Just a quick post and run for today. This image of a flower was taken at Powerscourt Estate just outside of Dublin, Ireland. It is a large country estate which is noted for its house and landscaped gardens. The house was originally a 13th century castle.
Late last year I posted this image of "The Old Book". This past spring, I was contacted by an aspiring writer whose wife had seen my image and felt it would be perfect for his first published book. He sent me a copy of his book and it is an uplifting story about broken relationships, forgiveness, and faith. After reading the story, I saw why my image resonated with them. This is my first published book cover and I am pleased that my image is associated with such a fine book. The author's name is Douglas Patten and information about the book can be found at his website.
Christmas at Disney is an amazing time with all of the decorations and lights on display. Perhaps the most amazing display that we saw was the Osborne Family Spectacle in Lights in Hollywood Studios. Today's post (as well as yesterday's) features a small part of this wonderful display. I had never heard of the Osborne display prior to our visit and the story behind it is quite interesting. In 1986, a daughter in Arkansas asked her father (Mr. Osborne) to decorate their home in lights. Osborne complied, stringing 1,000 lights around their home. Each year after that, Osborne tried to outdo the previous year and even purchased the two properties next door to expand the display. By 1993, the display had over three million lights and had gotten so big that cars were backed up for miles to see it. Six neighbors filed a lawsuit, saying traffic congestion made trips to the corner store take two hours, and they feared emergency vehicles could not get down the street. Osborne responded by adding three million more lights. The Arkansas Supreme Court ultimately ruled to close the display.
Disney World contacted Osborne about moving the display to its Hollywood Studios Theme Park. Osborne accepted Disney's offer. In 1995, the display was set up in Disney and was known as "The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights". Today, the display is made up of over 10 miles of lights connected by another 30 miles of extension cords. It takes 20,000 man-hours to install the display each holiday season, starting in September. The lights are turned on at dusk each night, starting in mid-November and runs into the first week of January. In 2004, Disney added 33 snow machines to create an artificial snow effect to the display. In 2006, the park added over 1,500 control switches to the display to enable the lights to switch on and off electronically. The switches were choreographed to a musical scores.
Suffice it to say, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights is an overwhelming display that must not be missed. I can't imagine that a more impressive display exists. This image is a small microcosm of the full display.
Just a quick post wishing you and your families a wonderful Christmas. I hope Santa delivered the presents that you wanted.
Today is Christmas Eve and I am sure everyone is busy getting ready for the big day tomorrow. I wanted to post something special for today's post and I happened to remember a post that I read last year on Denise Ippolito's blog where she had created an ornament that featured some of her images. I really like the creativity and decided that I would create one this year that featured images that I took in 2012. Thanks for the idea Denise. If anyone is interested in creating one, here is a link to a video from Gavin Hoey Photography that describes the process.
On our trip to Arizona and New Mexico, the friends we were traveling with wanted to drive along the famed Route 66. Many of you who live in the American Southwest know that this famous road no longer exists as a US highway. Route 66 was officially replaced in its entirety by the Interstate Highway System in 1985. You would have laughed at us Easterners as we drove around looking for this famed road. There are still some sections of Route 66 that still exist but it wasn't until we stopped in Williams, Arizona and saw this sign that we realized we were searching for something that no longer existed. As a side note, Williams still has a stretch that still has some of the feel and look of the road.
Just being back from Disney World has put me in the Christmas mood. Disney does such a great job decorating their resorts and parks for the holiday season that you can't help from getting into a festive mood. One of the really cool things they do in the Magic Kingdom is the way Cinderella's castle is used during their "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party" show. The castle is lit with over 200,000 lights and is used as a movie screen in such a creative way that your jaw drops in amazement. The castle appears to be covered in ice throughout the evening and when they change the color of the lights that shine on the castle, it takes on a different look and "personality". This image is just one of the many shots I took. I picked it to post because it had that "icy" look.
I have posted a number of images this past year from Disney World. We visited there this past February for the first time in over 15 years. It looks like the time between visits is dramatically shortening as we are headed back there today for a little over a week. I was going to dig out a photo to post from Disney for today's post until I remembered this surprise that we spotted on a canal in Amsterdam. After visiting the Anne Frank House, we walked along the canal looking at the numerous houseboats. These houseboats are common due to the cost of owning real estate in the city. Ironically, they are now very expensive because of the limited number of moorings. This one, in particular, brought smiles to our faces. It seems that wherever you go, Goofy and Disney are not far behind. I will not be posting on the blog for the next week and a half while I am away. I will try to catch up upon my return.
One of the cool places we visited in New Mexico this year was the Taos Pueblo Village. It is estimated to be over 1,000 years old and belongs to the Taos Pueblo Native American tribe. As we walked around the pueblo and listened to our Indian guide, it was hard not to feel the spirituality of the Pueblo culture. This was all too true for me as I wandered off and found this ancient cemetery. The simplicity of these grave markers spoke to me and I wondered how many have been buried here over the past 1,000 years.
A little change of pace for today's image. I don't shoot flowers very often but when you visit a sunflower farm, flowers are the main subject. There are so many excellent flower photographers out there that it is hard to get a different perspective. Although I know this composition is not original, I kind of like showing the backside of this particular sunflower with it's carpals (okay, I had to look this up) and receptacle.
Here in New England, the peak foliage has passed and all that is left are dying leaves. This is a quick shot of a bench in Norfolk, Connecticut with some of the fallen.
