Shop Edinburgh

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to shop abroad. So, it’s no surprise that my favorite street in Edinburgh, Scotland is a shopping street lined with boutiques.

#victoria, #victoriastreet, #edinburgh, #scotland, #cities, #shopping, #eating, #eatinganddrinking, #shopedinburgh, #travel
Victoria Street slopes downhill and to the left, revealing numerous brightly colored storefronts.

On this one street, which was the inspiration for “Diagon Alley” in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book, one can buy cards, tweeds, cheese, jewelry, a gourmet French dinner and yes, even a magic wand.

 

 

Art for the Illiterate

In the Middle Ages, stained glass windows taught the Scriptures to the illiterate, but today the educated admire them for their beauty and artistry. Saint Giles Cathedral in the heart of Edinburgh features some stunning stained glass as well as a beautiful architecture.

In St. Giles Cathedral, the leader of the Scottish reformation John Knox preached and converted the church from a Catholic to a Presbyterian place of worship in the 16 century. Knox had the stained glass removed, as he opposed anything that separated one from God, according to travel writer Rick Steves. Nineteenth century Victorians installed the stained glass we admire today.

#architecture, #church, #cathedral, #scotland, #stainedglass, #presbyterian
Looking across the nave from one side aisle to the other, you can see the pointed arches and the small stained glass windows in the aisles.
#church, #scotland, #stainedglass, #art, #window, #religion, #edinburgh
At the end of the side aisle, find this large window that depicts the crucifixion and ascension of Jesus.
#stgiles, #edinburgh, #scotland, #church, #cathedral, #art, #stainedglass, #scripture, #window
Modern style window crowns the center aisle. The colors and boat scenes are dramatic.

I photographed these windows by propping the camera on the pew, and setting my Sony a7rII camera on ISO 2000. The images were lightly processed in Adobe Lightroom. I found the Sony performed quite well in dimly lit church interiors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iceland’s Fire and Ice

I’m busy today making prints for a July 6 exhibition: the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Gallery  Crawl. It’s a fun evening, and you can find some cool photography by ASMP* photographers at 803 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA.

I have decided to feature some of the amazing landscapes and birds I saw in Iceland last summer. Whoever said that Iceland is the land of “Fire and Ice” is right! Volcanoes have created some rugged landforms and interesting vistas. On Heimeay Island, one can just imagine how frightened the residents felt when a massive eruption woke them in the middle of the night in January 1973. (All residents fled via fishing boats in the harbor, and the eruption continued for two years.)

Then you can experience “Ice” even in mid-July,  as you bundle up in a parka, hat and gloves and strap spikes to your boots for a hike on an icy, albeit melting, glacier. This glacier was atop an extinct volcano on the Snaefellsness Peninsula.

#iceland, #glacier, #melting, #volcanic, #fireandice, #landscapephotography, #travelphotography, #sony, #ice
You might be gone for good if you fall into this crevice on this Iceland glacier.

Please come to the Pittsburgh Gallery Crawl on Friday evening July 6. It’s free.

*American Society of Media Photographers: ASMP.org.

Harpa in Reykjavik

Like Sydney, Reykjavik Iceland has an architectural gem along its harbor, and it is a music hall. While I photographed Harpa from our ship as we departed the city harbor in the evening, I did not have a chance to visit the inside.

#harpa, #reykjavik, #iceland, #architecture, #harbor, #music, #july, #windstar
Harpa, the music hall, is Reykjavik’s architectural gem. Its surface is reflective except when the interior is lit. I’m sure the building looks different during the long dark winter months.

I have started to make my list of things to do in Iceland for my next trip. Iceland is a photographer’s dream.

“Thar She Blows”

“Thar She Blows” was the cry of a sailor spotting a whale, but the expression came to mind as we stood waiting for the Icelandic geyser to explode with a massive force of steaming water.

About every 10 minutes, Iceland’s Strokkur geyser puts on a show — shooting hot water about 30 meters into the air. It’s a dramatic natural phenomenon that you can watch only a few places in the world. Yellowstone National Park and the north island of New Zealand are two other sites that come to mind. Geysers are an indication that you are standing in a volcanic landscape.

You would be well advised to keep your children and yourself out of the line of fire, but not everyone follows the rules or exercises good judgement.

#howto, #geyser, #geysir, #freezemotion, #iceland, #stokkur, #nikon
I chose to freeze motion with 1/1000 second exposure and f/11, the focal length that would keep the whole scene in focus. F/8 and f/11 will also give you a sharp image, edge to edge.
#strokkur, #iceland, #geyser, #geysir, #nature, #howto, #nikon
Strokkur reaches a height of about 30 meters. It’s startling to observe its power.

Melting Glacier in Iceland

As global warming continues, this beautiful Iceland glacier won’t be here in 80 years. We could hear massive melting while hiking, the sound of water rushing in rivers below the surface.

#glacier, #iceland, #snaefelljokull, #globalwarming, #hike, #nature, #landscape
Exposed lava and melting snow on the Snaefellsjokull north face.

This memorable day hike was a teachable moment. It made me wonder what sort of world we are leaving to our children and grandchildren.

#glacier, #lake, #snaefellsjokull, #iceland, #hike, #lava, #snow, #globalwarming, #nature,
This glacial lake on Snaefellsjokull collects the drainage from melting snow and ice: a rugged landscape with its own kind of simple beauty.

Advantages of cruising around Iceland

While driving the Ring Road around Iceland is a flexible and economical way to explore Iceland,  cruising offers lots of benefits, too. Our seven-day cruise on Windstar, offered only in July, allowed us to wake up in the morning to scenes like this:

#baypilot, #windstar, #akureyri, #cruise, #morning, #iceland
Bay pilot helps the Windstar Legend navigate the fjord into Akureyri.

and say goodnight to the midnight sun  with views like this:

#windstar, #midnightsun, #arctic, #july, #nature, #landscape, #daylight, #iceland
View from our cabin aboard the Windstar Legend as we closed the curtains close to midnight .

While the ship travels from one port to the next, you don’t have to drive. You can relax and enjoy a good book.

#cruise, #windstar, #reading, #iceland
Charlie reading on deck, enjoying a sunny day near the Arctic Circle.

The shore excursions arranged by Windstar offered us plenty of adventures: hiking a glacier (photos coming in future blog), whale watching, bird watching, hiking to a waterfall and sight seeing flights in small planes.

We also made some good friends on this small ship, which accommodates around 210 passengers. It was fun, and we have great memories. Highly recommend for 2018!