assignments on the coast

I have been incredibly fortunate to have internships on the coast the last two years — one last year on the East on Long Island and this year, obviously, on the West Coast! And the best thing about being so close to the coast is that means assignments on the coast! lincoln city oregonA couple of weeks ago I went sent out to the coast to hit a couple different places as a part of The Oregonian's A&E section, which comes out on Fridays. They were doing a tour of summers on the Oregon coast, so I stopped in a couple different places — restaurants, skate parks, nice beaches. It was really fun and a great way to get acquainted with such a beautiful area in Oregon.

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on the oregon trail

It's been a big last couple of weeks — I graduated college from Mizzou and after a not-so-leisurely two weeks at home, headed out West. I'm currently at The Oregonian for a summer internship and loving every minute of it. Portland and the Northwest Pacific are everything I had hoped they would be. For graduation, I got an iPhone and just like all iPhone users, I went crazy with Instagram the first week. I'm not a big picture-taker when I'm in the car, but it took us three days to get to Portland, and I had a lot of time on my hands, especially with the iPhone, which never left my hands (thanks Fruit Ninja). I'll be posting pictures from my assignments at The Oregonian here eventually, but for now, enjoy the view from my car window as my mom and I travelled out West.

2011

I didn't consider doing a "best of" list until Jeff Lautenberger and Chris Dunn were talking about them yesterday on Twitter. I had seen a few others, such as Andrew Dickinson do them — and thought they were great. It is a bit late for a "best of 2011" page, as we're a month into 2012. But I think the power of reflection is strong and it's good to look back at the work I've done and see what I've learned in the past year. Also, these aren't necessarily my "best" pictures, but ones I feel like I learned something from or felt an immense growth from after shooting it.

sea view snack shack

For me, 2011 was a very exceptional year, in that it was much different than others. I took risks, leaving my friends and family behind to go abroad for six months, meeting amazing people and learning a great deal about myself and my craft along the way.

bicycle lane

After being home for a week, I traveled to New York for an internship, totaling my time away to nine months. But I wasn't alone!

long beach new york

I did stories that were personal to me.

alzheimers

I shot a photo story, sharing no common language with my subject. And I still kind of like the pictures I took.

girl with hijab

I did my first underwater shoot — with the great help of Timmy Huynh.

underwater swimmer

I embraced shooting portraits, something I hated for so long.

mud on face

I am no longer afraid to go into a studio with little-to-no preparation.

task force 1, task force one

I traveled. And paid a lot of extra baggage fees, thanks to RyanAir. But I learned to love it, even though I'm still awful at packing light.

faroe islands

I explored other cultures and came away with my preconceived notions destroyed.

whale hunt

I embraced the shitty light. And I spent time with wonderful people.

little boy sleeping in bed

I loved every minute of this last year — well, that's a lie. It was really difficult. And I will not pretend to like European bathrooms. But it was all worth it. Here's to an even more enriching, culture and experimental year full of learning and love.

 

Mystical

If you can't go home for a family vacation, it's just as nice for your family to come on vacation to you!

My dad and my sister did our usual family vacation to Cape Cod this summer. However, Dad seemed to want to change it up a bit. I offered to drive up to Massachusetts to see them, but he insisted he wanted to go somewhere new. We settled on a good halfway point — Mystic, Connecticut.

Mystic is a quaint little city on the Mystic River.  And yes, you've probably heard of it before. In the small town is the pizza shop that made the movie famous, Mystic Pizza. Yes, we definitely ate there and yes, it was some of the best pizza I've ever had. Too bad the Julia Roberts movie isn't on Netflix Instant Watch, but they did play the movie on loop in the restaurant, which was OK by me.

We spent the weekend mostly relaxing, drinking beer and walking into small shops around the town. It was definitely nice to get away from New York for a weekend, and even nicer to see some familiar faces.

I'll be driving back to Missouri in two weeks, now. I can't believe how quickly the summer has gone by! But I won't be over until I finish a multimedia story I have slated to do this week that I'm pretty excited about, as well as show Tyler around the city.

 

Hot child in the city

Oh, have you heard it's hot outside? That there's a heat wave? Or, as some people are calling it, a heat dome? Yeah, it's hot.

