Monday, December 21, 2009

Target Tree

Travis and I normally get a 6' real tree at Christmas. We go to a Christmas tree lot, tromp around for a few minutes selecting the perfect tree, tie it to the roof of the car, hack off the bottom of the trunk in the driveway, drag it through the door, and then futz with the tree stand for half an hour, but this year, because we were out of town all last week and didn't want a live tree in the house with no water, we opted for an inexpensive 2' pre-lit Target brand Christmas tree in a lovely little red pot that matches my furniture perfectly. We bought a bag of cranberries and each made a garland, and from the Target paper sack, I cut out a star for the top of the tree. It's our low-key, effortless Christmas tree. Next year, we'll pick up our regular traditions again.

If I don't have time to post in this space again this week, I hope you all have a very memorable and happy holiday. May you get everything you wish for!

Friday, December 11, 2009


In my attempt to cross off #9, I checked out and got extremely excited that there were so many booths in the SLC area. Last Saturday, after bowling in the desert in a snow storm, my friend Christina and I drove to the first booth on the list in Murray and found that it was no longer there. The clerk I asked even laughed at me. We trudged back through the snow and decided to call the other Kmart stores and of the four others on my list, only one store still had a booth: the Woods Cross Kmart. We drove there, got some change from the customer service booth, and I climbed in. These five strips are the results. The fourth frame on each strip was black so I edited it out. I'm happy we spent some quality time at the Kmart, even though I wanted to wash my hands and my clothes afterward, but #9 is officially off the list.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Into the Woods

My book, Into the Woods: A Season on the National Forests is now available right here at Blurb! It's a collection of photos I made over the summer as I worked my way through 11 national forests and 132 campgrounds during my seasonal contract with the US Forest Service. As I traveled through campgrounds in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Nevada, I hauled along various Polaroid cameras, toy cameras, and my beloved K1000, and burned through a lot of film, and even a few pixels now and then. I'm offering the book as a softcover option only, in hopes of making it affordable. It's square, 142 pages, and has over 150 photos inside, color and b/w, and I'm just really, really excited about it. I hope you'll check it out and consider adding a copy to your bookshelf.

Monday, December 07, 2009

16, 25, 9, 27, 28, 2


It's not often that I make two posts in the same day, but so much has been going on lately and I feel like all of my NYC photos have put me behind. This second post of the day is to tell you about a revamped and exciting Words to Shoot By. A couple of weeks ago, I invited 10 new contributors to the project and simplified it for all of us. We're still posting every two weeks, but each post will likely contain photos from a differing set of photographers instead of the same set of people every single time. I'm so excited for the change, the updates, the new photographers involved... This has renewed my energy for the project and I'm just so happy about it. I hope you'll check it out.

In other news, since my birthday is fast approaching, I've been working hard on crossing as much as I can off my list. This past weekend, I was able to cross off #16 (photos to come soon) and #25, and I'm thinking it's safe to cross off #9 as well due to the fact that I've hit every photo booth in Northern Utah, all thanks to my pal Christina. I also just crossed off #27 and #28, and #2 because I feel that my new book, Into the Woods, is close enough. I will post photos of the book soon, but go to Blurb to check out a preview. I'm so happy with it! I am hoping to cross off a few more things within this last month. Wish me luck. I had so much fun with this project that I've decided to make a new list for my 32nd year. Thanks once again to the lovely Andrea for the inspiration and her love of lists. She's a girl after my own heart. So, on January 6th, look for my second birthday list. I've been jotting down items for a couple weeks and I'm getting pretty excited about it.

I'll be posting lots of photos in the next week so I hope you'll check here and on my Flickr photostream. I shot my first pack of Polaroid Chocolate out in the desert this weekend, some more Fuji Instax Mini minis, and I have five nerdy new photo booth strips to share. Here's to a great week!

New York City #5

I meant to post day 5 last week, but got completely sidetracked by all of my day 4 photos... So day 5, my last day in the city, didn't start out with an A train ride to 14th and a walk to Murray's. Instead, it started off with a little sleeping in, breakfast at Heather's, then the A train to 125th, and a cab ride to LaGuardia. I was headed home. I thought for sure that it would take a half hour at the very least to get through checking my bag and going through security, and I didn't know how crazy the airport would be (because everyone says how crazy LaGuardia is), so I got out of the cab three hours before my flight left. Well, I'm now considering LaGuardia to be the Boise (Idaho) International Airport of New York. Boise is tiny and is never busy. Ever. I was through check-in and security at LaGuardia in five minutes flat. Five minutes! So I had three whole hours to kill in a boring airport. Ugh. I knitted a little, watched Once again and a few other videos on my iPod, walked up and down the C terminal, and had a delicious soft pretzel from Auntie Annie's (I think). It was not a bona fide New York City pretzel, but it still hit the spot. Minutes later, I finally got on the plane.

