Travel photography

Highlights from Valencia & Barcelona, Spain

There was a request for photos from our trip to Spain, and well, twist my arm!

Most of our trip was spent in Valencia - the Tancat de la Pipa to be exact. That’s where we volunteered, working to restore Lake Albufera and it’s surrounding areas. Our group was specifically working to clean up the lagoons, which supply lake with clean water.

Every day, we traveled down the bumpy dirt road to our project site. Each day we received a different assignment which brought us all around the lagoons. We moved plants, weeded, monitored water levels and waded in to plant aquatic grasses, and it felt great to be making a difference. There are only three full time staffers working this large area, and without volunteers, they simply wouldn’t be able to get it all done.

We weren’t alone. We met volunteers from California, and also local college students getting hands on experience. We traded stories about our cultures while we worked, learned new words and developed friendships. If we had traveled from place to place on a tour bus, we never would have made these genuine connections. This was by far my favorite part of the trip. We got to make an ecological difference while enjoying the sunshine and making friends.

While we were there, Valencia was celebrating Las Fallas. This festival, dedicated to St. Joseph, is several days long. While I had read about this in advance, I truly had no idea how BIG it was. Our volunteer hosts going out of town for the long weekend should have thrown up some red flags, but we had no idea.

Las Fallas is not just a four day festival like I had read - but a month long one. We arrived the week before the festival officially began and were greeted with daily fireworks in the streets. We saw hundreds of ninots (large sculptures) get assembled. And as the festival drew near, we were treated to concerts outside of our window from 12-4am. And on the last day, they burn down all the sculptures!

Despite the noise and festival crowds, I always felt safe. We walked or took the subway around the historic city. We saw mile-long parades of people in traditional dress, carrying flowers to a create a several story tall living monument. (Think Rose Bowl Parade.) We saw the holy grail, the beach, and the largest aquarium in Europe. In Valencia, we were both travelers and volunteers.

Leaving Valencia, we spent a weekend in Barcelona before coming home. Here, we did a 180 and became tourists, taking the open top bus to see all the city highlights. We took a day trip to Montserrat in the mountains and finished with a guided tour of La Sagrada Familia. If you aren’t familiar with Gaudi’s famous structure, go Google it right now. Seriously. I have been in the Vatican, and I would say this church is far more stunning.

We certainly enjoyed our time in Spain and the Tancat de la Pipa! If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about volunteering abroad, I highly recommend you check out Goat Volunteers. They have over 60 projects to choose from in 14 countries. And, if you mention my name when you apply, you can save $25!

So, if you have been to Spain, what was your favorite part? And if not, where should we go next!?

Talk to you soon,
Lori

How to plan a non-traditional Honeymoon

While I love hearing about your wedding plans, I have to admit... I may actually like hearing about your honeymoon plans more! While there is nothing wrong with a resort honeymoon, I have some tips if you are looking to do something a little outside the box.

Croatia

Croatia

 

Step 1: Decide what type of trip you want. Do you want an all-inclusive resort where you don't have to think for a week? If this is the case, find a travel agent and boom your done. Or do you want to travel lightly and slowly meeting lots of people along the way?  If so, read on.

Step 2: Choose a destination! Stuck? Pick your destination based on the time of year, or pick your time to travel based on the destination. Consider the weather, (local) holidays, and whether or not it will be "tourist season". 

This website is very helpful: www.weather2travel.com

Ireland

Ireland

Step 3: Consider staying at AirBNBs for an easy way to meet locals. We traveled all through New Zealand using AirBNB and loved it! Our hosts were friendly as well as knowledgable about things to do in the area and local history. Imagine learning about the Christchurch earthquake from someone who lived through it! (Check.)

Step 4: Enjoy the ride! Allow yourself to feel like a little kid and soak it all in. Every second is precious. (This is true every day, but just feels heightened on vacation.)

Step 5: Record the best parts. Whether you are a writer, or GoPro fanatic, your honeymoon is special. Find a way to remember what you are feeling. Take photos that document your experience, or journal about the sweet things that make you love your spouse.  Then you can relive it all when you are back home on a rainy day.

For extra points: Turn off notifications on your phone. You may be tempted to update your social media platforms, but other than letting your mom know you are alive, it's not necessary. Go have an experience, make out with your spouse in a train station, stare at the clouds/trees/animals in another state or country. By not telling everyone your play by play in the moment, you'll have stories to share when you get home!

