Tristin Kroening Photography: Blog en-us (C) Tristin Kroening Photography (Tristin Kroening Photography) Sat, 08 Aug 2015 11:32:00 GMT Sat, 08 Aug 2015 11:32:00 GMT Tristin Kroening Photography: Blog 120 80 Frogs to Frogger           If traveling creates an environment where we don't eat as well, exercise, or sleep as well and each day brings new trials, then I've been traveling since the plane landed. The source of being able to have this adventure has been employment so if the experience here in South Korea were to be completely determined by said employment, then maybe it is best to just keep my mouth shut on that topic and follow Thumper's advice. Of course there have been moments to meet amazing people and make fantastic new memories. Such moments were usually last minute weekend jaunts or the result of spontaneously getting lost in the big city. Unfortunately however, getting lost in the city alone often leaves me with an inexpressible queasy feeling.   

  Bee HiveBusy bee headquarters

        Since my arrival and subsequent population shock, I've been trying to convey this very particular feeling to my new friends and colleagues. While at home or work, I'm not aware of it as much. It is more something that exists when I venture out and worse anytime I have to take public transportation. This feeling is one of isolation and loneliness mixed with the overwhelming fear that nothing matters and that I am simply an insignificant ant in the giant expanse of the universe. 

           It sounds a little strange to invent a word here but it feels appropriate. I arrived fairly comfortable with the culture already and wasn't surprised by much except the overwhelmingly strong work ethic. The most noticeable thing, however, has been the anxiety that the sheer quantity of  people gives me. In addition to that, I am somewhat overwhelmed by all the tall buildings, cars, and not being able to see the skyline or the stars clearly at night. Seoul is always in constant motion. Something is always being built. Someone is always running somewhere. Some poor soul is always peddling American goods at a "discount". That is another thing that deserves mentioning this first go around. South Korea is steeped in custom, history, and culture. Usually, however, when I go into the city, I'm bombarded by the United States of American Apparel or Justin Bieber shirtless hovering above a thousand busy Koreans.

Live Frogger Gameon the busy streets of Seoul.  

          With that said, I have no exciting tales to share this time, simply a comparison that attempts to explain the stark contrast between the childhood I had and the city I frequent now. The photos included are from Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea and St. Marks Refuge, Tallahassee, Florida. Obviously, I didn't grow up at St. Mark's Refuge but these photos, taken during my adult life, best convey the vast open areas and skies I grew accustomed to as a child. Hope you enjoyed the mild distraction from whatever you were doing and can somehow relate to this hard to describe feeling I'm still having.

St. Marks National Wildlife RefugeFresh air and open blue skies.

St. Mark's National Wildlife RefugeHeadquarters Pond. Frogs, alligators, and snakes oh my.




]]> (Tristin Kroening Photography) Adjusting City Country Culture Marks Seoul Shock St. Traveling blog expat florida korea marshes nature seoul teacher Sat, 08 Aug 2015 11:11:24 GMT
What's Clean in Tallahassee - Dogs at the LCHS Dog Wash Do you ever want to just get out there and roll around in the dirt, romping around like its no body's business while all the prickly plants stick to your hair? No? Well your dog does. As you probably know well by now, your dog LOVES this. They love to roll around in things that you wouldn't want to get within ten feet of and they think dust baths are a viable form of good hygiene.


So if your darling pooch could use a bath, The Leon County Humane Society has the best way to get Fido clean. Every second Saturday of the month from 10am-2pm beginning now until September, the LCHS provides their well received Dog Wash Fundraiser. For only $10, your pooch gets a refreshing bath, an optional flea dip, and a towel dry by caring local volunteers.












Seriously, the dogs love it. Of course, the best part is the shaking. They shake, shake, shake in good dog fashion and smile with their tongues lolling out while they get rinsed off and while the volunteers playfully dry them. All of this while you sit, relax, and enjoy all the fun.


The Leon County Humane Society is always trying to offer more and will be doing their best to provide different special attractions throughout the dog washing season. This particular dog wash had so many great things. There was a veterinarian on hand for questions, a carpet cleaning service, and even a local artist providing individualized dog drawings. They are also always welcoming volunteers.







If you would like more information on the dog washes or volunteering to wash dogs, check out their page by clicking the link below.                                                                                                


And remember, this is Florida, dogs love being washed in the summer months!


