Rose of Sharon by Sony

This morning’s heavy rain gave way to sunshine, and my Rose of Sharon bushes — both purple and pink — were dotted with raindrops. It was a good time to test out my friend’s Sony A7r. I purchased the Metabones Nikon adapter, so I could attach my Nikon lenses. For macro images of flowers, I love to use my 105mm Sigma lens. Because I was shooting hand-held and focusing manually, I raised the ISO to 1,000.

#roseofsharon, #bee, #bumblebee, #pollinate, #purple
This bumble bee coated with pollen was having a big day.
#rain, #petals, #roseofsharon, #July #pink, #buds
The petals reminded me of tissue paper. More buds wait off stage for their day.

A moment that transcends time

Today I was inspired by a quote from National Geographic photographer Paolo Pellegrin.  Reflecting on a photo he shot of two girls swimming in the Dead Sea, he said what he likes about this image is, “the girls could have been swimming there 2,000 years ago. I am always interested in a picture that speaks of a particular moment but also transcends it.”

I realized that timelessness is what attracts me to many scenes that I shoot. When I travel, I am attracted to markets, fishermen and farmers at work, and this is especially true in less developed regions that don’t resemble my home in the United States. Here are a few such images that I shot in China in 2005. While China is changing at a rapid place, there are scenes that portray a way of life that may not have changed for generations.

#yichang, #market, #timeless, #china, #travel
Busy market in Yichang, China. While the man’s leg motions suggest an instantaneous moment, the baskets balance on a pole suggest old ways.
#cart, #guillin, #china, #travel, #when, #hardwork
Muscle and wheels in Guillin, China. So often you see carts and bikes and loads carried on poles. Unlike the clogged highways of Beijing, this scene feels nostalgic.
#fishing, #nochange, #timeless, #Yangtze, #china, #travel,
Fishing in the muddy Yangtze. It appears the men are fishing for supper.

 

Florence’s Duomo

For tourists, Florence is very crowded in the summer, and there will be a line to enter the Duomo, but don’t be discouraged. It is a magnificent structure of outstanding craftsmanship that could never be recreated in modern times. Inside the dome Vasari painted an enormous fresco. You can hike to the top of the dome via narrow stairway in between the internal and external walls if you wish; it’s a workout!

The story behind the Duomo is fascinating. I recommend Ross King’s “Brunelleschi’s Duomo,”  a wonderful book that reads like a novel, not a history textbook. It tells the story of the competing architects who designed and built the enormous and ornate Duomo beginning in 1418. You will learn that no one had yet figured out how to build this large a vaulted dome over the foundation that was complete up to the base of the dome, and how they did it.

It is difficult to photograph the entire church from either the front or back, because the Baptistry, another architectural gem with bronze relief doors by Ghiberti, stands directly in front, and other buildings rise along the sides and rear. You can best see the famous dome while walking away from the church down a narrow cobbled street. Inside and out, from the sidewalk or top of the dome, the Duomo and its story are extraordinary.

#facade, #Duomo, #marble, #florence, #firenze
Facade of the Duomo, Florence
#duomo, #florence, #church, #firenze
Rear of the Duomo: geometric pattern with three colors of marble.
#duomo, #dome, #florence, #firenze
It’s hard to get a good distance from the Duomo for a view of the dome.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Florence, Italy is a popular travel destination for many reasons: the wonderful architecture of the Duomo (enormous domed church), the medieval Ponte Vecchio, the art in the Uffizi Museum, the delicious Italian cuisine and the surrounding Chianti vineyards. You can’t describe it one sentence or see it all in one day.

However, if you visit for one day of your Italian holiday, be sure to enjoy the Ponte Vecchio, or “old bridge.” This covered bridge dating from Roman times is lined on both sides with gold and art shops now, formerly butcher shops. Thankfully, it was spared from bombing in World War II, so we can enjoy walking it as well as photographing it from the shore.

#pontevecchio, #bridge, #florence, #firenze, #Italy, #travel, #topaz, #vacation, #tuscany, #chianti
Ponte Vecchio, Firenze, Italia

Planning a trip? Stay tuned for more travel tips and photos of Rome and Tuscany. If you are savoring your own memories, consider buying one of my prints to decorate your home or office.

Summer Meadow

My friend Erika planted 3 1/2 acres of wildflowers several years ago to create a summer meadow. The deer sleep in there at night. “I think the deer think we did this for them,” she commented.  Perhaps the bees do too, as they are busy doing their work by day.

