Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cuba - 2013

I've resigned myself to never being a regular blogger... but before the fabulous Cuba Photo tour with John Barclay and Tony Sweet becomes nothing but a memory, I'm going to share a few notes and some iPhone images that I've managed to process already. (most of these were processed on either my iPhone or my iPad while I was in Cuba) More to come one of these days. HA! (as in, don't check back daily because who knows when I will get to the next installment)

My trip started on January 4, 2013 so that I could stay in the Miami International Airport Hotel and be ready to meet with other participants at 6:00 AM sharp on January 5, 2013. By arriving late afternoon on the 4th, I had the added benefit of dining with John, Tony and one other participant in the tour. :-)

After meeting bright and early on the 5th to get our tickets, visas and tour itinerary as well as some key guidelines for clearing customs and immigration in Cuba, we proceeded out of the hotel and over to the area in Terminal E for check-in to our charter flight. One strange sight to see is shown below... MANY of the Cuba bound passengers took advantage of 'wrapping stations' that were in the charter flight area to have their bags weighed and wrapped in plastic (either green or clear seemed to be the two options) before checking in to their flights. As Americans, with our rules for passing through security and the knowledge that even our checked luggage may be subject to search, we found this very odd! The image below is one taken with the iPhone SlowShutter camera app and processed with several other iPad or iPhone apps.

waiting for Cuba charter
On arrival in Cuba, cleared immigration, picked up our baggage, cleared customs and exited the airport. We were met by representatives of the tour company that organized our People-to-People tour, taken to our bus and from there to a restaurant for lunch with our guide Lazaro, Judy (tour company representative), and our driver, Umberto. After checking in to our hotel, we wandered around the Prado (a wide avenue with a central park area), took a few pictures (none processed yet) and had dinner in a nearby and very convenient restaurant serving Cuban style food. We had good food, great mojitos and a relatively early night so we could be off to a flying start the next day. The image below is an iPhone image of the view from my hotel room in the early morning hours; low light images on an iPhone are quite noisy so I made this a pointillist image in the style of Seurat.

Our first stop after breakfast was the Colon Cemetery in Havana. At first, I wondered how we could possibly spend two hours photographing at this location but I managed to easily fill the allotted time and only managed to touch the surface of this huge (157 acres) cemetery filled with elaborate mausoleums and monuments. I will definitely have more images from this location at a later date. In the meantime, the image below is a detail of a small portion of the facade of one of the many elaborate mausoleums.

From the cemetery, we went somewhere for lunch (cannot recall where) and then wandered around Old Havana where the following couple of images were taken. The first one below is an interior shot of a lovely old building; the second is of a "famous" gentleman we met in the church square in Old Havana. He told us he was famous and had the proof, a copy of a travel magazine on which his photo was the cover photo. He also told us that he doesn't smoke and his cigar is merely a prop (made of newspaper, if I understood correctly). But he happily posed for us and was happy to accept a few Cuc in return. (the Cuban currency tourists use is pronounced "kook" and spelled Cuc)

On our second full day in Cuba, we traveled by bus from Havana to Trinidad with a stop in Cienfuegos en route for lunch and a bit of photography. We spent 3 full days in Trinidad and could easily have spent many more. Since I've not had a chance yet to process LOADS of images (and believe me, I took MANY with both my iPhone and with my "big girl" camera), I'm just going to share one of my favorites from Trinidad, an iPhone panorama stitched with AutoStitch to get the entire facade of the shell of an old and what must have been quite beautiful church before it fell into ruins.

After spending time in Trinidad, we returned to Havana for our last two nights in Cuba. We traveled a southern route that put us closer to the water, took us over some roads less traveled by tourist traffic and afforded us some sights we would not have seen had we stuck to the main road between Trinidad and Havana. One of those sights is shown below... an iPhone shot through the bus window of rice drying on the highway. The workers rake the rice to distribute it more evenly and facilitate drying. If oncoming traffic is met while one lane of these two lane roads is being used to dry rice, one of the vehicles simply drives over the rice!

