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Time for the darker posts. It’s October. The mornings are crisp, the nights damp and chilly. The sun still coaxes us outside to feel its rays on our face but they feel weaker each day.

These are some photographs I took in 2014 in Cape Cod on a swamp trail. My mother and I escaped to the beaches, but it being early June it was still very cold. The trail was only a mile long but the rich darkness of everything in a swamp is eerie. I remember loving it- it felt like every bend of the boardwalk led us to another secret part of the earth. It was somewhere I wanted to see at night but with somebody I felt safe with.

Blood Moon + Tidal Pools

The blood moon + lunar eclipse happened on Sunday night, and I felt that I had to go and see the moon change. I had never been down the beach alone at night, but I put on my rubber rain boots, put my best lens on my camera, and put on the heavy wool lopapeysa sweater I bought in Reykjavik. It wasn’t truly cold, but it was  bone-seeping, saturating chilly, at 8 pm. The air felt heavy, overwhelming. The closer I got to the beach the more I saw car lights- my poor dark adjusted eyes burned each time a car drove down the curve by the beach.

My idea to watch the eclipse was not original- far from it. I heard people before I saw them. Burly, coat-rounded forms of humans perched on various blankets and pieces of driftwood all over the smooth-pebbled beach greeted me- some bright phone screens, some spindly-looking creatures that were tripods holding up cameras far nicer than mine. I realized I wasn’t going to be able to get any photographs- it was too damn dark to get anything of value without moving the camera one way or another.

Regardless, the moon was already beautiful, a rusty, eerie red sphere hanging out over the sound. I made far too much noise as I walked on the rocky beach, feeling horribly aware of my presence, but quickly found an enormous tree piled on rocks and other trees. It sat about 6-8 feet off the beach, but it was old and sturdy. I dangled my feet and buttoned up my sweater as the chill settled.

Watching the moon eclipse for the first time was a lonely experience, perhaps magnified by the cold, but the moon itself is a lonely thing, so it was fitting. The waves lapping at the beach and the light refracting on the water’s surface added to the beauty of it all. The symphony of the earth, unaffected by human presence, continued as it had for eons, and I was able to sit and reflect on a storm-tossed, smooth, enormous piece of driftwood and think about this.

Eventually the blood in my hands was gone and the persistent chill of the heavy night air drove me to head home. The moon was back out in beautiful, ivory and grey-flecked brilliance, and I walked home with some horrible pictures and a head full of wonder.

The photographs above are very near where I sat and watched the eclipse. I loved discovering that we have tidal pools here.

All the Icelandic Angst: Alliterations and (finally) some film

Victoria thankfully has several worthy developers of black and white film, so after putting about 3 rolls through my mum’s trusty 1980’s Olympus I dropped them off. Three days later I held sleek beautiful rolls of film in my hands and felt exhilarated. I love my DSLR, I love how practical it is to take a digital camera and be able to make several hundred photographs in one day and process them and really get some good ones.

But film, oh film. You have to respect it- your hands can’t be oily, you handle everything with cotton, you must keep them from heat and cold. Cutting negatives, carefully putting them in the trays, and calibrating your scanner, all of these are conscious, direct actions that you do. You have to work for and with your film. Even if I don’t develop my own, I still get one on one with making my pictures a reality in a way I never can with digital.

Anyway, I forgot I had taken a roll of black and white film in Iceland, so when I unrolled the negs on the light table at Prism Imaging some rocky landscapes caught my eye and made me smile. Unfortunately I think my poor camera has some light leaks- might DIY with a flashlight in a dark room and see if I can identify any and just put some electrical tape somewhere but if not…well….luckily old cameras like Olympus were mass-produced, so if I need a new body it’ll be pretty cheap.

Emily and I wish we had spent our whole 3 weeks abroad in Iceland. It was unsettling but familiar. I feel homesick like crazy right now, but if I had to be somewhere else I wouldn’t mind being there. Someday it would be a blast to get a group of 4/5 people and do a month driving around the Ring Road, camping out of a van and spending a few days here and there. We barely scratched the surface of this beautiful country, I feel like I experienced 0.0000001% of the potential awesomeness.

