Thursday, December 4, 2008


Wow... more than two months since my last post! It's been a pretty busy semester. I took some photos for my flash class today that I'm actually quite happy with... I'll try to post my portfolio photos from the semester once I have those picked... hopefully to kind of catch you up... but meanwhile here are some portraits of my friend James. Hope this post finds everyone well!

1st and 3rd picture were taken with a slave flash and umbrella, whereas the 2nd and 4th were taken with a slave flash and soft box. Cheers all!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy 5769!

L'Shanah tovah - Happy New Year, 5769! It's been an interesting year, I've been to four different countries - the US, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands - I spent 6 months interning for the Quad-City Times - and I've lived in three very different cities - Davenport, Amsterdam, and NYC. 

To top off this exciting year, I attended Rosh Hashanah services in a rather  unique location, on the 45th floor of 7 World Trade Center, it was an awe inspiring location, and looking down from services onto Ground Zero produced some interesting reflections on my part as I'm sure it did for others. The service itself was also unique, put on by the Tribeca Hebrew community and featuring Storahtelling (a radical fusion of storytelling, Torah, contemporary  art and traditional ritual theatre). After seeing the view Monday evening when I attended with  my friend Aliza, I knew I had to bring my camera Tuesday morning!
Tuesday morning, when I brought along my camera, the light was not as beautiful as it had been the night before... a bit overcast and fairly flat, but I'm still quite happy with this image of my awesome friend and roommate for the last few weeks Annie, shooting her own photo of the Manhattan skyline.
Bee photo shot near the Hudson River.
After services ended we walked to the nearby Hudson River for a ritual I really enjoy called Tashlich - which is basically a symbolic way of releasing your sins and transgressions from the previous year in the form of bread crumbs released into (flowing) water. The ritual was accompanied by spirited musicians from Storahtelling playing everything from guitars to bongos to an accordion. There was much merriment and dancing. Very enjoyable and fairly cleansing - nice to start the year off fresh!
This little girl was having such an amazing time with her parents!
Finally I topped off my Rosh Hashanah celebration by having a delicious dinner with my grandmother Joyce at her apartment overlooking the George Washington Bridge and upper Manhattan. I think it's fair to say 5769 started off with some beautiful views of my new home city!

In other news, I start school officially on Friday - my first class will be History of Photojournalism, a 3-hour a week course which I already have homework for, a 1 - 2 page essay on my favorite photo book. Unfortunately my books are all at home (in Iowa), but I think I know what book I'd like to write on, and hopefully they will have it in the extensive and beautiful International Center of Photography (ICP) library. OK... I'm off to prep for school. 

Cheers to a happy and healthy new year!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Trying to see the light...

School hasn't even officially started yet... and I'm already trying to see the light... We've been shooting these last couple of weeks for a scavenger hunt, and I've been attempting to use the light to my advantage to make stronger photos. Here are a few of my favorite portraits from this past week that were enhanced by light. There has been very basic photoshopping, and with the exception of the center photo no cropping.
Young girl in Central Park with her father
Quick nap on the subway to Queens (raised platform)
Snoozing on the Staten Island Ferry
I've always known that good/bad light can make or break a photo... after all photography is all about capturing light... but I feel like being around all of these creative types is really bringing out my eye for truly seeing the light before taking my images... and I find this to be an exciting time!

We finally turned in our scavenger hunt photos today... we'll be editing them down to our group favorites starting tomorrow. I decided to give my camera a rest, which maybe wasn't such a great idea, as I ended up in a situation where I really would have liked my camera (although I wonder if I would have been brave enough to pull out my massively indiscrete camera).

I was returning from hanging out with my friend Stas in Astoria (Queens) tonight, about half past 11 pm. Perhaps I watch too much Law and Order, but it was my first time walking through an outer borough, this late, without another person with me so I was a tad nervous. I quickly made the walk from his apartment to the last stop on the N/W track to board the train, which is where the trouble started. Sitting at the opposite end of the bench I sat down on was a large man carrying a bag, with a very big scar running down the side of his face. As the train started to go, he began making kissy noises towards me and making very lewd gestures whenever he caught a glimpse of me in the reflection of the window across from us. Not sure what to do, I tried my best not to look in his direction and ignore him, as I knew I would be switching trains to the 7 for my journey to Grand Central Terminal.

