Reykjavik travel tips

I’ve only spent two days in Reykjavik, Iceland in my life, so I’m not ready to write the guide book for Lonely Planet. But so many friends have told me that Iceland is on their bucket list, so I thought there would be some interest in some personal recommendations. I’ll keep this brief: two super hotels, two phenomenal bakeries, and two memorable seafood restaurants.

Our very first stop after driving the 30 miles from Keflavik International Airport to the city was the Braud Bakery. We were hungry right off the bat for breakfast, and I remembered my friend Britt’s words, “best cinnamon rolls I ever tasted.” Well, Britt was not exaggerating. Apparently, the hard working Icelanders practice baking all winter long, as they huddle inside their homes in the 24 hour darkness. And here is your first vocabulary word: Braud means bread. A second and third visit to Braud brought us to the conclusion that cookies and everything else they bake is exceptional as well. (Time to fly home before gaining the Iceland-15!)

#bakery, #reykjavik, #iceland, #bestcinnamonrolls, #firststop, #wheretoeat
The tiny but now world famous Braud Bakery in Reykjavik, Iceland
#bakery, #reykjavik, #iceland, #breakfast, #bestplace
Colorful exterior of the Braud Bakery, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Apparently all tennis players love pastry, and Britt (my tennis buddy) also recommended the Sandholt Bakery on the main shopping street Laugavegur. Eggs are healthy, but they cost $40, so let’s be practical and have another pastry and coffee here. (Warning: everything in Iceland — food, drinks, hotel, wool hats, etc. — all cost twice as much as you expect.) By the end of your trip, you’ll be relaxed and saying, “who cares?”

There are many nice looking and convenient hotels in Reykjavik. We favor Hilton hotels, and I can report that both the Hilton Reykjavik on the north perimeter of the city as well as the centrally located “Canopy by Hilton” were terrific. If you don’t have a rental car and plan to walk the city, choose the latter.

When it comes to food, I doubt that you can get a bad meal in Reykjavik. Literally everything we had to eat was fresh and delicious often with interesting preparation. A shopkeeper where we bought a wool sweater recommended these two restaurants. For a casual bistro, try Salka Valka “Fish and More”  at 23 Skolavordustigur. (Say that fast three times!) The local dish fish stew is yummy. We spoke with some friendly Norwegians there.

Sjavargrillid “Seafood Grill” is on the same street — Skolavordistigur, which you can easily find on foot in the shopping district. I had the perch, creatively prepared. Service was great, and the place was busy. Make a reservation here: +354 571 1100.

Wherever you go in Reykjavik, whatever you eat, whatever you buy – have a wonderful time!

Pittsburgh Gallery Crawl

Friday July 7 is a great evening for a one-time photography show in Pittsburgh. The ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) photographers will be exhibiting their recent personal work in the Cultural Trust Building, 4th floor: 807 Liberty Avenue. We have an annual tradition of putting on this one-night exhibit. Each year the art is diverse and fascinating, and most of the artists are there to talk to. We start at 5:30 pm. Please come meet us and enjoy dinner in the neighborhood.

These five of my prints will be on display and for sale. Hope to see you!

#white, #flowers, #may, #spring, #bluesky, #icm, #unique, #art, #nature
White dogwood in bloom on a perfect Spring day.
#pinkandgreen, #abstract, #design, #mosaic, #murano, #photography, #inspired, #VIDA, #shopvida
Murano mosaic, my new silk scarf design. Will these colors work with your summer fashion?
#newborn, #portrait, #blackandwhite, #motherandchild, #borntoday, #joy, #pride
Just a few hours after giving birth, my daughter admires her newborn baby girl. (Not for sale.)
#pittsburgh, #skyline, #mountwashington, #circular, #art, #print, #sunnyday, #photograpy
My own artistic interpretation of the Pittsburgh skyline, as seen from Mount Washington. Want a print?
#icm, #nikon, #flower, #blueandgreen, #composite
Creative shooting and processing are behind this unique image that features a peach colored flower.

