On Leaving

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“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way again.”   – Azar Nafisi

Currently freezing in New Hampshire after a whirlwind week of moving out and going to Mexico and coming back to start classes. I often wonder why I am so addicted to leaving – there’s not a place I’ve been to (for more than a few days) that I did not want to leave by the end. I think it’s because I’m forced to acknowledge reality while I’m physically in a place, but when I leave my natural optimism only remembers the good things and that place at that time and me at that time become a perfect dream. And so we are perfectly reborn over and over when we leave.

In other news, I’m very excited to share my trip to Mexico with you!

Happy Monday!

 

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Blue Bottled

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This was from a week back, braving the cold to go out with my lovely friend Erica. I think this post encapsulates why I love photography so much, especially natural light photography – I never stop learning. There’s always something new to explore and some new angle to look at the thing you see every day, some new technique to try. It never stops evolving (if you call me a nerd who loves school you would be correct) and that’s why I love it.

Anyway, in addition to the semi-regular philosophic musings, there’s a NYC café guide here somewhere, namely Blue Bottle Coffee (the one in Williamsburg), one of those quintessentially cool, hardwood-floors-and-ceilings-and-tables-and-gleaming-coffee-equipment joints that also happens to be a chain but doesn’t feel like one. I’ve only tried the latte (my drink of choice between the months of September – May) and it was delicious and also warm which is all I was going for. They have a few tiny bites as edible options as well as granola and oatmeal and you have to fight for table space because it is always packed. Luckily I have a huge bag and as a Russian I rarely smile at strangers. 🙂

Stormpocalypse

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(P.S I really sympathized with these pigeons, a love affair carried over from my time in Paris and Siena, they were just trying to stay warm, like me)

Winter Storm Jonas swept through yesterday, inspiring hashtags and snowy artsy pictures as New Yorkers rediscover, with some horror and cleaning-out of the supermarkets, what a real winter is like. Even getting around Manhattan was difficult, but I had spent all of yesterday locked up inside so I was determined to squeeze out whatever minimal Vitamin D I could find.

We started at the High Line, train station turned urban park, running down part of the west side of the island. We ended up in Chelsea and then just wandered over to the iconic Flatiron, with a pit stop at Birch. New York’s charm is heightened by the snow, even if half the time you’re dodging icicles and up to your knees in slush. And it was great to explore other parts of the island besides SoHo.

I feel a winter survival guide coming on sometime later, as a bit of fun experimentation.

Other Smiles

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Happy New Year!

While I’m still imbued with hope and good intentions and philosophically lethargic after the holidays of non-stop socializing and eating (le detox from Juice Generation, order up), I figured I would wax poetic about photography and my New Year’s Resolutions.

Don’t get me wrong – I love smiles and happiness and a lovely smile on a lovely person is great. But I also don’t agree with all the heat bloggers were getting way back when for not smiling in photos. Who’s to say smiles are the only real way to show joy? I, for example, always feel fake when forced to pull back and bare my teeth just to make the other person secure in the thought that I am happy. My RBF is a perfect expression of my relaxed contentedness without the extra muscle exertion. Gorgeous smiles are wonderful, but I can’t help but feel that nowadays so many smiles are on-demand anytime we snap a picture or interact even. So here is a little photo study of other facial expressions that relay things a bit more complicated than joy, as shown by my baby brother, who is suddenly not such a baby anymore. Took the photos in, you guessed it, my favorite park, back when it was Christmas Day and nearly 70 (oh how I miss you now, tropical Christmas).

As for New Year’s Resolutions, aside from the realistic portrayal of people as discussed above, I recently read the life-changing magic of tidying up and it was truly transformative (and you should get it ASAP). As a hoarder with complex commitment issues, I’ve long wanted to clean up my room, de-clutter my life and so on, and this book was a great catalyst. As soon as I finished it (in a day) I threw out two bags of toiletries and makeup and several bags of just tops (those I donated, they were perfectly good clothes) and I’m still not done (just wait until I get my hands on my dorm room). Marie Kondo says to visualize your ideal life – I can’t wait until mine looks like a design magazine (or at least a west elm catalog).

