Sunday, January 31, 2010


Check out the article the Examiner wrote about the Gallatin Eco-Couture Fashion Week! Article

Travels in 2010


Are you wondering how the above 5 photos relate? Read on to find out-

Sorry for no posts for so long, this week was very hectic!  It was the Gallatin Eco-Fashion Week at NYU and I was shooting events, and I began with a personal trainer to get ready for my travels after I graduate, and then my parents came in this weekend for my grandmother's 87th birthday.  Happy Birthday Grandma, (one of the most loyal readers of my blog)!

I realized that I have been so busy planning all my travels that I forgot to share them on this site. Starting on July 31, 2010 I will be embarking on a 5-month trip throughout Africa, India, and Asia to continue my series of photographing endangered and threatened species in their natural habitat. The photographs above correlate to each place I will be. (I didn't have a photo of an elephant so I hope you don't mind a photo of my dog playing with a stuffed elephant as a substitute)

The first two weeks in August I will be going on a safari with my wonderful parents in East Africa with And Beyond. I have never used them before, as I have never been to Africa, but they come highly recommended so I am very excited!

Then on August 16th I leave the luxury style travel (and my parents) behind and head to Johannesburg to start volunteering at a lion sanctuary. I will spend the rest of my time abroad volunteering and doing photography at animal sanctuaries in South Africa, Jaipur, Xi'an, and Borneo. My schedule be as follows:

August 16th - August 30th  Working with lions at a sanctuary near Johannesburg, South Africa
September 6th - October 4th  Working with endangered wildlife near Capetown, South Africa
October 17th - October 31st  Working at Elephant Sanctuary in Jaipur, India
November 5th - November 26th  Working at Giant Panda Sanctuary Shaanxi Province, China
December 3rd - December 17th  Working with Orangutans on Borneo, Malaysia

I'll post more as I get ready for the trip, and I'll be posting as much as I can while I'm abroad so be sure to follow along with me on my travels!

In other news, hope you are all enjoying my new and improved photography website

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Adventures in Egypt (New Profile Photo)

Entrance to the Largest Pyramid at Giza

At the end of December I decided that it was time for a new and better profile photo for my blog. My old one was taken before a performance of the ballet Raymonda inside the Palais Garnier Opera House in Paris. While I love that building and that ballet, it didn't quite fit in with the spirit of this blog. I decided to switch to an older photo I took in the summer of 2007 in Egypt. Vanity wise it is certainly not my favorite image because unfortunately I am quite sunburned, very sweaty (it was June in Egypt!) and I still had a gap in my front teeth from orthodontics gone awry (it was fixed later that summer). I also was not the biggest fan of Egypt and quite prefered the adorable Israeli camel (named Sushi) I got to ride, versus the mean Egyptian ones, but I just loved this moment so I wanted to share it with you.
Sushi the Israeli Camel

The moment in my profile photo is one of the things I love about travel and photography, you never know what your going to see and you can capture it and remember the exact moment forever. It was our (my parents and my) first day in Egypt and I was surprised to learn that the tour guide we had booked also came with a sesperate driver and armed guard, which is required by law in Egypt for tourists booking any tour. We had a long drive to downtown Cairo and passed lots of funny half built houses along the way, because there is a silly law in Egypt that taxes do not need to be paid until a house has finished construction, so no one ever finishes building their houses. We finally got into Cairo and had a horrible lunch where I was attacked by a Scarab Beetle in the bathroom...I swear it was gigantic.... I was really starting to dislike Egypt by the time we made it to the pyramids at Giza. I remember standing there and thinking how amazing it was to stand in a spot where so much history had occurred- I tried to imagine all the people who had stood there before me for thousands of years.  I started to understand what makes Egypt pretty amazing.  It was a little weird to have an armed bodyguard watching me as I climbed around on the pyramid, but I tried to ignore it.
My bodyguard staring up at me while I climb the pyramids

I was really starting to enjoy myself when I realized that off to the side of the pyramid were a ton of camels. As anyone who knows me or has read this blog knows I love animals! So of course I was so excited to see the camels!
Camels hanging out at Giza while sand blows about in the wind

I was visibly excited as I approached the camels and one of the owners (probably sizing me up as a stupid tourist who he could make a quick buck off of) offered me the chance to take a picture with his camel for a dollar. Of course I said yes and instead of giving the camera to my parents I decided to take the photo myself "myspace style."  Unfortunately I was wearing sparkly sunglasses and what ensued was a quick succession of 3 images in which the camel went from smiling to almost biting my face off. (My profile photo is the middle picture as I like that the camel and I both seem to be smiling).

The camel decided my sunglasses looked mighty tasty and tried to bite them right off my face. What you don't see in these 3 images is the scene that played out in front of me in the 5 seconds it took me to take the pictures. Our bodyguard quickly whipped out his gigantic gun and pointed it right at the camel while the owner of the camel jumped at the bodyguard screaming in Arabic and I jumped in front of the camel and yelled "DON'T SHOOT THE CAMEL!" Fortunately the camel went unscathed and our guard just spent the next 5 minutes arguing in Arabic with the owner until we gave him 5 dollars for the photo and scampered off to see the Sphinx.  Both camel and my face were left unharmed, my sunglasses on the other hand are missing a few crystals.... I hope you enjoy the moment as much as I did....


