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Reflections | Classes with Jess at 171

I now have two full sessions and a handful of workshops under my belt, so I can maybe stop calling myself a 171 rookie. Obviously, I'm going to be learning and growing and getting better as a teacher every time I step in front of a new group of students. But I definitely feel like I'm getting the hang of it. And I LOVE IT.     Teaching photography has been a wonderful experience and a welcome addition to my business. My favorite part for sure has been watching the smile that accompanies the moment something realizes they "get it."     Shooting in manual mode with a DSLR camera is a really interesting experience because once you learn what the main buttons and functions mean, it's like you suddenly have the keys to unlock a whole new realm of creative possibility!     There is nothing more frustrating than purchasing a camera upgrade and realizing you can't really fix most of the problems you were

Travel Adventures | A Cautionary [Trail] Tale

Last summer, my sisters and I went on a camping and hiking adventure in Acadia National Park, Maine.   We hiked and canoed and looked at lighthouses and went tide-pooling and swam in lakes and roasted fresh clams over a campfire!  It was fabulous. Except this one thing...     So I may have mentioned a time or two that I'm the least experienced hiker of my siblings. I mean, two are accomplished 46ers, one is on her way to being a 46er, and the other is working through the Appalachian Trail. Heck, if I don't watch out, my siblings will probably end up turning my kids into more experienced hikers than I am!     But really, what I lack in experience and strength I make up for in enthusiasm and optimism!  Spoiler alert - this is where I ended up on the day in question:     Still smiling ;-) So it doesn't phase me at all when my sister tells me this trail she's considering taking us

Rediscovering CMOG Through the Eyes of a Child

Have you been to the Corning Museum of Glass lately? I just wrote a post for Urban Corning about how taking the girls recently helped me see CMOG with fresh eyes.      If you want to read the whole post, you can find it here!   Like this post? Please tell me in the comments about the last time you played tourist in your home town! I'd love to write down new

Market Street Construction Photo Op

I might be too late to enter these photos into Urban Corning’s contest  but I was inspired by Sean’s thoughts and I wanted to share my pictures anyways! Sometimes we forget that there’s a certain beauty, or at least something interesting, in everything… even the smelly, loud, inconvenient things like construction.     Three cheers for how quickly the Market Street repaving project happened! But while the street was closed, it was definitely an interesting experience. And I appreciate Urban Corning’s push to get out there and appreciate the unique chance to explore Corning in a different way!     I even had a couple chances to wander the empty streets at night with friends (and kiddos) and I hope that the memory of racing their friends up and down the street outside of Dippity Do Dahs stays with them. It was kind of fun that one of the busiest streets in Corning turned into a little bit of a

171 Cedar Arts Center | Spring Recitals

I'm really enjoying my first steps into the adventure of teaching photography at 171 Cedar Arts Center.     I love the energy and excitement I find whenever I walk in the beautiful buildings. The Cedar Arts family has such a diverse offering of classes that every day has a completely different feel. Sometimes during photography class we have the background music of an exciting tap class, or the amazing smells of a cooking class to tease us ;-) Or there's a new exhibit being set up across the hall in the gallery. (Check out Laura's work this week... it's a fabulous exhibit and it ends the 16th!)     It's a joy to be on staff and contribute my art to the mix by teaching and empowering my students!  The longer I'm here and the more I learn, the more in love I am with the mission and passion of 171 in this community.     So I was extra excited to work photographing the Spring Recitals this year. As a

National Trails Day | Sperr Memorial Park

Happy National Trails Day!  If you're looking for a great way to celebrate #NationalTrailsDay you should check out Sperr Memorial Park in Big Flats. It's just off 86 at exit 50.      As a part of the rails to trails network, it's also a beautiful memorial park to New York State Trooper Andrew J. Sperr.     We really like Catharine Valley Trail but it's a bit more of a commitment... Sperr Park is so nice because it's very manageable on a beautiful sunny evening after dinner.     So grab your bike (and helmet!) or your sneakers, and check out the peaceful trails around the pond.       There's easy parking and a playground. And in a pinch, there are... ahem... rustic restrooms for those with strong stomachs ;-)     Enjoy your lovely weekend! And I hope you get to enjoy a trail near you soon!     Like this

My Outdoorsy-Sister, My Nature-Muse

My younger sister is a third of the way done with her thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. And I miss her face off.      It's weird... she lives in Rochester so you would think I would see her all the time. But she's a bada$$ ICU/trauma nurse who works night shifts and weekends and I'm a single Mom with school-age kiddos. So I don't hang out with her as much as I would like. But there was something about her leaving for this six month (0r so) adventure of hiking most of the East Coast that feels so much more difficult than her living an hour and a half away. I know I can still text her and I know she's called me pretty regularly for really great chats. And I know I will see her at least once mid-adventure.     I also know she's having the time of her life... I know she's learning a ton about herself through this experience... but the fact that she isn't here is so strange and so hard. And then the empathetic heart of mine is dying

Pining for My Favorite Summer Spot

I have been daydreaming all week about this moment from last summer... my first time trying stand up paddle boarding.  The sun was shining on Mirror Lake and it was my first time viewing the town of Lake Placid from the water. I had bruised my sternum the week prior in an unfortunate hiking fight with a large piece of a granite boulder in Acadia National Park. So I wasn't able to mess around and try my hand at yoga balance postures like my siblings were doing. Besides laughing at their antics, the main memories from that evening are quite moments like in this picture... where I was just sitting down for a rest, enjoying the water and the warmth of the sun.      I've had a heart full of miss for Lake Placid this week. I want to go camping and feel my lungs burn as I haul my tush up a mountain. I want to get dirty and breathe fresh air and try stand up paddle boarding again. What about you? Sick of this crazy March weather, yet? What's

Travel Adventures | Montreal, Canada

So my siblings are pretty close. And one sister is about to abandon the family go off on an epic adventure to the Appalachian Trail. Naturally we needed to do a quick sibling trip to celebrate and send her off!      She suggested Montreal and the rest is history!     First of all, everyone remember that I'm not a travel expert and in fact, I'm absolutely terrible with maps and directions so take all of my advice with a lot of grains of salt ;-) But I hope you enjoy the pictures and if you do travel up there, maybe a tip or two from this post will be helpful!  I like this map app. I used it a lot in Europe because the offline feature gave me peace of mind.     Okay so our hotel was AMAZING and I highly recommend it if you're traveling in a small group. Trylon Apartments and Hotel has fully furnished spaces in a great location. Comfy and clean and well-priced. We didn't have time to use it,

Classes with Jess | Mastering Manual Mode at 171 Cedar Arts Center

There are a lot of people wandering around this wonderful world with a camera they just don't quite know how to use. It can be super frustrating and intimidating to open the box of your fancy new gear and realize that you haven't the slightest idea where to start with all those buttons and settings. It's scary, I know.  And I'm here to help! Bring your camera to 171 Cedar Arts Center on Friday nights and we will go over all the creative settings you need to know to get the images you've been pining for.     Some people go years and years without learning how to take their camera out of auto and into manual mode. But not you! Cause you're going to sign up for this class and learn how to shoot creatively.  In this class we're going to take baby steps out of those automatic settings and into the slightly scary amazing realm of manual, where you will discover the power to finally get the shots you want. You know your camera is capable of more and I