Shot of the Day – Graffiti in Barcelona

I am a big fan of old abandoned places.. and if they are derelict and covered in graffiti, street art and music or movie posters.. all the better..

Burned (color)

When we were in Barcelona, exploring the narrow alleys and side streets, we came across an open plaza and this scene..  The building had obviously burned, at some point in the past, and had since been layered in street art and music posters..

I love stumbling across scenes like this… I have always believed that the best photographic opportunities, when traveling, come when you least expect them.

A copy of this print will be on display in Ploiesti, Romania at the Museum of Art starting Aug 19, 2014..  It is also available here at my Fine Art America website.. stop by and check it out….

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Balloon Trip – Vilnius

I had been to balloon festivals before.. but never taken the next step. Until I visited Vilnius, Lithuania.. It was a great experience .. from watching the balloons inflate to….


Inflating Ballons



The view after take-off…

DSC_0237 DSC_0266

SoaringIt was quiet, peaceful.. exciting and relaxing..


Of course, it’s difficult to get a shot of yourself in a balloon.. but you get the idea, I’m sure.




Definitely something I want to do again…

Happy Travels!!

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Some Thoughts..and Photos.. After 100 Posts

I have been thinking about the past three years.. and before.. Some randomness since, I just realized, I have made 100 blog posts..

I lived and worked in the good old USA for almost my whole life.. Electrician by trade and a really good one at that. Houses, offices, department stores.. pulling wire, running conduit, installing lights, switches.. you know.. everything a good electrician does..

Wiring a Transformer


Working 60+ hours a week..waiting for that wonderful 2 week break I knew was coming once a year.. That time when I could leave the worries and the stress behind, at least for awhile..

Vacations at that time meant jumping in the car and driving..New cities..Disneyland. Oh sure, occasionally I would be able to afford a trip to Mexico..maybe the Caribbean (I absolutely adore the Caymans) but, mostly, it was “road trips”. Road trips are a fantastic way to explore, but let’s face it..traffic, rest stops, car problems..these things don’t lend themselves to the most relaxing trip..


                                    Me in 1995 Pikes Peak, Colorado

Then .. an amazing thing happened.. I landed a job in Columbia, South America.. Maintenance supervisor in a coal mine of all places..

Coal mine in Columbia

                      Coal Mine Electrical Supervisor in Columbia..

14 days on.. 7 days off .. with 2 weeks paid vacation and enough money to actually start traveling.. Of course after 14 straight 12 hour days, I didn’t really feel like getting out on my off time.  Long flight back home to Colorado and a week to recuperate and get ready for the next shift..  Good experience but not what I was really looking for.

So back to the 60+ hours a week when the ROF came..  the road trips to Las Vegas, Memphis, etc etc..

I read an ad one day about a job opportunity working for a company that did contract work for the US Embassies overseas.. I applied.. and was hired..

Thus the new life in Kyiv, Ukraine and a whole new world appeared before me…

I had found the perfect job.. 40 hours a week.. tons of holidays and 2 weeks paid leave a year.. which I take 16 – 24 hours at a time.  Let’s face it, 300 dollars will buy a plane ticket to almost anywhere in Europe from here.. and 4 days in Paris or Prague is a wonderful way to spend a long weekend.





This chance happening in my life has allowed me to explore new countires, expand my way of thinking about different cultures and, hopefully, improve my outlook on life..and my photographic skills..





So far..  Poland, France, Italy, Greece, UAE, Hungary, Sweden, Cyprus, Georgia, Spain, Turkey, and the Czech Republic..




Let’s face it.. most Americans don’t travel outside the country because it is so expensive.. and so far to go.. I have been given an opportunity (granted through a lot of hard work and perseverance) that few people get.. I plan to enjoy it, revel in it.. there is beauty everywhere..and I plan to find it wherever I go..  Next stop Bucharest and Ploiesti, Romania..

I hope you feeling like joining me in this journey .. 100 blog posts so far.. and still many many miles to go.. We will be exploring 6 more countries in the next few months..

There are reviews, advice and a lot more photos available   here... my personal Travel related website…  TRAVEL WITH STEVE

Come along.. Let’s Travel!!

Walking around Bila Tserkva – Photos

Just thought I would add some more images from the day trip to Bila Tserkva.. It is a small city about 70 km southeast of Kyiv, Ukraine.. A lovely place to spend a day shooting..  There are several churches of note.. a beautiful river .. parks and memorials …markets and coffee shops..

It is easily reached by marshrutka in about an hour and a half for 30 uah… The mini buses leave about every 20 minutes from near the Palats Ukraine metro station.



