Monthly Exposure .15th.

7.15.17 + 2

East River Valley Park // Ames, IA


Apologies for being a smidge late on posting July’s trip to ERVP! This 15th of the Month photoshoot was extremely bittersweet. Two weeks ago, I moved away from the place that I have called home for the past six years and back to my hometown of Boston, MA. This last trip to East River Valley was stunning; and in true Iowa summer fashion hot as hell (95F, 79% humidity, sunny – the whole nine yards). That being said, it was a very welcomed break from packing!

Everything was still incredibly green and bustling, and the water was fairly high given the somewhat recent rain. While the birds were noticeably quieter, we spotted two deer along the northern part of the trail who didn’t seem to mind human existence for a hot sec before jetting back off into the woods.

The erosion along the banks of the river were even more prominent than in June, and I think that by sometime next spring/summer parts of the trail along those banks will be non-existent. However, being able to walk down the banks and right up to the water is always a blast!

After wandering around East River Valley, we hopped over the the other side of the river and walked along the trail to observe what the erosion on that side was like in comparison. The western trail is much wider than the east and eroding in different ways. It is clear where huge chunks of the banks have fallen off at the same time, and there was even a small, but noticeable sink-hole in middle of a paved portion of the trail.

I was able to sneak in one last hike around ERVP after this photoshoot before starting the road trip back to Boston with my dad, but I’m really going to miss coming here whenever I want to get away from real life. Thanks for following along as I tracked the seasonal progression of one of my favorite places in Ames, and if anyone wants to keep this project going through January 2018 hit me up! Who knows, there might be a book somewhere in this adventure.

Peace out, Iowa! Hello, New England photography ❤️



Story County Conservation // Ames, IA

90° temperatures and absurd humidity didn’t stop me from an evening hike around one of my favorite places in Ames last night. While it did cut the final hike on the George H. Clark Sr Trail a little short, there were so many highlights about this walk. I always stop to read the sign about pollinator fuel stations which is located at the beginning of the park. Pollinators (such as bees and butterflies) are what keeps our world and lives going round, and helping them survive and do their jobs is so simple. You can set up a small pollinator fuel station in your own yard with native and pesticide free flowers! Any size – – from a small pot to a large garden – helps support the industries that we rely on for food, clothing, etc.

Another part of Story County Conservation that I love to visit involves interactive activities such as the Climbing and Music/Movement Areas. It was especially fun to make some noise with the metal and wooden xylophones when the park was so quiet. While there weren’t other people walking around, I did come across a new turtle friend, deer and coyote tracks on the sidewalk and per usual a wide variety of bird calls in the trees. One difference between Story County Conservation and East River Valley is the prairie grass that SCC has. It is always fun to hear the different movements in the grass you are walking along even when you never see that is making the noise.

By the time I was making my way back towards my car the sun was starting to set. Few things compare to an Iowa sunset, and this one made the sweat and mosquito bites worth it!

European Vacation: Italy, Germany, Switzerland and a few places and lessons in-between, Uncategorized

6.17.17 / 6.18.17

Frankfurt, Germany // Heidelberg, Germany // day eight // day nine

Now that our trip is over, and I have adjusted to the grove of real life again, I can finally write about our last day/night of this adventure. Our eighth day was a little more low-key than the rest of our trip. We spent a good portion of it in Heidelberg at a 700-year old castle and wandering through the cobblestone streets of Marktplaz. We took a funicular train from the base of the mountain, because every castle is on the side of a mountain, and toured the grounds much of which have been turned into a museum. The castle, while in ruins from its demolition in the 17th and 18th centuries, was absolutely stunning and is home to the world’s largest wine barrel (58,000 gallons and two stories tall!). The views from the side of the castle overlook the city, the river Neckar and the Old Bridge that crosses it.

While we took a train to the top, we decided to walk back down the side of the mountain to the city where we came across a fresh food market located outside of the Church of the Holy Spirit. Heidelberg is a college town which was very evident as we walked around. There were an abundance of cafes (with gelato of course) and slightly more affordable stores as well as bustling diversity at every turn. We stumbled across a Hindu festival that was being held right outside of the university and while we didn’t stay for the parade, we were able to talk with some of the people participating in it. Many of them were not from Germany, but instead surrounding countries and travel as a group of missionaries spreading the practice of Hinduism.

As we continued to wind our way through the streets of Heidelberg, we found a local beer hall (shocker, I know) and decided to eat there for a later lunch. The food was great and the atmosphere was extremely vibrant. After lunch, our entire tour group met up on the bus to head back into Frankfurt for our farewell dinner. We had a few hours to rest or explore before dinner and I took the time to catch up on some postcards and take a short nap.

Our dinner was at a restaurant a short train ride from the hotel and the food and wine were particularly good. Once back at the hotel, we grabbed a few last drinks at the bar reflecting on the trip and taking about where in the world we want to travel next (maybe a return to Belize anyone?!).

Our mid-morning flight from Frankfurt to Detroit on the 18th was fairly pain free and full of sleep and movies. We even made it to Detroit in time to catch an earlier flight to Des Moines. While our bags didn’t make it, we landed in our beds before the sun went down in Iowa. Until the next adventure, Prost!

Monthly Exposure .15th.

