30 June 2012

colorado roadtrip no. 2

The sand dunes after the rain.

First photo has people near the bottom and at the top of the dunes if you're interested in scale.
Last photo taken by Kevin Humphreys. 

29 June 2012

colorado roadtrip no. 1

We're back to Denver after a fantastic whirlwind roadtrip around Colorado, the state that Kev grew up in, but one that I hadn't really seen before.  Our first stop was the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  We arrived in pouring rain after a long, flat, straight drive out of blazing hot Denver.  It's the strangest thing, to be on a road through the San Luis Valley, and it hasn't curved a single degree for miles and miles, and suddenly you bend to the left and ta-da!  Sand dunes!  Huge ones!  Right at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  So bizarre.  After the lightning deterred our plans to sleep on (!!!) the sand dunes, we opted for the campground.  Though it was crowded with feral children, it was still great access to the dunes and we took a cool, evening stroll out onto the damp dunes, dark from the rain.  Then we woke up early and were the first ones trudging up to the top.  It was a slog for sure, but a glorious hike.

23 June 2012

hitting the road

We flew back to Denver today, and we're hitting the road tomorrow.  We need a few days of just-us time and I've always wanted to see the Great Sand Dunes, so we packed a tent, bought a stove, and we're off in the morning.  Back in a few days!

21 June 2012

hello, summer

Yesterday, we welcomed the first day of summer by waking up far too early, strapping some kayaks onto my uncle's truck, and zipping over to Jordan Lake to do some birding.  Paddling around early on a Wednesday morning, the lake was just for us and the birds.  We spotted several Great Blue Herons, an osprey, several types of cranes, and just as we were paddling to shore, two Bald Eagles dropped out of the tree above us, circled, and flew off. 

On this hot and humid Solstice, there was also a refreshing dip in the pool, several cool, spicy bowls full of gazpacho, and a long meander about my aunt Michelle's incredible garden.  She might have the greenest thumb I've ever encountered, so I ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the erupting cone flowers, spotted tiger lilies, and kiwis bursting from the vine.

Notorious for always missing at least one body part with sun lotion, my shins are now completely sizzled red, apropos for the most sunshine-filled day of the year.

19 June 2012

New Camera: SuperHeadz Slim and Wide

 I picked up another camera a few weeks ago, a SuperHeadz Slim Wide.  It's a fun bright red toy camera, with a little white flower in the corner.  It takes ultra wide shots, adding a vignette effect and really contrasted hues.  I just developed the first roll of film, and learned a few lessons on what it can and can't do.  It's had some strange light leaks and flares, like that first one encapsulating Kevin, but what can I say?  I think he's hot - maybe my camera agrees.

18 June 2012

home is where the heart is

There's a really interesting article on NPR right now featuring a man's project to photograph children around the world and the various sleeping arrangements they have.  It reminded me of a smaller scale project I've been doing since the new year: photographing every different place I sleep.

This might not sound very exciting, but since January 1, 2012, I have slept in 33 different places.  The 34th place will be tonight, at my aunt's house.  I've always been a person that needs a nest, a home, and when the travel bug bit me hard, I had to figure out how to reconcile the two.
"The world is full of homes in which I have lived for a day, a month, or much longer.  How much I care about a home is not measured by the length of time I lived there.  One night in a room with a leaping fire may mean more to me than many months in a room without a fireplace, a room in which my life has been paced less excitingly" - Margaret Mead
I came across this quote 7 years ago and realized I could make it work for me.  That in the right frame of mind, every place I came across could be my home when I needed it to be.  Although it can certainly be a homesickness-inducing challenge, it's become easier over time.  My Grandma asked me about how I deal with my need to have a cozy nest while traveling, and I told her that in a lot of ways my relationship with Kevin has become a nest.  With him by my side, even the quiet corner in the Delhi International Airport felt like home. 

So this year, I have attempted to photograph every single place that I have spent the night, be it a seat on an airplane, a bunk in a tea house along the Everest Base Camp trail, or a cozy guest room at a friend's house.  Here are a few of my favorites so far.  I plan on collecting them all somewhere on the internet at the end of the year.
  1. A Scott Tent at Lake Hoare in the McMurdo Dry Valleys - The date night of a lifetime.
  2. Our room in the fantastic house my parents rented in Kaikoura, New Zealand.  It felt like sleeping outside and we could hear the ocean's waves tumbling across the street.
  3.  The quietest corner we could find in the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India.  It wasn't very quiet.
  4. The smoky, electricity-challenged room in which we spent over a week in Kathmandu, Nepal.  We'd lay in bed listening to men shouting out the price of their wares from their bicycles and sip Commando Super Strong Beer on the balcony.

