I never really got a chance to learn how photos are developed in high school or art school or anywhere really. Although I had read about it and people had explained the process to me and I’d seen glimpses of it in movies, it was still always a bit of a mystery to me. It just seemed like kind of a magical process.
That little mystery was solved a few years ago when I went to visit my friend in Porto, Portugal. While studying architecture she conveniently also learnt how to develop photos. And even more conveniently her university had a darkroom. I was sorting through some old photos and came across the black and white roll we had shot while I was staying with her.
Thinking back at it I don’t fully remember too many details of the process, I guess it is time for a refresher. Although I was obviously very fascinated by the process I also remember it being very simple. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I guess in my head it had always been a bit of a magical procedure and once I got to see how it actually worked I realized there was no magic at all involved (duh!). Regardless it was still pretty amazing and special to learn.
Below are a few of the photos we took that weekend.
I love the city of Lisbon. Every time I go home I wander the streets snapping away 10000 pictures and discovering new corners. This particular trip I took a lot less photos. As much as I love photographing, lately I have felt the need to snap a few pictures, then put the camera away and actually enjoy the scenery to the fullest and truly soak it all in.
I feel like sometimes taking photos takes you out of the moment. You are hiding being your camera, taking it all in through your lens, not your eyes. Instead of enjoying the moment you are shifting around camera settings and wondering if you got enough shots. That doesn’t sound particularly relaxing to me. It’s almost like you need two trips; one for really exploring and seeing it all, one for going around and taking pictures. I feel like I still need to find that balance.
I wanted to share some of these pictures from Lisbon which were taken on our way up to the castle of São Jorge and didn’t make it into the previous post.
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castle of são jorge
My little trip to Europe was (more then) a few months ago. I started recapping the trip and showed some photos of my hometown Cascais, the Windmill of Dom Quixote and Cabo da Roca, the most western part of all of Europe. And then things got busy and that was it. I don’t know about you but I love looking back on vacation photos, regardless of whether it was 6 weeks or 6 months ago. So bare with me as I pop in here every so often with a few slightly-outdated photos of 2013.
On one of our last days in Lisbon we wandered up to the moorish Castle of São Jorge. In order to be as touristy as possible we hopped on the streetcar, which takes you up the majority of the way to the hilltop castle. Once you enter the garden of the castle your breath is taken away by an amazing view overlooking the historic centre of the Lisbon and the Tagus River. We had a fun time playing “Where’s Wally” by spotting all the little streets below we had wandered the previous day.
Now imagine waking up to that view every day!
cabo da roca
After visiting the Dom Quixote windmill we headed to the light house of Cabo da Roca, which is the most western tip of all of Europe. 16th-century poet Luis de Camões described the place as “where the land ends and the sea begins”. The light house and viewpoint are on the top of a steep cliff and it is always insanely windy. We tried to take some pictures and my t-shirt was literally being blown off of my torso.
After joining all the tourists and snapping some photos we headed even further up to another viewpoint at an old abandoned sanctuary, Santuário da Peninha. We had a similar view as we did from the windmill, expect from here we got a full 360-view and, being at a far higher point, we could see the entire coastline that surrounds Cascais, even vaguely spotting my house.
I accidentally had my camera on the wrong setting without having noticed until later, therefore the awkwardly bright cyan in the sky. Regardless of the colour-coding in the pictures this beautiful view will forever be engraved in my brain.
dom quixote windmill
During our stay in Cascais we wandered up to Cabo da Roca one morning. Cabo da Roca is the furthest western part of Europe, more on that in my next post.
On our way there we stopped by an old windmill turned cafe, the Dom Quixote Windmill. Just like Cascais it is located in Sintra, a subregion of Lisbon. To get there you have to drive up a number of little winding streets to get all the way to the top. Once at the windmill you can enjoy a coffee or juice with a little snack and take in the amazing view. Besides the crazy view I love all the traditional blue and white tiles throughout the cafe and all the gigantic succulents growing wildly in the gardens.
