Welcome! My name is Jamie, and I choose to see the world through a lens.


A camera lens, that is.  I am a self taught photographer who picked up the medium a few years ago and found it to be hugely complimentary to my journalism studies.  My other passion happens to be traveling, and when all those things intersected, I found myself in Around the World in 28 Days, a January Term class at Saint Mary’s College instructing and immersing us in the world of travel journalism.

On this blog you will find chronicles of what I’m learning, documents from our field trips, and lots of photos.  Why should you read?  Because everyone should know what it feels like to find beauty in your own backyard, and that’s exactly what I hope to do this January.  Join me.

SMC Redwood Grove Podcast

WebsitePhotoFacilitiesRedwoodGroveStressed about finals?  Psyched about the big game?  Just want to get away from your roommate?  Then the Saint Mary’s College Redwood Grove is the perfect place for you to relax and de-stress.  Check out this podcast and learn about the history of SMC’s rural campus, and hear from a student who loves it that way.

World War 2 Vehicles Tour Cultures of San Francisco

IMG_7232The smell of fried rice wafted past my face, and I imagined the rich orange chicken and fortune cookies that were sure to come.  Ahh, China.  But wait… is that garlic bread?  And pizza?  It was that quick- the aromas swirling in the air changed so fast that I couldn’t keep up, but I wasn’t in China, and I wasn’t in Italy.  It was San Francisco offering these scents, and as I leaned my face into the wind I caught another fragrance: salty bay water.

Just 49 square miles contain hundreds of cultures, hundreds of thousands of people, and innumerable vehicles in San Francisco.  To see it all, there’s one vehicle in particular that might be of interest- the San Francisco Duck Boats.  Open to the air, the Ride the Ducks experience isn’t just an attraction for tourists, but rather anyone hoping to get a more vibrant look at the many different neighborhoods and waterways around the San Francisco Bay. Continue reading

Sonoma- wine country with some attitude

IMG_7142Sonoma, CA made headlines recently for taking the number one spot as TripAdvisor’s top wine destination in the United States- but put your adventure face on and experience this small town for yourself, there’s more than just wine to taste here.  Imagine you have only an afternoon to spend in a place, and you want to see as much as possible.  You might be a little overwhelmed at all the top ranked things to see and do (and drink!) while you’re here.  Take a step into the Plaza, home to Sonoma’s heart and soul, City Hall, and the visitor’s center, and experience just a few things that will help you understand what Sonoma’s all about.

Check out this video and then see the top 5 after the jump!

Continue reading

Livermore, CA- More than just wine country

Livermore is an old ranch town converted into a modern city with a small, but hip downtown space.  While many people visit Livermore’s wine country to taste at one of 50+ wineries in city limits, there are a few select attractions worth sprinkling between those barrel rooms.

First Street Alehouse

firststreetalehouse1-1This newly expanded and renovated restaurant on the main downtown First Street is by far the most popular place to eat in town.  Frequently boasting 1-2 hour waits (no reservations) the beer selection alone is worth the wait.  Sit outside and try the unique pear cider and the jalapeño corn chowder, but make sure to take a look inside at one of the world’s largest beer can collection, whose display takes up every wall.

Bankhead Theater

Bankhead-TheaterLivermore’s new downtown performing arts center is introduced by a beautiful lawn space, which frequently hosts live music and dancing during the summer.  The beautiful theater will host the production The Full Monty weekends through January, and when the show’s over, have some whiskey on tap next door at Sauced.

Veterans Park

ar131751937120726Take a break from downtown and head into the countryside, to Veterans Park.  While Sycamore Grove tends to be a more popular hiking destination, it’s often unbearably dry and teeming with family photographers.  Veterans Park sits beneath the old abandoned Veterans hospital in a wooded grove that promises more shade and foliage.

Livermore Rodeo- “World’s Fastest Rodeo”

mlIf you happen to be in town the first two weekends of June, the Livermore Rodeo can’t be beat.  Staying true to the town’s original identity, the Rodeo plays host to all kinds of events, including barrel racing and bull riding.  Known as the “World’s Fastest Rodeo,” you’ll have a chance to see all the events and head downtown to relax for the evening.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

nif1This Department of Energy laboratory is a high security facility that is host to NIF- the National Ignition Facility.  NIF is home to the most powerful laser in the world, and their aim is to achieve fusion, and the promise of clean sustainable energy.  Set up a tour ahead of time, and experience one of the most advanced scientific and national security laboratories in the world.

“Speechless Brothers”

I spent a fascinating Thursday with Mick Jagger, under a periwinkle blue sky.  He was everything Mick Jagger should be: feisty, rugged, and wearing some wild rock star hair.  Only watch out- he might spit.

Thing is, Mick Jagger is a llama.  A full grown, Peruvian llama.  And that’s not an insult to the rock star, but I think this Mick Jagger was pretty cool too.  IMG_6862

We pulled up to the Redwood Regional Park staging area in Oakland and there were plenty of people piling out of their cars to hike, run, and bike the trails, including Geo Caldwell.  Several huge llamas were also hanging out in the lot, being gawked at and photographed by all the hikers and runners.  Caldwell is the proud owner of the llamas, and he graciously agreed to let us get to know them and learn a bit regarding why they are so important to him.  As we tentatively walked towards them, none of us particularly familiar with the behaviors and patterns of llamas, Caldwell was harnessing them up and caressing each of their faces, muttering sweet nothings into their ears.  Noticing us all approaching, he exclaimed hello, and immediately told us, “This is Bodacious, you can call him Bo.” Continue reading

Karl Mondon Visit

Here’s a slideshow of a few frames captured while walking around campus with Karl Mondon!  Mondon is a fantastic photo/videojournalist from the Bay Area NewsGroup, and has covered everything from local news to the London 2012 Olympics.  He visited our class to help us get started understanding the basic principles of photography and how to best use the medium with our articles.

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Not Your Average Sailing Adventure

“The roughest way to see the Na Pali Coast”

"God's Eye" from the air.

“God’s Eye” from the air.

Have you ever spent time on a trampoline traveling on the water at 40 miles per hour with nothing holding you down?  I have.  And they told me I was going on a “sailing” adventure.

When I think of sailing, images come to mind of dramatic sunsets, whistling winds, and smooth waters as passengers sip champagne.  Captain Andy’s Sailing Adventures offers an experience such as the one I described above, but I soon found out that was not the trip I was signed up for.

A dolphin and her baby, just off our boat.

A dolphin and her baby, just off our boat.

The island of Kauai is the most remarkable, vivid place I’ve ever visited- almost primitive in its landscapes and vistas.  Early in our trip we set out for a Zodiac boat tour of the Na Pali coast.  The boat we were set to travel in was essentially a powerful floating inner tube trampoline.  Our group lined up as our captain instructed us that this trip wasn’t for the “faint-hearted,” and we all chuckled, assuming the theatrical introduction was a bad attempt to scare us. Continue reading