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Plastic Expectations in Baja

One of my new year goals was to reduce our family consumption, especially of plastic, and then we went to Mexico, where it seemed we were more dependent on plastic than ever. Here is what I learned….

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Seductive plastic playgrounds may not be as sexy up close, unless you like holes in your slides.

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But rusty metal ones will save the day.

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Coco Loco only looks like a guinea pig pooped in styrofoam, it is actually amazingly tasty.

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Although nothing is as good as a coconut served in nature’s packaging (we agreed to save the straw forever.)

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Plastic goggles and flippers are essential for swimming with whale sharks.

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But not as essential as actually practicing swimming in the cold ocean ahead of time.

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There was more screaming with whale sharks than swimming with whale sharks for our kids, but we agreed we’d try again after Ally learns how to swim. (oops)

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Plastic signs can be very helpful for finding your perfect chill spot.

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But even a wood sign isn’t that helpful if you don’t know how to read yet.

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Plastic film cameras (that you have never used before) can give you lots of blurry results.

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But it is possible to capture the cutest kitten love session behind the plastic trash cans when you get that focus right.

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All plastic aside, the most important lesson we learned is that we can travel together as a family internationally. After our last family trip, we were too concerned that our kids might not do very well traveling in a different country and could bring our trip to a halt that we didn’t do much planning beyond our accommodations.

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So now that we know we are capable of exploring the world as a family, our next challenge will be to travel the world as sustainably as possible.

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So our kids grow in to people who say “yes” to adventure. And “no” to plastic, with the exception being plastic cameras, of course.

Grateful that photos don’t speak…

…so you don’t hear the whining and fighting from the 5.75 and 3 year-old boys who were tagging along on our last-minute Fourth of July escape to Mendocino County.

My hope is that these peaceful and calm photos (with my patented no whining kid filter) will eventually reshape our memories, so we remember ourselves as the perfect family, and we will remember this trip as the perfect summer getaway with the right balance of culture and quiet… 01-0065-MendocinoGreenHarris07012017paigegreen02-0002-MendocinoGreenHarris07012017paigegreen03-0067-MendocinoGreenHarris07012017paigegreen04-0122-MendocinoGreenHarris07022017paigegreen05-0017-MendocinoGreenHarris07012017paigegreen06-0023-MendocinoGreenHarris07012017paigegreen07-0040-MendocinoGreenHarris07012017paigegreen08-0049-MendocinoGreenHarris07012017paigegreen09-0051-MendocinoGreenHarris07012017paigegreen10-0062-MendocinoGreenHarris07012017paigegreen11-0075-MendocinoGreenHarris07012017paigegreen12-0079-MendocinoGreenHarris07012017paigegreen13-0090-MendocinoGreenHarris07012017paigegreen14-0115-MendocinoGreenHarris07022017paigegreen15-0140-MendocinoGreenHarris07022017paigegreen16-0152-MendocinoGreenHarris07022017paigegreen17-0160-MendocinoGreenHarris07022017paigegreen18-0165-MendocinoGreenHarris07022017paigegreen19-0167-MendocinoGreenHarris07022017paigegreen20-0172-MendocinoGreenHarris07032017paigegreen21-0175-MendocinoGreenHarris07032017paigegreen22-0173-MendocinoGreenHarris07032017paigegreen23-0180-MendocinoGreenHarris07032017paigegreen24-0198-MendocinoGreenHarris07032017paigegreen25-0199-MendocinoGreenHarris07032017paigegreen26-0204-MendocinoGreenHarris07042017paigegreen27-0205-MendocinoGreenHarris07042017paigegreen28-0207-MendocinoGreenHarris07042017paigegreen29-0210-MendocinoGreenHarris07042017paigegreen30-0212-MendocinoGreenHarris07042017paigegreen31-0226-MendocinoGreenHarris07042017paigegreen32-0228-MendocinoGreenHarris07042017paigegreen33-0232-MendocinoGreenHarris07042017paigegreen34-0235-MendocinoGreenHarris07042017paigegreen35-0244-MendocinoGreenHarris07042017paigegreen

If anyone has tips on how to travel successfully with children, so instead of whining they sweetly thank you for the enrichment you are providing their lives, I would love to hear them.

In case you are curious to learn more about the places in the photos above, this is where we went:

Elk:

Private Cabin

Elk Creek Beach perfect for fort building.

Mendocino:

Flynn Creek Circus we were not as in love with the fighting theme this year, but still a talented bunch of people and fun to see what some people can do with their bodies.

Point Arena:

Fourth of July Parade such a sweet small town parade with quite a diverse population.

Manchester State Park Beach long walk to get to the beach, but worth it.

Fort Bragg:

Skunk Train heaven for kids, especially the model train museum, and you can bring your dogs on the train too!

Glass Beach very crowded, but still neat to discover glass treasures and explore tide pools.

Willits:

Frontier Days very authentic look at life outside of the Bay Area bubble… my kids now want to be cowboys.

Roots of Motive Power neat free activity that is great for all ages.

65 Years (part II): with the Holga

I made a decision to document one of the most important trips I may ever take, with two cameras: my Rolleiflex and my Holga. The Rolleiflex, I love, so that was an easy decision. But the Holga, I was not so sure about. I knew it could be wonderful, but I also knew it could be unpredictable, and I knew there was a chance that I might not get anything that was worthwhile. But because we did a lot of activities that did not make it easy to use a twin lens reflex (hiking, biking, kayaking) the Holga became my default.

And so, today when I picked up my film from the lab, I had no idea what to expect… and I had no idea that I was going to have a new camera love…

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Here it is… simple, fun and wonderful. A camera that takes photos that make me excited about photography again.

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65 Years (part I): Photos For My Blob

Happy 65 years of marriage to my grandparents, Bob and Sally Harper. For their celebration, they took 14 of us to Washington State. The first four days we spent hiking around Mount Rainer, and the last three days we explored Lopez Island, in the San Juan Islands.

The whole journey was amazing. Besides being in love with all the wildflowers on Rainer and all the wildlife around the Islands, I was also intrigued by the small town communities we invaded. We went from small mountain town to small island town… both very fascinating communities. I wish I could have stayed a little longer to get under the skin a little more, but even from the outside it was interesting to observe. It just may be a project for another day.

In the meantime, here is a more personal documentary… this is what 65 years of marriage and a strong commitment to family can give you…

While I was taking a photo of my grandparents playing cards, my grandmother asked me, “Are you going to put this on your blob?” She wasn’t excited about me taking the photo at the time, but she reluctantly allowed me to anyway, because she figured her friends probably don’t read blobs anyway.

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