As I exited the N/W train I was upset to see him get up and follow me. Once on the platform, as I awaited the 7 train's arrival, I managed to signal to a woman that I was nervous. The man, who was evidently extremely drunk, tried speaking with her, incoherently, when I positioned myself on her opposite side. As he seemingly took the stairs to go to another train, I relaxed, and went over the thank the woman for getting my hint that I was nervous.  Just after thanking her though, he came back, and as we boarded the 7 he followed us into the car. I got into a conversation with the woman, Barbara, as we took off towards Grand Central Terminal, and she mentioned that in the 2 months she'd been taking this route at night, she'd never run into a problem. As we talked I started to calm down. All of a sudden we hear a string of obscenities,
 and as the two of us turned to see what the commotion was, we realized that one of the guys who'd been hanging out at the opposite end of the car was on top of scar face, and was to put it bluntly, pounding the crap out of my would be (creepy) suitor. 

Barbara and I tried to get away from the fight, which was between us and the next car we could go to. She had the good sense to pound on the door leading to a conductor, who came out at the next stop to see what had happened. Thankfully the hitter took off, and to my relief (although probably his detriment) scar face went after him, and then the train left the station without either man on board. I tried explaining to the conductor what I had seen, and then another man came up and explained what had happened. Evidently scar face was saying pretty disgusting stuff about the other guy's group in Spanish, not realizing that those in the group actually spoke Spanish... oops!

After the melee was over, and we had told our stories, we pulled ourselves together as we got into Manhattan. Lucky for me Barbara lives not far from me so we walked most of the way home together... but as we were getting off the train, despite being fairly shook up, all I could say was how much I wish I'd had my camera!

OK... it's 2:40 am here... obviously it's been an exciting night but I really need to catch some ZZZZZs. For a pleasant last image I'll leave you with a photo of the reason I'm most excited to be in NY... I'll be able to see my adorable nephew Meir a lot more often and watch him grow!
Lilah Tov,

Sunday, September 14, 2008

New York City

New York City baby! Man it feels good to be back in the Big Apple! I've been pretty busy these last couple of weeks, so I'm sorry for the delayed post... I hope to keep more on top of this as I shoot my way through a year of International Center of Photography.

Yup! I'm finally here, and the last week and a half have been a whirl-wind of information, photos, and meeting new friends. I've been attending orientation classes for 8 days straight now, and have 2 more to go before I get a break. It's been a tiring, but fun week, and I really can't believe I'm actually going to school for what I want to do!
I took the above photo during my walk home on my first day of orientation. I was feeling inspired, and going for something different than I normally shoot. I really felt it worked best in black and white! I found a wonderful, fully furnished apartment in the Murray Hill neighborhood, located about a .85 mile walk from my school, which is located at 43rd and 6th Ave (aka Avenue of the Americas). At a good pace, it takes me about 15 minutes door to door, which is extremely convenient!

I'm really loving my time here so far; I've made a lot of new friends, and have been enjoying orientation activities meant to allow us to get to know each other such as a beautiful cruise around the city last night, and last Sunday a trip to Coney Island with our cameras! We were actually quite lucky to be able to shoot the last day of Astroland, the Coney Island amusement park that has been in operation since 1962, and supposedly closed it's doors for good after we left September 7th. (I say supposedly, as the closing of Astroland was announced in 2007 as well - although they are saying it is probably for real this time). 
My classmates and I spent a beautiful sunny day, getting plenty of Vitamin D and shooting images of a large variety of whacky characters and happy children.

