immediately caught this beautiful felt piece by Beth Harwood

Titled "Topography", the colors and shapes of this piece drew me in and I knew this would be the one to write about. Below I have included one of my prompts about "Topography" written January 14, 2014. Can you guess the metaphor? =)

The platform of central processing is abuzz and conflicting. The left wants rigidity and order, the right wants flow and abstraction.

Shapes of analytics block a river of creativity. Both are in conflict with one another- until they slip- a shift in tectonic plates thrusting forth a tsunami.

Right is left and left is right. Analytics sparkle and rivers are consistent.

Shades are humbled but uniform in temperature. Bright, deep, light, bold. Yet cool.

The confliction of order and chaos is the symbiosis of left and right.