Tiya M. Photography

Luke 8:25

He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”

On Sunday afternoon, the dorms and apartments at my University were evacuated in preparation for Sandy. I had originally planned to just stay in my room, assuming that the conditions weren’t as bad as the forecast was predicting. Keep in mind that this wasn’t me simply brushing off the fact that this was the biggest hurricane that had hit the Atlantic since, if I’m correct, the early 1980’s. I guess it just hit me that I never really pay attention to the news. I check the weather almost every day before I go outside, but hurricane situation just went one ear and out the other for some reason. Last night, one of my friends said that college had actually made her “dumb”, because all she was doing was Art. She told me that she didn’t really care about things the way she used to, which she said isn’t like her at all. I believe her.

I spent the whole day in pyjamas yesterday, living on snack food and bottled water, and keeping everything I could charged up. I would snap a picture every now and then. I hope I’ll be able to look at them one day and remember days like the few that have dragged by. My memory of most things is vivid now, but will it be the same in thirty years?

The only real issue I’ve had in the past couple of days is being around people…all the time. The problem was solved by sitting up in one of the attic rooms, or so I thought. After the electricity went off, the higher up in the house you were, the colder it got. Yet I still sat up there, not really able to feel much of my hands or feet. Truth be told, I didn’t realize how cold I actually was until I went downstairs. If music can make you cry, it can definitely create the illusion of warmth when in reality, there is none.

Sleeping on a couch isn’t bad at all. I don’t know why it would be bad in the first place. It’s just a bed with arms on either side, or whatever you call them. The electricity gave way around 10 or 11 last night in the middle of a LOTR marathon. I think I was the only person who wasn’t disappointed. The Lord of the Rings is on the same level of The Princess Bride in my interests. I’ve tried to like at least one of them, and I can’t. I can see why people enjoy them though, if that makes any sense…

Going back to Sandy (one of my friends keeps calling her Shirley), the most damage that was done where I was staying was knocking down a massive tree across the road, which messed up the power lines. I think a lot of the houses on Mains Street will be without power for a week. I have classes off tomorrow because there’s still no electricity at the University (take your time, take your time…). I was only able to take pictures for a few minutes because the temperature has dropped quite a bit since Sunday. I feel as if I haven’t been on campus for a long time, even though it’s only been two days.

I’m sitting in a Church on Main Street now. It’s warm and has electricity. The LOTR marathon is continuing in one of the rooms down the hall, but I’m quite alright alone and writing (also listening to Taylor Swift’s new album…don’t judge :)). I just read a blog post from a friend back in Uganda. I wouldn’t say I caught a slight wave of homesickness, but rather wishing I could be with certain people right now.

Orange and Yellow and Red? Oh my!

I think that Fall is easily becoming my favourite season, ever. The temperature could be a little warmer, but this weekend the weather was gorgeous! For the past couple of weeks up at Kutztown, it has been either rainy and freezing, or rainy and muggy. Other than the less-than-perfect temperature on a regular basis, I love watching the trees change. Even when all the leaves have fallen off, there is still an eerie beauty among the trees.

This is my beautiful friend, Shirley (aka the prettier version of Kristen Stewart…haha). I made her model for me during a conference I went to with my college’s Christian Fellowship this weekend. I thought her hair blended in really well with all the fall colours in the trees. She also hates getting her picture taken (I think everyone does, to a certain point). Was she nervous? Yes. Was I nervous? Oh yes. There were a lot of “I don’t know what to do!”‘s coming from her, and a lot of “You can trust me!”‘s coming from myself. It is intimidating being infront of a camera, which is why I would rather prefer being behind it.

I like taking pictures because I’m not very good at verbally expressing things. This is how I view Shirley. I really do hope I captured her well.


I will try to get some other pictures up from the conference, although I didn’t take that many (less than 100 pictures!?!) Here’s to a new week.

You Never Know

I am about to do something I never really thought I would ever do…on this blog, anyway. I am going to post pictures I took with my phone. These phone pictures have Instagram filters on them, too. I would have taken the following shots with my actual camera, but I didn’t have it. And I’m not one to overlook a photo opportunity – whether it be with my iPhone or my Canon. So, here it goes.

This past Saturday, I went to a Farmer’s Market with one of my friends, because she needed apples. I like walking, and I like apples. I myself didn’t buy any, but I did buy a tiny pumpkin for 50 cents (actually, two of them…). I named one Dimitri and he sits on my desk. Sometimes I bring him to my friends’ apartments/rooms so he can hang out with his cousin. I forgot what his cousin’s name is though. Sorry.

He’s the pumpkin on the bottom right (on the table).

What made me really happy was that there was a huge antique market there as well. Walking around so much old things made me feel at home, mainly because my house is filled with antiques.


