Thanks to all who let me know that my site had some viewing issues. The issue has been fixed and is now back in action. Walking around cities in Europe often transports you to a different time. The age of the cities and architecture add so much character and feel to them. My favorite city to walk around is Venice, Italy. Here the city's character is enhanced by the labyrinth of canals that replace streets in other cities. I am always looking down side "alleyway" seeing what beauty lies there. Almost every little side "street" is a photo opportunity. This photo is representative of what a visitor might find walking around. While some other European cities have beautiful canals, there are none with them everywhere one walks.
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.
I have posted a bunch of images of Lake Lucerne and Mount Pilatus but I realized that I have never posted any of the city of Lucerne itself. Lucerne was founded in the year 750 and has long religious and cultural history. Its architecture is very unique which makes the city a popular tourist destination. On one of my many city walks, I spotted a prime example of the great architecture, namely, the Jesuit Church. The church is the first large baroque church built in Switzerland north of the Alps. Its "onion" shaped steeples are quite the unusual sight in the middle of Switzerland.
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.
Last week I posted this image of Cologne, Germany's waterfront. In that image, the spires of the Cologne Cathedral (also known as the High Cathedral of Saint Peter) can be seen in the background. Later that afternoon, it started to rain and we headed back to the ship for some drinks and dinner. During dinner, the rain stopped and I decided to grab the camera and tripod and head to the top deck of the ship to take a few night shots. The spires of the cathedral was even more pronounced in the night sky with all of its lights on. I usually don't shoot at night but I really enjoyed it and hope to make this more of my routine.
On a personal note, with Thanksgiving tomorrow, I want to thank everyone who has visited my site this year. When I started this blog, I wasn't sure how long I would do it. It has been 18 months since I started the blog and thanks to all of you, I am inspired to continue to do so for quite a long time.
I have posted a number of images from the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. I shot a ton of photos that day and as I sift through them, I rediscover those unusual cells that show a little bit of prison life. This is one of those images. I am not sure if this image is an accurate portrayal of one of the original cells, but it almost looks like an inviting place for a convict to sit and either write or read (at least compared to the other barren cells).
The Rhine River flows from Lake Toma in eastern Switzerland and flows through Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands before flowing into the North Sea at Rotterdam. Along the way, there are beautiful towns and cities that dot this beautiful route. Some are small towns while others are large cities. What is so great about a river cruise is that the boats often pull up to the side of the river so that passengers can just hop off and be in the city. One of my favorite stops in Germany was Cologne. After the ship docked, I hopped off and was only a few steps from this scene on Cologne's waterfront. While the weather wasn't at its best, the town was quite inviting as we sampled the local brews and cuisine.
Every time I visit Europe, I am always surprised how prevalent canals are in many of its cities. This is very unlike the majority of cities here in the United States. The canals give each city a unique feel and character. This is particularly true of Amsterdam which is know as the "Venice of the North". Amsterdam has over 60 miles of canals, 90 islands and approximately 1,500 bridges. While this obvious comparison to Venice is only natural, I found that the architecture of each city differentiated itself from the other. There were times, however, when I turned a corner and wouldn't have known whether I was in Amsterdam or Venice. This image of an Amsterdam canal is such an example. Maybe it is the architecture, the light or something else, but this scene screamed Venice to me.
Whenever we embark on a cruise, there are always a number of ports that we probably wouldn't have visited on our own. Oftentimes, we become quite taken with a location and wonder why it wasn't on our "must visit" list. Our recent Rhine River cruise provided such a place, Strasbourg, France. We docked on the Rhine in Kehl, Germany and after a quick bus ride over the bridge, we were in Strasbourg. Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace region of France. It's beautiful historical center was named as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. From it's historical buildings such as the Strasbourg Cathedral to our new favorite food, tartes flambées (a wafer thin pizza made with onion-cream sauce) to it's beautiful canals (shown in this image), it is easy to understand why Strasbourg is a destination not to be missed.
Some of my favorite times to shoot are right after it rains. That is because the standing water often results in some wonderful reflections. I love shooting reflections and I think that this is true of most photographers. This image was taken after an overnight rain in Newport, Rhode Island. As I drove past this small park, I noticed the standing water leading to the gazebo. I immediately parked the car, hopped out and shot a few frames. This image seemed the best of the lot. I think my wife has gotten whiplash from me slamming the brakes to get a shot.