We landed at Chicago Midway 15 minutes early, meaning I now had a 3 1/2 hour layover in the airport I had just spent 3 1/2 hours in five days earlier. I walked up and down the A, B, and C terminals for an hour before I got dinner at Potbelly Sandwich Works, which has a pretty tasty Italian sub (my favorite sandwich in the world), then walked A, B, and C again for an hour, then grabbed some pumpkin cheesecake ice cream from Ben & Jerry's, and went to my gate to chill for a little while. I eventually boarded the plane, then a flight attendant made the announcement that we were waiting for two passengers whose connecting flights were delayed, and there were audible groans from other passengers, and there we sat for 30 minutes before they finally arrived. Luckily though, I think Southwest adds a good half hour onto their arrival times, because we "made up the time in the air" and got in to SLC a half hour early. Yay!

I had an amazing time in New York, and was so lucky to have a wonderful tour guide and friend to show me around and show off all the cool places. I just loooove New York City now and can't wait to go back. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you Heather! You rock.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

New York City #4

Sunday was a different day. Heather got stuck at a photo shoot all day with Sarah Silver, so I got to roam the city myself. I started off by - you guessed it - riding the A train to 14th, then a short walk to Murray's Bagels where once again, I got an onion bagel with chive cream cheese and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Since this would be my last morning with time to go to Murray's, I bought a half dozen onion bagels for my dad and toted them along with me ALL day. I smelled of onion, and not just faintly. People around me probably thought I had a hygiene problem, but my dad was so happy with real New York City bagels, so it was worth every pungent second. You just can't find a real bagel in Utah.

I got back on the subway and rode to Penn Station at 33rd Street, and that was the first time since arriving in NYC that I saw a few crazies. A little shocked, I quickly walked along 8th Ave to 34th Street and B&H Photo, the superstore. I'd heard about the conveyor belts and the Orthodox Jewish men working there (with names like Moshe and Shlomie), and just how different it was from any other photo store, but that was only half of it. I didn't realize it was three levels of photography and various technological wonders, and I surely didn't realize that there would be a million people there. It was a very cool experience. I bought a small stash of my new favorite film, Kodak Porta 400NC in 35mm and 120mm. It has the most beautiful tones and the grain is so small it's almost unnoticeable. Sorry Fuji. I jumped ship. I wanted to pick up more Fuji Instax Mini film though, but it was out of stock.

Back at Penn Station an hour or so later, I hopped on the A train to 81st and the Museum of Natural History. I walked around for three hours inside probably the coolest museum ever, burning through a lot of film on butterflies alive and not, gems, minerals, fish, human skulls, and of course, the amazing animal dioramas. I never shoot with a tripod and I didn't have one with me, but after all the long exposures and breath-holding, I sure wished I'd had one. I happened to glance outside in the afternoon and realized that the golden hour was fast approaching so I hustled outside and walked along Central Park West, past a small farmers market with fresh meats and cheeses, milk, and hard pretzels, which I should have brought home for my dad. I still regret not buying a bag. Sorry, Dad.

I turned the corner and headed into Central Park near the lake and for the next two hours, stopped practically every ten feet. The weather was sublime, and the sunshine gorgeous and warm. I shot more in that short time in Central Park than I did the entire trip. Leave it to me to go all the way to the concrete jungle of New York City and come back with nature photos. I walked autumn leaf-lined, meandering trails around the lake, past the boathouse where I picked up some delicious frozen chocolate custard, to the Bethesda Fountain, up through the terrace, past Sheep Meadow, Tavern on the Green, and out to Columbus Square. I could spend days in Central Park, and maybe I will next time I go back, but I'll be sure to take a lot more film.