I also took pictures of my first 2D Design project I wrote about in my previous post. It was so much more complicated than it looks! The assignment was to pick a letter and a font and create a design with it, balancing the positive and negative space. We then transferred the design onto an 8″x8″ piece of Linoleum and carved out the positive space. The whole project took about 25 hours…probably because my design was so intricate, which complicated things. I cut myself 3 times! :P

Transferring the design onto Bristol Board was ridiculous. I’m pretty sure it took me at least 3 hours to get four decent prints.

Then we had to photocopy one of the prints 14 times on colored paper to stick on the windows. This was also tedious. Everything about Art is tedious.

The last few pictures are just random ones I took. I wish I had my actual camera with me when I was outside taking these…

After the rain.

Street + Puddles + Leaves + Street Lights = Interesting Colors.

I know these are all just phone pictures, but I hope you got something out of looking at them. Like I said, posting something like this isn’t at all what I would usually do, so it may or may not happen again. I just thought these particular pictures were pretty neat and wanted to share them. Good night, world!

This Won’t Be Too Exciting…

…but it’s still a new blog post. It won’t be super long because it’s almost 11:00 and I have an 8AM the next morning.

I am already four weeks into school, and busier than I have felt in a very long time. It seems as if with late classes going on four times a week, and one project after the other, I haven’t really had time to think about much. I’ve taken a few pictures around campus, but they all seem bland to me. I just don’t believe I have been inspired lately, because my brain has been loaded with other things.

KU’s campus is beautiful. Unfortunately, whenever a photo opportunity comes up, I don’t exactly have my camera around to take the pictures. This means I usually have to settle with my iPhone. Can’t complain about the pictures taken with that though. It’s pretty darn impressive for a phone.

I just finished my first project for a 2D Class. It’s funny how intimidating Art Classes feel when you first walk into the room, yet once you get started on something and know exactly what direction you go in, the feeling of being overwhelmed in such a different environment fades away. Everything in the Art Building looks so different from a traditional classroom – you have a workshop, chords and wires hanging from the ceiling, massive tables…the list goes on. Everything is sort of surreal. Maybe that was a bit dramatic, but that’s how I felt! Things get tedious, but in the long run I think every hour I put into that project was worth it when critique day swung by. I actually spent nine hours in the Art building on Sunday finishing off my printmaking project…and hated it. I was pleasantly surprised by the response I got from people in my class. I had never, ever heard of printmaking before. Or linoleum. Or lino cut tools. Or Bristol Board. Everything was a first (except making my design on Photoshop). Needless to say I like my professors and learned a bunch. Project #2 is under way.

The weather is getting colder. I soon won’t be able to wear flip flops and shorts to class anymore, but fall is such a nice season to deal with. Like most people, I enjoy seeing the leaves change color, something I couldn’t watch for the longest time while growing up in Uganda. A lot of people I know seem to get excited about the cosiness of Fall. I don’t disagree, but I’m not all out in fancy scarves and cute hats. I’d just feel a little overdressed. Hot chocolate is great though. I highly doubt I’ll be able to curl up with a book any time soon though. That’s alright though – there is always music and solitude if you search for it.

Kris and Karli’s Wedding (Part II)

I really like this one!

It might have rained a little earlier on, but the light turned out to be perfect.

Karli’s Bouquet

Well, I guess that’s all that I’ll post on here! I ended up taking over 1,000 pictures that day, so it was quite difficult to decide which ones I would put on my blog.

Congratulations, Kris & Karli! I pray that in your marriage, you fall deeper into God’s love through loving each other. :)

Kris and Karli’s Wedding (Part I)

On September 2nd, my former teachers (they’re also my friends…) who taught at my high school got married! I wasn’t the official “Photographer”, but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t going to take pictures ;)

Embracing the rain!


They’re married!

Kris singing to Karli…sassy expression? ;)

More to come in Part II! :)

Home Isn’t Just One Thing

Over the course of 4 days, I have been in 4 countries.

When I woke up the morning after I arrived in Pennsylvania, my immediate reaction (in thoughts) as I looked around was “Why am I here? I don’t like this”. Don’t get me wrong – I am extremely excited be back at college, and I have missed my other “family” here. But the thought of looking out a window every day and not being able to see dirt roads, palm trees, goats and chickens scrambling across the street, and all the other seemingly little things I associate with the word “home” makes me feel quite alone.

Yet, in a physical sense, I am the farthest thing from alone. Left, right and centre I pretty much always have people around me. I can tolerate this for a couple of hours, but when I’ve had enough, I’ve had enough. I need to go off an do my own thing. I need to recharge. If I don’t, I behave like a child who had a late night and too early of a morning to function.

I just moved into my dorm on Friday morning. It was quick and slightly painful for my skinny fingers and rather unfit arms. Nevertheless it was done much faster than it would have been, had I moved in with a bunch of other people on the same day.