It’s been crazy foggy in Vancouver the past few days so there’s been a bunch of pictures floating around instagram taken from the top of the mountains where all you can see is the tip of a few of the tall downtown buildings. I wonder what the Dom Quixote Windmill view point would look like on a foggy day. Do you think you could see anything at all? It would probably just feel like you’re in the clouds, which sounds pretty dreamy and chill to me.
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Cascais is my hometown. It’s just outside of Lisbon along the beautiful atlantic coast. It’s a little cosmopolitan fishing village which gained fame in the late 19th century for serving as a resort for the royal family and has now become one of the richest municipalities. Nowadays it’s a popular vacation spot for both portuguese and foreign tourists.
Whenever I go to Portugal walking around the streets of Cascais is my favourite thing to do. I have so many memories and favourite little corners around from growing up there. This time was extra special because it was the first time my boyfriend came along. Showing him where I grew up and seeing it through his eyes was one of the best parts of our trip.
I love walking along all the little streets, the even smaller back alleys, spotting the random colourful walls or vintage neon signs. Another favourite is strolling along the beach and promenade, grabbing an ice cream, popping into cute little local stores, checking out artisan goods and swooning over all the beautiful tiles. There is also a big park nearby which is covered in eucalyptus trees. Lastly I love spotting some good street art under the bridge, on trains or on abandoned buildings.
Many people who visit Europe don’t make it to Cascais, let alone Portugal. It’s at the bottom western part of Europe and not in a dense area like the rest of Europe. Obviously I am biased but I would highly suggest going to Portugal. March/May and September are my favourite times to go; there are not many tourists around and it’s not burning hot out, but usually warm enough to go for a swim and get some quality beach time. Another bonus is that you are avoiding the high season and may get your flights at a slightly discounted rate.
Next week I’ll share some pictures of our little day adventure out to Lisbon.
All pictures were taken with my iphone. Because of the weight and sometimes inconvenience of my camera I didn’t take it with me every day. For the remaining posts I will try to share mostly DSLR photos.
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So, I realize I’m super behind on sharing all my Europe pictures buuuut….one thing at a time. Since it was more recent and there is a lot less of them I thought I would share some of the Palm Springs photos first and then get to the Europe ones throughout the next few weeks.
Palm Springs was pretty much what I had imagined but more…surreal. People kept commenting on how it looked like straight out of the movies which made me think someone would just come out and suddenly yell “CUT” or one of the palm trees would deflate because it’s actually just a fake prop. I guess that goes together nicely with my biggest take away from designervaca, we are all faking it.
I didn’t really do much research on Palm Springs as I was pretty sure I was going to be strictly at the Ace Hotel all weekend. I’m used to the green and forestry British Columbia mountains and did not expect to see any in Palm Springs. Little did I know that Palm Springs is right at the bay of the mountains – these being rocky and dry, however still very impressive.
I’d love to go back to the Palm Springs area one day and go on a little road trip throughout the desert. The landscape was so plain and monotone. Although it may sound boring I felt it was actually a rather inspiring and refreshing emptiness compared to the usual cluttered city life.
Below are a few photos taken at the Ace Hotel. For more Palm Springs photos you can scroll through my instagram feed or search for hashtag #designervaca which all of us used throughout the weekend.
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fake it | designervaca
I was having a really hard time focusing on work yesterday. I just got back from designervaca, a design retreat in Palm Springs. The retreat was set up as part vacation, part soaking up some sun by the pool, and part seminar, with a few creative panels throughout the day on a variety of design and freelance related topics. To be honest my head is still spinning from all the networking I felt the pressure to do, not to mention all of the resources and information I picked up while there.
For a while now, I’ve felt a little lost; like I am not sure what I am doing. On one hand, I’m impressed with myself for how much I’ve grown and how much I’ve learnt in the past year, but at the same time I still have so many questions and insecurities. That being said, it was really great talking to all these like-minded ladies and realizing that we all have similar struggles no matter what stage of our career we are at.
I think one of the most valuable things I learned (as echoed by this vedahouse post) was that we’re all faking it to make it. There was a general feeling of relief especially on my end to know that I’m not alone in feeling like this. It’s an important reminder to know that, although I may not know where I am going, I do know that I am heading in the right direction.
