Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Photography Website

I just got my new photography website up and running. It provides me with a much better workflow for uploading photos and providing them to clients and the public. Check it out if you get a chance. Heres the link: DSFOTOS

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back in the game!

So, I know it has been a while since my last post and I do apologize for that! But, I am going to make a stab and bringing the blog back to life. Just to fill you in on what has been going on in my life the past few months, heres a quick synopsis.

I am back in full swing at Clemson in grad school. We are actually just short of a month from being done with this fall semester. The weeks and months have really flown by as expected with the amount of work we have been involved in. As you may or may not know, I am working on my Masters in Architecture with a specialization in Health. This involves the design of hospitals, clinics, out patients facilities, senior living campuses, and even healthy living environments in general. One interesting part of our studies has been the opportunity to tour various hospital facilities and experience the spaces that we might normally only see in extreme circumstances. We took two roadtrips to Philadelphia and Orlando to visit hospitals and attend the Healthcare Design Conference 09'. They both turned out being great trips and we were able to make some very valuable contacts.

I have also been continuing my studies in photography and it has been a great chance to explore some new techniques. This is a night shot of Philly's courthouse.
While in Orlando, we were able visit one of their newest hospital expansion projects at Halifax Health Medical Center. This is a photo from the corner of the new tower.

As for other big news in my life, I am dating again and I consider myself very lucky to be with a wonderful girl who constantly goes out of her way to care for me. Aside from being beautiful, athletic, funny, intelligent, etc.. (the list goes on and on) she has become quite the elaborate chef and I have to say that my brother and I are not complaining, ha! We have had a great time getting to know each other and Im excited to see where our relationship takes us. This is a picture from earlier this summer while we were at the beach with my family. I love you Alicia!
Lastly, I finally got my website up and running. There is a good chance that you may have actually been directed to this blog from my website but if you haven't seen it, here's the link: DerrickSimpsonOnline I will be developing the design and adding content quite frequently so be sure to check back in.

Well, hopefully I wont leave you in the dark for so long again! Thanks for reading! Catch you next time!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

10 Days in a Backpack!

Im hoping that you all read up on where we had planned to go during our spring break trip last week!  I am happy to report that we were able to make all of our destination and I have to say, there were really no glitches!  There was however a short 10 min period of freaking out at the airport in Berlin when one of our group "misplaced" their passport... Not to mention any names but "she" luckily found it back in the magazine shop, ha!  But that being said, we really had no trouble getting in and out of each airport and into the city centers! So here is a quick glimpse at what we got to see these past 10 days! 

We took a train from Genova to Milan late friday because we had to do some last minute packing and printing(bookings, boarding passes, etc) When we arrived at the station, we found a coach that took us to Malpensa Airport. From Malpensa, we called the hotel and they sent a shuttle to pick us up.  Luckily, the hotel was still able to make us some dinner (pizza) when we arrived at 11:30.  After dinner we went upstairs and passed out.  We had to be back up to catch a shuttle at 5 in the morning to get back to the airport for our flight to Athens.  Milan was basically our starting destination but we had to take the train and get a hotel because our flight left so early in the morning.  

Athens - Greece
We arrived in Athens early Saturday morning and we had to catch a bus into the city.  It was about a 50 min ride and we were all fighting to stay awake.  Athens looked pretty old and dilapidated until we got closer into the city center.  We rode the bus to the end of the line, Monastiraki Square.  From there, we were able to walk to our hotel.  We checked in then headed back out to find some lunch.  We were about 30 feet outside the door when lindsey found Melissinos Art Sandal Shop.  Of course we had to stop in and get a pair of Greek sandals (which I was able to break in at the Acropolis during the next days exploration)
 After taking those back to the hotel, we went in search of a spot for lunch.  We found a place about 5 mins walk from our hotel that had a view of the Acropolis we couldn't turn down.  We ended up eating and people watching for about 5 hours.  The street vendors were pretty crazy because they kept picking up and running off when the cops walked by.  They would circle the block and come right back.  The last time though, the cops tried to close there exits which bottle necked them right past our table.  I was able to catch the heard of vendors on video when they were running from the police.  