15 June 2012

while he watches, i paint.


Even though his birthday isn't until August, I gave Kevin his gift yesterday.  Binoculars and some bird guides.  Trudging up towards Everest Base Camp in March, we crossed paths with a park ranger from England who was there primarily to birdwatch and let us peer through his binoculars at the Himalayan Monal, Nepal's strikingly beautiful national bird that boasts rainbow hues on a pheasant's body.  He excitedly told us about how he has cataloged sightings of over 3,000 birds, but that the Emperor Penguin in Antarctica would be his crown jewel. 

Having already seen this bird, and noting the man's enthusiasm, I knew this was a hobby that Kevin could really dig his teeth into.  And as he started to in full force a few weeks ago, I realized that if I didn't get him those binocs now, I'd have to think of a different present, because he would get them himself. 

So here we are, visiting family in the Carolinas, and the evenings now consist of biking to a nearby pond where I sit and draw while Kevin wades through marshy thickets to get a closer look at the Eastern Kingbird he just spotted, or the Northern Mockingbird flitting above, or the Green Heron that appears to have just caught a frog.  Then we pedal slowly back side by side, holding hands, enjoying the lightning bugs.

14 June 2012

how about some film?

My Stepdad found me an old Vivitar 250/SL last year at a thrift store for pocket money, equipped with the coolest, funkiest strap and 4 different lenses.  It's been taken care of over its long life, but it does let in some light leaks from time to time.  More than anything, this effect is a fun surprise with its distortions.  While my digital camera is off getting fixed again (gahhh!  I'll spare you the details), I've been lugging around this baby, and finally got some developed.  So much fun!

11 June 2012

portland getaway no. 1

On Thursday, Kevin and I hopped on the Downeaster train and headed up to Portland, Maine.  It was the perfect getaway for 36 hours of privacy in the midst of a two month long jaunt of visiting loved ones.  We stayed at a delightful B&B and wandered around the Brooklyn-esque streets of downtown.  We also took a tour of the Allagash brewery, and took a ferry out to Peaks Island, but more on that later.

Since my digital camera is still in the throes of a potential death bed situation, I took mostly film, which is in the process of getting developed!  I just had to share these two in diptych form for now, taken with Kev's iphone.  After a couple years of traveling and practicing hygiene wherever convenient, it didn't seem odd to us to pull out a toothbrush and take care of business at the train station.  It should go without saying that he got more than a few weird looks.  And then, that bed!  The comfiest bed ever.  The big roll at the end was the fluffiest, softest comforter I have ever snuggled up to.  Must.  Procure.

06 June 2012

a good day for soup in the city

The past few days have been lovely.  A day/date trip into Boston was had, starting with a nice long train ride on the commuter rail.  It was a cozy, drizzly day so we had soup at the charming Grendel's Den, sipped hot beverages while wandering around the campus of Harvard, and snuggled up next to each other in the theater as we saw Moonrise Kingdom.  The film was just as enchanting and visually wondrous as you'd imagine, but there were scenes with the children actors that felt a bit off to me.  Go see it though!  We meandered around Cambridge neighborhoods all afternoon, admiring the vines smothering brick buildings and the creativity involved in urban horticulture. 
The train ride back, we conked out hard, woke up in Lowell, and were greeted with wine and pasta prepared by my Italian stepmother.  It's been special watching Kevin bond with the twins, who were a bit standoffish with him last year.  "Bye, Red Hair!" they would say every time he held my hand.  This year they're asking to sit in his lap, get piggy rides, and give him ponytails.  So cute. 

04 June 2012

a weekend in maine, or: crustacean carnage

Despite the rain, Maine was lovely.  We caught up with my homegirls from high school, explored the old forts strewn along the Atlantic coast, ate nigiri (and Philadelphia rolls for those less adventurous, i.e. moi), baked cookies, visited the farmers market, ate corn chowder, and Kevin ate a Maine lobster.  He ate it across from me, the one who grew up in that crustacean-loving state but is allergic to shellfish.  Not only was the spraying of deathly juices rather alarming, but the cracking open of shell, tearing off of limb, and disturbingly guacamole-like innards were all a bit too much for me.  He did look pretty cute in his bib, though.

All these photos were taken by me with Kev's iphone, using the VSCO app.  I got my camera back, but alas, it is still broken.  Off it goes again.  Booo.