Thoughts On the Canon AE-1 Program so far…

Hey guys,

This is the Canon Ae-1 Program I picked up last week from Facebook Marketplace.

Alot of people recommended this camera when I was researching what film camera to buy. I wanted something simple, affordable and easy to take with me.

Continue reading “Thoughts On the Canon AE-1 Program so far…”

My Phone’s Camera Roll Photos #2

Hey guys, I hope you’re doing well out there!

For this photoblog I scrolled through my phones camera roll and picked out 8 photos I wanted to share with you today. These photos aren’t necessarily my favorite, or best capture, but they’e meaningful to me and I think you’ll like them!

Camera roll stories


I took this photo while walking around downtown Bristol, RI. It’s actually composed of two photos. I used a picture I took of a blue cloudy sky to frame the group of friends watching sunset. I then used a white border to bring it all together. I’ve been finding it interesting all the ways you can compliment a photo using borders and frames.
This is the canon ae-1 program I picked up last week. For those of you who don’t know, the canon ae-1 was a popular film SLR back in the 80’s. When I did my research for what camera I should buy a lot of people recommended I start with the ae-1 for its price and simplicity. I’ve only shot with it a handful of times but so far I’m having so much fun with it.
Another example of how I’ve been experimenting with borders lately. I took both photos a few years back in Pico, Azores and I used a shot of the ocean to frame my subject throwing up a peace sign. The ocean picture alone is boring, but when paired with the second I think it really brings out a cool aesthetic.
The sign reads, “Wall of Lost Soles”
I stayed at a cottage over the weekend down near Cape Cod, MA and our neighbor had a wall full of lost &found sandals, flip flops, crocs, and swim shoes. On my last day there, I lost my own slides trying to cross over to the beach. I hope they too end up on the Wall of Lost Soles one day.
I took this photo on a camping trip to upstate New York this past summer. Pictured is my Uncle and Auntie overlooking Lake George from one of the many viewpoints at Prospect Mountain.
When I was staying in Buzzards Bay, MA, the cape cod canal was perfect to walk and get good exercise. A lot of the times I’d bring my camera with me and take pictures along the way. There’s always a bunch of people camping, fishing and doing outdoor activities which makes for awesome scenes to photograph.
A few more:

# 7

I took this photo while I was visiting my brother in North Dakota. I found Minot beautiful in its own empty way. On my walks I would get to a certain point where for miles and miles all I could see was fields and winding hills.

Another shot at sunset:

#8

For the last photo I picked this one of me waiting at the airport. Long layovers are the worst.

Check out my other articles on travel and photography!

Finding Gratitude over a Cup of Coffee

I turned 24 years old last week. Throughout the day I took some time to think about what I’m grateful for.

It occurred to me that we don’t stop enough to appreciate all the good in our lives. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on what’s missing than it is to focus on what we’re already fortunate enough to have.

Down below is a simple list of 5 things I’m grateful for.

5 reasons I’m grateful.

1. Family & Friends

Since March I’ve relied on my family and friends for just about everything. They’ve given me food, shelter, and love. I couldn’t ask for more.

I’m grateful that I have a large family and that we’ve been able to stick together even through long passages of time without talking, seeing, or hearing from one another.

Now more than ever I realize how important a solid foundation is.

2. Youth

My uncle has these philosophical moments.

“Enjoy it, kid!” referring to my youth

He says one day I’ll wake up and be old and what took me 5 minutes now takes 15. I’ll start saying things like,

“Oh I remember when I used to…”

I think about time and how valuable it is. I don’t want to waste these years.

I want to be young and energetic before the day comes when everything takes an extra 10 minutes to get going.

3. Good Health

I’m grateful for the fact that amid the Covid 19 pandemic my closest friends and family remain healthy.

I’m fortunate to be in the position I am where I don’t worry about my health, safety and well-being. Not everyone’s as lucky.

I wake up, breathe, eat, drink and everything works smoothly. That alone is a treasure.

4. Travel

Back in late February I took a flight from Pico Island to Boston where I’ve spent the last 7 months living in New England.