The next three images were all taken at an old train station where a couple of workers are crafting various items out of old train parts as well as, I think, maintaining the old trains stored there as a sort of museum for anyone stopping by. There were quite a lot of subjects for images and, as with everything else, I have more to process in the days/weeks to come! The first two images below are both Hipstamatic camera images, the first is a still life I spotted behind a door, the second is of the welder's glove where it was left on the worktable while he was on a break and the third is a native iPhone 4s camera image of one of the two workmen posing for us.

Unfortunately for me, the meal I had my second to last night in Cuba did NOT agree with me and I was unable to stay with the group in Cojimar. However, I managed to capture a few images before becoming so ill that I grabbed a taxi back to Havana and slept for the rest of the day, missing out not only on Cojimar, but the night shoot from the top of our hotel and the meet-up with another group of American photographers who were just setting out on their own Cuban adventure. In spite of that, I had a SUPERB time in Cuba and would happily return. The image below is of the bay in Cojimar (an iPhone panorama stitched from six images) which was a favorite location of Hemingway's and served as his inspiration for The Old Man and the Sea. The sky was spectacular!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Before the tour started... Ireland touring near Shannon, Ireland

I'm loving the PicMonkey replacement for Picnik for making collages... took me less time than using Picnik and I could create free-form collages to suit my own requirements instead of being locked into fixed templates. That said, I wanted to create collages to cram more images into a short space for my vacation blog and have a few for you today from the first two days of my Ireland visit. As always, click any image to view them larger.

Arriving at 7 AM local time at Shannon Airport meant getting to my hotel (Oakwood Arms) while they were still serving breakfast and before my room was ready. Had some marvelous coffee and a light snack and got into my room before 9 AM. I had made arrangements to meet with Evie, another participant in the Ireland tour who was also arriving on the 28th, for lunch at which point we would figure out what to do for the afternoon. Neither of us wanted to sleep even though we were both jet-lagged.

We decided on visiting the nearby Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, a 10 minute cab ride away from our hotel. The castle was built in 1425 and was "restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times." Taking pictures inside without a tripod was problematic but the following collage contains a few pictures of the animals on the grounds, a lovely flower in the garden and a view of a portion of the castle, complete with a tourist walking toward me.

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The male goat had a unique style of grazing... I never once saw him stand up. Guess he wanted to be as close to his meal as possible without too much wasted motion.

For our adventure on the second day in Ireland, we had contracted with the same cab driver we'd hired the day before to take us to Dromoland Castle Hotel and Country Estate and both the Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort and the nearby town of Adare which has some lovely old thatch-roofed cottages and dates back to the 11th century.

A word of advice about hiring a cab for a day-long 'guided tour' (really 5-1/2 hours)... bargain and don't take the first rate you are offered. Both Evie and myself had been offered cabs for a day hire by the drivers who took us from the airport to the hotel... mine offered 200 euros for 5 hours, hers offered 100 euros for 5 hours. BUT, we could only understand every third or fourth word uttered by those drivers! The cab driver who took us to Bunratty offered us the same 5 hours for 150 euros but we could understand him! And eventually, we worked out to have him for that price for 5-1/2 hours so we could see Dromoland, Adare Manor and the thatched cottages in the town of Adare. Four collages from Dromoland and two from Adare follow. Enjoy...

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Dromoland Castle with tourist for sense of scale (a HUGE place, hard to believe it was someone's home hundreds of years ago), a water lily and some roses, both in the walled garden on the grounds.

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A huge old tree in a clearing in the "forest" on the grounds at Dromoland Castle Hotel, a vine covered building and a charming brick bridge over a water feature. The latter two images are from the beautiful walled garden on the grounds.

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The ducks near the lake at Dromoland Castle Hotel and Country Estate were quite tame and only wandered away from us when we got within 10-15 feet of them.