After lunch, we walked around for a while checking out some sites in the city and looking through some shops. We had to pick up the typical Greece souvenirs (shirt, post cards, etc.)  Then we headed back to our hotel to see the art show that was on display downstairs.  After this we were able to head upstairs to the roof terrace to catch some good photos of the Acropolis at night.  
On sunday we got up and had breakfast then set out for the Acropolis! We were able to get into the entire site for free because it was Sunday!  We toured the grounds for the rest of the day taking in the sites and snapping tons of photos of the ancient structures.  This is a photo of Aeropagus Hill where Paul preached to the Philosophers of Athens.  
We then headed over to the Parthenon to take more pictures and do some quick sketching.  After our long day of site seeing, we headed back to the hostel to grab our luggage and catch our bus back to the airport.  We breezed right past the suckers checking their luggage and headed for our gate with our backpacks and pre-printed boarding passes  (EasyJet is awesome by the way).   

Berlin - Germany
We made it to Berlin at 10:30 on Sunday night.  We then caught a train into the city and hopped on the Metro to get to our hostel.  We got off the metro and found a place to eat that was still open.  We had bratwurst and french fries and large glass bottle cokes for really cheap so we couldn't complain. Then we checked into our hostel and passed out about 2 in the morning. 

We had great intentions of getting up early the next morning.  But we ended up just barely making breakfast at 9:58 (closed at 10).  After breakfast, we ventured out into the city for our 1 day in Berlin experience.  We met up with our prof., Bernhard after lunch and from there we were able to fast track a lot of the time spent finding our way around.  We went to see a few of the cities great attractions.  Here are a few that we visited:

We were also able to see a few other sites around the city. We packed in as much as were able to in our short day there.  I felt like we got a great introduction to the city.  

Dublin - Ireland
We got up early again on Tuesday to set out for Dublin.  We backtracked our way to the airport then took off around 10 in the morning.  We landed in Dublin around 11:30 and followed the mass crowds headed for the city.  We took a coach which let us off a few blocks from our hotel.  There was no way to get to our hotel because of the St. Patty's Day parade.  

We watched the parade, or at least what we could see over the heads of the people in front of us (500,000 in town for the parade), then we finally made it to our hotel at 3 in the afternoon.  We checked in and headed upstairs to get settled in.  Jon and lindsey took a quick nap and I headed out to buy a green shirt and meet some of the locals.  I ended up finding an Irish Rugby jersey in one of the local stores and decided it was good enough to serve as my green attire.  I came back to the hotel and was surprised to see that the bar in our hotel was slam packed with people.  

I headed up to the bar and ordered a Guinness, since we were in the land of the mothers milk.  I quickly made some friends in the bar and I got some info on what we needed to see during our stay in Ireland.  After a few hours, I met up with Jon and lindsey and we went out to find some dinner.  We found an burger place around the corner which was amazing. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to enjoy the festivities for a while longer.  All in all, it was an awesome St. Patricks day celebration.  It was amazing being able to celebrate this holiday with all of the locals living where the festival originated.  

On Wednesday, we set out on a walking tour of Dublin.  We started with Trinity College and the Book of Kells.  Then we headed for the western side of town.  Along the way, we visited Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle, St. Auden's Gate, and other various sites.  We then headed over to the Guinness Storehouse to take a tour of the facilities and see where it was born.  The building was pretty crazy because it was built around a giant pint glass.  The tour went into detail about how Guinness is made and processed.  Obviously, the company doesn't disclose all of their secrets but it was a great tour.  The tour ended with a panoramic view of the city from the gravity bar where I was able to trade my ticket in for a pint of Guinness brewed on site.  I have to say, it was pretty amazing and I have since become quite a fan of "The Black Stuff" (as the locals call it).   

After leaving the factory, we walked East back toward St. Patricks Cathedral.  We were able to make the 5 pm "Evensong".  We attended the service and it was really an amazing experience to hear the choir in the cathedral.  After the service, we made our way back to our hotel.  We got some dinner and hung out for the rest of the night.  

On Thursday morning, we got up early and went to the Tourist Information Center to find out what Irish country side we might be able to see near Dublin.  We ended up taking a train out to Malahide Castle which was about 3o mins out of the city.  There was a really great fog laying all around the grounds of the castle as we arrived so it made for some great pictures.  

We toured the castle and the grounds for a good while during the day then we caught a train back into the city.  We made it back to our hotel to drop off our stuff then we headed back out to find some dinner.   On our way out, we realized that the bar connected to our hotel was having live music and the menu looked really great and affordable.  So, we sat down and enjoyed the music for the rest of the night while eating tons of food.  It was an awesome experience being able to sit in an Irish pub listening to authentic music play while we shared stories and great food.  It was a great way to wrap up our stay in Dublin.