#meadow, #birdfeeder, #bees, #July, #Pennsylvania, #flowers, #wildflowers, #daisies
Sunny July morning in Erika’s meadow

Tragedy in Nice

My heart goes out to the families who were innocent victims of unspeakable cruelty on Bastille Day in Nice, France. We must pray for peace and for God to heal this violent society we live in.

As I lie awake last night, not sleeping, I thought back on time my daughter Courtney and I were on Boulevard des Anglais in Nice 10 years ago when families were crowding the same space in a similar way. It was the finals of the World Cup between France and Italy. Here are a few photos I took that evening.

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A reflective moment on the water’s edge in Nice, France. July 18, 2006.

This image of the man resting by his flag on the beach in Nice still resonates with me.

#france, #flag, #family, #peace
Father and son support France in World Cup Final, Nice, 2006
#france, #nice, #worldcup, #peace, #flag, #tricouleur
Crowd in Nice for World Cup Final, 2006, near Boulevard des Anglais as seen from Meridian Hotel.
#france, #worldcup, #2006, #flag, #family, #peace
World Cup Final was a family affair for the people of Nice, 2006. Game was televised on a big screen.
#moonrise, #nice, #france, #crowd, #worldcup, #peace
Evening ends peacefully in Nice, July 2006, as fans crowding Boulevard des Anglais watch World Cup Final on big screen.

Jesus Christ Lizard

Nature never ceases to surprise me. Glad I aways have my iPhone with me, even when I go out to mail a letter.

This week I discovered a brand new species in South Florida, one I had never seen before. It’s the basilisk lizard, nicknamed the Jesus Christ Lizard, because it can walk (that is, run) on water. If you want to see, just google it or watch here on you tube.

It’s body is rather large like a snake, and this one on the tree outside my condominium was bright green. It can run five feet per second, but luckily this one held still until I could snap a few iPhotos. You can see it is very long.

 

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I think it’s pretty funny, as long as it stays outside my condo. When you come in, please close the door quickly!

Hiking Red Rock Canyon

Most Las Vegas visitors don’t know that there is a fantastic site for scenic hiking just 17 miles west of the Strip. If you are not the gambling and high-end shopping type, and more excited about nature and photography, you will want to head west to the Mojave Desert. The guides at the visitor’s center can help you choose a hike according to ease or difficulty. My husband and I chose a moderate hike, knowing we were lugging two cameras, and we still found it plenty challenging, (i.e. we needed two hands and strong quads at times.) There is also rock climbing, mountain biking, road biking, horseback riding and a 13-mile scenic drive.

My daughter Erin is  headed out to Red Rock Canyon for a wedding this month. She and her boyfriend are pro hikers with lots of practice in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. I hope they get a chance to hike this trail (in shorts and a good pair of sneakers after the wedding).

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Lavender in July

The Provence region of France can be blistering hot in July, and you might think that you were a month or two late to enjoy seeing rows of lavender growing in the fields. You’re not! You might be a month late to see fields of sunflowers in Provence as well as Tuscany (in Italy), but you are right on time for the lavender.

When my daughter Courtney and I took our road trip through Provence, driving in our “putt-putt” between Avignon, Gordes, Les Baux, St. Remy, L’Isle sur Sorgue and Roussillon we discovered this lavender field at the Abbey de Senanque. The abbey’s location is just at the foot of the hill near Gordes. I shot this photo, but you may have seen a similar shot on many book covers.

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While the weather is hot and dry in July, you will hardly notice it. The delicious cuisine, the colorful farmers markets, the pottery shops and the local wine (Chateauneuf du Pape), provide ample distraction. Oh yes, there is the scenery and landscape photography too, to capture and hold your attention.

Before the Fireworks

I bet you have often seen a spectacular sky, but the foreground is terrible and besides, you don’t have your camera with you. I’m with you. Last night the spectacular sunset met the perfect foreground (two parts of the trinity), but alas, my camera was sitting at home. So, I did my best with the iPhone.

While waiting for the fireworks to begin around a friend’s swimming pool, the setting sun lit up the clouds and reflected in the infinity pool. Lying down beside the pool, I captured this colorful image.

#july4, #sunset, #sky, #reflection, #color
Sewickley Heights sunset before the Fireworks