I have more tid bits of the weekend I’d like to share but I think I will split it up into a few little posts throughout the next few weeks. I think I may start sharing more “advice” or “things I have learned” kind of posts relating to design and freelance (I’ve decided to go with the name “Freelance Life“). I often find myself enjoying these sort of columns on some of the other blogs I follow. I can either relate to them or learn from them and I’d like to give my readers that same opportunity.
Comments: 6 | Category: design, Freelance Life, travel
#307 | the map room
On our way to a wedding in Guelph we decided to stop by Toronto for a quick 24hr stay. I remember googling something along the lines of “Toronto artsy hotels” just to see what would come up. It quickly became clear that The Gladstone Hotel was the place to be. The Gladstone is a boutique art hotel in a historic victorian building in the artistic district of Toronto on West Queen Street. The hotel has 37 rooms, each designed by a different artist, an old-fashioned elevator, 2 restaurants, 4 event venues and 3 gallery spaces.
Although a hotel as amazing as this one would usually be slightly over my budget we decided to splurge and stay for one night. The hardest part was picking out a room, one more impressive then the next. Obsessed with travel and a map-loving boyfriend we settled on #307, the Map Room.
My favourite part of the room was the crown molding laid out across the walls and ceiling, painted white to blend in with the wall, it displayed a map of the neighbourhood. The headboard stitching continues the flow of the map by outlining the ferry routes and a minimalistic mobile hangs above the bed, pointing at the location of the Gladstone Hotel on the wall (click here to watch quick video by the artist of the room) .
It was pretty neat having a little exhibit on each floor, right outside your room door. Needless to say they also got some awesome branding going on with neat little muffin and coffee order sheets propped on your pillow and beautiful typography across your room key.
I look forward to exploring another room at The Gladstone next time around. Treat yourself to a chill weekend in Toronto and make sure you stay at the Gladstone too!
Das Voglhaus (german for “the birdhouse”) is in Konstanz, Germany. it’s one of the many cool coffee shops we went to. Das Vogelhaus is special, not because it has delicious coffee or amazing cheesecake, however that did help. No, Das Vogelhaus is special because you get to sit in the window. Kind of like your a window display, minus the looking perfect and static part. It’s pretty neat, there’s a few big windows and you get to sit on comfy pillows and bean bags in the window. There’s only space for like max 3 people, but its cozy.
Also, they have amazing wallpaper and book shelve solutions. It’s pretty neat, I highly recommend you check it out if you’ve ever in that corner or the world.
I really like airports, especially the International Vancouver Airport.
I guess theres always a certain amount of excitement that comes with airports; you’re either going somewhere or returning home. There’s so many different people from all sorts of different places of the world speaking all sorts of different languages. I find it fascinating.People watching is always fun.
Over the years I’ve spent time in several airports and yeah, Vancouver is my favourite. The main reason is probably due to the fact that it has an aquarium in the international section. I love all sorts of sea life. I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t followed the arts, I would have probably gone with biology and become a marine biologist.
Max Wanger is a great LA based photographer who I am very inspired by. His photos are super fun, dynamic and have an unconventional style. He plays with negative space a lot, seeing things from a different angle, as well as cropping in whimsical ways. I came across this interview from coolhunting.com. Have a quick read through it if your interested.
I’m still working on finding a photography style of my own. I think it’ll all come along naturally with time. Here’s a few shots I took yesterday along the beach in Cascais. Semi-inspired by mr. Max Wanger himself. I’m in love with the weather and beautiful blue sky, having fun playing with perspective and whatnot.
2000 plus photos later I’ve jumped around Germany over to Switzerland and am now settling throughout Portugal. It’s been great. Lots of fun times, photos and stories to share! I wanted to blog my whole trip chronologically but…thats not going to happen. It’ll all just randomly start coming together whenever it feels right.
Earlier today my mom, brother and I went down to the beach for an ice cream, I got a few really nice blue-sky semi Max Wanger inspired photos I’ll be posting soon!
Here’s a shot from 2 weeks ago. Vancouver the day I took off: cold, wet and windy. And hail. Lots of hail.
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