Tag Archives: stories

{total solar eclipse}

22 Aug

i drove down to columbia, south carolina to watch the total solar eclipse yesterday… and i’m so glad i made the trek! admittedly, i did not do as much preparing as i would’ve normally done… particularly because it kind of came together last minute. originally i had wanted to go to greenville, sc – which is where i was born {and supposedly where the highest totality and visibility would be}, but it all worked out rather nicely and i’m thankful to have been where i was… especially because it was also my mama’s birthday yesterday.

i didn’t have time to make a pinhole camera, which i really wanted to do, but of course i had a camera. if you follow me on instagram, i hope you saw the story… it was fun to create.

it was important to me not to get too caught up in taking fotos, because i truly wanted to enjoy the moment {two minutes, 36 seconds to be exact} 🙂

i shot these images with a 50mm lense… which, of course, isn’t ideal for something so far away… but i kind of liked showing the sky and having the tiny sun and moon fill up a tiny amount of space. i didn’t have a special filter, so i simply put my eclipse glasses over my lense. i thought about using my zoom lense, but like i said, i was more concerned with being there to truly witness the moment… it’s a hard balance sometimes, as someone who loves to take pictures… but i have been challenging myself to “capture the moment with my mind,” from time to time. this was one of those moments.

i took a few pictures of the crowd as well, but i wasn’t super thrilled with most of them. i think i was just too caught up in the experience to really take very many fotos… and i’m okay with that.

it was a truly incredible event and the sky was perfectly clear for the duration of {almost} totality. the crowd was wonderful, the vibe was awesome, the beer was delicious {i drank a special ‘black ipa’ aptly named, “blackout”.} i feel very fortunate to have been where i was during the eclipse. we reached totality around 2:30 p.m. in columbia, south carolina. the temperature dropped, the moon inched in front of the sun, making it as dark as night… the crowd went wild, people screamed and hugged and kissed… it’s kind of hard to truly describe how marvelous it was to see it all happen. the energy felt very intense to me… and as someone who has always admired and been in awe of the stars, it was a lot to take in… something for the history books, indeed.

i’m still buzzing from it all ❤

       

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{it’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood…}

6 Jun

here are some pics from a stroll i took last month, when springtime was peaking and i was tickled to find a bunch “life” happening… ! 🙂


 

there are so many turtles around these parts!

tons of beautiful blooms, as well!


Continue reading

{memories in manhattan – volume 5}

15 May

even though i don’t miss the winters in the northeast, or winter in general for that matter, i did enjoy the variety of weather that seems to roll in and out of new york. particularly, the evening rain. there’s something about a late night drizzle… it seems calming to me.

as i was looking through old fotos of my days living in new york, i came across a fun memory of a time when some visitors came to town and i helped them squeeze in as many “tourist attractions” as possible, since they were only there for two days. it made me feel pretty cool when they asked for suggestions. maybe because it made me realize that i had been in the city long enough to not only know my way around, but to be somewhat of a tour-guide.

one of my favourite places to visit and view the city was the empire state building. being able to experience the city from that perspective is something to behold. i only visited the empire state building twice during my time living in nyc, and both times were memorable and exciting. this particular night was memorable because it was very cold, and very wet. it was one of those kinds of rain that was almost like a mist, making the visibility low and the mood high.

the way way top

when my friends and i decided to go to the top of the empire state building, we didn’t realize that the very very top would be closed off due to wind and the aforementioned low-visibility. my friends didn’t care, and neither did i. by the time we decided to make our way to the destination, we had already been wandering the city for a good hour, sans umbrella… and it didn’t seem to bother any of us. besides, a huge part of the experience was being together – and for me, seeing the excitement on their faces, and living vicariously through their enjoyment. furthermore, the line was much shorter and there were fewer people on the tour… so it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.

because of the rain, i found myself taking less fotos and spending more time reveling in and soaking up the moment… and doing my best to keep warm!

if i close my eyes, i can whisk myself away to some of those moments, and revisit and remember the experience so richly.

i love his hoodie

i love my hat

did i mention that these friends of mine are like the empire state building… in that, they are very very tall?!{especially standing next to me – haha!}  😉

 

{memories in manhattan – volume 4}

3 Apr

a good friend of mine just reminded me of an annual event that takes place in union square park, lower manhattan. it apparently just happened last weekend in new york, and i was reminded of the time that i was fortunate to be in the mix, camera in hand.

i’m talking about the ‘annual pillow fight’ 🙂

i’ll never forget the hilarity of this day. it was a sunny afternoon, but there was a spring chill in the air. 14th street was lined with people dressed in pajamas and costumes and carrying their favourite pillows under their arms. police staff stood closely by, and the occasional ambulance could be found parked around the corner, should anyone get hit a little too hard or fall off someone’s shoulders.

i meandered my way into the crowd, holding my camera close to my chest. i spotted several fotographers hiding out in the ‘pit’ and remember being nervous for them – like, what if someone or someone’s pillow knocked their camera to the ground? even though i came unprepared anyway {no pillow and all}, i was certain i would never be caught in the moshpit, let alone with my camera. i’m a self-admitted wuss like that. i prefer to have a nice long lense and stand nice and far back.