London - England
We arrived in London on Friday morning at 9:30.  We took a train from the airport to get to the metro.  From there we were able to take the underground to a stop near our hostel.  We went to our hostel but it was too early to check in.   We left our bags in the luggage room and headed out for a self guided walking tour.  We had a goal of finding the tourist information place.  We wanted to talk to them first because we knew we would be able to plan for the rest of our stay.  Along the way,  we stumbled across a ticket office for the local theaters.  We had been planning on trying to see Oliver Twist while we were in town because one of the main performers is "Mr. Bean" and it has received great reviews.  When we found out that it was fully booked, we started exploring our other options.  We eventually discovered that there were a few seats left for Wicked that same night.  We jumped on those tickets!  After leaving there, we continued on our quest for the Tourist Information place.  We walked through Piccadilly Circus and we had to do a bit of shopping before we could continue the search.  After getting that out of our system we eventually found the info office.  We were able to book a trip on Sunday for our group of 5 (Heather, Lura, Jonathan, Lindsey, and myself).  After getting that taken care of, we went back to the hostel to put our stuff in our room and change for the show.  

When we got back to the hostel and eventually got to our room, we were greeted with an awful smell in our room.  So bad that there was no possible way to be able to sleep in the room.  But at this point, we were out of time to deal with the problem because we were going to be late for the performance.  So we headed back out the door not quite sure what we were going to do about that situation when we got back.  We made it to the theater across town with a few minutes to spare.  

Wicked turned out to be a really great show and we all had a great time.  It was funny too because we had been out of touch all afternoon with Heather and Lura, but they had actually gotten tickets for the show too.  We ran into them during intermission while we were down front looking at the immaculate set.   After the show, we all headed back to the hostel.  We told the hostel about our situation and they were hesitant to help.  However, we knew there was no way to sleep in our room.  The smell was a mix of 3 guys with body odor and no baths who had apparently decided that a full can of Axe would fix the problem.  I hope that this description can begin to give you an idea of the smell, it was bad...  We ended up going next door to the travel lodge who had a rate that was really close to what we were already paying for the hostel.  So we booked our two rooms and passed out in our nice beds with clean air.  

Saturday, we got up and set out for another self guided tour of London.  We hit all the major sites.  

We started with Buckingham palace and gardens...

And we stayed for the changing of the guard.  

Then we headed for Big Ben and Parliament Square.  
We were also able to attend an Evensong service at Westminster Abby.  Here is a quick video clip from inside the church.  

After the service, we split up and Heather and Lura and I went to London Tower Bridge.  We crossed the bridge and started walking back down the river when we came across a side walk performer.  He was working the crowd with his juggling act. 

Then we walked back down the water to the Tate Modern.  We ate dinner first at this really cool little restaurant on the River Thames.  It was a little chilly but we had a great meal and enjoyed the view.  

After dinner, we went into the Tate Modern, which was free (awesome).  Unfortunately the museum closed at 10 though so we only had about an hour inside.  After we left, Heather and I tried to go catch a ride on the London Eye but it was closed by the time we got there.  We were able to snag a few cool night time photos but then we headed back to the metro to ride back to the hotel.  

On Sunday morning,  we all woke up early to get the the pick up point for our day trip to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford.  We left out from Victoria Station downtown around 9 in the morning and it took us about 30 mins to get out to the castle.  We were fortunate because the Queen was in residence being that it was the weekend.  Even though we did not see her, it was cool to know that she was there.  The castle was amazing inside and out.  We only had a short 2 hours but it was enough to do the interior tour and take some cool photos.

We loaded back up on our Evan Evans Coach and set off again for Stonehenge.  It took about another hour to get out to the remote countryside site.  It was a perfect day. The tour takes you on a 360 walking tour of the stones.  You can no longer go up and touch the stones but it was great for us because it meant that our photos were tourist free!  

We had about an hour at Stonehenge then we cranked up and headed for Oxford.  The town was really great.  We took a walking tour with our guide and he educated us on a lot of great sites throughout town.  We also got to see the inspiration for Harry Potter's scar which I thought was pretty cool.  

The trip only took about 30 mins but it was very informative about the buildings used by the university.  We had a few minutes to pick up our Oxford shirts and such before we loaded back up on the bus and drove back to London.  

When we got back to town, we walked over to the IMAX theater in hopes that they had a good movie playing.   We were able to catch a few more night time photos on the way to the theater. 

