There are over a thousand forest fires currently burning in the US. Even on this farthest-East point in the US, as the winds have shifted we are seeing smog that obscures the sun and encases everything in an eery pink/orange cast. You can see in the photo of the trees on the other side of the pond that it looks like there is fog, but it's all smog.
On a more whimsical note, there has been a soccer ball stuck spinning round and round in the water flow at the base of this weir for the last month or so. Pretty impressive that it hasn't found its way out yet, even with some near flooding a week ago.
Unrelated but same evening: some moody photos from one of our back windows.
My grandfathers – both of whom grew up during the Great Depression – never paid for services they could do themselves for free (for better or worse). That continues to be a big theme in the Misura/Dunscombe family. I didn't have a professional cut my hair until fifth grade and have almost exclusively cut my own hair since high school (not recommended for people who prefer precision, but it does the job). For that matter, I've also never had my hair, makeup, nails, etc done professionally and our wedding will be no exception. Again, these are all things I can do myself ahead of time for free.
Since you can't exactly photograph your own wedding day though, we would like to hire a photographer for that. I am aware that (1) a good photographer can cost thousands of dollars and (2) I am leaving a good paying job to go back to school for the next two years, so wherever we can cut costs elsewhere counts! I've also never been in a photoshoot before but I do know how to use a camera and have photographed a number of weddings [for free]. So when thinking about any photography needed in the time leading up to us getting married, taking photos myself was an immediate "marriage" of two motivations: 'save money' and 'low-stakes practice'.
We installed my camera on a tripod, used bluetooth to make my phone a remote shutter release, and set up a timer. We took them at Round Top in my hometown, a public park that overlooks the valley and the Susquehanna River. Growing up, I spent a lot of time at Round Top hiking trails, having picnics with my family, and training during the cross country season – five years ago, Chris and I even had a pasta dinner there on the eve of my second marathon – so it felt like the perfect familiar spot. It was uncomfortably hot, sunny, and humid, but hopefully that doesn't come across in the photos.
I put some of our favorites here. And included some outtakes below.... :)
Last week we visited both my parents and got to see my Aunt Mary who was visiting from Florida.
It was a pretty busy visit. Chris drove to his brother's house in lower NY Thursday night, while I went further west to my parents' house. Chris was partially returning his brother's car – which had ended up with us in a roundabout way – but more importantly meeting our new niece! We spent Friday at our respective destinations, and my dad and I celebrated my mom's birthday, and then Saturday morning I drove down to join Chris and spend the day with baby CJ. She is very sweet (not even a month old!) and was sleepy most of the day, even as we walked around town. She perked up about an hour or so before we hit the road. It was very fun to meet a new member of the family. We also spent some quality time with their dog Banksy, who is quite the character. He and CJ share a birthday, exactly one year apart!
On Sunday, we were back upstate and went to Ithaca to walk along Taughannock Falls, which I hadn't visited in probably 15 years. It was definitely the first time I'd been with a digital SLR camera so there was the usual procedure where everyone walked along at their usual pace while I hung back eagerly getting the lighting right on various rocks and water features.
On Monday we capped off the trip with a DIY engagement photoshoot, but I'll share that in another post.
Chris and I are both fully vaccinated! Poor Chris got his second dose the day before his birthday and spent his birthday with a 100-degree fever. Our vaccines were staggered by about 2.5 weeks, with Chris fully vaccinated before me. Chris arranged both of his through CIC Health (the company I work for), though I had a slightly harder time because I needed two weeks of lead time to stop my immunosuppressant drugs; I managed to get my first appointment far in advance through Beth Israel. It was the same day as a rheumatology appointment which meant I had the vaccine and then blood work one after the other (multiple stickers and bandaids!) I also used the opportunity to bring in the latest comic pages to scan at the office, though it meant toting around a fairly heavy bag and with a lot of rain that day, I ended up getting some regrettable rug burn on my shoulder from the straps of my bag.
I did things a little differently with my second shot; traveling into the city means paying $20 for a commuter rail ticket and my appointment was in the middle of my work day. I decided to take advantage of the newly developed CIC Health walk-in feature the night before my existing appointment in the city. But as it turned out, it's the last week that CIC Health is operating vaccine distribution at Gillette (the most convenient location for us) and the after-hours schedule had been cut back, so we got there and the doors were closed. I ended up finding a Gillette appointment for the following day, cancelled my city appointment, and took a Lyft there (CIC Health was providing round trip Lyft rides for vaccine appointments). I got the shot, but then there were no Lyfts to be had back home since Gillette is in the middle of the suburbs, so I was stranded at the stadium for an hour and a half until Chris could leave work and come pick me up. The next day my temperature was a little high and I was feeling pretty foggy and tired so took a half sick day. But all that cleared up fairly quickly.
Over all, extremely relieved we have each had both shots and it was neat to get one of my shots through my place of work, and at Gillette no less. I'll be fully vaccinated on the 16th, and then a couple days later we do a little tour of NY to visit some family.
Before Chris started having side effects on his birthday/after shot #2, we checked out Ward's Berry Farm in Sharon, MA. They weren't doing berry picking yet, but there were a lot of animals to visit and I picked up a nice little turtle vine plant. I made a carrot cake that night, which we ate at his parents' the following day when he was feeling better. We saw a robin's nest in their shed.
More snow! Last weekend I fashioned some weatherproofing for my camera and walked over to Fulton’s Pond to document. The day before we saw someone ice skating on the pond. I have a pair of skates, but I’m a little too nervous to venture out for that, as charming as it sounds! Maybe if the cold was more consistent, but we’ve had a few mild days here and there.
Hannah Dunscombe is a painter and portrait artist based out of Mansfield, MA.