DSC_0872 DSC_0790 DSC_0845 DSC_0840 DSC_0838 DSC_0829 DSC_0818 DSC_0813 DSC_0807 DSC_0803_panorama DSC_0748 DSC_0741 DSC_0645 DSC_0621 DSC_0619Happy Travels!

Travel with Steve                     Photography as Art


People’s Friendship Arch

Arch at Night



There was a time, before the Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine and it’s illegal annexation of Crimea, that Ukrainians and Russians considered themselves brothers..This symbolic brotherhood was celebrated by the construction of the People’s Friendship Arch in Kyiv, Ulkraine in 1982.

U42The arch is made of titanium and reaches 50 meters at it’s highest point..  Beneath it are 2 sculptures –
A bronze statue of Russian and Ukrainian workers holding up the Soviet Order of  
    Friendship of Peoples
A granite statue depicting the Pereyaslav Council of 1654

At one time, the plaza below it was full of people..especially at night when the rainbow colors lit the area. Now the square remains mostly deserted.. In these dark times for Ukraine, it stands as a reminder of what was and what could be again..

By the way, this is not a political post.. so political comments will not be approved and will be removed..

Happy Travels!!

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What about the In-Betweeners?


5 Star hotels in Rome … World Class chefs in Paris … Exclusive shopping sprees in London…

Beach Boardwalk

There is alot to be said about “Luxury Travel” .. Of course there is. 10,000 articles in magazines, blogs, and internet posts a month tell you where to find the most luxurious hotel, the most decadent spa, or that exclusive island get-away filled with pampering and a fulfillment of all your desires.. All inclusive resorts that include a relaxing massage at the end of the day.. romantic dinners on your private balcony .. or maybe, even, a private driver to show you the sights..  Luxury .. It is possible, especially if you bring an extra suitcase full of money..


Then there is the other side of the coin.. the far end of the spectrum.. “Budget Travel” .. A vision of hostels, 1 star (or less) accommodations, eating out includes a restaurant on wheels and a, quite possibly, some kind of “food on a stick”. No frills here.. just a place to sleep, a shared bathroom and trying to vacation on 15 bucks a day.. It can be done..and if you follow all the online advice, use some common sense, and are prepared, it can be done quite easily and with a reasonable degree of comfort, if not privacy.


But what about the people like me?  The “In-Betweeners … The people who love to travel and want to be comfortable. Affordably comfortable.. We aren’t afraid or unable to pay for the extra couple stars.. an occasional taxi ride or eat out at a nice restaurant.

In my mind, there are basically three types of In-Betweener:

1. The Budgeter –  This guy has EVERYTHING planned and paid for before he
leaves on trip. The plane tickets, the hotel, the transfers, the tours and,
quite possibly, meals.. He has travelers checks in the exact amount
he is allowed to spend.. Restaurants, tourist attractions, taxi rides,even,
souvenirs have all been included in the budget. Nothing is left to chance. This is
both good and bad..
good because it alleviates a lot of petty worries but bad,
because we all know, that the unexpected has been known to enter the vacation world.. 

2. The No Planner  With this type of traveler we reach the other end of the scale. Other than transportation, nothing is planned.. All out, fly by the seat of your pants adventure. You have seen them.. they are the ones asking the taxi driver to take them to a reasonable hotel.. They don’t have a reservation but hope for the best.. They are at the front desk asking “So..what’s there to do in this town?”  They experiment ..they follow whatever path takes them. They are there for the experience..and that works until the credit cards are maxed ..or they run out of cash.. But they will cross that bridge when they get to it.

3. The True Betweener – This is where I am.. the true In-Betweener..Hotel reservations at a 3 or 4 star hotel.. breakfast included, of course. Airport transfers taken care of in advance … and maybe a pre-booked Hop-on/Hop-off bus tour to visit the “must see” sights.  No real plan after that.. we know what we want to do..we know how much we want to spend..  but if we do a little more or less…or spend a little more or less, that’s ok.. It’s a vacation, not boot camp. We want our comfort. We want our privacy. We want time to enjoy and relax without breaking the bank. We are looking to experience the local life and indulge ourselves in local fare and celebrations. But while we may eat at a pizza slice off a food truck, we are also not adverse to a Michelin fine dining experience. We do a little research, we make a few plans.. but we also just explore and enjoy.

Which type are you?


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Happy Travels!


Churches of Bila Tserkva

The Saint Mary Magdalene Monastery sits high on the hill overlooking the Ros River in Bila Tserkva.. about 80 km southeast of Kiev, Ukraine.



The church was built in the 18th century. It was the only church built outside  the center of the city. During the Soviet regime, it was one of the few active churches in the city.


