Arches and Walkways – Dubrovnik, Croatia

That was one of the great things about Dubrovnik.. All the little passageways everywhere.  Arches and cobblestone side streets were a photographers dream..

As everyone who knows me knows.. I don’t really shoot the major landmarks much..Well, not to post anyway… There are plenty of those pictures out there already. I prefer a laid back and back alley approach to a city.. But there are exceptions..  Coming soon

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Happy Travels!

Photography as Art                 Fine Art America

Photo of the Day – Dubrovnik, Croatia

During the Christmas holidays, I had the opportunity to spend 6 days in a whirlwind tour of Croatia..  Here is the first shot of some daily photos of that trip…_DSC9789_panorama

 

This was the view across Gruz Harbor from our room in The Berkley Hotel. A wonderful place with a great staff …

Happy Travels!

Photography as Art                     Fine Art America

Booking.com                                Amazon

2014 Favorites – Cities

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15 countries….21 Cities..  Since my New Year’s resolution in January of 2014 was to visit a new country every month, I can happily say “Mission Accomplished”.. But where do those trips rate?  This is difficult because every trip was awesome.. it just so happens that some places ranked higher on the awesomeness scale..

Athens from Acropolis

                                                     Athens from Acropolis

We started off the year going to Greece.. followed by Cyprus, Spain, the Czech Republic, Austria, Turkey, Sweden, Romania, Poland, Latvia / Estonia, Netherlands, Belgium and Italy… Unfortunately Croatia (at the end of the week) will miss this years cut..

This is where it gets difficult..

#1 – Stockholm, Sweden    <— Past Posts from Stockholm

There are a couple reasons I chose Stockholm..

City Hall DSC_0074

 

The photographic opportunities were amazing.. The city, itself, while being a walking friendly place, has an impressive public transportation system.

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Stockholm is the definition of New Age technology meets Old World charm..

#2  Barcelona, Spain  <– Past Posts from Barcelona

For me, the difference between Barcelona and Stockholm, as a tourist, is negligible. Good food..good people and a wonderful year-round climate, makes it a great city to visit.

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#3  Riga, Latvia   and   Tallinn, Estonia   < —- Past Posts from Riga and Tallinn

What a wonderful trip this was…Able to see two world class UNESCO site filled cities in one 5 day trip.. Needless to say, modern amenities and old world architecture make this an easy choice..

Riga

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Tallinn

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So there are the top 3 from last year…although technically it is 4…

Now the Not Best trip…

Larnaca, Cyprus

To be honest.. it was a good trip. Not one of the best, but a lot of that was my fault for planning a trip in the really really OFF season

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Beautiful scenery..interesting city..but almost no people..and no people meant almost everything was closed for the season.. It was difficult to even find a place to eat..  I will return to Cyprus on another trip..during a different time.. who knows, maybe it will move up the list..

Happy Travels!!

Photography as Art

 

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

A Selection of Doors – Rome

It’s Thursday.. must be time for a new selection of doors..

3 Lions 73

As those of you who follow along with me know.. doors are one of my favorite subjects to shoot..an endless variety abound in every city I visit.

Sign and Trees Traslochi No Parking Sign

 

But in a lot of cases, no matter how different they are, they are also very similar.. especially in cities like Rome. Arched doorways and wooden doors..

Green 43 Green 23 Different Walls 67 Crooked 105 Broken Marble

 

Different..but the same..no?

238 Cavour Behind the Wall 32 Marble and Grate Different Walls 67 Long Step with Trees

 

Happy Travels!!

Photography as Art                          Fine Art America

 

Some Weird Art

I never know when the urge to take one of my normal photos and turn it into something completely different will strike..

I never know what the subject will be .. or why..

The photo below is a massively edited picture of the main train station in Antwerp, Belgium

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Sometimes it is just a matter of trying out a new filter…one that might give a desired effect. Usually though, presets only give me part of what I am looking for. In that case, more “tweeking” is needed in an photo editor.  The above photo was actually taken on my I-Pad and processed using Snapseed..

Then loaded into Zoner Photo Studio for finishing..  Presets rarely match my vision.. Heck, sometimes even my vision doesn’t match my “vision”

Happy Travels!!

Photography as Art   

If you are a fan of Black and White Art..check out Hotshoe.org..

I’ve Been Lazy

Ok..I admit it.. I have been lazy.. I promise to do better…back to my Photos of the day posts..

Lost in Rome CW

 

I did a little “photoshopping” (actually Lightrooming) with this alley scene from Rome.. It is in the “Weird Art” gallery on Fine Art America.. That’s the site I use to post prints for sale..

And since I am about a month behind, here’s one more  😛

English Paperbacks BWHave a great day!  and

HAPPY TRAVELS!

Photography as Art

 

St. Peter’s Basilica

551 steps…

From Bridge

 

St.Peter’s Basilica.. One of the highlights of any trip to Rome.. and if you make the climb, one of the best veiws of Rome that can be found anywhere.

Waiting in LineOf course, on the way to the entrance, before you enter the square, you have to deal with the hundreds of of people selling “fast pass” and “skip the line” tickets that range anywhere from 20 to 45 Euros.. The lines ARE usually pretty long but don’t fall for the 2 1/2 to 3 hr wait time they tell you..but be prepared for a 20 minute wait.  The line moves fast and it’s only for security.  The entrance to the actual cathedral is free..

