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20 Search Results for ""black and white photo""

  • Seattle Seattle

    • From: hoosierfan1997
    • Description:

      Set between two major mountain ranges, the Olympics and the Cascades, with the Puget Sound's fjord-like waters to the west and massive Lake Washington to the east, Seattle has one of the most dramatic settings of any city in the country.

      The frequent moody cloud cover can hide those jagged mountains but on clear days 14,411-foot (4297 meter) Mount Rainier can be seen from the city. Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a short stay in the northwestern U.S. city.

      6 p.m. - If the clouds have lifted even a bit, there's no better place to watch the sunset over Elliott Bay than from the Seattle Art Museum's nine-acre Olympic Sculpture Park on the downtown waterfront. Besides wandering about the 20 sculptures from major artists like Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson and Richard Serra, you can enjoy further views of the changeable bay by strolling along the paved trail through nearby Myrtle Edwards Park.

      7 p.m. - Head up to the Capitol Hill neighborhood and start the weekend with cocktails at Tavern Law, named by GQ Magazine as one of the 25 best bars in America.

      There are plenty of handcrafted cocktails to enjoy in the Prohibition-era surroundings, but celebrate the start of your getaway with a custom champagne cocktail. Peruse the menu. The oxtail banh mi sandwich, based on Vietnamese tradition, will give you a taste of the Pacific Rim influence that figures in so many Seattle menus.

      9 p.m. - Seattle takes its jazz seriously and there's no better spot than Dimitriou's Jazz Alley downtown to hear it. With any luck, a musician like Grammy Award-winning Arturo Sandoval will be holding court. Or maybe you'll catch the funky horn-driven Tower of Power.

      9 a.m. - Fortify yourself for the day ahead with one of the best Mexican breakfasts anywhere at Senor Moose in the lively Ballard neighborhood. The crowded restaurant offers breakfast specialties culled from regions throughout Mexico. Try the outstanding huevos motuleos with black beans inspired by the Yucatan breakfast staple. Even though it's early, go ahead and get an order of the flawless guacamole and chips. It's surprisingly good with a cup of Senor Moose's strong coffee.

      11 a.m. - Get a sense of Ballard's historic status as Seattle's Scandinavian neighborhood at the Nordic Heritage Museum and at stops such as the shop Scandinavian Specialties, where you can pick up house-made cured meats, homemade Swedish meatballs and a bowl of traditional yellow split pea soup.

      Ballard also has a lively shopping scene.  KAVU, a local Seattle clothing and gear company, offers the quintessential Northwest look, with hip interpretations of outdoorsy style clothes. Stop at The Secret Garden Bookshop which has a carefully chosen selection of books for children and adults. For lunch, head to the nearby Ray's Boathouse Cafe with views for which Seattle is famous, along with the seafood.

      3 p.m. - Spend the next two hours absorbing more of Asia's influence on Seattle at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. The museum, which is situated in lovely Volunteer Park, showcases exquisite art from various centuries and numerous counties in Asia.

      5 p.m. - Continue your exploration of Seattle's hot cocktail scene at the Zig Zag Cafe tucked away behind the Pike Place Market. Try the One Legged Duck, a blend of Rye Whiskey, Dubonnet, Mandarine Napoleon and Fernet Branca. Order a plate of marinated olives to go with it, or try the cheese plate. Much of the food on the menu is sourced at the Pike Place Market.

      7 p.m. - Since you're already at Pike Place, head to Matt's in the Market on the third floor of the Corner Market Building, where the food matches the view. Meat lovers can try the Pork Belly Confit with kimchi broth. For those who prefer seafood try the clams with chorizo and cava or order anything with Dungeness crab or perhaps some oysters on the half shell. For a larger plate try the seafood stew.

      9 p.m. - For a great evening head to the Triple Door in the heart of downtown Seattle, which offers music ranging from pop chanteuse crooners to Apple Jam, a group presenting a critically praised tribute to the Beatles.  A great wine list is available, along with excellent cocktails and Southeast Asian inspired plates. The satays are a perennial favorite.