Breakfast in SoHo

IMG_8763.krIMG_8755.krIMG_8760.krDakotahinthePark CollageIMG_8765.2.krIt was ridiculously warm today, to the point that even I shed my coat and sallied forth in only a cardigan. Had a wonderful breakfast at Balthazar Bakery in SoHo (I had the Wild Blueberry Danish and it was perfect with a latte). My shy model was Dakotah, an old friend from high school and amazing Instagrammer/Martha Stewart intern. We missed each other last year in Florence by a few hours, so it was good to actually catch up in person for once! And I also kinda coerced her into being my model…after a week of work I needed to take photos of someone, anyone, anything!

Strolled on to Washington Square Park and it was gorgeous! Have a great weekend!

Different Shades of Light

IMG_8721.krIMG_8737.krIMG_8712.krIMG_8723.krNYCCandle CollageIMG_8739.krFinally settling into our Brooklyn apartment and a life of 9-to-5. It’s not all that bad, especially since I’m spending the winter in New York, with a break to go skiing with the family up in Maine! I never got to have candles – mom is sensitive to the smell and college dorms fear them like the plague (can totally see why, no grudges), but in my own little airbnb rental I can do as I please, especially since it’s a yummy herbal concoction from a TN candle maker (all my homes, past and present, are coming together). And obviously as soon as it was lit I had to experiment with lighting. The light-filled pictures are from my Sunday stroll in Central Park after brunch with my friend, also pictured above.

Chiaroscuro

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Finally back on campus, again, reunited with my fave, constant Wi-Fi, but separated from this little munchkin, who is the sweetest and also the most spoiled. Part of this is my fault, I’ll admit, a whole week of pastries and hot cocoa and movies and games for him, as a present for my arrival.

Could not resist this lighting, I’ve always liked the more dramatic casts of light, like literally everything Kat Irlin does (I am a huge fan of her work, double-clicking all the time). Anyway, having a few laughs before fall term begins – and btw, I won that hand and not just because he flashed his cards..

Nautically

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Some snapshots from Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Still in the process of discovering my new home, and it’s the most outside I’ve been since…forever. This is the quintessential postcard-perfect place in Cape Elizabeth/Portland, and once again, I have to go with the flow and agree. It’s so nautical – Portland Head Light is the lighthouse of fairy tales…or more like nautical tales of sweethearts looking for their sailor husbands in a storm. Just makes me want to wear stripes and straw hats all day. It’s an absolutely amazing cliff walk and my cute baby cousin Vincent went between being too cool for this to wanting to run away. He’s so cute (of course).

My aunt, who lives in Dresden (I tend to flood this place with photos taken from her place), came to tour Canada and the Northeast with her family, 9-month-old and 3-year old in tow (not pictures because he really was too cool for this).

I will eventually pick up the slack and make a proper guide to Portland and the Part of Maine that is Accessible to Everyone and Not in the Middle of Nowhere. I want to try my luck at How-To and To-Do guides and improve on this whole layout thing.

Also please enjoy calming pictures of the water. I’ve never been a fan of swimming but I do like the idea of water, the ocean nearby, dipping my toes in, flashing my bikini.

Happy Summer!

Stealing the September Sun

IMG_3717.2.krIMG_3785.krnellysun CollageIMG_3781.2IMG_3782.2IMG_3721.krIMG_3773.2.krIMG_3762.krIMG_3788.2.krIMG_3789.krnellytea CollageIMG_3805.krWrapping up my summer in Nashville with an old guest star – Nelly – whom you’ve seen here. She’s so gorgeous, absolutely no posing needed – she and I just kind of naturally captured her in these moments of strength and confidence. And because I had missed my rumpled self on camera, there’s quite a bit of sun kissed me. I love shooting at sunset but the light can get tricky, especially since I have a little orange sun-stache in one of the above. 

This outing was a bit home-y and we settled into our lattes (in the evening too, the Italians would be horrified) in a neighborhood cafe. Also, elation, I finally found the perfect white button-down. If I were to regale you with my 2 year long search for the perfect white shirt and the struggle of having broad shoulders, long arms and a short torso, you would rightly think I was crazy and OCD.

Enjoy the September sunshine!