The Church of St. John the Baptist is located on Zamkovaya Hill and was buit in the early 1800’s by Count Branitsky in honor of his son. The church today is a well known place to attend chamber and organ music concerts.


It is possible that the church was built on the site of another church which had given Bila Tserkva – lterally “white church” – it’s name.


The Cathedral of the Transconfiguration is the main Orthodox church in the city. It was built to replace the dilapidated St. Nicholas Church, by Countess A. Branitsky.



Bila Tserka is easily reached from Kyiv by mini bus for about 30 uah ($3.00 USD). They leave from metro stop Palats Ukraine. While there is no set time table, you can plan on a bus leaving every 20 minutes or so. It takes about an 1 1/2 hours so it is perfect for a day trip.


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Happy Travels!



Stockholm from the Water

DSC_0237Exploring Stockholm by boat is pretty amazing.. Clear views of the  city away from the jumble of people make for a very enjoyable experience.


Cruising through the canals and harbors offer you a chance to see the city from a different perspective.


The clear blue skies and gentle breeze made it a trip to remember and an experience to look forward to  again.



There are tours to suit almost everyone.. If you are looking for a relaxing way to spend an afternoon in Stockholm, highly recommend seeing the city from the water. Here is a link to get you started… City Discovery

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5 Things to Consider before you Go Anywhere



5 Things to Consider Before You Go

#1 – Pack for the location and activities..
Nothing says “Hi, I am a tourist ”  like a Hawaiian flowery shirt on Nordic Ice Climbing trip. Sure, it may be an awesome shirt..but is it appropriate?

#2 – Check everything .. then check it again. and again...
Camera batteries? Memory cards? Power adapters? Sunscreen? Passports? Money?  Few things can spoil a perfect 1st day more than discovering an essential item has been left behind.. With that being said, unless you are being dropped by parachute into the Amazonian rainforest, the Congo, the Austrailian outback, or other somewhat secluded locale, don’t worry if you forget the shampoo..or a toothbrush. Most cities around the world have what is called “markets” where you can actually buy such things

#3 – Don’t try to pack EVERYTHING
And while you are packing, don’t pack everything..  If you are taking a trip for a week..pack for a week.. 4days..pack for 4 days.. a weekend..pack for the weekend …you get the idea? While carrying an I-Pad or laptop can ease some of the flight or commuting time, it can be a waste of time as well… do you really need an I-Phone, I-Pad, laptop, GPS?  C’mon..take one.. leave the rest.  And while you are at it..leave the worries, frustrations and cares behind too.

#4 – Plan / Prepare for Airport Security
Remember when going to the airport was fun? Yeah, neither do I… Even before the complex security rules, it was never the awesome experience that we wanted it to be.. Remember the by them. You can wait until your destination to become the lone wolf party animal you were always meant to be. Some of the simplest things make airport security faster. Wear slip on shoes, easier off and on.. don’t wear a belt … don’t pack liquids … no knives, guns, explosives or the like (and yes, a wooden souvenir mace counts) … laptop /I-pad go in a seperate tub for x-ray have them out and ready.. and believe it or not, a little courtesy goes a long way.

#5 – ​ Learn at Least Some of the Local Language
It doesn’t matter if you are crossing the globe..or crossing the street, you are a visitor.. a tourist.  You can eat with the locals, party with the locals, shop with the locals..but you are not a local.  Before you go, learn a few words of the local language.  The phrases – Hello, Thank you, Please – at the very least.  A a friend of mine from the US visiting me in Kyiv, Ukraine, actually complained that “they didn’t even have the common courtesy to speak English” .  All I could think, with my mouth hanging open, was  “Huh? Are you insane?”  Be considerate, learn a few phrases .. Local people mostly tolerate  mispronunciation and they always appreciate the effort.

This should probably be another point..BUT.. while you are learning some phrases in the local language, try and understand the local customs too.. Show respect and be considerate with traditions and a ways of life that you might not understand.. Remember, you are a guest..a visitor..

Here’s a helpful link for language … Busuu for I-Phone/I-Pad.   I am learning Russian but there are alot of languages available.


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Stockholm – City Hall


Stockholm City Hall

Stockholm City Hall

The Town Hall in Stockholm, Sweden is a major tourist attraction with a purpose. It serves as the building for the Municipal Council of Stockholm and is the venue for the Nobel Prize banquet..

The tower is accesible daily by elevator (or stairs for the adventurous) and tickets must be purchased for a specific time because only 30 people are allowed at a time. Tickets cost 40 SEK. The tower is open daily from 9:15 until 15:55 (Sept – May) and 17:15 (Jun – Aug)


City Hall at 12:00 AM..

                   City Hall at 12:00 AM..Yes it is still almost daylight

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