10 on 10 || march

There are two vases of flowers that have been sitting in the cottage house for the past month. Or six weeks. Respectively. I’ve watched them transform from their robust, life-rich selves to droopy but stiff, near-mummified ghosts of their former glory (I am almost 95 percent certain ghosts can’t be mummified, but I’m no expert). I really should learn to discard dead flowers in a timely manner. But as I’ve watched them, day by day on my journeys from the living room to the kitchen, I came to see in them a quiet beauty. A record, preserved in their brittle but surprising sturdiness. So though it was much past the deadline for removing these two vases and their expired buds, I decided to hold onto them a bit longer. After all, I needed my next 10-on-10 project.

But before we go further, say hello to my buds, the fellow 10-on-10ers:

 

Now, for those of you who didn’t immediately exit out after that horrible pun, the coffee is on me. And bless you. And here we go.

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I started with the untouched remnants. They were almost sculptural. Resolute. Fragile, but sure. Then I decided to deconstruct the individual pieces.
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The pedals, though dried out and brittle, retained such a brilliant color. Luminous and vibrant. They looked like they may just be daring enough to never fade at all. I felt a bit like a painter, manipulating around this little palette. Arranging the hues and textures however I please. There was a part of me that always wished I was a painter. But you can just go ahead and ask any one of my siblings and they will tell you that me plus painting equals some sort of affront to art everywhere. Seriously, my college painting 101 teacher was nice enough to never ask me to leave the class, but I bet she wanted to. But that’s another story. For now, I’ll take my photos, and the freedom you have when you decide to create.

once more unto the breach || berlin

It’s becoming ever more clear that I’m not a travel writer. Each time I try to settle down in front of my computer to wax poetical about our travels abroad this past November, I can’t come up with anything even mostly coherent, let alone even a little profound. I want to tie together our brief moments in another land into a vivid narrative. Tales relatable. Intriguing. Fun. Yet it usually just babbles out of me into something just shy of bullet point form. We did this, then this happened, we ate here, saw that, the end. “See Sally run. Run, Sally, run.” My internal dialogue does not pour forth into neat prose. Of course, rarely does it ever on the first go around. For any writer, I’m sure. But it still frustrates me when I can’t seem to get it right even after days of scooting words around the little blog post box. So instead of spending another week, two, more trying to mold this together, we are just going to dive in. Here we go!

Berlin to me is the following: New. Renewed. Complicated. Dynamic. Bright. Unexpected. Forthcoming. Bare. With all the development in the post-war years, there’s almost no wrong answer or impression. Everything is fluctuating and growing, while still remaining honest about the past.

During our second visit to Berlin we had the chance to cash in on our relative familiarity of the place and see more museums, wander more aimlessly, freeze more abundantly. Truly, totally frozen there in late November, it was like preparing for battle each time you walked out of the hotel lobby. Vest yourself of thy wooly garments and head once more unto the breach. Despite the need to enter a near-permanent state of thawing in the weeks following our trip, we felt more at ease and more in love with the city with each passing day we were there.

So here are some photos. You’ll notice a sort of Christmas, holiday theme thrown in with the group, which seems not at all fitting for March. But bear in mind that when we were there it was but weeks until Christmas. So feel free to take a moment to rocket backward in time to Christmas 2014 and crank a holiday tune or two while scrolling through these. The weather here in Colorado is currently quite suitable to such endeavors, so why not. Cocoa all around!

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Above /// The Brandenburg Gate as seen well into the evening when most tourist type crowds have skedaddled along.

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Above /// Magnets speaking to the history of Berlin.  History that can still seem rather recent.

Below /// Dan holds on tight while trying to navigate us through the tunnels of mass transit. He did a great job.

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Above /// A fantastic little cafe called Factory Girl! Exclamation point included by the cafe owners, but a totally warranted bit of punctuation. Delicious.

Below /// Established architecture and cranes building the way to new architecture.

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Above & Below /// Christmas market! You drink hot mulled wine and listen to roving bands play polka (I actually don’t think they played polka, but it sounds fun). Then you eat delicious bratwursts and pick out ornaments.

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Above /// Unter den Linden, one of the main boulevards of Berlin.

Despite the chilled air, I would highly recommend you go visit in the off-season months. First of all: Christmas markets. They are everywhere and spectacular. Secondly, we almost never dealt with big crowds of people jostling all around. Not on the subway, not in the museums, not at restaurants. The only crowd we found was at the Christmas market, but being packed in tight together meant conserving body heat, so it was still a win win.

We are extremely fond of Berlin, so go visit and let me know how much you love it too.

10 on 10 || february

It doesn’t take long getting into a new year for me to start longing for a trip. A vacation. An adventure. A grand sojourn through hill and dale, wild and wonder, over the mountains and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go. Sadly it will be a few more months before I can cash in on this longing, but I stoked the fire a bit when I visited the new and beautiful Union Station here in Denver. I have visited the fresh-of-face train depot a number of times since it reopened last July, and I’ve loved it on every occasion. It’s swoon-worthy, truly. There’s nothing quite like imagining oneself hopping a train to land unknown, old-timey luggage in hand, scarves fluttering, a letter clutched in one’s pocketbook. If you’ve ever wanted to pretend to be a 1940s starlet, don your best ensemble and get yourself down there. In fact, I’ll go with you and we will grab a cocktail and then read great literature while lounging in the classy hall. Gentleman, if you have a fedora you can come too. Everyone grab your calendars and let’s pick a date. I’ll wait.

