travel photographer

HVL Photo Travels | Washington D.C.

I'm getting the travel itch again so instead of buying a plane ticket I'm sharing some photos from Washington D.C.... much cheaper.

I had the opportunity this year to attend the Jeremy Chou Workshop in D.C. and after two full days of learning and styled shoots I had a day on my own to explore and sightsee.

As we'd been shooting film all week, I decided to keep it going and only took along my Pentax 645nii to capture places around our Nation's Capital.

Scanning and Developing | The Find Lab

Washington Monument

Washington Monument

world war II memorial
World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

washington memoria reflection pool
Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

DC War Memorial

DC War Memorial

Potomac River

Potomac River

Thomas Jefferson Memorial with Airplane

Thomas Jefferson Memorial with Airplane

National Archives Museum

National Archives Museum

HVL Photo Travels | Boston

A couple friends and I decided to take a quick girls' trip this past July ... like 48 hours quick.... Once of the girls couldn't take any more time off work so we left on Friday night and picked a destination that was in the same time zone and settled on Boston!  My inner nerd came out hard core.  

Outside of Paul Revere's House in the North End

Outside of Paul Revere's House in the North End

boston north end travel photographer
Site of the Boston Massacre

Site of the Boston Massacre

There were definitely more photos on our phones, but I did bring my camera with me of course. Here are just a few moments from our trip!  Enjoy!

We stayed at the Yotel (yes that's really what it's called).  It was one of the most interesting hotels I've stayed in.  I would describe it as if IKEA made a hotel.

The Old State House

The Old State House

The Granary Burying Ground - Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams

The Granary Burying Ground - Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams

Harvard

Harvard

Trying to find the entrance to Harvard that Lorelai and Rory went through on their trip to Harvard.

Trying to find the entrance to Harvard that Lorelai and Rory went through on their trip to Harvard.

For transportation we mostly took public transit - the MBTA.  We opted for the day passes so we could hop on and off as we please. The day pass also includes the ferry across the harbor.

My best purchase might have been my Freedom Trail book I got at Faneuil Hall.  1. Because I'm a nerd and 2. because we were able to do the Freedom Trail at our own speed while getting all of the historical fun facts about each location.  If you care, it's called "The Complete Guide to Boston's Freedom Trail" by Charles Bahne. In the back of the book it even tells you the hours and admissions for all the stops.

Wired Puppy coffee break on Newbury St

Wired Puppy coffee break on Newbury St

boston travel photographer
Walking along the Charles River

Walking along the Charles River

boston travel photographer
Charles River

Charles River

North End might be my favorite area of the city.  It's full of Italian food (we at at La Galleria 33), canolis (go to Mike's), and a cute coffee shop called, 'The Thinking Cup'.  The historical sites like Paul Revere's House and The Old North Church are also in this neighborhood.

I also enjoyed walking around Harvard and walking along the Charles River.  There's this beautiful trail that it goes along for a nice view and a leisurely walk.

Riding the Swan Boat at the Boston Public Garden

Riding the Swan Boat at the Boston Public Garden

Swan Boat

Swan Boat

Make Way for Ducklings statue in the Boston Public Garden

Make Way for Ducklings statue in the Boston Public Garden

Boston Public Garden

Boston Public Garden

We also visited The Boston Public Garden and rode the classic swan boats ($3) and saw the statues of the bronze ducks from the children's book, "Make Way for Ducklings".  The "Cheers" bar is also close by.  

Bunker Hill

Bunker Hill

The Old North Church - "one if by land, two if by sea"

The Old North Church - "one if by land, two if by sea"

Old North Church

Old North Church

Next time, I want to go to a game at Fenway Park and visit MIT.  

What would you want to see/ do if you visited Boston?