At first, I thought New Yorkers were a little hyperbolic about how hot they thought it was in New York. Before last weekend, temperatures hadn't even exceeded 95 degrees, which sounded great to me. I'm used to 106 degree humid summers in Missouri.

But it can get hot out here, I'll admit. I've been perfectly happy all summer but lately I've been struggling with almost passing out from the heat and, with anyone, just trying to stay cool! And staying cool isn't so easy when you're walking most places, taking the subway or surrounded by skyscrapers.

I visited my friend Theresa Berens in Manhattan this weekend, per usual. We've been exploring a lot since we're both in New York this summer. We decided that if we were going to be in the city this weekend though, since we knew it was going to be hot, we had to prepare with cool activities.

Luckily we found an article in "Time Out," which appropriately had a cover story on "ways to stay cool" in New York. Flipping through it, it suggested visits the various museums in town, which we had planned to do, since they're air conditioned. And it also suggested cooling off in a fire hydrant, but I thought that was too drastic. Apparently the fire department will even help you do it! But it also mentioned swimming in the fountains at Washington Square Park. It was a bit of an unusual activity for the two of us to do, but we were adventurous — and, well, desperate!

Washington Square Park was a mad house. People were either swimming in the fountain — which conveniently had a sign saying no swimming was allowed — or laying out on the grass. We definitely wanted to be in the water, even if it was a sinuous green color.

Kids were going crazy in the fountain. I think being a kid is really an advantage because when you're swimming in green water, you just really couldn't care less about all the germs and bacteria floating around in there. They were swimming on their bellies around in it, squirting it out of their mouths. I stuck to just sticking my feet in and occasionally getting into the actual fountain, which was spewing clean and clear water.

Staying cool isn't easy in weather like this, that's for sure. But with enough adventure, popsicles and a bathing suit, it's possible no matter where you are!

Long Beach — The New York One

No matter how busy you are, when you live near a beach and not in a landlocked state, you must make time for the ocean.

I've been quite busy producing and editing video over at Newsday for the last week, mostly due to a car repair that I needed to get done — can't do much shooting without any wheels! But I did manage to make it down to Long Beach last weekend. The waves were much more wicked than anything I've been used to before. And I got an insane sunburn. But I had a great day with Krystin Arneson and I plan on returning this weekend. Enjoy.

Back in America

So, here I am, back in America. Not that it's not been an uneventful few weeks. I'm now a professional luggage-carrier, airplane-flyer and road-rage manager. But I cannot say that I'm a light-load carrier — I have a lot of stuff.

In the last couple weeks, I've flown from Copenhagen to London to Chicago (where I stayed overnight and they lost my bag) to Kansas City. I stayed with my family for a week in Kansas City and racked up the calories gorging myself on hash browns, TexMex, homemade baked good and mom's cooking. I ate. A lot. And napped and watched movies and had picnics and drank cheap wine and played a lot of my favorite board games with my loved ones.

And my family and my very patient boyfriend, Tyler, were all quite sad (at least that's what they said) to see me go after only being home for seven short days before departing on my next adventure: New York.

1,200 miles, 20 hours, eight states and a lot of coffees later, I made it to New York, my PT Cruiser tired from the long haul after a six month driving hiatus when I was in Denmark. My sister, who accompanied me, was just glad that we didn't kill each other on the way up.

I'm now living on Long Island, working at Newsday, a tabloid daily, as their photo and multimedia intern. And I've already garnered a nickname and am affectionately known as I27, as in "intern 27" — my boss sure is a jokester.

Since I've been back in America, I've been lugging a few different cameras around — the usual 5D, and my Holga, which has been usual lately. But I also brought along my father's Pentax K1000 after I found a roll of expired 800 ISO film in my room in Lawson.

So, I've been trying to take pictures I think some of my European friends would find interesting or amusing — like this snow cone stand in a parking lot by the highway. But I've also been shooting with emotion, trying to capture my loved ones in a very beloved format.

So, for the next eight weeks, I'm off alone on my next adventure. I hope I find as lovely people as I did in Denmark to share my time with. I'll be blogging my learning curves and experiences with this quite fast-paced place. I've already noticed people around here know I'm an outsider by my blatant Midwestern accent — I say coffee, not "quaw-fee" — and New York drivers judge me very quickly based on my Missouri plates. But, it's just another foreign place, to me!