Giddy to travel

The first half of 2013 has been a bit rough. Charleston is a charming city, but its charm is — in my opinion — best experienced with friends rather than alone. Working somewhere around 50 55-hr work weeks (which doesn’t include meal or commute time!) in the span of a year isn’t conducive to a healthy social life, so I’ve gradually begun to develop a case of Wanderlust that I so happily nurtured in 2011. Luckily, I have always had an overzealous shutter finger to remind me of easier times and an overactive imagination to dream of when I can do this again.

Germany

The Autobahn and good drivers, the happiness and fun-loving nature of Munich, and a sunset in a small village not so far away from Stuttgart.

Germany redo-3

Germany redo-2

Germany redo-1
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Giddy to travel

A great smoky mountain

There is something inexplicably tranquil about Seattle. It’s not unemotional — quite the contrary in fact — but it’s been the only place where my mind can detach itself from the furor of my current job. Although I visited it this year already, I reasoned that if I drove six hours each way in my various Stuttgart excursions that I should also be able to fly six hours across the country, so I set off for the airport at 3 AM one Friday in late September to put my workaholism on hold for 72 hours.

As usual, the mountain beckoned.

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A great smoky mountain

Water meets Rock

It seems that everywhere I go, I end up chasing the sun — either as a sunrise or sunset, it’s almost a sure bet that I’ll be pining to be at “the” right spot for a photo. As pervasive as digital photography is today, it’s quite easy for someone to be at the right spot at the right time of the right day: but going out of town with the goal of taking a certain photo can always be elusive.

It wouldn’t be me to give up on a sunrise photo, however, so I decided I’d give it attempt this trip, too. The forecast predicted clearing on Friday and Saturday, and with my being unable to get out of bed at 2:30 AM on Friday my only chances for a sunrise photo at Mt. Rainier were for Saturday. Chinook Pass — one of my favorite spots in the Park — opened just after noon on Friday, so it was there that I planned to take a sunrise photo; ideally, with Tipsoo Lake in the foreground. I hadn’t visited this quiet version of Paradise since August 11, 2007, but my goal had one small flaw: in late May 2012, Tipsoo was still under 13′ of snow.

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Water meets Rock

Mountain Moods

I booked a trip to Seattle under the impression that it’d been two years since I had last visited, but when I looked back at old photos I was shocked to realize that it had only been a year since I had visited the Emerald City. Unable to change my flight date without incurring the airfare again in change fees, I decided to see if the weather of 2012 would cooperate with blue-sky pictures of my favorite mountain as much as it did just over twelve months ago.

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Mountain Moods

Home sweet… memories.

Of all the places I’ve visited, Puget Sound has been the one that continues to give me goosebumps each time I look at friends’ pictures. Since 2007, when I interned in Renton, WA for three months, I’ve taken three trips to the area to visit friends and pay homage to an emotional sink (and source, actually) — Mt. Rainier. A winter visit had always been on my bucket list for that mountain, and with Bosch taking Good Friday off, I jetted out to Sea-Tac on the eve of a misty, mild April Thursday and planned an itinerary to MRNP, the Columbia River Highway, and to meet with a “few” friends still incarcerated in the Seattle area.

Arguably the single most identifiable object — when visible — in the Seattle skyline is Mt. Rainier. It towers above the city (roughly 14,000 feet above the city and surrounding areas), and on a clear day dominates the skyline from any place that offers a view to the southeast. Kerry Park is always a pleasant spot, but I wanted to try something new and so went with Danny Seidman (http://www.danseidmanphoto.com/) to Magnolia Park on a cloudless Saturday morning. I hadn’t expected two April days to be so sunny, but suffice to say the weather absolutely cooperated with me while I was there. The colors in the sky aren’t as vivid as they’d be with some cloud cover, but I finally got a shot with both Rainier and a WSDOT ferry. I don’t think I could ask for a more representative picture of Seattle!

After taking a nap, I met up with two friends — Joshua Lee (http://jyl4032.blogspot.com/) and Trevor Blanarik — to head toward the Columbia River Gorge to shoot waterfalls. We settled on Punch Bowl Falls, a 2 mile trek on a maintained trail into the heart of waterfall country. After water flowed over the top of my boots, I decided that it wouldn’t get any worse and waded in. 50 °F water is quite cold to say the least, and I’d conclude that it’s not necessary to wade in to get a picture of the falls. ;-)

With that 4 mile round-trip hike completed and my boots soaking, the whirlwind weekend was mostly finished. We headed back to Seattle for some awesome pizza at the Big Time Brewery, and afterwards I slept soundly (a whopping six hours; two more than the previous two nights) until my 9:30 flight out of the city. By then, clouds had set in.

Since I posted a shot of Mt. Rainier [from what I erroneously called Elbe] in a previous post, I’ll wrap this up with a shot from the same location but at a different time of day and year.

It’s not easy going back. Many of my friends have moved out there, and it’s tough to get everyone’s schedules to match and spend time with all of them; trying to take in the natural beauty of the area is a trial of patience not typically helped by weather like what I had this particular weekend. I’ve never been quite so enamored with a place before, and I still can’t quite place my finger on what specifically about the Puget Sound that draws me back with such magnetism. Nonetheless — the pull is there, and it’s always an absolutely electrifying experience to be out among the mountains and their ancient history and to catch up with old friends who have grown accustomed to the bounty there. Until next time.

Home sweet… memories.

A [first] transition?

It seems that more and more often, my photographer friends are turning to blogs to display their work rather than sites like flickr, Picasa, or other similar photo-hosting sites. I’m not sure my photos are of the caliber — or my work “important” enough — for that to be the case, but I am running out of flickr space, and I’ll also be going on a two-week camping trip soon. I suppose that’s decent-enough reason to give this a whirl and see how it goes. Forgive me — this post may be a little rough as I get used to WordPress!

To symbolize a “new beginning” of sorts, I chose two pictures — one is a typical sunrise picture of Mt. Rainier, ever my vacation and de-mystifying spot, and the other is of the Alma Mater of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, decorated in graduation regalia. Nothing particularly flabbergasting, but they’re appropriate for the whole “new things” idea — new photo displays, new life (graduated, finally!), and, well, that’s about it. :)

A [first] transition?