Seattle!

There is so much to see, do and eat in Seattle! This is by no means a comprehensive list, we’ve only just scratched the surface of all the fun experiences a person can have in this city. Below is a snapshot of what we did.

Pike Place Market

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It’s more than just the name of a Starbucks roast, Pike Place Market is a public, open air market located right on the waterfront in Seattle. It opened in 1907 continues to be one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers markets in the country. There’s tons of places to grab ready made food and coffee as well as a ton of vendors to purchase local vegetables, fish, flowers, hand-crafted goods, etc.We got some greek yogurt pictured below and also picked up some Halibut from the City Fish Seafood Market and freshly made pasta from Papparedlle’s for dinner. It was the perfect PNW meal and one we’ll be thinking about for a looooong time.

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This greek yogurt by Ellenos was so good! They had a couple samples for us to try: lemon and passion fruit! We ended up getting the Marionberry with pie and it was D E L I C I O U S!!!!

This Starbucks is crowded almost all of the time because of it’s location and because it’s the original cafe!

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The Gum Wall is back. One of the first questions that comes up when you type “gum wall seattle” into google is: Is it real gum? The answer is yes. To see for yourself, head towards Post Alley which is an alleyway under Pike Place Market. In 2015 the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority announced that it would be scrubbing and steam cleaning the gum to prevent erosion. It apparently took 130 hours to get the gum off the wall. All in all, 2,350 pounds of gum were removed! It wasn’t too long after it was cleaned, however, that people began to restock more on there. This is what it looked like as of December 10, 2017.

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Do you think the gum wall is gross or awesome?! We were equal parts disgusted and fascinated.

Alki Beach

This is one of the reasons why I love Seattle. It’s a mixture of the city and the outdoors. At any point during the year you’re bound to find people riding bikes and running here. And when it’s sunny everyone comes out to play.

Street artists everywhere!

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We saw several different musicians playing in the short time we were in the city but my hands-down favorite was this cat person playing the accordion.

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Before I had ever been to Seattle, the Space Needle is what came to mind when someone would reference the city. Still is. I’ve been up in it once before but didn’t make it up there this time. Apparently the views from the Sky View Observatory in the Columbia Center Building are bigger and better and cheaper than the Space Needle. We didn’t make it up there but if you have, I’d love to hear what you thought!

Columbia Center: 701 Fifth Ave, 73rd floor

Adults: $14.75
Children (6-12): $9.75
Children (5 and under): FREE
Students and Military with ID: $9.75
Seniors 55+: $9.75

Space Needle: 400 Broad Street
Regular Admission (Ages 13 – 64) is $22
Senior (65+) is $19
Youth (5-12) is $14

Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room | https://www.starbucksreserve.com | 1124 Pike St

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Calling all coffee nerds. This place is just blocks away from the original store in Pike Place market but it’s more than just your typical Starbucks. It’s “…dedicated to roasting, coffee education and increasing availability of the company’s small-lot Reserve coffee.” In November of this year, Rocco Princi opened up a new bakery in there and so far it’s been a big hit. We had two slices of their focaccia pizza and also a side dish of arugula, balsamic dressing, tomato and fresh mozzarella, all for around $25.

Seattle was overwhelming to me as a newbie but Alli drove us around like a pro. If you’re not as brave, consider public transportation! It’s relatively affordable and it’s great for people watching. This is us here on the tram! ($2.50 one way)Seattle6

Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya | http://www.kizuki.com | 4203 SW Alaska St, Seattle, WA

This ramen was delicious, right down to the last slurp. Caroline and I ordered the popular Garlic Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen – rich pork broth with a delicious, mouth-watering flavor that had me licking my lips for more. (I added mushrooms and corn to mine and Caroline added greens and onions to hers.) Oh and the egg was one of the best I’ve ever had. Our friend Alli ordered the chicken broth ramen and seemed to really like her dish as well. She also chose edamame and the three of us had no problem eating the whole dish. Though it’s a chain and we love to visit locally owned and operated businesses, it would be hard to pass up again it was just that good.

