{personal} carl sagan day

"I went to the librarian and asked for a book about stars... And the answer was stunning. It was that the Sun was a star but really close. The stars were suns, but so far away they were just little points of light... The scale of the universe suddenly opened up to me. It was a kind of religious experience. There was a magnificence to it, a grandeur, a scale which has never left me. Never ever left me." - Carl Sagan

"The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what is true." - Carl Sagan

"Whatever the reason you're on Mars is, I'm glad you're there. And I wish I was with you." - Carl Sagan

Today would have been Carl Sagan's 80th birthday. He was an amazing astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, a major promoter of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), and author of one of my favorite books which was then turned into one of my favorite movies.

In 1990 when the Voyager 1 spacecraft completed its primary mission and was set to leave the Solar System, Carl Sagan was the one who requested that the camera on the spacecraft be turned around to photograph Earth across an expanse of space measuring over three and a half billion miles. This image is the result and is titled "Pale Blue Dot." It illustrates both our insignificance and significance.

This is why I love Carl Sagan; he seems to have been both scientist as well as artist. 

As much as I admire his beautiful words and thoughts and ideas, regrettably there is very little of his work that I am actually familiar with. When I read Contact a few years ago, it was such perfection that I've been putting off reading Cosmos and Pale Blue Dot which have been sitting on my to-read pile for far too long. I also have plans to finally watch the original Cosmos: A Personal Voyage which was written and presented by Mr. Sagan in 1980. I can then watch this year's followup Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. And then someday I would like to visit his grave in Ithaca, New York, so that I can be among those who place a blue marble on his tombstone in honor of Pale Blue Dot.


{personal} apple picking

A couple of weeks ago we went apple picking at Snow-Line Orchard in Oak Glen, California. I had never been apple-picking before, so I was super excited! We picked apples, made apple cider, walked around. It was so lovely to escape the triple-digit temperatures and the unbearable heat of the city and drive up into the mountains and enjoy a true autumn. The temperature never reached above seventy the whole day and there was a clean crispness to the air that reminded me so much of home on the east coast. Autumn is my absolute favorite season and I miss it so much being in L.A. I love everything about it: leather boots, cozy sweaters, soft jeans, pumpkin-flavored everything, changing leaves, clean air, winding roads, country houses. I miss it so badly, and it was so wonderful being able to experience it all again, even just for a day.


{looking back} quad cam

When I was in college and still living in Florida, my boyfriend (now soon-to-be husband) bought me a little plastic camera called a "quad cam" that takes a sequence of four images on one negative. I took these the week of my college graduation when my family came to visit. The top four are from the airport and the bottom two are from the hotel.

The bottom one gets to me. It wasn't taken at the same moment, but it brings back the memory of saying an extremely tearful goodbye to Sean. We'd only been dating nine months and I'd decided to move back home to Virginia after college to live rent-free and job search. We were so in love and had no idea when we would be together again. I remember saying goodbye to him, both of us crying as I drove away as he stood in his front yard. I drove the fifteen or twenty minutes to the hotel my family was staying at. I'd calmed down a little by then. I was walking into the hotel as they were walking out and I burst into tears as soon as I saw them. Turns out it would be four years until we lived together again. But we made it!

June 2007.


{looking back} winter walk

When I lived back home in Virginia, I used to go on morning walks with my dad and our dog. These are some film shots I took during one icy morning in early 2005; six months before heading off to college to get my degree in photography! Circa January 2005.

PS. You can see our dog, Cynthia, in the fourth picture down. She was such a good dog...


{personal} pasadena city hall

City Hall, Pasadena, California.


{personal} the getty villa

A few months ago I spent a sunny afternoon oohing and awing over the architecture at The Getty Villa. Here are some very high contrast photographs from that day. I really do miss the lovely, diffused lighting of foggy San Francisco; it's taking me awhile to get used to sunny Los Angeles.

PS. The last photograph has a neat sort of yin and yang thing going on, don't you think?


{music} rose's pawn shop kickstarter campaign

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to photograph and assist in the making of Rose's Pawn Shop's Kickstarter video. They are raising money to release their third album. Please help support them by checking out the video below and visiting their Kickstarter page here!


{personal} los angeles

From the rooftop of a building looking toward downtown Los Angeles.


{personal} around the apartment

Views from around our apartment: the view from our window overlooking the freeway, and the view of the pool area.


{personal} the happiest place on earth

Having grown up on the east coast, I've been to Disney World a couple of times. But this was my first time going to Disneyland. (In my honest opinion, Disney World is much better. I don't know if it's because of a familiar fondness I have for the one I grew up with, or because the designers got it "better" on the second try.)

1. Sleeping Beauty's Castle
2. Sleeping Beauty's Castle
3. Details from Sleeping Beauty's Castle
4. The back of Sleeping Beauty's Castle
5. New Orleans
6. Tomorrowland


{san francisco} holga series 37

A week before we moved from San Francisco, my friends treated Sean and I to dinner at the Ferry Building where we ate our very first oysters (I'm officially a fan!).

And that's it. These are my last Holga pictures from San Francisco. Hopefully I'll visit again someday and take more! But for now you can view the series in its entirety here.


{san francisco} holga series 36

Some random shots from the city:

1. At the corner of Beale and Mission in Downtown San Francisco
2. Looking south at the corner of Sacramento and Hyde
3. Looking west at the corner of Sacramento and Hyde
4. Looking toward the Pacific Gas and Electric building from the corner of Front and Pine

You can view the rest of my San Francisco Holga series here.