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My Favorite Part of the Summer… every year…

Putt-putt at Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina with my whole family and the same decrepit safari animals that are older than I am.

These are my cousins…. they were featured here last year as well, and now it seems photographing them with our favorite fiberglass animals has become as much a tradition as anything else.

And appropriately, the 2008 series is definitely my favorite thus far.

This is my color version of Richard Avedon’s Dovima with Elephants. It was a happy coincidence.

I knew my cousin Riane was planning to wear her red dress, and I knew the elephant would be there, but it wasn’t until we were all standing next to each other that I saw the opportunity, and I was super super excited… I think the golf club is a fantastic touch.

And just like Avedon’s, my masterpiece has a flaw as well… I chopped the poor elephant’s trunk off. I would say, “There’s always next year, to try again,” except next year we are going on a special trip for my grandparents’ 65th wedding anniversary. And, who knows how long our poor elephant will be allowed to roam the Earth, since Ocean Isle has been trying to spruce itself up lately. So there is a strong probability that he may not be here the next time we return, and therefore this masterpiece will have to be complete as is.

the family beach trip to ocean isle, nc

every year we say “this will probably be the last year”

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the last year of putt-putt (miniature golf) with the dilapidated safari animals and smurf-blue water.

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the last year of standing outside restaurants waiting hours for really bad fried seafood, which no one orders anyway since the majority of our group does not eat seafood (but we do regretfully eat the hush-puppies with honey butter by the dozens which inevitably gives us an overfull feeling as we drive out of the parking lot.)

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the last year of my grandfather making at least one grocery trip a day to ensure that the kitchen is stocked with as much junk food and sodas as we can possibly consume.

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the last year of at least one person playing solitaire at any given time

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the last year of silently reading and rocking back and forth on the porch through thousands of words together

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the last year of swimming in the ocean that on most days, feels like a lukewarm bath tub with waves that are almost too small to be called waves but are still too much work for my 83 year old grandparents, my grandparents who keep these 30 year old traditions alive, the traditions that we travel thousands of miles for and that we simultaneously complain about and secretly relish.

Amish Hunting

After two weeks in Philadelphia, I was ready for some country….and not just any country, Amish country. So we researched the Amish on what else but wikipedia…..some facts we didn’t know were that the Amish are not allowed to wear buttons or receive education past the 8th grade, so they just repeat 8th grade until they are legally old enough to graduate. Most importantly the Amish are a very strong community and I would love to do a photo project on their culture, but unfortunately we only had an afternoon so it became more like Amish hunting than anything else, but it was a great adventure in Pennsylvania’s beautiful countryside and I added another community to my to-do-list.

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Amish clothes drying….see any buttons? Besides looking for people without buttons we also looked for houses without power-lines…..

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and horse drawn buggies were pretty good indicators but they were more challenging to photograph….

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so I looked for easier subjects….not sure if these people were Amish and unfortunately my boyfriend is not Amish….but the lightening that illuminated the sky behind him made the experience worthwhile and then we quickly got back in the car.

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Buttons…definitely not Amish but this miniature golf course was listed on the Amish tour map so we decided to stop anyway and see if Amish miniature golf was any different than non-Amish miniature golf.

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Well it was a pretty tough course, Amish or not.

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This is Amanda and one of her twins, they are not Amish, although she used to have more contact with Amish people, she doesn’t much anymore. I just liked the way they looked in the fading sunlight and my wonderful boyfriend Arann strongly encouraged me to walk across the street and ask her if I could take her photo. So I did and she said ‘yes,’ and I am really grateful to Arann for the encouragement because that is exactly the support I need to build confidence for my upcoming Southern Exposure expedition. Thanks Arann.

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