Tag Archives: photography

TEAN Photo Contest 2011

3 Mar

I bet you guys thought you would never hear from me again, didn’t you?!  Well, this is long overdue (like… several months overdue) but a friend suggested that I should post an update about how I won $100 with two of my Australia photos since this is where I first posted them.

I submitted a bunch of my photos to an alumni photo contest through my study abroad program, The Education Abroad Network.  There were several different categories and each category winner got $50.  Two of my photos were category winners, so I got a check for $100 in the mail.  It was a very, very nice surprise for a broke college student.  Here are the two photos that won:


TEAN Category Winning Photo: “Check Us Out”

I took this on day 6 of my spring break road trip with my Australian friend Jenni.  We took a day trip out of Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef, where we spent hours snorkeling (we were the first people in the water and the last people out!) and then drank Coronas as we sailed back into port.  It’s one of many great memories I have from that trip, and this photo really sums it up.  TEAN liked it so much that they framed it and put it on the wall of their new Chicago office… nbd. 

TEAN Category Winning Photo: “Putting the STUDY in Study Abroad”

This one is from my EV3406 field trip to Orpheus Island.  The actual title of that class was Coral Reef Geomorphology, which is the study of reefs as landforms: how they form, the processes that shape them, etc.  We did a lot of surveying, or mapping elevation changes across various reef flats.  That’s what is happening here.  While my classmates were surveying, I waded out to the reef crest and turned back to get this shot.  I really like how you can actually see the coral in the foreground.  I’m proud of this shot and I’m glad that it won.

So that’s that!  This was first time that any of my photos have won anything, so it was pretty exciting.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I love photography and how I’d like it to be more than just a hobby on the side.  I decided that I’m going to find out how I can convince someone to pay for me to go around and take photos of awesome places.  It might take a while, but I’m pretty confident that I can do it.  I’ll be sure to let you all know when that pans out.

In the meantime, I’m graduating this spring!  I’ll be heading out to California this summer, back to Camp Ocean Pines which some of you may remember from my first blog Kat in Cali.  I’ll be the Program Coordinator and Camp Photographer, which means I’ll have tons of opportunities to photograph the beauty that is the central coast.  It also means that I will be several thousand miles away from my friends and family, without much time to keep in touch with people- working at a summer camp is pretty much a 24/7 job.  Conveniently, I’ve started to really miss blogging lately.  You’ve probably figured out where this is going… I will be reviving my blog this summer!  Actually, I’ll probably keep it going past the summer, since I don’t yet know where I’ll go next but it will probably be far from home.  I’m not sure if I’ll resume posting on Kat in Cali or if I’ll make a new blog.  It recently occurred to me that I can’t just make a new “Kat in ____” blog every time I go somewhere new (I mean, I guess I could…..) so I probably need to make a more permanent one.  Either way, I’ll post a link here when I start up again.

And now I’m off to enjoy spring break.  Tomorrow I leave to drive down to Miami, where I board a cruise ship and head to the Bahamas!  HAPPY SPRING BREAK EVERYONE!!!


Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

15 Jul

This post is technically about Koh Phi Phi Don, which is just one of the Phi Phi islands (pronounced “pee pee”, which I still think is funny) but since it’s the largest island and the only one with permanent inhabitants, it’s usually just referred to as Koh Phi Phi.

Though Koh Phi Phi is only about a 50 minute ferry right from Koh Lanta, the two islands could not be more different.  For one thing, Phi Phi is very small- so small that there are no roads, cars, or motorbikes, only dirt paths that weave between the shops and stalls and are constantly crowded with tourists.  You know how before I said that Lanta is heavily dependent on tourism?  Well, Phi Phi is like a physical embodiment of the tourism industry.  Every menu and store name was in English and everywhere we went we were surrounded by Westerners.  For every traditional Thai restaurant there were three others serving Western food- burgers, sandwiches, spaghetti, even Mexican.  It was so weird.

As strange as it was suddenly being surrounded by people who spoke my language, it was kind of fun.  It was pretty clear that everyone was there to have a good time and it really is the perfect place to do so.  Koh Phi Phi is absolutely beautiful- probably a bit more so than Koh Lanta, though I still very much prefer the latter.  Here are some photos.

(Yeah, we got Mexican food.  It was about as good as you could expect Mexican food to be in Thailand.)

One day and one night on Koh Phi Phi turned out to be the perfect amount of time, partly because the crowds got a little irritating but mostly because the next day I was too hungover to move.  It turns out that Phi Phi is quite the party island, which makes sense given the fact that pretty much everyone there is young and on vacation.  Sophie and I decided that we deserved one night of quality partying after working so hard on our dive courses and going to bed at like 9pm every night of our trip so far (I’m not kidding), so party we did.  We drank out of buckets, attended a fire twirling show, and watched some  live Muay Thai boxing in a bar that I think was called Reggae Bar yet had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with reggae.  Here are the few photos I took that night.

We departed Koh Phi Phi feeling like crap, but the kind of crap that isn’t SO bad because you know it’s only because you had a really fun night.  All in all it was a good end to the trip.  I flew out the next day to meet up with my mom and continue on to New Zealand.

