PHOTO RECAP: Best of Summer '18

Summer of 2018 was a busy season. I spent the past 4 months going everywhere (within reasonable driving distance) and taking loads of photos. I did three photo shoots for Row2k, I filmed numerous weddings all over greater Philadelphia, I took loads of food photos out at Rivercrest Golf Club, and there were many other things. However, this post isn’t meant for boring you with how I let my life get a wee bit out of control. This post is to share my favorite photos that I took over the last four months!

Let’s start with the paid gigs.

From sports to music to food to portraits- I have definitely gotten comfortable with the new camera I added to my lineup earlier this year! I’ve even used it (along with my first body) to film a couple weddings this summer. Out of the hundreds (possibly thousands) of photos I’ve taken in the last four months there are a handful of photos I’d say are some of my favorites.

Concert Photography

Marah | 118 North | May 5, 2018

Marah | 118 North | May 5, 2018

This is the Kit | Johnny Brenda’s | May 26, 2018

This is the Kit | Johnny Brenda’s | May 26, 2018

Under the Oak | Ardmore Music Hall | August 31, 2018

Food Photography

While I’ve only really been taking portraits of food for about one year they are definitely some of my favorite photo shoots to do!

Nachos | Shot for Rivercrest Golf Club, Phoenixville, PA

Burratta | Shot for Rivercrest Golf Club, Phoenixville, PA

Burgers on the Grill | Shot for Rivercrest Golf Club

Pasta | Shot for Rivercrest Golf Club

Kitchen Prep | Shot for Rivercrest Golf Club

Sports Photography

I managed to fit in a couple sport gigs this summer too! A few shoots for Row2k including Independence Day Regatta and the Philadelphia Youth Regatta.

PYR 2018, shot for Row2k

PYR 2018, shot for Row2k

IDR, shot for Row2k

Horses watching the Rowers | Shot for: Row2k

Other sports:

Beer Pong, shot for Rivercrest

Now, on that note - of photographing grown ups playing the classic college drinking game “beer pong” - let’s move on because there were things I did just for fun this summer as well. While I may not have made it to the shore until Labor Day Weekend, I did manage to fit in a couple New York day trips.

New York City | May/2018

I got some new Streets of New York photos but also practiced taking portraits with my new Sony a7ii camera.

But don’t worry, I still spent plenty of time in Philadelphia with my camera though! Before I got super busy with jobs I went on a couple evening photo walks around center city.

Philadelphia | April, 2018

Philly Love!

Well, that’s about it. Time to enjoy Autumn.

Cheers!

Day Trip to the Beach: A Jersey Shore Roadtrip

Labor Day weekend is always a huge weekend for beach trips. For many people it is one last chance to relax and play down at the Jersey shore before school and work picks up again. If I go to the shore during the summer it’s probably only a day trip to Ocean City, NJ - where I’ll sit on beach a bit, take a walk on the boardwalk, and definitely enjoy some tasty summer beach foods. This year though my first opportunity for a beach day wasn’t until Labor Day weekend. So I went with my dad and sister for a day, but rather than going and sitting on the beach all day we opted to turn that beach day into a little Jersey Shore roadtrip!

The road trip began in Atlantic City and took us all the way down to Cape May. While we had a few things in mind to stop for the majority of this trip was unplanned. I took my camera along for the ride (of course) and tried to take at least one photo in each town we passed through.

First Up: Penny Collector Machines of the Jersey Shore

One souvenir I will always try to get everywhere I go is a “collectable penny”. While there really aren’t a huge amount of places that still have penny machines there are still loads of cool pennies you get during your travels. They’re similar to buying post cards but more unique sort of. Plus it is fun to turn the wheel and watch you penny get squished!

Before the trip we printed the list of all the penny machines left in New Jersey (found on penny-collector.com) and so as we made away down the jersey shore we stopped got a penny from all the machines we found, or were interested in at least.

The road trip begins… in Atlantic City, NJ

Atlantic City, NJ

Atlantic City, NJ

As we drove through Atlantic City, passing all the casinos, we saw a little lighthouse. At first we weren’t sure if it was actually open or if was an abandoned lighthouse, but then we realized it was the Absecon lighthouse and also realized that they supposedly had a penny machine! So after we parked and looked at the beach for a moment we climbed the stairs to the top the lighthouse.