Even with tight travel restrictions, and initial stay-at-home orders, I spent a lot of time between Massachusetts and Rhode Island and had the opportunity to go camping at Lake George in New York.

In late June,early July I visited my brother in North Dakota for the first time. Two years passed without seeing each other! I’m just happy we made it happen and were able to celebrate 4th of July together.

5. Pets

I have two darling black labs at home, Lucy and Diamond. I miss them terribly.

I was thinking the other day, how much impact animals had in my life for teaching me about empathy.

They’re a perfect example of teaching a child how to play, take care of, and love unconditionally.

Without pets- be it dogs or cats or snakes or hamsters- the world would seem much greyer.

Luckily while I’m here I get to play with Eevee and my Nana’s best friend, Princess Mica.


What are you grateful for?

Check out my other articles here:

Why We Travel

Why We Travel is a short poem exploring ideas about the fundamental importance of traveling.

August Memories from Buzzard’s Bay, MA

Photos taken early August, 2020

Buzzards Bay

Massachusetts


Nikon one-touch 100

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May Memories on Cape Cod’s Canal

In the month of May I spent two weeks in Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts with family & friends. During this time we made it a priority to walk along the canal at least once a day, although usually it ended up being two or three thanks to how scenic it was during the spring. As of […]

6 Principles For Life and Travel

If you love traveling and your enthusiasm for foreign cultures prompts you to buy a one-way ticket, chances are you follow a certain set of unspoken rules that I call: The Avid Traveler’s Code of Conduct

The stark differences between travelers and tourists: Which One are You?

Hey guys,

It occurred to me how many different ways people like to travel, but for the purpose of this article I’m categorizing them within two main categories:

Travelers and tourists.

Both travelers and tourists love visiting foreign countries, however, their approach to traveling widely differs and there are distinct qualities that separate the two.

Every traveler is a tourist, but not every tourist is a traveler.

See if you identify closer with one of the two as you read!

Travel Itinerary

A tourist visits a country for a week or two on vacation.
A traveler visits a country for an extended period of time.

Tourists book their vacation a year or two in advance to get away from the everyday hustle. They want a holiday escape to unwind, relax, and take time off from their responsibilities.

Travelers go to a country on an expedition of sorts where the purpose is to learn something about the world. They want to stay for as long as possible or until they achieve what they originally set out to do.

Packing, luggage & belongings

A tourist packs 2-3 suitcases.
A traveler packs just what he needs.

Tourists ALWAYS overpack. They think they need way more than they actually do. Instead of packing for 1-2 weeks, they pack a few months supply of clothes, accessories, and personal items. They end up only using a fraction of what they packed.

Travelers understand the less the better. They know overpacking means excess weight that becomes a hassle to bring around everywhere. Less stuff means less worry and more attention towards the trip itself.

Lodging & Accommodation

A tourist stays in resorts and hotels.
A traveler hostel-hops, couch-surfs , and sets up camp.

Tourists value comfort, convenience, and cost. Most of them want a private, up-scale, fully accommodated room with professional service a phone call away. They want a king-sized bed, a main lobby with a rec centre, swimming pool and a downstairs restaurant & bar. The price needs be fair and reflect high value for the amount payed.

Travelers value experience, immersion, and cost. They want to be surrounded by like-minded people who share their stories and insight. Many of them lean towards hostels since they’re economic and provide a central hub for other travelers with similar objectives. If a local invites a traveler to stay with them for a few nights, the opportunity for immersion far out weighs the comfort and convienence of a standard hotel/hostel room.

To-do list

A tourist joins tour groups and purchases sight-seeing packages from travel agencies.
A traveler meets people who show him around and give recommendations for free.

Tourists rigorously plan and schedule their 7-14 day vacation. They want every hour of every day to be something to do and somewhere to go. Travel agencies mark their calenders and suggest everything from where to eat, to places you should and should not go.

Travelers don’t want a pre-decided plan. They act spontaneously and instinctively. Most of the time they meet friendly locals who want to show them around their city. Instead of adhering to a rigid plan, they have a general idea of what they want to do and where they want to go for the day.

