In 2011, I visited Pakistan for the first time since moving to the United States in 1994. After spending most of my life only hearing about Pakistan on the news, I was left with a sense of uncertainty as to what I would find when I returned.
From the moment our plane landed from Qatar, I found the sights and sounds overwhelming. I felt like I had come to a different world that oddly still felt like home. It was a feeling that I still have a hard time describing. A mixture of culture shock and Déjà vu all rolled into one.
Ultimately I found a country that was rich in history, people who were warm and colorful, and streets that were alive. It's a great shame a place so fascinating and beautiful is currently facing that problems that it is. I hope more people get to experience Pakistan the way I was able to.
I've been back to Pakistan sense these photos were taken, but the feeling of visiting for the first time after many years is impossible to replicate.
Dinner in a Field
I was lucky enough to spend some time at a local Dinner in a Field event hosted by Chef Paige Healy. This event takes the "Farm to table" idea to another level as the food is prepared in the open air and served to you at a table beside a field of fresh peppers and vegetables. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was unlike anything else.
American Le Mans Series
Covering the ALMS at Virginia International Raceway was easily one of my favorite assignments at work. It was my first time shooting auto racing. Needless to say, it was quite the challenge, but it ended up being extremely rewarding. This shoot holds a special place in my heart as it was the first time one of my shots made it into the Virginia state Travel Guide.
What's more awesome than being around exotic super cars all day?
I recently had the privilege of shooting with Jeff Mauritzen in Charlottesville, Virginia to shoot historic Monticello. The shoot called for early mornings and late nights, but we collaborated to get some beautiful imagery.
From getting to see Chef Travis Milton make some of the most mouth-watering fried chicken I've ever seen to the owner of Peter Chang's Cafe urging me to eat my weight in gourmet Chinese food, the assignments to cover a local restaurant or brewery are usually some of the most fun- mostly because you end up eating the props.
"Hey Ali, can you please go shoot the overlooks on Skyline Drive?"
Well, I love taking road trips, so that's what I did. I packed up a truck with a big "Virginia is for Lovers" logo on the side and hit the road. I managed to hit all 72 overlooks along the 109 miles of Skyline Drive. The fall foliage on the mountains was breathtaking and the drive itself wasn't a bad way to spend a fall morning.