If you’re into lighthouses, or even just cool views, I’d recommend checking out this one. It doesn’t necessarily look super tall from the outside but after climbing

Absecon Lighthouse

Quick stop in Margate

Our first stop after Atlantic City was to see Lucy the Elephant in Margate. We had this one planned since before we left home too. While we did not take the tour of Lucy we did get a squished penny and walked underneath her & around the grounds.

However, you may pay to take the guided tour of Lucy to enjoy a more detailed visit.

Lucy the Elephant

Ocean City, NJ

Roma pizza has been my boardwalk pizza of choice since a very young age. As a kid I remember taking a break from boogie boarding to get a slice and birch beer at Roma. Today we made a quick stop in Ocean City to eat a slice or two on the boardwalk while looking over out over the ocean. Tip: the buffalo chicken pizza is super delicious and their white veggie pizzas always a good go-to choice.

Roma Pizza, OCNJ Boardwalk

Buffalo Chicken Pizza at Roma Pizza, Ocean City, NJ

Ads are always flying by above you while sitting on the beach, but while we ate our pizza we happened to notice the ad flying by at that moment was for Hank Sauce - which happens to be one my favorite hot sauces!

Classic beach ads

Middle of the Journey

After enjoying our lunch in Ocean City the journey took us through Sea Isle, Avalon, and Stone Harbor. While we did not stop in any of these towns during this trip they are all nice places to to spend a beach day.

If you are looking for some food while in Sea Isle then head over to the Hank’s Sauce restaurant. They serve food and also sell bottles of their hot sauce to take home with you.

Our next stop on the road trip was in Wildwood, NJ. We first stopped at the boardwalk to find a penny machine listed as being at Ed’s Funcade.

Note: there are multiple of these arcades so be sure you have the correct location because only one has the penny machine!

Wildwood, NJ

Wildwood, NJ

We stopped for some ice cream at Sea Shell Ice Cream. I recommend the Black Raspberry flavor - tasty and refreshing - but be prepared for large servings!

Black Raspberry ice cream / Wildwood, NJ

Black Raspberry ice cream / Wildwood, NJ

Next Up: Cape May!

Cape May, September 2018

Cape May, September 2018

Before this road trip the only times in recent years I remember coming to Cape May have been to film weddings at Congress Hall. While Congress Hall is a very nice hotel and venue, and the beach does look nice I never have come to just explore and see what’s here. Today as we entered Cape May we knew there was a lighthouse so we continued driving south until we found it. We figured since we began in Atlantic City with a lighthouse we should continue the theme and end with one too!

At last we arrived at the Cape May lighthouse - which is located just inside a state park. The first thing we did upon arriving was get our last collectible pennies of the trip. Then we proceeded to climb the stairs to the top. The view from this lighthouse was really nice and different from the Absecon lighthouse. While both had nice views of their beaches down below, the Cape May lighthouse doesn’t have the city feeling that the the Absecon lighthouse could give you a bit of.

Cape May Lighthouse

Cape May Lighthouse shadow

As we left Cape May Lighthouse we were pulling up Google Maps to navigate home and opted to take local roads (rather than the main highways). If you have the extra time and don’t mind a little bit longer drive it can be super fun to take back roads! You’ll get to see little towns you bypass by taking the highway and you never know what you may happen upon during the trip.

Best of the 2018 Flower Show

Each year Philadelphians and everyone within day trip distance of Philadelphia go crazy over the Philadelphia Flower Show. After an awesome and stunning show came and went last year, this year's theme is "Wonders of Water".

Upon entering the main space inside the Philadelphia Convention Center you walked into a giant "rainforest". As you continue through the rainforest you see waterfalls of various sizes and colorful flowers.

Off to the side of the rainforest, there was a mock wedding reception set up with everything from the entrance to a decorative "wedding cake". This was definately one of my personal favorite exhibits.

Another awesome exhibit was the giant railroad platform that was set up. This had two trains running in opposite directions on side-by-side tracks, along with a single trolley car navigating its own route. In the middle of all the tracks were beautiful flowers (of course) and various houses, business, vehicles, and people set up to really make it feel like a pleasant village or city.

They had a snowy mountain exhibit which seems pretty simple but as everyone walked through the little "cave" and around the mountain side they saw the surroundings changed a bit. On the one side you see the mountain surrounded by a few colorful trees but walk around to the backside and you'll see a small waterfall running down the mountain!

