Shih Tzu

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To be honest, I never had New Hampshire on my bucket list of places to travel. I’m not much of a winter sports girl and I honestly didn’t know what more the state had to offer. So when my wanderlust started kicking into high gear in the middle of August, I started researching places to go for the Autumn time. I know New England has some of the best foliage to offer in the country, so that is where I began my research.

The more I looked into it, the more it seemed like New Hampshire was the best place to go. About a 10-hour car ride (one way) can easily be divided into two relaxing days of travel. Plus, I know there would be some fun stops along the way. In general, we were looking to relax on this trip. We wanted to have some great views that were easily accessible from the road but also have fit in a hike or two throughout the day. Nothing too strenuous, but something that was good enough to build an appetite for  after the hike. After getting some great advice from fellow photographer, Patrick Koetzle, I was ready to hit the road.

Our entire trip revolved around spending 3 whole days in the White Mountains National Forest area the first week of October. At that time it seemed like we were right in the middle or towards the end of peak autumn color which was exactly what I was looking for. For the most part, the weather was beautiful. In the mid-50s with no humidity. But in the middle of our trip, it rained really hard and it got really cold and windy bringing the temps down to the 30s.

Lodging

Based on all my research about the White Mountain area, an overwhelming amount of people suggest staying in a town called, Lincoln. I did my best to find a suitable place to stay but even booking our trip 2 months in advance, our options were limited. We ended up finding a cottage in Twin Mountains. We brought our dog, Frankie so it was great to have our own little cottage with a fenced-in backyard. The location was right in between Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch, two of the places where we wanted to spend most of the time so the cottage was perfect for us.

So if you’re looking to stay somewhere centrally located with your own private kitchen and hot tub, I’d highly recommend staying with Sherry and Ron. They were amazingly welcoming and thoughtful hosts.

We did visit Lincoln one day around lunchtime. Since we were visiting during the Covid pandemic, a lot of the restaurants and stores seemed like they were closed. That just reinforced the idea that our decision to stay in Twin Mountains was the best option for us.

Franconia Notch

Driving around this area is so exciting. I remember telling Andrew on more than one occasion that he had to drive just so I could stare out the window. But I think my favorite was the Franconia Notch side. Maybe because it seemed like there was more color on that side but more than anything, I just really enjoyed the views.

Our first official hike was Artist’s Bluff for sunrise. Although it is only 1.5 miles long, the hike was strenuous being that it was just straight up the mountain then down the mountain. There were a few flat areas but not much. If I think about it, a majority of the hikes around the White Mountains area was like this. A great glute workout for sure! But it was absolutely worth the sweat.

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Back in 2018, my cousin gifted me with his old film camera. It was unexpected but I am so grateful for it. It brought back many memories of when I first started in photography. At that time, there was no digital photography. Everything was on a negative film. But what had initially sparked my interest in photography was being able to go out with my friends and capturing portraits of them with my SLR camera, point and shoot, and even disposable cameras. It was just something fun for us to do and I used to love seeing pictures I took on my friend’s bedroom walls or lockers. So from that point on, everywhere I went, I had a camera on me.

Obviously with a “new camera” comes new adventures so when I got the film camera, I was excited to start experimenting with it. It’s been a while since I have used film so along the way, I’ve learned to take my time with composition and framing. I learned that each frame is precious and should not be taken for granted, especially since a roll is film is just 24 or 36 frames. Photograph the moments that really speak to you. And practice patience in creating and developing the images.

But omg, that sound of the shutter too! It instantly brought back so many memories.

So I thought it would be fun to go through some images that I’ve taken in the past year or so with my Canon T70 and 35-70mm lens. By the way, none of these images on this post have been edited. I may or may not edit them in the future, but for now, it’s just fun seeing the results of the film.

My first set of images were taken in August 2018. I brought it on a peach picking trip with me and it was really just to see if the camera was working if there were any light leaks and a refresher on how to use film. I’m sorry to say that I forgot what kind of film these were captured on. I tried going through my Amazon orders and I don’t see any film listed. It may have just been some old rolls of film my cousin had in his camera bag. Although it’s a little fuzzy, this roll of film got me excited to start shooting again.

Delaplane, Virginia August 2018

Nowadays, I find myself researching different kinds of film and cameras, just to see what’s out there. I love watching youtube videos of other photographers getting great images with their analog cameras. I have to admit though, it’s a little hard for me to capture film images. I have my digital camera which I love, but it’s hard to balance the time between my digital and film camera. I spend most of my time shooting on my digital camera because I’m so used to it that sometimes I’ll even forget that I have a film camera on me.

It has helped to go on photo outings that are dedicated to just film. I’ll leave my digital camera at home and I love the feeling of roaming with such light equipment. Since I don’t have additional lenses or equipment for my film camera, it has been a nice change of pace to just have one camera with one lens.