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From the lake again... one last duck image (not sleeping, just caught blinking), four of the gorgeous Mute swans (Cygnus Olor)and one more water lily (from the walled garden) complete with tiny bugs. The swans hung around long enough for me to switch lenses and get some 300mm telephoto shots. Our cab driver said that this one is a male which is determined in part by the pinkish/orange tinge on the beak which females don't have. (I think he was having fun at our expense because so far, I've found no reference to this "fact" but have found that males are larger than the females.)

We met up with Evie's friend Felice at the Adare Castle Hotel and Golf Resort just before we left there. She was with us for the stop in the town of Adare where we had about 30 minutes to grab a few images and do a tiny bit of tourist shopping. But first, a collage of images from the hotel and golf resort... an amazing place!

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The ruins in the top left are from a Franciscan Abbey, the middle, left image is the Adare Castle Hotel, the bottom left and top right images are of the gardens. (I loved the intricately pruned boxwood hedges.) The middle, right image is of a bridge over a tributary of the River Shannon and is for access to the golf course (not open to casual day visitors). And the bottom right image is a close-up of the window seen on the middle, left image. I loved how the sky reflections were visible and the way the colorful leaves set off the scene.

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Several of the old, thatched roof buildings in the town of Adare house restaurants, some are craft shops and others are private residences. All are charming. The fourth image is of a newer building (as compared to the thatched roof buildings) that is also a restaurant. I rather liked all the roof lines, the curving sidewalk and the textures in this last image.

A slide show of the images from which the collages were made, including a map of the complete journey we made once the tour started, is available. Subsequent posts will cover the 10 days of the photo tour. Who knows when! (am about to travel again)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ireland with John Barclay, Dan Sniffin and Peter Cox

Off on another photo tour... I've heard we will have no time for processing once the tour starts. I'm simply posting the schedule for the tour to whet your appetite and tempt you to check back at a later date for posts from this trip. (have already been in Ireland since the morning of June 28th to allow for recovery from jet lag)
Our schedule of travel for the tour includes the following and is listed in more detail on Peter Cox's web site.
  • G = Shannon (start and finish of trip)
  • B = Dingle (3 nights)
  • C = Killarney (2 nights)
  • D = Portmagee (1 night)
  • E = Kenmare (2 nights)
  • F = Gougane Barra (1 night)
If you want to get a taste of some of the sights we will be visiting, visit John Barclay's blog images from the first of two tours he, Dan and Peter are leading here in southwestern Ireland. (we will not see all the places he posted, because John and Dan traveled to some spots we won't be visiting while they were on break between the two tours)
For a visual... here's a map! Shannon is G on the map and is the starting and ending point. We leave the Oakwood Arms Hotel at 11 AM this morning for our first stop in Dingle where we will be based for the next few days. (Click the map for a larger view.)

collage of images as described

Friday, February 24, 2012

Long Overdue Post... Adventures in Sweden continued...

It seems I'm WAY overdue for completing the saga of my trip this past summer with brother Lukas, his partner Tom and my sister Valerie... so before Picnik dies completely, I'm going to try to finish up the last of that trip as well as the three days spent in Iceland with Lukas and Tom on the way home from Sweden. Today's post is the journey from Tärnaby to Östersund. For those of you who might be interested to see earlier posts about this trip, start here.

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Stensele kyrka (kyrka = church) is the largest wooden church in Sweden. We made a slight detour en route from Tärnaby to Östersund so that we could take a few pictures and see the inside of the church. The scenic view in this collage was somewhere along the Ume river before we got to Stensele kyrka. The interior shot shows the main alter, the close view of the door to the church tells us that the church was built in 1885.

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Another view of the exterior of Stensele kyrka and a few more interior shots. One could get a talk about the church by choosing the language and lifting the phone. The distant view of the alter shows the gorgeous windows behind the main alter and the close-up of a small portion of some of the painted wood shows a feature common to many of the wooden churches of Sweden... painting the wood to make it appear to be marble.

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More interior views of Stensele kyrka, from left to right, a close-up of one of the lovely chandeliers, a long view of the main alter, the high pulpit, and the original organ from when the church was first used. This organ has since been replaced with a newer, more modern organ.