For extra EXTRA points: Consider a volunteer trip. There are many companies that offer itineraries abroad which include some volunteering as well as vacationing. If you are interested, check out: Earthwatch, V2 Volunteers, or Discover Corps.

So since I daydream of moonlighting as a travel planner, here is where I have been. If you are traveling to any of these places, ask me questions! I am an open book.

New Zealand

New Zealand

-New Zealand: my favorite place on Earth. Tropical beaches, glaciers, fjords, adventure sports, and more, and that's just the South Island. 

-Croatia: I spent 3 months here for my study abroad. I am very familiar with Dubrovnik and the surrounding area. Go in May, before the crowds arrive. 

-Ireland: The place to go for an epic road trip. Ask Erin :) 

-USA: We have a lot to explore right here inside our borders. I'm happy to discuss a cross-country road trip, Alaska, or even Hawaii when I get back.

So, where are you going or where have you been? Are you an expert on any destinations? Let me know in the comments-- I may call on you for advice about our next trip!

Safe travels!
Lori

Alaska

Alaska

Molley and Mouse's Maine Adventure!

Hi all, Lori here! 
If you know me at all, you know I love to travel basically any chance I get! I am always in search of pretty things. For me that usually means nature and water. My husband loves to climb things, so he prefers mountains. Well, this trip to Maine was a win for both of us!

And it was a unique one, as we brought the dogs. It was our first time leaving the state with them, and I have to say – they did amazing. I can see it happening again. Also, Maine is an incredibly dog friendly state, Acadia National Park in particular.

I won't bore you with the details, I know you are just here to see pretty pictures! But here are the highlights of the trip:

-Climbing some rocky trails in Acadia National Park
-Enjoying the amazing views from said trails
-Eating popovers, fresh seafood, and drinking local beers
-Foggy boat ride out of Bar Harbor
-Seeing friends in both MA and ME
-All of the friendly people we met on the trails!
-Having the dogs with us and experiencing all the love they got from basically everyone we saw
-Allagash Brewery Tour in Portland

This trip crossed off state #32 for me, and brought Molley and Mouse up to 4! Well, Mouse is from Georgia, so I guess she technically has more, but they weren't with us... so I'm not counting them. :)

I highly recommend Acadia and would definitely go back! Hope you enjoy a few views from our travels!

-Lori

New Zealand, aka Panoramaland, in Print

It's here, it's here, it's here! My precious... my 8x18 inch, panoramic New Zealand book! 

Yes, this book is larger than my coffee table!

Yes, this book is larger than my coffee table!

If you were looking for me in February, you probably heard back from Erin. I was on the other side of the planet fulfilling a bucket list, trip of the lifetime. I wrote about it and shared some photos in this blog post.

But now... now I have the tangible record. Physical proof and many vibrant images to show for it. It's the coffee table book that cannot be topped. An original, custom creation, 100% designed and photographed by me. There is literally nothing else like it in the world– the size, 8x18 is when the book is closed. Once opened, it spans 8x36. Yes, that is three feet across. Why? Well, as I affectionately dubbed New Zealand "Panoramaland", it just seemed appropriate. I wanted to feel like I was there again, so I included multiple full spread panoramas that you can really immerse yourself in. 

Molley guards the book for me...

Molley guards the book for me...

One of my favorites is an image from atop Mount John, in which my husband, John, is the only human. The view is of Lake Tekapo and one of my favorite memories. Ahh, it's like being there again! So worth it. 

Here are the technical specs:

50 pages | 156 photographs | Inkjet printed in California | Two tone black cover with inset photo

Did this book cost more than my wedding album? ...maybe. Okay, yeah it did. But it is worth it. It holds the prime spot on my coffee table and brings me so much joy. It's fun to share the experience with people, reliving that trip over and over. Also, it gets me excited for my next trip, wherever that may be.

I'm not going to share the whole book here, as that would ruin the experience. But come on in, I would be thrilled to share it with you!

PS: We now offer this incredible type of printing for wedding albums too! Ask us about it!

Photographer Reboot : New Zealand!

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From April through December, our lives as photographers can be chaotic… in a good way of course! But come January to March, things slow down around here, and hibernation sets in. This year, my husband and I escaped the epically cold month of February and chased down summer… on the other side of the planet!