anyway, i people-watched for a good 20 minutes or so, snapping fotos like this :

i laughed at several costumes and appreciated how much thought some of the attendees took into preparing for this event. i wondered to myself if i knew anyone in the crowd.

hundreds of people people gathered in the shop windows nearby to get an aerial view… Continue reading

{memories in manhattan – volume 3}

27 Mar

after my experience with the cute stranger on the subway, i quickly started to realize that my fondness of portraiture was beginning to grow rapidly. when i was in college, i never really wanted to fotograph people… my ambition was to work for a place like j.crew and fotograph flat lays on white seamless. i think i would still enjoy something like that, but my point is, i was totally intimidated at the thought of putting people in front of my camera. 

the ironic thing is, part of the reason i was able to save up some money to even move to new york, was due to fotographing some portraits for clients during the summer months while i was living in delaware with a friend. i took the train up to manhattan twice and was able to squeeze in a few sessions on long weekends and put that money toward my moving fund. i think it was during that summer that i really started to fall in love with portraiture. 

the following fotos were taking during one of my first portrait/headshot sessions upon moving to new york. the only person i really knew in the city at the time just happened to be a film-maker, and he knew lots of aspiring actors and actresses that were in need of good headshots. 

i met this lovely young lady in central park for our session. she is of french descent, and i just love her unique features. she was a natural in front of the camera, and it was during this session that i started to really fine-tune my creative portrait eye. 

Continue reading

{memories in manhattan : volume 2}

20 Mar

there really is no place on earth like new york city. 

granted, i haven’t exactly been all over the world, but the most fascinating thing about new york is the fact that literally every culture in the world is represented in a 7-mile radius. it is something to behold, indeed. 

you can almost see my apartment from here

i remember noticing this right away when i first landed in the city. hearing all the different languages in the background as i shopped for groceries or seeing all the various colours of faces as i walked the streets or rode the subway. i love the condensed mini-world that new york offers with its existence. it was so inspiring to me to have such diversity at my fingertips. it became quickly apparent that i could walk 20-blocks in any direction and be magically whisked away to a different continent, in a sense. 

one of the other interesting aspects of living in the city is seeing celebrities walking around like “regular people.” one of my first memories was around thanksgiving, when i wandered into a little market on my block to shop for some artisan snacks to share with my roommate for the holiday. it was the cutest little store… not bigger than maybe 1000 square feet. packed from top to bottom, wall to wall, with delightful goodies and imported treats of all kinds. i remember standing in the small isle way of the freezer section, gazing at some pasta, when to my right i noticed a person approach. so i looked up as to get out of the way and quickly saw that julia stiles was walking in front of me. we exchanged demure smiles as we passed each other, and all i could think to quietly utter was, “happy thanksgiving.” she nodded and we parted ways. i guess in my mind, i figured she had chosen that little store to shop in rather than a big supermarket, so it was evident she wanted to go slightly unnoticed. even though i’ve always really admired her acting, i didn’t want to fan out and try to strike up a conversation or ask for an autograph or foto. i just wanted her to feel like a regular person for a moment. i quickly realized that a lot of celebrities choose to live or stay in NYC as to “blend in” and feel a little more sense of normalcy in their lives as opposed to living in say a place like los angelos. i have never been to LA, but i just get the feeling it’s a lot more “celebrity obsessed” than manhattan island. as it is, there are so many people walking around new york and so much is happening at any given moment, and that makes it easier for anyone, not just a celebrity, to “blend in.” 

dramatic shadows everywhere

i also found this to be true of myself. i’m an introvert at heart, and i don’t really like to draw attention to myself or have unnecessary interactions. one of the things i loved so much about living in new york was feeling “always alone but never alone.” shortly after moving to new york, i had someone tell me that, and it really struck a chord with me. the hustle and bustle of that crazy city just never ever stops and yet as an introvert, i found a way to detach from it and live in my own little bubble. no one was really paying attention to what i was doing. i guess sometimes they were, as i will regale in other volumes, but for the most part, everyone is just doing their own thing and no one is really taking notice of anyone else. this gave me a sense of control in the chaos… peace within the whirlwind. once i became more and more familiar with my neighbourhood and the metro system, it became joyful for me to throw on my headphones and enchantingly saunter through the streets, discovering my way to and through various explorations. i enjoyed people watching very much. perhaps people were also people watching me, but if they were, typically i didn’t notice – just like everyone else, for the most part.  

i remember taking the L train somewhere one day, and i was sitting across from this adorable young girl wearing headphones and drinking a kombucha. she was dressed so uniquely herself… mismatching tights and a poofy skirt with a denim jacket adorned in various pins, and her hair was cut super short and spiked with traces of leftover hair-dye in it. there was something about her that was so cute and charming and i almost immediately had the desire to want to take her picture… not just like, on the train, but actually take her out and have a portrait session with her. i remember sitting there and observing her blissfully unaware nature and thinking to myself that i wanted to give her my business card and offer to fotograph her. i pondered for a few stops, eventually talking myself out of it as i watched her get up and exit at 14th street. i immediately regretted not having the confidence to approach her, but i also remember thinking that maybe she wanted to go unnoticed, too.