When booking a trip, a little luck comes into play especially when you are booking a hotel. Often when you go online to check out the place, there are great images of the facilities and the surrounding area. I've stayed in some places that look good and when I get there, I am disappointed that the property is nothing like the pictures and the reviews. There are other times they surprise you in a good way. Such was our stay in Sedona. The Orchards Inn was located in Old Town and the entrance was hard to find as it is tucked behind stores and restaurants. It looked okay from the outside but not what I was hoping for. We checked into the hotel and moved our luggage to the room. The room was nice, maybe a little better than average. And then I opened the sliding doors and walked out onto the balcony. I stopped in my tracks and stared at the wonderful view that I had. I quickly ran back into the room and grabbed my camera and tripod and rushed back onto the balcony. I shot off a few photos and realized that I wasn't getting what I wanted, so I decided to shoot a panorama to see if I could capture what I felt and saw. I don't usually shoot panoramas, not sure why, but after this experience, I need to shoot more of them. Anyway, this is the result. This 21 image panorama captured the scene as I hoped it would with the great evening light giving the famous Red Rocks their great glow.
Sometimes the best time to shoot is after a rainstorm when the sun has come out. Not only is there a great sheen to things but often there are large puddles that offer great opportunities for reflection. This image is a prime example of this. Taken near the waterfront on Boston Harbor, it offers a different point of view of Boston's skyline. I also thought that the concrete offered a natural texture to the image.
It is very interesting what your eyes can capture when you are paying close attention to your surrounding. This image from Grand Central Station in New York is a prime example of this. I have walked through the Park Avenue entrance leading to the station so many times that I have lost count. For those of you who have never visited the station, this entrance is a long corridor that has stores on either side as well as a large number of kiosks before leading to the main floor of the station. When I visited the Station in June on a photo workshop, I took my time examining the area and noticed this wonderful old mural on the ceiling of the corridor. I am sure I must have seen this before but never really took notice of it. As can be seen in this image, the details in this mural are quite incredible. I haven't been able to find out any information about the mural, but from the scenes depicted in it, it looks to be original to the station, which might suggest that it dates to the early 1900's. Regardless of it's age, it is a wonderful masterpiece that millions of people walk under without noticing it.
I commuted to New York City on and off for about five years when I lived in Pennsylvania (a long train ride) and then again when I moved to Connecticut. All of my visits there never took me to the location of the famous Flatiron Building. I always wanted to visit and photograph it but never had the chance. My first opportunity was this past March when I headed to the Big Apple with friends to catch a Bruce Springsteen concert. The plans were to visit Eataly (an incredible Italian market) for an afternoon lunch. Eataly is located right across the street from the Flatiron Building. When I got there I knew that whatever I shot was going to be a challenge as the mid-day sun was harsh and anything I shot would be barely passable. My only thought was to place the sun behind the building and shoot a hand-held 7-shot bracket to bring out the features of the building. While the resulting image is not perfect, the building reminded be of the shape of a spaceship readying for take-off.
A quick post and run today as I am headed off to a sunflower farm in New Jersey. This image was taken in Portland, Maine last September after we had visited the Victoria Mansion. Located on the southern part of the city, we were headed down to the main drag and I spotted these row homes. Their unique colors just jumped out at me. Have a great weekend everyone.
On any visit to Venice, one can't help being captivated by it's architecture, especially the ones that were built during the Gothic Period in the 14th century. This architecture was unique from the rest of Europe in that it was far more intricate in style and design. One of the other distinguishing characteristics was how lightweight the buildings were constructed. This was done to better provide stability the instability of the city due the canals. This image is of St Mark's Basilica in the Piazza San Marco. The details in the Basilica are very indicative of the Gothic style.
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.
The Achilleion Palace on the island of Corfu, Greece is our destination for today. The palace was built in 1890 and was named after the Greek mythical hero, Achilles. This image is of the patio in the rear of the palace. The patio's black and white marble squares reminded me of a life-sized chess board. The numerous large marble statues were lined up in similar manner as the start of a game. The early morning light and shadows enhanced the scene.
People that have never visited Niagara Falls don't realize that it is actually two falls. The two falls are formed by the Niagara River which flows from Lake Erie to its destination of Lake Ontario. The two falls are actually created as the river rushes around Goat Island which sits close to the New York side of the river. The American Falls are created as the water rushes in between Goat Island and New York while the Horseshoe Falls are created as the water rushes in between Goat Island and Canada. Given the positioning of the two falls, one has to move up-river on the New York side to get an image of both falls (it is possible from the Canadian side but the image is not as dramatic). This image shows the two falls along with the Canadian city of Niagara Falls. The toughest thing to do when photographing either falls is keeping the camera dry.
On my recent trip to photograph Grand Central Terminal, I caught an earlier train to New York than I had planned and had about an hour to kill. I decided to walk around and take a few photographs of the surrounding area. I didn't have to walk that far before I spotted these two buildings across the street from the Terminal. I was attracted by the patterns and textures in the buildings as well as the blue sky reflected in the windows. It can be challenging to get vertical lines when shooting so close to architecture but I was able to do a pretty good job with Photoshop 6's new filter, Adaptive Wide Angle. Pretty awesome tool.