Paris - With Love
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Deep down, we probably all have an image of Paris in our minds.

Romance and love, style and fashion, mystery and beauty. For many, this seems like the quintessential European trip - albeit with a bit of expectedness. What I didn’t realize, however, is that there’s a reason everyone feels that way about a trip to the Parisian epicenter. There’s meaning and history backing the beauty. Not the other way around.

What’s there to say about one of the most romantisized cities in the world. You can’t talk about Paris without mentioning food. Like any city, to truly experience the culture, you have to experience the food culture. Our mornings were filled with almond cruisaunta and coffee, lunches were spent with cheese and Champaign and baguettes sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower, and our evenings were spent at a brasseria dining on roasted chicken and duck.

Finally, there’s the architecture and city design. There is of course the Eiffel Tower. There are times in life you will never forget, spending time completely awe struck by such an iconic symbol feels dream like. Maybe it was the violinist playing my favorite tracks from la la land right as the tower lit up, or maybe it was just the shear size of both the physical structure and symbolism, but it’s hard to imagine a city with more preconceived-emotional connections ring true.

 

Here’s what I saw.


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The Process

These images were taken on a Fujifilm X-Pro 2 with the 35mm f/2 using the Classic Chrome profile applied to the RAW file using Lightroom. I loved the 50mm equivalent for straight lines, but could see the benefit in having something wider to capture some angles. 

EuropeSaxon McClamma
Madrid - A Weekend Exploring Creativity
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There’s something incredibly freeing about film photography. Maybe it’s not knowing how the photos will turn out or not worrying about digital distractions. But on this trip, a weekend jaunt across the pond for much needed relaxation after a busy winter, was about something more. 

You see, over the past 8 years photography has been a huge part of my life. Whether film or digital, somewhere along the way the spark, the joy was lost. It turned from curious experimentation and spontaneity into a business. Which was fine, it allowed me to peruse my passion while capturing memories for others. However, even with my personal work, it became less about me and more about the likes, the hearts, the page hits; it became about how other people felt when viewing my work, not how I felt when creating it. 

A Turning Point

This trip was more than just a few days away from the city. It was about simultaneously exploring somewhere new, while exploring a passion, one that I’ve somehow forgotten.

The night before I left while packing, I made a spontaneous decision to just bring one film camera. I was going to leave everything else behind and just have fun taking photos. I ended up taking an old Olympus OM-1, the only camera I had that didn’t require batteries (all of my others had died long ago). Little did I know this trip would ignite creativity in ways I haven’t felt in a long time. I was able to freely create with little regard for the outside world, I was able to create for myself. Never mind the technical issues with the camera (light leaks and expired film), these photos are beautiful for the fresh start they represent.

Maybe it was being isolated in a new city, speaking the language but seemingly oblivious to life outside of my own, but this trip was exactly what my soul was asking for. From the terrace at my Air BnB just minutes from center city, to overlooking the city at Parque Cerro del Tío Pío, here’s what I saw. 
 

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*For those wondering, I'm going to try and put together a technical recap at the end of each post. Here's a quick note about what I used and how I created these images.

The Process

These images were taken on an Olympus OM-1 with a 28mm f/3.5. Photos were over-exposed 2 stops onto Portra 160 and Fuji 400H which expired several years ago. I had these images processed at Indie Film Lab with minor retouching performed by me in Lightroom. As you can tell, the camera had severe light leaks that lead to some wild images. Additionally, the lack of a working built in meter made exposures a guessing game but the overall experience enjoyable and freeing. 

Los Angeles - Griffith Observatory Morning Fog
 Morning fog envelops the rolling hills surrounding the Griffith Observatory

Morning fog envelops the rolling hills surrounding the Griffith Observatory

 When asked why she visits, she responded that starting her day with Tai Chi relaxes her

When asked why she visits, she responded that starting her day with Tai Chi relaxes her


A View Like No Other

No visit to Los Angeles is complete without a visit to the Hollywood Hills. For me, the absolute best place to go is Griffith Observatory.

This particular trip had us at the airport around 4am, and with the longer trip from Anaheim we decided to spend the day in town. While most things were closed, we were able to grab coffee at intelligentsia. I always cherish trips to California for multiple reasons, but having access to several of the best coffee shops in the US is an added bonus. 

After grabbing coffee, we were treated with a sunrise like no other. While this was partially due to the wild fires ravaging the area, it was the early morning glow coming over the hills that made this visit special. 

The number of individuals out relaxing and enjoying the peace and calm in an otherwise busy city surprised me, but it makes sense. I now know the secret to handling the unrelenting traffic on a daily basis. 


 The morning light made for a pleasant softness to the images

The morning light made for a pleasant softness to the images

 It seemed as though everyone had a purpose

It seemed as though everyone had a purpose

 It is sometimes easy to forget the sleeping that's below

It is sometimes easy to forget the sleeping that's below

 Several observation points give a glimpse of the vastness that is Los Angeles 

Several observation points give a glimpse of the vastness that is Los Angeles 

 It's even easy to forget the number of people usually occupying the structures at sunset. Sunrise is my new favorite time to visit.

It's even easy to forget the number of people usually occupying the structures at sunset. Sunrise is my new favorite time to visit.

 We weren't the only ones taking in the view of the Hollywood sign.

We weren't the only ones taking in the view of the Hollywood sign.

 Until next time.

Until next time.