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Best of 2016

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Barbara Milligan sits for a portrait in her York home Friday, Jan. 8, 2016. Milligan had applied for a temporary protection from abuse (PFA) order against her husband, whom she said abused her, and was ultimately denied a full PFA because her husband failed to appear at court hearings. Milligan now lives in a different York home than the one she shared with her husband, and said she keeps the blinds closed and the doors locked and rarely leaves because she fears for her safety.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Bren Taylor, 14 of Hallam, walks on East Market Street to visit his grandmother, who also lives in Hallam, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. A snow storm affecting much of the East Coast is expected to bring up to 3 feet of snow to York County, Pa., through Saturday evening.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Central York’s Dylan Chatterton is embraced by his father and assistant coach, William Chatterton, before the 145-pound medal ceremony during the PIAA Class AAA wrestling finals Saturday, March 12, 2016, at the Giant Center in Hershey.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Yolequi Tejada holds her son Yaniel Calderon, 3, as she and others pray with the Rev. Jonathan Sawicki before a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York. The street procession followed the first nine of the 14-step Stations of the Cross, from Jesus’s being condemned to death through his falling with the cross for the third time, with the remaining stations taking place inside the church. The procession was performed almost entirely in Spanish, and was followed by a Spanish-language Good Friday service.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. A York City police officer searches for shell casings at the scene of a shooting on the 100 block of Stevens Avenue in York Wednesday, March 30, 2016. One female victim, whose injuries were reportedly not life-threatening, was taken to York Hospital.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. York Suburban’s Ian Firestone, center, tips the ball during practice Thursday, April 7, 2016. The York Suburban boys volleyball team is off to a 2-0 start in the season.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Members of Susquehanna Pipes and Drums perform outside Red Lion Fire Department’s social hall during York County’s third annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation shaving fundraiser Saturday, April 23, 2016. The event benefited pediatric cancer research, and featured two local boys who have undergone or are undergoing cancer treatments. Scot Becker, 15 of Jefferson, was diagnosed with medulla blastoma in July 2013 and has been in remission for two years, while Kai Sanborn of Springfield Township was diagnosed with leukemia in Sept. 2012 and will undergo treatment for another 1.5 years.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kelley Haslam, 20, leads horses Cinder, Gypsy and Lightning back to pasture Sunday, May 15, 2015, in Windsor Township. Karen Greene keeps three therapy horses on the five-acre property she and her family have rented since Dec. 2014. After a neighbor complained, the township notified Greene of an ordinance that limits one animal per two acres of land if that animal weighs more than 125 pounds. Greene, who uses the horses for therapy for her adopted, foster and biological children and for clients at Crosswind Farm Horse Riding Program in Cross Roads, said she would have to get rid of the three horses, who cannot be separated.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kennard-Dale sophomore Gavin Hill, left, chats with senior Travis McFatridge, center, as other seniors prepare to leave on their tractors Thursday, May 19, 2016, outside the school in Fawn Grove. Seniors got to drive farm tractors to and from school.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Seniors gather in the gym before Red Lion’s graduation Friday, June 3, 2016. Red Lion graduated just over 300 seniors in its commencement ceremony.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Aaron Dalton of Manchester Township carries his daughter Lily, 5, through the finish line at Heritage Hills’ second annual Color Me Free 5k Color Run Saturday, July 2, 2016, in York Township. About 100 participants ran or walked the race, which benefits Habitat for Humanity Veterans Build.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Callyn Lee, 6, center, laughs as brother Aidan, 11, tries to guess his “Hedbanz” card during the Lees’ “family fun night” Friday, July 29, 2016, in their York Township home. Heather and Robert Lee dedicate every Friday evening to family-friendly activities like a backyard bonfire or board games to get electronics-free face time with their three children.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. From left, Hanover running back ReSean Williams, York Suburban lineman Gavin Barclay and Northeastern quarterback Shannon Valenti stand for a portrait at Northeastern High School Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. A duck hitches a ride on the back of a kayak paddled by David Leppo of York Township on Lake Williams near the boat launch in Springfield Township Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. York County Parks ranger Kevin Clouser said the duck, whose species or gender is unknown, has been following and getting rides from kayakers on the lake for at least several weeks.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Gov. Tom Wolf, left, departs Ferguson K-8 accompanied by York City School District superintendent Eric Holmes and other officials Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2016, in York. The governor visited Ferguson K-8 to highlight the funding he’s put toward education.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Penn State’s John Reid catches an interception in the second half of an NCAA Division I college football game Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, at Penn State. Penn State defeated Temple 34-27, and celebrated the 50th anniversary of former head coach Joe Paterno’s first game by honoring members of the 1966 football team and showing video tributes on the scoreboard.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Firefighters work a fire at a gun range in West York Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. Emergency personnel responded to a working fire at West York Sporting Goods, a shooting range, in West York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. A bald eagle carries a branch over the Codorus Creek and the York County Heritage Rail Trail in Manchester Township north of U.S. 30 on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Ace Looks, 9 of Dover Township, watches Dover alumni football players prepare for an alumni football game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, at Dover. The teams of alumni football players featured graduate years ranging from 1977 to 2015. The game, organized by Alumni Football USA, was full-contact and benefited several local charities and organizations.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Sitting on the comforter that’s been her bed for the past month, Morgan Washington-Henry says grace over a take-out container of food a friend bought for her in her York apartment Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. She plans to get a bed and mattress in the next week. Washington-Henry, 19, and her four older siblings lived with their grandmother in Harford County, Maryland, until she died when Washington-Henry was 12. Washington-Henry spent the next five years living with a relative, in foster care and a group home until she aged out of the state’s system. After couch-surfing with friends and working at a York County summer camp, Washington-Henry was referred to Bell Family Shelter in York, where she stayed for 27 days before finally moving into an apartment of her own for the first time.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Penn State cheerleaders greet the crowd for the team’s arrival before an NCAA Division I college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, at Beaver Stadium. Penn State is hosting Ohio State.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Penn State head coach James Franklin, accompanied by daughters Addy and Shola, greets stadium employees before an NCAA Division I college football game Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, at Beaver Stadium. Penn State hosts Iowa.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Standing, from left, Larry and Michelle Walthour of York, Ellen Hockman of Towson, Md., and Jess Hagden of Fairview Township watch election analysis Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, at the Democratic Party of York County’s election watch party at the Roosevelt Tavern in York, Pa.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Northeastern football players embrace each other after losing a PIAA District 3 Class 5A first-round football game Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, at Northeastern. Cocalico defeated Northeastern 25-24 to advance to the next round.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. The Penn State football team enters Beaver Stadium before an NCAA Division I college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. Penn State is hosting Ohio State.