So that’s all for my Thailand posts.  I had an incredible time on this trip.  I really went into it with no expectations at all (to be completely honest, the only thing I knew about Thailand was that was somewhere in Southeast Asia and produced great food) which is part of what I think made it so great.  Furthermore, traveling with Sophie was awesome, which is also great because I barely knew her when we decided to go on this trip together.  I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but this whole thing started when I saw her at a party and we ended up making drunken plans to go to Thailand together.  Somehow, I’m still not sure how, I got my parents to go for it and the whole thing ended up actually happening- clearly one of those very rare times that drunken plans actually lead to something awesome.  Anyway, Sophie is one of those people who are unfailingly upbeat.  She’s in a good mood 99.9% of the time, not in an annoying way but in a way that is both genuine and infectious.  She made an excellent travel companion and we got along very well.  Basically, everything just worked out perfectly.  Like I said, it was great.  Definitely a trip that I’ll remember forever.

Only a few more posts before I retire this blog!  Check back in a few days if you want to hear about New Zealand and/or see some pics.

A photo update

26 Mar

Hey guys, sorry I’ve been MIA for like a week.  I’ve been really busy with schoolwork… I kind of just ignored it all until this week and I’m now realizing that I have a lot more to do than I thought.  I have two pretty big papers due the day after spring break (it’s not really spring but that’s easier to say than “lecture recess”) and I’m not trying to spend my week off doing them so I’m trying to get started now.  Unfortunately, I also have a ton of other stuff due over the next two weeks, so it’s going to be a little rough for a while.

Anyway, I figured I would update you all with some miscellaneous photos that I’ve taken since I’ve been here.

This is my room.  Pretty bare, I know, but I don’t really need that much.  I recently started sleeping in my sleeping bag instead of my sheets, which I realize probably sounds weird… but trust me, you would have to try out the sleeping bag to understand.  I love it:

This is my desk.  Fascinating, I know:

This is George.  One night as I was walking home from a party, my friends and I passed these two middle-aged Australian men walking a dog with drinks in their hands.  (Keep in mind, it was like 2am.)  One of them was carrying something else- he walked up to me, said “This is George.  Take him with you.” and handed me a garden gnome.  So now he sits next to my door.  I like to think he protects my room, but really he looks too kindly to protect anyone from anything:

This is my section of the refrigerator.  I don’t really have anything to say about it, I just felt like taking this picture:

There are little geckoes and skinks and god even knows what other type of lizards running around the hallways all the time.  I think they’re adorable, especially super tiny ones like this:

This is a random street on the way into town.  The weather here is pretty much typical of the wet season… it’s always either raining, or looks like it’s about to start raining:

This is the Strand, Townsville’s main beach, from a pier at sunset:

I found this bag in a shop downtown.  I think it’s weird and hilarious:

And finally, for those of you who don’t know tomorrow is my 21st birthday.  On Thursday morning I got a call on my cell phone saying that I needed to come down to the front office to pick up a delivery: gorgeous flowers and a bottle of wine from my parents for my birthday.  Thanks Mom and Dad, I love the flowers and I’ll put the wine to good use tonight. 😉

Tonight I’m planning on going into town so that when midnight hits and I officially turn 21 I’ll already be having an awesome time.  Tomorrow I made plans to get brunch with my friend Jenny, then go the the market and hopefully the beach after that.  In the evening I’m going to this place called the Riverview Tavern for my birthday dinner and drinks- hopefully it’ll be a good time.  For now though, I’m going to try this new thing where I’m actually productive and do work so that I don’t put everything off until the last minute.  I’ll let you all know how it goes.  Have a great weekend!

Reef HQ

14 Mar

Today I went into town to check out Reef HQ, an aquarium with tons of fauna from the Great Barrier Reef marketed as the largest living coral reef aquarium in the world.  (You can read more about it on their website.)  It was really cool and I’m so glad that I went.  I almost didn’t because nobody wanted to go with me, but I decided to just take my camera and go by myself which ended up being an awesome decision.  It’s much easier to meet people when you’re by yourself, I’ve found, and I ended up talking to this guy that volunteers there for like two hours.  He was really knowledgable about the aquarium and all the fish/turtles/coral/everything else that they have there (apparently you have to go through a ton of training to become a volunteer) and he ended up teaching me a lot.  He also had some good tips for what I should do while I’m here AND he gave me a private tour of Reef HQ’s turtle rehabilitation center.  I’m sure some of you (read: Dad) are thinking that this guy must have been creepin’ on me, but I consider myself a pretty good judge of character and I assure you he was very nice and not creepy.  I think he was just happy to have someone to talk to on a slow Sunday.

In my last post I promised you all photos.  I took a TON today (264) but most of them aren’t very good- if you’ve ever been to an aquarium you can probably appreciate that the lighting is not very conducive to photography.  I picked what I think are the best ones to show you guys.  I used my 50mm prime lens today (meaning it doesn’t zoom) which is why these are primarily close-ups.  Remember: if you want to see a bigger version, just click the photo.  Enjoy!

A tiny saltwater croc:

Freshwater turtle:

Various marine creatures (if you actually want to know what any of them are, ask away… I know most of them but didn’t feel like typing out all the names):

And finally, the turtle rehab center:

That’s all I’ve got for now.  I definitely plan to go back and take many more photos- I actually paid for a membership so now I can go back whenever I want and get discounts for my friends.  It was only like $10 more… totally worth it.  So yeah, expect to see more Reef HQ shots at some point.  I’m also working on that post about Australian phrases/lingo, so check back in a few days for that.  And now I’m off to bed- it’s already midnight and I pretty much have the sleep schedule of an old person here, so this is past my bedtime.  Goodnight!