travel plans

My Story.

I don’t want to go on a cruise. Crazy, I know.

I can’t tell you how many people I know that have come home from a cruise and spoken so highly of their experience:

“Rachel, you just HAVE to go!”, they would say. “It’s SO relaxing and- well, the FOOD is AMAZING!” “Did I tell you that the food was amazing?!” And then, inevitably, they would share about the fancily carved pineapples and melons and the dolphin ice sculpture on the buffet table.

I remember being in Key West one time when a cruise ship had arrived at the dock. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people filed off of the boat to arrive at an already busy tourist trap. They hurried thru the streets, perhaps to find a poorly made Chinese keychain to remember their visit and, 4 hours later, they answered the cattle call to arrive back at the dock to board that huge boat again.

There is certainly value in being able to relax and literally do NOTHING, but I don’t personally feel that getting waited on hand and foot is at the top of my wish list. If I were to describe a perfect day, it would likely include getting lost while having nowhere I needed to be. Accompanying me, would be my husband and kids with no definitive itinerary, a full tank of gas and nothing “pressing” except the shutter button on my camera.

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Yesterday, was Christmas, and I started day dreaming about what kinds of adventures our family might get into in the coming year (and thinking about some of my favorites from times passed.) The most memorable trips that we have taken usually included of the following: Simple accommodations, PB&J sandwiches, hanging with the “locals”, relatively-un-touched-nature, guilty-pleasure-iPod-playlists and beach chairs. Some day I will share about the fun experience of going to the dentist in Dominican Republic, but I will save that for another post…

It’s funny that we sometimes feel the need to fill our time seeking luxury when simplicity can be just as mentally rewarding.

With the new year quickly approaching, one of my goals is to look for adventure right here at home. Drive the backroads more. Pay attention to the birds. Feel the breeze. Be present.

What have been some of your favorite adventures? Were you near home or far away from it?

 

 

 

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A (summer) day in the life of…

My Story.

During the summer, more than ever, our family gets in our minivan for last-minute impromptu road trips. It’s not unusual at all for us to get lost on back country roads and end up 2 states away without even planning on it– to be fair, two states isn’t all that far since we are on the eastern shore of Maryland and everything is within easy access. Still, it’s always fun to see what kind of new adventures we can get ourselves into.

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We’ve stumbled upon bald eagle nesting grounds. Collected antique pottery shards that have washed up onto beaches. Eaten ice cream on the bay at unknown hole-in-the-wall-perfection.

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I think one of my favorite things about living here is the fact that we can go in almost any direction and hit water. Something about the fact that all of it meets at some point, in a variety of ways, makes me smile. I may not know where I am going, but the water sure does. Water is a very common theme in my paintings- it’s particularly challenging to paint because of it’s ever-changing color and shape, and I love a good challenge.

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There are roads near our home that make you feel like you are literally about to drive off of the face of the planet. No other people- no other homes- no other cars: just the birds and the bugs. I love it.

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My good friend Tim once pointed out that the further you drive into the country, the less fingers a person uses to wave “hello”. I like those pointer-finger-only kinds of hellos. You know, the kind that only the locals give to each other.

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My camera is a close friend during those trips.

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I read a quote the other day that really hit me:

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”   Dorthea Lange

When I was in college, I was initially a photography major. There were many times when I used my camera and a whole new world opened up to me. I noticed things in detail that I never would’ve even paid any attention to without that shutter click. Colors were more vibrant. Pattern more visible. Texture more tangible.

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My encouragement for you is to grab your camera. Don’t go somewhere to take pictures. Go somewhere to discover beauty. Enjoy the unexpected. Get lost, and in the process, find out a little bit more about yourself.

Want to see more of what inspires me as an artist? See more photos, read stories and see works in progress on my Instagram: www.instagram.com/rachelalvarezart . Tag me with YOUR new adventure. I’d love to hear about it!

 

 

 

 

 

Dawn in the middle of nowhere.

My Story.

Today is the first day of my husbands Christmas vacation, which means he will be home with us for the next 3 weeks.  Our 2 year old son decided that it would be fun to get up at 4:45am this morning. Of course, I let Frank sleep in- a much needed and well deserved treat. At 7am, he came out to the living room and said, “get your shoes on and grab your camera.”

As our manner is, we drove until we saw something pretty. Thankfully, that’s pretty easy to do when you live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. About 30 minutes from our house is Deal Island. Apparently, it was originally named “Devil’s Island” because so many ships wrecked along its shores in times past. I’m sure that eventually some local “glass half full person” decided “Devil’s Island” was just too darn depressing, and decided to campaign for a more cheery name. Who knows.

I just love it out there. When I was in college I interned for a photography workshop. We traveled to Deal Island to take portraits and, since many of the professional photographers were from NYC and LA, this was like a complete culture shock/alien land to them. I took some pictures during my time there but never wrote down the names of the people I was photographing. Later, I decided I should drive back down and give my “models” copies of the images as thank yous for being so happy to pose for me.

I walked into the only store in town- a bait/grocery/bar type place and showed the lady behind the counter the pictures. She and her coworker managed to identify and call each person and then direct me to them. The funniest thing was that they needed no telephone prefix or area code to dial- just 4 digits and the person was reachable. I love that they can still live so simplistic. Maybe the teenagers in town don’t see it that way…

Today was a cold, but breathtaking, day to be out on that one road to the end of everything. Here are some of the images that I captured. I hope you enjoy the breath of fresh air, too.

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missing my camera.

My Story.

Since my beloved camera is in the shop, I thought I would share with you all a few of my favorite photographs. Accompanying these photos were times rich in memories.

When my interest in photography developed (intended), I loved the permanency of the medium. Everyone always says, “time flies”. In photography, however, the moment stops and is forever encapsulated into a timeless square.

Cameras help us to stop and admire our loved ones expressions. They help us remember the mist we felt on our skin the day we finally enjoyed the ocean breeze. They allow us the privilege of staying young and stopping time.

Here are some of my favorite moments with my camera:

on a road to nowhere in Colorado.

on a road to nowhere in Colorado.

i miss this place.

i miss this place.

This lil guy walked right in front of me.

This lil guy walked right in front of me.

Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic.

my inspiration

my inspiration

If you haven’t pulled out your camera in a while here is my encouragement.  You will never get THIS moment again. Enjoy your weekend. I’d love to see the pictures that you’ve captured.