]]> (Tristin Kroening Photography) County Dog Wash Humane Leon Society dogs fundraisers tallahassee Wed, 17 Apr 2013 20:45:52 GMT
What's Growing in Tallahassee - The iGrow Youth Farm

It has been an idea of mine for some time now to photograph something groundbreaking in the community. Recently, I was fortunate to stumble upon the iGrow Youth Farm of Tallahassee, Florida. The garden is managed by a few dedicated adults and ten or so unlikely gardeners: local high school students. They team up twice weekly to work, plan, and sell their produce. I was immediately drawn to them because they are an integral part of something else growing in Tallahassee: community gardens! Luckily, I had the chance to spend some time with them to learn what they’ve learned, to feel their sense of community, and to try to understand why they like gardening.

The teens are very knowledgeable about the processes of gardening. I really loved the details they shared: how the compost works, why there are several layers, why it shouldn’t dry out, and why it needs oxygen and nitrogen. One high school student explained how a local garden is much more cost effective than a commercial store. There is literally much less overhead, as there is no “big-box” to pay for. Also, there is no middle-man: the teens harvest the food when the customers stop by for their orders. Food doesn’t get any fresher, and that makes the teens proud.

This is a magnificent opportunity for youth to experience food in a whole new way. They are learning when to plant, thin, and harvest crops, as well as how to do everything else that goes with a garden. However, there is much more to do than just grow food. Each Monday they get the chance to cook a meal together using the foods they’ve grown. The gardeners are even sharing in the chore of building a shed to store their tools and supplies. The adult team leader working with them on the shed has built houses with Habitat for Humanity, so the teens are getting the added bonus of learning carpentry skills from someone with experience. He is definitely making sure the work is done right, too. The last time I visited them, they were creating a gradient to the land to prevent water from settling underneath the shed.

Most importantly was the insight into what they liked about the garden.  The students are well aware of the garden’s benefit to the community and are pleased to share with the neighbors who frequently keep an eye out for the garden area. Of course they appreciate reaping the edible rewards of all their hard labor as well. One teen mentioned the fascination of seeing broccoli for the first time outside of a grocery store. Others liked getting outside, getting dirty, and other various aspects that reminded them of being in the country. My absolute favorite response was related to compost: a student’s fascination with the alchemy behind composting. By combining many different separate recognizable pieces, we get something completely new yet still familiar – soil.  It reminded me of building a community, which is exactly what these students have accomplished.



If anyone is interested in supporting the iGrow Youth Farm, don’t hesitate to visit them! They are located on Dunn Street in Tallahassee, and you can find them tending to the garden every Monday and Friday afternoon. Available at the garden are many varieties of greens, carrots, chives, chard, parsley, lettuce, and kale. If you are interested in having your own garden, the teens will build and install raised beds for customers who request it. If you don’t have space for a real garden, they also sell iGrow buckets — self-watering container gardens — pre-planted with tomatoes with a built-in trellis for customers who would like to ease their way into gardening. Maybe with a little help from the iGrow Youth Farm, you can say “I grew something" too.











]]> (Tristin Kroening Photography) Community Frenchtown Garden High Learning School Students Tallahassee Teens Youth Mon, 08 Apr 2013 20:13:49 GMT
What's Growing in Tallahassee -- Betton Hills Community Garden           Early in the morning, at least much earlier than I normally wake up, there was mist still present on the greens and herbs growing out in the garden. Lovely people were bustling about, tending to this task or that matter. The smell of earth was apparent in the air, birds sang a call to action, and we even found a frog hiding in the leeks.









       This darling little place is a garden in Tallahassee called the Betton Hills Community Garden. Coordinated by Sue Hansen of Tallahassee, the garden is managed well with 12 orderly 10 foot by 10 foot square plots which are individually purchased. Gardeners decide what they would like to grow, and tend to their plots accordingly.                                                                      

Once a month, everyone pitches in for their “work day” which includes the chores and upkeep of the area as a group. For instance, one helpful gardener painted on a protective coat for the garden sign that was a little under the weather. Normally “work days” also include weeding, mulching, and raking the common areas. They have really put a lot of work into this garden from the beginning. Just the ground for the beds alone was designed by layering the following items in this order: a layer of cardboard, six to eight inches of leaf mulch, two year old mushroom compost, and seaweed with granite dust mixed in. More leaf mulch and shredded tree bark was used in the walkways. These crafty locals also designed several gorgeous benches and their garden sign with abandoned wood.

                     Sue shared one particular story with me that demonstrates the group’s commitment to the garden’s success. She described, “When our garden was approved by the City, the City installed a water meter close to the edge of the property, by the sidewalk and on a slope.  To get water to our beds required approximately 80 feet of hose.  Because the garden is located in a park area maintained (mowed each Monday) by Parks and Recreation crews, we had to keep removing the hose and keep it coiled up in the central area of our garden so it would not interfere with their mowing.  The slope got muddy and slippery; it was difficult and hazardous. So we built some sturdy wooden steps to get to the spigot. I informed the City of what we had done and why, and two weeks later they installed an underground pipe and a spigot in the center of our garden, no charge!  To pay to have it done would have cost us $10 per foot.” This story really speaks to me because it shows how they were able to cooperate with the governing body affecting them. With a little creativity and patience, they were able to peacefully resolve a situation that affected their community.