And now for something completely different. No your eyes aren't out of focus and I wasn't drinking before I captured this image. While I normally shoot images of landscapes, cities and architecture, I occasionally try to shoot images that my good friend Jeff calls, "artsy fartsy". I was helped out with this multiple exposure image of a sunflower field by the very talented photographer and workshop leader Denise Ippolito. For those of you who don't know Denise, she is a very creative and talented photographer and her work can be seen at her site, A Creative Adventure. I have been on a number of workshops with Denise and have always learned something new. In this case, she took me through the basics of capturing multiple exposures. While I had a general understanding of multiple exposures, it is always in the little details and tips that make the real difference. Anyway, take a look at her site and do not hesitate to sign up for one of her workshops. Oh, and let me know what you think of my little venture into "artsy fartsy".
Our week long photo tour of New England takes us to it's biggest city, Boston, Massachusetts. I have spent a lot of time in Boston as it is only two hours from my house and have visited it often, especially when my son attended Boston University. One way to take in the history of the city is to walk the Freedom Trail which takes you past many of the historical sites of the Revolutionary War. While walking the Freedom Trail, you encounter one of the most sobering memorials that pertains to a different war, namely the New England Holocaust Memorial. The memorial consists of six glass towers with each tower symbolizing a different major concentration camp. Engraved on the towers are six million numbers which represent the Jews killed during the Holocaust.
This photo was taken very early in the morning to catch the light and shadows as well as to beat the many tourists that visit it. In order to try to capture the numbers inscribed on the panels, I shot a hand-held bracket with the intent of processing an HDR image. I had posted this image last year but was unhappy with the result. As a result, I have re-edited it to better reflect the scene and am much happier with it.
A quick post and run today. This image of a grazing horse was taken at the Inn at Mountain View Farm in Vermont. It is a 440-acre historic farm on top a mountain with picturesque views of the surrounding Vermont countryside. The Inn is a wonderful place to visit and stay. During the fall months, the colors of the foliage area outstanding.
This image off Alaskan Railroad #3011 was taken in the town of Talkeetna, Alaska. We were staying at the McKinley Lodge and decided to take the 45-minute bus ride to civilization, in this case, Talkeetna. There were two draws to visit the town. First, it is known as a very liberal town that has sort of a "hippie" culture. The second reason is that we wanted to visit the Roadhouse, a restaurant that was featured in the television show, "Man vs. Food". We weren't disappointed in either. Talkeetna is indeed a different type of town. It is a very eclectic and entertaining town. We had a few drinks and enjoyed the bands playing outside the bar. The meal at the Roadhouse was excellent.
Talkeetna was established in 1919 when the railroad surveyed and auctioned 80 lots. It serves as the jumping point for all sorts of outdoor activities including rafting, mountain biking, hiking, camping, fishing and hunting. A cat named Stubbs has been the honorary mayor for the past 15 years (as of July 2011) following a successful write-in campaign by voters who opposed the human candidates. My kind of town.
A quick post for today. We recently visited Disney World this past February for the first time in over 15 years. The last time we were there, Animal Kingdom did not exist, so I was very interested to see the park. I had no preconceived notions and was suitably impressed with the park. This photo was taken as I walked through the Asia section of the park and spotted this Bengal Tiger yawning, obviously bored with the visitors. My first thought was how big those teeth were. My second thought was wondering when it had last visited the dentist.
Urban exploration (also known as urbex) has risen in popularity as a result of recent television shows such as Urban Explorers on the Discovery Channel. This popularity has led to "Urbex Photography" which visually documents these often unseen urban areas, abandoned buildings and industrial complexes. I have always wanted to shoot some urbex but it wasn't until I attended Denise Ippolito's workshop in Philadelphia that I was able to. For those unfamiliar with Denise, she is a talented photographer and leads many different photography workshops each year. Denise's work can be found at A Creative Adventure. The first stop for the workshop was Philadelphia's Graffiti Underground located on an abandoned loading pier jutting out into the Delaware River. It is just a few minutes from the center of the city off of Route 95. The underground is pretty big and is covered with graffiti. It also looks like it has been used extensively by paintballers. The grit and decay associated with urbex can be seen at the underground as well as the great colors of the graffiti.
For those of you who are too young to remember this song, it's official title is "Get Your Kicks on Route 66". The song was written in 1946 and was recorded by Nat King Cole (before my time) and covered by many artists since. The song is about the original Route 66 which was a famous stretch of road that ran from Los Angeles to Chicago. One of the original U.S. Highways, Route 66 was established in 1926 and served as a major path for those who migrated west during the 1930's to 1950's. It was noted for it's strange establishments (e.g. Dinosaur Car Wash; Wigwam Motel; Wagon Wheel Motel) with their now retro gaudy neon signs and very strange statues. In 1985, it was decided the route was no longer relevant and was replaced by the Interstate Highway System. Several places along the now defunct route, still have sections that remain. On our southwest trip, we had hoped to spend some quality time on the old route. We stopped in Williams, Arizona, which has a decent section, and we also spent some time in Albuquerque where many of the establishments have been torn down and some are just plots of land with their decrepit signs ready to fall down. It's sad to see such a nostalgic road go by the wayside.
I wasn't pleased with the few shots I got on Route 66, so I dredged up this photo that I had taken in the Route 66 Restaurant last fall. The restaurant is located in Bar Harbor, Maine (go figure) about 1,300 miles from Route 66's original terminus.
This image is from an antique store somewhere in New Hampshire. The store owner was nice enough to allow us in to photograph whatever we wanted. While there were so many possible subjects, I was attracted to this old Smith Corona typewriter. I tried to research how old the typewriter was, but I was unable to find out anything about it. I would have contacted the store owner but I don't even remember the store name or the town I was in. Anyway, it amazes me what our parents and grandparents had to do before the advent of computers, word processing software, iPhones and iPads.
Just a quick post and run today. I took this photo while walking around our neighborhood with my wife and dog, Jack. I don't normally take my camera when walking around our home but, for some reason, I picked it up before the walk. I must have subconsciously wanted to shoot a flower macro (not my normal type of shot) but I am glad I did.