A few weeks ago I was looking forward to a vacation in SE Asia, and then I blinked…  and now I’m back in Chicago feeling jet-lagged, with some vivid memories of a Balinese Bruno Mars look-a-like singing a cover of AC/DC, ridiculous sunsets, an infinity pool looking over Singapore, and a craving for chili crab.

When we initially started planning, we came to the realization that this trip was going to be epic…  and epically expensive.  Hence, we adopted the term “FuckingYOLO”.  Shelling out the extra money to stay at the hotel in Singapore with the infinity pool on the 57th floor?  #FuckingYOLO.  A second helping at the breakfast buffet?  #FuckingYOLO.  An off-the-beaten path hike up a volcano at 4am to see the sunrise in Bali?  #FuckingYOLO.  One more drink?  #FuckingYOLO.  You get the point.  We wanted to experience it all, no matter the cost (within reason, obviously) in sleep, money, or calories.  So, here I am…  back at home with a few extra pounds, a recovering bank account, hundreds of pictures to sort through, and the satisfaction of knowing that I vacation like a fucking pro.

Our first stop on this adventure was Singapore.  I felt like we (maybe inadvertently) planned this trip perfectly and spent just the right amount of time in each place.  We had 3 nights in Singapore, with the last night at Marina Bay Sands hotel.  The place lives up to the hype and it has it’s own surrounding master plan complex with a mall, the Art & Science Museum, beautiful gardens, and a plethora of other developments.  As an added bonus, the Art & Science Museum just happened to have an exhibit covering the life and work of Annie Leibovitz.  As to be expected, it was spectacular.  A little photographic inspiration was a perfect way to get myself even more hyped to document this trip, and I think I got the best shots of Singapore that night.  Here are my favorites.

Singapore Flyer & Cloud Forest in the Marina Bay Gardens

Singapore Flyer & Cloud Forest in the Marina Bay Gardens

Art & Science Museum

Art & Science Museum

The hotel to out-hotel all other hotels

The hotel to out-hotel all other hotels

The ridiculous pool

Ridiculous pool

Singapore Skyline

Singapore Skyline

Reflections

Reflections

On deck:  Kuala Lumpur.

 

 

 


The Rem Dogg

04Aug14

I truly believe that you don’t necessarily choose the dog that you adopt.  Sometimes, they choose you.

Remy wasn’t supposed to be mine.  I had my eye on a low-rider Corgi named Penny, and had started the process to adopt her.  My mom had just adopted a dog as well – a bouncy 4-month old puppy named Remy, and I picked him up from the rescue and drove him home to S. Florida for her.  He was the cutest, most irresistibly fluffy little munchkin that I had ever seen.  Somewhere in that 3 hour ride to South Florida, we had completely bonded.  During that weekend, he would cry by the door whenever I left the house, and would wait there until I returned.   When I left to go back to Orlando, I missed him and his adorable fuzzy face.  I decided to ask my mom if she would let me have him.  The answer, of course, was yes**.

What can I say…  sometimes, Mom knows best.  Remy is an awesome companion and snuggle buddy, and could quite possibly take the title for the most well-behaved, low-maintenance dog ever.  I may be a little biased, but I’ve heard from multiple sources that he’s impressively docile and well-mannered.  So it’s not just my opinion, I swear.  :)  That little pup who stole my heart on I-95 will be turning 8 this year, and I honestly can’t imagine life without him.  I mean, you KNOW it’s love when you’re willing to spend way more time outside during a polar vortex than absolutely necessary.  No matter what, he offers me so much more than I could ever give to him.  There’s truly something magical about dogs and their ability to make you smile and give you love when you need it most.

As evidenced throughout this blog, Remy is one of my favorite subjects to photograph.  He’s also one of the more resistant (and ADD) subjects,  so when I’m able to actually capture a good photograph, it’s a pretty big deal.  The park district just built a beautiful new dog park in my neighborhood and I had just picked up a new lens, so obviously I wanted to take advantage of both.   Although Remy doesn’t always cooperate, I was pretty happy with these 2 shots.  They’re a reminder of the puppy who captured my heart with his floppy ears and sweet brown eyes, and I’m forever grateful that he chose me.

PSA:  If you are considering a pet, please do not overlook adoption!  There are 6-8 million dogs and cats in US shelters, and approximately 3-4 million are euthanized every year.  You could save a life, and I guarantee you that an adopted companion animal would repay you tenfold with happiness and love.  Please adopt, don’t shop!!!

R-E-M D-O-Double G

R-E-M
D-O-Double G

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All smiles at the new park!

**This plan is exactly what my mom had intended.  She is partial to Border Collies and thought that I should have one too.  I still love Corgi’s, but fate and a little trickery got in the way this time.

 


Fireworks

28Jul14

This 4th of July was extra special for me because I had two of my best friends here in Chicago.  One of them is currently a Captain in the Air Force, so it felt all the more appropriate to be celebrating our country with her.   The other is  developing more efficient and practical medical devices, so they’re both making the world a better place.   :)   Aside from the fantastic fireworks show, it was an awesome Chicago weekend with great food, baseball, concerts, and quality time with friends and their families.

Leading up to the holiday, all of the photography blogs I follow were posting tips on how to photograph fireworks.  I figured I’d give it a shot since I’ve been in a night photography/long exposure phase.   The fireworks display was really solid, so it really wasn’t that tough to get some pretty fun pics.  I just had to make sure the settings were appropriate.  It was a fun exercise and I highly recommend it for amateur photogs like me who want to experiment.  I know I’m a few weeks behind, but I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend with their loved ones!   Cheers to ‘Merica!

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The pride parade has some personal meaning for me.  Not due to any political or social matters, but because I moved to Chicago the day of the pride parade in 2007.  After driving 18 hours and trying to find the apartment that I was renting but hadn’t yet seen, in a neighborhood that I wasn’t familiar with, you can imagine that there was some added chaos by trying to navigate a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people with a packed car, my mom, and my very confused dog.  

Now that I’ve been settled in Chicago and don’t live on the north side, I can join the festivities on purpose.  It’s not a maze for me to navigate, but rather a huge celebration of people living freely.  I think the pictures will speak for themselves, but let me tell you – Chicago is a very proud city.  This year’s parade drew over a million people.  It was a smorgasbord of people, glitter, costumes, make-up and flags.  AKA the perfect opportunity to capture people doing what they do best in this city…  getting their party on.  

 


Yep.  It’s exactly what it sounds like.  :)

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Tourists at the Bean

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The Modern Wing – Art Institute of Chicago

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Crown Fountain

Foggy Night @ Pritzker Pavilion

Foggy Night @ Pritzker Pavilion




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