         When a group of people come together to create something amazing, they really need to be able to work together like this. That is why one of the most important aspects of community gardens is the community. Luckily, they have this wonderful skill of camaraderie. These green thumb friends take a break here and there to recount the important things in life. Of course, the gardeners really benefit from each other’s expertise as well. If one gardener isn’t sure about a particular vegetable, one of the other growers is bound to know the answer. When they are done sharing the chores and each other’s company, they share their wonderful creations.

Some of the colorful edibles from their garden that day were winter greens, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, basil, tarragon, parsley, turnips, and ginger. In the summer they usually have tomatoes and peppers as well.





         If you are in Tallahassee and would like to join this community, feel free to send me an email and I will get you in contact with them.

















]]> (Tristin Kroening Photography) Betton Community Florida Garden Gardening Hills Tallahassee Vegetables Sat, 23 Feb 2013 20:57:35 GMT
Christmas Family Fun         Even though the holidays have past, I had to share this wonderful family. They invited me over for an in-home photo shoot in front of their gorgeous Christmas tree, so the location was already fantastic. Everyone was genuinely glad to be home, as classy as can be, and most importantly, everyone had fun! So the credit goes out to them, because without their delightful personalities, these adorable photos would not exist.

















]]> (Tristin Kroening Photography) Christmas Family Happy Holiday Home Personalized Portraits Tue, 08 Jan 2013 22:11:14 GMT
Traveling to Magical Ireland         Traveling is like a wedding, it can be fun and exciting, but it might rain too. A word of advice is to not get ones heart so set on certain famous landmarks. Staying in Moscow, Russia four years ago, the only thing I knew much about was St. Basil’s Cathedral. Most folks know of it, the iconic colorful church in Red Square. We weren’t taken to that church for almost three weeks. I spent so much time worrying about trying to find a time to go see it on my own that there was probably a lot missed in the process. 


         Recently, when traveling to Ireland, I had this ridiculous elaborate plan to stop one day in each special place which I’d dreamt of for so long. We had a week…so that was a bad plan. So, there are the famous Cliff’s of Moher, there are numerous ancient Celtic ruins, and the awe inspiring Giant’s Causeway to the north. This didn’t even begin to touch on all that most people travel to Ireland to see; it was just my personal plan.


         I didn’t see any of it. Upon inspecting the train system on our second day in Dublin, we quickly realized that there wouldn’t be enough time to go to each location we had in mind. So we planned to leave Dublin and head towards our predetermined departure location, Shannon Airport. This, we presumed, would allow us to see the Cliff’s of Moher, to stay in Dingle, a famous seaport relatively close to the Cliffs, and maybe visit Galway before we left. Our train left Dublin at 11am on our third day and we made it to the closest town near Dingle at around 3pm. The next bus to Dingle left at four. Our hour long bus ride into the vast countryside was convincing enough. We would enjoy ourselves more in one location than spending so much time to get to each new site. We also settled on Dingle because it satisfied several other personal “must see” requirements. An Daingaen is a Gaeltacht – a region where Gaelic is spoken frequently and preferred. It is also known for its live pub music scene, and is a harbour fishing town.












































         The first night still allowed me the time to grab a bite and take in the season’s last amazing performance of live pub music. Then the wonderful beauty of travel took shape. Something occurred that was far better than our original plan. Apparently, the Dingle Peninsula was once named “the most beautiful place on earth” by National Geographic. What!? I can’t really describe how excited I was as a photographer to learn that information. Cliffs, beaches, and rolling hills covered in farm houses and pastures of sheep as far as the eye can see. This was, however, a journey outside of town in which one was supposed to rent a car or take a bus tour around the iconic peninsula. We had neither option, no car and running low on funds.  As luck would have it though, I met the kindest couple from Connecticut who decided to let us join them on their self driven tour. In return, they were compensated with complete coverage of their journey.

          So whether it is your wedding day or that big trip to the Emerald Isle that you’ve planned your whole life, go with the flow. God is there on your wedding day and definitely in Ireland.


]]> (Tristin Kroening Photography) Beaches Boats Cliffs Dingle Gaelic Ireland Music Pubs Sheep Travel Weddings Thu, 13 Dec 2012 18:34:13 GMT