We were extremely fortunate once again because they were playing Watchmen and we were able to get 5 of the last 7 seats.  I thought the movie was pretty good but I know it has received a lot of mixed reviews.  After the movie let out, we discovered that the metro had closed so we took a taxi back to our hotel.  We had to pack and it was about 2 am by the time we went to sleep.  We had to get back up to meet another taxi at 4 in the morning.  If we had known it was going to work out like this, we would have just slept at the airport but I guess hindsight is 20/20.  

We made it to the airport and caught our 6:30 flight back to beautiful Genova!  We were dragging all day monday during class but it was worth every bit of lost sleep for our unforgettable spring break trip!  I hope that you have been able to catch a small glimpse of our travels!  There are plenty of side stories that I simply cant include in this short novel but just know that I had a blast and I will never forget it!  

Now its back to studio work and getting ready for our next trip to Venice and Bologna in two weeks!  See you all again soon!


Friday, March 13, 2009

Ciao Tutti.. and Arrivederci!

Sorry for the slackness of my blog posting here lately everyone! Times have been pretty crazy over here in Genoa! We have not had anytime to sit down and relax ( or blog post... ) We just wrapped up our first project here in Studio.  The project was a design for an Outlook Tower on a site up above our villa.  We have been very interested in the Architecture that recalls ship design.  So our project resembles some of the elements you might see in sea vessels.  Also, with Drew being a Landscape Architect.  We put a lot of thought into the site layout and how it will effect the people that visit our project.  These are our 2 boards for the presentation.  

Anyways, enough with school work!  Now its on to Spring Break!  We will be traveling like crazy this next week!  We are going to Milan, Athens, Berlin, Dublin, London, and then back home!  Lindsey has done a great job of explaining our trip down to every detail!  Here is her blog that covers the trip!  

Well, I am off to pack real quick.  I am taking one carry on for the entire 10 day trip so that should be pretty crazy!  I will post pictures as soon as we get back!  I only hope that I dont fill up my memory cards in the first couple of days!  I have to make them last the entire trip!  See you all in a few days! 


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rock Climbing!

I got the chance to go rock climbing with my Italian friends tonight.  Our friends Alesandro and Luca took Heather and I to an indoor place across town.  There friend Margo came along too.  She is in town for the week visiting from France.  It was a blast hanging out with everyone at the complex.  This was not like the rock climbing places I am used to at home.  Normally at home, we have to hook in when were climbing because we climb taller surfaces.  This place was more of a training facility for rock climbing.  It was really pretty cool because there were about 6 different levels of hand grabs that you could use across the wall.  The entire center of the room though was a giant mat in case you lost your footing.  We had a great time hanging out with the locals and getting some good exercise.  
We are planning a trip to go to a rock face near Genova later in the semester.  I will let you know how it goes!  Anyways, we are headed to Switzerland and Germany this weekend!  So I will hopefully fill you in on that when we get back on Monday night!  

Ciao Tutti! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New suit...

Just wanted to throw up a quick post to say that I have now officially purchased my Italian souvenir.  We have visited a few different stores since our arrival back in January.  We have been lucky because all of the stores have had there after christmas sales going strong for a month now. I was in a store with Jonathan and Lindsey a couple of weeks ago when we ran across some Versace suits.  Of course we weren't going to even look but then we noticed that they were still on sale, which is even more ridiculous when you think about what we have to pay for them at home.  Well, last friday, we were going out to run some errands with Sylvia, our Italian program coordinator to get ready for our wine tasting that night.  She offered to go by the store with me and take a look at the suits to see if I could get one before the sale was over.  After about an hour of working with her, the staff, and of course my two sales advisors (Jon and Lindsey) I was able to find one that I liked.  I should be able to pick up the pants later this week but I already have the jacket.  While I was checking out, the lady at the counter told me that the sale ended on Sunday and all of there Versace items would go back to the main store.  So, we got really lucky in making the trip 2 days before the sale ended.  Anyways, I will try to throw up another picture after our villa party next friday.  I figured that would be a good time to break it out! 

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rollerblading on the French Riviera

On Sunday before we left Nice, we were able to get in some rollerblading so that we could see more of the coast line.  It has def. been a while sine we all put on skates but it turned out to be a great time and nobody broke anything (cameras... legs...pride..etc.) Anyways, we were able to snag a few photos and a video so here you go!