Travel

One Of My Favorite Cities - Washington D.C.

Like I said in my last post, my parents used to take us on road trips during the summer. One of our destinations was Washington D.C. Even at a young age I was enamored with D.C. I love American history so it makes sense. The city is filled with things to do, many of them free, and has some of the best ethnic food around (a favorite for my wife and I). Here are some of my favorite shots from a recent trip there.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gardens

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Smithsonian Air & Space Museum

Newseum with a view of the Capitol building

Smithsonian National Zoo

The Grand Canyon is big

When I was a child my parents used to take us on long road trips over the summer in our minivan. I've got fond memories of those times. We visited South Florida, the Smokey Mountains, the Midwest and more. On one trip we were able to stop at The Grand Canyon and Carlsbad Caverns. I remember looking down into the Grand Canyon with big-eyed wonder (that sucker is deep!). It's still a life goal of mine to hike to the bottom to camp out, hunt elk with my bear hands and frolic shirtless in the Colorado River.

Fortunately my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon last year. We planned to be out there in the evening so we could watch the sunset. As our drive there progressed so did an impending thunderstorm. By the time we got to our look-out point it was pouring buckets. To say I was bummed would be an understatement. I really wanted my wife to experience the joy I had when visiting my first time. 

Interestingly enough, as the storm rolled through the skies opened up and a glorious and complete double rainbow emerged in its wake. An elderly gentlemen with a camera next to me excitedly exclaimed, "I've been waiting for this all my life!" My wife leaned over and remarked, "Heck...it's my first time." 

I took a break from looking at this masterpiece in the sky to look around. Every single person was bathed in a beautiful orange hue as they stared in awe towards the heavens. No one was on their cell phone, children weren't fighting and you could feel a calm descend upon that place. For one moment everything seemed right with the world. Beauty does that to people.

Exploring Orlando with WestJet Magazine.

Recently I was hired by WestJet Magazine to shoot some travel images showing off all Orlando has to offer. The list of places they wanted photographed was pretty great and being from Orlando I was able to add a few locations that weren't on their radar. Here's the spread as well as some of my favorites from the shoot. Really pleased how these all turned out!

Two weeks travel in Europe!

I love to travel. Thankfully I do a lot of it for my job and occasionally my wife gets to come along for the adventure. Despite having traveled to several countries we’ve never had the opportunity to see Europe. That changed late last year. We both had a great time visiting museums, sledding in the Swiss Alps, and biking though Amsterdam. Here are some pictures from our trip. I’ve included some that aren’t on my website. Hope you enjoy them! 

And a time lapse of the Swiss Alps from our hotel room

Croquet | Exploring Winter Park, FL

I love when I stumble across something so conducive to photography it's as if the photo Gods simply handed it to me. That's the case with these images. I was driving down Park Avenue in Winter Park, Florida and saw a guy playing croquet. I parked my car and asked if he usually plays alone. He said no. There are usually a group of fellows who play with him, they just didn't show up this time. Over the next hour he taught me the game and we played a round under the humid Florida sun. I can't recall who won our match, but if it was me he was simply being kind. I came back the following week to photograph him and his friends play. I've gotta say, croquet is fun. It's relaxing, competitive, and gives you a sense of regality. You should give it a whirl.

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Working in Ethiopia, Pt. 3

Be sure to check out part 1 and part 2 of this series if you haven't done so already. The last week of our trip our friends took us to Negash Lodge near Wenchi Crater. We took this time to relax and process the whole experience of being in Ethiopia for 2 months. It was a great time to recharge and prepare for reentry into America. If you ever visit Ethiopia make sure Wenchi Crater is on your list of things to see. It's hands down one of the most beautiful places I've ever laid eyes on. The horse back ride around the crater is awesome, though you'll want to get off and walk from time to time. They make their saddles out of wood. I could have spent a week shooting here but we only had a few hours. I think my photos give you a small slice of its beauty. If you'd like to see them bigger, which I suggest you do, visit here.

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Working in Ethiopia, Pt. 2

If you haven't read part 1 you can check it out here. Several weeks into our stay I had the opportunity to go to Gode with the people hosting us. The situation in Gode is pretty tense and has been for a while. It is regularly on the US Embassies travel alert list, has suffered from several recent famines, and has an illiteracy rate above 70%. Our host was doing some pretty innovative economic development there and wanted some photos to raise additional funds. If you'd like to see the photos bigger you can visit here.

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The people in Gode are traditionally nomadic. They essentially move to feed their camels. From what I understand things are changing though. The people are beginning to settle down and farm for a living. It's always eye opening and inspiring to see how other people live, particularly in such an inhospitable environment. We had the opportunity to bring some 4x6 prints from the last time our hosts visited. It was a blast seeing how everyone reacted to their picture. They were all overjoyed, laughing and smiling with abandon.

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Stay tuned for part 3 next week!

Working in Ethiopia, Pt. 1

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This last summer my wife and I figured, what the heck, let's go to Ethiopia! Ok, it wasn't that simple but I'd rather not bore you with mundane details. I split my days between helping at an English school a friend set up in the heart of Addis Ababa and wondering around the city taking photos. It was a blast. I met some great people, got to see some of the most breath taking sights I've ever laid eyes on, and duked it out in some epic games of Settlers of Catan with some great people in the evenings. If you'd like to see the photos bigger you can visit here.

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Most of our time was spent in the capital city, Addis Ababa. It's a massive place that's spread out like the largest suburbia you can imagine. There isn't a downtown or a city square. Transportation is tricky if you don't have a car. If you do have a car driving can either be thrilling or terrifying, depending on your personality. I found it thrilling, my wife not so much. Getting the opportunity to walk around and photograph at will can be freeing and intimidating, especially in Addis. I had originally brought some lighting equipment (7ft. stand, Q-Flash, & Photek Softlighter II) with the hopes of breaking it out for some street portraits. Unfortunately, due to the security situation in Addis and the suspicion I would have drawn from the authorities the gear sat in a closet the entire trip. While using my lighting would have been great we were there during rainy season and I can't complain about the light coming from the overcast sky.

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When I know I'm going to be in a city for an extended amount of time I like to walk around without my camera to get a feel for the place. Often times I'll make visual notes about who is where, what locations would make for a great spot to take a portrait, and people I might want to photograph later (specifically if they are a shop owner or resident, where I know they'll be in the same place every day). We were in a part of town frequented by Somalis and Ethiopians. After a lot of travel I've learned it's best to write down some key questions and phrases in the local language. People appreciate this, it's the polite thing to do, and when they laugh at you for butchering their language it creates an opportunity to connect. This trip made it interesting because I had to learn those phrases in both Somali and Amharic (the Ethiopian dialect). Then I had to figure out if the person I was talking to was Somali or Ethiopian. Some people were cool with me not knowing their nationality, others not so much. That's when you learn I'm very sorry in both dialects.

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Stay tuned for more posts in this series.