Wednesday, May 26, 2010

On Vacation...

I'm getting out of town for Memorial Day weekend.  My friend said to me, "don't forget to take pictures."  I laughed.  How could I forget?  In fact, he should have said "please don't take too many photos, please."  Ha!

So I won't be posting for a few days, but I hope to come back with some beautiful photos to share with you.  In the meantime, please enjoy these taken during my trip to St. Lucia a few years back.  Looking at these gets me really excited for this next trip.  I'm *so* ready for more vacation!

(St. Lucia, photographed July 2007)

Sunday, May 23, 2010


My book club selected two books on Nazi Germany to read this month - the Book Thief and Maus.  I would recommend both wholeheartedly to anyone looking for something new to read.  But I'm not here to recommend books, and that's certainly not why you look at this blog.  No, I mention these books because they made me want to share these photos with you.

The Book Thief is set in a town outside of Dachau, and I felt particularly moved when I read of the long marches of Jewish prisoners headed to Dachau in that book, because, you see, I had visited Dachau when I was in Germany for work a couple years ago.

According to Wikipedia, Dachau concentration camp was the first Nazi concentration camp opened in Germany, located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory near the medieval town of Dachau, about 10 miles northwest of Munich.  It opened in March 1933 as the first regular concentration camp established by the Nazis and served as a model for other concentration camps that followed.  It's not clear how many individuals passed through and suffered at Dachau, but one source estimates that over 200,000 prisoners from more than 30 countries were here, of whom two-thirds were political prisoners and nearly one-third were Jewish.  Over 25,000 prisoners died here, with another 10,000 dying in subcamps established at satellite locations.  The number of deaths only increased as, toward the end of war, death marches to and from the camp weakened and killed scores of prisoners. 

Most of the buildings don't exist on the grounds anymore.  You can just see the gravel filled outlines of the buildings' footprints.  Skeletons whispering of the enormity of what happened.

 As is patently obvious from these pictures, it was a beautiful day. An oddly, strangely beautiful day to visit a location where such terrible atrocities were committed. The sky was bright blue, dotted with soft and puffy clouds. The weather was mild, neither too hot nor too cold. I couldn't believe how lovely it was. But it really made me think. There had to be beautiful days when Dachau was being used for things-too-terrible-to-write. Days when you couldn't believe how nice it was when terrible things happened in the world.

If you want to know anything more about these particular photos and what they show, please ask.

(Dachau, photographed July 2008)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Carnival Colors Continued

I received a lot of positive feedback on my prior Carnival photographs (thanks, guys!).  People raved about the colors, the costumes, and the creative cell phone positioning employed by the parade participants (look again at my post if you don't know what I'm talking about).  Well, it was one long parade, so lucky for you guys, I have plenty of more Carnival photos to share.  I'm probably going to overdo it here (carnival ad nauseam), but I hope not...

As way of background to the next few photos, I was in St. Lucia with two friends who are also avid photographers.  We all lined up at the edge of the parade route, big cameras in hand, ready to snap photos.  I loved taking photos that day.  But what I enjoyed almost as much was comparing the photos with my other two friends.  It's amazing the vastly different images we captured even though we were standing right next to each other during the parade. 

My one friend focused on action shots.  He was drawn to dancing, the stomping, the lively and wild shaking.  It was as if he was trying to record the soca music on print film.  His photos screamed movement.

My other friend focused on portraits.  He was drawn to the faces, the energy of each parade participant as they marched and danced about in the hot weather, and the spectators with their big eyes as the party passed by.  His photos were about individuals.

Me, I focused on the bodies . . .

A little scandalous? Maybe. But it's what really captured the carnival spirit for me.  A mass of bodies in glitter and shiny or day-glo (and often tiny-barely-there) outfits.

But just so you don't think I only took racy photos, here's some more PG-rated shots of Carnival to round it out, including one of a really adorable spectator (see, I didn't just focus on the bodies)...

(St. Lucia, photographed July 2007)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


This is Lensbaby-baby, or as I like to call it, lensbaby-squared (yes, I am a nerd).

As you might recall from this post, I recently bought a new lens system for my camera called a lensbaby.  I'm still learning how it works and trying out the various optics that can be swapped in and out of the lens body.  Like swatches back in the day, you can easily switch the parts depending on your mood.  So when my friend Nicole asked me to take photos of her baby girl Greta, I thought it would be a good opportunity to play around some more with the lensbaby.

Although it may not be everyone's favorite (I know a certain friend of mine calls lensbaby photos all a blurry mess), I like how these photos turned out.  Real dreamy and with soft focus.  Yes, soft focus - not blurry.  And if you look at the bottom photo closely or enlarge it, you can see some stars in Greta's eyes (seriously, I have a creative aperture disc that is star shaped that creates that effect.  Neat, huh?).  I can't wait to play around with my lensbaby more.

(Greta, photographed May 2010)

Sunday, May 16, 2010



(Not mine, of course.) 

