Category Archives: Travel

Alright

India part 2: Varanasi, Agra, Delhi

Tue 04 Sept

Varanasi.

They say this isn’t the easiest of cities to visit.

Usually you should save it for later on in your visit to india.

It’s one of the oldest cities in the world.

Extremely spiritual.

My introduction to the ganges.

A spiritual river that is supposed to wash away all of your sins.

The pollution keeps no pilgrims away.

Full of cremated and half-cremated bodies.

They are burned here riverside daily.

In numbers so large it’s taxing the local hardwood population.

Pictures of this stuff is pretty much off limits.

It’s not necessarily something I’m here to document or take pictures of.

This is more so about a way of life.

A way that life has been.

Today is an important day for a lot of people.

I mostly want to be invisible.

Let the people do what they are here for.

I’ll be tentatively at a distance.

India isn’t exactly the easiest place to visit.

The cultural shock can be enough even in the places that I already visited like mumbai, udaipur, and jaipur.

This is supposed to be more than that.

Give me death.

Give me life.

Hold me under.

Cleans me of my sins.

I don’t really know what just happened.

I was just taken out on a docked boat on the ganges.

There was some sort of fire and song ceremony.

I happened to walk out of my hotel and the manager showed me what was the ganga aarti.

Just pure luck.

Going with the flow.

The taxi from the airport was a hassle.

I had to walk the last mile because of some sort of road closure.

I’m like the tallest person here.

Apparently I have jacked arms too.

Some kid asked if I go to the gym.

I get to my hotel and I don’t think it has air conditioning.

Summer in india.

I think it’s 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity.

Apparently it feels like 98 degrees.

The outside of the hotel has cages.

Apparently to keep the monkeys out who run around the rooftops causing mischief.

I book a flight and a hotel for the next day.

Varanasi is a lot.

Taj mahal is up next for tomorrow.

I haven’t eaten.

I’m dehydrated.

Sleep has been more a combination of naps at random hours.

All of those trivialities are gone.

That ceremony was dope.

You can throw these in the ganges
You can throw these in the ganges

Just me and a whole bunch of other people, on the banks, and on these boats.

On the river
On the river

But it’s mostly just me.

I close my eyes to meditate.

Palms open.

More of a meditation thing I picked up from yoga.

Certainly not hindu.

But all of that is ok.

Feelin like picasso
Feelin like picasso

The boat rocks back and forth slightly from people getting on or off.

The entire world is kind of surrounding me.

Lots of people here for the ceremony
Lots of people here for the ceremony

I guess in some ways this is always the case.

But for everything that is here, I am.

It’s as if all of it is kind of there and gone at the same time.

Very cool
Very cool

The ceremony ends and I get off the boat.

Minimize it in case it's too overwhelming
Minimize it in case it’s too overwhelming

This entire trip out here to varanasi has been worth it.

I no longer care about the stuff and the worries.

There is a calming peace.

Throw it, throw it, throw it
Throw it, throw it, throw it

I didn’t come here for my own spirituality.

I’m here more so to be around it and get a feel for what it means to other people.

But that was just rather nice.

I swing back to my hotel to drop off a couple bottles of water.

I was going to go for a stroll but I was talking with the hotel manager.

He was answering questions I had.

He put me in touch with my boy mukesh.

And from there the rest of the night was a wild venture around the city.

I have a single picture from this entire time.

The only quiet alley in varanasi
The only quiet alley in varanasi

It starts with me and mukesh sitting on the back of his friend’s motorbike.

We’re off to see some cremations.

Varanasi is a town of tiny, busy, colorful alleyways.

We fly down them.

I always thought these bikes with a handful of people on them seemed like an uncomfortable ride.

But it’s actually rather pleasant.

I would hate to be the driver.

With all of that weight on these narrow alleyways there’s not much room for error.

There’s about enough room for two bikes to squeeze past each other.

Throw in a bunch of people and animals, some rather large cows, and it’s not the easiest place to maneuver.

After winding and winding through a sea of sound and color, we get to our first place.

It’s a smaller fire compared to the one we will go to later.

Some guy wants a hundred rupees from me to see.

This upsets mukesh.

He says it’s bad karma.

I don’t mind, but mukesh isn’t happy.

We get to the area and it’s a pretty somber affair.

Or maybe not so somber.

Just a process.

There are three pyres burning at various levels.

One seems like it’s close to the end.

Another seems like it has just begun.

The cloth wrapped outline of a body is discernible.

Mukesh explains everything to me.

How there’s different versions depending on your societal importance.

When the families come for this they spend a week going through the process.

Getting the wood.

Preparing the body.

Burning it to ash.

Then throwing the ashes into the ganges which is a couple feet away.

That’s supposed to release you to nirvana.

After it’s over the family has a two-day celebration.

Certain beings don’t get cremated.

Pregnant women, children, animals, the holy babas, people who committed suicide, and I think maybe the most important people in society (I could be misremembering on the last one).

I’m pretty sure they get taken out on the river and have stones tied to them and they descend downwards that way.

There’s surprisingly not much emotion for me here.

More so thinking.

Taking it in.

Today has hit on a lot of experiences and emotions.

And this just seems natural.

It’s a bit mechanical, like a lot of human processes are out here.

But it’s also kind of more like you have a campfire going with people you’re close to.

It’s probably been a long week for people.

This is just how things are.

We walk out of there.

Mukesh still has issue with the guy charging me money.

Things seem to escalate a bit.

I’m kind of saying it’s ok and we can just head out.

Mukesh insists on the conversation.

I’m not exactly looking to get into a fight.

It would seem rather inappropriate given the area.

And I also assume it would be me against a hundred people.

Thankfully all ends well.

Mukesh tells me again it was wrong.

And that he’s a crazy boy.

Before long it’s behind us.

The winding alleyways cleanse him of the memory.

This time on foot.

Throughout the journey he stops to point something out.

Some religious statue or temple that he has a quick prayer at.

He seems to be pretty well known in town.

Saying hi to a bunch of people that we pass.

We run into his mom.

We say hi.

I tell her she has a crazy boy.

We swing into a family run silk shop.

They have some nice things but I’m not interested in buying nice things.

Eventually we make our way out to the bigger cremation area.

It’s hot up here.

There are six hot pyres burning.

The smell is almost non-existent.

Just a bit of smoke.

This area handles both important people and lower class people who don’t have any family to send them off.

Today they are burning in the same higher up area because the ganges is higher than normal.

I follow another guide who explains all of this. He takes me past several prepared bodies which are lying on the ground, waiting their turn for their final release.

He shows me the guys who are tending to the shiva fire. It’s a fire that has been continuously lit for 3000 years that all cremations start with.

In this entire area there are no women. “It’s because women are too emotional, you know?”

Actually, I don’t know.

Emotions are what makes us human beings.

For as mechanical as we are, especially out this way, we are not machines.

We are human beings.

Not human machines.

To be is to emote.

For both men and for women.

Otherwise we are just human matter.

And at that point no different from any other inanimate material.

I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be able to convince an entire country to change their stance on the issue, so I don’t say anything.

We have trouble emoting in the usa.

And in countries that are more emotionally advanced than our own.

I give a donation of a couple rupees for the wood.

It’s supposed to go for the people who can’t afford it.

In india (and pretty much everywhere) people look at you as a source of income, or a source of some other need or want.

What can I get from this person?

What can I take?

We have lost genuine interaction.

Gone is community.

Gone is interaction without a motive.

Gone are all of our beautiful emotions.

Replaced with a life that lacks passion.

And depth.

And if I was preaching I would say purpose.

But I’m just out here trying to observe.

To understand.

To learn.

To grow.

To reverse the tides of the way the world has chosen to go.

If I can’t save the world, maybe I can still save myself.

Holding your hand out to me is fine.

It’s expected.

I owe my dues.

But to operate amongst these interactions holds us back from greater experiences.

Mukesh and I head back to the hotel.

He tries to bring me back to the fabric place.

We don’t go.

I give him money for showing me around.

He’s happy.

But he asks for me.

Can I just have a little more?

Crazy bois
Crazy bois

I understand I’m in a tourist area.

Doing tourist things.

For now, and probably forever, I’ll have to settle for interactions that always will have a motive behind them.

Maybe I’m being a bit gloomy.

Maybe I’m emoting too much.

I loved varanasi.

It was a whirlwind that exceeded whatever I thought it was going to be.

The pictures are sparse because this location took a hold of me.

As much as I love taking pictures, this was something more.

I just wanted to be.

A human being.

Wed 05 Sept

Agra.

I went to go see the taj mahal.

Almost had the indian flag
Almost had the indian flag

It’s one of those iconic places.

If you have to see it, then I’d recommend seeing it.

It looks like it's moving
It looks like it’s moving

But if it’s something you think is a waste to see then I wouldn’t recommend it.

I’m not sure how many pictures of it I’ve seen up to this point.

Thousands probably?

The size of it is kind of what I expected.

Yea, we made it
Yea, we made it

Both larger and smaller than the mental model that I have built over time. Part of this is because of the optical illusion of its architecture.

I know it is detailed and used the best materials available at the time, but in person it feels a bit flat.

Doing this nonsense
Doing this nonsense

It is most beautiful on a larger scale.

There have been times in my life where I’ve probably had more of an appreciation for it.

But I think something maybe about seeing so many pictures before experiencing it kind of took away from its beauty.

Some detail no doubt
Some detail no doubt

It’s a beautiful building.

And for me it was and is worth making the journey to see.

Maybe it was just my desire to take more detailed up close pictures and those elements weren’t as present as I thought they might be.

Yea ok
Yea ok

The taj has changed a bit over time.

People have stolen things.

It’s fallen a bit into and out of disrepair.

It’s been restored.

The british replaced the origin gardens with their own style, which is still present today.

Knight
Knight

Environmental issues have led to acid rain yellowing the white walls.

There have been concerns during recent wars of someone bombing it.

The inner tomb is cracked and there are concerns of it collapsing soon due to receding water levels.

It’s still hanging in there for the moment.

Dos parrots in this picture
Dos parrots in this picture

The taj was built by a moghul emperor as a resting place for him and his favorite wife.

He was obsessed with symmetry.

And the taj certainly is an example of that.

Seflies at the taj
Seflies at the taj

The taj was built out of love for a dead wife.

The emperor’s cenotaph is besides his wife.

But I think the least loving thing about the entire thing is the breaking of symmetry in the size of his cenotaph.

Honeycomb
Honeycomb

His is bigger.

His has a taller base.

His is an extremely large statement of how he is more important.

He is better.

Why so many pictures of doors?
Why so many pictures of doors?

And not even love will prevent that declaration.

For me that is not love.

If you love someone it should be equal.

Build them the same size and height.

Or better yet, build your lover’s resting place slightly bigger and slightly higher.

Mosque at the taj
Mosque at the taj

It’s like you knew it would be this way.

You have to be a maniacal person to build this thing.

You have to think you’re better than everyone.

Even the person you love the most.

Classic
Classic

But really you don’t have to.

You can be great but still be humble.

You can be insane but still love someone equally, or give everything you can to them.

You don’t always have to have the tragedy destroy your entire work in the end.

Alright
Alright

Thu 06 Sep

Delhi.

It’s been six flights in six days.

Definitely a beautiful grind.

But a grind.

Taxi or tuktuk (you would think it’s a rickshaw, but the majority of people selling them here say sir! Sir please tuktuk!) to the airport. Flight. Hang out. Sleep. Then taxi or tuktuk to the airport. Repeat.

I need some time to relax.

I’m very tempted to go to leh.

It’s a town that would allow me to see the himalayas.

I have just enough time.

I’m about fifty-fifty on it.

What better way to end the trip then to check out that beautiful range.

But it’s wayyy up.

11,483 ft.

You need a day just to acclimate to that height.

Laying around doing nothing but breathing.

I know my body at altitude.

Even getting out at denver airport at 5400 you can feel a difference in breath.

10k is way up.

I’m going to have issues there.

I’ve been grinding.

