Florence – 1st Things First

My friends invariably ask me 2 questions… Where are you going this month? and What do you do first? The answer to the first question changes every month… The answer to the second, however, is always the same…

Just wander.. roam..explore with no destination in mind…

Cold Drinks BW

 

Up and down the side streets, in and out of alleys…

Cold Drinks Early Evening Stars

 

Early evening … lights just beginning to come on… the streets in Florence were strangely empty of people… even the Piazza di Duomo

1st Look - Bell Tower Details-Duomo

 

Maybe because it was late November.. maybe because it had just stopped raining..  It was peaceful.. quiet..and very pretty.

Well Lit Scooters on a Narrow Street Cold Drinks River Scene

 

A great 1st night..

Happy Travels!

Photography as Art                         Fine Art America

Traveling as a Lifestyle

I never realized how much fun traveling can be.. exciting… mind-bending.. enlightening..

Valley(Pr)

I worked for almost 30 years as an electrician in the USA, mostly in Colorado, but all over really..  I did what most employed people in the States do.. I worked for a whole year waiting to accrue that coveted week-long (sometimes 2) reprieve and get out and go somewhere on vacation. These trips could be as far as the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada or as close as the next city.  Anything and anywhere as long as I was not at work..

Then an amazing thing happened..  I decided to broaden my horizons.. I decided to take a chance. I decided to explore.  Damn the economy..full speed ahead..

Adjoined

I applied for and was hired by a contract company doing maintenance work overseas..at US Embassies, of all places, with a 2 year contract that could be extended up to 2 more years before you have to move to another post.. Currently, I am in Kyiv, Ukraine and having the time of my life..

Andrew's Descent

Andrew’s Descent

It is an easy city to fly in and out of from Boryspil International airport and, for the past 3 1/2 years, cities in Europe (with the occasional trip to Turkey or the UAE) have been calling me almost monthly..

Sophia Hagia-Istanbul (1)

Water Wheel - Prague

There are 196 countries in the world…unless of course you don’t include Tawain.. some countries do and some don’t..so let’s just include for grins..  That’s 196.. at one vacation a year to a new country..well, do the math..That’s right – 196 years to see them all..

As a US citizen and passport holder, I can visit 174 of them either without a visa or a visa upon arrival. It’s actually a little more complicated than that and over time, I will try to explain all the differences..

But for now.. just think..174 countries..  Right now, I am averaging a new country/city a month.. short trips of 3 – 5 days every month..  That’s still 14 years to see all of them.

Parliment Building in Budapest, Hungary from the south side of the river.

Parliament Building in Budapest, Hungary from the south side of the river.

14 years! 

Handlebars BW Red Leaves at Lake

 

Of course, living in Ukraine is a treat as well..and exploring this wonderful and beautiful country is an experience unto itself.. If no “out of country experience” presents itself, I spend weekends strolling through Kyiv or one of the myriad of historic sites in the vicinity.. Babi Yar is here.. Bykivnia Gravesites.. some of the oldest churches in Europe are here..

DSC_8806 Lavra Spring

St. Sophia's

St. Sophia’s

St. Michael's Golden Domed Monastery and Mykhailivska Square

St. Michael’s Golden Domed Monastery and Mykhailivska Square

Lavra

 

My world view has changed… my prejudices are disappearing… Maybe eventually those will be gone completely.

For now.. Rome awaits (2nd time to Rome)…this time with a side trip to Florence and Pisa.. My photography skills have improved so maybe this time the photos will do it justice..

Happy Travels!!

PHOTOGRAPHY AS ART

 

 

My Favorite Doors – Amsterdam, Netherlands

Time again for my favorite doors…different city of course, but same general theme

Turnzall

This red door and brick wall combination might be my favorite of all time.. but there was quite the variety in Amsterdam..

Wonderful Red De Brakke Grond Brick 6

Some of these were good enough to make it to the Fine Art America website…where you can find copies of your favorites too..Just in time for the holiday season..