Orientation for ICP is almost a month long, and culminates at the end of September with a slide show of images shot during two weeks of a scavenger hunt. We were given a list of photos we should be looking to shoot to fill certain categories including documenting a trace of someone or something, photograph something invisible, and making an American Photograph, etc. The whole class of 2009 (80+ people - 38 of whom are in the photojournalism/documentary program with me) were split into groups A through F for orientation. In the end each group will have four photos filling 19 categories for the final slide show! Today we got our first glimpse of everyone in our groups' photography. I entered nine photos for the day, including the one below, which will definitely be in the final edit!
This photo was taken at a street fair on 6th Avenue yesterday. The man in the photo was wearing protective glasses as he stirred a huge vat of kettle corn. I shot the image through the dirt and grease stained netting separating onlookers from what I can only assume to be splattering oil. The image will either fit into the American Photograph or the Wild Card category! I was extremely happy to get a great reaction from my peers, as this image took the screen. 

OK. That's it for tonight! I'm extremely tired, and have to be up again in the morning to show that I can print a black and white print (you know, from film - in an actual dark room!)

Thank you so much for reading. Cheers!


Thursday, August 28, 2008


My family and I have been fairly big supporters of Obama since he first announced his running for the presidency before the Iowa caucuses. Actually, I've been a fan since he first ran for senate, and I got to photograph him at a party somewhere in Illinois during my intern days at The Dispatch/Argus in Moline during the summer of 2003. So I was extremely happy when my dad asked me if I wanted to attend a 200 person, invite only, picnic-like event at the Davenport fairgrounds featuring none other than Barack Obama! I readily agreed, although I made sure I could bring my camera along first. This was my fourth time getting to see the man I hope will take the presidency soon, and it did not disappoint! Unfortunately his new running mate, Joe Biden, was not in attendance... but I was happy to get to go anyway!
It took me a while to get through security... I brought along one of my larger camera bags, well stocked with my Nikon D300 and 3 lenses. Also along was a fun little camera, given to me by my friend Olivier in Amsterdam. The Holga is a plastic camera which uses 120 (medium format) film. It can take some very fun shots, especially when you use it for double and triple exposure images. I wasn't sure whether I should take it or not, but I had a specific photo I wanted to try, so I threw it in the bag, along with a huge roll of black gaffers tape (also known as a photographers' best friend!) While the plastic camera is nice and light, it sometimes has trouble with light leak, so Olivier suggested I tape it up when using it. 
This image was taken with the Holga - if you look carefully you can see Obama outlined on the American flag along with a secret service agent (to the left). This photo looked slightly different in my head, but I'm still pretty happy with how it came out! To view the rest of my favorite Obama photos click here!

That's all for today... I'm off to check out some apartments in NYC and hopefully find the perfect one for my time here! Just fyi, my goal is to continue this blog as I go through a year of study at the International Center of Photography - so I hope you will all keep reading. 

Until next time, have a great night!

Culture Shock

So... it has been a while since I've updated... I've been pretty busy! Since leaving AMS on Friday Aug. 15 I've been through Houston, Davenport, and I'm now staying in Fort Lee, NJ with my grandmother overlooking the George Washington Bridge and Manhattan! 

My last few days in Amsterdam were wonderful. My beautiful friend Larissa held a farewell dinner Thursday night through Meetin. 9 people attended and we had some really delicious East African (Ethiopian) food. If you haven't had this kind of food before you should definitely check it out. The place we went was called Azmarino, and was located in De Pijp. Even though it was a school night a variety of my friends were able to make it to say goodbye! The next picture is the group of people who were there - this is the only photo so far on my blog not shot by me. 
Thank you to all of my friends who made it to my dinner, as well as all the wonderful people I met during my time in A'dam. Also a big thank you to my friend Olivier (second from left) without whom I would have never been able to move out of my apartment!

I left Amsterdam on Aug. 15th and headed for three days to visit my grandparents (father's side) in Houston, Texas. What a culture shock! I went from beautiful, old streets, very few cars, and a fairly slow moving pace to a land filled with 8 lane highways, gas stations, and hernia billboards (not sure you can see it clearly, but that's what the sign is advertising!)
It was also a shock in terms of weather. Going from a relatively cool August in Amsterdam to 90 plus degree (fahrenheit) heat, and 100 percent humidity was not a lot of fun. Luckily I didn't need to go outside too much, and I did have an enjoyable time in the air conditioned comfort of my grandparents' apartment. It was quite exciting to finally get to watch some of the Olympics, as I did not have a tv in Amsterdam. Despite the culture shock, being with my grandparents allowed me to relax and catch up on some sleep before heading back home to Iowa. More to come very soon, and I promise to try and stay timely with my future posts. 

