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Featured Life Travel

San Francisco

Cory has been talking about taking me to San Francisco for most of our relationship and we finally had a chance to get away a few weekends ago. I have been to San Francisco and he’s been but we haven’t been together.

Since I knew we were going to San Francisco, and I knew buying the lens I wanted (24-105mm f/4L) was out of the question given how often I take pictures with my DSLR, Cory opted to rent the lens I wanted as a birthday gift. I haven’t rented a lens before and it seemed like LensRentals.com had the best reviews online. I think the price was pretty fair, and you can rent for however long you’d like, and the lens was in perfect condition. I would definitely use them again if I’m in the market for a rental.

We visited Apple’s HQs in Cupertino and walked and drove around San Francisco. My favorite stops on this trip were Chinatown and Lands End. Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip. Final verdict: Going somewhere new and exploring one of my hobbies (photography) again certainly helped to get my creative juices flowing. In my opinion, this was probably the best vacation we’ve been on. Also, I want this lens now; my little 50mm f1.8 II just doesn’t compare. Once you go L glass you never want to go back. *weeps*

1 Infinite Loop | Apple HQ

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These are the two shirts I bought.

Chinatown, San Francisco

Chinatown, San Francisco

Chinatown, San Francisco

Chinatown, San Francisco

Building Reflections

Chinatown, San Francisco

Ohana

Trees vs. Architecture

Chinatown, San Francisco

Chinatown Streets

Rub my belly!

Cory, Chinatown

Lands End, San Francisco

Lands End

Lands End, San Francisco

Lands End, San Francisco

Lands End, San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Photography Travel

Chicago

A couple weekends ago we visited Chicago for my birthday. I’ve only visited Chicago once before (aside from passing through the airport), and remembered enjoying it aside from the fact we visited on SPRING BREAK, which is really still Winter for Chicago.

We didn’t do a whole lot of research for this trip, which is unusual for both of us, and so the bulk of our first day there was walking around aimlessly. That weekend I didn’t want to research every little thing we did before going; especially food. The restaurants we picked were not picked out for their excellent Yelp reviews. It was interesting going into a restaurant and not knowing what to expect or what the food might look like. One interesting meal we had was in the back of a jewelry store. It was a very small, very out of place, Mediterranean restaurant that was pretty good. The other restaurants we visited were pretty meh but that’s OK. We did randomly stumble upon Shake Shack! We had already eaten lunch an hour or so ahead of that so we got dessert; Cory got a peanut butter shake and I got the Shack Attack. It was just OK. I would’ve liked to try the burgers just to say I tried them. But alas!

We also visited the standalone M.A.C store on Michigan Ave., and of course, I had to visit the Sephora. Cory is such a trooper. I could’ve went to Sephora in KY and IN but that’s not the point. It was my birthday and I enjoy torturing myself by going to Sephora and seeing all the things I want and can’t buy.

Our favorite part of the trip was the Architectural Boat Tour. It was very informative and relaxing; especially after a day of walking. We picked the perfect time of day to go and the weather was nice too. During the boat tour there was a low flying plane with a camera on it filming Chicago for the film Suicide Squad. We’re going to be in a movie you guys! Who cares if we’re just little specks — we’re in it!!

In retrospect, I probably should’ve played around with my new camera before we went on our trip. I found myself frustrated many times trying to remember where the settings I want are, and unfortunately, sometimes I just said forget it. Aside from that frustration — I did get a few gems here and there. I am noticing with the new camera with the wide-angle lens there is a lot of distortion around the edges due to the lens. As fun as the lens is at times, I’d be better off selling the 10-20mm and going with with a normal lens; maybe the 24-70mm. Perhaps sometime next year when I have some money saved. Why are my hobbies so expensive?! #firstworldproblems On to the photos…

Cory

Chicago

Cory
I so wish I was standing back when I captured this but I still love it.

Trump Tower

Chicago

The Bean

Chicago

Chicago Architectural Boat Tour

Chicago Architectural Boat Tour

Chicago

Chicago Architectural Boat Tour

Cory

Cory

Life Photography Travel

American Sign Museum

Last weekend Cory and I went to Cincinnati for a low-key mini vacation. We haven’t been anywhere since Europe and we were needing to get away and do little-to-nothing.

