Campus & Community

First look:

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First-years explore the town during Orientation Week

Ashley Shuyler
Ashley Shuyler '07 (below) gets a fresh angle to shoot the 'Make Way for Ducklings' figures inside the Boston Public Gardens. (Photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office)

As part of Freshman Orientation Week, entering undergraduates participated in local field trips to help them get acquainted with Cambridge, Boston, and surrounding areas. The Salem Witch Museum, the North End, Mount Auburn Cemetery, and a Red Sox game were only a few of the places that freshmen experienced under the direction of volunteer trip leaders.

Stephanie Mitchell and Kris Snibbe, photographers from the Harvard News Office, led one excursion called “Photographer’s Boston.” On a bright, clear Wednesday morning (Sept. 10), 13 students traveled by T to Park Street Station and spent an enjoyable two hours in Boston Commons and the Public Garden photographing trees, flowers, statues, swans, and some of the park’s more colorful denizens.

Boston
Led by Harvard News Office photographers Stephanie Mitchell and Kris Snibbe, freshmen photograph Boston's sights (Photo Nicole Ledoux '07)

Brianne Janacek from Dayton, Texas, experienced Boston earlier in the week when she took part in the Freshman Urban Program, helping to distribute surplus food in Dorchester. “I sorted through rotten celery all week,” she said. She found ambling through the leafy commons with her camera a lot more pleasant.

Yoko Wakabayashi, who was born in Japan and grew up in Ridgewood, N.J., remembered visiting Boston 12 years ago. Coincidentally, her most vivid memory was a photographic one.

“I visited Boston when I was 6 and had my picture taken in front of the John Harvard statue. Back then I never imagined that I would even be applying.”

Los Angeles native John Byun was surprised to find himself in the midst of lush greenery.

“When you’re flying into Logan, you just see buildings and stuff – you don’t expect all these beautiful trees.”

Sandy Ullman
Sandy Ullman '07 cranes to get a closer shot of the swans in the Public Gardens. 'I was trying to get really close to the duck … and the camera slipped out of my hands and hit the duck in the head. It just grazed it, though.' (Photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office)

Byun was also surprised by the date on a bronze monument commemorating the founding of Boston.

“Wow, 1630. And just think, six years later they founded a college. That’s impressive.”

Walking from the commons to the Public Garden, a few stragglers got separated from the main group, but thanks to the prevalence of cell phones they soon rejoined their fellow photographers at the duck pond. Ashley Shuyler of Denver had an exciting story to relate.

Graffiti on the Red
Candace Mitchell '07 continued to snap photos as she rode the Red Line back to Harvard Square. (Photo Candace Mitchell '07)

“I asked two motorcycle policeman if I could take their picture. They said they didn’t like to have their picture taken, but they’d be glad to take my picture sitting on one of their motorcycles, so I did.”

Sandy Ullman from Bethesda, Md., narrowly averted disaster at the duck pond in a way that bore an uncomfortable similarity to an episode in the Nick Hornby novel “About a Boy.”

“I was trying to get really close to the duck with my digital camera and the camera slipped out of my hands and hit the duck in the head. It just grazed it, though. I don’t think it did any damage.”

Candace Mitchell from Raleigh, N.C., proved her dedication to the art of photography by continuing to snap photos as she rode the Red Line back to Harvard Square. At one point in the trip, an elderly woman with a large bunch of yellow chrysanthemums became the subject of one of her candid photos.

“I worked on the yearbook staff in high school, so I’m not afraid to grab shots of people. I’ve found that most people don’t care, and if they do, you can always apologize.”

Man enjoying the Public
Shuyler got some intimate portraits of some of the inhabitants of the Public Gardens. (Photo by Ashley Shuyler '07)
Toddler in Public
(Photo by Ashley Shuyler '07)