End of an era...

My son Evan, along with twelve fellow performance majors and theater/design/tech majors, graduated on Sunday from Otterbein University. After the ceremony--one of the nicest ones I've ever attended, really--we meandered through campus to the theater building for a long photo session, with lots of hugging and crying and wonderful conversations among the graduates, their families, and faculty members. Of course there was a cap-tossing picture...

...and then a group of us met for lunch (at Northstar Cafe in Westerville) before we hit the road, at 4:30, for home. Evan returns to New York this weekend to finish up his internship and begin the quest for paid work and acting opportunities--hopefully he will be posting occasional updates on his website  http://www.evan-moore-coll.com/

We'll miss Otterbein and Westerville more than I can say, but we hope to return for shows in the months to come. Meanwhile, many heartfelt thanks to this wonderful college and community (especially the superb faculty) and cheers to the end of a truly transformative four years...and to the beginning of the next chapter for the class of 2017. 

A new opera for a new season

This year will mark my eighth season as a photographer for Charlottesville's professional opera festival. It originated at Ash Lawn Highland (a rural historic landmark that was the home of President James Monroe) and for 39 years has been known as Ash Lawn Opera. In 2010, with new artistic director Michelle Krisel and in a new location at the Paramount Theater downtown, Ash Lawn Opera took it up a notch, and it's been a wonderful experience to document their productions. This year they will mark their 40th season with a new name: Charlottesville Opera. The season kicks off tonight with the east coast premiere of "Middlemarch in Spring," from which I'm sharing a few pictures here. Along with the usual close-ups of singers and wide shots of the stage picture, I like to include some pictures from vantage points that can't be seen from the audience. This beautifully designed show was a dream to edit, by the way--many thanks to the wonderful creative team! Galleries from past Ash Lawn Opera seasons can be found here. 

This year will mark my eighth season as a photographer for Charlottesville's professional opera festival. It originated at Ash Lawn Highland (a rural historic landmark that was the home of President James Monroe) and for 39 years has been known as Ash Lawn Opera. In 2010, with new artistic director Michelle Krisel and in a new location at the Paramount Theater downtown, Ash Lawn Opera took it up a notch, and it's been a wonderful experience to document their productions. This year they will mark their 40th season with a new name: Charlottesville Opera. The season kicks off tonight with the east coast premiere of "Middlemarch in Spring," from which I'm sharing a few pictures here. Along with the usual close-ups of singers and wide shots of the stage picture, I like to include some pictures from vantage points that can't be seen from the audience. This beautifully designed show was a dream to edit, by the way--many thanks to the wonderful creative team! Galleries from past Ash Lawn Opera seasons can be found here

And a few more from a return visit

I was lucky enough to get to return to the National Museum for African American History and Culture again this week! Since on my first visit I only made my way through the history galleries (below ground), this time I concentrated on the two top floors, but also spend a few minutes in the Contemplation Court. So much to see here--I know I will want to go back again, but for now I have a lot to think about. Here are a few more images from the museum.

I was lucky enough to get to return to the National Museum for African American History and Culture again this week! Since on my first visit I only made my way through the history galleries (below ground), this time I concentrated on the two top floors, but also spend a few minutes in the Contemplation Court. So much to see here--I know I will want to go back again, but for now I have a lot to think about. Here are a few more images from the museum.

A new D.C. destination

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In a move that I consider the school field-trip equivalent to scoring Hamilton tickets, a colleague managed to get timed passes for our entire junior class to visit the Smithsonian's new National Museum of African American History & Culture. We boarded buses bright and early on the first day back after spring break (bonus: also first day after Daylight Savings Time began) for the 2 1/2 hour trip. For close to three hours, over 90 kids and about 10 teachers were immersed in this fascinating, almost overwhelming museum, and everyone came out with the same verdict: "We wanted to stay longer!" There is so much to see, and as several of us noted, so much to READ in the exhibits and on the gallery walls. I spent all of my time in the history galleries, which take up the three below-ground floors. Next time I'll explore the upper galleries, which hold what a guide told me would be "lighter fare." Although the museum was packed with visitors--many of them children--everyone was deeply engaged with what they were seeing, and there was an atmosphere of energy, interaction, and respect. Here are a few images from my visit.

And now for something completely different

So a week ago I walking through Manhattan on the way to a short play competition. Today I spent a few hours basking in the sun with baby goats at Caromont Farm, about half an hour from my house, thanks to my friend Natalie who invited me to join her. Such is spring break. And I'll spend tomorrow doing all my grades and comments for the trimester and getting ready for a full-day field trip to D.C. on Monday...so the baby goats were a welcome source of calm and quiet. It was fun to watch the other "volunteers" of all ages hanging out with the goats, puppies, and peacocks at this beautiful working farm. 

So a week ago I walking through Manhattan on the way to a short play competition. Today I spent a few hours basking in the sun with baby goats at Caromont Farm, about half an hour from my house, thanks to my friend Natalie who invited me to join her. Such is spring break. And I'll spend tomorrow doing all my grades and comments for the trimester and getting ready for a full-day field trip to D.C. on Monday...so the baby goats were a welcome source of calm and quiet. It was fun to watch the other "volunteers" of all ages hanging out with the goats, puppies, and peacocks at this beautiful working farm. 

40 hours in Manhattan

It was a cold weekend in New York, but a great start to my spring break. I drove up Saturday to visit my son, see a play that he and his friends had worked on, and explore the city a little bit. I decided to stick with the 35mm Leica lens on my Fujifilm camera and found myself looking up a lot--had to stop being obsessed with those water towers on the rooftops! Here are a few images from our Sunday afternoon odyssey.  

It was a cold weekend in New York, but a great start to my spring break. I drove up Saturday to visit my son, see a play that he and his friends had worked on, and explore the city a little bit. I decided to stick with the 35mm Leica lens on my Fujifilm camera and found myself looking up a lot--had to stop being obsessed with those water towers on the rooftops! Here are a few images from our Sunday afternoon odyssey.

 

Still my capital

This winter I've been able to travel to D.C. museums twice. In December, my intensive photojournalism class visited the Newseum, and just last week I traveled with the whole sophomore class on their annual trip to the Holocaust Memorial Museum. On both trips, I shot exclusively with my mirrorless Fujifilm (Leica 35mm lens), and found myself drawn to making pictures emphasizing light, shadow, words, and names.

The capital has been part of my life since I was a kid. I visited with my parents--this was a ritual they performed with me and my three siblings when we reached sixth grade--and then went to high school outside the city, going into D.C. to work at weekly volunteer jobs and explore downtown and Georgetown. Museums were on my radar, but barely. Now I wish I had more time to spend prowling. The city and our country are undergoing a terrifying change; more than ever, we will need these reminders of our history and our common humanity. 

Now and then

It was fascinating to have Abe back with us for Thanksgiving. Last year he visited for the first time as a 5-month-old baby, just mature enough to interact and observe. Now he's an active toddler who feels at home at Red Hill and loves the woods and views around our place. One of my goals is to assemble a timeline of Abe pictures, but meantime, here's a "now and then" comparison from Thanksgivings 2015 and 2016. 

Adept at rolling over and thus enthusiastic about eating all the dog hair. 

Adept at rolling over and thus enthusiastic about eating all the dog hair. 

At 17 months, Abe finds sticks, leaves, and Virginia red clay a lot more desirable than floor dirt!

At 17 months, Abe finds sticks, leaves, and Virginia red clay a lot more desirable than floor dirt!