Red Letter and Bike Painting 3 B's

Classical, metal, wooden and covered with graffiti and stickers..  Variety abounds

29 Narrow Blue Big City Bad Boys 1 Red Light Stickers in Arch

 

Happy Travels!!

Photography as Art

Next Exhibition – Ploiesti, Romania

Almost time to pack.. another adventure and group exhibit awaits..

Blankets

 

Ploiesti, Romania at the Museum of Art.. another group show with IN3..

Ploiesti

Actually taking a few extra days to explore Warsaw, Poland.. Bucharest and Ploiesti, Romania..

Burned (color)Looking forward to another great opening on August 19th.. If you are in Romania, feel free to stop by and meet me and a bunch of wonderful artists..

Prints being exhibited (above) are available here 

Happy Travels!!

 

St. Cyril’s Monastery – Kyiv, Ukraine

St. Cyril’s Monastery in Kyiv, Ukraine is actually now a museum and a small church is all that remains of the original sprawling monastery atop the hill close to Dorohozhychi metro stop.. It’s a nice walk through Babi Yar park..and through the forest..

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The monastery was actually closed in the late 1700’s and transformed into a hospital and insane asylum.. It is now a part of the Sanctuary of St.Sophia’s and considered a place of historical value..  Much of the original structure was desmantled but the main church and belfry were preserved.

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The inside of the church has lovely frescoes and paintings from the 12th century that have been well preserved.

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To get to St. Cyril’s, you can take trolley bus #12 from Dorohozhychi metro and it has a stop at the entrance to the complex.. or as mentioned, it is a lovely, albeit long, walk from the metro station.

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The basic entry fee is 20 uah for adults but be fore-warned, photographs are not allowed inside the church.. (Yes..I know.. I snuck a couple..lol)

Happy Travels!!

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Shot(s) for the Day – Doors Revisted

A few more of my favorite subject… I look for unique colors, weathering.. textures.. It seems like older buildings and structures often have the best doors to shoot.. Or maybe that’s just me..:)

Weathered Stain in Old Rock

 

Abandoned Pair

 

11 Maroon

9 with Plants

I usually fill up an entire memory card with doors… and windows..

2nd Hand Store

An endless variety … endless form ..

Old White-Corrugated Tin

 

It makes you wonder..what goes on behind those doors..what is the life led.. what are the memories..the hopes.. the dreams

 

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Happy Travels!!

 

Shot for the Day – Stockholm

 

Taking photos at night can be challenging, but also, very rewarding.. especially when you get that starburst effect on the streetlights. It just takes patience and a good tripod..:)  To avoid camera shake, use your camera’s timer or a remote trigger…

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One of my favorite night shots from Stockholm… Taken when the sun when down.. about 1 AM

This shot is available as a framed print here at Fine Art America..

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Happy Travels!!

 

Packing – Priorities

Anytime I decide to take a trip.. day trip or longer to a new city, my first thought is “Hmmm..what cameras do I want to take?” The basic bag, sure, but what extras do I need?

Of course that depends on what I plan to shoot.. and when..

Candles along Polish Walk

Cloudy? Bright sunny mid-day? Low light?

U41

 

Prague West 2

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Will I be shooting architecture, weird stuff (always have time for door shots) or people on the street?

Coil

 

A Place to Rest

Framed Church-Barcelona

Okay.. probably all of the above.. so let’s just pack the standard gear.

1st in the bag, as always, my go to camera..Nikon D3200 w/16-85mm attached..

D3200 w/ 16-85mm

D3200 w/ 16-85mm

 

Since I hate to change lenses, next in is the D40 with a 35mm prime..

 

D40x w/ 35mm Prime

D40x w/ 35mm Prime

And because change is sometimes necessary, extra lenses – 10-20mm macro wide angle and a 55-300 mm zoom..