I have a bit of a headache as is.

In the end I opt out because I think it wouldn’t have been a good decision to push it.

I’ve been using my heart to guide me lately.

But on this one I have to defer to my brain.

Eleven and a half is just way too high for me for only two days.

As tempting as that beautiful range is I have to pass.

I’ve been eyeing up goa all trip.

It’s been raining there every day.

Kerala is under water. Hundreds are dead there from the floods.

In the end I opt to just chill out in delhi.

Rest a bit.

Relax a bit.

Even amongst the chaos.

Take some time to sightsee but also do a bit more of the everyday life.

For me that’s swinging into an art museum.

The national gallery of modern art.

This isn’t my first experience with an art gallery here.

There was one at the exit of the fort in jaipur.

I assumed it would be a tourist trap.

But a sign saying contemporary art museum lured me in.

That was a great little spot.

Unfortunately no pictures allowed.

There were some pieces I would have loved to show.

I spoke with one of the guys working there.

About art.

And life.

We agree the art is too traditional.

That’s slowly changing.

There were examples of it there.

Even a slightly provactive piece or two.

A nipple here or there.

India is very sexually repressed country.

I mean the states are as well.

But this is another level.

People in nyc throw down behind closed blinds.

India, not so much

Which is sad.

Because they pretty much taught the world how to make love.

The kama sutra came from here.

Thousands of years have passed.

Things have changed.

We used to love each other.

Now we’re scared.

Hiding behind all of whatever it is that has happened.

Art has the ability to change a lot of important things here.

Not just tackling sexual repression. But rape. Politics. Post contemporary.

I understand the time and money should be spent on the essentials.

Food.

Water.

Housing.

Medicine.

Education.

Infrastructure.

This is a very long list.

But a pinch of efforts should be spent on art.

And it is.

Things will take time here.

Things will take time back in the states.

Slowly we are all moving forward in a world where things feel like they’re moving backward.

But they’re not.

We can’t.

There’s too much inertia behind it.

But back to delhi.

Like in jaipur there’s no cameras allowed.

You are allowed to take pictures on your phone though here.

It’s a frustrating deal.

I really wish I could have taken better pictures here.

Checking out some art
Checking out some art

But you get what a pretty bad phone is capable of taking.

It’s supposed to be a 5mb camera but it’s making jpegs at 1-2 mbs.

Alright
Alright

I did my best to get some reason pictures.

Killin it
Killin it

While I’m in the museum it decides to downpour.

It’s monsoon season everywhere.

I must have lucked out because I avoided rain almost everywhere I went.

A wicked lighting and rain storm proceeds.

I’m able to grab a tuktuk back to the hotel, where I end up chilling for the night.

Down pour
Down pour

The food at the hotel ends up being great.

Chicken in a tomato and yogurt sauce.

Naan.

All is well.

Fri 07 Sep

I decide to post up in delhi for another night.

I spend the time getting some sleep and relaxing.

At least until I decide to hit the street in karol bagh.

There’s a wild market here.

A river of people
A river of people

Everything is for sale.

Knock off nikes for $3 usd.

Everything you could imagine.

I go out in search of some street food.

I spend two hours strolling around and eating.

Chicken momos.

Vegetable kabab.

Pani puri.

Egg rolls.

Chicken fried rice.

I think food travel coverage, and food coverage in general is a bit overdone these days.

So I won’t document it much here.

There’s a mess of different cuisines available.

And they’re all delicious.

Never realized my company made energy drinks
Never realized my company made energy drinks

Sat 08 Sep

Another day in delhi.

The chill and relaxation and getting ready for heading back to the city is in full force.

I swing out to the red fort.

It’s one of the places to see out this way.

It provides for some much needed picture opportunities.

At the red fort
At the red fort

In all of my chilling I mostly put the camera down.

Sometimes you just need to relax.

Flow.

Sometimes your heart just wants to lay down.

Or be in the moment.

But now is a chance to go through and get some final snaps of the trip.

Hooked
Hooked

It’s a cool place to check out.

And like everything in india it’s a bit under construction.

I take what I assume will be my final pictures of the trip with random strangers.

This time with someone’s brother and wife and baby child.

I’m mostly conflicted with these pictures.

Oh look a white boy, let’s get a picture with him.

But if it makes someone happy then I’m all for it.

They’ll probably realize in a decade or two or three how ludicrous it all was.

Until then if it brings someone a pinch of happiness then I’m about it.

I will be your exotic attraction.

It’s weird how skin color works sometimes.

Love the colors on some of these outfits
Love the colors on some of these outfits

Like we’re the same people.

But everywhere people see color.

I understand the importance of it.

But I’m still allowed to think it’s all stupid.

There’s a lot of stray dogs here.

There’s a lot of pet dogs back home.

But never do you look at a dog and think oh that’s a black one.

Oh that’s a white dog.

Oh that dog is brown.

And then have some kind of reaction to it.

It’s just a dog.

We haven’t been conditioned to think there’s any difference in the skin (or fur) color of a dog.

And yes, I get it.

Various people have weaponized skin color for their personal gains.

I’m not denying any of that.

It’s obviously a very powerful tool to use to get things that you want.

I’m just saying it’s stupid.

And maybe at this point we as a people can start rejecting the devices that the higher ups are using to control us.

Instead of fighting amongst each other like idiots.

I’ll be out here doing my thing regardless.

Yea ok
Yea ok

I’ll be here looking to grow and explore and learn and experience this world.

Pigeons rule the world
Pigeons rule the world

It’s interesting to see how much things have changed over the years.

And how they’ve remained the same.

This stuff
This stuff

Progress is ebbing and flowing.

At times we reach our pinnacles and potentials.

Carrying on
Carrying on

At times we go backwards and lose everything that we have learned and fought to achieve.

Fly away, fly away
Fly away, fly away

The current time is one somewhere between being more advanced than we ever have been, and having completely lost our way.

Falling into disrepair
Falling into disrepair

I guess this is how it always has been.

And how it always will be.

Come on
Come on

We’re making steps forward.

And we’re making steps backward.

Lots of animals all over
Lots of animals all over

I’ve always been willing to bet on humanity.

Moss
Moss

I’m still willing to take that bet.

Alright
Alright

On the way out of the fort I swing over to chandni chowk.

It’s another market are with winding alleys with all sorts of stuff and food for sale.

This was a wide alley in chandni chowk
This was a wide alley in chandni chowk

I make my way back to the hotel were the tuktuk driver tries to rip me off.

I had planned to give him some extra money and I do anyway, but not the 5x price he asked for when we got to the destination.

Sun 09 Sep

I’m going home.

Delhi has been fun.

As has the rest of india.

It was fast.

It was a whirlwind.

Sound and color.

Smell.

Taste.

Touch.

Ancient intertwined with new.

India has been a top five destination for me.

It was great to find a pinch of time to squeeze out here.

It will be nice to head home to a place that doesn’t have some of the things that I disliked here.

But I think those things that I disliked will be things that I look back on and miss.

It’s mostly been a pleasurable time.

Even those people who’ve tried to rip me off, or push their product onto me.

When a company does it, it’s fine.

When an individual does it, we take issue with it.

I can’t fault anyone for trying to make a better life for themselves.

Or to make money for food.

We all have to survive.

India is in a great position to go beyond surviving.

It is a great country.

It will be one of the best in the history of the world.

It’s probably not the place to visit for everyone.

And that’s ok.

Not everyone has the desire to experience everything that the world has to offer.

It’s ok to be boring.

Just don’t be miserable.

Love.

Connect.

And hopefully explore.

And grow.

Think.

Feel.

Flow.

Love yourself.

Tell yourself that you love yourself.

Then go and tell someone else that you love them too.

We’re all on this ride together.

Namaste.

Later yall
Later yall
This is why we play the game

India part 1: Mumbai, Udaipur, Jaipur

Fri 31 Aug

Happiness – walking to your gate with your boarding pass in hand, especially the day after you were turned away for not having your visa cleared.

I’m going to india.

It’s been a top 5 destination for me for a long while now.

Growing up in New Jersey, spending time in engineering school, working with software. I feel like I’m part indian at this point. Specifically, I think my indian hometown is somewhere in gujarat.

I won’t be going there this trip. I’m not completely certain where I’ll end up. Flying into mumbai and out of delhi. Expect the golden triangle, varanasi, and we’ll see what else fits into the short schedule.

What am I looking to do? Just kind of check it out. The taj mahal of course. Food. Colors and textures. Photography. A depth of experience. Appreciating someone else’s spirituality. India is probably going to drown me. Take me and hold me under.

Give me your best. And give me your worst.

This trip once again is packed into a 22-liter pack. As small and as lightweight as I’m comfortable going. Everything I need for a week and half in a place halfway around the world.

I mostly only need myself. But some extra clothes are nice to have. Photography equipment is a necessity. But that’s light as well. I’m leaving behind my zoom lens. And I picked up a lighter tripod that I’m excited to try out.

While I’m not interested in shooting video and adding to the large number of vlogs out there, I did find those useful in preparing for the trip. Over the course of a few short days they replaced the art and photography videos that I’ve been absorbed in.

I’m ready for the chaos. The absurdity. A full grip of new norms. Feeling both smaller and bigger than I ever have before. Complete immersion and growth and destruction of my entire being.

Happiness – me strolling around with a camera.

Give me all of the emotions. Give me all of the experience. Take me and hold me under, india. I’m glad I finally have the chance to meet you and hold you close. Dance with you. Flow with you. Make love to you. Give and take. Do with me as you will chokri.

Sat 01 Sep

Mumbai.

Mumbai I made it
Mumbai I made it

My favorite purchase was an omelet pav. Two eggs, a bunch of chopped vegetables, spices, served on two rolls, and which cost about fifty cents.

I don’t think the traffic here is all that crazy. On the uber back from the hotel to the airport the car got hit on both side mirrors, but that’s just how it is.

I’ve learned to tune out the honking.

Crossing the street is kind of like crossing the street in new york. Just go when there’s no vehicles. And if there are vehicles and you’re quick enough then go for it.

New tripod putting in work
New tripod putting in work

Rules are more of a recommendation here.

I don’t really see mumbai as a dirty city. The visible poverty is what you might find elsewhere.

Sloppy with the focus
Sloppy with the focus

There are places that sell craft beer. It turns out the india pale ales are pretty good here.

One of the differences between having one at home and having one here is the presence of a more serious looking gatekeeper. Not one to manhandle the obnoxious late-night bro, but one to make sure poor people don’t come in.

There’s not all that many white people here. The tourists that I saw were mostly indian.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station

People do come up to you if your white and ask to take a selfie with you. I just smile and give a thumbs up. The people that I talked with were very nice.

Anotha one
Anotha one

You can find a mcdonalds here if you look. But most of the businesses are a beautiful mess of tiny shops. People don’t pressure you much to buy things.

Approaching midnight
Approaching midnight

They say you either love india or you hate it. I can understand the cultural shock some people might have, but I’m easily in the group of people who love this place.

Now that I’m a day into the trip I need to slow down. I notice even in my pictures that there is a sloppiness from moving too fast. Not having the right settings. Sloppy composition. Pretty much a lack of what I’m looking to capture.

No tripod needed
No tripod needed

That all comes from just not being as in the present moment as I should be. Hopefully I can make that change heading forward. It’s great to flow, but there should be an intention about it.

Meh
Meh

I also need to eat more of the delicious food.

Has potential
Has potential

Sun 02 Sep

Udaipur.

Part of my room in udaipur
Part of my room in udaipur

Blip.

Ok
Ok

A whirlwind.

Views from city palace
Views from city palace

Light pastel yellows.

Lots of black and white so far
Lots of black and white so far

Lakes.

Udaipur is pretty chill
Udaipur is pretty chill

Bridges that remind me of my old home.

I love being able to walk over a lake from one place to another.

City palace.

I don't get it
I don’t get it

A place that allows for some redemption with camera.

The trip is definitely underway now.