Once at Columbus Square, I jumped on the D train to Rockefeller Center where I got to hassle the Top of the Rock front desk people about letting me use my expired City Pass to go up for free. The night before, we tried to go but doorman Frankie said no one was going up because there was zero visibility and to just come back the next night, which was Sunday. I argued and argued and finally, they let me through for free. Apparently Frankie was misinformed and I hope I didn't get him in trouble, but I sure as hell wasn't going to pay $21 more to get to the Top of the Rock when I'd already bought a City Pass. I think I displayed a little New York attitude, but it worked (and I know I sound like a big dork saying that). I rode the elevator up to the lower observatory and the escalator to the middle observatory and started taking pictures, and once again got really funny looks when I whipped out the Polaroid. It was dark out, but the weather was lovely, so I found an empty bench and called my dad. As we were talking, a couple on the bench next to me got engaged and the girl was jumping up and down and screaming. He must be quite a catch! After about an hour, I rode the elevator down and walked around the corner to Magnolia Bakery again. I wasn't about to leave New York without one more delicious cupcake. I set the little white box inside my messenger bag and hopped on the D train to Columbus Circle and transferred to the A and headed back to Heather's. For a small town girl, I am so very impressed with myself for navigating the subway system and a few of NYC's streets. It has given me a lot of confidence in public transportation and solo traveling, but I'd still rather drive my car most days and travel with my husband or a friend. But I did it!

I got home to Heather's around 7:30 and organized all my stuff and packed my suitcase because the next morning, I was headed home. I got out my iPod, dug into the cupcake and watched Once for the very first time. I absolutely fell in love with it and can't for the life of me figure out why it took me so long to see it. I watched a few other things on my iPod too, talked to my sweet husband on the phone for a while, took a nap, and finally Heather came home around 1AM. I got to buzz her in downstairs from her apartment above and I felt all big city-like. At 2:30, we finally went to bed.

Last day tomorrow...

New York City #3

Saturday began just like Friday, with the A train to 14th and a quick walk to Avenue of the Americas for more onion bagels and chive cream cheese at Murray's, and yet another visit to the Rite Aid across the street. My umbrella broke Friday and Saturday was pretty rainy so I had to grab a new one. We stopped at Urban Outfitters on the way back to the subway, and I fell in love. I’d never been in one before even though there’s one in SLC. I got a new scarf and something I’ve had my eye on for a long, long time, the Diana+ Dreamer. How could I pass up seafoam green? I thought if I were going to get the camera anywhere, it had to be in New York City, a place full of dreamers. I found it very fitting.

Back on track… After dropping cash on more non-NYC souvenirs, we caught the subway to Times Square and walked to Pier 83 to board the Circle Line for our three-hour touristy boat trip around the island. It rained most of the time but it was so fun. We sat on the top deck just under the covered part, and sipped really bad hot chocolate and ate Fat Witch brownies from Chelsea Market. Once we got near the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, we shot a flurry of photos, then hunkered back in our spots to keep dry. I would definitely go on another Circle Line trip. What a great way to see the city!

Next on the agenda was pizza from Grimaldi's in Brooklyn, Heather’s favorite NYC pizza place. We thought about taking a cab across the river but decided that our hunger could wait so we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, and It. Was. Amazing. Definitely the highlight of the trip at that point (but every time we did anything, it became the new highlight!). I think it took us about an hour to get across because we couldn’t walk ten feet without having to stop to shoot something. Once off the bridge, we waited in line at Grimaldi’s for only five minutes and then had a delicious Margherita pizza and some really great people-watching. Grimaldi’s crust was yet another of those things I’d fly all the way to New York for.

We rode the subway back across the river to 57th Street and walked through the Apple store and then FAO Schwarz where we bought a ridiculous amount of candy. I wish I bought more gummy sour Cherry Coke bottles! Sugary snacks in hand, we headed to Magnolia Bakery at Rockefeller Center for even more sugar. I got a vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to enjoy another cupcake in Utah again. Magnolia takes the cake! We quickly stuffed our faces as we filed into Radio City Music Hall to see the Christmas Spectacular, the new highlight of the trip, and it was nothing short of spectacular! I don’t think I blinked one time in the hour and a half I sat on the edge of my seat, and I still don’t believe I actually saw the Rockettes with my own eyes. I felt like a little kid, just dazzled and amazed at the dancing and music and 3D show in front of me. So, so cool. We left the theater dazed, and walked past the Ed Sullivan Theater to the subway, hopped on and rode home. And just like Friday, I can’t believe we did all of that in one day!

Only one more full day to report! Thanks for tuning in, and if you'd like to see more photos, there are lots more here, with many more to come.