There were small displays showing interior rooms and outdoor decks decorated in various styles using all kinds of different plants. Below are my three favorite home garden displays.

Each year seems to always include a cactus exhibit and it is always one of my favorites. This year's was laid out very nice and was interesting to look at.

There were some cute and very fancy plant animals in attendance at this year's flower show!

Plant Pup!

Decorated Elephant

In addition to the main exhibits there are loads of art pieces made by local students and artists. Many of these pieces have won awards but regardless of that some of these art pieces are very cool or beautiful to look at.

And finally there are of course plenty of colorful tulips and other gardens filled with all kinds of flowers!

#2017CanadianRoadtrip: Day 3 in Quebec City!

Today is our final full day in Quebec City and we decided to begin by driving about 2 hours north(east) of centerville to a small town called Saint Aubert. But first, we stop at La Boite a Pain for our morning latte and chocolate crossiant of course.

Farmlands surrounding Saint Aubert, QC

Saint Aubert is a super small town in the middle of farmland. It is essentially one road that is mostly residential with one church, one grocery store/everything shop, a post office, a cemetery, and a dairy farm. We went into the shop but discovered they don't sell any postcards or any tourist souvenirs like that. This wasn't too surprising as I don't suspect they get many "non locals" in the town. The couple of people that we talked to were very nice, even though they didn't speak much English. We did manage to buy a special can of maple syrup that the shopowner got for us from the back room, which was super nice of her!

Below are photos from the Saint Aubert cemetary.

The Saint Aubert post office.

Below is some sort of Christmas village that we drove past on our way from Saint Aubert to our next destination in Rivere du Loupe.

Our next destination is a place I only found the night before while scrolling through the "Saint Aubert" hashtag on Instagram. The only way I had for us finding the place was the vague map screenshot from Instagram.

Right before we left Saint Aubert we went back to ask the shop owner if she knew directions to Rivere du Loupe, because we knew our next destination is in that town but we didn't have the specific address for the place. She tells us it is about another hour north of Saint Aubert. So with that we head on our quest. We see the highway exit for Rivere du Loupe and take it, then it's just up to me trying to make sense of of the street names I see on my map screenshot and compare it with the street names we are seeing in person. Suddenly, the streets match up perfectly and next thing we know we the sign reading "aux Fous de Brasserie".

Fous de Brasserie is a small microbrewery in Rivere du Loupe and I recommend you take the trip to try their beers and see the town! We split a flight of beers along with a small veggie pizza (as our snack). They have a range of different beers so there will most likely be something that each person in your group likes. And the town of Rivere du Loupe is a very nice town. It had a very different feel than the other places we had visited on the trip prior, in a good way. My mom commented that it felt the most like Wayne (or that sort of town) than any of the other places which were either cities or farm towns.

After our little snack break, we drove back down to the center of Quebec City and headed over a bridge to Ile de Orleans. This is a island that everyone tells you to visit while you exploring Quebec. We were thinking it was small island until we were driving around the perimeter of it and realized it actually quite big!

A single airplane wing on a truck - Mobile photo (edited in Lightroom)

"It's superman? It's rocket? No, It's a single airplane wing on a truck!"

After passing the plane wing on the highway a truck filled with bales of hay pulled in front us just as we crossed the bridge onto the island. This created a very long line cars behind us as the hay truck was only going about 15 mph (max). At last, though, we made it to the island just before sundown and were ready for round one of island exploring!

Traffic slowed up a bit entering ile de Orleans when this hay truck turned onto the road - Mobile photo (edited in Lightroom)

We started by finding the Cassis Monna de Filles, which proved a bit more difficult than intended as it took a while for us to match up the distances on our island map with the actual driving distances between places. When we got there we got and walked around the place but we didn't have reservations so we didn't stay to eat dinner or do a formal taste test of the cassis. Next up was one of the wineries on the island but we only ended up driving by to see it because they were closed. Third spot was a cidery. We found this place but as it was sundown when we arrived the cidery was closing, but the owner did give up a coupon to use since we said we'd be back tomorrow when they were open. We also got a great view of the spectacular sunset!

By now we were definately ready for dinner (or our next meal) so we found a sugar shack and after stopping to at least see what it is we decided to give it a try.