 

HVL Photo Travels | Chicago, IL

Last fall, I travelled to Illinois to visit family, take senior portraits for my cousin's kids and visit the great city of Chicago.  We were in the actual city for less than 24 hours so I definitely need to come back and check the architectural boat tour off my list, but I love getting to explore big cities!  When I told my family I was coming up, I made two requests.  One - to touch the bean and Two - to eat deep dish pizza.  I like to think I'm pretty low maintenance and we did both of these things and it was the best! Expectations exceeded!

chicago illinois travel photographer

One thing we did learn is that parking is mega expensive.  If you can take the EL, I'd suggest it.  If not, park in one spot that isn't timed like the parking deck at Navy Pier and keep it there all day and walk or uber/ lyft yourself around.  I introduced my aunt to Uber while we were there and I think she's a fan now.

bean cloud gate chicago illinois photographer
bean chicago cloud gate
bean cloud gate chicago illinois

This photo doesn't show it, but I did in fact, touch "The Bean".  The Bean is actually just a nickname for the "Cloud Gate" in Millenium Park and it's actually not that old.  The sculpture was built between 2004 and 2006.  It makes for a beautiful photo op - hence all the people, but also reflects the city's skyline on the other side. 

The Bean chicago cloud gate
chicago photographer
chicago photographer

We did a lot of walking and also got to see the boats on the waterfront of Lake Michigan and the Buckingham Fountain.  For lunch we got deep dish pizza from Gino's East!  It takes awhile to bake, but it's yummy!

chicago streets photographer
chicago skyline

The view from Navy Pier was one of the best skyline views and you guys know what a sucker I am for a good view.  Also, for those of you who remember that amazing World Series game that Cubs won last fall (yes I stayed up through the rain delay to see history happen - I can't wait for someone to make a movie about it) well, we were there a week or two before that happened - thus the Ws. Blue Ws fly everywhere - on signs, tv screens, ferris wheels - with pride for the Cubbies.

chicago skyline
fly the w chicago

Thanks for reading!  Where are you traveling this summer?

HVL Travels | The Wizarding World of Harry Potter | Universal Studios | Orlando, Florida

Alright friends, this post is long overdue...and also long.  My mom and I took our mother-daughter trip to Orlando last June.  I have asked many times about going - part joking because I knew she probably wouldn't care to go, but mostly serious because I love Harry Potter.  So I was surprised and pumped when she brought it up that that should be our destination and it was awesome!

Going to a theme park as an adult without children seemed like a silly idea at first, but once we got there, I realized we were definitely not the only ones - especially the millennials - and once we got back, I started seeing my facebook feed show up with tons of other people and their photos to the Orlando theme parks.  Alas, here is my post about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and our tips and insights from our trip.  Most of the photos here were shot on iphone because sometimes that's the best camera option in your pocket.

First up, Cabana Bay.  We stayed at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.  It's one of the few resorts within walking distance to the park and we loved staying there for multiple reasons.  First, we got a package deal that included our accommodations and park tickets which just made everything easier.  We did the 3 day pass, which was great because we didn't feel rushed or that we had to stay at the park all day long to get our money's worth.  There are multiple ways to get to the park.  We got a lot of use out of the walking trail, but when we were too tired from the hot sun, we could take the shuttle or even rickshaw (yep).  You valet your car and since it's so close to attractions there's no need to really use your vehicle unless you want to venture out, which also means you don't have to pay for expensive parking at the parks.  

The resort itself is full of retro flair, which I am a huge fan of! If you wanted to just have a hotel day, there would be plenty to keep you busy with a lazy river, movies by the pool, a bowling alley, food court etc.  For the lazy river, you can purchase floats from the resort, but we just brought our own from home.

Because we got the package deal, it came with early entry into Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure.  On the second day we figured out our rhythm.  After you get into the park, you make your first pit stop at the Starbucks that's in the "Port of Entry" section of the park.  Then you follow everyone back to Hogsmeade and get in line for something.  Then, you can sip while you wait - because you will still have to wait even if you got in early - just not as long. 