Lime Bike + Spin

These bikes are literally everywhere around the city. They’re a dollar to rent and can be left basically anywhere. This little group of bikes was hanging out neatly on the curb but we saw plenty of abandoned bikes on their sides in awkward positions. Make like a local and ride one! Also, BYO helmet because it’s illegal to ride in King County without one and neither Lime Bike or Spin provide them!

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Cupcake Royale | 4556 California Avenue SW

They have six locations in Seattle but we went to the one in West Seattle. Great coffee, delicious treats, can’t go wrong!cupcake

Easy Street Records & Cafe |4559 California Ave SW

Vinyl lovers … this is your place. They have two floors, a couple listening stations, all kinds of records: rare ones, new releases … memorabilia, cool signed posters by some of our favorite artists and a cafe that’s attached so you can slake your thirst and fill your belly and go back for more music browsing.easy

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We met this adorable pup, a silver lab, at the West Seattle Farmer’s Market on Sunday!

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And last but not least, Seattle has sweet vintage motor-homes pretty much everywhere. And you know how we feel about that!

Seattle is a really cool city and we only had about 48 hours in it so this is by far not a comprehensive list of the best things to do, see or eat but it is a good start!

Thanks to one of my very best friends, Alli Kiniry, pictured above, who made this Seattle photo essay possible! She’s been living in the West Seattle neighborhood for the last three years and opened her home to us (AND INSISTED WE TAKE HER BED) and showed us an awesome time. Thanks also to Heather Stapf who not only hooked us up with a gift certificate for a night in Cannon Beach, Oregon at the Hallmark Spa and Resort but who also brought us some delicious road snacks and coffee. It’s great to have friends like you two.

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Road Trip Ready?! Take our Quiz!

Are You Ready For a Cross Country Adventure?!

We’ve put together 10 questions to help you decide if you’re ready to go cross country or not. First off, decide if you’re traveling solo or with someone else.

1. Do you enjoy driving? If not, you pretty much have a fundamental problem. Unless of course you can find someone who does! I’ve been lucky enough to have a wife who does almost all of our driving. Just make sure if you’re riding shotgun, you like to navigate and you’re good at it.

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2. Is your vehicle reliable? This is one of the most fundamental pieces of a positive road trip experience. Why? Because if your vehicle breaks down you’re going to be spending time and money getting it back on the road. Unless you’re mechanically inclined or basically McGuyver.

3. Are you good at spending time alone? Let’s face it, if you’re going cross country it’s going to take a while! If you can barely stand to spend the weekend by yourself you might want to reconsider whether or not you want that much alone time. Eating meals at a table for one, singing solo in the car, and generally being happy or at least content with exploring (and solving problems) on your own are all things to consider.

If you’ll be traveling with someone else, ask yourself whether or not you can spend a lot of time with them. If the answer is yes, lucky you! If the answer is no…well, maybe you should consider someone else or hop back up to that traveling – alone question.

4. Do you have some money socked away? How much you’ll need all depends on how you plan on traveling. If you’re a boutique hotel only kinda guy and you plan on eating out for every single meal you’re going to spend a lot more than the person who’s putting back Cup Noodles in the Wal Mart parking lot (ask us about this lol, no really.)

5. Do you want to make new memories and new friends? We crave new experiences and are always open to making new friends. Part of our current road trip while on assignment for dapperQ has been looking for LGBTQ friendly places, spaces and of course, allies. Our search has led to many, many things we will never forget and new friends we hope to see again soon! Have you seen what we thought about Yosemite National Park, Joshua Tree and the Wichita Mountains?

6. Are you comfortable with uncertainty? Even if you’re not (I mean, really, who is comfortable with it all the time?) you still might be ready for road tripping! It would at least be good practice at pushing out of your comfort zone. Just know that life on the road often has unexpected surprises so it’s helpful if you are good (or at least practiced) with leaning into the unknown.

DSCF61667. Can you get by with less “stuff” than you normally do? If the thought of leaving behind all 26 pairs of shoes makes you really uncomfortable then let’s set some goals to help you get ready for road life. Because you’re going to need to cut back, way back, on the things you’ll be bringing. See our Road Trip Packing List for ideas on what we brought.