That 1x1 gram format
That 1×1 gram format

The large cityscape of mumbai contrasted with the relaxation of udaipur.

Super hot fire boi
Super hot fire boi

I remember there was what looked like a funeral processing in the streets on the way in.

One of the few ways to get the honking to stop.

My body is a mix of not knowing when to sleep or when to eat.

Everything is going swimmingly though.

Sexy af
Sexy af

The road is always a loving companion.

I like the space this piece takes up
I like the space this piece takes up

It will be interesting to see how india changes over the years.

Lazy tourist town
Lazy tourist town

There’s probably a lot of changes that will be made, or at least will be suggested.

Tradition versus growth.

No different than the decisions we must make with our own selves.

Some guy trying to sell me stuff told me he was showing his work at the moma next week.

I wonder if it will be exhibited next to my work.

Do you want it spicy?

Yes, fucking spicy. One of the reasons I came this far was so that my mouth could be on fire. And my insides. I want to eat food so spicy my soul starts crying out of shock and pain.

Even here I get white boy spice.

I can’t be mad.

So wavy
So wavy

I can only think back to thailand when tears were streaming down my face and I was sweating because of the heat of the ingredients.

I’m not here for chicken tikka masala.

Kill me with spicy. Destroy me with spicy. Turn me into a fire breathing dragon of spice.

The amount of sirrr pleaaases is at an all-time high.

Damn I love this place.

Mon 03 Sept

A fast paced tuk-tuk gets me to the airport quickly.

Now let me take a selfie
Now let me take a selfie

I get ripped off another hundred rupees.

I wanted to use an uber but they kept canceling and I have places to get to.

Jaipur.

Apni to Jaise Taise by Kishore Kumar plays over the speakers at some point.

You can hear this fire song throughout the following video.

It’s raining when I get here.

The environment is different here than back home.

But I’m excited to see what I find.

I didn’t see anyone using an umbrella. I might follow along, although I’ll probably need it for the camera.

It’s refreshing to see people not scared of water.

Just get a little wet.

Everything will be ok.

I got to my hotel before check in and I had some breakfast while I was waiting.

There’s this one side dish that I asked what the name was. Apparently it was pickles? An incredible unique flavor that I would love on top of a gravy or stew. Salty. A blast of umami. Masala. They say it’s spicy, but not really. Just an amazing little condiment that I would love to have on a whole bunch of dishes back home.

Oh and fresh dosa.

And also omelets are great. They’ve been perfectly cooked everywhere.

The egg is one of those classic ingredients that cultures can overlap on.

I get to feel like I’m at home. Or in france. But really I’m in india. What’s really the difference sometimes?

Jaipur is busy place.

I take a couple tuk-tuk rides around when I can’t get an uber. The riding around gives me a good feel for the place.

I make my way out to amer fort to check out the sights.

Easy to catch pidgeottos out here
Easy to catch pidgeottos out here

The place is enormous.

Amer fort, love the emerald green water
Amer fort, love the emerald green water

There is a palace and a huge fort with walls that seem to stretch forever.

Bear with me
Bear with me

Such an immense amount of work went into building this thing and it’s completely unused for its original purpose.

Lots of beautiful stuff in india
Lots of beautiful stuff in india

As is the case with these sorts of things.

Doora the explora
Doora the explora

Humans build a lot of unnecessary stuff.

Mirror mosaics on fire
Mirror mosaics on fire

It eventually crumbles and goes away.

Gorgeous
Gorgeous

I’ve been getting into a rhythm with the travel and the camera that I’m pretty happy with.

Reflection game is back
Reflection game is back

Some of the shots are coming out a lot better than when I started in mumbai.

Composing three images in one
Composing three images in one

I just want to keep it going.

The shots are not intended to be a representation of what I saw or did.

Just hopefully capturing something interesting like I try to do when I shoot back home.

Had to do it
Had to do it

There’s a lot of traps that I could have fallen into here taking pictures and I’ve been pretty happy to have avoided them as best as I could.

I could do that
I could do that

It’s been a whirlwind so far.

So much framing
So much framing

I can sleep when I get back to the rather boring life in nyc.

Reminds me of van gogh's sunflowers
Reminds me of van gogh’s sunflowers

But until then I’ll be balancing everything that’s being thrown at me, having the best time, and pushing life to its limits.

This is why we play the game
This is why we play the game

La la la.

Lots to explore
Lots to explore

Get it.

Yay found some monkeys
Yay found some monkeys

Insert cheesy life cliches and overgeneralizations about a massively large country and a complex world.

But mostly I just really love this place and I’m excited to see what’s up next.

One of my best pictures

Times Square, Brooklyn, Harlem, Dia Beacon, Rain

Well I should probably throw these pictures up as I’m off for a quick bit of travel.

The photography continues. Mostly exploring bad weather, reflections, human form, and intentional out of focus.

Everyone hates Times Square. Tourists suck. Blah blah blah. I hate having this interaction with people who think there are actually cool parts of new york left. Like Times Square sucks but the village or upper east or west sides are actually cool?

Just embrace it. Hug it. Love it.

The coolest thing about new york is the people.

Times Square still has the ability to provide some great images.

Back in times square
Back in times square

There’s an infinite amount of pictures you can take here.

Been messing with reflections
Been messing with reflections

Like how does this suck?

I mean come on pt 1
I mean come on pt 1

Maybe you suck.

Been messing with out of focus
Been messing with out of focus

Maybe Times Square is actually the best thing in nyc.

Dream/nightmare like af
Dream/nightmare like af

Maybe not. Here’s a picture that I like.

This might be more what I like pt 1
This might be more what I like pt 1

But here’s one that you like better.

This might be more what you like pt 1
This might be more what you like pt 1

I mean it’s a great picture. But there’s a lot of great pictures here.

I mean come on pt 2
I mean come on pt 2

That blur a e s t h e t i c.

This might be more what I like pt 2
This might be more what I like pt 2

Why is it blurry? Here have one without the blur.

This might be more what you like pt 2
This might be more what you like pt 2

Completely out of place transitional photograph.

Private property, no photographers welcome
Private property, no photographers welcome

You hate Times Square but how do you feel about the Brooklyn Bridge? Is it also too touristy?

Probs my favorite picture I took of BK bridge
Probs my favorite picture I took of BK bridge

Because it both is and isn’t. And it doesn’t really matter. Enjoy it if you like it. Enjoy it if you hate it.

On a side note peep the ridiculous in camera effect going on here. The layering of this from messing around with focus is impressive. The detail of the fence on the left completely disappears as you move to the right. Not the best shot but the effect is cool.

In camera ability
In camera ability

And oh snap, what is this? The bridge series is actually happening?

Underneath bridges, the series pt 3
Underneath bridges, the series pt 3

Carousel.

I both like and dislike this picture
I both like and dislike this picture

But for real, am I really shooting bridges?

Underneath bridges, the series pt 4
Underneath bridges, the series pt 4

If you wanna be a good street photograph just wait for someone to walk in front of the camera and take a picture. As much as I hate this, it is effective.

I'm a street photographer now
I’m a street photographer now

Shout out to jim.

Jim morrison reference bc i still love you
Jim morrison reference bc i still love you

Ok, I think this is the final of a five part series.

Underneath bridges, the series pt 5
Underneath bridges, the series pt 5

Be careful people.

This was quite a bad crash
This was quite a bad crash

Who’s really watching what.

Dave and co
Dave and co

I don’t like this picture but it’s here.

meh
meh

Harlem was frustrating to photograph. I expected to end up with a lot of cool shots but it was hard to find them. I walked around for a couple hours here, taking a break in between for a craft beer. I know New York is a mall. But I was hoping Harlem would be spared.

It’s a great place to go if you need to go to banana republic or the gap. It’s frustrating how the only thing that seems to be marketed are fried chicken places and black hair places. We all need those places in our life but it was frustrating because there’s a lot more here than these generalizations. There is all sorts of different creative ability in Harlem. But when you walk around there you would never be able to tell. The stereotypes being propagated are offensive.

Like anywhere else around here or in the world, the place is full of amazing people. The shitty facades and mallification of the world are only surface level (although they’re not). When you get a chance to explore the people, the place is often rich and full of all of the things the exterior is lacking.

I know this next picture might not seem like it’s the best, but it is. The reflection off of a window shows the Apollo Theater. That is the most iconic thing in Harlem. If you think of Harlem you most likely have this image pop up at the top of images in your brain. Look how close the banana republic is. They may as well just call it the Apollo Theater, brought to you by banana republic. Also in this image you will notice a group of four white tourists. Most important to this image is the view through the glass of the window. It shows an empty storefront that is currently for sale. What business or type of place will this be? It won’t be the gap or nike. Those are next door. Probably not even another fried chicken place. It’s going to be something shitty (I suppose you or I could try to make something cool happen).

I understand my perspective here and your questioning of what the fuck I know about a place from just strolling through it. But that’s kind of the point. I’m not black. I haven’t lived in Harlem for thirty years. That point of view is in the following link. The End of Black Harlem. The fact that you can stroll through this area and immediately see how fucked Harlem is is sad. Harlem is one of the great jewels of this country and we killed it and made it a shitty mall.

All of that is conveyed in the picture below.

Harlem
Harlem

Welppppppppppppp, time for some art.

If you are the type of person that gets tilted by like a white canvas hanging on the wall (“I can do that”), then Dia:Beacon is not the place for you.

But for those who like this sort of thing it’s one of the best places. It’s a little distance north of the city, but it’s one of my favorite museums. There’s a lot of cool lighting exhibits.

Dia beacon is lit
Dia beacon is lit

And the building itself is fantastically beautiful. You don’t notice it at first. It really lets the art shine, but overtime it kind of demands to be noticed. It’s so understated but so brilliant.

All rise
All rise

When you’re taking a picture of a yellow wall and then a person who has all sorts of complementing colors walks into your frame.

Colors
Colors

Lots of cool lighting here.

Lights
Lights

And some more.

Column, lights, colors
Column, lights, colors

Hang man lights.

Dicks out
Dicks out

But seriously if you have an issue with like chairs being art you’re not going to like this place.

I also like this in black and white
I also like this in black and white

I’ve been crushing everything in the blacks lately.

Yea
Yea

Running out of words to type.

Dia creepin
Dia creepin

Look at the patterns that these windows create.

Lighting in here is top notch
Lighting in here is top notch

Put a person in the frame for added interest.

Put people in your frame
Put people in your frame

This next image (which isn’t really visible much, but it’s there below) is a play on one of Anne Truitt’s pieces. She is known for making very minimal sculptures. Like a square hollow seven-foot beam that seems like it’s one single color. Like stuff that is so minimal and basic that a lot of people would walk by it and say it’s stupid or they could make it.

I recall seeing one of her works when I was at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in DC, not realizing at that time who she was. If you look at her work for a long while you will see all sorts of complexities going on. It might be difficult to slow down, and you don’t even have to, but doing so might reveal a bit more to Truitt’s work than at first seems apparent.

I decided to riff on her take on minimalism by taking a picture of one of her works. I crushed the focus to blur the edges and remove the detail from the work. So the outcome of the photograph is a white sculpture with a white wall in the background. Once you add in the lack of focus the sculpture disappears. True minimalism. I tried what I could in photoshop to actually make the sculpture more visible, but it’s pretty much gone forever. You’ll just have to trust me that there is an image below. And in the middle third or so there is a sculpture. It’s just that the photograph is so minimal that you can’t tell if it exists. Or if I’m being serious or not.

I was hoping Truitt was still alive. I would have loved to ask her what she thought of the image. I think she would probably say it wasn’t in the true spirit of her work. She wanted to remove unnecessary details, but not all of the details. I imagine an older lady telling me it’s shit and to fuck off and that makes happy.

Out of focus picture of Anne Truitt's White: One
Out of focus picture of Anne Truitt’s White: One

There’s a lot of really cool stuff here.

I love this museum
I love this museum

And more of the building. The black top and bottom of this frame were not added. They were done in camera.