When reporter Brett began working on a story about Bell Family Shelter, he envisioned featuring several clients representing different ways the shelter helped them get back on their feet.

When we learned more about Morgan Washington-Henry — who spent her childhood living with relatives, in foster care and in group homes, who had never had her own place til now, who slept and ate on a thick comforter on the floor of her first apartment, who smiled brightly in spite of it all — the story became hers.

After we ran Morgan’s story at the end of October, donations poured in for her and for the shelter. Even as recently as last week, I received a voicemail from someone wanting to donate furniture to her. From the beginning, we’ve been referring readers to the Bell Family Shelter, in order to protect Morgan’s privacy, but it’s heartening to see the compassion and generosity generated by her story.

You can view the complete photo gallery here, read Brett’s story here and watch my video here.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry loads up a cart with items to bring to her new apartment from Bell Family Shelter in York Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry loads up a cart with items to bring to her new apartment from Bell Family Shelter in York Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. Washington-Henry, 19, and her four older siblings lived with their grandmother in Harford County, Maryland, until she died when Washington-Henry was 12. Washington-Henry spent the next five years living with a relative, in foster care and a group home until she aged out of the state’s system. After couch-surfing with friends and working at a York County summer camp, Washington-Henry was referred to Bell Family Shelter in York, where she stayed for 27 days before finally moving into an apartment of her own for the first time.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry glances at her reflection on her new apartment's bathroom mirror as she unpacks Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry glances at her reflection on her new apartment’s bathroom mirror as she unpacks Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry removes her shoes after returning home from work Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry removes her shoes after returning home from work Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. A collection of dolls and stuffed animals given to Morgan Washington-Henry over the years is nestled inside a mantel in her York apartment Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. A collection of dolls and stuffed animals given to Morgan Washington-Henry over the years is nestled inside a mantel in her York apartment Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Sitting on the comforter that's been her bed for the past month, Morgan Washington-Henry says grace over a take-out container of food a friend bought for her in her York apartment Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. She plans to get a bed and mattress in the next week.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Sitting on the comforter that’s been her bed for the past month, Morgan Washington-Henry says grace over a take-out container of food a friend bought for her in her York apartment Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. She plans to get a bed and mattress in the next week.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry reflects on her day at work between bites of dinner in her York apartment Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry reflects on her day at work between bites of dinner in her York apartment Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

After two adult men were shot in the parking lot outside William Penn’s first home football game last season, the school district moved the Bearcats’ remaining home games from Friday nights to noon on Saturdays.

The first Saturday day game, I could only stay until the end of halftime. But I made sure to arrive early to show how the Bearcats prepared for this home game.

You can view the complete photo gallery here.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. From left, Willam Penn football players Marcus Dorsey, Kahliek Savery, Brandon Vargas and Tobee Stokes prepare for a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York. Red Lion defeated William Penn 49-7 in what was the Bearcats' first Saturday noon home game after two adults were shot outside the stadium during the fourth quarter of a game Sept. 9. York City School District Supt. Eric Holmes made an executive decision to move the rest of the season's home games to Saturdays out of an abundance of caution.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. From left, Willam Penn football players Marcus Dorsey, Kahliek Savery, Brandon Vargas and Tobee Stokes prepare for a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York. Red Lion defeated William Penn 49-7 in what was the Bearcats’ first Saturday noon home game after two adults were shot outside the stadium during the fourth quarter of a game Sept. 9. York City School District Supt. Eric Holmes made an executive decision to move the rest of the season’s home games to Saturdays out of an abundance of caution.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn staff carry a metal detector gate to the entrance of Small Field before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn staff carry a metal detector gate to the entrance of Small Field before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn's Tobee Stokes ties a tie on track and field coach Tony Jones before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn’s Tobee Stokes ties a tie on track and field coach Tony Jones before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion football players warm up on the field before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion football players warm up on the field before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion head football coach Jesse Shay and William Penn head football coach Russ Stoner meet on the field before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion head football coach Jesse Shay and William Penn head football coach Russ Stoner meet on the field before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion cheerleaders -- including, from left, Olivia Riggs, Evelyn Adams and Brooklyn Bogdany -- join William Penn cheerleaders, including Darryanna Moore, second from right, in a cheer before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion cheerleaders — including, from left, Olivia Riggs, Evelyn Adams and Brooklyn Bogdany — join William Penn cheerleaders, including Darryanna Moore, second from right, in a cheer before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion cheerleader Dawson Kling holds up a phone on a selfie stick to take a selfie with mascot Leo the Lion and the Red Lion and William Penn cheer squads holding hands while performing pyramids before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion cheerleader Dawson Kling holds up a phone on a selfie stick to take a selfie with mascot Leo the Lion and the Red Lion and William Penn cheer squads holding hands while performing pyramids before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn football players leave the locker room before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn football players leave the locker room before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn football players enter the field for a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn football players enter the field for a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn football players hold hands during the national anthem before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn football players hold hands during the national anthem before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion's Dylan Gurreri carries the ball in the first half of a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion’s Dylan Gurreri carries the ball in the first half of a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn's Nigel Williams carries the ball in the first half of a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn’s Nigel Williams carries the ball in the first half of a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

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Like many projects, this one began with a simple assignment.

