Half Marathon

Yesterday I got up at the very early hour of 5am to spectate as some 900 humans ran 13.1 miles. Among those humans was my sister, twenty-four year old Samantha Frenduto. Sam trained for this race for about three months. Our whole family both nuclear and extended are runners, so watching her run her first half was a really big deal for us all! I decided to bring my camera along and attempt to capture some moments of the day. I definitely wish I had rented a longer lens for better images, however I was okay with what I ended up capturing. The beautiful thing about running is that it is really a no judgement atmosphere. Whether you take an hour and ten minutes or three hours, everyone is there for the same purpose, and I find it to be a truly amazing and unifying activity. Can’t wait to go to more. For now, I think I’m gonna go for a run. Catch you guys next week-


For portraiture class, our first assignment was to practice the workflow of a session by creating portraits of a client that we seek out and be slightly open in our creativity. We had to create a full length, 3/4 length, head/shoulders, headshot, and two open images. I photographed my friend Gabbie, a young lady with a lot of spunk and awesome features. We talked about her sense of style, defining features, and what sort of images she likes before the session. She came in and we photographed for about an hour and a half. Overall, I’m pretty excited with the photos, and I’m really pumped to be in the studio more.

It’s been so amazing to watch everyone blossom this semester. Watching all of my classmates bustle around the halls with hand fulls of gear makes my heart smile! This place is truly special, and I love seeing everyone’s styles and personalities blossom.



This weekend, my cousin Nina and her boyfriend Luke came through Durham on their way to the Outer Banks, and we got to hang out for a few days. After not visiting our little town in ten years, I was eager to show Nina how much Durham has evolved. Aside from seeing the local NPR station and getting some coffee, What else is there to do in a newly revived and “hipster” city than get some incredible and delicious ramen! We headed over to Dashi, a Japanese restaurant that is what we’ve coined as being “Mia friendly” (I have gastroparesis and thus can only eat really specific meals.) We each had a bowl of slurpin’ noodles, and a lot of good conversation. It’s really great to have extended family around for a bit, as it’s always a nice excuse to reminisce and plan future adventures.

Oodles of Noodles

Headshot Blitz

Today in class we had to shoot eight headshots with a studio lighting setup under a twenty minute timer. In our line-up of anxious students, the tensions built but it ended up being a lot less painful than I imagined. It was actually good to see that we were capable of doing things in a timely manner, and after coming out with some nice images, felt rewarding. When I got home, I was backing up my images and importing them and decided to play with some of the retouching techniques we learned this week in digital image tech, such as spot removal for flyaway hair, adding some “pop” into the eyes with an adjustment brush, and doing a nice black and white adjustment.

In the coming weeks, we are doing our first bridal sessions and open portraits, which I’m really looking forward to as well. After seeing the graduates from last year go through their second year assignments, I am thrilled to see everyone in our class develop their own unique styles and voices. Art is something that is so beautiful and so essential to our world and its function. I am beyond grateful to be in a school environment that supports us, prepares us for work, and allows the flow of creativity.

Preparing to Photograph the RCC Faculty

In class today, we got checked out on one of the portrait bays and were set free to photograph some headshot style images to prepare for photographing the RCC faculty in September. My lovely model was my classmate Kathy, who got to sit through my struggling phase of getting back into my groove, and also had the joy of being my first subject with glasses. I enjoyed being able to play with lighting again, and and getting to bond with my fellow portrait students. It’s going to be such an amazing year to grow and be surrounded by like-minded talented humans.


During the break between first and second year, I set out on a bit of a grand adventure. Nathan and I decided to take his trusty stick-shift Honda Fit for a multi-thousand mile trip through the Northeast. We began by driving to Pennsylvania to visit where my Dad grew up, We then went to Ithaca to stay with Nate’s mom, and finally to Vermont where he was raised. The trip was extremely eye-opening in the sense that even driving a few states away drastically changes the culture and belief systems of the people who live there. I really enjoyed our Vermont leg of the trip as I met a lot of people that I bonded with in many aspects. I felt wrapped in love and understanding the entire time, which is a lot to say for being gone over a month period. In our last few days, we decided that being so close to the Canadian border was way too tempting, so we took advantage and stayed in Montreal for two days.

Over our travels, I learned an archive of new skills; including how to drive a stick-shift car, understand the metric system when driving, and what good maple syrup actually tastes like. Perhaps the most important, however, was that the value of exposing oneself to new experiences, people, and cultures is immeasurable and something that I am sure needs to be a staple in my life.


Nate is the type of human that makes you feel cared for through compassionate eyes and listening ears, the person who you could spend all your time with- sharing new experiences and understanding the world in ways that you never thought another human would relate to. In short, he is a gift handed to me by a town that I was awfully skeptical of, and has turned out to be a gateway to connection, perspective, conversation, healthy living, love, and joy in their purest forms. Our combined energies have brought us to some of the most unique humans, creative endeavors, delicious foods, and interesting experiences.