spring training on film

We've had just the most miserably cold and rainy weekend. Neel said that if you'd told him it was November instead of late April, he'd have believed you. My fingers are cold, my nose is cold. I'm cold. By Sunday, I thought I'd spend the afternoon warming up to the film photos of our trip to Clearwater Beach, FL and the Phillies' Spring Training. I'm not gonna lie. We've traveled all over the world, and this was one of our best vacations ever.

If you have even the barest interest in baseball, I can't recommend Spring Training enough. Follow a team religiously like some in this family follow the Phillies? Well, it's practically a requirement. At Spring Training, every thing is like the MLB, writ small. Ball parks are smaller and friendlier. Crowds are more manageable. Ticket prices too.

We got to Florida right at the start of the Spring Training Season, so we got to see Opening Day ceremonies for the Phillies, the Yankees and the Astros. We sat behind home plate, like directly behind home plate, for all three. Cal lined up for autographs at all three parks, and the players and coaches were approachable, friendly and happy to oblige. In town, Clearwater and Clearwater Beach, home to the Phillies, was like little Philadelphia. Dinner at local dives could have been as easily in Jersey as it was steps away from crystal-clear water and sugar sand. The crystal-clear water and sugar sand is somehow better. Florida retirees work the ballparks as ushers and ticket takers, and let me tell you, that looks like one sweet gig. Our waiter at one restaurant asked Neel if he was from Philly and proceeded to pull out his cellphone and show us pictures of the hoagie the last time he was "back home." Our neighbor Paul, in Tampa visiting family, texted that he was at the game, and we had a long chat. He lives down the street and it was the first time we'd seen him in months. I swear, it's the happiest place on earth. It's warm, so everyone is happy. It's pre-season, so everyone is happy. Hope springs eternal at Florida ballparks in March.

I'll be honest. I could have used a bit better balance between beach and ballpark, and I'll share my beach shots next week, but honestly? There's nothing like stepping on an airplane that has to be de-iced before it can take off, and getting off of said plane to sunshine, palm trees and 80ยบ. Neel and I had a lot of time to talk while we watched Cal vie for autographs, and we decided that this was indeed the life. Our new life plan? Retire and move to Florida and work at Phillies Spring Training Games. We think we might start next year.

charleston on film {life}

Do people say they hate to travel? I'm sure some people do, and that's totally fair, right? We're all different, after all. I love to travel, but I sometimes think I'm not very good at it. It helps when we do these after Christmas trips with my in-laws. Someone else does all the planning, and I just show up. That's nice! :)

It also helps that we know and love Charleston. We know what we like to do there and we know our way around. I fell in love with this city years and years ago, when I was a kid, going on vacation on the Isle of Palms, and it hasn't lost any of its charm now that I go back as an adult. Charleston gets it right.

These shots of Charleston mean a great deal to me. Cheapie Fuji Superia (their consumer grade film), and my first roll through the camera that Cal gave me for Christmas. It felt great to shoot with it, knowing that he wanted me to have a camera, and it felt great to aim my lens at some of my favorite things, the ocean and beautiful buildings. Oh, and my family too, I guess.

There's been a lot of talk on some of the wonderful film groups I belong to about finding your style or voice, and in truth, this is a concept I struggle with. I'll talk a bit more in another post about the film class I've been taking, but during most of it, I let go of voice/style and focused solely on fundamentals. At times that felt frustrating, like I was moving further from where I wanted to be rather than nearer, but I know that laying a strong foundation in the technical aspects of this work is the right thing to do. Batting practice.

Right now, all I know is that I love taking pictures of stormy seas and beautiful architecture, and if I can convince Cal to get in a frame or two, all the better.