Dark top and bottom are a natural frame
Dark top and bottom are a natural frame

Lots of lights. People like lights.

Dan Flavin hype confirmed
Dan Flavin hype confirmed

Except when it’s Times Square.

Light stuff
Light stuff

One view of two rooms.

The center is a wall that creates two rooms
The center is a wall that creates two rooms

This just looks so sexual to me.

This light in a corner creates so much texture
This light in a corner creates so much texture

Kill all focus.

Out of focus so damn nice
Out of focus so damn nice

I think people won’t like this image as much as I like it.

Perfect
Perfect

Did I say the lighting here is good? Because it’s better than that even.

Lighting is some of the best I've seen
Lighting is some of the best I’ve seen

Here’s some stuff.

Stuff like this
Stuff like this

I hope the crack in the floor is intentional to this building’s design. Bc it’s intentional in this picture. Blow out some highlights, sure, let’s get it.

In case I haven't said it, the lighting is good here
In case I haven’t said it, the lighting is good here

Crouching spider by Louise Bourgeois. These are some sp00ky a e s t h e t i c s.

Probs time for a quick pic of myself
Probs time for a quick pic of myself

I think the following picture has potential as a serious or to be the next stupid photography trend. If taking pictures of yourself bossfighting things replaces the jumping in the air pictures then I’m all for it. But we must kill bossfighting pictures immediately after that. Bossfighting pictures are OVER.

But really I have to bossfight this mfer (pls don't make this a trend)
But really I have to bossfight this mfer (pls don’t make this a trend)

If you’ve ever been outside at the gardens here then you’ll know the noises that are dubbed in are fire.

I love the sounds outside
I love the sounds outside

I think this is one of the better pictures I’ve taken. I debated for a long while whether this should be black and white or not. I really like reflection pictures.

One of my best pictures
One of my best pictures

And that’s it for Dia:Beacon. If you didn’t like that the here’s some more out of focus blurry pictures for your enjoyment. These were taken over the course of a couple days of bad weather driving on the New Jersey turnpike. This next one is just stunning.

Man come on
Man come on

I hate this next picture.

This is bad but I can't not include it for some reason
This is bad but I can’t not include it for some reason

Creepy boi A E S T H E T I C S

Dystopian nj
Dystopian nj

I like taking pictures while driving shooting through dirty windows because some photographers would say that it’s not P H O T O G R A P H Y.

Decently framed for a driving picture
Decently framed for a driving picture

I think I understand rothko a bit more. Get rid of everything and leave something that evokes emotion. The following picture needs many renditions before it would ever be something as polished as a rothko, but it’s ok to just kind of have some colors. Or better yet just some emotions on your canvas or your photo.

Emotional feels
Emotional feels

Slowly getting better at messing with weather and focus. It seems like when I combine multiple elements of interest is when I take some of my better shots.

So excellent
So excellent

A post isn’t a post without some pics you probably should have thrown away but you leave here because for some reason they made the cut.

Mehhh
Mehhh

And one more time.

Rawr
Rawr

Just barely was able to get this typed up and posted in time.

Should be swinging out for some quick travels and if all goes well hopefully I’ll have a grip of photos to post here.

I’m not sure exactly how the travel will go. I’m not sure what kinds of pictures I’ll take. Where I will or won’t be. How I will use words to talk about it.

I anticipate a different sort of a writeup than the usual travel writeups I’ve posted here. We will see.

One of my favorite sculptures ever

New York City, Hoboken, and Philadelphia

This post has pictures from New York City, Hoboken, and Philadelphia.

I don’t have too much to say. Most of the time my posts are related to some more interesting area of the world or concept.

This is really just a collection of local pictures.

Messing around with some ideas.

There have been a lot of things happening in my life, but this blog and this post were never intended to be a documentation of that.

So let’s get into it.

I last left off with Vegas.

Vegas decided to follow me home.

I matched with someone out there who decided to book a flight to come out and see me.

Life was great for a few days. Photography, food, art, connection.

We no longer talk. As is tradition.

Pictures of food are back
Pictures of food are back

Strolling around the city.

Not a museum, on the street
Not a museum, on the street

And some more strolling.

Love strolling new york
Love strolling new york

Get the stuff.

Stuff for sale, pic 3
Stuff for sale, pic 3

Mary Corse’s A Survey in Light at the Whitney.

My picture is better than the exhibit
My picture is better than the exhibit

I don’t love the Whitney. But I find myself here. I do love Feeling Whitney by Post Malone though.

Doesn't look like this irl
Doesn’t look like this irl

“Have you ever heard the song New York by Saint Vincent?”

“Here we go now with this.”

Actually this song is so good I’ll post it here.

Sigh.

Selfie stick life
Selfie stick life

Oysters at grand central.

Looking up at grand central
Looking up at grand central

Taking the pics.

Yup
Yup

Let’s take some pictures for posterity.

For posterity
For posterity

Ok back to irl. Just me and the camera.

Washington square park
Washington square park

Grinding pics.

Arch you glad I didn't __________
Arch you glad I didn’t __________

All of the parks.

Upside down at Madison Sq Park
Upside down at Madison Sq Park

All of the art.

Diana Al-Hadid's Citadel from Delirious Matter at Madison Sq Park
Diana Al-Hadid’s Citadel from Delirious Matter at Madison Sq Park

Stuff outside world trade.

Update your tinder profs
Update your tinder profs

Thought it would be a good idea to stroll over to Hoboken to take pictures. I like going to areas that I hate and seeing if there is anything interesting there.

Artist's workbench
Artist’s workbench

One of my favorite pictures from this set comes from there.

Who knew Hoboken had interesting shots
Who knew Hoboken had interesting shots

This is bleh.

Sun reflecting on the hudson
Sun reflecting on the hudson

I wasn’t in the mood to take pictures of the skyline again. I was literally turning my back to it on purpose to look away from it for more interesting things.

And then life laughed at me and gave me a better picture of the skyline than I would have ended up taking if I was purposefully trying.

Tried to turn my camera away from the skyline
Tried to turn my camera away from the skyline

There’s a couple pictures I don’t want to include here but I can’t seem to delete them.

Definition of meh
Definition of meh

I took this walking and just clicking pretty aimlessly at this sign. Didn’t expect it to be all that decent.

Didn't think this would turn out
Didn’t think this would turn out

Someone needed a ride down to Philadelphia. I’ve been meaning to get down there to hang and take pictures so I used it as an excuse to swing down.

Popped into the Rodin museum and for the first time in my life I understood sculpture.

Rodin, the morning after
Rodin, the morning after

How dope is this stuff?

One of my favorite sculptures ever
One of my favorite sculptures ever

I used to love the thinking man the most. But these days I love the loving man.

Used to be my favorite
Used to be my favorite

Messing around with lighting.

I finally understand sculpture
I finally understand sculpture

And some more messing around.

Rodin with that sauce
Rodin with that sauce

This is another bad picture that I wasn’t able to exclude for some reason. It’s possible I just need a dash of blue to brighten up the blacks, whites, and greys that have taken over these posts.

Don't know why I feel I have to include this
Don’t know why I feel I have to include this

Bricks.

Room with a view
Room with a view

Is this the best picture of the Ben Franklin bridge ever taken?

Probably not but I’m rather fond of it.

It reminds me of a huge alien ship.

I almost want to do a series of underneath bridges from this exact perspective. This work has already been done though, so I won’t feel bad when I don’t that.

Underneath bridges, the series pt 1
Underneath bridges, the series pt 1

Turning around and taking another picture of it.

Didn't expect this to come out well
Didn’t expect this to come out well

Voyage of Ulysses statue was super frustrating to photograph. It’s on the left in this image and I’m happy enough with how this came out. There’s so many ideas you could apply to this thing and almost none of them worked for me.

Ok picture from a frustrating piece on the left
Ok picture from a frustrating piece on the left

There was a suitcase that had books on the corner that anyone could take.

Free books on the corner in phili
Free books on the corner in phili

Ok back to ny.

Food's back, uni at sushi yasuda
Food’s back, uni at sushi yasuda

Roosevelt island tramming it up. Dope time. Super hot fire.

Roosevelt island tram
Roosevelt island tram

Oh snap. The series is underway! Jk. It’s probably going to stay a two part series. But maybe not.

Underneath bridges, the series pt 2
Underneath bridges, the series pt 2

Sliding around the city sometimes surprises you.

I love some of the subway art
I love some of the subway art

Been kind of getting more interested in the human form so messed around with a couple self portraits and nudes one night.

Oh here we go
Oh here we go

Messing around with some lighting.

Messing around with lighting and self portraits
Messing around with lighting and self portraits

Lol. These pictures are just whatever but I don’t often post pictures of myself.

Hair getting long af
Hair getting long af

I like this image a decent amount.

Messing around with some self nudes
Messing around with some self nudes

Alrighty, back to commuting around.

Grove st path
Grove st path

Back to some art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s expensive at $25 but you finally get your money’s worth at a museum. There is a tremendous amount of stuff to see here.

Edo peoples, 16th to 17th century Nigerian brass
Edo peoples, 16th to 17th century Nigerian brass

Some fire pieces here.

Between Earth and Heaven by El Anatsui. Fire
Between Earth and Heaven by El Anatsui. Fire

There is so much going on and not going on in this picture.

Thomas Hart Benton's America Today
Thomas Hart Benton’s America Today

Palette.

Paul Klee's May Picture
Paul Klee’s May Picture

On that O’Keeffe and Stieglitz.

Gray Line with Lavender and Yellow by Georgia O'Keeffe
Gray Line with Lavender and Yellow by Georgia O’Keeffe

Giacometti.

Three Men Walking II by Alberto Giacometti
Three Men Walking II by Alberto Giacometti

How the guy who was capable of making that was also capable of making this… This is a portrait of his wife. I looked at this piece for a while. While I was viewing it two older women came up. The first comment was how dark the piece was. Then they read the placard and noted out loud how it was his wife, and made the assumption that is must have been an unhappy marriage. I think it’s stupid to assume that. Things can be dark. You can have a good relationship.

Annette by Alberto Giacometti
Annette by Alberto Giacometti

Shadows make this a pretty solid picture.

Bohemia Lies by the Sea by Anselm Kiefer
Bohemia Lies by the Sea by Anselm Kiefer

The met is wild for this one.

Lilith by Kiki Smith
Lilith by Kiki Smith

Colors.

Hanging with Spectrum V by Ellsworth Kelly
Hanging with Spectrum V by Ellsworth Kelly

There’s some good newer stuff all over the museum.

PixCell-Deer#24 by Kohei Nawa
PixCell-Deer#24 by Kohei Nawa

Overcontrasted metal and shadows.

I forget the name of this piece
I forget the name of this piece

Unbelievably well done.

Louis Comfort Tiffany Autumn Landscape and Column
Louis Comfort Tiffany Autumn Landscape and Column

I don’t often post multiple pictures of the same thing, but look at this thing.

Autumn Landscape by Louis Comfort Tiffany
Autumn Landscape by Louis Comfort Tiffany

Love letters.

My body will always belong to you
My body will always belong to you

And freshness.

African American Portraits exhibit
African American Portraits exhibit

Have been trying to get out into the rain and bad weather to take pictures. Had a chance to do this while I was driving home one day.

Took these pictures while driving
Took these pictures while driving

Got some decent shots.

Drive by shooting
Drive by shooting

This borders on cheesy. Raindrops on windshields is kind of a bad photographic cliche. But this is better than most shots that I never took while driving.

Not bad for the ride home
Not bad for the ride home

Meh but alright.

Power lines
Power lines

Was getting dumped on with rain but ended up with some decent concepts. I might need a bigger sensor to take these kind of pictures. And I probably have to find a way to set the tripod up. I was mostly worried about damaging the camera, but in the future I’ll know how to operate a bit better.

Complete downpour (hi oculus)
Complete downpour (hi oculus)

Yeesh this grain though.

Nyc faded
Nyc faded

Better than not going out.