Thanks for reading!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Escher and The Hague!!!

Since I first heard about it, there has been one museum I've really wanted to see while in Holland... and during my last week in the country, with my friend Dan also eager to view it, I finally made it to the Escher Museum! Located in The Hague (Den Haag), which is not the official capital of the Netherlands, but is the seat of the government, Escher in Het Paleis was just as I hoped! A quirky collection of the works of Maurits Cornelis Escher, the museum, which is housed in The Lange Voorhout Palace (owned by the Royal Family), delighted my visual senses with a variety of optical illusions! I truly relished wandering the various floors, and viewing some of the incredible pieces I'd seen immortalized in books and posters!
Unfortunately, I realized at the end of my visit that photography sans flash was allowed throughout the museum... as I had stowed my camera as we entered the museum. I did manage to shoot a couple of images of the extremely weird room where the camera was stored, adorned with chairs, benches, and tables hanging from the ceiling. These images can be seen below. 
I would like to go back to this site during a future visit to the Netherlands, as I feel the chandeliers, and rooms, certainly deserves the attention of my lens. It's a place I certainly suggest checking out, as there is nowhere else in the world that you can see such a collection by M.C. Escher.

I would also like to spend more time in Den Haag on my next visit. The city itself is absolutely stunning, and I've heard that I should definitely check out the Mauritshuis an art museum, I did not have the chance to view. I will definitely work to fit this in to my schedule, whenever I may have the chance to return!


Last street photography

On Sunday, August 10, I attended my last Amsterdam Street Photography event through Meetin. Luckily, Michael, who always runs the event, was willing to put it slightly early in the month so that I could still attend! I really enjoy this event, despite the fact that I feel awkward walking down the street with 20+ other people carrying cameras. I always look forward to seeing what everybody comes out with, and perhaps the strength in numbers allows me to be a little more brave in terms of what I shoot? Either way, I was happy that I got to participate once again! Thank you Michael :-).
As usual, one of my very favorite subjects is photographing children. I really enjoy the innocence of youth, and find that my camera and I tend to capture some fun photos of the kids I come across! 

For every street photography event we go some new place in the city. This time we explored the Eastern Docklands (KNSM-eiland and Java-eiland) which is at the North-East of Amsterdam. It was an extremely windy, but beautiful day, really quite perfect for photography with usually elusive blue skies. As usual when it's a nice day, there was no lack of happy kids running around and playing on a variety of jungle gym equipment, and in the streets. The two kids above seemed to be engaging in a little pirate play, and made for wonderful subjects as they shyly dodged in and out of buildings to the delight of all of us with cameras. 
In this day and age, I'm surprised we weren't overtaken by a bunch of angry parents as all of our lenses were pointed towards the children at play. Thankfully though everything was peaceful, and no one seemed to care that we were all shooting their young ones. Most of the children on the playground were able to totally ignore the mob of photographers... and just had a wonderful time!
For a bit of a change, I switched my 80-200 to my 10.5mm fisheye lens. It's a bit of a novelty lens, quite toyish, but I really enjoy pulling it out and distorting everything I see! There was some beautiful metal work on the gates of this complex, and I think it suited the fisheye quite well!

That's it for now... I still have a couple more posts to catch up on, I apologize for overwhelming you all at once... but I'm glad I finally have a chance to sit down and type these out.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Everybody dance!