One of the few plans we had while in Cincinnati was to use a Groupon he bought for the American Sign Museum. I’m so glad he found it because I wouldn’t have went otherwise . . . and it was amazing! It was a tiny museum; like three rooms, but it was nicely done and very photo-worthy. Don’t believe me? Check out some of these photos:


Or in color? Hmmm…

While we were there I was inspired to take some photos that I could later edit with the Party Party App from the amazing people over at A Beautiful Mess and I think they turned out well for what they are.


American Sign Museum - Cincinnati

American Sign Museum - Cincinnati

I really hate to admit it but my iPhone is replacing my DSLR but I’ll never part with it. It’s so easy to do fun things (quickly) with the iPhone and it’s super portable. I took some photos with my DSLR while at the sign museum, but from what I could see on my tiny screen I liked the photos from my iPhone better anyway.

All of these photos were taken with an iPhone 6 using the VSCOcam app using a variety of filters and the Party Party app for animations.

Life Photography Travel

European Adventures

We recently returned from a trip to Europe; London and Amsterdam specifically. This wasn’t my first overseas trip; I visited Japan a few years back. This trip, however, was definitely stressful in terms of traveling. Long story short (in case we’re not friends on Facebook): we had several layovers and our first flight ended up being cancelled after spending almost three hours (!!!!) on the tarmac. The travel gods were on our side that day and thankfully we caught a direct flight to London from Chicago.

** TO VIEW ALL OF THE PHOTOS CLICK HERE **

London

We had one full day in London without travel and it feels like we didn’t walk very far but we covered a lot of ground in that one day. We visited the London Eye, Big Ben/Palace of Westminster (MY FAVORITE!), Westminster Abbey, St. James Park, and Buckingham Palace. I was a little apprehensive about spending a lot of money on things but the London Eye is worth getting on. We paid extra for the fast pass and got on almost instantaneously and it wasn’t crowded in the capsules which made taking photos easy. I expected it to be touristy but it showed off breathtaking views of the city. I would do it again!

We spent the most time at the Palace of Westminster because I was in LOVE with the architecture! It was also nice because there was less foot traffic and it made just walking around and enjoying our time that much easier.

London rekindled my love for photography. With my iPhone, I don’t really have reason to break out my DSLR other than special occasions, but I want to change that. I wish I had more to say about London but I guess I shouldn’t wait almost a month in between visiting and writing about it!

Palace of Westminster by Pam Culver on 500px

Houses of Parliament by Pam Culver on 500px

Thames River and London Eye by Pam Culver on 500px

London Eye (color) by Pam Culver on 500px

Buckingham Palace by Pam Culver on 500px

** TO VIEW ALL OF THE PHOTOS CLICK HERE **

Amsterdam

One of the first things we did was get frites from Manneken Pis whose logo is a small child peeing — oh Amsterdam. That’s one of the things I remember Cory mentioning the most about Amsterdam when he was talking about his travels early on in our relationship. Apparently frites are a big thing there; basically they’re just french fries and your choice of topping. We both chose some sort of mayo; the mayo reminded me of a thicker japanese mayo. It was good but a little goes a long way.

We stayed in the Red Light District and there was trash everywhere. Needless to say, I didn’t take a lot of photos while we were there. When Cory visited a couple years back and he said it wasn’t like this. I imagine a lot of was it being peak traveling season and such. With the limited amount of time we had there we couldn’t venture out too far but we still had a good time. We did venture out far enough to visit the I amsterdam sign and the Rijksmuseum and its beautiful library; even if it was super hard to get a decent photo. I’ve never been in a library so quiet. Seriously, you could’ve heard a pin drop which made me super aware of how loud my camera was.

Photograph Rijksmuseum Library

I amsterdam sign

Photograph Red Light District - Amsterdam by Pam Culver on 500px

Photograph Church - Red Light District by Pam Culver on 500px

** TO VIEW ALL OF THE PHOTOS CLICK HERE **

We also saw Pearl Jam live and they put on a great show. As someone who didn’t know much of their music before hand, I ended up downloading some of their songs when I came back. We spent the rest of our time in Amsterdam just walking around taking it all in. I wish now I had taken more pictures even if there were trash in the photos just to look back on but alas.

