Milford Sound in New Zealand, as photographed on Dec. 29, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)
Milford Sound in New Zealand, as photographed on Dec. 29, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)
Josh Rehders

IN PHOTOS: Winter (Brrr)eak

Check out how our photographers spent their holidays away from campus this year.

Our photography staffers traveled everywhere from small towns to big cities, from beaches to grocery stores over winter break this season.

Josh Rehders, Photography Director

I spent my winter break on the south island of New Zealand with some family and had the opportunity to visit Queenstown, Milford Sound, Lake Wanaka and the Fox Glacier. It was sunny and warm in most of New Zealand during their summer, a welcome change after the cool weather in Nashville before break.

Abby Hoelscher, Deputy Photography Director

I spent the first part of my winter break bundling up with high school friends in my hometown of St. Louis and bouncing between visiting coffee shops, painting pottery and crocheting in my own living room with Gilmore Girls on the TV. I then flew with my family to Naples, Fla. to celebrate Christmas! We spent the holiday reading and taking pictures on the semi-warm beach shortly before returning home and then heading off in our separate directions for the spring semester.

Ophelia Lu, Deputy Photography Director

This winter break, I spent a week in Hawaii stargazing, hiking and driving. The natural landscape was mesmerizing, and I couldn’t help but capture these beautiful views. After the trip to Hawaii, I went back home to Los Angeles and photographed some typical beach pictures. It was a restful break, and I had the chance to meet many of my friends at home. 

Barrie Barto, Former Photography Director

Like most winter breaks with my family, I spent this time off from school with a camera in hand tracking down birds in the backwaters of the South Carolina shore. While I like looking for herons, eagles and kingfishers that soar above, my brother and dad like finding small colorful birds that hide in bushes. One day we saw seven eagles above us on the boat. It was nice to have this downtime before going abroad!

Isabella Bautista, Deputy Life Editor

My winter break was filled with ventures to old favorite spots and new places. I drove with a few friends to Bake Oven Knob, a lookout spot an hour away from my hometown, to watch the sunset. Next, I spent New Year’s Eve in Ocean City, Md., starting the day with a leisurely stroll down the boardwalk and ending it by watching the Times Square ball drop on TV. Finally, I traveled to Hoboken, N.J., to check out the view from the pier and admire New York City from afar.

George Albu, Staff Photographer

While I have grown fond of Nashville in the past few months, I find that the classic small-town charm in my hometown of Auburn, Ga., elevates the “magic” of Christmas beyond what any large city could. It’s comforting to see the local grocer my family has trusted for over a decade putting up his Christmas decorations. You would likely find bolder decorations in even a Walmart, but that is not what brings the charm of Christmas. The charm of Christmas comes from seeing the meek decorations lining a store where the employees immigrated from the same region as your parents, a sense of joy as you celebrate Christmas with the grocer’s family. It is this sense of peace and cultural familiarity that I believe elevates the feeling of Christmas within me beyond what a city like Nashville could.

Lyton Mhlanga, Staff Photographer

At the onset of the new year, I took a trip to the nation’s capital of Washington. Upon arrival, I was itching to start my expedition to this amazing city. In appreciation of its architecture, I made sure to capture every single moment of my time. I enjoyed a wide variety of dishes and cuisines, explored the various monuments and museums in the area and delved deeper into African American History and Culture at the famous “Blacksonian.”

Royce Yang, Staff Photographer

This winter break took me to the city of Xiamen in southeastern China, where I enjoyed the company of my extended family members and some spectacular sights. After a 55-hour trip going the wrong way around the planet, I was very glad to take a break among a plethora of dynamic contrasts and pleasant encounters in this captivating city.

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About the Contributors
Josh Rehders
Josh Rehders, Photography Director
Josh Rehders ('24) is from Houston and is studying computer science in the School of Engineering. When he is not shooting for The Hustler, Vanderbilt Athletics or freelancing, he enjoys finding new music and good food. He can be reached at [email protected].
Abby Hoelscher
Abby Hoelscher, Deputy Photography Director
Abby Hoelscher (‘27) is from St. Louis and is an aspiring elementary teacher currently studying in Peabody College. Outside of writing, she enjoys performing, learning Taylor Swift songs in American Sign Language and trying the seasonal lattes from the campus coffee shops. She can be reached at [email protected].
Ophelia Lu
Ophelia Lu, Deputy Photography Director
Ophelia Lu (’26) is from Los Angeles and is double majoring in biomedical and electrical engineering in the School of Engineering. She previously served as a staff photographer. When not covering events and sports games for The Hustler, you can find her listening to a lot of music, studying at Starbucks or lying on Alumni lawn. She can be reached at [email protected].
Barrie Barto
Barrie Barto, Senior Staff Photographer
Barrie Barto ('25) is majoring in medicine, health & society with a minor neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Photography Director. Outside of The Hustler, you can find Barrie cheering on the St. Louis Blues or tracking down the best gluten-free food in Nashville. She can be reached at [email protected].
Isabella Bautista
Isabella Bautista, Deputy Life Editor
Isabella Bautista (‘26) is double majoring in mathematics and psychology and minoring in biological sciences on the pre-medical track in the College of Arts and Science. She is from Easton, Pa. When not writing for The Hustler, she can be found spending hours alone in a piano practice room, photographing Vanderbilt squirrels with her Canon camera or poring over research papers in the lab she works in. She can be reached at [email protected]  
George Albu
George Albu, Staff Writer and Photographer
George Albu (‘27) is majoring in medicine, health and society in the College of Arts and Science. When not working for The Hustler, he enjoys taking long walks around campus, reading or watching video essays about anything and everything online. He can be reached at [email protected].
Lyton Mhlanga
Lyton Mhlanga, Staff Photographer
Lyton Mhlanga (‘27) is majoring in computer science and economics in the College of Arts and Sciences. A keen nature-lover, Lyton enjoys sightseeing and hiking when not shooting for The Hustler. He can be reached at [email protected].
Royce Yang
Royce Yang, Staff Photographer
Royce Yang (‘27) is planning to major in political science in the College of Arts and Science. He can occasionally be observed curating an extensive collection of Bach or attempting to identify helicopters around the Medical Center based on their noise. You can reach him at [email protected].
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