Woohoo... woohoo! This was the sound coming from a caged in area where people were jumping, dancing and singing along to seeming silence. Such is the Silent Disco, a clubbing concept where participants are all wearing wireless headphones, which are tuned into a DJ spinning a variety of beats. What an absolute rush, and one of the weirdest and craziest things I've experienced in a long time.
My friend Dan came to visit me for most of my last week in Amsterdam - so he got the chance to join me at De Parade (the event where we experienced the Silent Disco.) Despite getting totally soaked by the typical Dutch downpour - we had an amazing time, not only with the 15 minutes we spent with the headphones, but also at a variety of other things such as the crazy merry-go-round like, yo-yo swings which would never be allowed in the US as we came extremely close to kicking other riders multiple times! We also saw a very interesting film based on the life and work of Kurt Godel, a famous mathematician, working loosely with the ideas of reality and tangibility. At least I think that's what it was about... lucky for Dan and me, my friend, and owner of my apartment, Herma was there to translate everything from Dutch to English for us!
The toilet photo... this was the toilet at De Parade. Decked out in toilet seats, and evidently attracting amorous couples, both Dan and I shot multiple photos of this photogenic tent! This turned out to be one of my favorite photos of the evening! 

OK... I have more posts to catch up on... I know I'm behind! That's all for this one based on our August 9th adventure. More about my last week very soon! Cheers!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008


On Saturday, Aug. 2, the canal I live on - the Prinsengracht, became a sea of color and life for the 2008 Gay Pride Parade! Clothed in rainbows and pinks of all shades, people lined the edges of the streets and the bridges at least three rows deep. Plus boats of all sizes, stocked well with alcohol, and most with a maximum load of revelers in various stages of undress clogged the sides of the canal.Down the center of the canal came the floats, above is the Absolut Colors float, and the next image is of a float that had these two women popping out of a wall of white sheets, with pink hatted admirers surrounding them as they danced for joy.  
Pete (who I went to Alkmaar with) had the brilliant idea of hosting a party at his apartment, which is just a couple of blocks from me and looks out over the Leidsegracht. Pete's apartment is conveniently attached to a flat rooftop which can be accessed from the window in his spare bedroom! The next photo was shot with a 200 mm lens while sitting, mojito in hand, on Pete's roof, and it was one of the best parties I've ever attended - with roll your own sushi, fresh mojitos, and 50+ expats who rsvped on Meetin! I believe the I amsterdam float was accompanied by the blasting of "YMCA!"
The party went all day, and I was there for well over 12 hours, as I had helped with some minimal prepping, as well as cleaning up at the end. It was an incredibly colorful and fun day, with a lot of awesome friends, and makes me already start to miss Amsterdam!

To see more images of Alkmaar, the Gay Pride Parade, and more CLICK HERE!

I have to run... I'm finally going to see Dark Knight tonight, and I'd best be getting ready! Ciao for now!

Cheesy Goodness...

Destination: Alkmaar
Date: Friday, August 1, 2008
I haven't blogged in almost a week, and I have so much to talk about. I had a fantastic weekend! On Friday my friend Pete and I decided we would go to Alkmaar, where they have a traditional cheese market. We caught a train from Central Station at around 9 a.m. and quickly watched the graffiti and congestion of the city turn into smaller towns and fields of cows. When you think Holland or the Netherlands, your mind probably turns to windmills, cheese and perhaps those wooden clogs. This town had it ALL... and was unsurprisingly swamped with tourists. Fridays are when the town holds their cheese market, so things were really buzzing. On a friend's suggestion we hopped on one of the canal boats for a tour of the town, and it was well worth it! Both of us snapped quite a number of photos during the hour-long ride! 
We passed quite a few windmills, houseboats, and adorable little houses. The scenery was beautiful and peaceful. 

The cruise dropped us back off at the cheese market, and we worked through the large crowd to shoot some images of the cheese mongers. Everywhere we looked there were large wheels of cheese, and people selling those classic wooden clogs. Cheesy in so many ways, yet so much fun!
Men with hats like the one seen in the previous photo carry these sleighs of cheese, moving at sort of an odd run. Damaging the cheese is completely frowned upon, and while you can't actually buy the cheese shown in the demonstration, there were many booths offering Edam, Gouda, and other locally made cheeses aplenty. 
What a fabulous way to kick off the weekend!