Photos were edited with Photoshop CC, A Beautiful Mess’ Mini Collection, and VSCOFilm 01-05

Travel

Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon has been on my bucket list of places to see before I die for a long time. Cory, too, has also longed to go, and so it seemed like a good choice for our first vacation together. We were leaving a few days after my finals so I didn’t have a lot of time to think about the trip, what we would do, etc. We were just going for a weekend so we really couldn’t plan much anyway. I knew I wanted to see the Watchtower and of course the canyon.

I was feeling a bit nervous because this was my first trip with a significant other. Cory and I get along well and haven’t argued about anything. So my worry was “what if he decides after this trip he doesn’t want to be with me anymore?!” You know the usual irrational thoughts.

We left on a Saturday morning; we had to be up at 4AM to get to the airport in time and catch our plane. Knowing we had to be up that early I didn’t sleep well and woke up way before the alarm. We made it to Phoenix by 9am their time. As we were taking the shuttle from the airport to the rental car lot, I got very excited to see my first catci in person, and why did I not realize that Phoenix has palm trees? I saw my very first palm trees in San Francisco back in 2009 and hadn’t seen any since.

The guy who was walking us to our rental car was talking it up and I see us walking toward this adorable lime green car. I guess some people don’t want to be seen in a lime green car but it was perfect for the road trip we had ahead to the Grand Canyon.

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Life Photography Travel

The Food Tour

food porn

I’m back from my trip visiting Andy in Jersey. I should add the word unfortunately to the previous sentence. I always have a blast when I visit him so it’s always difficult leaving. I still wish I would have forced him into my car when I left Tuesday morning. ;-P

lychee saketini : revisited
Andy’s Lychee Saketini from Teak

From the photos I took while visiting (insert shock and awe!) it appears that all we did was eat. That wouldn’t be a stretch to say as we both love good food… But we did walk around quite a bit so we’ll pretend that evens things out.

rest stop view
Pretty view from a rest stop in MD or PA

Wednesday night when I arrived we had a (delicious) turkish meal from a little place near his apartment that we’ve been to a few times and called it an early night.

my foursquare addict
Andy (probably) checking in to foursquare

Thursday we had lunch at Teak on the Hudson where we had sushi and headed to Queens. The trip to Queens was short-lived because I didn’t realize I was still tired from the drive there and not getting very much sleep the day of my drive. I would like to go back though…

wet bikes @ rutgers
Wet bikes @ Rutgers

Friday we met up with my flickr friends Kasia and Elizabeth at Rutgers University. It started out being a rainy day, fortunately the rain stopped as we were walking around campus. We ended up stopping for ice cream at Thomas Sweet and later had dinner at Old Man Rafferty’s. Oh, and we took pictures at the statue on campus that supposedly whistles at virgins…?!

met life building flatiron building
Buildings in Manhattan

Saturday we had lunch at Nanoosh (a hummus bar) in Manhattan, walked around most of the day, and had dinner at Rosa Mexicano. There we had two pomegranate margaritas (each lol), guacamole, and our entree. Hey, we did a lot of walking!. My sister asked me what my favorite meal was, it was Rosa Mexicano hands down, it’s always Rosa Mexicano unless we go to Cafe Matisse! I’d probably make a special trip back to NY just to go to either places. Then again it wouldn’t take much of an excuse to make me want to go back.

Andy Burt Reynold's style
Andy Burt Reynold’s style on the couch. LOL!

Sunday we went to his friend Susan’s wedding. It was a jewish wedding, I have never been to one, so that was interesting in itself. Looking back, the wedding wasn’t too different from other weddings I’ve been to aside from a few traditions here and there. The reception was a lot of fun considering I didn’t really know anyone except a few of his friends that I had met last year at his birthday party. All of which are always so nice and welcoming!

pulled pork sandwich

Monday we planned to have an uneventful day, and it turned out to be a good idea, but it went by too quickly! I think we left his apartment only to grab something for lunch and dinner. Lunch was at a Ruthie’s; a bbq and pizza joint. We both had bbq but I’d love to go back and try the pizza. Dinner was pizza but from a different place. Heh-heh.

Andy and I
Andy and I at the wedding. Thanks to Barbara for taking it!

Even though we spent 5 full days together it seems like it went by too fast. Fortunately, I am going back for my birthday in ten short weeks so it’s not so bad. I can’t wait!

As a result of this trip I hit 250,000 miles as I was coming home and I realized I like taking pictures of food! That’s good right?

**Thanks to Andy for letting me steal his photos from the wedding (without permission of course!)**