Posts Tagged ‘color’

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.

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.

Silhouettes, lookouts, and a few regular photos to boot

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Since I arrived in Lyon a couple of months ago, I have picked up my old “Place in Silhouette” project that I began a few years ago while I was in a drawing class at Sarah Lawrence College. (You can see the two compositions I made at SLC here and here as well as the one I did in Hobart, Tasmania.) The idea of the project is to create a landscape of a place by (photographically) capturing its relevant or recurring (or just plain interesting) shapes, making silhouettes of those shapes (in a very low-tech laborious fashion in Photoshop – using none other than the “Legacy” Brightness/Contrast tool), and then compositing those shapes together to create a landscape that is abstract but hopefully still captures some essence of the original place.

So, I have been spending some time walking around Lyon on my own trying to gather as many shapes as I can before I have to leave. One part of the city that I have decided to possibly feature is the Fourvière Lookout. On the North side of the Basilica at the top of Fourvière Hill, there is a large lookout area that provides one of the best sweeping views of Lyon. Everyone who visits the Cathedral invariably makes their way outside to look down and usually take a few photos of the city below. (I would love to do a study of how many pictures are taken from that spot over the course of a single day, and I would love even more to somehow gather everyone’s digital images – perhaps over the course of a week – and composite them together to create an extremely detailed panorama of the city… Maybe someday, when wireless camera/computer communication is a bit easier and more ubiquitous.)

Ever since my “Art, Natural Environment and Technology” course at the University Tasmania, I have had a fascination with that sort of ‘scenic overlook’. I might also call such spots ‘visual sinkholes’. I don’t necessarily mean to convey scorn with that term; I just find it interesting how fascinated people are by wide views from high vantage points. Perhaps it is just because that scene is rare in our visual lives, or maybe it is something more intricately primal or psychological. In any case, I enjoy watching the mobs of people lean over the stone barrier. I wonder how much they are really in awe of the view, and how much they are just doing what people are expected to do and looking at what people are supposed to want to look at. (I also wonder how much time people will actually spend looking at the wide angle photo they take from that vantage point. My guess is that it will be forgotten fairly quickly…) I don’t mean to sound like a visual elitist, pitying the poor masses. I just cannot shake the feeling that a lot of inner dialogues at that spot are somewhere along the lines of, “Hmm… Pretty. Oh, there is that thing we saw. We really are high up… How long should we stand here?”

Well, somewhere in the midst of my self-satisfied chuckling, I noticed that the silhouette of such groups of people at the lookout could be compelling, so I decided to start capturing people (sneakily and stealthily, and hopefully not too creepily) as they gazed on. I’ve made it back to do so three times in the last week so far, and I’m excited about the potential.

Group silhouette at Fourviere Lookout (Nov 1, 2010)

Group silhouette at Fourviere Lookout captured on November 1, 2010.

While I have been scouring Lyon for shapes and repeatedly walking up and down Fourvière Hill (or funicularing up and down when I am lazy in a hurry), I have taken a few general photos as well. Visiting the lookout so often is a good excuse to regularly duck into the Basilica (which continues to my photographic nemesis) and stop by other nearby spots as well, such as the Cimetière de Loyasse. There is no shortage of photographic material in Lyon!

Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France between October 29 and November 1, 2010.

The social side of Edinburgh

Friday, October 8th, 2010

You may have noticed that the last post filled with photos from my time in Edinburgh was uncharacteristically sans any people (besides Catie’s shadowed form in one image, and a few anonymous Scots on the streets). I decided to group most of the more ‘social’ shots from Edinburgh together this time, and that is what this post is for (along with this Facebook album, if you so prefer)! We had a fantastic time hanging out with friends old and new in Scotland, and Hilary and Phil were extremely gracious hosts and excellent city guides. (More on Adriane and Glasgow to come in later posts, but spoiler she was also fantastic.)

Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Oct 2, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Oct 2, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Oct 2, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Oct 2, 2010)

Photos taken in Edinburgh, Scotland between September 29 and October 2, 2010. Also available in Facebook format.

The day I realized I would like to live in Scotland

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Catie and I are living in Lyon, France for three months this Fall. Cat is studying French at the local chapter of Alliance Française, taking classes every weekday for the entirety of our stay. She gets a break for a few days between each monthlong session however, and we took advantage of this by jetting (easyJetting, in fact) up to Scotland for five days to visit a couple of Cate’s Alaskan brethren. Her friend Hilary has been living in Edinburgh for several years, and her friend Adriane just moved up to Glasgow for the year to study at the Glasgow School of Art. Neither Catie nor I had ever been to Scotland before, so we were quick to jump at the opportunity to go and also visit close friends at the same time.

Heading into the trip, I did not really have any particular expectations. Catie and I were both looking forward to a vacation (away from our horribly stressful lives residing in a beautiful French city), and I was excited about reacquainting myself with my camera (something that I still don’t feel like I’ve done very often since Nepal in January of 2010) as well as getting away from my computer and programming iPhone apps for a few days. (I admit, I did bring my iPod Touch, but I left the laptop and iPad at home. I feign that the iPod was merely to keep in touch with worrisome parents and assure them that no Loch Ness -related incidents had occurred.)

Catie and I arrived fairly late Tuesday night, and despite Catie accidentally misinforming Hilary as to the time of our flight, we were successfully retrieved (in not too much rain) and brought back to a lovely apartment that Hilary shares with her boyfriend. (Oh, to have a one-bedroom living space with real furniture again… Catie and I are surviving together in our French studio apartment with futon bed, but just barely. In fact, we both felt like we were staying at some sort of luxe hotel while sleeping on Hilary and Phil’s air mattress with four pillows and large white duvet.)

Hilary luckily could (and was willing to!) take a couple days off work, so she was able to hang out and be our unpaid tour guide starting in the morning. We woke up fairly early, had a bowl of Rice Krispies (point, Scotland – I have had some serious beef with France on its lack of cereal selection), and set out onto the drippy streets of Edinburgh. I can’t say that I knew it instantly, but it did not take long for me to start feeling that we were walking through a truly magical place. I laugh at myself typing that word – magical – especially in light of how much I detested and made fun of Apple’s iPad marketing campaign centered on the very same, but I cannot think of a better way to describe it. I love the architecture and the unbelievable age of so many of the buildings. I love that you can see that age embedded in the stone with its dark striations that are probably due to years of pollution but have become a beautiful urban paint job. I love the texture of the materials all over the city – the rock, iron, and glass – along with the natural landscape into which they are embedded, and I love the fact that all of the associated colors and resulting patterns and contrasts become even more brilliant when they get wet from the common rain. And on top of all that, the cathedrals are as old and magnificent as any I have seen in Europe (although France may technically retain a bit of an edge in this category), the parks are beautiful, the food is generally delicious (including – for some reason yet to be discovered – a plethora of Indian, Nepalese, and even Bangladeshi restaurants), the accents are simply delightful, and if you spit, your chances of hitting a golf course are fairly high. (In fact, I believe there are over twenty courses in and around Edinburgh alone.)

So, while I was lying comfortably in bed at night after our first day of exploration, I started researching art schools in Edinburgh on my iPod. (And I found out later that after I went to sleep, Catie had done the very same thing, investigating social anthropology programs at the University of Edinburgh.) My dad did tell me before I left that we actually had a fairly significant family history going back to Scotland. Maybe it is that buried connection that I found while walking the streets of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Oct 2, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Oct 2, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Oct 2, 2010)

Photos taken in Edinburgh, Scotland between September 29 and October 2, 2010.