8. Do you have the time? This probably is one of the most difficult pieces of the puzzle. Because driving cross country isn’t exactly something you can do on a long weekend. Especially if you have to drive back lol. If you don’t have the time, is it possible for you to work on the road? If not and this kind of lifestyle is important to you, this might just be the most important life change you could make in order to live out your dream. Either that or start saving up vacation and sick days!

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9. Do you have friends or family sprinkled across the country? Trust us when we say that pulling into the driveway of a buddy or relative after a long stretch of highway feels soooooooo good. We’ve been so lucky to have been welcomed into several people’s homes with open arms on several different occasions. Never underestimate the power of an actual bed, a hot shower, a clean towel, the ability to do laundry and a home cooked meal over laughter and hours of catching up. We hope to pay it forward to any travelers coming in or near Asheville so let us know!

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10. Do you mind being a dirt ball? Road trips in and of themselves lend themselves to less than pristine conditions. We’ve done laundry a number of times but there’s been some stretches when we can hardly stand ourselves! If you can handle the grunge and grime and actually enjoy skipping showers, the road life might just be for you!

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you might just be ready to go cross country! Especially if you answered yes to more than one. No worries if you didn’t answer yes to any of them but it’s still something you want to do. Like all things, set small goals for yourself and practice by taking small, short trips near home and then increasing your radius as you get more comfortable. You can do it! Honestly, just having the desire to do it is half the battle, the rest is planning for it!

Have you travelled cross country? If so, what’d you think? Are we missing anything?

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Our Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventurer in Your Life

Ah the holidays. Don’t know what to get for that person in your life who’s always going somewhere or doing something random? Want to treat yourself this holiday season? Below are our top picks of not only cool things that they’ll be stoked to see but things they’ll get a lot of use out of.

Gift ideas under $25

Van Life: Your Home on the Road We found this book at the famous Powell’s bookstore in Portland. It sort of just jumped out at us. It’s the perfect book for that #vanlife lover in your life. Warning: upon reading you might have the urge to quit your job and go on a very long adventure.

Fire Starter by Ultimate Survival Technologies My brother loves this little tool. We do, too. Guaranteed spark, every single time.

Beanie from Narrative Coffee Great coffee, great shop, great staff. Can’t say enough about this place. We even bought a beanie for ourselves when we were in town.

Hipcamp Gift Card If you love the idea of giving an experience, you can’t go wrong with giving a Hipcamp gift card. There’s tons of sites all of the country for your adventurer to choose from!

National Geographic Road Atlas – Adventure Edition A paper map? Hell yeah. This thing is one of our road trip MVP’s. There’s plenty of times when we can’t get a signal or just want to explore without cellphones. This is our favorite version of road atlas because it shows you where all the camping spots are located. It’s put us on some really cool spots a number of times and we do not leave home without it. Ever.

Goal Zero Flip 10 Portable Charger Let’s face it, many of our favorite things run on batteries and need a charge. When you’re out in the woods, it can be hard to re-juice. Not anymore with this little lightweight charger. It’ll get your dead iphone back up in running to let your buddies know you’re off the trail and heading to the bar.

Headlamp by Black Diamond We don’t realize how important our headlamp is until we can’t find it. Light the way!

Bike Lock – Kryptonite KryptoFlex Nothing worse than a stolen bike.

Eye mask by Eagle Creek When you’ve slept in a certain number of Wal-Mart parking lots, you will want this mask. Trust us. We broke the rubberband head piece thing on the “beauty mask” the first night we wore it.

Trail Runner Magazine We look forward to this magazine showing up in our mailbox and it offers up a monthly dose of running motivation. The photography is gorgeous and the stories are compelling. Can’t go wrong with this for the runner in your life.

Nalgene Water Bottle Sure there’s fancier water bottles out there these days but we’re a little old school and these do just fine. BPA free and dishwasher safe.