NEW ZEALAND!! It’s my new happy place. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face. It was an unbelievable dream come true. Breathtaking, fun, gorgeous, friendly, walkable, adventurous, relaxing, delicious, sunny… Anyone have plans to work on a teleporter? I’m willing to invest…

Here are a few things we did: boat rides, Hobbiton, ziplines, a hot air balloon ride, wine tasting, biking, hiking, walking, photographing, swimming, driving, busing, hitching, eating, meeting locals and other travelers, and just, you know, enjoying life.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is, if visiting New Zealand is not on your bucket list, it should be. And don’t think of it as just a 3 day add on from Australia. Heck no. We spent 16 days there, and I promise you it was not enough!

So I’m going to shut up now, and let the photos do the talking. Enjoy!

Lori

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Would you like to see more? Let me know! I’m currently working on my panoramic album and would be happy to share it when it's done!

shoot. learn. party. the Shutterfest 2014 conference

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In our time as business owners, we've learned a lot and we've come a very long way. That being said, we know there's always more to learn and there's always room for us to grow. On top of that, there's nothing like learning from some of the best minds in the photography world. We recently had the chance to attend the first (and now annual) Shutterfest conference in St. Louis, MO. The slogan of the conference was "Shoot. Learn. Party."  Between the amazing variety of class options, the stand up comedian, and the live bands at night, the organizers were true to their word. We learned so much and met some great new people along the way. We can't wait to start putting our newly acquired knowledge into action soon!

Whenever we travel, we like to explore. So we allowed ourselves a day to wander around St. Louis, to enjoy the sights and the gorgeous weather. We visited the animals at the St. Louis Zoo, then stopped in at the nearby St. Louis Art Gallery for some quality time with Van Gogh, Monet and other famous artists on display. Both of these activities were located in the beautiful Forest Park area of St. Louis - if you've never been, it's a beauty of a park! Don't tell Mom, but we ended our afternoon with some killer root beer floats (before dinner) at Fitz's, a local stop in the Delmar Loop area. St. Louis Arch, Shutterfest Photography Conference

Shutterfest Photography Conference

St Louis Zoo, Rochester NY Photography

St Louis Zoo, Rochester NY Photography

St. Louis Arch, Shutterfest Photography Conference

I won't lie, coming back to a rainy, chilly Rochester wasn't the highlight of our week. But because of educational conferences like these, we're energized and ready for our busy spring and summer season. Bring on wedding season 2014! Some slightly warmer temperatures wouldn't hurt either...

Until next time! ~ Erin

Virginia Wine Country, and DC on shutdown

So, what do you do in in Washington DC for two days when it's done nothing but rain all week and the government is on hiatus? Well, first you sleep in... as it's the day after a wedding. Then if you're like Lori and I, you head out for a day in Virginia's wine country.  (I'm sorry, was that not obvious?)

We ventured to a few recommended wineries in the area, and had a great time along the way. The patrons at each winery were relaxed, most had a band playing nearby and some of them even seemed to accommodate dogs. And despite the gray skies, they all had beautiful views to enjoy.

On our last day of the trip, we drove into Washington D.C.  Between the weather and the government shutdown it was like a ghost town. It had affected every aspect of this city. And because all of the Smithsonian's, monuments and parks were closed – it definitely put a small damper on the day.

We did find one or two open museums, as they were privately funded. So after a shrimp roll, salad and a cupcake, we headed to the Newseum. There we had the chance to experience centuries of news history from every angle. And while the news is often reported with words, photographs play a huge role as well. We viewed contact sheets from the film days of JFK, and some amazing Pulitzer Prize winning photographs as well. Sometimes somber, sometimes triumphant - always powerful.

Virginia Wine Photography, Rochester NY Destination PhotographersVirginia Wine Photography, Rochester NY Destination PhotographersVirginia Wine Photography, Rochester NY Destination PhotographersVirginia Wine Photography, Rochester NY Destination Photographers

Washington DC photographers, capitol building

Washington DC photographers, capitol building

Washington DC photographers, newseum

By all means, the trip wasn't perfect. It could have been sunny and warm, and the state of the capitol could have not been in chaos. But we definitely made the best of it, and came away from it with some great memories together.  :)