Sunset over Ile de Orleans - Mobile Photo (edited in Lightroom)

When we first got to this Sugar Shack there were a few bus tours inside already and there was an accordian player and people dancing. It sort of looked similar to an informal wedding reception when all the guests are on the dance floor for things like the Hora dance. A waitress seated us and handed us our prix fixe supper menu and we ordered a bottle of Maple beer to share.

We watched the bus tour folks dance which included a giant conga line roaming through the tables all across the room. Then our first course was brought out; this consisted of Canadian pea soup, pork rinds, and homemade tomato ketchup with bread. The main course included maple ham, maple baked beans, boiled potatoes, and a meat pie. For dessert we enjoyed a few Pancakes with maple syrup. Do you see why they call it a Sugar Shack now?

It wasn't the best food of the trip but it was a fun environment and a good experience to gain on our trip through Canada.

As the night came to an end we drove back to our campsite for one last night in Quebec City. Along the way spotted the Montmorency Falls and saw they are lit up at night - it looked cool!

Stay tuned for the post-Quebec City portion of the trip coming. Cheers!

#2017Reviewed: Top 10 Concert Photos from the past 12 months

From my days at Philadelphia University I'd take my camera to the WXPN Free at Noon shows each Friday and practice my lowlight & concert photography. In October/2016 I became an official freelance photographer with WXPN's blog The Key. Now, while I was thinking back over all that has happened the last 12 months it occurred to me that as 2017 comes to a close it also wraps up my first full year as a "concert photographer".

I've attended about 50+ shows over the year with a handful of those being gigs that I officially photographed. A few of the best shows I covered include Frank Turner at The Fillmore, Temples at Underground Arts, and Julien Baker at Union Transfer. As I went back through all the concert photos I've taken in 2017 it is tough to narrow down my favorites but I've managed to pick out my top 10 that seemed stood out to me from the rest.

The Arkells | January 20th | The Fillmore

This first one is probably my number one favorite concert photo of the year (and in my top 5 2017 photos, generally too). The first show I covered in 2017 was on inauguration day; Frank Turner was playing at The Fillmore in Fishtown. I had seen Turner a couple times before and knew it'd be awesome to photograph the show this time. Opening for him this night was British singer-songwriter Will Varley, Canadian-band The Arkells, and Murder by Death (from the US).

The photo above is of The Arkells. I hadn't ever paid attention to this band before January 20th, 2017 but as they also performed the Free at Noon set before playing the The Fillmore I managed to see them twice in one day.

The Arkells | Opening for Frank Turner | The Fillmore | January 20, 2017

Real Estate | May 19th | Union Transfer

Real Estate | Union Transfer | May 19, 2017

Real Estate. A "indie-rock" band orginally from South Jersey, and the bassist even lived in Fishtown for a bit. I saw them play at NonComm in 2017, then the very next night saw them again at Union Transfer and photographed the night for WXPN's The Key.

Real Estate | Union Transfer | May 19, 2017

Temples | May 15th | Underground Arts

The British band Temples came through Philadelphia during spring and while I didn't really know much about them at time I went to photograph the gig for The Key. I'm glad I did. It was a great show and I've even kept listening to the band since!

Temples | Underground Arts | May 15, 2017

Rusted Root | June 10th | Wayne Music Festival

After a completely full day of music in Wayne, PA Rusted Root took the stage to close out the night. The street was more than packed and people were still dancing and singing, as they were at 1 PM that afternoon.

Rusted Root | Wayne Music Festival | June 10, 2017

Low Cut Connie | September 8th | Union Transfer

The local band, Low Cut Connie came through the former Spaghetti Warehouse during their tour. The night was filled with great music and a fun stage performance!

Low Cut Connie | Union Transfer | September 8, 2017

Chill Moody | September 8th | Union Transfer

A rapper from West Philadelphia, Chill Moody opened for Low Cut Connie on Spring Garden Street. The venue was filled with local musicians and music fans looking forward to spending their Friday night jamming with the three local bands on the bill for the night!

Chill Moody | Union Transfer | September 8, 2017

BONUS:

Fireworks closing out night!

Wayne Music Festival | June 10, 2017

2017 REVIEWED: Top Coffeeshops from the #Great2017CoffeeTour

One thing that's been discovered during that last couple years is that coffee shop hopping is actually a great way to tour new cities. After reviewing my photo records on and off social media, this year's coffee tour includes 30+ newly-discovered cafes. The coffee shops span the greater Philadelphia area up through Quebec City!

