In Focus: St. Patrick’s Cathedral & iPads

by Jackie D on July 9, 2014

st patricks cathedral
One of my new favorite things about traveling is watching people take iPad photos. Literally there are few things more satisfying to me. I realize that this is probably just how it will be in the future — we will have some kind of device that combines phone with computer with camera with GPS with radio and whatever else — and we’ll all just be holding up these little screens taking photos of everything on the street.

This isn’t meant to be a snobby thing — I don’t look down on people who use iPads or phones to take pictures of things (I use my phone half the time, let’s be real here). I know that some people aren’t great with technology and so they only want to know how to work one device for email, Internet, photos, etc and so the iPad is great for that. I also know that not everyone can afford a really nice camera.

I just think the actual visual itself is strange and amusing — someone is standing there in front of a beautiful building or trying to take a great shot of their friends at a restaurant, and so they just hold up this big screen in front of the subject. It just looks so bizarre to me.

When I was in Ireland, people were taking iPad photos everywhere. I recently learned how to create more depth of field in my photos,  which I’m pretty excited about, and combined with my natural penchant to be nosy and, fine, sometimes a little creepy, I started taking photos like the one you see above.

I was traveling around with a photography tour group at the time, and everyone in the group was using their nice expensive cameras, meaning they had pretty little patience for these iPad photographers. We obviously encountered this type of thing everywhere we went, as you do when you’re traveling through a popular destination — people are always going to get in your shot. Sometimes, no matter how long you wait, you still won’t be able to get a perfect photo without at least two or three tourists and a few iPads in the frame.

I am still trying to figure out my own personal style as a photographer — trying to distinguish between things I find visually interesting and things that would actually make good photographs — so I experimented a little and just embraced the people using their iPads, trying to get a creative view.

Cathedrals as a whole aren’t really that interesting to me — they remind me of being bored in church as a kid and suffering through one particularly difficult medieval art history class in college — so it was actually kind of nice to have something else to focus on when we were photographing at St. Patrick’s. It’s probably the most fun I’ve had while trying to take pictures inside of a church.

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Flowers Around the World

by Jackie D on February 15, 2014

budapest“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”  -Henri Matisse

I’ve always liked Valentine’s Day, mostly because it means I don’t have to buy chocolate for myself for at least one day of the year. It’s also a holiday that involves flowers, and recently I’ve become kind of obsessed with having bouquets of fresh flowers in my apartment.jersusalem

I’ve spent a few V-days alone and a few with significant others, and I can’t say I prefer one over the other. One Valentine’s Day I took a day trip to San Francisco with my then-boyfriend, and we wandered around the city, drank expensive beers, and spent the night at a fancy hotel. He gave me roses and I picked them out one by one as we wandered around the city, leaving them in stores or at a restaurant, on the sidewalk and in the car, until I’d left all but a couple of them all over the city.

One year, a boyfriend gave me a book of quotations for Valentine’s Day. Another year I got a book of love poems, and another year I was given a chocolate mold of someone’s actual penis. It was delicious. tronconesLast year, I spent Valentine’s Day alone making myself dinner in a t-shirt with cats all over it. I bought myself a little bouquet of tulips and had some wine. This year, I’m spending the weekend with friends, and my little Valentine’s Day gift was a beautiful book of maps from my parents (my eternal valentines).

Wherever you are around the world and whoever you are or aren’t with this weekend, I hope you’re wearing a cat t-shirt and leaving roses all over the

1. Budapest 2. Jerusalem 3. Troncones 4. Paris

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A New Look: Inspired by Old Favorites

by Jackie D on January 25, 2014

villa ephrussi de rothschild

As you may have noticed, things are looking a little different around here. I should have known that when Hannah asked me to think of the inspiration for my new site design, I would eventually settle on France. The French Riviera, of course. If it’s at all possible for someone to become a stereotype of herself, I think I’ve finally done that.

There are non-French aspects here too, though. One thing that I love almost as much as France is architecture, and I think Hannah did a lovely job of capturing all of the qualities of the architecture that I’ve loved around the world.

The windows you see in the header and between each post are all French Riviera, mostly from the art museums I explored for an entire summer a few years ago –

matisse museum

But the bright, vibrant colors are more reminiscent of the houses I loved when walking along the one sandy road on Little Corn Island, or when riding the bus through rural Guatemala, or wandering the streets of various little towns in Mexico:

little corn island

At first I thought I wanted this bold, patterned design with all of these different colors and things going on. I love designs that are made up of all these disparate little elements and colors that don’t seem to match at first glance, yet when you look at them, they’re ornate and beautiful. One of the most intricate and beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen is the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem:

dome of the rock

But as it was coming together, I realized that what I really like is the look of something simple and elegant overall, with a few quirky details here and there, something like the buildings in the south of Portugal –

faro portugal

And so we have it. A simple, clean design with a few bright colors here and there and a couple adorable windows to remind me of my favorite place in the world.

A few new elements in my sidebar:

A fancy “Featured By” section! This makes me look important and therefore I require that you admire it.

“Jackie’s Sister Travels.” Clicking on that icon will take you to my little sister’s blog, where you can read about her adventures with the Peace Corps in Guinea, Africa.

Instagram and Pinterest thumbnails. Because we all know how great I am at photography.

“Reading.”  I have really good taste in literature so you should probably pay close attention to this.

“Where I’ve Been.” A really cool map that shows how much of the western hemisphere I’ve explored and how much of the eastern hemisphere I’ve neglected. Click on the icon for a bigger map with all of the countries listed.

This is exciting, guys. Even with all of the pink. I have to admit, the pink is something that I’ve had to get used to. As some of you know, the apartment I’ve been renting for the past few months has a bright pink toilet and pedestal sink, and so I’ve recently adopted the new motto “Just go with the crazy pink toilet.” I’ve found it applies to a surprising number of situations in life — or maybe just my life? Is that worrisome that I find pink toilets to be so relevant?

I’m not sure. But we’re just going with the crazy pink toilet until further notice. And we’re doing it in style!

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