STGO-CL

Over the winter break from school I spent close to 12 glorious days in Santiago, Chile with my Mother and Aunt Regina. It was a remarkable trip, with our time spent exploring the city, multiple trips to the Baha’i House of Worship and a day trip to Viña del Mar and Valparaíso. The weather was amazing, in the 80s and 90s with radiant sunshine every day. I even came back with a sunburn!

But most important was that I got to explore a new city, spend time with family and take tons of photos. It’s been a while since I’ve spent so much time taking photographs while exploring and it was good to get behind the camera, even if it was mostly just with my phone.

While I was in Santiago, I realized that I have begun taking a new approach to taking pictures. A long time ago when I first started photography, I always waited for the best shot, without people or objects, trying to always get the clearest shot possible. But I think it’s been in the last year or so, that I’ve grown to love and appreciate movement in my photos.

Whether it’s hands visible and moving in a scene, or streaks in the background, these movements give life and energy to photographs. Even in the graffiti photos I took in Santiago, there are plenty of times where people seemed to almost be posing in my shot, a guy in a pink shirt was looking over his shoulder like he was being followed or cars were driving in front of a piece. Instead of waiting for these “obstructions” to clear in order to re-shoot, I simply stayed in the moment, took the photo with them in it and moved on.

Not only have I generally come to appreciate movement, but in a place like Santiago, where there is life and energy everywhere, this movement is both essential and unavoidable. In a city with close to 7.5 million people and a density of  21,925 people per square mile, to try and exclude this energy, would be to omit the very essence that is the soul of the city. So I embraced that and look full advantage of the city breathing additional life into these photographs.

I was going to make each group of photos its own post in order to add reflections or thoughts about them. But that would have taken way too long and I really wanted to get these up. Some photos will have captions, and some will speak for themselves.

For those who are interested, full size images of photos taken at the Baha’i House of Worship are available upon request. Just send me note with the image number found in the caption.

Without further ado, I present to you photographs that capture my experience in Santiago. I hope you enjoy them. There are A LOT so please take your time, stay awhile, or come back more than once. : )

Art & Graffiti:

Baha’i House of Worship:

Churches & Basilicas:

Landmarks:

Markets & Street Vending:

Odds & Ends:

Vina del Mar & Valparaiso:

Vistas & Flores:

 

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Off Season

A few weeks ago the winter restlessness settled in again and I took off for a short trip to Devil’s Lake. There was a winter storm brewing which didn’t make for very good light for photos of the lake and cliffs so I focused on some of the other things that were around. The last time I was here was at the height of summer and the lake and beach were packed. It was almost eerie to be at the now deserted park with only the sound of distant birds and the lake shifting underneath the ice. With the storm coming in, I didn’t hang around for long. But even 30 minutes in that beautiful stillness was well worth the trip.

Restless

After almost two weeks off work for the holidays, I was feeling pretty restless. While the time off was nice, without a routine to keep me out of the house for 8+ hours of the day, I go a little stir crazy. On January 2nd, I took a little road trip to Spring Green for the afternoon to just get out of the city and check out some of the local shops downtown.

I didn’t really take any photos while I was there, but there are some great little spots. My favorite visit was to “The Opal Man”. It’s a small little store that specializes in opal jewelry. The two men that run it were extremely warm and inviting, something I wasn’t exactly expecting from a high-end shop like that in a small Wisconsin town. I am so glad I stopped in though, as I learned a lot about opals and saw the most stunning (and expensive!!) necklace I have ever seen in my life! That was the first shop I visited in Spring Green, and it alone was worth the visit.

Since it was a sunny day, and much nicer than the last time I was there, I made a stop to revisit Halfway Prairie on the way. I also stopped to take some photos of hay bales in a field a small wintry creek. It was a good day.