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Another church, this one in Vilhelmina. Perhaps you can see similarities in style. From left to right, an exterior view, the main alter at the front of the church, the high pulpit (a feature seen in almost every church we visited) and a close-up of a chandelier. This chandelier has both candles (which is what would have been used in the "old days") and modern lightbulbs.

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Scenes from downtown Östersund after our arrival. In the square near our hotel, one can go from the sublime in dining, Winston Restaurant, to the ridiculous, McDonald's! We had a fabulous meal at Winston Restaurant, recommended by our hotel desk clerk who made us a reservation for dinner. The color coded street signs caught my eye as did the three tourists (sister, brother and brother-in-law who may not thank me for posting this).

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After our marvelous meal, we decided to go for a walk around Östersund before heading to our rooms and bed. It was almost 10 PM when we were wandering and the light was wonderful. We finished off our day at a sidewalk refreshment stand where one could purchase beer and wine as well as non-alcoholic drinks. My beer was delicious but I don't think you can buy it in the US.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last post of 2011... Happy New Year everyone!

I had grandiose plans to do a year in review post BEFORE Christmas and send an email to friends and family so they could connect here to see what the highlights of 2011 were in my corner of the world as well as my travels that took me here and there. Those of you who only want to view the images may do so by clicking on the first one to get a window that blows it up larger and allows you to step through the images. Friends and family who might want to know what else has happened in my life besides what is represented by the these images are encouraged to read to the very end where I'll share some news of a personal note not included along with the images.

I am currently sitting in a cozy B&B in Red Lodge, Montana looking at last night's snowfall as it has settled on the pine tree outside the window... and I'm thinking I should motivate to go outdoors and take some more pictures... BUT I'm so far behind on the ones I've taken over this past year that I decided to try to post a few here in the next hour or so before heading out to lunch! Here's wishing you and yours the best of everything in 2012!

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Cardinal images from my back yard during January snow storms.

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One of several collages from images taken on a February photo outing with cousin Jane and friend Susie... we went from Bethesda, MD to Shepherdstown, WV for lunch and wandering around to take photos... then we were off to my potter's home and studio near Sharpsburg, MD before heading back to Bethesda. These images are of a church on one of the back roads we took to get to Shepherdstown, a view (upper left) from the scenic lookout on 270 before you get to Frederick, MD and sunset from Boonsboro, MD.

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In March, I glanced out the window when I noticed the birds were chirping excitedly but none were at the feeders... what a treat to see this Sharp-shinned Hawk so fascinated with the birds hiding in the rose brambles that he wasn't the LEAST bit interested in me as I crept closer and closer to get some marvelous images... here are two!

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Squirrel antics in April at a newly purchased "squirrel proof" feeder... of course they soon figured it out and it no longer keeps the rascally thieves from stealing the bird feed.

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Floral images from a May Greenspring Garden macro workshop with Blue Ridge Workshops. Digitalis, Columbine, Lavender and phlox look alike whose name I cannot recall.

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Trying to choose just one collage of images from our June trip to Sweden is quite impossible since we packed so much into the trip. We visited family in Göteborg and Vägsele and saw many sights in between visiting with family. Here we are on the road from Vägsele to Tärnaby with cousins Sture and Inger. We stopped alongside the Blue Highway, a most scenic route, to have a morning coffee and snack break. (the two church photos are not at the roadside stop; they are of Stensele Kyrka) Seated at the picnic table from the lower left is myself, my sister, my brother and in the right rear coming forward is our cousin Sture, my brother's partner and Sture's wife Inger. If you want to know more about our trip to Sweden, Start with this post and work your way forward through newer posts... I STILL have not finished this trip diary!

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Going along with the theme of not finishing the Sweden trip diary... here is a collage from Iceland where my brother, his partner and myself spent three days in July en route home from Sweden. I've barely begun sorting through the scenic photos from Iceland but have managed to put together one collage of bird images from our boat trip to see the Puffins who have established large colonies on two islands in Reykjavik Harbor.