I was working the morning shift last January for another photographer when I headed out to a recovery house with city reporter Mark Walters. We sat down and talked with the man who owned and managed the house, which serves as a temporary home for recovering addicts, for at least an hour. We were introduced to a friendly resident who was instructed by the recovery house owner to talk to us, but “tell [us] the truth.” I never took my camera out of my bag.

When we left, I knew this was not just a one-off assignment and that this story — about how addiction recovery houses, sometimes called “sober homes,” are unregulated and flourishing in the city of York — was much bigger than we could know. I told Mark I wanted to own this project with him.

For a large chunk of the next three months, we pounded the pavement to investigate how and why York, a city of 5.25 square miles, became host to 81 recovery houses where addicts stay sober and gain control over their lives. We knocked on countless doors to talk to managers and residents, got turned away by some and were cautiously welcomed inside by others. Every day of reporting brought a new twist that would either slow us down or help us propel forward in learning more about the stakeholders in this thriving, essentially underground community.

Special thanks to Jeff for his support as the project took over my weekends last winter, to Mark for letting me co-pilot, to my editors and coworkers for allowing me so much time on this and to the nearly 20 recovering addicts who trusted us, shared their stories and permitted us to show their faces.

You can read Mark’s articles here and here, and view a complete photo gallery here.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Dave Dunkel, owner of Sees-the-Day, center, shares a cigarette break with, from left, Zachary Moser, 21, of Montgomery County, Pa.; Nathan Embry, 27, of Lancaster; and Roman Fissel, 22, of Manchester Township, all of whom live in a Sees-the-Day recovery house on Linden Avenue, on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016. Many recovering addicts are smokers, as cigarettes and nicotine replace the addictions from which they are recovering. York is home to a figuratively underground community of about 80 recovery homes that house drug and alcohol addicts. Many recovering addicts are sent to the houses by York County's probation department as an alternative to jail or homelessness, while other addicts come to York on referral from other treatment facilities or of their own volition. The houses, which are not designed as treatment programs and which can each house 5-12 recovering addicts, are not subject to state or county regulations . While owners of many recovery houses in York refused comment, other owners said their homes are structured to provide a system of support and accountability by requiring residents to attend 12-step meetings and gain employment, with the ultimate goal of graduating sober after a residency of about six months.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Dave Dunkel, owner of Sees-the-Day, center, shares a cigarette break with, from left, Zachary Moser, 21, of Montgomery County, Pa.; Nathan Embry, 27, of Lancaster; and Roman Fissel, 22, of Manchester Township, all of whom live in a Sees-the-Day recovery house on Linden Avenue, on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016. Many recovering addicts are smokers, as cigarettes and nicotine replace the addictions from which they are recovering. York is home to a figuratively underground community of about 80 recovery homes that house drug and alcohol addicts. Many recovering addicts are sent to the houses by York County’s probation department as an alternative to jail or homelessness, while other addicts come to York on referral from other treatment facilities or of their own volition. The houses, which are not designed as treatment programs and which can each house 5-12 recovering addicts, are not subject to state or county regulations . While owners of many recovery houses in York refused comment, other owners said their homes are structured to provide a system of support and accountability by requiring residents to attend 12-step meetings and gain employment, with the ultimate goal of graduating sober after a residency of about six months.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Nicole Anderson, 27, of Fairfax, Va., left, gets ready to go to work as Jenna Weaver, 24, of Carlisle, helps prepare dinner in a Pennsylvania Avenue home operated by Choices Recovery House, on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. The home is one of three female recovery houses operated by Choices, which also runs two male houses.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Nicole Anderson, 27, of Fairfax, Va., left, gets ready to go to work as Jenna Weaver, 24, of Carlisle, helps prepare dinner in a Pennsylvania Avenue home operated by Choices Recovery House, on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. The home is one of three female recovery houses operated by Choices, which also runs two male houses.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kathy Sorandes, center, helps run a

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kathy Sorandes, center, helps run a “house meeting” at a Pennsylvania Avenue house operated by Choices Recovery House, on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. Sorandes owns Choices, which operates eight recovery houses in York. Each of Choices’ houses, as well as others run by other companies, requires residents to attend a weekly house meeting during which chores are assigned, dinner duty is delegated, grievances are aired and encouragement and support are offered. Residents are also often required to show signed sheets indicating they have been attending daily 12-step meetings.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Anthony McClair, 50, brings groceries to the back porch for Will Howard, 54, to carry into the Linden Avenue recovery house where they live and which is operated by Sees-the-Day, on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Anthony McClair, 50, brings groceries to the back porch for Will Howard, 54, to carry into the Linden Avenue recovery house where they live and which is operated by Sees-the-Day, on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Christina Whelan, 27, of New Jersey, makes chicken parmesan with help from Allison Foust, 36, of Havre de Grace, Md., at the Pennsylvania Avenue house where they live and which is operated by Choices Recovery House, on Monday, March 7, 2016. Similarly to many other York recovery houses, residents at Choices are largely responsible for their own meals except for several weekly communal dinners.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Christina Whelan, 27, of New Jersey, makes chicken parmesan with help from Allison Foust, 36, of Havre de Grace, Md., at the Pennsylvania Avenue house where they live and which is operated by Choices Recovery House, on Monday, March 7, 2016. Similarly to many other York recovery houses, residents at Choices are largely responsible for their own meals except for several weekly communal dinners.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kailyn Brown, 24, of York Township, cleans the downstairs bathroom of a Pennsylvania Avenue home operated by Choices Recovery House on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kailyn Brown, 24, of York Township, cleans the downstairs bathroom of a Pennsylvania Avenue home operated by Choices Recovery House on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Fred Way, executive director of the Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences (PARR), ticks off a checklist while inspecting a resident's bathroom in a West Market Street recovery house operated by Safe Haven Transitional Living on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Way founded PARR in Jan. 2011 as a nonprofit that inspects and certifies qualified recovery houses that seek certification to distinguish themselves from scores of other houses. Each certified house is inspected annually.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Fred Way, executive director of the Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences (PARR), ticks off a checklist while inspecting a resident’s bathroom in a West Market Street recovery house operated by Safe Haven Transitional Living on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Way founded PARR in Jan. 2011 as a nonprofit that inspects and certifies qualified recovery houses that seek certification to distinguish themselves from scores of other houses. Each certified house is inspected annually.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Fred Way, executive director of the Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences (PARR), uses his flashlight as he inspects a shared bedroom in a West Market Street recovery house operated by Safe Haven Transitional Living on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Two recovery house companies in York city are certified by PARR, which annually inspects each house as part of the certification process.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Fred Way, executive director of the Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences (PARR), uses his flashlight as he inspects a shared bedroom in a West Market Street recovery house operated by Safe Haven Transitional Living on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Two recovery house companies in York city are certified by PARR, which annually inspects each house as part of the certification process.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Two doses of naloxone, a drug that effectively reverses an opioid overdose, are encased next to the living room thermostat of a Linden Avenue recovery house operated by Sees-the-Day, as seen Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Two doses of naloxone, a drug that effectively reverses an opioid overdose, are encased next to the living room thermostat of a Linden Avenue recovery house operated by Sees-the-Day, as seen Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016.