Kodak UltraMax 400: San Diego, California January 2019

Kodak UltraMax 400: San Diego, California January 2019

Expired Film

I am extremely grateful for my friend, Jim. He was my photography mentor when I interned at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum while I was in high school. We’ve been able to reconnect through social media which was really cool when we found each other! Last year, he was kind enough to give me a whole bunch of expired Portra film 400 and 800 rolls of film. It has been so fun to try to go through all the rolls. I’m nowhere near completing them, but to see how the expired film develops has been super interesting.

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After I created this image, I ended up walking around the Tidal Basin a little more and didn’t like what I was getting. Once the sun started to come up a bit, the sky started to get less foggy and I was feeling less inspired. So I ended up just walking back to my car and driving home. On my way home, I noticed the fog getting heavier and heavier. I wished that there was more fog like that around the city.

But in the suburbs of Virginia, it was fantastic. When I turned into our neighborhood, I ended up driving past Andrew as he was taking Frankie on his morning walk. So I parked my car, grabbed my camera and asked if we could all walk down this trail behind our neighborhood. It’s just a small walking path that is hard to notice, but I knew with all the bare trees, it would give off this really cool, spooky vibe.

Luckily, Frankie is the easiest model to work with. And by the time I saw him, he was already almost done with his walk so he was tired. When I told him to “sit”, he literally just stood there and didn’t move. So I took his leash off and snapped a few pictures of him real quick.

My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/500th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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I feel in love with Oregon. I loved every minute we were there. I felt so at peace and calm during our whole road trip across the state, I would highly recommend it to anyone who’s considering visiting the Pacific Northwest.

The real reason we went was to celebrate my birthday and to visit a place we had never been to. Portland was a city that both Andrew and I had heard was a fun place to be but never been. But we also knew it was the place to be if you like good food and weird things. Both did not disappoint!

Since this was our first time visiting Oregon, we didn’t really know what to expect. We’ve been back for less than a month, I already know of somethings that I would do differently. With that said, we will be back again. Both Andrew and I left with the feeling of wanting to see and do more. But I think that’s the sign of an amazing trip. Prior to the trip, I did tons of research on the Oregon coast on Pinterest and asked some friends who I knew had visited before. Through my research, I quickly realized that Oregon is a very dog-friendly state. Minus Crater Lake that doesn’t allow dogs in most areas of the park, Frankie was allowed everywhere else we wanted to go. So we booked 3 plane tickets off we went!

Here is a recap of everything we did and the things I would do differently next time:

Day 1: Fly into Portland

We arrived early in the afternoon, grabbed our rental car and went straight to pick up the essentials: Blue Star Donuts. I know I don’t normally give food recommendations but if you like fancy donuts, then Blue Star is where you want to be. I’ll have another donut recommendation later on our trip that ended up being our favorite.

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While we were photographing the sunrise, Andrew mentioned that he would like to be able to walk on the beach. It was perfect because I had planned a hike for us to do just that. So after I was done capturing the sights from the Ecola State Park viewpoint, we went back to the hotel, packed up all our stuff and picked up Frankie so we could go on our first hike in Oregon.

The Crescent Beach Trail started right back at the Ecola State Park viewpoint. It’s a 2-mile hike that at first didn’t seem too bad but what we quickly learned that a lot of the beach trails that are along the Oregon coast are very steep. What’s beautiful about Oregon is that there are over 300 miles of untouched coastal land meaning you won’t see beach houses or anything like that on the coast. It’s all just natural trees, dunes and gorgeousness. But it also means getting on to the beach is quite strenuous.

This image was taken towards the beginning of the hike before it got to be too bad. We were still getting some of that early morning glow coming through the trees and I asked Andrew to stand in it. It’s funny because at first I didn’t remember which hike this was, but noticed Andrew was wearing jeans so I knew this was the first hike we did. We both made the mistake of wearing jeans. I say it was a mistake because climbing up and down those hills was hot, sweaty and sticky. After this, it was all athletic shorts all the time. Of course, Frankie didn’t notice the hills at all. He had a free ride everywhere he went.

My camera settings for this image are F6.3 at 1/40th sec ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Home from our amazing trip to Oregon. It was Andrew, Frankie and I’s first time visiting the state and in one short week, I feel like we got to see a lot. I was so excited to start looking at my images when I got back that I didn’t really know where to start.

So I started with this one 🙂 I love it and reminds me of all the amazing adventures the three of us got to go on.

This image was taken on the second half of our trip while we were hiking to the Toketee Falls in the Umpqua National Forest. The hike was short, 0.8 miles roundtrip but its heavily trafficked. So much so that it was hard to find parking and there were times where we would have to wait for people to pass on the trail before we could even go further. With so many people, we figured it would be easier to put Frankie in the backpack and go at our own pace instead of his.

We let him out right after I captured this image when we arrived at the waterfall. It was great because there was a little viewing platform for all of us to see the waterfall and Frankie could stretch his legs a bit. After a little rest, Frankie went back into the backpack, we hiked back to the car and drove straight to Bend right after.

I think one of the best parts about this trip is that even though we would have long driving sessions, there would be places where we could park and go on like hikes like this. It was a great way to get a little bit of cardio in while checking out the sights.

My camera settings for this image are F4.5 and 1/2500th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 24-70mm lens.