6. Fika. New York City, NY.

I stepped off the bus around noon in NYC and picked a direction to start walking in. I didn't have a specific route except for wanting to end up at Dominque Ansel bakery for a Kiwi Sorbet Bar. I walked past Fika then turned around and went back, and I'm sure glad I did. It is a Swedish coffee shop with lots of sweets and a decent variety of drinks. The cortado I ordered was very good. Also, there is a location in Philadelphia now by the name of Konditori!

5. Win Win Coffee Bar. Philadelphia, PA

Win Win Coffee Bar. Philadelphia, PA.

Win Win Coffee Bar. Philadelphia, PA.

Whether you have time to kill before a night at Union Transfer, or you're just looking for a coffee shop hangout, this is a good spot. Even if you're looking for bite to eat and a something stronger than espresso, Win Win still has your back. Win Win is both a coffee shop and a bar located on Spring Garden street.

4. Tommy's Cafe. Old Port Montreal, Canada.

Tommy Cafe, Old Port Montreal. August/2017

Tommy Cafe, Old Port Montreal. August/2017

Tommy Cafe is probably one of the most unique coffee shops of the year, interior design-wise. I started my second day in Montreal by finding this place situated in an old bank building and next to Notre Dame Cathedral! Between the historic stone exterior, plant-filled interior, and beautiful latte art this place is definately a "must-visit" when looking for coffee shops in Montreal.

3. Kobrick Coffee. New York City, NY

Kobrick Coffee. New York City, September/2017

Located nearby the Highline in NYC, Kobrick Coffee is a cozy little coffee shop to stop for a refreshment. Whether you're fatigued from your walk on the High Line, looking to catch up with friends, or have some work you need to do the setting allows all of it. The people are nice and the coffee is good, too!

2. Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea Co. Waterbury, Vermont.

Cortado. Vermont Artisan Coffee Bar. August/2017

Cortado. Vermont Artisan Coffee Bar. August/2017

We left the Golden Brook Campground after our one night stay in Stowe, Vermont and headed to the Ben & Jerry's Factory. Only several minutes on the road though we spotted what looked like a farm building but it had coffee written on the side. So we stopped to check it out! As it turns out it is the Vermont Artisan coffee bar and coffee school. While we were there there was actually a lesson happening in which the head barista taught one of the girls about properly making espresso! The cortado I drank was also very tasty.

1. Nektar Cafeologue. Quebec City, Canada

London Fog + Latte at Nektar Cafe, Quebec City, QC. August/2017

London Fog + Latte at Nektar Cafe, Quebec City, QC. August/2017

Any place that draws a happy face on my London fog, that also tastes excellent, is a winner in my book. We first saw Nektar cafe after leaving Korrigane brewpub but didn't stop in until after our walk up a big hill and back down. This is the only cafe I have been too who gave me a London Fog with artwork on it! Despite my realization that many of the best lattes taste-wise don't have the prettiest art, I'm a big fan of good latte art. Luckily at this coffee shop they do well in both departments!

Other great coffee hits from 2017:

Random Tea Room. Philadelphia, PA.

I know this isn't technically a coffee shop, but sometimes you just need a good cup of tea! Random Tea Room in Northern Liberties has every kind of you like and more.

Quaker City Coffee. Philadelphia, PA

Latte at Quaker City Coffee. Philadelphia, PA

Cafe Nocturne. Montreal, Canada

latte & Chai Latte at Cafe Nocturne. Montreal, Canada

Ellie's Bakery. Providence, RI.

Latte. Ellie's Bakery. Providence, RI. August/2017

Bibble & Sip. New York City.

Lavender Latte, Bibble & Sip, NYC

Rival Bros. Philadelphia, PA

Latte at Rival Bros Coffee.

Old City Coffee. Philadelphia, PA

Latte at Old City Coffee. Philadelphia.

Latte at Old City Coffee. Philadelphia.

Burlap and Bean. Newtown Square, PA.

Latte at Burlap and Bean, Newtown Square, PA

BONUS!

Gryphon Cafe. Wayne, PA.

Cortado at Gryphon Cafe. Wayne, PA.

Cortado at Gryphon Cafe. Wayne, PA.

Gryphon is definately not a newly-discovered coffee shop as I've been going there since before I drank coffee. However, I did consume my first cortado in early 2017 at Gryphon Cafe in Wayne. Like everything they have here, the cortado was delicous.