August seems to have been a month for staying indoors due to the heat and attempting to catch up with SOME of my image processing and blogging... So no photo to represent August!

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September found me spending 11 days in Montana and 10 days in Colorado which spilled over into October. The time in Montana was spent in and around Red Lodge, as usual, staying at my vacation home and spending time doing some fix-up chores as well as spending time with friends I see once a year (or more, depending). I never tire of Montana scenery but am going to share an image of Clouded Sulphur butterflies on Spotted Knapweed (taken near Red Lodge, MT, at the West Fork of Rock Creek near the Silver Run parking lot) to represent the month of September.

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With apologies to those of you who have seen this already, For October I am again sharing a collage of Hipstamatic (iPhone camera app) images since one of the best things I've discovered recently thanks to John Barclay and Dan Sniffin and their MARVELOUS Colorado Photo tour is iPhoneography!

sunrise at the 59th street pier in Ocean City, NJ
This image of sunrise at the 59th Street pier in Ocean City, NJ is from another workshop with John Barclay, this time in partnership with George Brown. We spent a mid-November weekend at Cape May, NJ with an early morning trip to Ocean City to photograph this fabulous sunrise! One of the reasons that it has taken me so long to sort through images this year is that I've taken quite a few workshops... and done a fair bit of travel as well! I've certainly learned a LOT about how to improve my photographic skills, both in the field and afterwards with post-processing.

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December finds me in Montana although I'm not staying at my house over the first of the year because it's rented! I'm staying at the Irish Rose B&B which is a lovely place to stay. It has snowed at least part of every day since my arrival a few days ago and this makes the skiers very happy. I'm not skiing but have been out and about getting a few lovely wintry scenes while here. The first of the two images above was taken on the road from Laurel to Red Lodge and the second was taken at the bridge over the West Fork of Rock Creek at the entrance to the Silver Run parking area.

And now, for some personal notes... in addition to the many highlights represented by the images above, 2011 had some notes of sadness as well. Our half-brother Robin passed away in April after a valiant battle with cancer. Many of us were with him at the end and we celebrated his life with many people in the town of Easton, PA where he had lived since retiring from the phone company around 24 years ago. He was very highly thought of in the town of Easton on the Delaware River and will be missed by many.

In 2011, there were three new additions to my family... Nephew Dan (brother Larry's son) and his wife Wendy added a sister for Elliott (who is now 3) in July when their adorable daughter Holly was born on July 3rd. Nephew Michael (sister Val's middle son) and his wife Dawn welcomed their son, Ethan, on August 24th, making Val a grandmother for the first time. And my niece Lauren (brother Larry's daughter) and her husband Justus welcomed daughter Cora Jane on November 25th making Larry and his wife Chris grandparents for the third time. All are healthy, happy babies... I can't wait to meet them!

And last, but not least, I requested that my significant other of nearly 20 years move out of my house in Bethesda, which he did in November. We were not married but had been together for a long time so, in that respect, there is some sadness at the loss of such a long-term relationship. However, I am very happy and am feeling so much better these days! I look forward to a new year filled with more adventures in photography, more travel and greater peace of mind. Best wishes to all who make it this far for a wonderful 2012!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Images from Cape May, NJ - Photography Workshop

I am SO FAR behind with this blog... I will possibly never catch up. I've recently been on another marvelous photography workshop... this one led by John Barclay and George Brown to Cape May, NJ. Cape May is at the southernmost part of New Jersey and has the Delaware Bay to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east... making for beautiful sunrises and sunsets this time of year. Although I'm not really a morning person, I think you will agree that some of the images that can be had when one rises EARLY in the morning are truly spectacular! Without spending TOO much time on captions... I'm just going to post a few and give you a link at the end to a slide show in case you want to see more. Enjoy... Larger images are available by clicking on the smaller ones... look for the X in the upper right corner of your browser to close the large image and get back to the blog (took me awhile to find it on my 24" iMac screen).

sunlight on ocean waves
Golden glow of early morning light on waves...

sunrise at the seashore
Early morning light on the horizon as waves break over pilings and the shore...

