Tomorrow I leave for the Virgin Islands to photograph my very first wedding. I haven’t had much time to settle down here in Florida yet (I just moved a month ago), but oddly enough I’m excited to get away for awhile, especially to do something that I love for one whole week.
Because I’m hoping to attend graduate school and also pursue photography most people ask me, “What is it that you really want to do?” as though it’s odd to have two dreams in life. Maybe it’s odd, I don’t know, but my heart leaps to take pictures in the same way it leaps to do historical research.
I suppose the hard part is balancing the two with equal passion. Tonight I browse the web for scholarships to graduate school and tomorrow I leave the states to capture two people in love. Someday I might decide to do one over the other, but my life is like a story taking shape and for now I’d prefer to wait a little longer for the ending.
“The story was gradually taking shape. Pilon liked it this way. It ruined a story to have it all come out quickly. The good story lay in half-told things which must be filled in out of the hearer’s own experience.”
-John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat
After a two month hiatus, I finally found some time tonight to sit down and write. So much has happened in the past two months — at times it felt like too much — and finding just twenty minutes to write has been rare. I decided to move to southern Florida in October in order to establish residency for graduate school at the University of South Florida.
I managed to bottle up my entire life into boxes that are stacked up in the corners of my bedroom. St Petersburg is fairly large, much bigger than Madison, Wisconsin, and it’s been difficult to make this new place feel like home. I miss my friends, my boyfriend, Midwestern charm in strangers, the coffee shops, the beer, and especially the cheese. Oh my gosh, the CHEESE. As a born and raised Wisconsinite, I’m used to cheese aisles in grocery stores with fifty or more different kinds of cheeses to choose from. Florida doesn’t even compare when it comes to dairy products. Not even close.
Aside from missing the people, things, and places of Wisconsin, I’ve been able to find comfort in small things here in Florida. Perhaps the most reassuring thing about this state is the constant sunshine. The average temperature is 70 degrees all year round — I like that warmth and sun is something I can rely on almost every day. Part of my daily routine has been to watch the different patterns shadows make around the walls in my house from the sunlight that comes through the windows.
The light makes me feel a little more at home.
Erin, my oldest friend in life, agreed to be my model over the weekend. We went for a walk in a beautiful park on the west side of Madison and I snapped a few shots. Little did I know that later the same night Erin had gathered all of my friends for a going away surprise party! Best. Weekend. Ever.
Being surrounded by all of the people I love made me realize that this move to Florida is actually happening in less than three weeks; it felt like a dream until then. I can’t remember the last time I was so nervous, scared, and excited for something. My friends are absolutely amazing. I think it’s even safe to say they are the best people in the entire world. I will miss them so much.
Griffin and I went to visit his sister’s family and to take a tour of their gorgeous new home just outside of Madison. My favorite part about the house are the amazing French inspired doors that lead outside to an even more amazing wooden porch. I love porches. I love talking on porches, I love reading on porches, I love watching the outdoors from porches. So from the porch alone I give the new house a two thumbs up.
Cassie, Griffin’s sister, made us her classic yummy chili cheese dip and to my surprise the recipe only called for three ingredients. You MUST try making this dip — it’s quick, easy, and perfect for football parties and cookouts:
I was able to snap a couple shots of Griffin’s youngest niece Zoey. Aside from spewing her weight’s worth in mushy peas, of which didn’t seem to phase her at all, Zoey was downright adorable. And look at those feet! Tiny, tiny feet.
And the height of the weekend! Saturday night I got to meet and see one of my idols from the reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race perform at a club downtown called Plan B. Chad Michaels was the runner up in Season 4 and in my opinion, one of the best Cher impersonators — dare I day — EVER.
Griffin and I were actually about to go home after hanging with some friends all night, when they convinced us to join them in going to Plan B. I almost lost it when I walked in and saw Chad Michaels performing on the stage. We were able to snag a picture with her after the show!
My best friend was in town from North Carolina this past weekend and we went for an adventure walk behind her house! Morgan’s boyfriend (who’s also an amazing friend of mine) and her handsome dog Kota came along for the hike. And for the record, I wish I had woods in my backyard. So much for apartment living, right?
I made a photo montage of Morgan and Kota. Seriously, you guys, I’m way too addicted to making these photo puzzles. I need help!
“If I was Marty McFly,
I would go back to when we were nine, or ten.
And I’d be your best friend,
Say that I knew you when.”
This past weekend I finally did something I almost never do: I got in front of the camera lens and had some portraits done! Some photographers must like (or even think it’s fun) having pictures taken of them, but to me it’s absolutely uncomfortable.
I can set up a tripod and take my own photo, that’s no problem, but to have somebody else take my picture — now that’s a different story. I usually feel awkward and say things like, “What should I do next?” or “Does this look okay?” Luckily my boyfriend Griffin agreed to take the photographs, so I wasn’t nearly as terrified as usual.
I’ve had a few portraits ideas that I’ve been itchin’ to try ever since Autumn rolled around, and I also wanted some new and unique business shots done. Here’s a few fun ones from the shoot. Feel free to try these at home!