It was a lot of quiet moments. Emily drove us around, as I can’t drive stick (yet- I want to learn!) and I read aloud from The Gunslinger, the first of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower Series throughout the days. Emily thought it was bizarre but awesome. We ate chocolate covered raisins everywhere and I drove her crazy making her stop at different places while I looked for somewhere that sold stamps (an information office outside of a National Park finally did!). We picked up two sets of hitchhikers- two sisters from France, and two best friends from France.There was black sand in the floor mats and my hair was a tangled mess. It was never dark and sleeping was a chaotic mess because you’d wake up and it would be 3 am out but it would look like 9 am. All the hot water has a sulfuric smell so after showering you didn’t feel like you really smelled any better, more like a minion from Hell. Living out of backpacks meant that our clothes were wrinkled messes constantly. The tiny heater in our cottage was hyper-efficient and perfectly located for me to put a chair right next to it and press my cold feet against it.

More to come. It’s rainy and chilly here, but I do want to take a walk. Yesterday it was raining all evening and the streets were so beautiful. The bus floors were slippery though and several people had trouble getting into their seats with dignity. (As a clumsy fool I empathized).

New haunts

Homesickness has me in it’s inevitable grip. Yesterday I ended up talking with a professor for over two hours and she asked me how I feel here and it took a lot for me to not just begin crying. You don’t break into tears in front of Oxford educated professors. I’m pretty sure that’s a rule. I did try to wear heels to class, for some reason that seemed like a good idea- my horrible ankles, ruined after so many injuries and falls, failed me shortly after I hobbled into the library, and thankfully the cynical side of me tucked some flats into my purse. It was fun being 3 inches taller for a while, though, and you never know until you try. They had free food yesterday on campus so I obviously took advantage of that. Finding optimism in the little things, like the cold air coming in from the open windows on the bus, or feeling how warm your sweater is against the chill of the rain, or the snug comfort of well-fitting rain boots- these are things to focus on and draw power from. How satisfying it is holding a warm mug of tea in my hands, seeing my little plants slowly grow, these are all beautifully worthwhile things to concentrate on instead of wanting to be elsewhere.

A hike near Hveragerði

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I took multiple rolls of film on this hike. It was impossible not to- the whole hike had such a varying degree of landscapes, lighting, and weather patterns. It was cloudy, then sunny, than rainy, then windy- or a mix of various parts of those. Emily and I hiked with our swimsuits packed, excited to see the naturally heated creek that gushed down the valley.

The soil on the hike varied in color, from burnt orange to hues of purple, deep grey, blue, and brown. I couldn’t put my camera down. I regretted not bringing my DSLR, but if I had I would have taken hundreds of images rather than less than 100 on film. Pacing myself, I tried to just revel in the landscape and in how lucky we were to be there. I was thankful Emily had driven us this far, because it was worth it. I was glad the weather held until almost the end of our day.

We found pits in the earth that gushed steam and gurgled water. We did not dare get too close to the edge of these pits, as the soil or earth might have been weakened. We saw few people- one group graciously pointed us to a hidden waterfall as they walked away from it. Everybody respected the fact that this was a place of extreme solitude and beauty. Emily and I wished we had a tent so we could just camp in a meadow. Such a beautiful place deserved more than a day of our attention, but sadly that’s all we could give it.

Bits of Blue


I arranged the film I scanned in two parts: White and Blue.

Montana in the winter tends to be shades of White and Blue and Grey, but luckily my pictures were a bit happier than just being Grey.

I don’t have much to say. My photographs here are mostly quiet morning moments on the weekends when I would put on my heavy boots and head outside with the camera in my gloved hands. More crystalline ice structures, beautiful evening light on the grass, the light streaming in through my filmy curtains, and time outside. Working 40 hours a week I do find it hard to commit to being outside, but lately I’ve been trying very hard to go on walks, sit outside when it’s sunny, and just have more time, no matter how short, with a less artificial world.