Posts Tagged ‘animals’

Alaska: an ideal escape

Monday, March 7th, 2011

After working basically nonstop for two months over the holidays on my graduate school applications and portfolio, I was completely burnt out. I needed to run away for a while and relax, and luckily Catie and her family were happy to have me come up to Alaska for just that purpose. We did what we always do – eat far too much of Linda’s exquisite cooking, play board games whenever we can find a third player, and play outside with the dog (and the sister, and the sister’s dogs) whenever we can’t. I tried to keep my computer packed away as much as possible, and I am rather proud to say that I did not do more than an hour or two of work the entire three and a half weeks I was there. (I work hard, and I laze hard, I suppose.)

Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)

Photo taken in Anchorage, AK on February 4, 2011.

I’ve had a few people ask me recently what Alaska is like in the winter… I guess I still don’t really know how to answer that question. It is beautiful, above all else. There is always a good deal of fresh snow on the ground, and the mountains absolutely shine. It’s true that there isn’t much daylight, but, being a lifelong night owl, that doesn’t really bother me. Plus, it just means that a good portion of the day is filled with magic-hour light from a recent sunrise or an impending sunset!

Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 3, 2011)

Photos taken in Anchorage, AK on February 2-7, 2011.

A (black and) white winter

Monday, March 7th, 2011

I feel like it has been a long time since I enjoyed a true snowy winter. Last year, Catie and I were riding elephants through the (particularly un-snowy) jungles of Nepal on Christmas (an event – and an entire country! – which I promise will be photo-blogged about someday). The year before that, we were living in Manhattan, where the entire city seems to shut down over just an inch or two of fluffy precipitation (and not much more than that ever sticks to the asphalt ground beneath your feet). We were due for a quality cold season this time around.

Anchorage, AK (Feb 10, 2011)

Photo taken in Anchorage, AK on February 10, 2011.

We were not disappointed. I enjoyed record-setting amounts of snow while I was in Minnesota (admittedly mostly by watching it fall outside my window while working on graduate school applications), and Catie and I (and Abbie) played outside as much as we could while I was in Alaska. I haven’t been taking a huge number of photos over the last few months, but I did bring my camera along for a number of walks and snowshoeing adventures around Anchorage. A lot of those times, I kept my camera’s picture control settings on monochrome and slightly high contrast. It seemed to fit well with the vast white landscapes surrounding us.

Anchorage, AK (Jan 30, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Jan 30, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 10, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 10, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 10, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 10, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 10, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 10, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 10, 2011)
Anchorage, AK (Feb 14, 2011)

Photos taken in Anchorage, AK between January 30 and February 14, 2011.

My last day in Lyon

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

The day I had to leave Lyon snuck up on me much faster than I expected. I don’t feel like I was there for three months. It’s hard continually introducing myself to a new place to live. I feel like right when I start getting the hang of it, it’s time to move on again. It is great to see so many parts of the world and experience such different cultures. (I’m not sure I could name five similarities between Bangladesh and France…) But, I still don’t really have the hang of such a nomadic lifestyle, I think. It takes me a long time to warm up when I wake up in the morning, and similarly it takes me a while to warm up in a new city.

Catie and Emma gave me free reign on what we should do my last afternoon in the city. It was a beautiful day after a couple blanketed with rain, so I steered us toward the Parc de la Tete d’Or. (Just like a Minnesotan to spend his last day in a great city at the park.) Emma hadn’t been there yet anyway, so it was a good fit. The park felt different from the other times we had visited. The trees were almost all bare, and there was hardly anyone walking about, so the place felt very open. It was quiet, and a nice way to say farewell.

Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)

Photo taken in Lyon, France on November 16, 2010.

I will miss France. I wish I felt like I had become a bit “French” myself, but I don’t think I had enough time (or perhaps I have just too much “goof” coursing through my veins). Maybe Catie and I will make it back again someday, and I can try again (and maybe learn a decent bit of the language too, although Catie definitely has us covered in that department). In the meantime, I’ll be in MN for the next month and a half working on art projects and applying to graduate school, and generally enjoying the holidays at home for a change. (And unfortunately, I will probably be making a concerted effort to neglect this blog while I focus on those other things…)

I have no idea what is coming next… Domesticity? A hemispheric shift? Anything is possible…

Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France on November 16, 2010.

Up Fourvière one last time

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Something I loved about Lyon was the fact that no matter where you were in the city, you could almost always see the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière looming above. No matter what we were doing, the basilica was there doing it along with us, like a giant sitting on the hillside, a quiet but prominent and persistent friend, watching us play and laughing at our thoroughly un-French antics. (I admit that this illustration may be somewhat influenced by the fact that I am currently reading The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis.)

Lyon, France (Sep 18, 2010)

Photo taken in Lyon, France on September 18, 2010.

So, unsurprisingly, the basilica and the hill upon which it sits was something of a centerpiece of my Lyonnaise life. Due to its general impressiveness and historical and visual allure, as well as my silhouette-inspired interest in the lookout, I visited Fourviere more than any other place in the city. Sadly, since I needed to leave France sometime, there had to be a last trip up the hill for me! Happily though, I was accompanied that last time by Catie and her sister Emma, and the weather we were given was absolutely perfect. We even had a clear view of the alps from the top! (I had practically forgotten those even existed anywhere close to Lyon.)

Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)

Photo taken in Lyon, France on November 11, 2010.

There isn’t much here in Minnesota (where once again I presently temporarily reside) that could now fill the basilica-shaped hole in my life… The IDS Tower? The Mall of America? The Target Center? (I should quit my mocking for a moment and acknowledge that there is the somewhat impressive Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, but it is definitely not a part of my everyday life like the Notre-Dame de Fourvière was. For one thing, I can not walk thirty yards out my front door in Plymouth and see Saint Mary’s!) I will miss my giant French friend, but for now, when I look up I can be satisfied with the beauty of the snow falling from the cold dark Midwestern sky.

Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France on November 11, 2010.

Initial wanderings

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Despite a forecast of a solid week of cold rain, Emma seemed to bring a wave of delightfully good weather along with her to Lyon. We spent most of her first couple days with us just wandering about the city and soaking in the late autumn sun. I’m glad Emma came at the end of my own time in France, because it gave me motivation to get back out into the city and see it all (figuratively speaking) through one more time before I left. (To be honest, I’m actually writing this from Minnesota. I got back last Wednesday, and I miss France a great deal. I know – big surprise!)

On a technical photographic note, you might notice a slightly different visual quality to the images in this post (or you might not – I can’t yet decide). I’ve gotten tired of spending a fair portion of my life sitting at my computer coddling RAW image files, so I have been experimenting with shooting in JPG and tweaking the in-camera picture processing controls. A photographer and camera guru that I admire has his own preferred style that emulates one of his favorite types of film, achieved by using Nikon’s VIVID picture setting and cranking up the saturation to maximum (as well as upping the sharpening a bit). I decided to try that out myself for these shots. I’m fairly happy with the results (although I don’t think I’m going to abandon RAW just yet)…

Lyon, France (Nov 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France on November 10-11, 2010.