For those of you that know me, you know I'm a pretty frugal traveller.  As you also know, almost everything inside a theme park is way over priced.  What we did, was packed snacks and *empty* water bottles to bring into the park.  Once you're inside, you can fill them up at the water fountain.  *They check bags at the entrance to City Walk - no liquids.

A few other vacation food tips - share meals.  You're probably not going to have a place on you to store your left overs (and are you really going to eat them later?) and they always give you so much food in restaurants, but sharing is cheaper and more efficient and may possibly leave you with room for a treat later. ;)

As far as Universal Studios specific meals - if you're going to eat lunch inside the park, we would suggest the little french style cafe near the entrance of Universal Studios.  There was room inside to actually sit at a table, it wasn't too ridiculous in price, and was one of the few non greasy/ heavy food options.

Another suggestion if you just want to take a break and sit inside, is to go to the Three Broomsticks.  You have to order something if you go so we got fruit cups and Butterbeer! The butterbeer was yummy, but super sweet and I drank maybe half of it - probably should have shared that too.

I bought a KAVU backpack and it worked great.  It was big enough to hold everything (phone, keys, tickets, money, snacks, etc) but small enough to fit in the lockers.  

Most rides won't let you carry your belonging with you so you have to leave them in the free lockers outside each ride, which identify you by your fingerprint (whoa).  You just have to remember which locker you used. 

Now, I thought I was a pretty big fan, but apparently not judging by the other patrons at the park.  I didn't dress up or have a wand, but if I had a child and took them to Universal, I would definitely take them to Ollivander's to buy them an interactive wand.  They're about $50, but going in the shop and watching the "wand choose the wizard" is entertainment in itself.  

We had a park-to-park pass which allowed us to go to and from each park and ride the Hogwarts Express.  I really liked the Hogwarts Express.  It transports you to the other park, but it's also a ride and it's different each way.

As a person whose body can't handle roller coasters anymore, I would say that if you can only do one park, pick Universal.  The rides are more show like and built indoors, which means you get to stand in line in air conditioning.  Although, in the Harry Potter parts of the parks, standing in line can be part of the experience.  For example, at Hogwarts, you go through different parts of the castle before you ever get to the ride. Also at Universal, there are also street shows, which I was a fan of.

A couple other insights we noticed is that the single rider lane moved pretty fast and if you're ok with potentially not sitting next to your friend, it might be worth it.  Also, there were a ton of Europeans in Orlando - mostly British, but I'm pretty sure I heard every European language and more during our trip.  

I really wish the Jimmy Fallon ride was open! Not till this spring.

We didn't feel the pressure to only stay at the park so we did venture out a little and explored some other parts of Orlando.  The Rifle Paper flagship store is located nearby in Winter Park so we ventured over there one day and explored the town.  We also saw a movie over at the City Walk movie theater one night.  

If you've made it this far in the post, I congratulate you.  Keep on exploring whether close to home or far away!

HVL Travels | St. Augustine, Florida | Film Photography Series

HVL Travels | St. Augustine, Florida | Film Photography Series

Earlier this fall, my family and I went to St. Augustine as we have in years past.  With me, I took only my film camera and my iphone for photography purposes.  These were all taken before Hurricane Matthew decided to make a visit to the Oldest City.  Historically, St. Augustine is resilient city and I know that it is well into the clean up and restoration phases post hurricane and we can't wait to visit again!

HVL Travels | An American in Paris | Part II

HVL Travels | An American in Paris | Part II

Last week, I posted the first installment of our Paris trip.  If you missed it, you can find it HERE.  Traveling has become one of my favorite things and once I get going, I just don't want to stop! During our weekend in France, we took the TGV train down to the Provence region of France.  It's much quieter and quainter in these small towns and was a nice little getaway.  We also learned a bit about Van Gogh's time here and ate at the Cafe Nuit, styled after one of his famous paintings.