Treasures

Personal

 

I’ve kept journals for as long as I can remember. I definitely destroyed the ones from middle school/early high school, but these are the five I have in tact from the most recent years. Some span a few years, some span one summer, some span a few months, but all are great recounts of my emotions throughout these really formative years of my life.

 

This journal contains my thoughts from my senior year of high school all the way until right before I left for Florence. It spans two relationships and includes my transition from high school to college. In the back I have letters from friends and important mementos from those years. It ends abruptly, approximately 4 days before I boarded my flight to Europe.

 

 

This journal was given to me by my then boss right before I left for my first year of college. This was fun because it was guided and has pages containing everything I ate in a day and what I spent my money on as well. It also has lists of songs I liked, countdowns until fun events during that summer, and descriptions of new vegetables and fruits that I learned about on the farm.

 

 

 

Ah, my favorite. I wrote in this every day for 4 months during my semester abroad. It is FAT with business cards, tickets, and other mementos from the various countries and cities I visited. My roommate and I made sure that we both wrote on every night of our journey, and it resulted in the best souvenir that I have from those 4 months.

 

 

 

I bought this journal from Tiger, a store on my street in Florence. This wasn’t so much of a journal as it is an artistic account of my time in Florence and my interests now. I have watercolor paintings, calligraphy trials, and short stories in these pages. I continue to fill it whenever I can. I absolutely love keeping this one around.

 

 

Finally, this is my most current journal. I started this last summer after I returned from Florence. It has the thoughts about my adjustment back to America, as well as my senior year of college. Senior year was a doozy and unfortunately I couldn’t write in this every day, but I made sure to recap as best as I could even if it was weeks later. Yes, the beer stickers are upside down.

 

 

Keeping these has been the best decision of my young life (probably). Not only because I can see how I felt during different milestones in my life, but also because I can accurately accrue information about places and topics. I can refer people to certain places in Florence or Europe based on my abroad journal, or I can figure out what I was baking three summers ago based on my farm journal. I encourage anyone, especially young writers, to keep journals. Your future self will thank your past self for doing it.

 

 

Merry Christmas

Photography, professional

Who doesn’t love a Spritz and an oyster? I love the way even the food at Christmastime seems to glisten and glimmer alongside the holiday spirit. I think food exemplifies a mood and a culture, and we accompanied this food with smiles, stories, and lots of laughs.

I grew up on a pretty sophisticated diet: lots of fish, lots of vegetables, and lots of smelly Italian lunches. However, it has made me a more understanding eater, and a more adventurous eater. Interestingly enough though, last Christmas was the first time I tried a raw oyster. Since then, I tried tripe, pate, raw shrimp, and who even knows what else during my travels. This time of year I think about the new things I want to experience in the new year: new food, new places, and new attitudes. What will be my next oyster?

New Photography

Personal, Photography

In my photography portfolio (seen here) I chose to include only photos from my semester in Italy. Now, since my job requires me to use my camera more and more, I found a new hobby in photography. Why deny yourself the joy of what you personally find visually pleasing? The following photos are from the last few months.

When I returned from Florence, I thought that I would never be able to assimilate back into my old life. I thrived in Italy, and discovered passions for cooking, photography, and language. So it was a real bummer to return home, having to complete one of the most challenging semesters of my college career, and encountering some unexpected roadblocks on the way. When I began my Fall semester I was at a less-than-satisfactory internship, and I did something that I never thought I would ever do. I walked away. I acknowledged that even interns (let alone “one of the best interns”-not my words) should be treated better. I fell into sadness when I heard about my great-grandma passing away, a woman who meant so much to me. I fell into anger, and pain when I heard about some other less than satisfactory occurrences. All I thought was “maybe I should’ve stayed in Italy.” Sometimes I still think that, but more so because I miss drinking an Aperol spritz in a piazza at sunset.

Why am I telling you this? Growth is important. Longing, and sadness and, anger are important to facilitate that growth. I look back on photos of myself from Freshman year and I thank whatever power above that I look and feel different. It shows that I experienced life that changed me, inside and out, and it was clearly for the better.

So here are some photos of experiences in the past few months, post-Italy, that have reminded me that getting out of bed is important.

A musician’s guide to photography

Photography

Recently my job has required me to take photos and with my amateur abilities and desire to improve my skills, I did not hesitate to undertake the task.

I photograph musicians. Unfortunately, in my photography class I recognized that portrait photography was not my strength. Give me an open field or an array of architecture and I’m in heaven, but give me a model and they’ll look their worst. I am also a musician and am often the subject of less than flattering stage photography.

The room I photograph in, a beautiful, light-wood recital hall, is also difficult to photograph in so here are my few tips about taking and editing these kinds of pictures.

First, I either keep my camera on it’s portrait setting (a low aperture and low shutter speed with a varying ISO) or I keep the shutter speed high to at least maintain sharpness and edit colors and exposure after.

Angles are an obstacle. It’s distracting to walk around, especially during a performance for a smaller audience. I abused the zoom and tried to get some early shots during tuning to get the best close-up shots of the musicians.

When editing the photos, cropping and adjusting the exposure are options that exist to enhance the photos. If you’re just snapping pictures rapidly, sometimes you can’t properly frame the photo. I tried to keep the “temperature” of the photos consistent throughout by balancing the orange-ness of the room with cooler tones on photoshop.

Understanding the basics of Photoshop photo editing can be useful to people like me who are suckered into a pseudo photographer position while working primarily with marketing and social media. I use the Curves feature to balance the temperature of the photo, the Levels feature to adjust the contrast, and the Brightness feature to bring out darker features (especially when everyone is wearing black). Inverting masks, cropping to focus, and gradient tools are also useful, but I recommend playing around with Photoshop to figure out your preferred method and style of photo editing.