Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is so beautiful!  It is one of my favorite places that I’ve ever visited.  We stayed near Taksim Square, and the first thing I noticed that made me realize Istanbul is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been was that our taxi was inspected underneath with mirrors as we entered the hotel.  We then had to put all of our luggage through x-ray machines to enter the hotel – and had to do so every time we entered.  Once we settled in, we looked across the Bosphorus and heard the call to prayer.  It was incredible.  A walk down Istiklal Street led us to islak hamburgers, baklava, and ice cream.  I could eat islak hamburgers every day.


islak hamburgers!




sticky ice cream

In between conference duties, we had time to visit the Hagia Sophia or Aya Sofia, see the Whirling Dervishes, see the Sultan’s Palace, the Grand Bazaar, and visit the Blue Mosque.  Amazing architecture!  I loved it all.  Seeing a culture I had never witnessed or participated in before was wonderful.  Travel is truly how we learn to accept differences and learn that different is good.


spices at the grand bazaar




Hagia Sophia

We had one day to explore the city, and my colleague Brad, who appears in the Istanbul album, knew so much about the city itself.  He teaches the history portion of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults at our local Catholic church.  Naturally he had so much to offer during our walking tour (which was really just walking around aimlessly all over the city).  We even found the Mary of the Mongols church, which is the only church that was not converted to a mosque when the Ottomans conquered the city.  The Sultan guaranteed that it would always be a Christian church and his signature remains in the church itself.  It was beautiful.

We also happened upon Constantinople’s 5th century second wall (I think it’s called the Theodosian Wall) that was breached by the Ottomans in 1453 in the Fatih.  We ended up stopping at a “restaurant” on the way back to Istiklal Street which was basically some guys who went fishing and had bread on their boat.  The sandwiches were sooo good.


at mary of the mongols church


theodosian wall


fish sandwiches on the bosphorus

Each night when we would walk through Istiklal Street for dinner or just roaming around, we noticed big groups of police in riot gear lining the streets.  They never really moved, but they were protected by those plexiglass shields and were about 30 people long and 3 people deep at various points throughout the street.  On one of our final nights we walked through Istiklal Street and began to see people in gas masks.  We knew the general direction we should be going, but we started walking away from the people in gas masks but still making our way to the hotel.  Then, people started running fast away from us.  My colleague Jasmine and I put on our head scarves and wrapped them around our noses and mouths while Brad turned on his iPhone video camera and ran toward the fleeing people.  We ended up being gassed a little bit – when everything calmed down, we saw that there were protesters due to a man being killed recently by a gas can thrown by the police.  It was tense with the protesters and the police.  Being gassed is no fun, by the way.




gas masks


more gas masks

As we walked to our hotel on the last night, still happy about our wanderings along the Bosphorus, the Fatih, the old town, the mosques, and Istiklal Street and having eaten our last islak hamburger, we noticed additional security and guard dogs on the grounds.  There was additional security getting in to the hotel too.  We learned from a talkative bell boy that one of Erdogan’s cabinet member’s son was having his sünnet party at the hotel and Erdogan was there.


Tayyip listens to Slayer?


in the fatih – street soccer


blue mosque

I would highly recommend Istanbul as a travel destination.  Despite some of our experiences that might be concerning to some, we were there during a time where the people were not happy with their leadership and there had been recent heated protests a few months before.  I still would not be deterred from travel there – it is full of history and beauty.

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Visit to South Africa

I have so many travel photos.  Many of the older ones are on my Flickr page, as I had a Flickr account way before I had a website.  What’s on this site isn’t near complete, but most have been taken in the last couple years with the exception of the China photos that were taken with film in 2001.  I just added two albums to this site: South Africa and Istanbul.

