The first time I visited Kauai, I flew in for a memorable photography workshop, and my daughter Erin met me there. The next time I visit Kauai, my daughter Erin will be leading me there to make some epic new memories — at her wedding.
As our family books flights and accommodations and looks forward to the big day, I took a look back at my 2014 photos of Kauai. Here is a waterfall image from the “Garden Isle” of Hawaii.
Surely, our second visit to Kauai in July will offer many new photo opportunities on this beautiful Hawaiian island.
Early morning is a great time to walk the Brooklyn Bridge, because it’s not too crowded. On this cloudy and windy morning, I was a little sad that I missed the clear blue skies of the day before, but in the end I think the clouds enhance the image.
This photograph was shot with Sony and processed in Lightroom, Photoshop and Luminar 2018. Lightroom does a great job of correcting the distortion created by a wide angle lens.
Back to the moment when I walked the Brooklyn Bridge, winter is here! I had to hold on to my hat as I coped with the wind on the East River.
This wide angle photography taken inside New York City’s iconic structure The Vessel shows the beauty and rhythm of its geometry. Judging from the size of the people climbing the Vessel, you can appreciate its size.
In this image, you can simultaneously observe the Hudson River, the rail yards, the top of the Vessel, the intriguing blue circle at the core and the elevator track on the lower left. More on that blue circle later!
I feel the best aspect of the image is the symmetry of the staircases. Does the childhood board game “Chutes and Ladders” come to mind? The copper outlines really stand out against the dark grey flooring and glass panels. I just love this design!
You can find The Vessel in Hudson Yards by taking the New York City subway 7 train to its western terminus.
From The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Tunnel Mountain is tall and majestic. Look how it frames the left side of the the morning vista of the Bow River Valley.
Now, for a magic trick. Want to see Tunnel Mountain look… small? Take the Banff gondola up to the top of Sulphur Mountain and examine the grand view of Bow Valley.
Grateful to have this clear birds-eye view from the top of Sulphur Mountain on a clear day. What an amazing perspective. There were even more stunning vistas, if you turn around. Check out my next blog for more.
I have often tried to photograph the Brown Pelican in action: taking off, landing, flying, fishing but they are so fast moving that it is difficult to track, focus and release the shutter in time to capture a crisp image. But you know what they say: stick with it, and “luck comes to the well prepared” photographer.
I have always loved the Brown Pelican, because their grace belies their large stocky body, and they are quiet birds who frequent the beach. It is fascinating to watch them dive-bomb fish by careening straight down into the ocean to stun the fish and later scoop them up in their large beak, letting the whole fish glide into their ample pouch.
This bird photography adventure took place at the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida.
I have to agree. It has been many years since my last trip to Paris, and I have good news: My friend Diane invited me to join her in November in Paris. Pourquoi pas? I’m going!
Making travel plans again for the iconic city allows me to think back on my 2004 trip to visit my friend Louise, who was living there with her family. We walked all over the city together, starting with Le Tour Eiffel.
We hiked to the top of Montmartre for lunch, the art in the square and a visit to Sacre Coeur, a beautiful Catholic church.
On Ile de la Cite, the first arrondissement, where the Cathedral of Notre Dame is located, we stopped for ice cream at Berthillon before wandering the narrow streets lined with elegant shops.
It’s hard to make a short wish list for my November trip, since I spent over a week in Paris in 2004 and toured countless museums, churches, gardens and neighborhoods. One things is for sure: I want to walk the city again. There is so much to discover on foot.
The Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland (a northeast region of England) taught me about the chemical properties of many common plants. Here is a sample list from the notes I took.
The beautiful poppy flower is the source for opioid medications as well as the dangerous illegal drug heroine.
Willow tree bark contains salicylic acid, an ingredient of aspirin. This compound is a natural pain reliever, not a poison.
The Rhubarb leaf and about 3″ of the stem near the leaf contains oxalic acid, which in enough quantity can cause liver failure.
Laburnum has a pea-like berry. Four of them could kill a child. However, the entire plant is toxic.
Periwinkle lowers your blood pressure, and is now used to treat childhood leukemia.
The seed of berries of the Yew are toxic, yet are used in chemotherapy for breast cancer.
Giant hogweed, Heracleum, causes a horrible rash that can last up to four years when skin that has contacted the plant is exposed to sunlight.
The bitter honey of the common Rhododendron is poisonous.
Foxglove can give you heart palpitations if you handle it. All parts of the plant are poisonous, even deadly, if swallowed.
Break a laurel leaf and smell the almond scent at your own risk. You are inhaling cyanide, which prevents oxygen from bonding with your blood. People who trim laurel or handle the trimming must be careful.
Rosemary oil and Juniper berries? Avoid them while pregnant. They can cause miscarriage.
After touring Edinburgh Castle, Bamburgh Castle, Lindisfarne Castle, Durham Castle and Alnwick Castle in North England and Southern Scotland, my favorite one (hands down) was Alnwick Castle in England. All of them are interesting and worth a visit, and there are even more to see in the region — Stirling, Duane and more. I’ll tell you why I enjoyed Alnwick Castle the best.
Upon arrival on the castle grounds, I quickly joined the film tour where I heard fascinating details of the filming of Downton Abbey (Christmas scenes) and Harry Potter. Those are the recent ones, but other films include Mary Queen of Scots with Vanessa Redgrave, Elizabeth I, Robin Hood with Kevin Costner, and Hollowed Crown.
Soon after, I joined the History Tour where the guide explained which parts of the castle were built at what time, and the purpose of each. After the Norman Invasion of 1066, the English built huge stone castles. A substantial stone castle was built here in 1133. This castle was never taken by force.
Next, I joined the tour of the castle interior where the Percy family has lived for the past 700 years. The interior was updated in 1750 and again in 1850. Current residents are the 12th Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, who life here five months of the year, starting in October. The public may only tour Alnwick when the Duke and Duchess are not in residence, in the summer months. (No photos allowed of the inside). I took copious notes throughout each tour, just so I could remember the information.
About 5 pm, I was still feeling curious and walked down to the gardens, just in time to join the last tour of the day, the Poison Garden. The fenced in section contains numerous poison plants, and the guide shared even more fascinating stories.
With no break for lunch, I was hungry, and luckily was able to buy fish and chips near the garden around 6pm. What a full day!
Before you have ever been to Edinburgh, Scotland, people will tell you, “Edinburgh is a beautiful city.” You think to yourself, “why does everyone say that?” I wondered if I would come away from my trip saying the exact same words to others. I do.
My simple explanation is that the architecture is beautiful. As you walk the city, you may find yourself pausing to admire architecture right and left. Before we even left our hotel, I was enchanted with this view out our window.
The curve of the street leading to the Cathedral in the West End makes lovely leading lines. This photograph was taken in late evening dusk, around 10pm.
*With apology to E. M. Forster for using the name of his book title.