World trade disappearing
World trade disappearing

This is kind of what I had in mind when I went out. When you getting soaked and you’re operating a camera and umbrella (which ended up breaking after using it for two decades) you don’t take time to get a perfect shot. Even in these conditions I need to slow down and spend some extra time framing and getting the shot.

These pictures are so hastily taken
These pictures are so hastily taken

What a bad shot for such a cool subject.

This should have been a lot better
This should have been a lot better

Not too much here.

Meh, a series
Meh, a series

And getting worse. I think I can’t throw this away because of going through the rain to get it. But I should have tossed most of these pics.

Umbrellas outside the club
Umbrellas outside the club

And finally a decent one.

I likey the terrible weather lately
I likey the terrible weather lately

So that’s about it. Been grinding pictures. It’s all I really want to do with my free time.

Don't catch you slippin up

Zion, Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Arches, Bryce, Vegas

There’s a part of the country I’ve been meaning to see for some time. Decided to swing out this Memorial Day weekend to check it out.

I’ve done two large road trips of the states and one of the areas that I have never made it out to was the Grand Canyon and all of those surrounding national parks.

Had the idea on Wednesday. Booked the flight and the car and swung out the following day.

Thu 05/24

Finished up work out in Times Square. From there it’s a commute home to Jersey City to pick up my gear and a quick 15-minute uber out to Newark.

I was initially going to pack my Osprey Atmos 50-liter pack for the trip. While going through my gear I grabbed an REI 22-liter pack that I was going to bring for day hikes and whatnot. Holding the pack in my hand made me start to question whether it would be possible to fit my entire trip in that small pack.

I’m going to need my camera gear, laptop, a variety of clothes. I end up fitting it all in. Tripod, two camera lenses, battery packs, chargers, down jacket that can keep me warm (it got into the 30s-40s at one point on the trip), rain jacket, toiletries (I don’t bring my shaver or cologne), and a clean pair of clothes for every day I’ll be out there. I also bring my small camera bag that has my body, two lenses, a couple spare batteries. I love traveling with this camera. It’s effortless.

The flight out is pretty much as expected.

I go to grab my rental car. I ordered the cheapest one I could get online. Usually the cheap models are good on gas and very practical with space and a small size for getting around and parking. They’re usually my preferable choice. I bought something called a “manager’s special” or something like that. It ends up being a Camaro SS. Which I’m pretty certain was the V8 (because the display showed this). If that’s the case it has 455 hp and 455 ft-lb torque. It certainly felt like that on the drive. The thing rips pretty hard. You need to be careful driving something like this in rear wheel. I was worried of even going sideways a bit in a straight line. It was not what I expected, but it was fun to be able to drive this around, ripping 0-60s occasionally, and flying past cars when I was passing them.

The plan for the night is the swing a little closer to Zion. I end up staying in St. George, Utah. Dinner consists of a couple cookies and a bag of chips. I end up eating terribly on this trip, usually alternating between gas station food, fast food, and occasional burgers.

When I get to the hotel it’s after midnight. The guy at the desk is really upbeat. I’m not sure if I’m just used to the coldness of New York, but it’s refreshing to communicate with people who are all super friendly. He tells me to check out the narrows at Zion. I tend to follow recommendations, as they usually point me in the right directions. I thank him and retreat to the room for some sleep.

Fri 05/25

The drive to Zion National Park is a quick one. I get into the park, picking up an annual pass for $80. It gets you access to many of the parks in the States, and you can share it with one other person. So, if you’re looking to roadtrip the states within the next year, let me know and you can sign your name on the other spot and see the parks for free. Most of the parks on this trip have a car entry of $20-$30.

The park is pretty full. I’ve heard online and also from the rangers that this weekend is a nightmare weekend. The traffic is supposed to be a disaster. The congestion and people are supposed to be unbearable. But really traffic was fine for me in the parks at all times. I’m not sure if it’s coming from the NJ/NY area or how packed Times Square can be, but it feels really empty out here. Touting numbers like 30,000-60,000 people in a 200 square mile park doesn’t seem like much when Times Square is getting 350,000 people in an area that you wouldn’t even use miles to measure.

Zion is a nice park. In my opinion it’s one of the ones that is famous because of its location to a larger city. It’s a beautiful place, but it’s popularity is due to the number of people around it. It’s the third most visited park in the States, with 4.5 million visitors.

There are some great views.

Rockin out
Rockin out

I hike out to the narrows. It’s the narrowest section of the canyon. You walk along a river and there’s no way to avoid the trail other than to get your feet and shoes wet. The rocks make barefoot crossing probably very unwise. There’s a lot of people in the area and I’m a bit lazy to get a good shot of it.

Nature and the photography of it has been something of interest for me when I was starting out taking pictures. These days I’m a lot less interested in taking pictures of this stuff. I’d kind of rather just experience it. Going into the trip I was a little worried I wouldn’t be inspired to take many good pictures, but I think I ended up with some.

I don’t really enjoy a lot of the travel and nature pictures that a lot of people love. I kind of really despise that whole wanderlust instagram culture of pictures. I guess in some ways some of the shots I took on this trip are intentionally disrespectful to some of those photographers. I did some point and shooting out of a moving car. I didn’t focus stack any images. I didn’t use a tripod in some scenarios where I should have. I thought I wouldn’t go through the small effort of merging panoramas in photoshop (but I did a few of those).

In addition to my displeasure and changing tastes with the camera, there are often just a ton of really amazing pictures on Google. Go search Zion narrows and look at some great pictures. I’m not going to waste time taking a picture that someone else has pretty much technically mastered. There sure is a lot of room for creativity and exploration even in a format as classic as landscapes, but if I can’t find that creativity then I’m don’t want to waste the time getting the picture.

With that said there are some pretty generic old school style landscape pictures in here. And if you see an area where a picture is missing or don’t understand why I didn’t take the same iconic picture that everyone else has taken of an area, it’s probably do to some combination of the previous thoughts. Just go google it (or don’t since you already know what it looks like).

I actually kind of dig this next picture. Although everyone on the bus had a camera, no one on the bus was taking pictures. I kind of really liked the half open window. The left side provides a cool textured purplish filter, and the right gives you the open air natural shot. The real beauty of this picture (besides the little bit of speaker off to the bottom right) is the two tiny rock climbers that are perfectly framed by the window. If you don’t see them you can click the picture and check them out. They are along the left side of the V.

Two rock climbers
Two rock climbers

Pointing and clicking. This is a reasonable shot. Sure, it could be more perfect by getting a secondary subject in there and getting somethings more in focus. But also, we have access to really high shutter speeds, so we should consider using them. There’s not much of a difference in this picture if it’s being viewed on a phone, and in the end it’s kind of not all that interesting. It’s a picture I would have liked a bit more many years ago but now it’s rather boring. I think it’s a much worse picture than the one with the two climbers.

Point and click
Point and click

And pointing and clicking some more.

La la la
La la la

Zion is a nice park. There’s a lot you can of course explore and see. I feel like I had a nice quick view of it and decide to swing out to Antelope Canyon.

Antelope Canyon is one of those super popular wanderlusty spots. You’ve seen the images before. Even still it looks amazing and it’s worth checking out since I’m out this way.

I get to the upper canyon at 3:50 PM and miss the final shuttle which is supposed to leave at 4 PM. Tickets were $60 per adult and half that price for children! I think that’s completely unreasonable. I think to take pictures you have pay even more. Prices online say $80 to take pictures that I don’t even want to take. To be honest I would have paid the price. I was here, I don’t think I’ll ever be back here. I went up to the ticket booth and tried to buy tickets but was told it was sold out.

There’s no way to visit the canyons without a tour.

So I was beat.

I guess I’m going to spare everyone the embarrassing irony of a white man complaining about how the Navajo are unfairly hoarding resources and making absurd profits off of them, but $80 for entrance is pricy. I just paid $80 for entrance to all of the national parks in the country for an entire year for that price. The national parks are well maintained and doing so costs a lot of money. I want them to be around for people to enjoy, and I am fine paying that money because of the enormous costs that they are.

To all the Navajo, get your money. I have nothing but love for you all. Thank you for allowing me into your land to enjoy the beautiful treasures that you have respected so deeply for so long. You are really the og’s of a lot of important things. President Woodrow Wilson gets credit for national parks (thank you) but for people like the Navajo it is core to the soul to be respectful of the land and the energy that surrounds it.

This isn’t really my country. This is yours. I’m a visitor here. Ahehee!

Since Antelope Canyon was closed for the day I decided to swing out to Horseshoe Bend. Originally the plan was to try to catch the sunset here, but it’s too early.

I park and start the pretty quick stroll out to the lookout. There’s a little dust storm going on but it dies down quickly. No amount of wind will really hold me back from checking this out.

There’s a lot of people standing very close to the edge. Kind of impatiently cramming their way into a picture spot. I watch this and give myself a little time to get accustomed to the height. I’m waiting my time to get a picture. I’m not looking to slip over the side. The fall from this height would be 800 feet and sure death.

For me it’s refreshing that this spot has not been Americanized (yet). There’s no railing here. Construction is underway off to the side to put up railings and make the place safe (and also importantly accessible), but it’s refreshing that there are cliffs in the States that aren’t guarded. Where common sense and logic are the only things keeping you one either side of the drop off.

I get pretty close to the edge, but far enough away that it’s safe. Again, I’m not looking for an incredible picture here. I don’t have to inch to an unsafe spot. I don’t have to get the best shot ever from here. There are already many on Google. And unless I’m doing something different I don’t feel like putting in the work or taking the risk.

A simpler picture will certainly do. Horseshoe Bend is gorgeous. It’s as beautiful as all of the instagram pictures would have you think it is. It’s one of the nicest views in the country in my opinion. The number of tourists that have visited this area has exploded over recent years. What may have been a local secret is out drawing people from around the globe.

About as close as I was willing to go
About as close as I was willing to go

The sun is beating down. No Antelope Canyon. A quick sight of Horseshoe Bend. It’s nowhere near sunset. I look at the map and my itinerary of things I want to see on this trip and think I might be able to make it to the Grand Canyon for sunset. Seems like a win to me.

I hop back in the car and zip off. This is what I came to see. And it’s sunset as well. The Grand Canyon.

First I point and click at some cool scenery on the way. I generally have been turning up some of the colors in my pictures. Lately I’ve been messing around a bit with muting the colors. I kind of dig overexposing as a technique. It helps to rip out a lot of color and add whitespace in a pretty beautiful way. I guess some people will say it’s just a bad or improper picture, but I disagree. I acknowledge how basic and wannabe it might seem as well. In a world of minimalism and bad photographers, there are few Michael Kenna’s.

Shot this from a moving car, it's ok
Shot this from a moving car, it’s ok

I make it to the south entrance with plenty of light still up. Pictures should be pretty good with this lighting. This next one is one of the first views I get of the canyon. The lighting really makes it a beautiful place.

Grand canyon
Grand canyon

It’s nice because it fades out a lot of the iconic Grand Canyon colors. I’m not looking to capture images that are already available. Just looking to mess around with whatever might be interesting to me.

It’s fun shooting into the sun. I love layered rock formations, and what they look like at various stages of lighting.

Ok, I can dig it
Ok, I can dig it

And here’s another one shot with a kind of disappointing cheap 55-200mm Sony stock zoom lens that I picked up used for $100. I figure the autofocus alone would have made it worth it at the price. But I guess it’s better to save the money for better glass.

Meh
Meh

Here’s another shot from a different location.

Do you wanna see my rocks?
Do you wanna see my rocks?

The canyon is beautiful. It’s worth going to, although there are some more beautiful views on this trip.

I swing down to Flagstaff for the night off of a recommendation and grab a brew at both The Annex Cocktail Lounge and Hops on Birch. It’s nice to be at a bar on Friday during peak hours and pay $3-$6 for whatever craft beer you wanted. Everything is so much cheaper (or more fairly priced) than back in nyc.

I retreat to the hotel and grab some sleep. I have a long drive tomorrow that I did not think I would be making any time soon. Train crossings can occasionally cause a delay.