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For almost a full year, I’ve shared mostly travel and personal film on this blog. So, you’d be forgiven if you forgot or didn’t know that I’m a full-time newspaper photographer.

In my next few blog posts, starting with this one, I’ll share some of my favorite stories and work from 2016. First up is my first-ever Good Friday street procession:

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Yolequi Tejada holds her son Yaniel Calderon, 3, as she and others pray with the Rev. Jonathan Sawicki before a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York. The street procession followed the first nine of the 14-step Stations of the Cross, from Jesus's being condemned to death through his falling with the cross for the third time, with the remaining stations taking place inside the church. The procession was performed almost entirely in Spanish, and was followed by a Spanish-language Good Friday service.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Yolequi Tejada holds her son Yaniel Calderon, 3, as she and others pray with the Rev. Jonathan Sawicki before a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York. The street procession followed the first nine of the 14-step Stations of the Cross, from Jesus’s being condemned to death through his falling with the cross for the third time, with the remaining stations taking place inside the church. The procession was performed almost entirely in Spanish, and was followed by a Spanish-language Good Friday service.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others performing as Roman guards begin Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others performing as Roman guards begin Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Carrying a cross of 2x4 planks, Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others walk down East South Street during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Carrying a cross of 2×4 planks, Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others walk down East South Street during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Myriam Valencia, performing as Veronica, holds up the cloth she used to wipe Jesus Christ's face during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Myriam Valencia, performing as Veronica, holds up the cloth she used to wipe Jesus Christ’s face during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Carrying a cross of 2x4 planks, Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others walk down East South Street during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Carrying a cross of 2×4 planks, Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others walk down East South Street during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Fabiola García, 2, walks down East College Avenue behind men performing as Jesus Christ and Roman guards during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Fabiola García, 2, walks down East College Avenue behind men performing as Jesus Christ and Roman guards during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Carrying a cross of 2x4 planks, Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others walk down South Queen Street during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Carrying a cross of 2×4 planks, Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others walk down South Queen Street during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Lidia Monegro holds a tissue to her face as she and others perform as women of Jerusalem meeting Jesus Christ during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Lidia Monegro holds a tissue to her face as she and others perform as women of Jerusalem meeting Jesus Christ during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Jesús Solorio, performing as Jesus Christ, falls for the third time at South George Street and College Avenue during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Jesús Solorio, performing as Jesus Christ, falls for the third time at South George Street and College Avenue during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. People enter the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church after a Good Friday street procession Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. People enter the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church after a Good Friday street procession Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

When we visited California earlier this spring, I was fascinated by the trees.

“I like that tree,” I’d tell Jeff. A minute later, I’d see another: “Oh, that one’s nice.”

It wasn’t just trees, though. I loved the flowers, the succulents, the plants that flourished in tidily maintained spaces and those that found life on bare rock faces and in the sand.

When we returned to California this fall, that same fascination arose, as well as the same, often one-sided conversations.

“That succulent is really nice. Did you see that tree, and its bark?”

We spent our last full afternoon in California in Carmel-by-the-Sea, a seaside town known for its fairytale-like cottages and storybook-like village center. It was utterly charming, but it just so happens the only pictures I made there were at two very different churches — and their respective gardens.

First up, San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo Mission, otherwise known as the Carmel Mission.

© 2016. San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo Mission in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo Mission in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo Mission in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo Mission in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo Mission in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo Mission in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo Mission in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo Mission in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

Then, we happened to pass by a smaller church whose garden — open to the public — was pure joy.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Church of the Wayfarer garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

That’s it for my fall California film — but rest assured, there’s a boatload of New Zealand film at the lab this very minute!

When Jeff and I spent an all-too-brief weekend in Monterey, Calif., with my brother Matt and his family, touring the Monterey Peninsula’s 17-Mile Drive was a very last-minute decision. I’d previously read briefly about the drive, which navigates private neighborhoods, upscale golf courses and the Pacific coastline, but wasn’t quite sold on the idea until about 30 minutes into it. To everybody’s surprise, driving the 17 miles ended up taking several hours because there were so many beautiful stops along the way, and turned out to be a magnificent way to spend almost the entirety of a beautiful, late October morning.