It really does feel like Freshman year all over again, except this time I have friends. Rephrased, it feels like Freshman year and friends just magically appeared. It is funny though; a little over a week ago, I was too far away to see any of them without a couple of planes.

The last thing I want to do is pity myself. Yes, it is crazy that I was on the other side of the globe just eight days ago. Yes, I will need time to readjust from lazy and (almost) carefree African lifestyle my to my American college state of mind (no pun intended…). And yes, I am sitting here on my bed in my dorm, thinking about what it would be like if there were no goodbyes, how pretty the tree outside my window is (and how much prettier it will look with snow on it later on), and what the first day of classes will be like today.

I know the picture today isn’t the best. I will be lugging my camera around campus to take some shots.

The “Other” Side

I landed in Toronto yesterday afternoon. I may be a little jet lagged, since I woke up twice this morning – once on 4AM and again at 6AM. I’m hoping that if I am, it won’t be for too long. In this post are a couple of pictures I took at my older brother’s house.

It doesn’t matter that I’ve been flying since before I could walk – I’ll always find it strange that one day I can be in a different part of the world than I am today. Once all the airports, plane food, and restless flights are over and I get to where I needed to go, everything feels so surreal.

I’ve often said that I wish I could split myself in half, so one can be in one place and another place at the same time. But that fact is, (and I just started thinking about this recently) that I am split in half. Obviously, not in a physical sense. Bits and pieces of myself are…everywhere. Every place I have left remnants of my memories and emotional attachments, part of myself stays there.

Leaving Uganda this summer to head back to Kutztown felt like I was starting Freshman year all over again. I don’t know what to expect when I go back. I have friends there, great friends. But that doesn’t keep the homesickness at bay. In the meantime I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the things ahead, even though I do not have a clue what will happen. I have already caught myself subconsciously thinking about what everyone is doing back in Uganda. My mind wanders back to the dry, red dirt roads of Kampala, the lush wetlands where my house is next to. The colors of birds and flowers alike are added to the painting as well, and I can almost hear the busy traffic among the streets with Matatus and Bodas. Almost 13 years ago, I never thought I could miss this when I leave. I’m not sure whether it’s the atmosphere that I miss or the people. Perhaps I am “peoplesick” instead of homesick. I don’t really know where home is anymore. But the last thing I want is for anyone to take pity on me. I wouldn’t change my childhood for anything.

How many people can say, “By the time I was eighteen, I’ve lived in three to four countries”? Many that I know of, but so many more who I don’t know of. I have friends from every continent (except Antarctica – the penguins will be on the list one of these days…) and I take all of this for granted.

When I tell people a very condensed version of my life story, my mind is blown by the fact that many of my friends at Kutztown have lived in the same houses all their lives. I cannot help but smile and shake my head in disbelief, followed by a chuckle that my life and theirs are so different.


Here is one of my good friends, who will be a senior in a few days at my old school. I don’t know how I got so lucky in having so many photogenic friends! :)

This was the first time she was having pictures taken of herself alone, so yeah, things were a little nerve-wracking here and there but as the session progressed she really started to enjoy herself. It was a cloudy day (thumbs up for the clouds!) and by the end of the shoot we had just managed to escape the rain!

Loved the black and white in these!

If you look closely, Bec’s right eye is blue with a hazel area. This is called Sectoral Heterochromia :) I think it’s pretty cool.

Waterfall Braid :)

Kendra!/New Laptop

A couple of weeks ago I got to take a few of my friends’ Senior Pictures. This is Kendra (obviously…), and she was really fun to shoot, even though I think we were both nervous the first day of the pictures. Because it’s the rainy season in Uganda, the weather has been a little less than predictable. The first photo session I shot almost didn’t happen! Luckily it stopped raining (and dried up pretty fast) and we met up at my old school to take the pictures.

I made her sit in a gutter…

The last time I was paid for pictures was almost two years ago. The last time I photographed anyone’s senior pictures was over a year ago. Naturally I was worried that the results wouldn’t be good enough, but I’m extremely happy with how they look! Kinda helps that she’s pretty as well, eh?

In contrast to the clouds we had on that Friday, there was a fantastic sunset the following Monday, which was part II of the shoot. Not saying clouds are bad – I like clouds. Shooting in cloudy weather is great because there are no shadows, so there’s even light everywhere. But taking pictures when the sun is at its brightest gold in the late afternoon is also a treat!

There were Dragonflies – everywhere!

See them better now?

Well, that’s all there is to it! And to make this even better, this is the very first post I’m making on my new laptop! It’s a 15″ MacBook Pro and I think I may be in love with it. And because I already love it so much, I might post pictures of it in my next post (which will come with more senior pictures of my other friend).

Thanks for reading all my unnecessary blabber. ‘Till the next time!