Kids were throwing rocks at the train
Kids were throwing rocks at the train

Sat 05/26

Not being able to make it to Antelope Canyon really opened up the schedule. I had planned on spending all day at the Grand Canyon today, but after seeing a couple incredible vantage points during really beautiful lighting, I think I’m happy enough to move on.

The goal is to get out to Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado. It would truly be an unexpected and amazing experience if I can get out there on this trip. More on that later.

First up is Oljato-Monument Valley. It’s on the border of Arizona and Utah, and like with many things in this area, in and around the Navajo Nation.

Some more overexposing.

Meh part two
Meh part two

And some more point and clicking with some more typical colors.

Oh come on
Oh come on

And a classic wanderlust shot of the road of this area that you might have seen done a lot better someplace else.

Look at me, I'm roadtripping
Look at me, I’m roadtripping

Monument Valley is beautiful to drive through. But in this heat I’m not interested in poking around for any more hikes. I really want to get out to Mesa Verde.

And I do.

Mesa Verde National Park. I’m back in Colorado. One of my favorite places. Although this is south west Colorado. Seven hours from Denver or Phoenix. Six and a half from Salt Lake City. Eight forty from Vegas. Five from Albuquerque.

Unless you’re making an effort to get out here, or a random day opens up in your itinerary, I’m not sure you’re going to find it so easy to make it out here and back.

So why is Mesa Verde so special? You will see in a second. I remember I think a half dozen years ago seeing my first image of this park. When I saw it, I could not believe that this was in the States.

It seemed too old. Too foreign. Too beautiful. Too historic. Surely Google or where ever I saw the image was wrong. This couldn’t be in the US. This couldn’t be in Colorado. In some ways seeing that picture set me on a journey to see this place. To verify that is was in fact here.

The distance had always posed a logistical problem. Mesa Verde was something I wanted to see, but not directly go to. So the chance to make it out here in the middle of nowhere was a really awesome surprise.

The drive up the park is great. Like many of the parks out here it winds upwards and provides some gorgeous vistas. It’s important to look at green after you’ve been looking at red for so long.

Red to green
Red to green

And a better picture in black and white.

A bit better
A bit better

The burned trees create an ominous feeling as you get closer to one of the coolest things.

The history here is old. 7500 BC sort of old. Lots of different people have been in and out of the area since then. Some of the most notorious people in this area created some absolutely gorgeous cliff dwellings at the end of the 12th century.

Social and environmental instability and a series of droughts caused the area to be abandoned, with inhabitants moving to other local areas.

The story is a great one. The sight is something just as incredible. The place does exist. A place that to me looks and feels so foreign that it’s hard to accept it as American.

Sure, we do a terrible job at honoring Native Americans. The entire history of coming over and taking these lands was one of the true great tragedies of the world (there are many). But cave dwellings? Of this complexity and this beauty?

This is America
This is America

This is one of the coolest things that I never knew existed here. And I’m really happy I was able to make it out to see it.

I take some time to reflect on what I’ve experienced and swing out to Moab so that I’ll be ready to see Arches National Park in the morning.

There’s not a single room available in town for the night.

Looks like it might be a night in the car.

I head out to the Moab Brewery to grab a burger and a beer. The bartender asks if she can get anything else for me. I ask her if she knows of anywhere I can crash because there are no rooms available. She says she’ll check.

A girl to my right overhears. She’s done up a bit more than everyone else around here. Everyone else at the bar is in standard Western local/visiting national park casual clothing. She looks a little too good for this bar. Her makeup is done more than anyone else, and not in a bad way, it’s just that no one else is wearing as much.

We start talking. I work out in Times Square and live in Jersey City. She’s originally from Long Island. She’s down here from Salt Lake City, taking a break from work. She’s thinking about a transfer to Rutgers. She’s also roadtripping around for a week. This might be my only chance of not sleeping in the car.

Conversation goes well. She’s a brain surgeon. I think the brain is a frontier that we have not stepped very far into. I doubt we will ever be able to truly understand it. I ask her if she thinks we can ever fully understand it. She says probably within thirty or forty years. I appreciate the optimism.

We talk about science and art. I think science is a prerequisite of certain artistic exploration. I think art is a lot more important these days. Sure, it’s great to have the things that science can give to us. But if we didn’t have the beauty and inspiration of pictures or other art forms, I’m not sure if there would be much of a point.

Apparently there are no pain receptors in the brain. There are in the skull and the lining of the brain. But once you move passed that you are able to do as you wish and the patient will not feel pain.

When you’re operating on the brain trying to remove cancer, there’s a tradeoff to be made. You have to remove a large enough portion of the cancer, but there’s really not much of a distinction between the cancer and the brain. There’s no clear point of delineation. It overlaps and becomes a single object. If you remove too much the patient may not be able to function. If you don’t remove enough the cancer will still be there.

The way you operate is to first put the patient out, rip the skull open, and get to the brain. Then once this is done you wake the patient back up. Then begins a process of removing a bit of the cancer/brain, and asking the patient a series of questions. For example, you show them a picture of an umbrella and ask them what it is. You show them a simple math equation and ask them to solve it, etc. If they answer correctly and there is still more cancer left, then you slice off another piece and show the patient another card. You continue hopefully until the cancer is gone, but more often until the patient starts to fizzle out. They might struggle to tell you that the image in front of them is an apple. That’s when you stop. You can always remove the cancer. But can you leave behind a functional person? She says that’s an example of art in the science world. I’d probably agree.

Dinner wraps up. We say goodbyes. I ask if I can crash on her floor. She tells me she’s sleeping in her car tonight as well.

With that probably goes one of the better chances I have of not sleeping in the car. I retreat to the Camaro, drive over to a packed parking lot of a Super 8, pull the back seat down, and layout half in the trunk and half on the folded down row of backseats. I hope morning comes soon and I don’t get woken up by security or police.

Sun 05/27

Sleeping in a car is something I wondered if I would be doing on this trip. It was nice to go through a little character building experience, but to be honest I’m getting a little too old and bougie to continue enjoying such things. It’s great to be humbled, but it’s also great to sleep in a bed, and have a shower to start off your day.

The really good thing about this situation is that I wake up at about 5:15 AM. I swing out to a gas station to grab some food and drinks, use the bathroom, and brush my teeth. I wiped down my body the night before with one of those bath wipes that I picked up from REI. They are really amazing. One wipe is probably equivalent to 60-80% of a shower. To be able to have that in your pack is pure joy.

I hop back in the car and make the short trip into Arches. The sun is just coming up. The unfortune of not finding a room has allowed for some beautiful lighting, and an experience I would not have had if I would have woken up around 10 AM. There’s not even really any people in the park. It has worked out well.

Arches has some gorgeous red rock. It gives you those iconic Western scenes that you might expect.

Don't catch you slippin up
Don’t catch you slippin up

I take the hike out to Delicate Arch. It’s a nice little uphill hike. At the top there are some beautiful narrow paths along a cliff. Two steps to the left and all is over. The top near the arch has a beautiful view. It slopes downwards into a drop off. You have to be careful here.

I find a place on a rock and sit down in a crossed leg kind of basic yoga posture. Behind me is a sloping dropoff. In front of me and to my left is the arch, and to the right is a sloping dropoff. It looks like this.

Look what I'm whippin up
Look what I’m whippin up

I go through a sort of a flow. Sitting up straight. Lowering my shoulders. Relaxing my legs. Clearing out my mind. Palms up and open to whatever comes. I fade away from the people taking pictures.

It ends up being a great experience. I occasionally open my eyes and peak out to this beautiful view. There’s a bit of a strong wind that picks up. It almost feels like it can push me in either direction, down one of the slopes. At one point two tears well up and drip down my cheeks. I’m not so sure why. When you close your eyes and meditate the outcome is not so important. You don’t have to analyze and determine why. Just relax and let go. The takeaway for me is to just accept the good things in life.

After some time, I unwrap my legs. I come back to the beautiful world around me. Look around and soak up the view. And head back down the trail.

Tree
Tree

I get to the car and swing out to Devils Garden. There’s a longer seven-mile trail here, but I opt for one that’s an out and back that’s about two miles. It takes me out to Landscape Arch.

Yea
Yea

It’s a nice trail. Arches is a really cool park.

Flowers
Flowers

Since it’s so early I have enough time to make it out to Bryce Canyon National Park. As I’m leaving Arches there is a line of cars starting to form. I don’t mind driving during the blazing hot heat of the mid-day. Getting into parks earlier and later has provided some great lighting and has often meant low traffic.

The drives out here are sometimes as beautiful as the parks. There’s a rest area that comes up that I pull into to take a little nap. The Eagle Canyon rest area is just a pull off. The view from it is an example as to how beautiful and abundant the nature and scenery is out here. There might be ten people in the rest stop looking at this view.

Parking lot views
Parking lot views

I get to Bryce. It’s freezing here for some reason, so I grab my trusty down jacket and throw it on.

I make my way up and around the park. There are some good views of these orangish rock formations that extend upwards from the earth.

Bryce
Bryce

I end up taking some pictures for some couples at one of the overlooks. One couple is from San Fran but is looking to move out. One day they saw an unusual amount of NJ license plates in town. They made a decision that if the saw one more by the end of the day that they would move here. At the end of the night there was an NJ plate on a car blocking them from making a turn that they were trying to make. They played a game with fate, and hopefully they will follow through.

I rarely set up the tripod to take pictures of myself or have people take pictures of me. The couple asks if I want my picture taken and I say yes. It’s the only one I have from the trip. It’s not really framed all that well. Angling it down would have given a much better picture, but ho well. Hair is still growing and I have the beginnings of a travel beard going, yay.

Bryce with me
Bryce with me

After hanging in Bryce, I swing out to Las Vegas. The nature and the parks are going to be behind me. It was a fast sprint out to some amazing views. I really enjoyed the scenery and the hikes. Forgetting about the busy city life and connecting with myself and the world. But I’m ready for some busy city life.

I get to Vegas pretty early. It’s about 9 PM. There’s plenty of time to go do something fun. After the night in the car and the grind of the travel, I decide to just take it easy and grab some sleep in the hotel.

Mon 05/28 Las Vegas

I’m not completely certain I’ll be staying in Vegas for the night. I’ve been here before, and while it was fun, I don’t necessarily have to do it again. I’m not interested in the casinos, the shows, the strip clubs, the shops.

I want to look at art but I’m not sure I’ll be able to find too much out this way. I find out about a place called The Arts Center. It’s sitting in the middle of a cool area called the arts district that I would recommend poking around if you’re interested in something other than the expected Vegas experience.

It’s Memorial Day so I’m not sure if it’s going to be open but it is. About half of the artists are here. Bringing in pieces, setting things up. I talk to most of them and they are all very welcoming.

Photography of art can be a touchy subject. I don’t want to take any pictures of anyone’s work who isn’t there to allow me to. I personally think photography should always be allowed. Me taking pictures of your stuff and spreading the word just allows you a little bit more reach. Who really knows who’s going to come through here and potentially see your work from some art place out in New York City.

I take some pictures with permission. Mostly textures and colors.

Colors and textures
Colors and textures

This is a piece called Red Poppy Meadow by Raleigh French. He’s here hustling about the building.

This is a bad picture of a good painting
This is a bad picture of a good painting

And I get the okay to take a picture of a beautiful sink. It’s not an intentional art piece, but I think the mostly subconscious decisions that went into creating the colors and patterns that you see are beautiful. Good luck making something this beautiful with the conscious mind.

Mixed media
Mixed media

It was great looking at some of the pieces that I could get access to. It was awesome to be able to talk to the artists and pick up recommendations for what to do next. I figure this is the place to find out the right next direction. Although I’m not a local, I’m able to connect a bit from working in Times Square. There’s an understanding that I have with people from Vegas who understand the similar bizarro world that I live in. I leave behind a group of people putting in the work needed to build up a cool space and head out to check out more of the area. (also, what up Rob!)