We started our drive at the Highway 1 gate, where the toll guard handed us a brochure with descriptions of 21 designated points of interest. First up were Shepherd’s Knoll and Huckleberry Hill in the Del Monte Forest:

© 2016. Morning fog in the Del Monte Forest on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Morning fog in the Del Monte Forest on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The Del Monte Forest, as seen from the Shepherd's Knoll vista point on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. The Del Monte Forest, as seen from the Shepherd’s Knoll vista point on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Huckleberry bushes on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Huckleberry bushes on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

After we meandered back down toward sea level, the views suddenly changed:

© 2016. The Restless Sea vista point on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. The Restless Sea vista point on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

After you pass the Inn & Links at Spanish Bay, the drive follows the Pacific coast through to the end. While much of the actual coastline is rocky and off-limits to visitors, Spanish Bay was a beautiful beach with picnic tables and wooden boardwalks.

© 2016. Spanish Bay on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Spanish Bay on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Spanish Bay on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Spanish Bay on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Spanish Bay on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Spanish Bay on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

After Spanish Bay, many of the points of interest began to blend in together, as the coastline became rockier.

© 2016. The Restless Sea on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. The Restless Sea on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The Restless Sea on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. The Restless Sea on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The Restless Sea on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. The Restless Sea on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The Restless Sea on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. The Restless Sea on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Golfers tee off at the 14th hole of the Monterey Peninsula Country Club's Dune Course near Point Joe alongside 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Golfers tee off at the 14th hole of the Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Dune Course near Point Joe alongside 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. A flock of birds over the Restless Sea on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. A flock of birds over the Restless Sea on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The Restless Sea on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. The Restless Sea on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The Restless Sea on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. The Restless Sea on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Pescadero Point on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Pescadero Point on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

So many views on 17-Mile Drive were breathtaking, and well worth the $10-per-vehicle toll. We took our time going through it on a Monday morning, and never felt crowded at the stopping points except at Bird Rock. Golf enthusiasts may enjoy getting the chance to pass through at least six different golf courses on the drive, while bird watchers have several points at which they can observe various shorebirds.

© 2016. The Lone Cypress on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. The Lone Cypress on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey County, California. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

And for two photographers and the parents of two young, walking children? The drive was a great way to kill a few hours and burn through a couple of rolls of film.

More California/Carmel-by-the-Sea film coming up, soon!

Jeff and I won’t see my family for Christmas this year, so when we found super-cheap roundtrip flights to Los Angeles, we immediately arranged a somewhat impromptu trip to meet my brother Matt and his family in Monterey at the end of October.

On our way from LAX to Monterey, Jeff and I stopped at Morro Bay just as the sun was sinking into the clouds over the horizon.

© 2016. Morro Bay, California. Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Morro Bay, California. Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Morro Bay, California. Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Morro Bay, California. Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Morro Bay, California. Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Morro Bay, California. Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6×7.

We met up with Matt, Emily, Layla and Henry in Monterey, where we shared a big hotel suite for the weekend, and the next morning we all piled into a minivan to Big Sur. From there, we’d work our way back up north on Highway 1.

© 2016. Layla at Lucia Lodge off Highway 1 on Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Layla at Lucia Lodge off Highway 1 on Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Big Sur in Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Big Sur in Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

On the drive down to our southernmost point of the trip, the weather was gnarly — once, we pulled over so I could look at a vista, and my hair blew out sideways in the pelting rain as soon as I opened the car door. So we took a long, leisurely lunch in Lucia before heading back north. Fortunately, this tactic paid off at the very, very end.

© 2016. Mill Creek Picnic Area off Highway 1 in Big Sur, Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Mill Creek Picnic Area off Highway 1 in Big Sur, Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Mill Creek Picnic Area off Highway 1 in Big Sur, Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Mill Creek Picnic Area off Highway 1 in Big Sur, Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Layla and the bubbles at Mill Creek Picnic Area off Highway 1 in Big Sur, Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Layla and the bubbles at Mill Creek Picnic Area off Highway 1 in Big Sur, Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. McWay Falls trail in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur, Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. McWay Falls trail in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur, Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. McWay Falls trail in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur, Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. McWay Falls trail in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur, Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. View from McWay Falls trail in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur, Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. View from McWay Falls trail in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur, Monterey County, California. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

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Last month, Jeff and I took a two-day trip north to Corning, N.Y. After we made our own glass at the Corning Museum of Glass, Jeff surprised me with an afternoon excursion Watkins Glen State Park, which is famous for its sheer river gorge that features 19 different waterfalls. Had I known we’d be exploring the gorge, I wouldn’t have brought my Mamiya C220, which shoots square frames, but here are some of the pictures I made:

© 2016. The Gorge Trail in Watkins Glen State Park in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. Portra 400+1, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. The Gorge Trail in Watkins Glen State Park in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. Portra 400+1, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Watkins Glen State Park in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. Portra 400+1, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Watkins Glen State Park in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. Portra 400+1, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Watkins Glen State Park in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. Portra 400+1, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Watkins Glen State Park in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. Portra 400+1, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Watkins Glen State Park in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. Portra 400+1, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Watkins Glen State Park in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. Portra 400+1, Mamiya C220.

The next afternoon on our way back to York, we took a detour to visit Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Jeff had been billing it as “the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania” (to be fair, many others refer to it as such), but when we arrived just before sunset, I felt a little let down. The fall foliage couldn’t be beat…

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

…but after exploring the Watkins Glen gorge and having visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona as well as Palo Duro Canyon in northern Texas, I couldn’t see anything canyon-esque about Pine Creek Gorge.

It’s a very nice river valley, though.

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

© 2016. Pine Creek Gorge in northern Pennsylvania. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Portra 400, Mamiya C220.

As I wrote in my first Taiwan blog post, the point of the trip was to surprise my grandma for her birthday. When we weren’t exploring different parts of Taipei, we spent time with my grandma, which often involved meals, which frequently included her circle of friends.

The biggest meal was a birthday lunch hosted at a Neihu District restaurant by three of my grandma’s oldest friends whose husbands had all served in the Republic of China’s Navy with my grandpa in World War II. The husbands have died after enjoying decades of friendship, but their widows are still close friends. It was certainly the most lively meal we had in Taiwan, with a lot of delightful banter that I couldn’t understand but still enjoyed.