*A fun bit of trivia about Alkmaar... while Pete and I were walking around we went past a Beatles Museum, and I didn't understand why there would be one in this town in Holland. Well... according to Wikipedia... John Lennon's first guitar was made in Alkmaar! :-)

More soon,


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Night photography!

As promised I'm posting some of my photos from my night photography session on the Museumplein with Michael. :-). I'm quite happy with the results, and it was a really nice night to be out. I have to admit we looked a tad funny carrying our tripods on the tram, although Amsterdamers have seen much weirder things. Once we both set up though, I think we were pretty much in the zone. Let me know what you think about the photos!
The beautiful and famous Rijksmuseum.
The Rijksmuseum (State Museum), which dates from 1876 and opened in 1885 houses a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age as well as a substantial collection of Asian art. The collection includes paintings by Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt as well as many of Rembrandt's pupils and many more artists. Some of the most famous paintings are Rembrandt's The Night Watch, and one of my favorites, Johannes Vermeer's The Milkmaid. Only part of the collection is currently on view as from 2003 until 2010 (or later) the building has been undergoing continuous renovations and repairs.
 Van Gogh Museum and Concertgebouw (on left)
In 1999, an elliptical exhibition wing was added to the Vincent Van Gogh Museum which opened in 1973. The Van Gogh museum houses the largest collection in the world of work by Vincent Van Gogh including one of his famed sunflower still lifes. To the left of the exhibition wing is the Concertgebouw (Concert Hall) which opened in 1888. It is home to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Koninklijk Concertgebouweorkest).

That's all for now... I'll post a bit more later as I went wandering last night with my camera.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Birthday rose

Well... mom took off today, after a short but sweet visit to AMS. We decided it would be more beneficial for her to leave her birthday rose here... but I wanted her to have a photo reminder of the time we spent together this weekend. So this is her birthday rose photo - I'm glad my readers can all share in the rose's beauty as well!
Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend?! Weather permitting I'll be out trying to shoot some more night photos this evening... I will hopefully be able to share those with you in the coming days!

Thanks for staying tuned!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Happy 55th Mom!

I made a huge mistake the other evening... I failed to blog about the birthday of one of the most important people in my life... my mom. I actually had every intention of doing that, but I kind of got wrapped up in getting ready for her visit. Oops, I failed to mention that my mom's birthday present from my dad was to come visit me for the weekend! Pretty cool!

Anyway, I am now attempting to make up for failing to blog on Thursday. Happy belated birthday mom! This blog post is for you! First photo is my mom with my dad during their trip to visit me in April.
So... my mom arrived at Schiphol Airport on Friday around noon, where I met her with a birthday rose, kicking off a fun mother/daughter weekend! I'm really glad she has had the chance to be with me, because I've enjoyed introducing her to some of the people I've mentioned in the blog, and who've been an important part of my time here in A'dam! Tomorrow her short time here will come to an end, but I think we've made the most of the 48 hours she was in town... I wish it had been a bit longer though!

We were walking home tonight in the rain, when I was struck by the urge to make some photos. This happens sometimes when you are a photographer! Lucky for me my mom was totally willing to run up the 3 flights of stairs to my apartment with me, so I could grab some equipment, then go right back out into the wetness just to hold my umbrella over my camera as I shot my images. Not only is she a great mom, she's a great assistant! The following photos probably would not have been possible if it weren't for her help. Thanks mom! I love you!

One of the alleys off the street I live on...
The view across the Prinsengracht (Prince's Canal) from where I live...
Once again, happy belated birthday mom! I'm so glad you decided to come visit me for the weekend!