Where to go and what to see

A tourist wants to see the main attractions.
A traveler wants to see through the locals’ eyes.

If you’ve ever been to a popular major city like Paris, or Rome I’m sure you’ve seen the groups of tourists with selfie-sticks taking photos in front of the historical monuments.

Tourists want to see historical significance as long as they’re able to share it with their friends and family on social media.

Travelers and tourists alike want to visit world famous monuments, buildings, and museums, but the only difference is a traveler tends to see the main attractions as a “tourist trap.” Travelers want to experience Paris and Rome as a local does, not as the tourism industry advertises.

Language learning

A tourist doesn’t spend time learning a new language.
A traveler finds it important to communicate with the locals.

A tourist at most remembers a few words from foreign language class. Maybe they use important words and phrases like, “please, thank you, & where is the bathroom?” Beyond that, the places they go are most likely accustomed to English-speaking tourists so there’s no need (or want) to actually learn the local language.

Travelers, on the other hand, make a genuine effort to speak and learn the language of the country they’re visiting. They want to talk with a native speaker who doesn’t speak English as a second language. A travelers goal is to be able to order food, ask for directions, make small talk, and immerse themselves as much as possible in the culture.

Comfort and Novelty

A tourist acts within their comfort zone.
A traveler seeks to explore the unknown.

To a certain extent, when a tourist visits a foreign country it is acting outside of their comfort zone. For the most part, however, a tourist adheres to the pre-planned itinerary and doesn’t sway too off schedule. Tourists tend to stick with what’s familiar and not too far off from their cultural norm.

When a traveler visits a foreign country, he/she wants to experience something other. A lot of times they’re on personal quests of self discovery, meaning, and existential order. Travelers seek adventure and discovery. They want to experience all the ups and downs that comes with venturing outside of their comfort zone.

Blending in and Standing out

A tourist always walks looking up, down & around.
A traveler walks with direciton.

A tourist stands out.
A traveler blends in.

You can spot a tourist right away. They stand out like neon colors. The tourist starter pack includes a camera, oversized backpack, souvenir shirt, selfie stick, and a local map.

Travelers try to blend in as much as possible. They want to look and act like the local population to not draw unnecessary attention.

Bonus*
A tourist walks into an Italian cafe and makes sure to order Italian coffee and Italian cookies
A traveler walks into an Italian cafe and orders coffee and cookies.


So, which one are you, traveler or tourist? Comment below & and Share with your friends!

Read my other posts!

6 Principles For Life and Travel

If you love traveling and your enthusiasm for foreign cultures prompts you to buy a one-way ticket, chances are you follow a certain set of unspoken rules that I call: The Avid Traveler’s Code of Conduct

Street Photography in Downtown Bristol

Photos taken August 12, 2020

Downtown Bristol, Rhode Island


One of my favourite photography exercises is going somewhere you’ve been many times before and trying to find shots you haven’t taken. I find there’s always something new to shoot if you consciously look for it.

My favourite time to do this is right before golden hour so that I can follow the light as it shifts and casts shadows on potential subjects.

Not to mention, its also therapeutic. When you force yourself to look at a familiar place in a new way I think it makes you appreciate your surroundings more. On top of that, you get plenty of exercise!

Walking home alone at night

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Bristol, Rhode Island

Like all of you, I spent both the winter season and spring cooped up at home social distancing, self-quarantining and losing partial sanity.

On Photography Gear & What I’ve Learned In the Past 4 years (Read Before Making Your Purchase!)

I started photography when I got back from my trip to the Azores in 2016.

That trip inspired me to invest in my first camera as soon as I got back home to Florida.

I went to Best Buy, bought a Canon Rebel T5i which came with a 18-55mm f/5.6 kit lens. I spent around $600.

Here are a few raw shots
(june, 2016)
Photos straight out of camera. No edits or adjustments.

A few months later I bought a new lens: the 50mm f/1.8
Price: $96

This lens introduced me more to the technical side of photography. I looked into portraiture because I started to understand more about aperture, bokeh and compositional elements.

