we went on a road trip [preview]






We went on a road trip, last week--up through the red rocks of Thermopolis, to flower covered rocky paths of Lander, to the craggy peaks of the Tetons. It was beautiful, and I can't wait to share my words + pictures with you--but for now, please enjoy some disconnected little snaps of the state. 

more soon // 


life in laramie vi.








i.

I listen, obsessively, to Arcade Fire as I drive around town, looking for features. The Suburbs was a life changing album, sure, but these days, Funeral, with its dystopian imaginings, seems more on point--and when Regine sings "My family tree's // Losing all its leaves", well, my heart constricts. 

ii. 

I'm getting restless again, but it's a different type than I'm used to. The dreams of Europe are still there, but they take a backseat to the allure of an open road. Of tiny American towns on dead end dirt roads, open plains and dust, sunburns, mountains--the music of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Pokey La Farge. I wanna be like Jack Kerouac [albeit less drunk], broke and drifting through the cities spread across the US, writing + photographing about everything I see. 

Jack Kerouac didn't have 570 dollars worth of minimum monthly payments for his student loans, though. 

iii. 

things keep getting better and better and i don't know why, and secretly, deep down inside, i keep waiting for the sourness to come back.

photography ii. // composition + "seeing it"

hiya friends!

I'm excited to bring you the second part of the photography series [for an introduction, click here]. Before I delve into inspiration + different types of photography, I wanted to take a minute to talk a little bit about composition first. It's the only skill I'm going to go over that sort of crosses into the technical side of photo, but I think it's really, really important.

Composition is something that makes or breaks a photo--you can have all the settings correct, be in a beautiful location, there's a sun setting, etc. etc. etc., but if you don't take a second and set up your photo, think about it before taking it....when you look at it later, something will be off.

The biggest thing to remember about composition is the rule of thirds--setting up a photo like there's a three by three grid over the scene



My favorite video tutorial about the rule of thirds is this one, which does a great job showing different ways to use that grid, as well as the importance of strong lines in your photos. 

The more you shoot, the more you look to set up a shot, for strong lines and patterns, AND, also, break the rules that I just mentioned. 

Below, I have a couple of photos I took of a homestead // ranch recently--when I looked through them, I was struck by the lines // composition--check it out. 



half + half sort of photo--with something taking up the bottom or top of a frame--is always good, especially for instagram. 


recently, i've been playing with shooting through things--using objects, or people, to frame subjects. it wasn't exactly an a+ job here [ideally, the fence would frame the cows], but it creates nice lines, especially here where the fence is both brown AND black 


putting something in the middle of a frame--another instagram inspired sort of composition 


i used the lake and mountains, here, to create a horizontal thirds, with claire to break it up. 


here, i used the porch of one house to frame another one--it draws your eye immediately towards the second house, and the porch supports, combined with the horizon, makes a nice little grid, of sorts. 


more framing. one of the things that i like about this photo is that the fence with the thin, little lines [and the mountains] are framed by the bigger fence slats, which looks really nice to me. 
 

this is one of my favorite photos. while it's super simple, there are so many lines here--diagonal ones on the left, then straight ones, and then the fence that leads out to the horizon. it's so nice, and would have made a great set up for a subject. 


another simple one that i think works really well. you've got the rule of thirds going horizontal, and there's kind of a vertical rule of thirds there as well--add the fence, and the cisterns going different ways, and it's an interesting composition. my favorite part, however, is the ladder going diagonal on the lefthand side--it's an unexpected little detail that adds to the scene. 

One of the things that I've learned over time is that the more you shoot, the more you "see" composition--the more your eyes become trained to find symmetry + patterns, and the more you think about it--both unconsciously [setting up a rule of thirds, aesthetically pleasing sort of shot] and consciously [moving around, trying to break rules, shooting something differently]. It takes time, but once you can 'see it'? It's a superpower. Use it wisely. 

thanks for reading, friends! part three up soon 


an [almost] summer saturday in saratoga






















We drive through the Snowies on a winding road that goes up and down mountains, with Hemingway the dog barking every time Claire puts on her blinkers. Saratoga is only two towns west of us, but in Wyoming, that means 90 minutes of driving.

An hour in, the landscape changes, oh so slightly--greener, rockier, different trees and bushes, a winding river, more ranches. We pull into town, and there's 10 minutes of panic, because no one has good service and google maps can't seem to find the campground--hence a wild drive through town, ending up at a dead end by the cemetery. It's up on a hill, past a wild network of dirt roads with tin-style buildings in faded yellows and reds.

Back East, camping is a pre-meditated thing. Sites have to be reserved a month or two in advance, and it's 20 dollars, 40 dollars, etc. But in Wyoming? We roll up to the site without a reservation, pay nothing, just set up our tents and go. Back down the dirt roads, we stop because there's a herd of deer chilling in the road, on the side--Hemingway likes it.

We're headed to the Yard, where there's live music playing. It's a big venue, with a deck that juts out onto the Platte. At this time of the year, the water is high and rushes fast. It's perfect weather--not too hot, not too cold, and the music drifts over from the live stage.

I meet a guy who--get this--has a handlebar mustache and eighties dad glasses, and identifies as an anarchist, and who corrects me on my Massachusetts geography [#mansplaining]. Claire and I have deep discussions over local IPAs, about travel and life and Africa. And towards the end of the night, I decide that it's time to dance, wildly and without care of what anyone else thinks.

The show is over by 10 p.m., and the hot springs are still open, so we head there next, changing into bathing suits in a bathhouse with no bathroom stall doors, stainless steel grey and deep blues with a concrete floor. It smells like sulfur, and it's hot--I watch the steam rising above the deep blue water, sinking into the warmth. Even though it's late, the place is still busy, with plenty of families and kids milling about. There's a sense of community, in the idle chatter and laughter, that's heartwarming. I close my eyes, and daydream about this summer's future adventures.

We go to bed early, rise early, and head back to Laramie. Claire and I spend a lazy Sunday lounging on the couch, napping and reveling in that feeling of being freshly showered after a night of camping--all warm and sleepy. Contentment.






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