Friday, January 22, 2010

Gallatin Eco-Fashion Week 2010

As I mentioned a few days ago, I spent last week shooting amazing eco-friendly fashions made by Gallatin students and alumni for Gallatin's Eco-Fashion Week 2010 at the eco-friendly night club Greenhouse.

All the clothes will be featured in a runway show at the Gallatin building (1 Washington Place, NY, NY 10003) on Wednesday night at 6:30. It should be pretty amazing, and I can guarantee that there will be a beautiful look book made by yours truly waiting on every seat!

It's so hard for me to pick which pictures I wanted to put into this post because I really love all of the fashions, so take a look on flickr to see more if your intrigued! Below are some of my favorites-

All Fashions by Posture Magnetic
Judy Harinarain in Posture Magnetic
All Fashions by Alex Chernow
All Fashions by Alex Chernow
Left Val Alonso in Alex Chernow, Right Gilmarie Brioso in Alex Chernow

All Fashions by Amia Yokoyama
Amia Yokoyama modeling a necklace my Amia Yokoyama
All fashions by Kate Goldwater
All Fashions by Ben Fainlight
Left Cody Horn in Kate Goldwater, Right Judy Harinarain in Ben Fainlight

All fashions by Kate Goldwater
All Fashions by Alex Chernow
Left Judy Harinarain in Kate Goldwater, Right Kamille Deowdhat in Alex Chernow

Fashions by Posture Magnetic
All Fashions by Seanna Sharpe
Left Elle Rex in Posture Magnetic, Right Cody Horn in Seanna Sharpe

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Disaister Relief in Haiti

As I mentioned in my last post I have been working crazy hours this week and not getting much sleep for a project I am working on for Gallatin's fashion week. I have been very stressed out from it, and so consumed by it that I wasn't really focusing on the fact that a crisis was occurring in Haiti. It is very easy for us all to get wrapped up in our own little worlds and little problems. I forgot that my lack of sleep was due to stress from a fun project and there are people in Haiti right now not sleeping because they are injured, have no beds, homes, clean clothes, food, and many have lost family members. I can not imagine the pain and suffering they have been through and I think it is very important that we all try and step back from our busy lives and realize there are more important things out there.

An amazing guy named Andy did just that and started a group on flickr called charity print auctions where people can post their photos and other people can bid on them for a set amount of time and then the winning bidder donates to the British Red Cross (but I changed mine to the American) and the photographer donates the cost of printing the image. I've decided to put in one of my favorite images, Polar Bear Hunting on Ice Flows, Svalbard.

RYale_Haiti Charity Auction

You can donate to the red cross in England or America, and I also listed UNICEF as an acceptable charity. All you have to do is place your bid and keep checking back (and bid again!) until the auction ends next Friday (January 29, 2010). Then if you are the winner you make the donation for the amount you won the auction for, take a screenshot of your successful payment and send me the image to prove you paid. I will then have the image printed and send it off to you signed and dated. I put a minimum bid of $20 because that is the basic cost of materials to print and if you pay less than that it would make more sense for me to give the 20 directly to the charity, which I will do if it doesn't sell. I have also already donated to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary's relief fund. When this kind of gigantic disaster happens it is easy to forget about the animals that need help too. Best Friends is sending teams to Haiti to help take care of the now homeless, wounded and abandoned animals. I'm not saying animals should be made a priority over humans, but it is important that we remember to help all creatures both great and small in the wake of this tragedy.

If you chose not to place a bid or get outbid I still encourage you to make a donation, remember every penny counts and every person can make a difference.

Give to UNICEF

Give to Red Cross UK

Give to Red Cross USA

Give to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Haiti Fund

Thanks everyone!

My apologies

Sorry there has been no posting for over a week!  I have been having a very stressful week!  I finally got my domain back from impactfolios (such a nightmare) and now it will take a week to finish the registration process.  My website is good to go though and should be up and running in exactly a week from today!  I spent the latter half of this week and this weekend shooting and creating a look book for my Gallatin School at NYU's Eco-Fashion Week.  I haven't slept much in the last 3 days, maybe collectively 7 hours all together, but the photos came out amazing (in my opinion)!  The designers and models and stylists were all so talented and although it was majorly stress inducing and I am exhausted I had a lot of fun!  Photos to come tomorrow...but here's a sneak preview.