Chihuly’s Organic Towers

Chihuly glass sculptures, installed in many prominent American botanical gardens, ostensibly aim to imitate nature. How do you compare these sublime towers of glass at the New York Botanical Gardens to a nearby stalk of blooms?

#NYBG, #chihuly, #tower, #yellow, #red, #tower, #nature, #art
Chihuly’s yellow and red spire of glass spokes stand in stark contrast to the round pavilion at the New York Botanical Garden.

Inside the neoclassical pavilion, I found this simple and elegant stalk of blossoms. It is rather understated, you might say, but similar to the sculpture in its overall shape and repetition of blossoms up the stalk. Here the colors are more muted, not bold, primary colors the sculpture has.

#NYBG, #newyork, #nature, #closeup, #macro, #symmetry, #pole, #flower, #simple, #elegant, #delicate, #sony
Close up of delicate blossoms emerging symmetrically around the plant’s stalk at New York Botanical Garden.

Inside the pavilion shown in the first photo is a more fanciful Chihuly tower sculpture that reminds me of a Dr. Seuss illustration. It is white with pink polka dots, and its spokes curl like snakes. Symmetry is no longer the operative word. We might say this piece shows more personality.

#NYBG, #newyork, #chihuly, #glass, #sculpture, #art, #pink, #pinkandwhite, #drseuss, #personality
Polka dots and irregular curls give this Chihuly sculpture a different personality. New York Botanical Garden, inside the pavilion.

 

Do you love Pittsburgh?

Pittsburghers are crazy in love with their sports teams, but we are pumped about the vitality of our city as a whole too. On a sunny summer day, you will find boats in the three rivers, families enjoying Point State Park near the fountain, and restaurants buzzing with activity. You can take in an aerial view without a drone from the lookout on Mount Washington, where I shot this photo.

#pittsburgh, #skyline, #mountwashington, #circular, #art, #print, #sunnyday, #photograpy
My own artistic interpretation of the Pittsburgh skyline, as seen from Mount Washington.

If you would like a print of this image, leave me a message in the comment section, and be sure to include your email address. The Sheraton Station Square might like to see themselves at the center of the universe!

Be sure to tune in tonight to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins battle for Stanley Cup: Game 6!

This work has been registered with the U. S. Copyright Office. No reproduction unless by the author/creator of the image.

 

 

 

Rain? At the Arts Festival?

It looks like they’re expecting rain at the Pittsburgh Arts Festival. It seems every June, the brave artists sitting in their booths of painting, photography, jewelry, pottery and other crafts have to cope with inclement weather. This week is no exception.

#Pittsburgh, #artsfestival, #streetart, #rain, #June, #umbrellas, #makelemonade
The vibrant entrance to the Pittsburgh Arts Festival makes reference to the possibility of wet weather.

Pittsburgh’s Perfect Day

It was a perfect day to be a tourist in Pittsburgh today. Lots of Pittsburghers strolled through the farmer’s market in Market Square while we enjoyed a family lunch at City Works. The iconic view from Mount Washington never disappoints. The temperature, humidity and the puffy clouds all conspired to create the perfect day, reflected here in the PPG Tower.

#PPG #Pittsburgh, #reflection, #sky #clouds, #perfect, #tourist
The PPG Tower reflects the sun and sky on June 1 in Pittsburgh.

As my husband said, it’s like this here all the time.

Finding Africa close to home

Some homework assignments are more fun than others. Learning to use my new 600 mm lens called for a trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo. I have wanted to “get closer” to wildlife in Florida while photographing birds and alligators. And I definitely want to be ready for puffins I will see in Iceland in July. I know I will get the best results from practice.

Mounted on a sturdy monopod and attached to my Nikon D800, my new lens focused on the African lion and tiger today, and brought home these images for you.

#pittsbughzoo, #zoo, #tiger, #wildlife. #lens, #600mmlens, #nikond800
This images shows the tiger’s markings.
#lion, #zoo, #Pittsburghzoo, #600mmlens, #nikond800, #nature, #wildlife
Sleeping male lion. Peaceful.