Tripod by Joby My mom and dad gave me this tripod a couple years ago and it gets the job done. It’s lightweight, compact and bends in all sorts of ways to help you get a shot from places you never thought you could.

Gift ideas under $50

French Press – Sterling Pro Makes a great cup of coffee. Perfect for car camping but maybe not so much for fastpacking or backpacking since it’s made of glass.

Pelican Case I love this case because it’s dust-proof and waterproof and is guaranteed to keep your things safe. It’s designed for a phone but I’ve carried my smaller Fuji Camera, my X100S in this for a couple years and it’s never let me down.

Patagonia Better Sweater Gloves  Mittens that turn into gloves. These things are stylish, durable, fast-drying and also functional.

5 Liter Dry Bag by SealLine The PurgeAir waterproof valve helps you squeeze out all the extra air so your bag squishes down even smaller. It’s waterproof and holds more than enough stuff for a day on the water.

Gift ideas under $100

America the Beautiful – National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass You can use this pass in any of the National Parks and on any of the Federal Recreational Lands, essentially waiving your entry fee. It’s a good deal financially, especially if you frequent these spaces more than once a year.

Coffee Grinder – Handground Precision Coffee Grinder Some people look at us funny when we pull out our coffee grinder but we love the ritual of coffee making, right down to the way it feels (and smells). There’s 15 grind settings to choose from so even the pickiest coffee enthusiasts are bound to find a setting they love.

ENO Hammock Relax like a pro. This Asheville, North Carolina company has been making some of the best hammocks in the world since 1999 and their hammocks are sure to help you unwind on the road or at home.

TOPO Designs Y-Pack This pack goes everywhere with us. It has a laptop sleeve and a big storage compartment in the top that makes it my top pick for a day pack.

Leatherman Tool There’s nothing worse than needing a knife, or a screwdriver, or some scissors and not having them when you need them. Forget that. This tool has you covered and even comes with it’s own case. We’ve used it for everything from spreading peanut butter to cutting rope.

Gift ideas under $150

AAA Membership If your loved one has an old vehicle, this is the gift that keeps on giving. Trust us, we’ve used our membership so many times this year we’ve lost count.

Glacier Sunglasses by Julbo Vermont These are super rad looking. One part steampunk, one part old school mountaineer. They’re made of leather, are unisex and offer 100 percent UV protection.

Kelty Double Wide Sleeping Bag This bag is built for two! My mom and dad gave it to us as an early Christmas present and it’s been a life-saver more than once. We’ve tested it in temperatures that got down into the low 30’s and kept us toasty. It’s actually rated for the 20’s so what are you waiting for?!

Pendleton Blanket Super Instagrammy and warm, it’s an investment in comfort and style.

Portable Speaker by JBL For the music lover in your life. Why? Because campfires are way more fun when there’s a dance party. Bluetooth technology allows it to pair wirelessly with your phone and the battery lasts up to 20 hours meaning you’re good to go for a really long, really fun weekend.

Hopefully this list will help you pick a gift for the road-tripper, camper, adventurer in your life. We get it that the holidays can be a stressful time of year but hopefully these suggestions will take a little of the panic out of your decision-making and gift-giving.

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Pacific Northwest Treehouse #2

Not too far outside of Monroe, Washington you will find a place that is home to two of the most amazing treehouses we have ever seen. The first can be seen here. The second on we’re about to share with you.

It’s built 11 feet off the ground and literally in the trees. It comes in at a whopping 70sq. feet, perfect for those of you looking to try on the #tinyhome lifestyle. Want to see what we saw?

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Come on up!

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Reading a book about microshelters in a microshelter lol.DSCF6931

Though the treehouse is small, it has power and heat. (No kitchen or bathroom though but you have access to the communal outdoor shower, port-a-pot and water spigot.) We felt like it was a small price to pay in order to stay in something really unique.

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Don’t ask what I’m doing here. Haha just kidding. This is how we spend a lot of our days: looking around in random places for cool photos lol.

This treehouse is so unique that we wished we had more time to stay and hang out. If you’re headed for the Pacific Northwest, consider staying here. It’s close to Wallace Falls and tons of other outdoor escapes. We recommend this place to our most adventurous of friends and would love to hear about it if you ever stay there!

