Archive for Travel

Lens Decisions… Epic Fail

We made our way to Seattle for the weekend to help celebrate a new marriage. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to take some tips from a recent shutter sisters post on photographing friend’s weddings, but not being your friend’s wedding photographer. I excitedly rented the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 AF-S VR telephoto lens to help me catch moments without being in the faces of the subjects. It was an amazingly powerful lens but absolutely the worst choice for my needs. I was too close to the bride and groom and the other guests to make use of it!

I’m a lemons to lemonade type of girl though, so I turned my “capture-that-magic-wedding-moment” lens into a “pretend-I’m-a-cop-doing-surveillance-on-The-Wire” lens which was loads of fun even though it may not have produced the most captivating images. Especially since we were staying in a very quiet area of town. So I ended up with a lot of men-at work photos like these:

Things on the water photos like this:

And pictures of people and animals that were unaware they were being photographed:

I’m looking forward to meeting this lens again, just under more appropriate circumstances 🙂

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I just returned from a great trip to Chicago where I got to help celebrate an up and coming bundle of joy, a new marriage and of course, old friendships. This trip was extremely rewarding and relaxing for me. I had a chance to do some fun portraits. I discovered that I definitely need more practice and I need some different lighting options.

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Southwest Airlines’s deteriorating customer service

I recently earned a new Southwest Rapid Rewards ticket. We have two weddings to attend this year (3 including our own) that require travel. I decided to use the free ticket to book a trip to Chicago over Memorial Day weekend for one of the weddings and found that there were no (free) seats available. This trip is three and a half months away so I found this discouraging, but attributed it to being a holiday weekend. I then took a look at the schedules to Washington, D.C. where we have another wedding to attend. Again, no flights. This event is four and a half months away and there are 2 different airports we could fly into and still there are no rewards tickets available. What makes this even more frustrating is that you were not even able to book flights on Southwest past May 9th until 1 week ago, so in 1 weeks time all the Rapid Rewards seats available for the two trips I need to take are apparently sold out. I remember the days when you were able to book virtually any flight with a rewards ticket. I understand that the company has to make business decisions to remain profitable, but Southwest’s whole manifesto has been discounted fares, great customer service and an easy rewards program. It seems that discounted airfares (you may have noticed recently that the maximum prices on flights has increased considerably) and easy rewards program has gone out the window and customer service is teetering, so what is left?

I called customer service to inquire about my inability to use my Rapid Rewards. I was on hold for 11 minutes before my call was answered and the woman was short with me, cut me off repeatedly and offered no consolation to my plight. Even if she knows she cannot help me, the least she could do is offer some word of apology and understanding. I asked her to speak to someone else and was referred to their customer relations department. I called them promptly and the representative there explained some of the reasoning behind the changes (revenue, of course) and also informed me that some flights have as few as 3 Rapid Rewards seats available. Although he was not able to get me any closer to a Rewards seat, he handled the call with care and understanding, which I did appreciate.

Well Southwest, now that your manifesto no longer seems to fit your business model, I wonder, what will you do to separate yourself from your competitors?

On a lighter note, when I did fly Southwest last week, I did find their in flight staff to be as delightful as ever, so at least they still have that going for them.


Ode to a Suby

Last night I was caught off guard at the sea of emotion that overcame me when I cleaned out my car. The little Subaru that could has been more than good to me, despite my being a somewhat negligent car owner and I feel a little bit like I am abandoning a great friend who has always been there for me. She put up no fuss when I had a hitch installed on her rear end. She held strong and dragged a Uhaul trailer the 1,200 mile stretch between Salt Lake and Chicago. The winters in the Midwest were tough, but she always got me where I needed to go. When I decided to load up the Uhaul again years later to head out west, I heard no complaints about the 2,100 mile trip ahead of us. Since I’ve been out here in the great city of San Francisco, I realized that life is easier on public transit. The only time I spend with her now is on Sunday and Tuesday nights when I have to move her from one side of the road to another for street cleaning. I decided she would get the attention she needs if I take her back home to Salt Lake where my folks can take advantage of her gung ho attitude towards life…

Here’s to our last great adventure together!


The history of books

I am currently reading “All Families are Psychotic” by Douglas Copeland. This is a hand me down from Afterlife, as many of my reads are. I enjoy reading books after him be because he underlines and annotates things and it is always interesting to see what parts of the story impacted someone else. I like trying to figure out why something was worth underlining. Today I saw a slip of paper peaking out from the rear cover and opened to find a jackpot of boarding passes and plane tickets. San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C., Detroit, Charlotte and Las Vegas. All of these trips within the weeks it took him to read the book. It makes me feel good to hold onto something that accompanied him while he was away from me.


Digital depedence

I have recently lost two of my closest (digital) friends… first the iPod and now… oh god, I am tearing up as I even think of it, I have lost my laptop. To make matters worse Southwest Airlines is responsible for both of these unfortunate events (OK, the iPod was clearly my fault, but that is not as much the point here as the fact that it was on a Southwest airplane). I was flying standby this weekend on my way back from Seattle and in turn the last person to board the plane. As you know, if you have done any bit of traveling, especially on Southwest, that there are people who decide that “one larger carryon in the overhead and one smaller one under the seat in front of you” really means both these items plus their guitar case, three large shopping bags, the “lap” riding baby, and their full length down coat with scarf hat and gloves should all go in the over head bin – god I hate those people. And because of these overly courteous folks, first I had to leave my bag at the gate to be “checked” and then I had to endure nasty glares and huffs from the lady who had to move her other 2 bags that were sitting on the last available seat on the plane in order for me to have a place to sit. Who the hell do I think I am making her move her bags? I know, I am terrible. Anyway, I return to San Francisco to find that my suitcase did not. That was Sunday. It is now Tuesday. Let’s all say a little prayer in hopes for the safe return of my suitcase (with laptop!) and maybe even someday, my iPod.

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Seattle is closer to France than to Texas

I am off to Seattle this weekend to see my home sister from way back in the day. She is rockin’ creative and talented which is why you should spend some time on her website and her tube. Upon the agenda is general tom foolery and rockin’ out to The Primate Five. This is my first trip to the Pacific Northwest, which is part of the country I once thought I would move to even though I had never been there. I wonder if it will live up to the reputation it has earned in my head.

I am in love with my city right now. I feel flooded with inspiration. I have a million things I want to be doing and I am managing to actually work on about half a million of them, which leaves me feeling satisfied and happy. I miss you Chicago, but San Francisco is doing right by me.

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Playa haters

Apparently you won’t find the Bahamas in any of these books. According to Reuters “The Bahamas has banned the gay cowboy movie “Brokeback Mountain,” triggering a new controversy over the island chain’s reputation for homophobia.”

I guess they also stripped Miss Teen Bahamas of her title after they discovered she was a lesbian. What a bunch of ass holes. Well, I think I will spend my vacation dollars on less homophbic places such as Playa Del Carmen, Mexico (which is where we will be going at the end of May!).



I left my iPod in the seat back pocket of the airplane I rode to Chicago. So far it hasn’t been turned in, but I am hoping with its identifiable traits (It being housed in a white gym sock and the thoughtful personal engraving on the back) that I might be able to track it down. I guess if it does not turn up then I have an excuse to buy one of the new and improved versions, but it just won’t have the same sentimental value.