A year later I realised a wider angle lens suited my photography interests better. I loved taking wide-open landscape shots at the beach, and creating a better sense of place in my images.

A birthday gift that year was the Canon EF-S 10-18 mm f/5.6 ($200)

here are some raw photos

A few months into photography and the original kit lens for my Canon Rebel T5i drowned in an unfortunate canoe expedition! By this time I mostly used the 10-18mm anyway, so it wasn’t a huge loss.

For me, the 10-18mm and 50mm were a practical combination. It was the perfect focal-length range to use for a variety of circumstances. I used the wider lens for landscapes and the prime lens to get up close in detail.

During this time I followed a bunch of photographers on Instagram to see what they were using to get the final results they posted on their feed. Most of them used a Canon 5d Mark iii with a 24-70 f/2.8 lens. This gear setup cost over $2,500 at the time and was far off my budget.

Summer was approaching and with it, a family trip to the Azores! This was my chance, I thought, to take my photography to the next level. I couldn’t afford the lens along with the camera body, so I opted for the Canon 6D (used- $950.) I didn’t realize beforehand that my wide angle lens couldn’t be mounted on a full-frame camera.

The summer of 2017 I bought the Canon 6D and attached the nifty 50 lens to the Azores with me.

2017 Azores summer (Canon 6D, 50mm f/1.8)

To this day I still use this same exact setup.

My most recent purchase was the Yongnuo 35mm f/2.0 lens ($90) which, for me, is a preferable focal length for on-the-go travel photography. I brought this combo with me to the Azores, South America, and New England. It’s perfect for what I like to do.

Canon 6D & Yongnuo 35mm f/2.0

What I’ve learned in the past four years

In total I’ve spent somewhere around $1,900 dollars on photography gear these past four years. Considering how expensive equipment is, let alone new equipment, that price isn’t bad.

The truth is, after everything, I didn’t need to spend that much money. I wanted to.

If you’re just getting into photography, you don’t need to make a huge purchase right off the bat. Even the Canon Rebel I bought was steep to begin with.

I easily could’ve found a cheaper camera, in fact my nana gave me her old point-and-shoot that she had stored away in a closet. It introduced me to film and the fact that I can make meaningful images with whatever you put in my hands.

That’s the moral here. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, or any at all to get your first camera. There’s a good chance someone in your family has one tucked away in their closet. If not, theres plenty of affordable cameras online.

Do your due research, but don’t feel pressured into spending a month’s pay check. There’s actually a lot of influential photographers on Youtube that talk about this same thing: Gear doesn’t matter, practice does.

With the camera you have, go out and take photos. Practice until you like the images you make. Practice until you get a firm understanding about how your camera works. Practice until you think to yourself, “how could’ve I made this photo better?” Naturally, the creative direction you choose to pursue will be clearer. At a certain point, you’ll know what you’re interested in photographing and what setup best supports that.

Even when you feel the only way to get better is to buy a new, expensive camera keep practicing with what you have.

With that said, buying a camera is an important investment in yourself. It means you want to pursue creativity and grow as a photographer. However, that shouldn’t be confused with thinking,

“the more money I spend the better my photos will be.”

That statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

When you’re ready, make the investment. But not a moment before.

As a photographer the quality of your images is not defined by low aperture lenses or a high number of megapixels.

As a photographer your unique vision and perspective, your experience and technique is what creates better, more meaningful photos.

Don’t forget that.


Hey guys, If you have any questions about this article, camera equipment or photography in general, please let me know in the comments below!

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Memories Within Photographs from this Past Winter

Time: Photos taken between February & early April

Place: Massachusetts & Rhode Island

Gear: Canon 6d w/ Yongnuo 35mm f.2


Winter in New England passed seamlessly into Spring and Summer. Now in the heart of August, I reflect back on some of my favourite photographs during those colder months. Down below I compiled 10 photos that bring me right back.

The photos here are part of larger collections. If you like what you see, follow the link to view the full set!


Mt Hope Bridge connects Bristol and Portsmouth.

Though for me, crossing over this bridge symbolises reuniting with family.