6.15.17 + 10

East River Valley Park // Ames, IA // Daily Post

The 15th of the Month photoshoot at East River Valley hit a little bit of a snag with the whole being out the country adventure followed by jet-lag recovery and a trip to Boston. However, I did finally make it out to check on the seasonal progress of one of my favorite places in Ames.

Things I learned/noticed:

  1. Remember to wear bug spray now that it’s actually summer
  2. The narrow path along that one part of the river has eroded even more and is super narrow
  3. Some day I’ll remember to bring my bird identification book with me
  4. The massive rain storms we’ve had recently have definitely made their mark on the trails – the number of trees and branches down were noticeable (especially the branches blocking one of the trails)
  5. The weather has also taken a toll on the caution sign for skiers; the actual caution sign is nowhere to be found, but the barrier it was on is in pieces along the side of the trail
  6. Sunday afternoons are prime for the three mile loop – there was only one other person there and it was super quiet
European Vacation: Italy, Germany, Switzerland and a few places and lessons in-between


Alsace, France // Frankfurt, Germany // day seven

From our hotel in Engleberg, Switzerland we traveled by bus through the Alsace Region of France to Frankfurt, Germany. Our stop in Eguisheim, France was straight out of a Disney movie, and we walked around singing songs from Beauty and the Beast most of the time. There were adorable pastry shops as well as magnificent vineyards surrounding the entire town. Our lunch was at a great local restaurant where I was able to find my favorite French red wine which I paired with a fantastic salad. If I hadn’t already been making room for the two bottles of Italian wine, I would have picked up another bottle of this Cote de Rhone perfection. We were able to wander the streets and pick up a few more postcards before continuing towards Frankfurt, Germany.

Once we got settled into our hotel in Frankfurt, we visited the Maintower which is located in the financial district of the city. Frankfurt has been nicknamed “Bankfurt” by some as it is the banking center of Germany. We eventually made our way over through Old Town Frankfurt to a local beer house for dinner where we ate family style outside and enjoyed a popular German cider called apfelwein.

We ended our day with a night out in Frankfurt singing karaoke and getting to know some of the locals!

Next up: Heidelberg, Germany

European Vacation: Italy, Germany, Switzerland and a few places and lessons in-between


Lucerne, Switzerland // Swiss Alps // day six

Our adventures through Lucerne and the Swiss Alps were to date, and by far, my favorite part of the trip. Mountains just make me happy. From our hotel in Engleberg we took a bus to Lucerne, jumped on a boat across the lake to the foothills of the Alps and finally a cogwheel train to the top of the mountain (a whopping 6,000 feet!). Before we ventured up the mountain, we grabbed coffee and lunch in the city of Lucerne where we came across a parade and were surprised with a cannonball welcoming. We later learned that it was a national holiday in Switzerland celebrating Corpius Christi. While most of the local stores were closed due to the holiday, it was a lot of fun to explore the streets and window shop before our boat ride across the lake.

The mountain air was incredible and the views were indescribable. Everything was gorgeous and perfect, and I think that a piece of my soul is still up there somewhere. We lucked out with the weather (there was a 60-70% chance of rain) as it stayed in the mid-70s and only started to rain right before we took a cable car back down the mountain to our bus.

My favorite part about the mountains was the 360 degree view of Lucerne you have. From the Lake to the hillsides to the surrounding peaks; everywhere you look, there is a drastically different view.

Once back at the bottom and in the city of Lucerne, we stopped a Bachmann’s for some real deal Swiss Chocolate (spoiler alert mom: you do have to share) before wandering more around the cobblestones streets.

We ended our day back in Engleberg where our group of six from Iowa made our way through the downtown area to find a restaurant that served fondue. Our expedition was successful and we had a great time bantering with our sarcastic, but incredibly patient and helpful waiter.

Next stop: Frankfurt, Germany via the Alsace Region of France.




Neuschwanstein Castle // Vaduz, Lichtenstein // Engleberg, Switzerland // day five

Today we covered a ton of ground, and I was able to knock two more countries off of my list! We started the day with an hour and a half drive to Schwangau, Germany where the Neuschwanstein Castle – the inspiration behind the Sleeping Beauty Castle – is located. The castle was built by King Ludwig II as a private getaway where he themed each room either with swans, medieval decor or a gothic look. King Ludwig didn’t want visitors to his castle, so despite having a giant dance/singing hall no one ever used it. This palace was extremely controversial as King Ludwig paid for its construction out of his own pocket and via means of borrowing great amounts of money (instead of using Bavarian public funds). The castle is located on the side of a mountain and offers spectacular views of the surrounding valleys, towns/villages and lake at the base. The mountains offer an incredible backdrop to the lake as well as a hiking trail along the edge.

From Scwangau we continued our bus ride to Vanduz, Lichtenstein – the capital of a country with a population roughly the size of Belmont at 36,000 people. The city we visited lies right along the Swiss boarder, and therefore is one of the countries that makes Switzerland landlocked. Here we grabbed lunch, mailed out postcards and learned that Haley’s family is from Lichtenstein before heading towards Engleberg.

Switzerland has quickly stolen a piece of my heart with it’s absolutely stunning mountains. Our hotel is located on the side of a mountain and is completely surrounded by gorgeous snowcapped peaks. Tonight we wandered around Engleberg after eating dinner at the hotel and were able to talk through the courtyard of a huge local monastery. Tomorrow we will make our way up the Swiss Alps via Lake Lucerne before exploring the local area.