Monday, July 21, 2008

Take it outside

While I was home for Eva and Bret's wedding, Amsterdam underwent a dramatic transformation... on July 1st a smoking ban went into effect, which literally drove the smokers outside. Now I'm not going to lie, I'm a HUGE fan of banning smoking in public places, I love not having to come home after a night of hanging out with friends, and requiring a shower before going to bed (with wet hair). However, I think there are some issues here, that I haven't really seen too much of in Illinois (January 1, 2008) or Iowa (July 1, 2008). Mainly this is a space issue. Since the smokers are not allowed to smoke in the bars, they instead crowd around the entrances or lean in the door frame. I admit, if I was a smoker, I might have issues with standing outside in the cold rain, which I'm told is part of a normal Dutch summer. I feel kind of bad for those who are so addicted to nicotine that they can't go more than half an hour or an hour until they are back outside. Then there is an issue of being able to get in and out of the bar. I've noticed a problem because the smokers do stay so close to the entrance, that you have to walk through wafting smoke to go in or out, sometimes, pushing past multiple people just to get to the door. Finally I've found that because there are so many people congregated at the door of pubs and restaurants, it's often difficult for pedestrians to get around them. The sidewalks, are extremely tiny, forcing you to step into the bike lanes, which can be a physical danger when most bikers feel, rightly so in this city, that they have right of way.
The smoking ban has also caused some issues to arise, that I'm not sure I've heard of previously in the states. The main complaint that I have heard is that the smoking was what covered up the body odor that wafts through crowded pubs, clubs, etc. I've even read that there are some Dutch clubs that have adopted smoking machines which let out the supposedly harmless scent of cigarette smoke, to cover up the natural odor. Evidently this scent does not stick to your clothes and hair... seriously though wouldn't everyone having better hygiene and using deodorant be a better solution? 

Speaking of taking it outside... I've seen some weird street performances over the years... but I think this may top it. In the Leidseplein... the square I've talked about before, this man, in nothing but a thong-loin cloth, was doing tricks on a hanging rope from a free standing apparatus haphazardly set up in the walk way between the veranda tables and the bars. It was a very odd thing to see, and I felt it was a bit dangerous as the outer circles of the crowd were perilously close to the tram tracks. Not really a street performance I have seen before!
Finally this evening, I'm very excited to be able to offer some FRESH PHOTOS! CLICK HERE to look through some new images from the past couple of weeks... and as always feel free to comment on this post, or let me know what you are thinking about both my writing and my images. Thanks again for reading!

Until the next time...


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Happy 1st Bday Meir!

1 year ago today little Meir Gideon Arbisser graced us with his presence! Born July 20, 2007 - it was one of the most exciting days of my life! To celebrate his first year of life, here are some of my favorite photos I've taken of him over the past year. Sorry Lily... but you've got major competition for top portrait muse. 
Meir at 4-days old
Meir at 4-months old
Meir at 9-months old
If you are interested in seeing more photos of Meir - plenty can be found on the baby blog that my brother Micah and his wife Lisa have kept since the beginning. Click here to go to the baby blog. 

I've been a bit lax on posting lately... and will try to be better about this! I've been working on some new stuff - I'll try to put in a post later.

Once again Happy 1st Birthday Meir!


Tante Talya

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Somewhere over the rainbow...

I was unable to get to sleep last night until about 6:30 this morning. Sometimes that happens when my brain fails to turn off about whatever I happen to be thinking about. Fortunately for me there was a beautiful sunrise this morning... so I made the most out of my sleeplessness. As I leaned out the window to take some photos, I was treated to this rainbow. I felt I should share it with my readers!

It has been raining here pretty much all week. I'm told that is what to expect from Dutch summers... but I really didn't expect it to be as cold as it has been with highs in the mid 60's. Thankfully today was really quite nice, which was perfect for the photography event I co-hosted with Michael and Silas through Meetin. After lunch, and a talk on basic photography and digital cameras, our group of about 20 people headed out for some Amsterdam street photography around the Artis Zoo area. Hopefully I will have some images to share with you from this event later in the week... as I've taken to playing around with film for a bit. I've revived my father's old Leica R4, and will hopefully see some results after processing the film - it has been quite a while since I've used color film! Anyway... that's it for now. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Love to everyone,


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jewish Amsterdam

Lily and I have been getting our share of Jewish Amsterdam these last couple of days. According to Wikipedia, "Amsterdam has historically been the center of the Dutch Jewish community, and has had a continuing Jewish community for the last 370 years." The Portuguese Synagogue website says, "When Nazi Germany invaded Holland in 1940 there were around 140,000 Jews living here, some 120,000 of whom lived in Amsterdam... After the war there were only 20,000 Jews left in Holland... At present there are between 20,000 and 25,000 Jews in Holland, around 15,000 to 20,000 in Amsterdam." 

