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.

Two Suns in Maui

As the fiery orange sun was moments away from dipping into the Pacific, just below the distant rain clouds, sunbeams also appeared high in the sky.  It almost seemed as if the afternoon sun was peaking through that opening in the clouds! Sure enough, blue sky, golden light and a brightening of the ocean’s surface right below created a unique illusion.

#maui, #sunset, #sky, #beready, #sun, #clouds, #lava
Rain clouds parted just before sunset to let the evening sun reach the viewer from two directions. High in the sky, there appears an illusion of a second sun.

Rain isn’t all bad

While we tend to complain about rain often, rain isn’t all bad. Remind yourself that rain feeds and sustains all our plant life, and through the food chain, all of us. If you need a graphic reminder that rain is a gift, just gaze upon a rainbow. Water and light are both powerful life-giving forces of Nature. When they collaborate to form a rainbow, it’s magical and evanescent.

#rainbow, #maui, #hawaii, #rain, #showers, #ocean, #waves, #landscape, #nature
Rainbows appear as often as rain showers in the Hawaiian islands. Here is an early morning brilliant example from Maui, September 2016.

The waves crashing on the lava rocks in the foreground make a dramatic foreground. Maui is well worth a visit, any time of year. Be prepared for both showers and rainbows.

Please visit my website to see more landscape images and to purchase prints.

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.

Meeting the Pope

Wednesday mornings in Rome offer a special opportunity to see, hear and perhaps even meet the Pope when the he is in residence at the Vatican. My family is particularly fond of Pope Francis, our current “Jesuit Pope.” So, attending the papal audience was high on our list while in Rome.

Our daughter Caitlin and her husband Bobby had some special connections that allowed them to meet the Pope, speak to him and shake his hand. Caitlin packed up her wedding dress in its own suitcase to join the “sposi noveli,” or newlyweds, through the North American Bishop’s office. I suggested that she buy a less expensive, less bulky and less perishable dress for the occasion, but Caitlin was firm in her decision to bring her original wedding dress for this unique and very special meeting. “How often do you get the chance to meet the Pope while wearing your wedding dress?” she asked.

Caitlin and Bobby Marcoux meet Pope Francis. He said, “Pray for me.”

When Wednesday morning dawned, the rain was pouring, but we left our hotel to join the line two hours early. We brought our umbrellas, but soon bought rain ponchos from street vendors as the wind blew, lightening flashed, thunder boomed, umbrellas spilled streams of water down our backs and arms, and our clothes and shoes quickly became drenched. (I may never wear those shoes again!) We huddled together in a line that filled the sidewalk and wrapped around the block with others pushing and moving in front of us. The rain-soaked, aggressive crowd did not make the time pass quickly.

Caitlin and Bobby (the newlyweds) had left about 10 minutes earlier and had a better place in line near the Bernini colonnade, and Caitlin was able to wait under the colonnade while Bobby held her place in line with the umbrella. She did not get as wet as we did, thankfully.

#pope, #popefrancis, #newlyweds, #sposinoveli, #roma, #italia, #rome, #italy, #vatican, #jesuit
Caitlin thanked Pope Francis for his leadership.

Finally, we were admitted through security into the Pope Paul IV auditorium, that seats 6,000 people, about halfway back. Inside, the audience was even more rowdy and rude your standards, hoisting selfie sticks in our line of sight and standing on chairs while acting like the Pope was a rock star. Well, we agreed, he is.

Relieved to be out of the pouring rain, we relaxed and listened to readings and the Pope’s homily along with translations in several languages. The Pope blessed us and our families. Before exiting the hall, the Pope greeted a group of children and then greeted each newlywed spouse. Mission accomplished! Fortunately, the sun was shining as we left, and we were ready for lunch.

(Family photos are not for sale, but I included them in this blog for their uniqueness.)

#pope, #popefrancis, #papalaudience, #vatican, #roma, #italy, #rome, #italia
Pope Francis reading his homily during Wednesday audience in Pope Paul IV auditorium.