That rare feeling of knowing you are in one place, but simultaneously being pummeled with the feeling of being in another. Fog like the fog we felt that Monday a few weeks ago is England: thick, dense, gloomy, damp. And beautiful. I am grateful to have been blessed with a day of my England just by stepping out of my door in California.
A week into the California State Fair already and still so much to see and do, and most definitely eat. This is my first year living in Sacramento and also my first state fair ever (NYC is a fair in itself I suppose), so I was really looking forward to covering the events and going as often as possible - and I think we have already accomplished the latter in the first week! Every day when we come home I say that I can't wait to go back again, especially because it's so super family friendly and the girls really seem to enjoy it.
There is an awesome petting zoo full of adorably friendly goats, sheep, lamas, chickens, ducks, pigs and deer (that love to eat your clothes when you aren't looking) as well as other animals. There are also pony rides and you can even try your hand at milking a goat or a cow. The kids fairground is pretty spectacular with a great array of attractions and games, but be advised that all of the attractions, apart from the carousel, are only for kids of 36 inches and above. Over the past week we have spent a lot of time over by the horses, watching some competitions as well as some shows (although I want to see the Clydesdales as I keep missing them), and paying a visit to our friend Lazarus, the wonderful rescue horse.
Over on the racing track there are 7 or 8 horse races through-out the day over the weekend, and it was so cool to watch the horses and their jockeys trot by, all riled up ready for the race, and then speed past us again, so focused and concentrated on the finish line. Some of the races are so fast that my camera had trouble keeping up and I can't wait to go back and take more photos from different angles. Maybe even place a bet too?!
The "adult" part of the fairground is amazing! Huge and full of some insane rides that I will never try even if you paid me. Yes, I am a wimp. Although I did promise Cesar that I would go on the Magnum with him next week, so there is that... And one of the big wheels! And I went on the pretty swings the other day, luckily without realizing how I would actually feel on them! I might try the ski-lift out though as I bet the view is spectacular, especially at the end of the day when the sun sets behind the largest Ferris wheel. I've always loved the lights, the sounds, the smells and the general atmosphere of a fair, and I could walk around for hours just enjoying myself.
There are some wonderful exhibitions (one of my mother's photos was actually placed in the Fine Art division with a merit), stores to walk around and a ton (literally) of food to try! I was worried there wouldn't be many vegetarian things to find, but no issues there! I still need to find a vegetarian corndog though, and maybe try a deep-fried something or other too. You can actually grab dinner and go and sit on the bank and watch the crazy motocross guys perform their insane moves while flying through the air, or run over to the diving pool and see some guys dressed as penguins dive from an 80 foot high pole. Both events take place three times a day every day and are worth watching more than once.
I still feel like I have SO much more to see and I can't wait to get back there again. My advice to all is to bring some comfortable shoes, wear light clothing, bring sunblock, hats and sunglasses and stay hydrated. There are loads of places to sit in the shade and relax but it's Sacramento so it gets really hot during the day. I also think it's a good ides to bring cash. A lot of places take cards and there are some ATMs around, but I found it was just easier to have cash handy for the rides and for the petting zoo. And if you want to go on as many rides as possible without breaking the bank, go on Tuesday (July 19th) as all rides are $2.
I'm working on a collection of photos, but in the meantime here are some highlights of our past week at the fair! You can check out the California State Fair website for more information on daily events and their Instagram feed for some cool photos.
I spent many a day roaming around NYC, snapping photos of buildings, signs, art, sometimes even people if I felt confident enough. There was always at least one camera in my bag, digital and/or film. New York City embodies art. NYC IS art. NYC is a huge, moving and continuously evolving piece of art and there is nowhere in the world quite like it (not that I have found in any case). Over the years I captured many pieces of street art on those cameras, from tags to full blown commissioned murals and anything in between. I moved to Bushwick in early 2008 and found layers and layers of amazing art during my walks, blocks of murals and tags; stencils and wheatpastes. Some work was obviously commissioned and legal, other just appeared overnight on an old wall, and left to stay. Some of the art that I photographed is long gone, other work remains in the same place today, but you never know how long anything will last in the city… Street art remains ephemeral. I have only two regrets, one being that I left shooting Five Points for too long and was too late, and the other being not capturing all of the artists names. If you recognize any please leave a comment and I will add the artist’s name.
This collection of photos spans over 6 years and three boroughs (Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens). I used the following cameras: Canon Rebel Ti1, Canon AE-1 (1978 and 1979), Holga and there are a couple that were taken with an iPhone. Artists include: Blaze, Dasic Fernandez, AWR/MSK Crew, TFP Crew, Jesus Saves, Russell King, Bushwick Collective, Goya, Dave-Foto, DYM Crew, YMI Crew.