In August 2014 I traveled to South Africa for a conference.  We visited Pumba Private Game Reserve near Grahamstown, South Africa.  It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, and Pumba is first class.  We had little cabins that overlooked a lake where elephants bathed and hippos swam.  The day started early  with a game drive in Land Rovers, stopping along the way to have coffee in the morning or during the afternoon game drive, a cocktail in the afternoon, always with breathtaking views of the bush.  Of the Big 5, we saw all but the rhinoceros.  There were a few rhinoceros on the reserve, but one had been poached for its horn not long before our visit, and they were very shy (rightfully so).  We even participated in a walking tour, and a lioness stalked us.  We were between a lioness (the actual hunter in the lion family) and lakeside bush where hippos, the most dangerous animal in the world, were sleeping.  Our group didn’t quite realize the gravity of the situation until we returned to the lodge where the rangers explained that the stalking was quite rare and that their guns would not have stopped the lioness.  I assessed the situation as we were walking and saw that I was the youngest of the group and would likely not be the last-of-the-pack-eaten-first, but it was still frightening!  We learned a lot about the animals and plants in the area on the walking tour, though, so I would recommend it – after all, being stalked by a lioness is rare, right?

After our visit to the game reserve, we went to Port Elizabeth on the Eastern Cape.  It is beautiful and on the Indian Ocean.  I have not published the photos of the township before today.  Perhaps it is embarrassment at the luxury of Pumba followed immediately by poverty on a scale that I had not seen since rural China.  I chose to publish them all here because it serves a purpose to show us how privileged we are.  If you are seeing this, you have access to the internet!

I loved South Africa.  The people are wonderful and kind.  The animals are beautiful.  The culture is rich.  I am glad to have visited and look forward to learning more about the country itself.



Posted in personal, photography, travel Tagged , , |

Oh hai!

Well, it’s been over two years since I posted a blog post!  Wow.  It’s not for lack of photo taking – in fact, I’ve been taking a lot of photos and traveling and my lack of posting is because I’ve been so busy.  I’ve also been working with video, which has been fun.  I desperately need a steady cam, though.  Recommendations welcome!

I’ll be posting from my travels soon!


Posted in personal

Portraits at Mississippi State

I had the pleasure of meeting a sweet couple, Pamela and Neal, a few weekends ago in Starkville as I was asked to be a friend’s second shooter for an engagement session.  Here are some of the photos from the session:














The cool thing about this shoot was that the bride and groom were both cheerleaders at Mississippi State!  Since only one of us would fit on the ladder, Nathan got some super awesome cheerleading shots.  Check them out over at his website!

Posted in engagement, photography, portraits Tagged , , , , , , |

A Long December

And January, February, March…  I’m back to updating since I’m shooting more.  Does anyone else go into hibernation like me?

I begrudgingly bought a digital camera a couple years ago.  I love film.  I had a darkroom set up in our spare bathroom until just a few years ago.  I still have everything, just in the closet.  I will say that digital photography is so much more convenient, but I feel that it has taken a lot of the skill out of processing and developing.  Not that my film work was fabulous, but I was much more involved in the process and the final print showed the work and the hours put into it.  It gave me a sense of pride having problem-solved and calculated processing times, pushing times, and making sure the chemicals were right, not to mention dodging and burning with the most random of everyday objects!

When the cross processing phase (fad?) started, I dove in!  After transitioning to digital completely, a company here got rid of all its film, slide and regular, both 35 mm and 120, and (score!) a friend gave it all to me.  So, I’ve had a freezer full of film that has slowly been dwindling over the past few years.  I would convince local places to cross-process through a variety of excuses until they got rid of their big in-house processing machines.  I’ve had film sitting around waiting to be processed for at least a year, and I’m excited to say that I finally bit the bullet and sent some slide film to Lomography for processing.  I had a really horrible experience with Wal Mart‘s mail-in processing where they lost two 120 rolls (not even slide film, just regular), so I’ve been really gun shy about mail-in processing.  Lomography was really fast the first time I sent two rolls (within 2 weeks of me sending the rolls in I got everything back) but this time around I’ve been waiting over a month.  Imagine my anxiety!  I thought my rolls were lost for sure.  Yesterday I got an email that said one of my rolls of film was ready, and I could download the scans while the negatives and prints were in the mail.