Outside I start to hit my stride with pictures. I’m back looking at art and cityscapes. The inspiration to shoot is back in a way that was lacking in the parks. The parks were meant to be explored and enjoyed, not really photographed by me. But give me some art or give me a city and let me poke around.

Cadillac looking pretty dope.

Back on my grind
Back on my grind

And although this next picture might not look like anything special, the key is in the holes that run along the bottom third of the picture. It’s not great, but it’s not as bad as you think it is.

Some good things going on here
Some good things going on here

I love some of the muted tones and colors that are out here. I think this picture is awesome. I love the mix of textures and materials and patterns and colors.

I feel it's fadin
I feel it’s fadin

I swing over to Makers & Finders Coffee off of recommendation. It’s a great place to pick up a cup. They’ll make the coffee however you want. I end up getting a cup of drip. It’s nice not drinking pretentious coffee.

A girl to my left sees my camera and asks what I’ve been taking pictures of. People out this way seem to just talk to you. In nyc people generally leave you alone. Out this way people see you and get to chatting.

She’s originally from Philadelphia. She writes a lot on paper. She’s reevaluating and figuring things out. She used to take a lot of pictures, but she doesn’t any more. She, along with many other people, have recommended container park.

We finish our cups of coffee after a while. I ask if she wants to hang but she says she has errands to run. It’s strange. You can have really good conversation with people here and they don’t want anything to do with you. Just a chat and keep it moving. Who chooses to run errands on Memorial Day? Not me.

We part ways and I swing into some of the antique shops. Antique shops are actually pretty cool. You can find some really awesome quality things at very reasonable prices. For example, you can pick up some sick cups or glasses for the same price as you would pay for some lame stuff from a store. It’s fun strolling around. It reminds me of my childhood hunting around the shops with my pops looking for those hidden gems.

Stuff: the series that should be
Stuff: the series that should be

I also swing into Las Vegas Oddities. It’s a store that has all kinds of strange and cool things. It provides for some decent pictures.

Legs for days
Legs for days

Some of the stuff in here is rather wild.

Roar
Roar

Afterwards I swing out to container park.

Don’t swing out to container park.

I heard is was a bunch of shipping containers that have been converted into food trucks and little art shops and things like that. Sounds like a really cool place. But when you get there it’s been super commercialized and it’s targeted towards kids. It feels like Disney or something like that.

I swing out to check out Fremont street off of recommendation. I’m not sure if I missed it but I didn’t see anything particularly interesting out this way.

I swing over to Atomic Liquors. I was out here the last time I was in Vegas. I’m hoping to catch the Warriors vs Rockets game 7, but the only thing on is the Vegas Golden Knights Stanley cup game 1. It’s being played live down the street and there’s a bit of a buzz around the city for the game. Cheapest tickets to get in were $700. They end up winning the game. The bartenders pour out a couple complimentary shots throughout the game for the entire bar for anyone watching the game. The shots pair well with a glass of KBS.

After the games I book a hotel. I just want something to drop my stuff off. Somewhere in the downtown. I’m not feeling the strip this trip. I thought I might swing over to it and mess around with pictures. But I’ve rather enjoyed the time I’ve spent keeping it lowkey in Vegas.

My hotel ends up being a casino with a brewery. I wasn’t planning on betting but if I found myself at a roulette table I’d put a $100 on black. I’ve done this two or three times before. I’ve never won. I usually watch the wheel and wait until red shows up, and then I’ll bet the next spin. This time I don’t wait. There’s no reason to. If you’re going to throw your money away you may as well get it over with. The wheel spins. The ball is rolled. It ends up on black. That just paid for my entire day here in Vegas (the hotel was only $50). It’s the first time I’ve hit. We’ll see what happens the next time.

I go step outside to grab a picture of some lights in the Vegas night. It’s kind of obligatory to get a picture, and the lack of lighting out this way forces me to take a picture that I rather prefer to some of the other lit up Vegas shots you are accustomed to seeing.

All of the lights
All of the lights

I grab a burger and a beer and retreat to the hotel to pack up for the return home. The 22 liter and the small camera bag pack with ease.

Tue 05/29

I hop in the car one last time.

Back to the rental car drop off.

Back on the plane.

The flight is mostly uneventful. I spend the majority of it going through and editing all of these pictures.

It’s a mostly full flight minus the seat next to me. It was nice to have a little extra room.

The one thing that was cool to see on the flight was the Grand Canyon.

From the ground I think it is just ok. You can get a feeling for its size and stature.

But from this high up you really see how amazing it is. It’s enormous. And beautiful. And this is the way to see it.

This is really crazy
This is really crazy

So that’s about it. It was great to swing into this pocket of the country that I have been close to, but haven’t exactly gotten to.

The nature was phenomenal all over.

Vegas provided another couple beautiful gems off of the strip.

It’s nice to have a break from the concrete jungle.

But it’s also nice to be back.

Jersey City feels like my home now for sure.

And New York City still is just as captivating as when I left it.

I like this a lot

JC, NYC, Coney Island

I’ve been spending most of my free time messing around with the camera. Strolling around fairly locally, seeing what I could find.

Not much commentary, which has been a growing trend as the pictures have been taking precedence to the words.

These next few pictures are within walking distance to my place.

When I was younger I remember thinking about street poles and all the staples that were stuck in them. So many long forgotten messages about what to see or buy.

Childhood memories
Childhood memories

The Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery is nearby. It was abandoned in 2008, but a volunteer organization has been slowly repairing it back to a well kept condition.

Any cemetery with a weather beaten Lowrey is fine by me.

An instrument graveyard perhaps
An instrument graveyard perhaps

And of course every good cemetery needs a cemetery cat.

Cemetery cat
Cemetery cat

It’s somewhat hard to figure out what some of these graves might be. I’m not sure if this teddy bear signifies a child was buried here, but someone cared enough at some point to leave this here.

Just a weird thing
Just a weird thing

Apparently in the summer there are goats here that are used to control the weeds. I cannot confirm that is case as it’s only the spring.

There’s some pretty dope graffiti out on 13th street.

Pretty cool
Pretty cool

I love the pack of wild dogs running along the sidewalk.

Pack on the hunt
Pack on the hunt

Some nonsense.

Blah blah blah
Blah blah blah

Razor wire.

Different than I remember
Different than I remember

And here’s a picture of plastic in a tree that I think looks kind of nice. I don’t exactly love the picture but I think it’s cool how closely the material and the branches intertwine together, forming this almost angelic figure.

Trash tree
Trash tree

Walked out to Liberty State Park one day. There’s an abandoned rail station here. You can get to some parts of it, but other parts you can’t access.

You no go here
You no go here

Stuck behind the gates.

Bars
Bars

It’s a rather beautiful sight.

Would be nice to stroll about here
Would be nice to stroll about here

You can of course get some good shots of the skyline over here.

City
City

Back inside offers some symmetric shots that shoot themselves.

Station
Station

And anotha one.

Umm ok
Umm ok

I’ve also been strolling around New York a bunch taking pictures all over.

This next picture is the building next to Boston Consulting Group’s New York offices.

Forgotten words
Forgotten words

There is some pretty nice housing over looking the High Line.

Yup
Yup

Oculus? Why not. It’s one of my worst pics of it but I love this building.

So basic
So basic

Brookfield Place, also known as World Financial Center, is a pretty terrible shopping center.

Meh
Meh

St. Paul’s Chapel and One World Trade. Not the best picture but I’m including it anyway. At one point (back in 1766 when it was completed) St. Paul’s was the tallest building in New York City. Now it’s the building behind it.

Meh part 2
Meh part 2

The cemetery at St. Paul’s.

Proper
Proper

Down underneath the FDR Drive.

Colors are nice
Colors are nice

With views of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Bk
Bk

I don’t think this picture translated well, but guess what, I’m including it anyways.

Had potential
Had potential

I’ve been working out in Times Square for some time now and finally got around to taking some pictures of it. Initially I wanted to shoot it in a way that I thought might be original. To look for things that others might not see. To take unconventional shots of it.

That mostly didn’t happen. What happened was the interesting subject was the people there. The mix of tourists and locals.

I experimented with kind of more traditional “street photography.” With being a creeper and taking pictures of people without them knowing. It’s actually quite difficult to get the focus down at these distances. People walk through the frame in a fraction of a second. So you need to get the composure, focus, and subjects all together very quickly or the shot won’t come out that good.

I’ve never really taken pictures of people much. I kind of always thought there was a lot more interesting subjects. But from this venturing out I think it’s something I might do a bit more of, or incorporate into my shots a bit more.

I think the annoying thing about a lot of people photography is the subjects that are chosen. Often photographers will look for a subject that looks “different” from them. This often leads to shots that photographers think are interesting that are really just offensive. Just because someone looks different than you, it doesn’t make it interesting, or even mean they’re that different. You’re just kind of conveying your ignorance.

It’s like a street picture of a “homeless” person. It’s more offensive than it is interesting. Homeless people look all kinds of different ways. And the fact that you went for the poorer looking person that you probably didn’t spend any time talking to or trying to understand the situation is annoying.

Idk. Photographing people is also intrusive.

It’s not very comfortable for either side of the camera.

And there’s questions of its ethics if you use it for your career or to increase your publicity.

Maybe I’m overthinking it all. Maybe not.

I didn’t expect myself to really get into it, and I’m curious how long this interest will last for.

So, that was a lot of words. Time for a picture. I like this picture. I remember capturing the classic local New Yorker in this picture. I had no recollection of the touristy mother and daughter in the background. The Times Square backdrop provides an interesting blend of colors. To me this is an iconic picture of the area. I’m old man dread deep in existential thought, while the absurdity whirls on around me.

I like this a lot
I like this a lot

This next picture is more of what I had intended to capture. I wanted to take lots of pictures like this of Times Square, but I only really every captured this one. You probably can’t tell where this picture was taken. It’s of temporary fencing that the police sometimes setup. The chain adds a gorgeous stroke of detail.

Times Square
Times Square

There’s a lot of pictures taken of Times Square. All the time. Even in terrible rain and snow storms. But I think very few people look for something like this.

More people. I think this lady was just blinking as she walked past the camera. She’s probably not as in thought as the picture might suggest. I kind of dig the backgrounds on these images. They’re like Vice City/Las Vegas trippy druggy mixtures of what my commute often reminds me of.

Blip
Blip

And one more, why not. I come back to this spot a couple days later and end up taking some better pictures.

Meh part 3
Meh part 3

I’ve been wanting to go to the Guggenheim for some time. For a long while I’ve thought it was a terrible design for a building. I’ve always thought the angled floors would make most art be perceived in ways that the artist hadn’t intended. And not in a good way. In a, rectangular painting hanging on a wall that has a sloped ceiling and floor and just looks terrible, sort of a way.

I end up walking up the museum’s spiraling staircase (idk what to call it). The walk up doesn’t work well. You often have to turn completely in the opposite direction to view a photo or piece of art that is on the opposite side of one of the short walls that breaks up the sections of spiral.

The decision to include the girl in this picture comes from the recent street/person photography I’ve been messing around with. I think she adds some depths to the picture.

Basic part 2
Basic part 2

One of my favorite things in the museum is this hanging metallic piece. There’s a lot of hanging pieces here, but the simplicity of this one and the view looking straight up is pretty awesome.

This is good
This is good

There’s a collection of younger artists’ work here, some as young as four years old. I like to spend time looking at this stuff in the same lens as the rest of the professional work. I’m not sure you could tell this elephant mask was done by an amateur, but I think it’s cool.

Elephant mask
Elephant mask

Also cool are these little guys. They were thrown on the ground by a professional artist.

La la laaa
La la laaa

As I head up the museum and get more into the natural light it feels like a crescendo of light. The sense of anticipation for what is to come becomes exciting. Finally, the design of this building (and the ludicrous $25 ticket) might all be worth it. Art has to be free and available to everyone. And while the Guggenheim does have it’s Pay What you Wish for two hours a week, the other 99% (this is the actual number) of the week’s hours are either paid or the museum is closed.