 

Extra Lenses

Extra Lenses

Filter kits – UV, Polarizers, and Variable ND filter..check

 

Filters

Filters

Cleaning cloths and dust blower , extra batteries, memory cards… check

Batteries, Memory, etc

Extension tubes (for macro) … check

Extension Tubes

Point and click back-up camera (my fav right now is the Samsung NX1100)..check

Samsung NX1100

 

Throw in the I-Pad…and a small flashlight, remote trigger and a couple of gallon size ziploc bags.. and I am packed..All this goes in the backpack… a Lowepro 150…

Now that the equipment is packed… time to get myself ready..

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Happy Travels!!

 

 

Yanukovich’s Palace – A Monument to Avarice

On Saturday, we took the 30 minute drive up to Mezhyhirya, where the ousted president of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovich, had built and maintained an opulent manor.

Main House

                                               Main House

The estate is over 350 acres and situated on the banks of the Kiev Reservoir, also known as the Kiev Sea.

Shoreline of the Kiev Sea

                                           Shoreline of the Kiev Sea

The immense park-like grounds are entirely surrounded by a fence and criss-crossed with brick inlayed paths..

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           Brick Path

                                                           Brick Paths

The grounds around the main house, yes, there are several houses for guests on the property, were immaculately manicured

Main House 2

and filled with ponds, fountains

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and statuary.

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There is a golf course, which we saw..

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and a zoo..which we didn’t..

The buildings had been sealed so we weren’t allowed inside, unfortunately..

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We did look through the windows of the Galleon, a restaurant shaped like a, well,

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a galleon..

The gazebos which dotted the countryside are fitted with chandeliers

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I am not Ukrainian, but I live and work in Kiev, and  looking at this place made me angry.. and sad.. A monument to corruption, greed and avarice built with contempt for the Ukrainian people.

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I think some visitors felt the same as I..

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Entry fee ( the signs call it a donation but it is an entry FEE ) is 20 uah.. there are bikes for rent, which I recommend because the area covers 7 km on paths. If you want to see what corruption can, and often does, build and you can overlook the fact that a common slug

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                                      My Opinion of Yanukovich

(umm thug) from Eastern Ukraine stole billions of dollars to build it.. it’s worth the trip from Kiev..

According to the security people, they may re-open the buildings once a complete inventory is finished..

Travel with Steve                                Photography as Art

 

Happy Travels!!

 

Afternoon in Kyiv, Ukraine – Babi Yar

Menora Babi Yar

 Menorah in honor of Jews executed at Babi Yar 

Walking on the cobblestone, brick and, sometimes dirt and gravel, paths of this huge sprawling park located adjacent to Dorohozhychi metro stop, you would never guess that you are walking through a memorial to some of the worst atrocities of World War II.

Babi Yar, located in Kiev, Ukraine, was the site of a series of massacres by German forces in their war against the Soviet Union. In total it is estimated that between 100,00 and 150,000 people, of all ethnic groups were murdered here.  The most famous (or infamous) of these purges occured on Sept 29-30, 1941 when 33,771 Jews were executed in the ravine and buried in a mass grave.

Wooden Cross Babi Yar

The Syret’s concentration camp was also located here. The inmates at Syret’s were typically Soviet prisoners of war, Ukrainian nationalist and, of course, Jews.  These prisoners were forced to build funeral pyres to cremate the bodies of those executed at Babi Yar to cover-up what had happened.

Menorah Flowers

 Menorah Flowers

Entrance to Babi Yar

Monument to the Murdered Ones –  Babi Yar

 

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Monument to Romanian Victims at Babi Yar

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Babi Yar National Monument

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Cross to honor Ukrainian Poet : Olena Teliha and 620 Ukrainian                                               Nationalist killed at Babi Yar

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621 Ukrainian Nationalists were murdered at Babi Yar,                This cross was erected in their memory

DSC_9060 DSC_9075_panorama Wooden Cross Babi Yar 2

Jewish Memorial Plaque - Babi Yar

Jewish Memorial Plaque – Babi Yar

 

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HAPPY TRAVELS!