bustling city at night

the most serenditipous thing happened like a month later. i saw that same girl on the same train. i was shocked! at the time, i didn’t think it was possible to see the same person twice while one was living in new york city. there were far less people on the train this time, as it was fairly late in the evening. alas, once again, i got too nervous to speak to her or give her my business card – how silly was that?! as many days continued to pass when i took the L train, i was hoping i would bump into her again. but in 3 following years, not once did i see her face again. to this day, i kind of regret not at least trying to talk to her, as i would’ve captured some amazing portraits if she had let me. however, all in all, i did learn a lot through that experience and it taught me not to let an opportunity or moment pass me by. as time marched on, i became more comfortable approaching people that i thought my camera would like to get to know better. 

{memories in manhattan : volume one}

13 Mar

a little preface here :

i have been thinking about my experiences living in manhattan… i’ve been thinking about it a lot, in fact. i hope to make a trip up to the city in june, and so i have been mentally reflecting back on my time there.

i thought i would start writing about some of my experiences. i enjoy writing so much, and yet i don’t do it enough. i try to keep a journal, but my fingers just can’t keep up with my mind most of the time. i’m a much faster and better typer than i am a writer, which kind of makes me sad but also makes me thankful that i can take time to sit down and type out my thoughts when i need to. having said all that, i really wanted to start a series here on my blog which will highlight some of my favourite experiences living in the big apple. some of the stories may include fotos, some of them may not. i don’t have any expectations regarding this, but i do know it’s something i want to do.  and so to honour this desire of mine, i plan to update this collection of memories on mondays.

i thank you in advance for taking this journey with me, and enjoying these memories with me…

and without further ado, i present to you –


memories in manhattan : volume one

i’ll never forget pulling up to 20th street with the half-empty u-haul and seeing my new roommate standing on the curb with her friend and his dog. i can’t remember the dog’s name, but i’m sure ms. judy will refresh my memory if i ask her. i was so eager to meet her, as we had been exchanging emails back and forth for about a month. my boyfriend at the time was living in manhattan and had helped me land this living situation by visiting it prior to me moving there. i met my roommate, miss J, online when she responded to an ad i had placed looking for a roommate/apartment. it was so serendipitous to have her reach out to me, because i had struggled finding a place to live that was reasonably priced and met some of the requirements i had set for myself. of course, i wanted a safe living situation and preferred a female roommate. i also wanted something on manhattan island and i had a certain budget i didn’t want to bend on. ms. judy met all my requirements and she even shared her name with my mother, which i found to be a fantastically sweet nod from the universe. 

i opened the truck door and stepped my foot onto the concrete jungle for the first time, looking up in awe at the trees all around me. it was the 1st of october, and the trees were ripe with a rainbow of colours and the air had a crispness to it that i wish i could bottle up. i took a deep breath and immediately reached out my arms to greet ms. judy. she gave me a warm embrace and proceeded to kiss me on one cheek, then the other. she pulled back a little and said, “in new york, we kiss.” my soul felt a warmth i was unfamiliar with and to this day has not been duplicated. her friend and neighbour then introduced himself and his sweet pooch, both of which i hugged {and ‘new york kissed’}. 

i fell in love with my neighbourhood immediately. the tree-lined street just off the east river had been built shortly after WW2 and was one of the only “complexes” in manhattan. it was tucked away just far enough off the bustling streets to feel like its own personal city full of park benches, fountains, and lots of greenery! right below our apartment was the most perfect little bodega that ms. judy and i strolled into shortly after unloading my things to grab some pizza for dinner. everyone working there knew her by name. the place was packed with just about every kind of goodie one could imagine. it became quickly apparent that this was going to be a place i would frequent – all hours of the day. 

although i remember those very first moments of arriving in new york city, i do not remember much else about that day. my room was already furnished, so it didn’t take me too long to unpack. i had been downsizing my things prior to moving to NYC, and so by the time i arrived, i had packed and unpacked so much it was like a science. 

i do remember the following few days… i pulled out my brand new camera that i had recently bought with money i received from selling my car. it was 2008 and digital cameras were much more expensive at the time than they are now. it was my ambition to make that happen, and sure enough, i did. 

ms. judy had given me lots of information about the neighbourhood, and in true audrey form, i had done a lot of research on the area as to {somewhat} know what to expect. i stepped out into the cobblestone-lined walkway just outside of our building and i began snapping fotos.

i think this was one of the first pictures i ever took in new york : 

my first foto in nyc

i was still a somewhat budding photographer at the time, and looking back at some of the first images i took in new york makes me kind of giggle – as i can now see how much i’ve grown as a photographer and artist.  Continue reading

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