The end of a school year never fails to leave me exhausted. Another year is over, and now I have my two months of travel, learning and rest ahead of me. I need this time. One of the main reasons why I remain a teacher is that it provides me with the time to explore what my heart pulls me toward without needing to be concerned whether that exact piece will provide me with the money to make the next rent cheque. Teaching is tough, though, and managing students, parents, administrators and all of the co-curricular work requires talent and patience. Still, those people all deserve the best that I can humanly provide at all times, and I do my best for them…but now is my time.
So where does that leave me? It leaves me with Chicago and Milwaukee in a week. I am taking my mom on another adventure, and this one will be to the industrial north to enjoy Wrigley Field, hot dogs, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Chicago blues and the Art Institute (unless they refuse me entry a second time). It will be nice to hole up at the W Lakeshore hotel and just spend some time with my mom. We lost my grandmother this year, so the motto of while we can rings just as true as ever.
Next will be three nights alone in New York City…I probably need some time alone to reflect on the year, and while I will be attending a demanding workshop for the school during the day, there will be some time to drift at night through late night diners and jazz clubs. I found a room at the hotel Night for a great price thanks to Tablet Hotels, and being able to compare Chicago and New York within a week or two should be interesting.
Finally, it will be off for the big adventure: Spain and Morocco for three weeks in August. I met V. in North Africa, so going to Morocco with G.A.P. Adventures seems like a fun proposition. There will be camel-riding, tagines, late night markets, the desert and brilliant photographic opportunities. We will begin in Madrid, Spain, go to Morocco, and then return for time in Barcelona before flying home. Barcelona is a culinary mecca these days, and I will really appreciate the time in Europe.
On other fronts, yet again KEH.com impressed me with their customer service. I received a call from a man to tell me in the most delightful southern accent that he had just shipped me out a replacement for the damaged item. I know that they have been nothing but wonderful to deal with over the past few years, and I never hesitate to make my bigger purchases from them. Returning items is impossible though due to Customs, but I accept that if I make a purchase, then I had better be sure I want it. So far, the Linhof and Hasselblad gear has been workhorse in durability and has surfaced as part of the food photography kit.
Lastly, the images from the blog were taken with a new Canon 50mm f.1.2 lens that I picked up with the remainders of the yearbook budget. Since I am training a fellow teacher to shoot, I have given her the other 50mm f.1.4, because I think you need to shoot wide open to understand aperture. What they say about the focus is true: you really need to be accurate, but that is fine and to be expected. I would say that I will need a lens calibration done for the camera though. It seems a little soft at f.1.2, which can be attributed to just being off in relation to the 1DmkIII.