After the meal, I took portraits of each of the women, as well as my grandma, outside the restaurant:

© 2016. After Grandma's birthday lunch with friends in Neihu District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. After Grandma’s birthday lunch with friends in Neihu District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. After Grandma's birthday lunch in Neihu District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. After Grandma’s birthday lunch with friends in Neihu District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. After Grandma's birthday lunch with friends in Neihu District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. After Grandma’s birthday lunch with friends in Neihu District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Grandma, after her birthday lunch with friends in Neihu District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Grandma, after her birthday lunch with friends in Neihu District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Grandma (far left) with friends in Neihu District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Grandma (far left) with friends in Neihu District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6×7.

Then, the women parted ways, either by taxi or subway:

© 2016. Grandma says farewell to a departing friend who boarded her taxi, in Neihu District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Grandma says farewell to a departing friend who boarded her taxi, in Neihu District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Grandma on the subway out of Neihu Station. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Grandma on the subway out of Neihu Station. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 400+1, Pentax 6×7.

Growing up, my brothers and I would see our grandparents every Sunday for dinner, but I’d never spent much time with my grandma until this trip to see her in Taiwan. It was really lovely getting to learn more about her life and character as we sat together for breakfast every morning, and to meet so many of her friends throughout the week. It was also very special to me, as a photographer, to get to photograph my grandma in her own country, on film. I only wish we’d been able to do this sooner, and that we might be able to do it again in the near future.

That’s the last of my Taiwan blog posts (until I visit again?!). Here’s a quick rundown of the previous ones, if you happened to miss any:

  1. Welcome back, Grandma
  2. Da’an District
  3. Xinyi District
  4. Guandu Temple and Beitou District
  5. Huiji Temple on Zhishan
  6. Taipei by night
  7. Spirited away in Jiufen
  8. Jiufen by night
  9. Lungshan Temple of Manka
  10. Bopiliao Old Street
  11. Maokong Gondola
  12. National Palace Museum
  13. Day market
  14. Night markets

 

As I wrote before, the first thing you’ll hear about when planning a trip to Taipei is the night markets — and for good reason.

© 2016. Lin Jiang Street Night Market in Da'an District. Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Lin Jiang Street Night Market in Da’an District. Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Shilin Night Market, in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Shilin Night Market, in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

Night markets are street markets that begin operating just before sundown and close late at night. Many began as a collection of goods and food vendors clustered around temples, and now tourists and locals alike can choose from the larger, destination night markets as well as the more suburban, lesser-known, localized night markets. We visited both large and small night markets. Regardless of size, you’ll usually find that stores facing the street will fling their doors open to sell household goods or clothes, while food vendors will crowd the sidewalks and the middle of the street to hawk their xiaochi, the snacky foods at which Taiwan excels.

© 2016. Shilin Night Market, in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Shilin Night Market, in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Shilin Night Market in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Shilin Night Market in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Shilin Night Market in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Shilin Night Market in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Shilin Night Market in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Shilin Night Market in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

Shilin Night Market is one of the largest in Taiwan, and even featured carnival-like games on one edge of its expanse. There’s also an underground food court area that’s almost as crowded as the street level. At one point, I asked my uncle Doug whether Taiwanese locals go to night markets, or if we were just surrounded by fellow tourists. He said night markets attract both — it’s a social thing to do, and the food is so cheap and easy to share.

Unfortunately for me, by the time we arrived at night markets at the end of the day, Taiwan’s oppressive humidity had sapped much of my hunger and appetite. The snacks I did try were delicious, though, and there was no shortage of food options. Night markets, especially the larger ones, can be overwhelming due to the sheer number of vendors, pedestrians and bright lights, but I think we succeeded in trying the foods we’d wanted to, and in immersing ourselves a bit in Taiwanese culture.

© 2016. Shilin Night Market in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Shilin Night Market in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Shilin Night Market in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Shilin Night Market in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

One of my favorite things about my grandma’s apartment in the Da’an District of Taipei is that it’s only a short walk away from a market (specifically, the market shown in the second photo of this blog post). Like older market houses in the U.S., this one features licensed vendors selling a variety of items from their stalls, ranging from fresh produce to raw meat to prepared foods to household goods. I can’t imagine many of the stalls would pass USDA regulations for food safety, but everything looked and smelled so good. Here are just a few photos, taken on a morning when my grandma and uncle Doug walked over to pick up some items for breakfast.

© 2016. A butcher in 台北市公有成功市場 in Da'an District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. A butcher in 台北市公有成功市場 in Da’an District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Fresh-made dumplings in 台北市公有成功市場 in Da'an District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Fresh-made dumplings in 台北市公有成功市場 in Da’an District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Fresh squids in 台北市公有成功市場 in Da'an District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Fresh squids in 台北市公有成功市場 in Da’an District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. A vendor greeting my grandma and uncle Doug in 台北市公有成功市場 in Da'an District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. A vendor greeting my grandma and uncle Doug in 台北市公有成功市場 in Da’an District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

For the first half of our week in Taipei, we debated whether to visit the National Palace Museum. The cons: It’s like the Met of Taipei, except more epic, so it teems with tourists. The pros: It’s like the Met of Taipei, except more epic, so you kinda need to go.

© 2016. National Palace Museum in Shilin District. Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. National Palace Museum in Shilin District. Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

Located in the Shilin District, the museum’s collection of almost 700,000 Chinese imperial art and artifacts spanning about 10,000 years of Chinese history. It’s not without its own controversy: The collection was originally housed and displayed in Beijing, until the 1930s when Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek ordered that the most valuable pieces be evacuated ahead of the advancement of the Japanese Imperial Army. The collection continued to be moved around until the surrender of Japan in 1945. Three years later, the museum again evacuated the most valuable pieces, this time to Taiwan, before the Communist army seized control of the museum.

