travel

Travel: Puerto Rico

I took a much needed vacation to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and I even succeeded in not turning my entire trip into a full on photography assignment!  I decided to take one camera (my camera “B” aka Nina) and one lens (Canon 50mm f 1.8).  While I did get to  spend days on the beach soaking up the sun, explore the island and R-E-L-A-X, I also spent an entire day in Old San Juan snapping away.  Puerto Rico is a beautiful island filled with rich culture, delicious cuisine and beautiful (and colorful) architecture.  Check out the photos below!

GoDox AD200 Pocket Flash

I’ve never heard of the GoDox brand but they have my attention with their new AD 200 Pocket Flash.  As a freelance photographer who criss crosses the 5 Boroughs for shoots, I’m always excited when a company figures out a way to make a photographer’s life easier without sacrificing quality.  I have not seen the output on this new product which seems to be a travel sized hybrid strobe/speedlight but at a very attractive price and impressive specs, this might not be a bad lighting option to have in my camera bag.  

 

Travel: Washington D.C.’s National Museum of African American History and Culture

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to visit the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. and I must say, I’ve never been so overwhelmed in the most beautiful way possible.  The sheer amount of information, history, culture and energy in the museum is astonishing.  I managed to get a few iPhone photos (apologies if they are sideways, still can’t figure that out) and video to share but they do it no justice.  If you can, stalk the museum’s website for timed passes and experience this gem in person. 

 

Travel: Niagara Falls & Watkins Glen State Park

I decided to squeeze an end of summer getaway into my extended weekend and I’m so glad that I did!  Having never been to Niagara Falls or Watkins Glen State Park, I was taken aback by the magnitude and beauty of both destinations.  Here are a few pics from the trip and some video of my journey on the famous “Maid of the Mist” boat ride which takes you as close as you can get to the falls, with the added bonus of a refreshing shower along the way…

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And for the sake of experimentation, I decided to add some HDR effects to this picture.  What do you think?

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Ellis Island immigrant hospital tour (photos)

If there’s one thing that I love, it’s photographing out of the ordinary, off limit or once restricted (or currently restricted) locations.  For this photo excursion, I had the opportunity to take a guided tour of the recently partially restored immigrant hospital located in an area of Ellis Island that until a few years ago was off limits to the public.  The Ellis Island Hard Hat Tour features a look at several pieces of oversized artwork by artist JR for his Unframed Ellis Island project.  The over 90 minute tour covers sections of the once fully operational immigrant hospital on Ellis Island that cared for sick immigrants before they entered NYC.  The history behind the hospital is fascinating and JR’s larger than life images of immigrants entering Ellis Island provided a realistic and often eerie portrayal of the hospital.  Eerie because the areas that we were allowed to walk through, although were deemed safe, were definitely creepy as all hell.  I kept preparing myself for a ghost of some sort to walk past me as I clicked away at the decrepit rooms throughout the hospital.   I LOVED IT!  Every minute was filled with history, intrigue and of course the most creepy atmosphere that I’ve been allowed to photograph.  Apparently, JR hosts his own tours in which he has unrestricted access to the entire hospital to view all of his pieces.  If you’re looking for a new photography adventure that’s close to home (home being NYC or close to it) check out this tour before it gets too cold!

 

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I don’t remember our tour guide’s name but he was GREAT.  Super knowledgeable about the hospital and enthusiastic about the tour.

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The hospital had several mortuary refrigerators in a lecture style room in which doctors and surgeons examined bodies of the deceased.

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If you do take the tour, prepare to WALK.  This is just one of the hallways that we examined.

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JR’s work is hidden away in various rooms and areas of the hospital.  We only saw half of them because JR has many pieces located in places that are still off limits to the public.

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While on the tour, we ran into one of the workers shuttling a newly restored piece of equipment that was used to help soldiers coming from war with hand injuries regain use of their hands.

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You almost forget that this was once a beautiful and vibrant hospital caring for thousands of people.  Most of the rooms were left exactly the way they were left years ago.

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Once upon a time, I worked in radio and ate grasshopper tacos (say what’s real).