25 Minutes

 

This photo was taken from the end of the line and 22 minutes later we were inside…like I said, it moves pretty fast..

Once you pass security, you have to buy a ticket to the Basilica..the church may be free but the climb up is not.. It will cost 5 Euros to climb all those steps..or 7 Euros to take the elevator to the first level..  Unless you are feeling like you want the whole experience, take the elevator. I have done it both ways and the first 200 steps are pretty boring..nothing to see..just a hall with steps.. a lot of steps..

Up the Stairs

and there are still plenty of steps to enjoy after the lift… My advice.. buy the elevator ticket. Even if you want to climb all the way up, which gives you bragging rights, you can always use the elevator to come back down…

The first level leads up to a walkway around the inside of the dome where you can look into the church below and see the beautiful inside murals on the walls and the dome above. The first time I was here, there was a wire cage that you could actually shoot through.. that has been replaced by plexiglass which was dirty and scratched and darn near impossible to get a shot.. sorry but it’s true.

1st Level Mural 1 Basilica Dome

 

Now the fun part begins.. for the next 100 or so steps… you have the squeeze by people coming down…yep..exit and entrance is the same for this part..

Up More Stairs

 

More Stairs

 

Spiral

 

Eventually…you will make it to the top.. huffing and puffing … but excited ..

From Basilica Dome Piazza di San Pietro

 

 

There is no time limit on how long you can stay and gaze out over the city.. I am not sure if I stayed for 30 minutes because I was captivated by the views or just knew I had to walk back down…probably a little of both..but eventually …..

The second level, on the way down is a broad expanse of flat roof top.. you will find a restroom here, along with a clean water fountain, a small cafe and a gift shop..

and some pretty good views too…

Rooftop of Cathedral Square Curve Rooftop of Cathedral

 

There are also some perfect views of the Basilica itself..

Bottom of the Dome Standing Guard

 

The elevator to ground level is also here..

 

Then down, down, down….

The interior of the cathedral is a work of art… full of paintings and statues and ornate iron and stone work..

After Corridor of Statues Domed Ceiling 1 Entry Hall St. Peter's Gated On the Throne

 

Like I said.. one of the highlights of any trip to Rome..

At the exit is a booth where you can buy tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum…both of which, we skipped this trip..

Now time for some pizza, gelato..and my feet are begging me to rest… Still a long walk exploring this afternoon..

HAPPY TRAVELS!

Photography as Art

Antwerp, Belgium – Photographs

Golden

 

I am discovering new and fascinating things about the evolution, of both my travel philosophy and my photography… While I still believe that visiting the “iconic” landmarks is important..

Antwerp Palace Square

 

I am finding myself wandering through the lesser known avenues of a city more and more..  Sure, I still make time to see the well known touristy locations.. I mean, can you really go to Antwerp and NOT see the Cathedral of our Lady?

Cathedral-Up

 

Cathedral of Our Lady 1

 

or the Medieval Fort, Het Steen, along the river?

Het Steen 2

 

 

But, let’s be honest here, I travel for a couple of reasons.. exploration of new places and cultures AND taking photos that can be sold as prints for my fine art gallery, travel and blog articles and expanding my portfolio 

Golden De Wilde Zee

Ok, so I am doing a bit of self-promotion..there is nothing wrong with that..I mean, after all, who else is going to promote my work..

Anyway..back to Antwerp.. We originally started this trip in Amsterdam. The trip by rail to Antwerp varies depending on which train system you use.. Thalys is the high speed international train and runs direct from Schipol to Antwerp in about an hour and 15 minutes..

The Intercity train leaves every hour, is only a slightly longer ride (2 hrs) and is less expensive. This is the train we took.. These tickets can be bought at the Central Train Station in Amsterdam or the station at Schipol Airport.. Be aware that there is a connection in Rotterdam for this choice..

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Trust me.. the train is a lot better than it looks from the outside. It is clean inside, the seats are wide and comfortable and have a fold down tray..

Either way, you arrive in Antwerp and the Central Train Station.. seems to be a theme in Europe.. the main train station is almost called “Central” …

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This is a big, beautiful, and sprawling train station… and you can easily spend an hour here just taking photos.. so grab a 2 Euro Belgian waffle and explore a bit.. It’s well worth it.

It is a long leisurely walk from here to the center.. but you will pass through the diamond district, parks.. see churches and galleries…shopping galore..on your way. Exploration is a good thing..

Antwerp - Face Antwerp-Old & New

 

The center square is where you will find the Cathedral of our Lady.. numerous restaurants, and chocolate shops.. Belgian row houses, statues and monuments

3 Points Antwerp-Center 1

Antwerp - Center Shops

 

 

But my favorite places are the back streets.. narrow, cobblestoned and virtually deserted..which is a shame.  There are myriads of quaint little shops featuring hand made items, food and beer… Not too mention, almost no people.  These are where my favorite photos come from.. daytime, black and white..

Bikes along the Wall

 

or in color

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Hidden gems and colorful graffiti around every corner..

Nightime shots, crafted in black and white, and my weird digitally manipulated art are my absolute dream photos..

Walking Bridge Cafe with History Six Lamps De Wilde Zee

 

Sometimes, as above, they are added to the sales gallery… some are sellable but more just for fun.. 🙂

Fun Fries

 

Antwerp, Belgium.. a great city to explore..a beautiful city to photograph..

HAPPY TRAVELS!!

 

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