One thing I always loved about film was that it was a surprise whether something magical happened.  My most recent roll is not all that magical, but it certainly was a surprise!  A few years ago, I went to the Hummingbird Festival in Holly Springs, Mississippi with some friends, and most of the shots were from our visit to Holly Springs.  However, there were two shots from Tokyo, which means it was 2009 I think – I have only seen the Tokyo Rockabilly Club once in Yoyogi Park!  Talk about some interesting guys!

I think the photo below might be my favorite.  As I said, these aren’t magic, but they are special.  I actually haven’t seen her since that day – surprised I remembered her name except that it is such a unique name.  Hope she is well.


Jo Lynn, Holly Springs

Some others are on my Flickr page.  I didn’t upload some of my husband’s studio though I liked them – he is shy when it comes to photos but not much else!

More to come soon!  I have new wedding photos and new puppy photos to share!


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A Personal Note on Thanks and Thanksgiving

We are coming up on the one year anniversary of my father’s liver transplant (also my birthday, best present ever).  In the spirit of giving thanks, I am so very thankful for the donor who chose to donate life, the donor’s family who honored that wish, the health professionals from Methodist in Memphis, the undying devotion of my mother, and above all, the last year with my dad which would have been his last.  As he recovers, I am continually thankful for all of this, and so happy for a new yet different future for our family.

While he had a small procedure on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (my parents should get a prize for spending every big holiday at Methodist over the past year), my husband and I spent Thanksgiving at my husband’s parent’s home.  I got to spend some quality time with my sweet nieces.  The oldest has such a big personality.  The first thing she said to me was “So what’s been going on?”  It’s was such a nice surprise to hear her talk like an adult!  I haven’t seen her in a little while, and she is growing up so fast!

Here are some photos from our day, and since everyone has been posting what they are thankful for all month on Facebook, I’ve included mine at the end.

Such a precious child. She looks just like one of my close friends when we were little. Also, she looks like a “who” with her hair on top of her head. (Playing with some cross-processing here.)

Big Sis, Little Sis.


Pappy and Annabelle.

Life Is Good.

Thankful for the food on our table. This is my mother in law’s famous dressing. Yum.

The Mayflower!

Thankful for this snaggletoothed munchkin.

Sneaking Billy food under the table. He loves her for it.


Thankful for sisters-in-law.

My husband loves to spoil his nieces with whipped cream!

She’s thankful for her iPad. Platch is thankful for little hands to pet him all the time.

Gotta love the Mississippi Delta. There are always interesting things along the way.

I’m thankful for:

1. See above.

2. My family.  All of them, even the crazy ones.

3. Dogs.  Mine always make me smile.

4. Channing Tatum.

5. My job, which takes me all over the world and introduces me to interesting colleagues and students.

6. My freshman students, who are full of promise, happiness, and drive.

7. My friends, who are lovely people, otherwise I wouldn’t hang out with them.

8. All the little munchkins I know.

9. Jordan Catalano.

10. Doctor Who.

11. Issey Miyake perfume.

12. Primal/Paleo lifestyle.  It has changed how I feel every day.  Obviously I didn’t adhere on Thanksgiving Day…

13. On that note, bacon.

14. Music, especially Depeche Mode and Nada Surf.

15. My husband, a talented, sweet, devoted man.  Who loves dogs.


Posted in events, family, personal Tagged , , , , |

Elizabeth and Nate

Right before Halloween I shot Elizabeth and Nate’s wedding.  It was such a nice event.  Friends and family gathered on Friday night at Taylor Grocery to celebrate the couple.  A beautiful reception at Off Square Books followed a short ceremony at the Oxford Square Courthouse.  Since the bride and groom met while working at Square Books, it was quite fitting to have such an Oxford- and book-centered wedding weekend!