I took this photo on a photography walk, a creative exercise I like to do anytime I’m feeling uninspired.

The Ten Mile River Greenway is a scenic route that goes right through Slater Park and a few other recreational spaces. I remember looking through my camera roll and feeling re-inspired to get out and create more!

This photo is part of a double exposure collection that merged my summer photos in the Azores with winter photos around New England.

Pictured here is my cousin Amelia outside our family home in Pawtucket, RI. At the bottom you can see a palm tree and a building both taken from scenes in Lajes do Pico.

  • photo taken with my point and shoot Nikon one-touch 100

This is my cousin little Kailee.

Kailee is this little brown eyed, dark haired, mischief-in-her-voice girl who calls out my name and says, “I’m gonna getchyu Ryaan”

She’s utterly adorable.

Seeing the world through a child’s eyes is about waking yourself up and enriching your everyday experiences. It’s about living with excitement and genuine curiosity.”

Views from the shoreline

Mt. Hope Farm back in late February.

In all my years of coming to Bristol, I never explored the walking trails of Mt Hope Farm. I came to this pictured point and stayed for awhile.

clearing in the woods, Mt. Hope in the distance.

Photo taken with a Nikon one touch-100. Recently I’ve been using this camera way more than usual. I love the pictures I get from it and the fact I have to wait for the rolls to be processed builds alot of excitement that I get to experience when I see them for the first time.
Colt State Park

see full collections here & here


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Seeing The World Through a Child’s Eyes

Baby see, baby do

Pictured above is my baby cousin Giannis who I felt the purest joy to meet for the first time last week.

During our visit his mom told me that he recently learned how to climb.

He tries to climb everything now. Whatever he can crawl up to, reach, push and pull his way up, he’ll go for. It was pretty damn cute watching him maneuver into the sunken living room, going up and down from the couch, and reaching over me to get to his momma’s arms. It was also equally alarming to see him trying to climb upstairs!

Being 16 months old, Giannis is completely new to life. Maybe this is silly to say but, he literally can’t stand on his own two feet and walk around yet. Giannis is trying to climb upstairs and we’re trying to make sure he doesn’t. He doesn’t understand how dangerous that is. I mean, how could he? He’s a baby. He doesn’t think, ” What are the risks involved in climbing a flight of wooden stairs and how do my chances pair up with other toddlers who’ve attempted the same?”

Baby see, baby do.

And that’s how a baby does. From my understanding at least.

Along with Giannis, the past six months I’ve had the purest joy to babysit and play with my other two little cousins, Kailee and Amelia. They’re a bit older (3 and 5 year olds.) Kailee is this little brown eyed, dark haired, mischief-in-her-voice girl who calls out my name and says, “I’m gonna getchyu!” Amelia, on the other hand, is this strawberry haired, sassy but sweet, always-changing-into-Elsa -and -Moana girl who gives me the Meet The Parents gesture and says, “I’m watching you poopyhead.”

All three of them are fucking adorable, frankly put, and I’m in awe when I see them at play. I’m in awe because there’s something pure and innocent and creative and fundamentally important to learn from them. And its hard to put a finger on because as adults, we think and observe and analyse and get wrapped up in conceptualising everything.

What can we learn from children?

As I said above, children don’t think through their decisions. They aren’t concerned with potential outcomes, risk, and opportunity cost. They’re concerned with one thing and one thing only:

Play.

Kids are 100% committed to do what they’ve set out to do. If it’s to climb the stairs, they will try. If it’s to swing on the monkey bars, jump into the pool, or stack block on top of block and then knock it all down with a huge hooray, they will because it is simply fun.

Where children lack foresight, adults lack presence. They live spontaneously, we live by schedule.

In contrast to children, we adults concern ourselves with various responsibilities, some more severe than others. We’re always dealing with people and complex situations that compete for our time, attention and energy. The demands of work, family and social life use up our limited resources everyday no matter how depleted we feel from the day before. Adults adhere to a schedule because we must allocate our resources to what we consider absolutely essential first. Everything else is “downtime.” Time for ourselves (hopefully) to recharge our battery.

