Charlottesville Opera--formerly Ash Lawn Opera--begins its summer season with Rigoletto, and we shot the dress rehearsal photos last night. The performances are excellent, and I highly recommend it! Here are some of the publicity stills, and a full gallery will be posted on my Zenfolio site (link to come).
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.
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.
Our school's winter musical, "Into the Woods," opens this Friday, and I photographed the first full dress rehearsal last weekend. It's a beautiful production with some wonderful performances. Here are a few outtakes from the pictures I took--full galleries will be posted on my Zenfolio site in a few weeks.
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.
A quick trip into NYC gave me a chance to take a few pictures in Washington Heights, in and around Evan's new apartment that he will share with a couple of friends. Since they're across from a park and within sight of the George Washington Bridge, there's a lot of light and some pretty cool views. The spaces are big, and the kitchen is quite usable. I wanted to stay, explore, and take pictures for days! Taken with the Fuji X-E2 and its 18-55 lens; edited in Lightroom.
Evan and I had to make a last-minute trip to West Virginia to meet up with his soon-to-be-roommate and sign a lease (long story, take my word for it). On our way home the next day, we pulled off the highway at Chelyan and drove back east a few miles on Route 60 so I could try to photograph the illuminated cross that sits up on the hillside over the village of Belle. While I couldn't really get the picture that I'd imagined from the interstate across the river, we explored the towns along the Kanawha and took a few pictures. I'm frustrated that I can't get the shots I see from my car--not without standing on a bridge or next to the highway, usually at night, and I'm not that reckless--but I'm glad that the urge to take pictures forces me off the interstate into the small towns and out of my car.
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.
About 18 months ago, I caved in and bought a mirrorless DSLR--after much research, I settled on a Fujifilm X-E2, and while it took some time to feel comfortable with it, I love using this camera. Last summer I acquired a Leica lens adapter so I could use an old manual M-series Leica 35mm. Again, I've worked to adapt to it, and it's not right for all situations. But it called out to me as I drove back and forth to West Virginia and Ohio (13 trips and counting this year). The small towns and landscape along the route are deeply familiar but also slightly strange. This summer alone, the Greenbrier River valley was devastated by an historic flood--I traveled through on the day after the storm--and the communities are so clearly marked by poverty and decline, but the mountains and the rivers remain beautiful. The photographs I'm taking with this little camera are less Instagram-worthy than what I've shot in the past with my phone; they're quieter pictures, somehow, and I'm pretty much leaving them alone, doing only the basic types of manipulation that I would've done with black-and-white images in the darkroom. I'm not sure where I'm going with this project, but it will show me what to do next.