Yesterday, Lily and I made our way down to the Waterlooplein - in the old Jewish quarter. After checking out the Rembrandt huis, where Rembrandt used to work as an art dealer and painter, we headed over for a quick tour of the Portuguese Synagogue. The Sephardic Synagogue which was amazingly undamaged during the German occupation, was built in the early 1670's, and is quite beautiful inside. While there was very little light in the main sanctuary, some nice light was streaming in the windows of the women's area on the upstairs balcony, where I shot this man. 
Today Lily and I got up early so that we wouldn't have to stand in line for the Anne Frank Huis... which often has lines wrapping around the block! We were there about 8:45 am and the doors opened at 9, so thankfully we didn't have to wait very long as it has been a fairly cold and rainy week here in A'dam. It was amazing to be in the place I'd read about so long ago in the Diary of Anne Frank, and was one of the reasons I was interested in this city in the first place! I bought a copy of the book, in English of course, so that I can reread it while I am still here. It is pretty incredible though that one little girl who documented her family's attempts at hiding from the Nazis could easily be considered the face of the ridiculous number of Jews from Amsterdam who perished during the genocide. I was not allowed to take photos of the exhibit, but did snap this shot of people standing in line to get inside from the cafe conveniently located at the end of the tour.
I'm going to run now... it's Lily's last night here, and I want to spend as much time as possible with her! We've had a wonderful week together.

Hope everyone is having an enjoyable summer!

Goede dag! - T

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Restaurant De Kas

One of the things I have enjoyed the most about Amsterdam is the variety and quality of the food. The Dutch tend to use the word "lekker" quite a bit, especially when talking about food. "Lekker" roughly translates as "delicious," and I've found it to be very useful when describing much of what I've consumed in this city. I'm not sure that I've seen a higher standard of overall freshness anywhere else I've ever travelled or lived.

I have grown attached to quite a few wonderful restaurants and cafes, but right now I'd like to tell you about Restaurant De Kas. Restaurant De Kas is located in Frankendael Park in the East of A'dam. It is housed in an old 1926 greenhouse, and they grow their own fruits and vegetables, and buy mostly local products. De Kas offers one menu, which usually changes weekly, and is based on whatever is freshest at the moment. 

Lily and I were lucky enough to be able to check out De Kas on Tuesday evening. It was a truly enjoyable time, with lekker food, in an amazing setting! Please enjoy tonight's photo of the outside of Restaurant De Kas! Thanks for reading... more soon!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Cute kid OVERLOAD!

Sorry to be away so long, unlike my jet lag back home which had me unable to sleep late... I slept a lot the first 2 days I was back in A'dam - and then Lily joined me, and we've been doing a lot while she's been here. 

On Saturday after her arrival, Lily and I spent an hour with Renaldo, the trainer I've been working with at my gym, which is conveniently located a block from me. Later that evening we went to a Mediterranean dinner that Larissa and I were cohosting through Meetin. (Bazar Restaurant Amsterdam was  a tremendous feast!) More than 25 people showed up to my first hosted event, and it was a huge success, with many of the group continuing the enjoyable evening at a cocktail bar down the block.

Today... Lily, Michael, and I took the train out to Amstelveen to go back to the Cobra (modern art) museum. We were specifically headed to see the newest exhibit Just Different! which was interesting... although I found what was outside to be much more interesting. There was some sort of festival going on... people (no hands) sand volleyball, a flea market, and lots of kids activities with adorable children! Tonight's offering photo wise is a selection of the photos I shot this afternoon - Cute kid overload!
I guess there are these buttons, or "pieces of flare" if you will that you can pimp je (your) crocs! with. A bit odd to see that as the background for this image though...
I really wanted to join this little girl on the trampoline... it reminds me of one I used to get to go on when I visited my grandparents in Israel when I was 8 or so!
Love from back in AMS!!! Hope everyone back in the states had a wonderful July 4th!