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Pacific Northwest Treehouse

We recently scouted out a property for Hipcamp just east of the little town of Monroe, Washington. It was easily one of the most unique places we’ve stayed at.

DSCF6913You’ll see the treehouse from the driveway as you pull up. If you’re anything like us, you’ll probably blink your eyes several times to make sure that what you’re looking at is real. It is.

Head on up the mossy (and when it’s raining, muddy) footpath, kick your shoes off, and prepare to settle in for a cozy evening. DSCF6949DSCF4994The inside of the treehouse has small, warm lights that reminded me of fireflies. The treehouse is small, but even with two of us sharing the space, we had more than enough room to spread out. You can hang out in the lower area of the tree house where there’s two soft chairs and pillows and a table and is the perfect place for curling up with a good book.DSCF7010DSCF7033 When you’re ready for bed, just climb up the short, spiral wooden ladder. The bed was comfortable and we slept soundly, woken only once to the sounds of coyotes running wild somewhere in the forest behind the treehouse.

DSCF7040In the morning, we woke to the natural light that slowly filled the space from the roof above. DSCF7023It was a really peaceful way to wake up. It was still raining out but it was light out and after making coffee and breakfast, we wanted to explore. We met the dogs, the donkey, the horse (apparently there’s a pig but we never met him/her) and also saw the other places for rent: two small micro-shelters as well as a camping area and a whole other treehouse, the Hashtag Treehouse. Each of them is unique and if we had more time, we would have liked to stay at them all.

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If you get a chance to stay here, please let us know what you think!

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Our Road Trip Packing List

Caroline and I have done a bunch of traveling together recently and though we had to downsize our belongings after our Chinook House Car died, we’ve been having a blast. If you’ve been wondering what all we packed here ya go! Oh! And be sure to click on some of the links to see gear reviews we’ve done for our friends over at Asheville Trails and Trailful!

Tech

Cameras (2) – We each shoot with a Fuji XT2
Laptops (2)
Apple mouse (2) Only one works
Cell phones (2)
Headphones – We started with three sets and are down to one
Goal Zero Charge stick (2)
Back up hard drive (2)
Garmin GPS running watch (2)
1 tripod
Charge cords for everything

Clothing

We share all of our clothing except for shoes which comes in handy because we have twice as many things to pick from!

5 pairs of pants
2 tank tops
2 sweaters
8 button up shirts
1 cactus shirt
1 whale shirt
2 neck ties
1 pair of rope sandals
2 pairs of flip flops
2 bathing suits
2 pairs of boots
3 t-shirts
2 pairs of tights
3 beanies
2 long sleeve tech running shirts
4 sports bras
4 pairs of gloves
Rain jacket (2)
Down jackets (2)
Running shorts (2)
Running socks (2)
2 pairs of Hoka running shoes – We love the Hoka Cliftons but have recently switched to the Hoka Bondi 5
1 Patagonia visor
3 hats
10 pairs of regular socks (we’ve worn 6)

Camping / Cooking Gear

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Kelty Double Wide Sleeping Bag (thank Mom and Dad!)
(The bag for the sleeping bag doubles as our dirty laundry bag)
1 big egg crate piece
6 individual cushions we salvaged from the Chinook
Pendleton blanket
1 Leatherman tool
Kuju coffee
2 hydration packs and bladders (we’ve only used one)
1 mini dry bag (never used)
1 TOPO Y-Backpack
2 Black Diamond headlamps
Green propane bottles
2 lighters
1 KleanKanteen
1 Nalgene (we left this at a gas station in North California)
1 Coleman Triton Stove
1 pot
1 pan
1 french press
1 coffee grinder
1 chefs knife (we haven’t used it once)
1 paring knife (we use this a lot)
1 spatula (haven’t used this either)
2 butter knives
2 spoons
2 forks
3 small plate
2 small bowls (We haven’t used the plates or the bowls. We almost always eat out of the pot together.)
2 small cups (We eat and drink out of these)
2 one-gallon water jugs
1 small cooler