Because of this, you see far too many adults become cynical about the world. They become angry, bitter, and self-conscious. They lock up in situations they should be loose, and suffer from social anxiety and depression. Life is void of any sense of imagination and playfulness for these types of people.

“Fun and games are for children”, I’m sure you’ve heard them say. Yet when you make a conscious effort to see the world through a child’s eyes, you can see yourself.

Children can teach us that it’s possible to reinvoke those traits we cherish but tend to lose with age. Traits like enthusiasm, curiosity, playfulness, presence, creativity, and unselfconsciousness.

We all have a Child-like Spirit

Going back to my baby cousin Giannis, seeing him try to climb those stairs without fear or hesitation made me think about all the times I let my own fears stop me from doing something. For adults it’s usually our own internal dialogue that prevents us from moving forward. We not only overthink our decisions, but also our thoughts about our decisions. We paralyse ourselves before we even begin.

If we could somehow muster up the decisiveness a child has at play, we wouldn’t spend so much time wasting time. We’d aim at a target and launch ourselves directly at it, full speed ahead. Without the anxiety that comes along with overthinking, we’d be able feel confident in our actions, not worried about how others might perceive us. The fear of failure wouldn’t even occur to us if we were too busy focusing on the task at hand.

I also think about how many times per day my little cousin Amelia changes costumes. Five, six, seven, maybe even more? One minute she’s Elsa, then she’s Moana, and the next she’s a ladybug flying all over the place. She disappears and comes back with a new dress, and in a way, a new identity. I thought about how children love to experiment and how over the years we change our demeanour, style, and language to reflect our influences and aspirations.

Kids are trying to find their way, where as adults get stuck in their ways. Some people never change because they stop experimenting. It’s like we attach ourselves to an image and ignore anything that diverges from that particular image. It could be new information that contradicts your beliefs, or dropping habits that no longer serve you, or even something like fashion that expresses individuality. Unlike children, adults become static and obstinate.

Seeing the world through a child’s eyes is not about reliving your childhood.

Seeing the world through a child’s eyes is more so about waking yourself up and enriching your everyday experiences. It’s about living with excitement and genuine curiosity. It’s about conjuring that suppressed enthusiasm you have inside and curbing self-conscious beliefs that do nothing but hinder your happiness.


Please give me feedback! That’s how I improve my craft!

If you found this article valuable in anyway please leave a like, comment & share with your friends.

Check out my other articles here:

6 Principles For Life and Travel

If you love traveling and your enthusiasm for foreign cultures prompts you to buy a one-way ticket, chances are you follow a certain set of unspoken rules that I call: The Avid Traveler’s Code of Conduct

Finding Forgotten Memories: My Phone’s Camera Roll Photos #1

Hey guys, I hope all is well.

For this photo article I scrolled through my phone’s camera roll and selected 10 random photos I wanted to show and give context to. These photos aren’t necessarily my favourite, or best capture, but they’re meaningful to me.

I thought this would be a cool opportunity to tell you a few stories using images lost on my phone. I’m sure you scroll through your camera roll from time to time and find images that jog back a collection of clear memories.

It would be really cool for this article to receive comments with your guys’ own photos and stories, wouldn’t it?

That’s our goal for this article today. I’ll share 10 of mine and you share one of yours!

Deal?

Let’s do it.