The People’s Republic of China claims the collection currently in Taiwan was stolen and actually belongs in China, but the Republic of China (Taiwan) has used the art and artifacts to bolster its claim to legitimacy because those items would likely have been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution in the mainland.

In the end, Jeff and I visited the museum by ourselves, going through almost every exhibit, relishing the air conditioning and trying to stay ahead of the traffic clogs that were the official tour groups of Japanese and Chinese tourists. We also visited the Zhishan Garden that’s outside the museum, but it was raining pretty hard, so I didn’t take any photos.

© 2016. Gateway to the National Palace Museum, facing the street and apartment buildings, in Shilin District. Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Gateway to the National Palace Museum, facing the street and apartment buildings, in Shilin District. Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

I’m glad we made the decision to go, as disappointing as it was to learn that the museum’s most beloved pieces — the jadeite cabbage and the meat-shaped stone (literally, a piece of jadeite carved to resemble a head of cabbage and a piece of jasper carved and colored to resemble braised pork belly) — were temporarily being displayed elsewhere. I’m much more familiar with European and American art, so it was refreshing to learn more about Chinese art and history.

Probably the most touristy thing we did during our week in Taipei was the Maokong Gondola.

© 2016. Maokong Gondola in Wenshan District. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Maokong Gondola in Wenshan District. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

The gondola lift system is actually part of Taipei’s MRT subway system. The line runs between the Taipei Zoo and the Maokong stations, with a total of four gondola stations on the line. Maokong itself is in area in Wenshan District, the southernmost of Taipei’s twelve districts, and is known for its tea plantations and mountainside views. The gondola itself is also much of the attraction.

© 2016. Maokong Gondola in Wenshan District. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Maokong Gondola in Wenshan District. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Maokong in Wenshan District. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Maokong in Wenshan District. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Maokong in Wenshan District. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Maokong in Wenshan District. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Maokong in Wenshan District. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Maokong in Wenshan District. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

We did take a trail to a temple that offered gorgeous views of Taipei — but by then, it was dusk and I didn’t have a tripod for my heavy Pentax 6×7. So, here’s my Instagram from that temple…

© 2016. View from Zhangsan Temple (樟山寺) in Wenshan District. Phone photo.

© 2016. View from Zhangsan Temple (樟山寺) in Wenshan District. Phone photo.

…and here’s a view of Taipei from another road earlier in the day:

© 2016. Maokong in Wenshan District. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Maokong in Wenshan District. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

Taipei isn’t all gleaming new buildings and cosmopolitan districts. Just a short walk from Lungshan Temple of Manka in Wanhua District is Bopiliao Old Street, a historical street and adjacent buildings that date back to the late 18th century.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

Bopiliao is one of the oldest and most well-preserved historical areas in Taipei. While many rooms are empty, some serve as art gallery spaces and others are dedicated to an interactive museum that compares facets of modern and “ancient” Taiwan culture.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

The abundance of brick and natural growth — as well as the absence of bright signs, fluorescent lights, street vendors and vehicle traffic — make Bopiliao a popular spot for photo shoots, as you can see in the final photo in this post.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Bopiliao Old Street in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

Of the three temples we visited in Taipei, Lungshan Temple of Manka (also spelled “Longshan”) was by far the most popular. Built in 1738, it’s been partially destroyed by earthquakes, fires and WWII American bombers over the years, but was always rebuilt and renovated. The temple is located in Wanhua District, a fairly historic part of the city, and is right across the street from its own MRT station, which I’m sure contributes to its popularity among locals and tourists.

© 2016. Lunghsan Temple of Manka, right up against a more modern glass-paneled building. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Lunghsan Temple of Manka, right up against a more modern glass-paneled building. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Lungshan Temple of Manka. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Lungshan Temple of Manka. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

The other two temples we’d visited (Guandu and Huiji) are lesser-known and less-traveled, perhaps because they’re located so far from central Taipei and are a longer walk from MRT stations. I felt like I needed to tread carefully there, since we were the only obvious tourists at those temples.

Lungshan Temple was the complete opposite. While there were many worshippers and faithful paying their respects, it seemed like their numbers were almost matched by Western tourists. We saw a few sultry photo shoots, as well as a guy operating a Steadicam-esque setup. To top it off, we recently watched the season premiere of Fresh Off the Boat, in which the Huang family visited Taiwan for a wedding — and the bride was a model working a shoot at Lungshan Temple.

I’m glad Lungshan wasn’t the only temple we visited, but that doesn’t take away from the experience of visiting it.

© 2016. Fruit and flowers on the tables at Lungshan Temple of Manka. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Fruit and flowers on the tables at Lungshan Temple of Manka. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Lungshan Temple of Manka. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Lungshan Temple of Manka. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Lungshan Temple of Manka. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Lungshan Temple of Manka. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Lungshan Temple of Manka. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Lungshan Temple of Manka. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

Jiufen is magical.

© 2016. In the courtyard at very bottom of the famous Jiufen stairs. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. CineStill 800T, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. In the courtyard at the bottom of the famous Jiufen stairs. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

So is CineStill 800T.

© 2016. Inside the upper tea room of Yu Zai Fan Shu Tea Stall (九份芋頭蕃薯) in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Inside the upper tea room of Yu Zai Fan Shu Tea Stall (九份芋頭蕃薯) in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. A collection of pottery, teapots and other items at Yu Zai Fan Shu Tea Stall (九份芋頭蕃薯) in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. A collection of pottery, teapots and other items at Yu Zai Fan Shu Tea Stall (九份芋頭蕃薯) in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Looking up the famous Jiufen steps. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Looking up the famous Jiufen steps. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Jiufen Old Street, after the vendors closed for the night. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Jiufen Old Street, after the vendors closed for the night. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

If you take the 1062 bus out of Taipei and are lulled to sleep by the the winding, hour-long ride, you’ll wake up in the charming mining town of Jiufen.