Crepe Myrtle leaves
Fall colors of Crepe Myrtle... bokeh from color reflected in metal siding on the wall behind the tree.

Fire engine at the Firehouse Museum
A six shot HDR image of the old fire engine in the Cape May Firehouse Museum.

Cape May lighthouse at sunset
Sunset at Cape May with a distant view of the lighthouse across the way.

sunrise in ocean city, nj
Sunrise at the 59th Street Pier in Ocean City... cannot believe I had to get up at 4:10 AM to participate in this photo shoot! This is just one of many images from that morning and is a 30 second exposure while using a VND (Variable Neutral Density) filter.

another ocean city sunrise
Another view of the sunrise with the color tweaked to give it a different feel.

long exposure of sunlight on the water at sunrise
Another picture of early morning sunlight on the water... lost count of how many similar images I took!

If you want to view more from the workshop, there is a slide show available that also includes some additional images that I will be posting later on this week if I find the time. Images in the sideshow that were taken with my iPhone start with the image titled "Moon in the sky during sunrise..." and end with the series of images demonstrating a post processing technique I'll talk more about when I post the rest of the images here (or in my other blog).

I do so admire those of you who manage to post regularly. I honestly have no clue how you manage it... probably by being more focused and disciplined about it than I am! One of the reasons I've been missing for the past month or so has to do with having had quite a bit of upheaval in my personal life. Without going into great gory detail, I will just tell you that I'm finally free of a burdensome relationship and am feeling MUCH lighter as a result. Sometimes things just do not work out and that was the case with myself and the guy who has been living with me for the past (almost) 14 years. He has moved out and I am moving on and enjoying myself quite a bit these days.

Linking to The Creative Exchange which I recently discovered by browsing someone's blog.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Something new and different... iPhone images from Colorado!

Regular followers may have been waiting for me to continue posting about my Sweden and Iceland trip of June/July. However, I ran out of time to finish those posts before taking another trip... this one to Montana (more about that eventually) and Colorado. The main reason I went to Colorado was to take a Photo Tour of Colorado with John Barclay and Dan Sniffin, two marvelous photographers who have been leading such tours for many years.

The tour was not only terrific fun... I learned an incredible amount of tricks, tips and techniques for post processing. Improved post processing of my images has already resulted in increased attention to my posts on both Flickr and Facebook.

Some of the MOST fun was discovering iPhoneography... thanks to John and Dan, I've spent a few dollars on more applications (hereafter referred to as apps) for my iPhone, learned a few tricks to improve my ability to take pictures with it and had LOADS of fun with both taking pictures and processing the images after capturing them.

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This collage has images from several different locations all over the area between Ouray, Silverton, Durango, South Fork, Creede and Fairplay, Colorado. All were taken with the Hipstamatic app set for Kodot film using the John S lens.

The center image is of a barn seen near Bayfield, CO (more on that later in this post); the phone booth was on the side of the Silver Thread highway not too far outside South Fork (you all do know what a phone booth is, right?). ;-) The cute house in the lower left was just as cute inside (the tenant moving in that day invited me in to see it when she saw me taking a picture of the outside), the Coca Cola cooler and assorted relics of bygone days were on the porch of the general store (closed on Sunday) in Creede, the Aspens were everywhere so I'm not at all sure where I took those two photos and the Shaft Restaurant is one of the two places in South Fork where I had dinner while staying at the Arbor House B&B there for two nights... I HIGHLY recommend staying at the Arbor House if you ever find yourself in South Fork. The rest of the images were all taken at the South Park Museum in Fairplay, Colorado, an open air museum set up to show how people lived in that area in the late 1800s. It was a fascinating place and I could have spent more time there if only I didn't have to drive to Denver to catch a plane home that day!

The next two collages show the steps in taking the red barn image from the original (taken with the Apple supplied iPhone Camera app set to take an HDR image) to a finished product through several steps.