This photo was taken back in late 2019 when my family moved from Florida to the Azores. We had just cleared out a 40 foot container filled with our stuff lugged into boxes. We didn’t want everything scattered about our living space so we stored them in the basement, and brought things up as we needed them. Needless to say it was chaotic for awhile trying to fully move in. The first morning we couldn’t find our coffee maker so we opted to use this percolator left behind by the owner of the house. Let me tell you, I made a strong, robust, delicious cup of coffee that morning. I sat out on the patio listening to the ocean with a satisfying morning brew. It was the first time using a percolator and has been my preferred method since.
“What am I trying to communicate?”
I started journaling after I graduated high school back in 2015. Before then I always felt mentally cluttered and one of my health teachers recommended I try it out to see if it helped. And it did. Not at first, but around the one month mark I had more than 30 of my thoughts written down. Each entry was my mind projected onto paper, that’s how I thought of it anyway. I could then analyse myself and reflect on how and why I wrote certain things down. It became a sort of meditation I didn’t have access to beforehand. Nowadays I ask the question, “What am I trying to communicate?” prior to putting pen to pad because I know the importance of clear, articulated thoughts for an uncluttered mind.
This is my Mom and Dad sitting together towards the end of the day at my Avó’s.(Portuguese for “Grandma”)
I don’t know the exact reason why I like this photo, but I have a feeling that years from now I’ll look at it with intense emotion. Maybe it’s the basic-ness of the photo, or maybe the lack of light on both of them, or the cigarette In my dad’s hand and the wine to my mom’s left. I took this photo and thought nothing of it. Now it seems significant. Is that strange?
Pictured here are sunspots on the sea that I took a photo of on my backpacking trip to São Jorge. I followed a farming trail to a clearing on the edge of this huge vegetated rock in the town of Velas. It was just me up there with no plans for the rest of the day. The sun-spots disappeared and reappeared with the shifting clouds above. There was a light show on the Atlantic Ocean and I had the best seat.
This is Mount Pico on the island of Pico in the Azores. The connection I have to this place is both ancestral and spiritual. I always heard my dad’s stories about climbing Pico when I was younger. It wasn’t until I finally visited that I fully understood what he was talking about. And when I stood at the peak and looked out theres no better way to put the feeling I had than I embodied my dad’s stories. For a few moments I felt what he must’ve felt. And then I imagined telling my kids one day how I climbed Pico.
Laguna De La Cocha, Pasto, Colombia (Summer 2018)
Pasto was the second to last town I visited before crossing the border into Ecuador. I was ecstatic to meet up with a friend I met In Bogota to explore the nearby lake. We took a day trip to a few different places but spend a lot of time at this fishing town where their known for their smoked trout. We took one of these boats around the lake to a few different view points. There was actually an island we hiked through before going back for a late lunch. I don’t know what they used to season the trout but however they did it was remarkable.
Ahhh, Cartagena. I love this place. I took this photo the first day of my last week in Colombia. It’s symbolic to me. I had already spent a week here before traveling to the other cities. When I arrived at the airport I knew where I was. I followed the coastal road outside the neighborhoods because I knew it would lead me to the beaches and then the old, walled city. By the time my feet hit the sand the sky was lit up in colors. It was so hot and humid that night but I felt so relaxed and chill.
The best sunsets I’ve ever seen I saw from Sarasota shorelines. I believe this photo was taken at Bird Key park in downtown. I picked this one for its representation of peaceful solitude. In general, solitude was a common theme I noticed in my photography regardless of the exact subject.
I have a few photos stored away on my phone from this three day hike to lake Quilotoa. I regret to tell you however, that I lost the majority of them a few months after getting back from South America. Regardless, I love this photograph. It reminds me to be adventurous, perseverant, and passionate about the world we live in. I snapped this one on the morning of our last dayhike before reaching our destination: Latacunga.
My sister Ray took this photo of me when I got back to my home in Florida. I posted it to instagram with this caption: In the summertime I used pesos instead of dollars, gracias instead of thank you, and I rolled my R’s instead of growling them. In the summertime my purpose was to live like we all do, nothing special except for the feeling it gave me. I was actually alive.
My heartbeat told me by how fast it drummed dealing with everyday situations. Buying bread, jumping on a bus, walking into a city, saying “ola, como estas?” to the pretty brown haired barrista. There were times of heartache too in those foreign city streets. I went a few days without talking to anyone including myself. Tears fell, the sun fell too and at night I looked out the hotel window at the sparkling lights reminding me I was here.
Summertime was both a dream and reality. I walked out the door every morning 6 inches above the ground with my mind firmly planted in my surroundings. Everything was something to see and observe, to experiment and know. When I didn’t know I was okay with that. I’d been here before in this unfamiliar state of mind which seems more recognizable each time I find myself here.

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