© 2016. Jiufen in Ruifang District. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Jiufen in Ruifang District. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Jiufen Old Street in Ruifang District. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Jiufen Old Street in Ruifang District. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

Located on the northeastern shoulder of Taiwan, Jiufen was a mining town whose gold rush began in the 1890s and declined after World War II. After a 1989 movie, City of Sadness, was filmed in Jiufen, interest in the town was renewed, and it’s since been a popular tourist attraction. Rumors that its architecture was the inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away make Jiufen particularly appealing to Japanese tourists.

Famous for its narrow, winding streets lined with shops, its wide array of tea houses and food stalls and its vast views of both Taiwan and the ocean, Jiufen was a great day trip out of Taipei, even if it was a little more touristy and less historical than I’d hoped.

© 2016. A restaurant in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. A restaurant in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. A Mei Tea House in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. A Mei Tea House in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

It was extremely overcast, even foggy, the entire day. We hoped the skies would clear for us to get the iconic shot of the A Mei Tea House (above) with all the paper lanterns lit up at dusk. But some strange combination of the higher elevation, the ocean gusts and the mountain terrain kept the clouds lingering directly over Jiufen, even as the sun was shining on the bay several miles away. It was pretty disappointing, especially since I’d been looking forward to making that photo.

For the rest of the week in Taipei, whenever it was overcast or drizzly (which was every day), we’d sigh, “It’s probably sunny in Jiufen.”

© 2016. A Mei Tea House in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. A Mei Tea House in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Jiufen in Ruifang District. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Jiufen in Ruifang District. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Jiufen in Ruifang District. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Jiufen in Ruifang District. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. A small temple in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. A small temple in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Jiufen in Ruifang District. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Jiufen in Ruifang District. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. One of the many, many cats we saw roaming the streets of Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. One of the many, many cats we saw roaming the streets of Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

After wandering the outskirts of Jiufen, we returned to the main stretch, where again the weather disappointed us. Unfazed, my uncle Doug led us down the famous Jiufen stone steps, through a short, narrow tunnel and to Yu Zai Fan Shu Tea Stall (九份芋頭蕃薯), where he educated Jeff and me a bit on Chinese tea culture.

© 2016. Menu board at Yu Zai Fan Shu Tea Stall (九份芋頭蕃薯) in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Menu board at Yu Zai Fan Shu Tea Stall (九份芋頭蕃薯) in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

We also had a killer view from our window seat:

© 2016. View from Yu Zai Fan Shu Tea Stall (九份芋頭蕃薯) in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. View from Yu Zai Fan Shu Tea Stall (九份芋頭蕃薯) in Jiufen. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

After drinking so much high mountain tea that the insides of my mouth turned dry and puckery, we left to roam the streets of Jiufen once more. I’ll have CineStill photos from Jiufen in my next blog post.

Analog: Taipei by night

When you’re planning to visit Taiwan, the first thing anyone talks about is night markets. I’ll have an entire blog post dedicated to night markets later, but suffice it to say that Taipei has a pretty active night life, and I knew early on that I’d want to capture that on film.

Some quick research introduced me to CineStill, which reworks ECN-2 motion picture film so it can be shot and processed for C-41. They’re working on production of medium-format film, but for now, only 35mm is available. It’s not a perfect film — it’s particularly known for halation — but I loved the examples of urban night photography I’d seen, and wanted to give it a try. Thanks to a Canon EOS A2 loan from Tyler Rippel, via FIND in a BOX, I was able to shoot CineStill in Taiwan.

Honestly, it was nerve-wracking for me to use new-to-me film with a new-to-me camera at night in a country I may never be able to visit again. But I trusted my light meter and went for it. The results certainly aren’t perfect — they’re gritty, grainy and grungy — but that’s exactly what I wanted. Here are a few photos from our nocturnal wanderings, with more to come:

© 2016. Xinyi District. Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Xinyi District. Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Xinyi District. Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Xinyi District. Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Xinyi District. Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Xinyi District. Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. CineStill 800T +2, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Ximending in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +1, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Ximending in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +1, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Ximending in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +1, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Ximending in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +1, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Ximending in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +1, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Ximending in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +1, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Ximending in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +1, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Ximending in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +1, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Ximending in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +1, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Ximending in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +1, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Ximending in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +1, Canon EOS A2.

© 2016. Ximending in Wanhua District. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. CineStill 800T +1, Canon EOS A2.

To get to Huiji Temple on Zhishan — a small, lesser-known temple on the top of a jungly hill in the middle of Shilin District in Taipei — you must take a short but very steep hike up this step path…

© 2016. One of two paths to Huiji Temple on Zhishan in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. One of two paths to Huiji Temple on Zhishan in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

…or you must take a short but very steep hike up this step path.

© 2016. Huiji Temple on Zhishan in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Huiji Temple on Zhishan in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

I am enamored of red paper lanterns, which you’ll see in future blog posts as well. When I was researching for our trip and saw this beautiful path lined with tasseled lanterns, I knew we needed to see it for ourselves.

The temple itself is a smaller one, and much of the front was shielded by construction scaffolding as it was undergoing renovations.

© 2016. Huiji Temple on Zhishan in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. Portra 400+3, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Huiji Temple on Zhishan in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. Portra 400+3, Pentax 6×7.

So, despite the stifling humidity and swarming mosquitoes in the jungle-like conditions, I spent most of my time on the lantern path. We’d arrived at the temple just before dusk, so light was fading fast, especially in the thick foliage beneath the temple where the path was.

© 2016. Huiji Temple on Zhishan in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. Portra 400+3, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Huiji Temple on Zhishan in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. Portra 400+3, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Huiji Temple on Zhishan in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. Portra 400+3, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Huiji Temple on Zhishan in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. Portra 400+3, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Huiji Temple on Zhishan in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. Portra 400+3, Pentax 6x7.

© 2016. Huiji Temple on Zhishan in Shilin District. Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. Portra 400+3, Pentax 6×7.