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Kerollyne and Jonathan

I had the pleasure of shooting my friend Kerollyne’s wedding here in Oxford.  She and I met several years ago when she visited from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and she later came to Ole Miss as a graduate student where we now work together.  She is so lovely.  I was very excited to shoot her wedding, which she said was like an Indian wedding because there were several days of celebration!  The ceremony was at the courthouse, there was a karaoke celebration at El Milagro (Kerollyne and Jonathan met on karaoke night at El Milagro), and the reception was at the Powerhouse on Sunday.  Aside: Kerollyne impressed me long ago with her voice.  She sang “I Will Always Love You” on the Riverboat in Memphis, Tennessee back when she worked for PUC-Rio and visited Ole Miss.  Her voice is so awesome, and our friendship came full circle when she sang Whitney Houston at El Milagro!

Kerollyne’s parents came to visit for about 3 weeks leading up to the wedding, and they are so so wonderful!  I want them to visit all the time!  Kerollyne’s beautiful Brazilian friends also helped her and her mom cook everything for the reception, including the cake!  There were Portuguese sweet breads, empadas (not empanadas), finger sandwiches, and the most amazing desserts.  What wonderful friends!

getting ready

diamonds and pearls

putting on the pearls

“have you the wing?”

so cute!

on the square

so sweet!

caught! this is a little Brazilian cartoon character, who made an appearance all weekend.

karaoke (and dancing) night!


the slowest dance of the night


the cake and sweets, all baked by Kerollyne’s lovely family and friends


anyone like to samba?

the fam – love these folks! beijos!

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Food and Wine Magazine – November 2012 Issue

If you’d like to see some of my work in print, pick up the November Issue of Food and Wine Magazine!

November 2012 Issue

I recently took some photos to be included in the travel feature on America’s Best Little Food Towns, which included Water Valley, Mississippi, just a few miles south of Oxford.  The Crawdad Hole, along with The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery, Fiddler’s Loft, and D and D House of BBQ, were honored in this issue, and below are some photos from the Crawdad Hole.  Y’all should come out to the Crawdad Hole for cajun style crawfish (when in season), boiled shrimp, crab legs (with butter, oh lawd), gumbo, red beans and rice, po-boys, sausage, taters, corn, boiled peanuts, and sno-balls!  They are open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, usually from 3:00 – 9:00 pm.  There is an outside dining area where owners Justin and Alexis Showah have remained true to the original business, a filling station, and an inside dining area featuring owner and musician Justin’s eclectic musical taste and style!

Original photo in the magazine.

Rainbow sno-ball! The kiddos love them.


Chef Justin Showah of the Crawdad Hole, with some tasty boiled shrimp.

Shrimp po-boy on Gambino’s bread. Yum. Crab legs in the back!

Crawdad Hole Mix, good on crawfish and also very good on the boiled shrimp, if you like it hot.


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Kelly and Kenny

I had the pleasure of photographing my favorite drummer and favorite Beagle owner’s wedding a couple weeks ago.  I’m so happy for them.  Here’s a peek at the ceremony and reception.


autumn colored bouquet, to go with the pumpkins at St. Peter’s

kissing couple

the happy couple


the beautiful bride

reminder on cell phone

The groom needed a reminder! This made me laugh.

Waiting on the groom.

The groom, seeing the bride walk down the aisle.

Husband and Wife!

Sweet moment after the ceremony.

So very “them” – I forgive Kenny for loving Rush, because I like this couple so much.

beagle at a wedding

The Beagles, Boudreaux and Belle, were in attendance.

“Someone here has food. I must be patient.”

The bride and groom danced to Journey’s “Forever Yours.” With lighters for the guests. Of course they did!

This little guy got the garter. He’s put it to good use.

Posted in dogs, events, family, photography, wedding Tagged , , , , , |