Aerial Flight

At 5 a.m. last Tuesday I woke up with the Sun.  The first rays of light were just hitting the Bay Bridge as I crossed over from my new home on Kent Island.  This early morning was hard after a weekend of moving and adjusting to a new place and schedule, but it was worth it the second we were airborne. 

SouthWings is a group of pilots who volunteer their time to show researchers, government officials, community members, and journalists an aerial view of environmental issues in the Southeast.  Charlie, our pilot, and I shared our first SouthWings experience; his plane was a beautiful four seat high wing that had more leg room than I’ve had on any commercial airplane.  Charlie spoke like many grandfathers do, softy but bluntly and earnestly.

We begun our trip by flying over the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers then venturing over the bay over Tangier, Smith, and Deal towards Cambridge where we stopped for lunch. 

“My wife said ‘No more $100 burgers.’  So now with SouthWings I’m doing good.” Charlie laughed as he dug into his deluxe breakfast plate of eggs, scrapple, home fries, and pancakes.  SouthWings had become his way of aiding a cause while enjoying an activity he loved. His stories of the bay–watching it move and change over time– were fascinating.

It was from these conversations and flying over that I’ve become a bit obsessed with Tangier Island.  I’ve been listening to podcasts, reading articles, and searching the island’s website for more information about this interesting little place in the middle of the Chesapeake. 

Stay tuned for more investigation into the island- maybe a photo story, who knows!


Update!

It has been almost a month since I’ve had a chance to blog and a lot has happened! A fair warning to any readers, this might become introspective or tangential …

First, I graduated from RIT! Walking across the stage with all my friends and family cheering and applauding was a surreal experience. Even as we walked into the field house and took our seats, the day didn’t feel real. Thinking about the four years that lead up to that moment- all the sleepless nights, the joys and hardships, the people I’ve met, and stories I’ve been honored to tell- it partly felt anticlimactic.  It was odd to think that the hours spent in class, playing lacrosse, working, just being college students, would all end with a short ceremony and an empty diploma holder. I found myself saying goodbye to friends and places in the week after graduation, and finding more closure in these moments than in those I had in my gown. Don’t get me wrong, the pomp and circumstance of graduating college was fun and looking back I wouldn’t change a thing, but in the following days when I was able to hug my friends, take one last walk through Gannet, and have a final cheers at MacGregors felt like a true Rochester send off.  I don’t know when I’ll return to Rochester, I’d like to think that college is a part of my life that I lived and loved but have closed the chapter to, but I have a feeling something will pull me back, maybe just for a short visit. That being said, I wouldn’t mind having another taco Tuesday at La Casa or kinky reggae from Java’s.


In the weeks following graduation, I’ve begun to start my life after college. I was able to go home to visit my grandparents, hike my beloved New England mountains, and smell the ocean I dearly missed. Everytime I go home, it really feels like nothing has changed. New England has this magic to it that no matter how many times houses change hands or developments begin, there is always something to bring you back to the place you grew up. For me, that has always been the ocean and the mountains. You can always count on losing cell reception, finding a tiny gas station with some iteration of name ‘country store’, and needing the perfect afternoon nap before the day fades into night. I love New England and I often miss the little things about where and how I grew up, but I have yet to become homesick. Through my years at school and my time in D.C. I haven’t felt the ache for my hometown that I’ve heard so many describe. I think it’s because of what New England gave me- a sense of adventure and the opportunity to always come home.  I know that the White Mountains and lobster tail will always be there, and that I will always be able to return after my adventures elsewhere conclude.


Which brings me to my next adventure, moving to Annapolis and started my internship with the Chesapeake Bay Program. So far, this new chapter has been an exciting start to the rest of my life. Within the first few days I had visited a plain sect farm, flew in a small high wing plane to capture aerial photography of the Chesapeake, and traveled to several state parks to document their amenities and features. This internship is so much more than I expected already and has brought me so much joy; I have been able to use my skills as a photographer paired with my passion for the environment to work for an organization that actually effect change.  I truly feel like I am where I need to be.


Stay tuned for more updates and images! Check out the slideshow below for images from former senator Bernie Fowler’s 31st annual Wade-In at Jefferson Patterson Park this past Sunday!



Earth Day

I just wanted to say Happy Earth Day to everyone and share some images from my Earth Day adventures in the Flatirons in Boulder, C.O. Enjoy!

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