National Art

Although most of downtown DC was overrun with visitors for the annual Pro-Life march on Monday, the National Gallery of Art was pleasantly empty. I met my Minnesota friends Emily and Nathan Carroll for an afternoon of urban exploring and we wandered through many hundreds of years of art and sculpture. I found myself drawn to the huge old landscapes more than usual, imagining the world before paved roads and vacation condos interrupted pristine shorelines and mountain valleys.

Soul Food

I concluded a long day with an assignment to photograph a local singer/songwriter performing at one of my favorite bars. I was running behind schedule and my previous assignment (a public meeting) hadn’t produce any great shots, so I arrived at Jimmy’s on the James feeling a bit frazzled. As soon as I entered, Renee Ruth came to meet me at the door, saying she was just about to play a second set and that she was grateful to have me there. My nerves eased a bit as I took out my camera and she took a seat at the piano, and my stress disappeared when she started singing. I realized that I haven’t seen any live music (apart from a few amateur bands and informal jams) in a LONG time. The bar was mostly empty so I had free reign to move around the piano and utilize the limited light available. I shot through several songs and then, as my shift officially ended, took a seat at the bar to enjoy the rest of her set.


Unlike the vacationers depicted in most travel brochures sipping fruity drinks in lounge chairs, the Michels-Boyce family trips usually end up feeling like a marathon of activity (although we mix in plenty of fruity drinks, too). I met up with my parents, brother and sister in Hawaii and we saw as much of Maui as our schedule and budget would allow. We ziplined, hiked, swam, snorkeled and tried out the best Mai Tai spots around Laheina. For me, the two highlights were learning to surf in Honolua Bay and exploring the natural freshwater pools in the Oheo Gulch at Haleakala National Park. Of course, even grocery shopping in board shorts and sandals was a relaxing break from the ‘normal’ winter activities I usually endure.

Writing this now back in Virginia, with the trees outside bare and the temperature hovering around freezing, it is hard to imagine that at this exact moment other people are enjoying the same sights and weather as I did last week. Most photos I take are of fleeting, one-time events, to document and preserve moments in time. This set of photos, however, is more a reminder of a place that is waiting for me to return to and hopefully I will find it relatively unchanged when I do.

  • Travelers in the Kahului Airport.
  • A couple considers the best spot from which to jump into one of the natural pools in the Oheo Gulch at Haleakala National Park.
  • Maddie Michels-Boyce sits in a Rainbow Eucalyptus tree – natural bark coloring, non-native to Hawaii.
  • Surfers at Honolua Bay.
  • A surfer in Honolua Bay on a small wave.
  • Graffiti on the leaves of a plant at Wainapanapa State Park.
  • Outdoor shopping mall in Laheina.
  • Tree trimmer at a beach resort.
  • Sam Michels-Boyce leads a hike near the Hana Highway.
  • Bill Keys works on a poem at his “Poems While You Wait” stand on the street in Paia.
  • Sunrise observers at the rim of Haleakala crater, 10,023 ft.
  • Sailboat on the ocean.

Interrupted Travel

…is how Delta refers to a trip or flight canceled due to weather, which is what I am facing here in Atlanta. Since arriving from Los Angeles seven hours ago, I’ve kept myself busy learning the ins and outs of the Atlanta airport — I found the cheapest decent meal (Quiznos sandwich for $7) and the best bar ($6 draft beers at Sojourner’s Cafe with free high speed wifi and good music). Next it’s back to Terminal A (it has the best seats for napping) where I intend to read my new book, The Corrections, and edit photos from my trip to Hawaii until I pass out for a few hours. My flight tomorrow morning departs at 8:35 and if it’s on time I might actually make my eye appointment in Lynchburg. Fingers crossed.

Update: I woke up to discover the 8:35 flight had been canceled and the next two flights were both full. All told, I ended up spending 30 consecutive hours in the Atlanta airport before finally securing a seat on a flight at 8:00 PM.