Our first RV trip

We have always wanted to rent a RV. Daydreams of getting an Airstream and exploring the southwest or perhaps the Pacific northwest. One of those things on the wanderlust to do list. But we never did it.

So a few weeks ago, we rented a RV. It wasn’t as cool as an Airstream. While new-ish, it looked like it was straight out of the 70s. But getting a RV rental isn’t easy as many of them are taken this time of year and that is especially true during this pandemic. Our original plan was to drive north into Vermont. But the campgrounds in Vermont discouraged visitors from Massachusetts given the Covid cases spiking in our county.

Instead we found a campground in the Berkshire Mountains. We loaded our clothes, supplies, food, coffee(!) and camera gear and headed west. Driving a RV is quite different than our electric sedan. The RV is massive, it’s loud and drives like a boat. But it’s super fun. A feeling of indepence. We had everyting we needed in our little house on wheels.

The fall colors in the Berkshires were fantastic and so was the crisp morning air that greeted us each day. And it was fun to get away and just enjoy time together hiking during the day and relaxing each evening in our camper. We missed having our daughters with us on this trip but they are in college now. I can totally picture my son getting a RV with his friends when he’s older.

I am grateful for our getaway. I’m now even more excited for a future trip to the southwest :)

(Color photographs made with a Hasselblad 503cw and Kodak Portra film. Black and white photographs made with a Leica M-A and Kodak Tri-X film. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in California).

Mount Cardigan

A few weeks back, my wife and I made a day trip to New Hampshire and spent the day exploring Mount Cardigan. We heard about this place many times over the years but this was our first time. It was one of those magical fall days, the weather was crisp and the colors of the season was a real treat. The hike itself took about 4 hours round trip. The last 1/4 mile up the face was super challenging but felt great at the top.

(All of these photographs were made with a Mamiya 7ii and Kodak Portra 400 film. Developed and processed at Richard Photo Lab in California.)

Kachemak Bay & Katmai National Park

We took a small bush plane out of Denali and then a train to Anchorage where we spent a night. The next morning we boarded a sea plane and flew to Kachemak Bay. We stayed at Tutka Bay Lodge which was located in a perfect spot. Right on the water, surrounded by gorgeous mountains. This part of Alaska was dramatically different than Denali but beautiful in it’s own way. It feels remote but is just a quick 20 minute boat ride to Homer.

We spent the next three days at Tutka Bay and would enjoy each day exploring the local trails and getting out on kayaks.

The highlight of our stay was a gorgeous flight to Katmai National Park to see the brown bears. The bears were so calm and focused on eating that they barely paid any attention to us — even though we were completely fixed on their every move.

I was really sad to leave this special place. I hope we can make it back again in the near future.

Our next stop was meeting up with my parents and Lauren’s mom for a cruise. But I’ll leave that for my next post.

landscape bay.jpgellie and lauren.jpgkayak.jpgseal.jpgtub and house.jpgkayak 3.jpgwalk and chair.jpgbear.jpgplanes bay.jpglauren bay.jpgbear water.jpgbear sqaure.jpglandscape james.jpg

(Cameras: Hasselblad 503cw & Leica M3, Film: Kodak Portra 400 & Kodak Tri-X 400, Lab: Richard Photo Lab in California)

Denali National Park, 2019

We have always wanted to see Alaska. We have made several attempts to travel to Alaska over the years but for one reason or another we had to postpone

At long last we were able to make it work. Alaska is over 2x the size of Texas but with only 700k people. It’s hard to get your head around the size of the state and getting around isn’t easy if you want explore various parts of the state. You can only access about 20% of the state by car so you need to see other areas by bush plane, boat or train

Our trip had three parts: three days in Denali National Park, three days in Kachemak Bay/Katmai Coast and then a week of southeast Alaska.

This post is about our time in Denali National Park. I’ll write up two more posts later this month about the rest of the trip.

Getting to Denali was quite a journey. We flew from Boston to Seattle then to Fairbanks. We spent the night in Fairbanks and took a five hour train to the park entrance. Cars aren’t allowed past the visitor center. To get to the lodge requires a four hour bus ride from the park entrance or a 1 hour bush plane. We took the bus in and plane out to get the full experience and I’m glad we did.

Lodging is limited in the park if you aren’t camping. We stayed at the North Face Lodge which is minimalistic. Each room has the essentials and nothing more. There is no wifi in the park or cellular connectivity anywhere. But the setting of the place, staff and food were truly fantastic. The days were magically long with 20 hours or more of full sunlight followed by a few short hours of dusk. We spent our days hiking and relaxing over a book after dinner. One of our most memorable days was getting away from a wandering grizzly bear.

Denali Park is absolutely stunning. I do not know how to adequately describe it properly and my photographs below do not fully capture the beauty of the place by any means. But one thing is for sure, Alaska has the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen in the United States.

Denali 1.jpgDenali 1.5.jpgDenali 2.jpgDenali 3.jpgDenali 4.jpgDenali 5.jpgDenali 6.jpgDenali 7.jpgDenali 8.jpgDenali 9.jpgDenali 10.jpgdenali 11.jpgDenali 12.jpgDenali 13.jpgDenali 14.jpg

All photographs taken with a Hasselblad 503cw and Leica M3 and Kodak film. Other gear in my backpack here.