Miscellaneous

National Geographic Road Atlas – Adventure Edition
2 insulated coffee mugs
Cigarette lighter USB charger
4 Pillows
3 books (Caroline just finished up Trevor Noah: Born a Crime, Stories from a South African Childhood and I’m reading Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan. We also have Fodor’s Complete Travel Guide to the National Parks of the West
Dr. Bronners soap
1 Dashboard sun shade silver reflector thing
1 Burts Bees chapstick
1 half a roll of paper towels
1 National Park Annual Pass
3 rolls of toilet paper
4 earplugs
2 eye masks (essential for Wal-Mart Parking lots)
1 reusable shopping bag
1 Spotify subscription
2 AAA memberships
1 EZ Pass
6 jars of peanut butter (we have one left)
2 jars of strawberry jam
too much cheese to name
8 jars of mac and cheese (we have none left)
2 cases of Wedge Brewing Co. Iron Rail IPA’s (we drank them all!)
1 bottle of eye solution
1 contact lens case
4 pens
3 pencils
$20 in quarters
1 waterproof notebook
2 toothbrushes
1 tube of toothpaste
1 roll of waxed dental floss
3 small hotel shampoo bottles
2 small hotel lotion bottles
2 fingernail clippers
2 bottles of 5W30 Synthetic Oil

Things we wish we had with us

Gloves without fingers (Caroline)
My red puffy jacket (Erin)

Things we would leave behind

All the things we don’t use. When you’re living out of your vehicle, even the little things end up getting in the way. After traveling like this for over a month and a half we have a nightly routine where we unload the back (where we sleep) and store everything that we have been carrying in the front. At first it took us forever, now we can move things in about 4 or 5 minutes. Specific things have a home too so that they’re easier for both of us to find. Example: headlamps always go in the center console, gloves and knives in the glove compartment, atlas between the seat, etc. Like most people, we packed more than we actually need but we’re learning all the time and downsizing even more when it makes sense.

Things we couldn’t live without

Besides our tech gear, which we need in order to do our work, we couldn’t live without 4 things: our running shoes to keep us sane, coffee to keep us going, our sleeping bag to keep us warm and our atlas to keep us headed in the “right” direction.

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What about you?! Are you surprised by how much (or little?) we have? What would YOU pack for four months on the road?

 

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A photo essay of New York City

This post was made possible by the one and only, Jocelyn Strutt, who opened her home to us for two nights. Without her, none of these pictures would have happened.

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The photos above and the one below were taken on the Roosevelt Island Tram. I think we rode it over and back twice, maybe three times just trying to get a good shot of the city below.NYC97NYC80

A few months ago my friend Geoff Livingston showed me a photography technique that I have been practicing ever since. We were in San Francisco and his subject was the trolley cars. It was at night and we were walking back from dinner when he stopped to take a few minutes to show me how to pan my camera from side to side to capture a subject in motion. I’m still a good ways away from mastering the technique but I tried it out here on this cab. I was trying to get the cab to be sharp and the background somewhat blurry suggesting motion in a still frame. Not sure I succeeded. What do you think?

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Did the same panning technique with this bicyclist here as well.NYC91

One of the things I love about the city so much, any city really, but especially New York, is seeing things like this. Things that make you think, inspire you, challenge you …NYC94

Caroline taking a break up on the High Line!NYC95NYC96

The two photos above were taken about six feet apart from one another but my settings were completely different and the story ends up feeling different, too.

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I actually really like taking the train. Lots to see, easy to get lost in your own mind…

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The Flatiron Building is one of a kind. I’ve been taking pictures of if for the last couple years, each time I visit, and f i n a l l y got one that I like. Some people say it looks like a ship cutting through the water. Do you see it?


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This photo was actually taken during a different trip into the city when I went to visit Lisa Giles who was running the NYC marathon with her family. Had to slip it in though cause the view is hard to beat! It was taken from the Empire State Building.newyork1

What’s your favorite thing to see, do or eat in New York City? We’d love to hear what you think – there’s so much to do there!

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