Clothes by Posture Magnetic, modeled by Elle Rex

All Fashions by Posture Magnetic

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Website Troubles

I am in the midst of creating an amazing new portfolio website, but am experiencing a few bumps along the way and currently has been shut down and the new site will hopefully be up in a few days.  Thanks for your patience and understanding while I work it out!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bird Watching in the El Cuale Mountains


Puerto Vallarta is an amazing spot for wildlife.  As I mentioned in my last post it is a prime spot for whale watching in the winter months.  Year-round it is also an amazing spot for bird watching.  I would in no way call myself a birder, I do not know or recognize the species, but they are still really beautiful to see in the wild and as a photographer they are definitely fun to photograph.  My sister's boyfriend, Rhys, and I went on a birding trip with Eco Tours, the same company my dad and I went whale watching with.  We chose a special tour that focused on spotting and counting Military Macaws.  Unfortunately because I was so sick for so much of our time in Mexico we had to postpone our birding excursion to later in the week than originally planned, and I believe the tour we ended up going on was more of a broad bird watching tour than the Military Macaw conservation tour we had signed up for.  It was still a pretty amazing experience though and we were able to spot about 10 Macaws, but from very far away.  Our guide was Alejandro Martinez who had great knowledge and experience and was able to spot and identify lots of beautiful birds.  The trip was very relaxed driving through the Cuale Mountains and up into the Sierra Madres.  It was a very relaxed environment and we were able to hop out any time we saw something rustling in the trees above us.  The tour leaves early, you have to be at the office at 6:30am, but it is definitely worth it and around 9am we pulled over on the road and had a nice breakfast Eco Tours provides of juices, tea, coffee, granola and pastries.  We arrived at a spot in the mountains overlooking a large canyon right as the sun was rising.  After waiting for about five minutes the birds started waking up and we could hear them all around us.  Alejandro took us to the perfect spot to watch the Macaws as they woke up and started flying across the canyons in pairs of two.  They were flying too high to see much color, but we could hear them and see their distinctive silhouette really well.  At the same time a nearby tree suddenly became alive with the sound of birds waking up and we saw Thick-billed Kingbirds, San Blas Jays, and Yellow Winged Caciques just at that first spot.  Driving through the mountains we saw parakeets, woodpeckers, Elegant Trogons, flycatchers, kiskadees, egrets, hawks and more.  The mountains themselves are also beautiful- it is really amazing to watch the sunrise, the whole sky turns bright pink, then the blue sky came out and layers of fog slowly rolled over the mountain tops- quite beautiful.  We also had a fun encounter with a heard of donkeys running down the mountain road, being herded by a man on a very old motorcycle.  Alejandro brought us to the botanical gardens after the mountains, which I do not believe was supposed to be part of the trip, but it was beautiful and fun, another great spot for birding, flowers, and butterflies- my next post will be about the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens.

My Tips and Tricks
  • Wear long pants or leggings and lots of mosquito repellent! (A week later and I'm still scratching!)
  • If you want to take photos make sure to have a flash extender its a simple piece you can get for about $40 that will completely change your birding photographs.  Most of the birds we saw were high up in the trees and even strong flashes won't reach them, but with the flash extender you can have perfectly light birds with highlights in their eyes.
  • Bring a pen!  Alejandro gave us lists of all the possible birds we might see and just ticking them off on the list is a good way to keep track of what you saw!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Whale Watching in Puerto Vallarta


One of my favorite excursions in Puerto Vallarta was whale watching.  In the winter months Puerto Vallarta's bay turns in to a perfect breeding ground for humpback whales.  They can easily be seen playing in the water, fighting each other, spouting water, and if your lucky you may even get to hear one sing.  My dad and I went with Eco Tours which I highly recommend.  They are a conservation based tour group and they are conducting research on the whale population and you can help them by taking pictures of the various whale's tails which are all unique and can be used to identify individual whales.  They are of course wild animals and sightings can never be guaranteed, but this time of the year you should get some great views.  We saw seven individual whales, including an adorable baby, a few dolphins, and got the chance to listen by hydrophone to a male sing for about 15 minutes.  We took the morning tour, which I also recommend, you have to get up early because it starts at 8am, but it is so worth it.  The whales are more active in the morning and the light is great for photos.  Eco Tours starts with a 30 minute lecture, which I usually find really boring, but I found to be helpful and informative this time, also our biologist guide, Astrid, was nice, funny and very smart.  After the lecture the group, which consisted of about 10 people, made our way onto the zodiac and headed out to sea- the whole tour lasts about 4 hours (30 minute lecture, 3.5 hours at sea.)  The drivers are great and can spot a whale way in the distance and zoom off really fast- the trip is not for those afraid of speed or those who get easily sea sick, there is a lot of zooming and bobbing about.  Our driver was also a specialist on sea turtles and spotted two for us and talked to us about them, one turtle was fast asleep with a bird perched on his back, and when he heard us he woke up and shooed the bird away, it was really fun to watch.  You also get to see some great sea birds- pelicans, gulls, terns, we even saw a flock of blue-footed boobies.

My Tips and Tricks for this trip-
  • Wear Sunscreen and bring sunglasses- the morning sun gets hot and you will get burned!
  • The guides are really nice and I told them that I was a professional photographer and they allowed me to sit at the very front of the boat and basically lie down on my belly to get great shots and move around a lot.
  • Equipment Used- I brought 2 bodies so I could quick change, one moment you're photographing a whale far away and the next moment it's right in front of you.  I had a D2x with a 18-200mm and a D3x with a 300mm, I also had a 1.7x teleconverter, but I took it off because I really didn't need it, you get close to these animals!
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