The (large) collection of photos is up on Flickr HERE. The photos featured below are only a small example of all of the images that I have collected over the years!
I’ve mentioned in a few posts lately that I have been meaning to get back into photography again. I’ve recently been looking through all my albums full of scanned film prints, all of the street art and street photography I have done over the years. Those feelings that you get when you capture that perfect image came flooding back, the same type of feelings that I get when I write something that makes my heart sing. I want to feel those emotions with photography again, and it really is as easy as making sure I take my camera with me wherever I go, which is what I always used to do.
Back in 2012 I saw that FujiFilm were releasing a new line of camera, the X line, and the whole concept appealed to me immediately. My favourite camera is still my completely manual SLR, a Canon AE-1 from 1978, and while I love how perfect and real a digital camera can render a photo, I also love the imperfections of film. Anyway, FujiFilm’s X line is basically a line of cameras that look like old-school SLRs with all the advanced digital technologies. They also have a film simulation option in several choices (colour or monochrome) so that your digital images look like film prints. Perfect for me, right? They aren’t cheap, hovering around the $1,000-1,500 mark, but I saved up and bought it in early 2013. And used it about 4 times. Granted, I had a lot going on, but I guess it was all for a reason as I recently pulled it out of my camera bag and started using it again, and to my delight it’s as good as I imagined it to be.
I’m so in love with this camera. Here is an album of shots taken over the past week. I need a lot more time and practice with it, but it’s already got its own little spot in the stroller and comes out with us wherever we go. I have some wonderful models too, although Luna tends to shy away from the camera these days, mainly because it makes her laugh. I suppose it makes for more interesting shots at times anyway. I’ve posted some of my favourites below, but you can check out the album on Flickr here. Our neighbourhood, our home, our friends, our life and things that catch my eyes while out and about.
It doesn’t take much to take me back there, a couple of years ago in the late summer, together on the beach. The Rockaways were still under a lot of construction post-Sandy, and there were no crowds on that Wednesday in September, just us and a few others, enjoying the sun and the warmer ocean. 11 or 12 weeks pregnant, thinking that it was so obvious, that I was huge, so many new dawns opening up ahead. A lot of unexpected dreams and hope and changes and a lot of wondering about what everything would look like the following September. Snapping photos on the beach, just a few of us knowing our secret, a happy in-between time in the sun, eating sandwiches and jumping over waves.
A few years later and out comes the Holga again, this time in Queens, walking around the park, visiting the zoo. Pregnant again, happy, in love with our family. Luna riding along on your shoulders, screaming in delight at the sight of colourful parrots and large, dangerous cats. More sunshine, one Spring child and now a Summer child on her way. Sisters, hopefully best friends. Edifices from past world fairs, an empty carousel taking Luna for her first gleeful ride and ice cream from the grumpy vendor. Soft serve with a twist and maybe some sprinkles. The Unisphere looming over us, beautiful in its starkness. Look there’s Mexico and there’s England and there is the US, all part of your heritage, Luna. And yours too little summer baby.
I took two rolls of film to a photo place on Roosevelt and Main, the nearest place I could find. I used to just drop film off at Walgreens and never had an issue, ever. I use black and white film that has been made to be processed in a color processing machine. It’s really, really hard to actually mess up the development of 35mm film. REALLY hard. Well these people actually managed to expose part of the colour film before development and develop the black and white BACKWARDS. I’m talking backwards like in a mirror. Luckily due to some mistake on their end I only paid $7 and I also only looked at the photos when I got home, otherwise I would have lost it. Now I am just telling myself that it just makes them a little unique and different. And I will never be going there again. I also know this camera very well and it wasn’t a case of me doing anything wrong, it’s a simple camera and pretty foolproof. Anyway, the pictures still make for good memories!
I was recently looking through some photo albums on my computer for pictures I could use on my blog, and ended up going through all of the film photography I had done between 2010 and 2013. Between using a Holga and a Canon AE-1 from 1978 I had managed to collect quite a nice collection of images from NYC, California, Jamaica and Long Island, lots of memories of places and people and moments in time. I've not been very good at making the time for photography this past year, apart from taking many, many photos of my growing daughter and her many antics, but looking through the photos made me really miss using film. The element of surprise, the colours, the imperfections, the starkness of overexposure, the disappointment, the excitement and the fact that you only have one chance. I'm sure I actually still have half-used rolls of film in my cameras... I should use that as incentive to finish them off and start anew. It shouldn't be that difficult to through the Holga in the stroller or backpack! Stay tuned... In the meantime here are a few I picked out from the multiple albums I have on my hard drive. There are links to some albums below.