It was a glorious time, until it wasn’t lol.  For the most part, I enjoyed my radio days at Sirius XM.  I made the decision to work in radio fresh out of my half a year at college, at the desk of my full time dead end job.  I listened to Michael Baisden everyday religiously back when he was on 98.7 KISS FM in NYC.  Every now and then he would do these follow your dreams themed shows.  An entire show devoted to pushing people to follow their dreams.  Whatever they were!  I loved the feeling that I got from listening to his message and had a passion to work in the broadcasting field and one day have a show in which I could do the same.  Long story short, I did it.  Enrolled in CSB, landed an internship and clawed my way to technical producer.  In that time I also developed The B Side Show and was able to host my own independent multimedia show for over 7 years.  I made my dreams come true.

(Check this video that I did for The B Side Show about my radio job.  You can also see me eat grasshopper tacos during one of our broadcasts!)

I admire the 20 something year old me. The one who made goals and accomplished whatever she set out to do, no matter what.  No fear, no hesitation.  She knew what she wanted, made a plan and got it.  There was no other way.  I’m getting to know her again.  The idea of creating independently full time has been sleeping with me at night like a new love for this entire year.  I can’t seem to shake it.  I feel like I am meant to travel the world, capture images and share the stories of others through them. Figuring out how to do that and make an income that I can comfortably live off of is the issue.  So I’ve decided to let go and let God and the 20 year old me handle this one.  They’ll figure it out, I’m sure.  She never got caught up in the fear and hesitation that the 30 plus year old me is struggling with.  Things not making logical sense NEVER stopped her from accomplishing her goals.  Literally everything she set out to do in her 20’s, she did it!  So why can’t I?  I ‘m researching, planning and getting out of my way so that she can take over and make this happen.  I’ll see you chumps on top.

I’m moving to Phoenix and I’ll probably live here…

I visited Phoenix Arizona for the first time at the start of the summer and fell in love.  I didn’t even get to see the Grand Canyon and I loved it!  I loved the people, the weather, the culture, the weather, the weather…

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When I say I’m moving there I don’t mean tomorrow (unless something majorly great happens) I mean in the near future and when I do, I’m probably going to get started in one of the White Stone Studios.  For whatever reason I’m slightly infatuated with people living in small spaces.  Maybe it’s the creativity that it takes to make a small space feel like a large home or the fact that living in a smaller space almost forces a more simplistic way of living more focused on the people and events that happen inside the house rather than the items that people tend to accumulate.  Whatever it is, I’m drawn to it.  I live in New York so I’m no stranger to small spaces.  My current apartment is just the right size (and price) for myself + 1 and I have to admit I love it.  Yes I’d love to have more room to fit more stuff, my own photography studio, an extra bedroom and bathroom for guests BUT do I really need it?

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I’ve never lived in a studio but they seem to have this thing crafted and laid out exceptionally well.  The spaces seem open,  clean and come fully furnished.  They offer a private outdoor patio, deep soaking tub (important factor in my life), stainless steel appliances and a washer/dryer among other amenities that are all included in the $1,200/month rent.

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Nope, I don’t have any affiliation with this place, nor did I take any of the photos or am I trying to sell anybody on Arizona (keep yall asses right where yall are) I’m just saying when you get the postcard from Phoenix, you’ll know where to find me, that is until I find my “forever home” out there.

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Phoenix really was lovely, even if this picture doesn’t want to cooperate and post the right way!

6 months in, KEEP GOING!

Well, we are officially 6 months into the not so new year.  How are those resolutions going?  By now most people have forgotten about the promises, routines and goals that they set for themselves at the top of the new year.  I’m not into new year resolutions but I do believe in setting goals for myself, not just at the start of the year but throughout it.  Some plans might not go as planned and certain goals might take longer than others to attain but one thing that I’ve learned is to KEEP GOING.  Same goes for YOU.  Whatever you’ve been working hard for, goals that you’ve set, keep going, they will happen.  That new job that you’ve been searching for, house you’ve been saving up for, the project you’ve been working on, the class you wanted to take, TAKE IT, DO IT, AND KEEP GOING!  I’m convinced, life is easy, we make it hard.  Don’t make life harder than it has to be.  If there is something you want to do, do it, do your best and keep going.  Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from achieving your goals.  Stay positive and be thankful for everything that you have.  Start the next half of the year with positivity, love and watch the universe open its doors and provide.

P.S. Phoenix AZ is beautiful!