…and until then, here are some photos of our fair station for this month’s 10-on-10 installment. Visit my pals-in-arms for our monthly collaborative series, then scroll on down for some train depot fun.

 

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a medieval city || prague

You know that question, “If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?” For years my answer was prompt and final: Prague. I suppose this unfailing need to see golden Prague — zlata Praha, or so I read somewhere — started when I was watching the Travel Channel many moons ago. In this particular show, Samantha Brown visits a restaurant in Prague called, Cafe Imperial. According to Zdeněk Jirotka, a Czech writer and humorist, there are three kinds of people in the world, easily classified by how they behave when confronted by a plate stacked high with day-old doughnuts. The first kind of person will simply stare at the doughnuts, the second will see the stale pastries and secretly imagine how it would feel to throw them about, and the third will be the sort “for whom the idea of a doughnut whistling through the air is such an enticement that they get up and actually make it happen.” Don’t we all sort of wish we had that sort of gall? Well, Cafe Imperial used to make such dreams come true, and in this episode, Samantha Brown was there to investigate. At the time it was possible for one to buy a stack of stale doughnuts and throw them around the restaurant at one’s fellow patrons with nary a consequence. And when I witnessed this act of culinary cheekiness, I remember thinking that if such a magical place existed in the world, I had to see it.

In November we had the opportunity to travel across the grand old pond to Europe. (Hey, if the Atlantic gets to the be “the pond,” what does the Pacific get as a nifty nickname? The puddle. The pool. The lagoon? Someone get on this please.) We spent a week traveling through the wilds of Berlin and Prague. Dan flew out to Germany before I did for a workshop, so I made the jump myself a week later. We technically spent that first night in Berlin, but we got up on the early side, lifted a copy of the International New York Times, ate some fancy breakfast buffet items and hopped a train to Prague. Which is where this tale shall truly begin.

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Above /// on the train from Berlin to Prague

Below /// a tram in Prague that will run you over, so pay attention

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Above /// the John Lennon wall

Below /// my travel companion looking impish; Prague Castle looming in the distance

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Above /// scenes from the Charles Bridge; tradition says that if you touch the plaque and make a wish, you will be granted good luck and guarantee your one-day return to Prague

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Above /// an astronomical clock dating to the 1400s

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In the end, we never did throw stale doughnuts at anyone. The Cafe Imperial eventually did away with the option altogether. I imagine locals and tourists alike were not terribly thrilled with airborne pastries flying about haphazardly (as if there’s any other way for a doughnut to fly). But magic still existed within this golden, medieval city that I had so frequently imagined. It felt untouched, preserved. Escaping utter destruction during World War II, it’s a city that carries its centuries between every brick and red-roofed tile. In visiting this place, you feel that it isn’t so much a part of your story, but rather that you are but a footnote to its own.

You’re beautiful, Prague. Never change.

in review || 2014 YourHub photos

We are nearly twenty days into the shiny new year of 2015. And here for you I present (finally), a little review of the photos I shot for YourHub in 2014. Better late than never. It’s a Monday, so let’s be glass-half-full kind of people and say, at least we haven’t greeted the month of February already! (Is anyone shocked by my tardiness on this cause though? It’s not like we haven’t seen this before.)

I was talking with a colleague last week about YourHub, and my position as a photographer who spends her days working on the hyper-local level of journalism. It isn’t always glamorous in the way I think some people envision this line of work must be, and the stories don’t always get the flashy attention treatment that we see pop up on all our varied social outlets day after day. But in all honesty,  that is what I love about my job. There is tremendous authenticity with the people I meet. They are eager to share their stories, to play a part, to make a difference, to live in these communities they cherish. And I cherish the small role I get to play in their lives.

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Skyler Weekes founded Rocky Mountain Barrel Company in 2010.

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is developing a 10-year operational master plan that aims to bring improved visibility and access to the refuge, located in Commerce City, Colorado.

The Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory hosts a series of summer camps fro kids to learn about ecology in Brighton, Colorado.

Kim Taha opened Taha Suri Alpaca Ranch two years ago, and raises just over a dozen alpacas on her property in unincorporated Jefferson County, Colorado.

Aurora currently has 14 community gardens, and is working on developing eight more to open to the public. The city is also looking to obtain more land to develop into more community gardens in the future.

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The Tales to Tails literacy program allows children to read to a certified therapy dog, helping reluctant readers gain more confidence at Anythink Wright Farms in Thornton, Colorado.

Maddie and Lakayla Vincent will participate in the Arapahoe County Fair, which starts on July 24.

***EVENT HEADLINE HERE***

***EVENT HEADLINE HERE***

To see a broader edit of photos both I and my partner, Seth McConnell, shot in 2014, visit our full “best of” gallery. Thanks, all.