Family trip to Los Angeles, 2019

Earlier this month, we spent ten days in southern California, looking at colleges with our daughter Ellie and enjoying the warm sunshine.

(All photographs taken with a Leica MP and Kodak Portra 400 film; developed and processed at Richard Photo Lab in California)

026133-R1-011

026133-R1-012

red cars

026133-R1-030

026134-R1-017

026135-R1-022

026135-R1-024

026135-R1-030

026135-R1-032

building mountain

026136-R1-032

026136-R1-034

026137-R1-005

house flower

026137-R1-024

026137-R1-027

026137-R1-033

026137-R1-034

surf street

New Orleans

We made a brief weekend trip to New Orleans last month. I don’t know the city well but between recommendations from Twitter friends and Foursquare we found some amazing places to eat and listen to music.

It’s a very cool city with incredible architecture, art, food and of course music. Even though our visit was short, I am glad we had the opportunity to explore outside of the French Quarter (especially during the day). The Garden District and the six mile walk down Magazine Street was wonderful.

I’m not sure when we will get back to New Orleans but I hope the next visit is longer.

016438-R1-010-2crop2 - 1016438-R1-004crop - 1016438-R1-001tree chair 2 (1)016438-R1-011-2crop - 1 (1)016438-R1-006crop - 1 (2)000082660012

(Cameras: Hasselblad 503cw, Leica M3; Film: Kodak Portra 400, Kodak Tri-X 400; Developed and Scanned: Richard Photo Lab)

Weekend in Vermont

Last month, Lauren and I spent the weekend in Vermont to celebrate our anniversary.

With each visit, we are reminded how much we adore Vermont. The wide open spaces, beautiful mountains and disconnected from city life. The perfect place to get outside and explore, or just sit by the fire with a book and a hot cup of coffee.

000451220005lauren ski000451220007trees000451220009000376660019000376660022000451220008

(Color photographs made with a Hasselblad 503cw and Kodak Portra 400. Black and white photographs made with a Leica M3 and Kodak Tri-X 400. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab). 

Dubai

Less than 72 hours. That’s all the time we had in Dubai. Not nearly enough time for our first visit to the Middle East. We were headed to Maldives for the December holiday but we wanted to break up the long flight so we took an extra day and night in the beginning and end of our vacation to rest and do a little bit of exploring in Dubai.

Dubai is a fascinating place with massive construction and build out during the last 20 years, with much if it taking place over the last 10 years or so. The enormous airport, the largest mall, the tallest building, all the hotels and offices. All new. The scale is hard to grok for a first time visitor.

Since our time was limited we could explore a few things. So we chose the spice market in the city and a trip to the desert about an hour or so outside the city. Both are bit on the touristy side of things but it still felt a million miles away from home.

The spice market was a packed with vendors with various foods and spices from the region. We brought back some saffron,pistachio nuts and local candies.

We really enjoyed the desert exploration. We rented buggies and went off roading. We road camels to dinner. The desert was so beautiful especially as golden hour approached. The colors so soft and warm.

L1000412Cam and ManL1000442D and SL1000460J and CarL1000416L1000451man and MosL1000543Mos and Man2L1000464Street and Man3L1000393

December in Nantucket

The winter months bring a special kind of beauty to Nantucket.The beaches are quiet and the boats have long left the docks. The days are shorter and the island prepares for a long stretch ahead.

The very first weekend of in December every year is known as Stroll Weekend. The town is fully decorated in holiday spirit and so do the visitors and residents alike. It’s a wonderful time & place to spend with loved ones.

Bahamas, Part II

Our daughter Ellie wanted to add a different experience to her high school life. She discovered a school is the Eleuthera, Bahamas called The Island School. The Island School offers high school juniors a special experience studying abroad.

Each day Island School students get up at 6am and either run or swim before breakfast. It’s training for a portion of their final exam which includes a half marathon or 4 mile open ocean swim.

After breakfast they attend their studies for a full day of classes that are immersive and experiential. They conduct in depth research with the local environment and community. They study biology in the ocean, learn history in the local townships and math outside.

Towards the end of the semester, students go on an eight day kayak expedition which includes two days of solitude. Just you, by yourself, with a journal, a tarp, food and water.

A few weeks ago, Lauren and I spent three days with Ellie, her classmates & their families and teachers for Parent Weekend in Eleuthera. We were blown away at the experience these kids are getting. We woke up at 6am every morning, did the morning run, jumped off High Rock together, ate together and laughed together. The founder Chris Maxey is an inspiration — and the staff and teachers are so committed. We also got a day off so the three of us could enjoy our time together and explore the island as a family. It was wonderful.

Ellie’s semester is coming to an end and she comes home next week. She will have been away for 100 days. We have missed her more than anything. She should be so proud of her experience and accomplishments.

I sure am.

(All photographs taken on a Leica M3 and Hasselblad 503cw on Kodak film. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in California).