Having liked the photos I've taken and posted here on my cute little blog, my friend Nicole asked me if I would be willing to schlep up to her neck of the woods (aka Morningside Heights) and take photos of her baby girl Greta.  She wasn't quite sure what my reaction would be to such a request.  Would I say no?  Would I say that it was too far away to travel?  Would I have better things to do?

Little did she know that it was an honor to this budding photographer.  To be asked to take photos for someone else means I must be good at this, or at least good enough.  Besides, having an afternoon to hang out with Nicole -- even without the joy of taking photos of such a cute baby -- would be fun enough.  (Hi, Nicole, miss you!)

So on Saturday I trekked up to see my friend Nicole and her baby Greta.  And what a beautiful baby!  This was my first time taking portraits of a baby (I'm usually confined to taking photos of my own cat, Bella, which is not quite the same), but Greta was a perfect subject.  Adorable, with big beautiful eyes and a lovely smile.  Maybe a bit of spit-up, too, but that was for mommy, not photographer, to have to deal with.

I think this is probably the most photos I've included in one post, and I hope I don't bore you with them.  But it was even hard picking just these nine to post.  Lucky Nicole is going to get a few dozen more great shots for her album.  And, who knows, I might do another Greta-centric post.  Who doesn't love baby photos?

p.s.  if you want me to take photos for you of someone or something - just ask!  seriously!

(Greta, photographed May 2010)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Colors of Carnival

I never took a "bar trip" - that is, a big vacation post-law school and post-bar exam (hence "bar trip") to celebrate the last summer as a student before starting a legal career.  Nope, I finished my bar exam, and the next day I was packing up my stuff in a u-haul truck and driving cross-country with my dad, and within the week I had started my clerkship.  I toiled away, reviewing briefs and writing memos, while my friends from law school went to Europe, South America, wherever their passports would take them.

My clerkship, however, was fabulous.  I made a great friend (hi, Cindy!), who also did not get to go on a bar trip (but then again, she didn't have to take the bar either.  Diploma privilege in Wisconsin.  Lucky her).  We worked long hours and then even longer hours, before deciding that we needed to plan a trip.  A nice long trip for after our clerkship.  We found four other friends and together decided to escape to St. Lucia for two weeks. 

And what a fantabulous vacation it was.  We rented a house on one part of the island for one week and a different house on a different part of the island for another week.  We went to the local jump-ups, climbed up a mountain, went horse back riding (bareback into the ocean even), took a boat to Martinique, went snorkeling, did the zip-lines, hiked, lay by our private pool, went shopping at the market and cooked our own fresh meals...

and went to Carnival.

We hadn't planned our trip to St. Lucia so that we could attend Carnival.  I mean, I didn't even know tht St. Lucia had a Carnival when we booked our trip.  I just knew that I wanted to go to a beautiful island where I could play and relax.  But when we got there, and found the festivities going on, I was thrilled.

I loved the colors.  I loved the costumes.  I loved the glitter.  I must have taken dozens and dozens of photos (don't be surprised if you see another carnival-related post in the future).  The music was great, too, but I couldn't capture that with my camera.

Looking at these photos really makes me want to go back.  Cindy, is it time for another trip?

(St. Lucia, photographed July 2007)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Look What the Stork Brought...

I'm a proud new mama.  

But not of a real baby (and certainly won't be for a while) and not of another kitten (even though last post still really makes me want one).  Nope, I got a lensbaby.  I'm such a sucker.  I love that name.  Lensbaby.  Adorable.  If you know me, it should come as no surprise that I first read up on this lens system because I thought the name was cute.  Too. Darn. Cute.  And I'm a sucker for its packaging, too.  When I opened the box with my new lensbaby in it, on the top was a green pamphlet with "mama?" written on the front, like it was a baby bird hatching and asking if it belonged to me.  Yes, such a sucker for those things...

But cute gimmicky names and packaging aside, I think it's going to be a great addition to my camera bag.  Mind you, it will never be my primary lens.  But it's a type of camera lens that allows for some really creative effects.  It tilts and spins around to allow for selective aperture affects and comes with four different optic pieces that can be swapped out (kind of like swatches back in the day - they even come with bright neon colors to distinguish between them). 

I bought my lensbaby on Friday, and by Friday night I was snapping photos.

 These are just some slightly random shots taken around new york as I played with my new baby. The first four photos were taken with the double glass optic (for those of you who have now looked up the lensbaby).  These last two photos, my subway shots, were taken using the single glass optic, which is supposed to create a vintage or dreamy feel to the photos.  I think it works.

Now to the nay-sayers that say "who needs this lens when photoshop can achieve a lot of the same effects?", I must answer that I really don't like using photoshop.  For me the fun is getting what I want using my camera, not my computer.  Besides, lensbaby requires me to work in manual mode, which will finally force me to really get to know how my camera works. I often (read: usually) shoot in automatic mode.  Not with my lensbaby though.

(nyc, photographed with lensbaby May 2010)