photo wall series part I

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I set up this wall in my room to display some of my favorite photos. The photo wall has two rules: 1) I must have taken the photo, and 2) there must not be distinguishable faces in the photos. Because most of the events I photograph don’t follow the second rule, this has proven to be quite the challenge. The wall has allowed me to sharpen my eye for photographs that I might not otherwise take.

In this series, I will go one by one along the wall, giving context about each photo and allowing my work to receive some well-deserved exposure outside the comfort of my bedroom.

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Each spring in Texas the bluebonnets bloom like crazy for a few weeks and then disappear again until the next year. It’s very common for teenage girls, children, and families to go fields of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes to have their portraits taken. One of the reasons I’m fond of this picture is because when I first got my camera, I didn’t have many subjects besides flowers or my dog. Some may find it boring to shoot still objects all day (especially when you have a brand-new camera that you are ready to whip out every two minutes) but I liked it because it challenged me to get off auto and learn how to shoot in manual (and manual focus!). It may be a little elementary, but I still love to take pictures of flowers.

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At Arlington National Cemetery in D.C., there is a memorial for JFK called the Eternal Flame. I was curious whether the flame really is eternal. Turns out it has gone out a few times, but there is some kind of automatic lighter when it does go out from the rain, etc. Admittedly, there is really nothing extraordinary about the picture except for the cool-looking fire..

Overall Arlington was a memorizing place to visit, and the reason I’m not talking about it much here is that I have some other posts lined up to discuss it in full justice.

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This was taken in the summer of 2013 while waiting in line at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas. As an incredibly popular attraction, to eat at Franklin one must show up very early in the morning and wait outside in the southern heat for hours before they finally open up. Meanwhile, waitresses will walk along the line selling drinks and taking orders. And when the doors finally open, there is very limited seating and they are open until they sell out (which, believe me, doesn’t take long).

I took this photo with my old purple point-and-shoot Kodak as I sat on the curb in line. When I returned to Franklin a year later, there was, in the same place, some very expert graffiti of a long-snouted dog propping its head up with a human hand.

You may recognize Austin for its “Keep Austin Weird” slogan, but it’s more than just weird. It’s a fantastically unique city, and I love it there.

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This last simple photo is of my house plant, a cactus named Zimmerman. I bought him while I was quite interested in spirituality. I thought purchasing some succulents would bring me peace. Sadly, Zimmerman’s partner, a globular plant named Archibald, died at my inattentive hand.

I thought that having plants would bring me the same type of peace I feel when my dog sleeps in my bed. The ability to take care of something alive is a skill I’m still trying to learn.


In this series, I don’t plan to present anything eloquent or extravagant, and I won’t even be showing my best work. But photography is about taking risks and making discoveries.

And I think it’s about sharing them, too.


next up: more on D.C., Williamsburg, and suburban sunsets.

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a change of pace

I’m usually not one to write “slice-of-life” blog posts, but today was a relaxing juxtaposition to the tone of my previous posts. Perhaps I wanted to show that, when left to my own devices, I don’t always have to be so serious and pensive.

While I should have urgently been working on my scholarship essays, the course of my day was predetermined after I slept in two hours late. (Hey, there are three days left to write those essays, right…?)

So I felt unashamed to spend the afternoon decorating the family Christmas tree and making holiday cards for my friends and family dispersed across the country. As I was working, I realized this would be my first Christmas with my Canon. Naturally I grabbed the camera and started shooting.

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Here’s a bonus photo of my dog, who didn’t exactly know what to think of the tree. When I was taking this, she was lying so still that I lowered my f-stop to 1/8!

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My next post will focus on my photography and revisit my time in D.C.