When I get to the top nothing magical happens. I snap a picture near the top. The building is beautiful, but I’m not certain it should outshine the pieces of art it houses this much. To be honest I think it speaks more to the lack of quality of the work within the museum.

When the museum is nicer than the art
When the museum is nicer than the art

I end up walking down and swinging out. The walk down is nice as it’s all downhill and easy enough on the feet.

Apparently I didn’t do this museum as it was intended to be done. You’re supposed to take the elevator to the top and then walk down from there. I kind of disagree that that makes sense as you’re eliminating that opportunity for the beautiful play on the natural lighting.

Idk, the beautiful architecture of the museum disappointed as much as I thought it might from a practical purpose. But certainly Frank Lloyd Wright knows more about how to build buildings than I do. It’s ambitious, and pretty beautiful inside, but it’s just a pinch frustrating. I would hate to be a curator here, although it’s challenges are what could make for some interesting displays.

Back outside the museum, where the King of Pentacles decides to show up again. I don’t think it’s the card for me, but there it is.

King of Pentacles
King of Pentacles

I love the colors in both the wall and on the lock and chain. These two colors (although I suppose there’s a lot more than two colors here) are ones that you will not often find out in the real world. These colors are beautiful and go very well together. And here they are at the end of a subway. A makeshift setup in which I don’t think the colors were even intentionally chosen.

Props to whoever did this
Props to whoever did this

And some more of Times Square.

Back and better
Back and better

Black and white looks good too.

I kind of like this
I kind of like this

And then back again on another day. I’m starting to shoot this place too much. This is on the walk up Broadway, maybe around 39th if I’m to guess.

Design week (I think)
Design week (I think)

I kind of like the mix of yellows in this picture.

Yellow
Yellow

And a storefront that I kind of like.

Let it consume you
Let it consume you

Also was able to make it out to Coney Island. It was a rainy day but it made for some pretty good pictures. I also want to swing back here when the weather is nice and it’s the summer. I thought it would be a lot similar to Asbury, but it’s kind of more similar to Seaside Park.

This was a throwaway
This was a throwaway

I didn’t stroll around too much off the boardwalk, but a block or two inward seems a bit sketch. I don’t know if it was just the dreary day but there was trash everywhere. Weeds that were taller than me. Buildings crumbling. Cop cars nonstop patrolling. Housing prices seem fairly pricy from what I can tell, but that might just be because land is so limited out this way. I guess it’s just a microcosm of everything else. Everything is shiny in season when the sun is out and life is good. But there’s a lot more going on.

The white color of the sky is a lot more interesting than if this was the boring clear sky blue.

Reasonable
Reasonable

They were cleaning up the boardwalk of some tables.

Nineteen tables
Nineteen tables

The old Parachute Jump. Aka the Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn.

Parachute jump
Parachute jump

A different view of it.

Sky was a beautiful color
Sky was a beautiful color

This is probably one of my favorite pictures of the group. It’s almost nauseatingly minimal and perhaps a bit Wes Andersonesque. The wind helped straighten the flag out just right. The red color is a gorgeous contrast for the muted greys, blues, and sands. I’m going to pretend the focus being on the beach is intentional. Having the flag be in the background of the image while at the same time being the obvious focal point is a kind of brilliant concept, but honestly I missed the focus. I don’t really know how I did outside of being lazy and putting too much faith in the camera, which normally is smart with its focus. I kind of prefer the picture better this way. The slight imperfections that we must learn to live with. I also love the desolation. The yearning. The desire for more. The simple beauty. How well a centered subject works here, when you’re taught to always put things on the thirds. No. I’m not doing that. I’m putting it right in the middle. The red catches your eye perfectly at where the edge of the world is. Look here. Look at me. Look at the vast emptiness. Except you don’t have to do that. Just look at me instead. Everything will be alright. We don’t have to contemplate the vastness right now.

Amazing
Amazing

I also like this next picture as well. It would be much worse with a blue sky and probably any more people. I love the whiteness of this. I love the dark contrast of the colors of everyone’s clothes. The almost annoying alteration of the lamp posts. I also maybe like the slight annoyance of me not lining this shot up. I feel like I’ve been so lazy with some of the little things with the camera. The lines the boardwalk makes should be a little more centered. But for now it’s an imperfection that I will learn to love. This picture reminds me of a similar looking one that I shot in Bali where the top and bottom thirds are whitespace, and the contrasting darker colors fill the middle third. It’s interesting how different the conditions where under which that was shot, but I’m curious if I can find more of these and put together a series of them.

Yea pretty good too
Yea pretty good too

More Coney Island.

La la laaa part 2
La la laaa part 2

This is why I thought Coney Island and Asbury were a bit similar. But really maybe it’s only in some of the older marketing.

Kind of thought it was Asburyesque
Kind of thought it was Asburyesque

I kind of like the background colors here.

Closed for the season
Closed for the season

Someone was braving the rain and wind to spend time reading.

There there
There there

And that’s about it. I’ve been jamming a lot of pictures lately and I don’t really think that will slow down too much.

Cheers.

Just wish this was a pinch clearer

Old and New

I guess this is an appropriate post for the day.

New Year’s is a time to both reflect on the past and look forward to the future.

Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about photography.

Initially it started with a desire to pick up some new gear.

After looking around I decided I wanted a mirrorless camera. The size and weight savings is important to me compared to the older DSLR technologies. The picture quality is just as good in most situations.

Surprisingly the leader in the mirrorless space is not Cannon or Nikon. It’s Sony. Cannon and Nikon fell asleep (they were arrogant and clueless) and Sony took over the market. I have no doubt that Cannon and Nikon will eventually make good mirrorless cameras, and people will stick around to support them because of the brand names and the amount of lenses available, but at the moment I am not buying any mirrorless bodies from them.

I initially thought I would want a full frame sensor. Bigger sensors generally lead to better pictures. But I decided to go with an APS-C sensor as in my opinion the difference between full frame and APS-C is negligible and the cost is significant.

If I want a bigger sensor I think the right move would be to go up to the medium format, but that’s not something I’m interested in at the moment from a creative perspective.

In the end you can talk about gear and specs forever, but it’s a lot more important to make a decision and get out to shooting.

I went back and forth and eventually picked up a Sony a6300 simply because I think it is going to allow me to take better pictures than any other camera (for myself personally). The lower cost of APS-C lenses and the money saved on the body allow me to pick up a couple lenses like the Sigma 30mm 1.4. I also have the Sony 16-50 kit lens and picked up the 55-210.

Almost everyone hates cheap kit lenses, but they are pretty versatile and useful. I shot many of the pictures on this site with my Pentax kit lens. That lens and the K-30 camera (which people also make fun of) taught me the basics of photography and allowed me to learn and grab some good shots.

Blah blah blah.

I debated selling my old gear but I might keep it around. The body won’t sell for much. And I don’t mind having my old zoom lens and macro lens. Both can be used on my current camera with a cheap adapter that I picked up.

I’ll post some pictures from the new gear later on.

But first, I decided to go through all of the older pictures that I took with my old gear.

I wanted to see what I was doing wrong. What I was doing right. What I overlooked. What I could have done better or worse.

I decided to grab some of these older pictures and edit them and present them here.

In my last post I said I took 10,000 pictures. But I was wrong. That number was somewhere over 20,000. Still not a lot, but closer to the amount that it felt like I took.

These pictures have not been included on this site yet. The intention is not to go through and make small changes or edits. But rather to look through all of the old pictures I had with a new mind and see if there was any interesting stuff that I did not previously post.

There were some pretty cool shots that I saw. Most of the more recent stuff is not included because I naturally feel those shots are shot and edited in a satisfactory way.

The first shot is one of the first that I ever took. It needs more room to breathe but I like the mood that the image portrays.

Mood lighting
Mood lighting

The next is shot from a plane as I was flying into Alaska. It was shot through a window that was overly blue saturated. I dialed that back a bit. I’m not happy with the colors here (it reminds me of the terrible coloring you see on a lot of instagram pictures), but it’s about as good as I can do.

You shouldn't like this coloring
You shouldn’t like this coloring

This next picture is one that I messed around with a while ago but was unable to make it work. It’s not as focused as I wanted it to be, but framing it this way allows it to be successful. I’m often torn with whether to make real life scenes that appear in black and white, to make them actually black and white. Usually it leads to a better image, but I think there is a beauty in keeping the natural colors. This image is a color image, although it portrays itself as a black and white.

Just wish this was a pinch clearer
Just wish this was a pinch clearer

Here is an interesting shot of some mountains and a glacier.

Glacier and mountains
Glacier and mountains

This next shot has amazing lighting. It was shot out in Colorado.

Lighting is great
Lighting is great

This next shot isn’t all that great. It’s of some steps shot out in Rome. It’s just ok.

Steps
Steps

These next two images are actually really cool looking. I was messing around with ISOs shooting a couple longer exposures one night out amongst the vineyards in Italy. The sun set late so you have this effect of a sunset and a starry night sky. The dandelions in the first picture give the grass a yellow color.

Really cool shot
Really cool shot

Surprised I missed these, but maybe I thought they were too similar to other pictures I posted.

Also cool
Also cool

This next picture is one from Casa Batllo out in Barcelona. I could see myself shooting something like this again current day.

Way too contrasted but I like it
Way too contrasted but I like it

This next shot is a mistake. But I really like it a lot. It looks pretty cool visually. But the cool part is that it’s a picture of the Eiffel Tower. It is common to see the typical pictures of the Eiffel Tower. But if someone showed me this picture I would like it. It’s not a common view of the Eiffel Tower. And I think maybe it’s more interesting than most pictures of it.

Better than most Eiffel Tower shots
Better than most Eiffel Tower shots

Here’s a picture of the Alps out in Switzerland. These things really just shoot themselves.

Nice rocks
Nice rocks

Redwoods out in Redwood National and State Parks.

Big trees
Big trees

A couple pictures from out in Chicago.

Alright
Alright

Should have posted at least one of these but never did for some reason.

Yea
Yea

And one from Milwaukee.

Yup
Yup

I took this out in Cambodia at Angkor Wat waiting for a lady to take a picture. She was taking forever to take her picture. I snapped an image of her out of frustration. To be honest it looked a lot better with her in the picture than with her out of it.

Better than the shot I was waiting for
Better than the shot I was waiting for

A shot out in Halong Bay in Vietnam of a cruise ship at night. I like to sometimes mess around with moving the camera during longer exposures although sometimes it’s looks cheesy or terrible.

Boat
Boat

Pancake Rocks out in New Zealand. It’s maybe my best picture of them although at first look through these pictures I didn’t think I really captured it.

Pancake Rocks
Pancake Rocks

And that’s about it. Those are a bunch of pictures from the past that I had initially overlooked. I think some of them came out rather well.

I noticed some patterns with some of the pictures that I had taken. I overexpose in bright light. I take a lot of pictures of oysters.

Overall it’s been a fun ride with my first DSLR. I’m excited for my time with the mirrorless to start. I’ve been messing around taking some pictures. The small size and weight means it’s been on me pretty much every day since I bought it.

Here’s some duck breast I cooked up. Was my first time cooking it and it was amazing. Also duck fat fried potatoes are a delicious side.

Kid knows how to cook
Kid knows how to cook

Here’s a box of white sage.

Kit lens yay
Kit lens yay

This next pic is a shot I shot messing around with connecting the camera to my phone. You can control the camera via your phone with an app. So for this picture I placed the camera down and activated the shutter with my phone. From there the photo is sent via Wi-Fi to my phone. I then edited my image on my phone with Adobe Lightroom. It’s not the best picture (it was probably 4 in the morning when I took this), but that is a very powerful workflow for someone if they have a need to quickly take, edit, and post their pictures to the internet.

Up super late
Up super late

And this final picture is a reason why I’m keeping my Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro lens.

Creamy bokeh
Creamy bokeh

So that’s it. Hopefully everyone is spending a bit of time reflecting on their pasts and looking forward to the future.

I hope every has had a great year and has an even better one coming up.