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The left image is the original, the right is after retouching (Retouch app) to remove the overhead wires and pole. (note that the entire image isn't visible in this collage but you will see it at the end)

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The image on the left is the original image after processing with the AutoPainter app using the Benson effect (I may never pick up a paintbrush again); the center image is the result of blending the original (after retouching) with the AutoPainter image (50% opacity) using Iris; the image on the right is after cropping slightly, still in Iris.

red barn on roadside
The finished image after further cropping and a bit more tweaking in Iris.

PS - If you want to see another scenic image (taken with my Nikon D90) from Colorado and some more iPhone photos, visit the two most recent posts on my photography blog.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Day of Fun with Sture and Inger... Tärnaby and nearby, Sweden

Our day started with a lovely breakfast followed by a quick stop in Tärnaby for a couple of items to supplement our picnic lunch. Afterward, we drove to Laisaliden where we parked the car and headed out to walk a bit on the Drottningleden hiking trail. After a short climb at the beginning of the trail, we were treated to lovely views on all sides as we hiked along a high plateau. The image below is a panorama of five images of just some of our lovely views on this hike... stitched together in Photoshop. panoramic view from the Drottningleden trail
The two images flanking the wildflowers in the top half of the collage below are of the rushing mountain stream running alongside the start of the trail. The yellow wildflower is Small Cow wheat (Melampyrum silvaticum, the dark purple flower is Bartsia alpina L.; its common name in Sweden is Svarthö which translates to Bartsia! The image on the lower left is the first of five images that were used to make the panoramic image at the top of this post... even the ground was beautiful on our hike as seen in the gorgeous stones and greenery in the image in the lower right. In the middle is cousin Sture, carrying most of the provisions for our lunch and coffee making and brother-in-law Tom on top of the world in spite of the gloomy weather!
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Below you have the gateway to the hiking trail and Sture preparing to make the all-important coffee to go with our picnic lunch after we had hiked up to the plateau. The hardest part of finding a lunch spot was finding a place that was sheltered enough from the wind to allow Sture to light the flame for making the coffee. We certainly didn't lack for beautiful scenery!
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Images below include several from our hike along the plateau, brother Lukas and brother-in-law Tom (back to camera) hunkered down and enjoying lunch and Sture finally joining us in the meal after making sure we all had coffee. The image in the lower right is an HDR from 3 images taken of the stream that runs alongside the start of the trail. As we returned to the parking lot at the end of our hike, the sky had become quite dark except for the light patch in the distance and light rain was falling.
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I debated about including the collage below... the church looks crooked to me in BOTH of the images. SIGH... must do a better job of post processing when making collages which tend to exaggerate any "off kilter" bits! This is the church in Tärnaby (Tarna kyrka) and is the church where Inger's parents were married.
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Interior views of the church in Tärnaby include the high pulpit, a view of the painting over the altar and one of the stairwells leading up to the choir balcony where the organ, last image, is located. This church was beautiful in its simplicity and not nearly as elaborately decorated in the interior as many we saw.
collage of images as described
After our stop in Tärnaby on the way home from our hike, we made a couple more stops along the way to have a look at some family homes formerly belonging to Inger's family. The house on the top left below was the home of Inger's grandparents until they became quite elderly at which point it was given to one of the sons as is the custom in Sweden in the old days (and still seems to be fairly common to this day). The home in the lower right is where Inger's grandparents lived in their "old age" and is on the same property as their other house. The thermometer measuring the temperature at nearly 9 PM was on the outside of Sture and Inger's home and the interior door is in their house. That door came from the old house that they bought to provide building materials for portions of their home. Sture was in the process of stripping all the old paint when Inger suggested that he should leave it as you see it now because it was beautiful that way. I quite agree!
collage of images as described
The last collage has an image of the home in which Inger lived until age 4 when her family moved from Tärnaby to Lycksele, a lovely little wildflower, Moneses uniflora (known as Ögonljus in Sweden), and a pleasant scene near the family property.
collage of images as described