      10 a.m. - For brunch try Salty's at Alki in West Seattle. It can be crowded, but the views and lavish assortment of Northwest foods on offer more than make up for it, including piles of Dungeness crab and smoked salmon, along with brunch staples like Eggs Benedict and Belgian waffles. Afterwards walk for miles along the waterfront through Alki, Seattle's premiere people watching neighborhood and beach scene. Seals often pop their heads up here, and you'll see ferries chugging off to local islands.

      1 p.m. - Seattle is a book lover's town, and readers have many fine bookstores to visit. Seattle Mystery Bookshop in historic Pioneer Square is one of the best and offers both new and used books. Passionate, friendly staff can help you find the perfect read.

      For an excellent general selection, Elliott Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill has the goods, many with staff recommendations, plus a great selection of unique cards. It's easy to lose yourself in the stacks, so keep an eye on the clock if you need catch a flight.




      With booming family-friendly popularity, Seattle is an urban playground with wide open appeal for outdoor lovers. If you enjoy tall emerald forests and city parks, stunning views of distant snow-capped mountains and miles of Puget-Sound open water, you'll love Seattle. While many know Seattle as the rain capital, Seattleites boast their city actually gets less annual rain than New York or Miami. A little drizzle is no reason to miss out on exploring -- especially in summer.


      Most city attractions for kids are clustered at Seattle Center, a 74-acre downtown venue with the Space Needle, Children's Museum, Children's Theatre, Pacific Science Center, Experience Music Project and an indoor-outdoor amusement park. Large event fests are here; make sure to bring strollers for the little ones.

      ·         Pike Place Market. The nine-acre Market, which opened on August 17, 1907 according to its website (http://www.pikeplacemarket.com) is can't- miss for all ages as the city's heart and soul. The Market is a free National Historic District with more than 250 businesses, 100 farmers, 200 arts and craftspeople and open daily. Arrive at 10 a.m. to beat crowds. Mondays and Tuesdays are best for crafts; Wednesday-Sundays showcase amazing fresh produce. Kids love their photo with Rachel, the iconic life-sized bronze piggy. She's under the central Market clock by Pike Place Fish, where singing fishmongers throw fish.

      ·         Space Needle. This symbol of the 1962 World's Fair has an observation tower ("O Deck") at 520 feet high. Kids love scoping out Mount Rainier on free telescopes. SkyQ's interactive experience, with five touch-screen kiosks, entertains all. An often-crowded gift shop sells noteworthy souvenirs. Kids 3 and under free; kids ages 4-13 pay $9, ages 14-64 pay $16 and people over 65 years old pay $14.

      ·         Seattle Aquarium. While gazing into a 120,000-gallon aquarium, kids of all ages are astonished as they also see colorful salmon, rockfish, sea anemones and native Washington marine life. Also, there's storytelling for the youngest. On the waterfront at Pier 59, down a flight of stairs from Pike Place Market. It gets crowded, so arrive at 9:30 a.m. Kids ages 3 and under are admitted for free. Admission for youth (ages 4-12) is $10.50, and admission for adults is $16.

      ·         Pacific Science Center. This hands-on, six-acre facility is great for elementary-aged kids, with interactive exhibits and live science demonstrations. A tropical butterfly area is popular for all ages. Also, IMax movies, laser tag and the Planetarium offer an educational, yet fun way of showing kids information. Prices range from $17-$23 for adults and $10-$13 for kids.

      ·         Woodland Park Zoo. Its naturalistic settings rank the 92-acre Woodland Park among the country's top zoos with appeal to all animal lovers. Chilean flamingos, an African savanna, tropical rain forest, and covered activities such as parakeets feeding provide a full day's entertainment. Bring dollar bills for rides on an old-fashioned carousel (merry-go-round). Admission depends on the time of year. Kids under age 2 are admitted for free; admission for adults (October-April) is $11 and $16.50 during summer months. Admission for kids ages 3 through 12 is $11 during summer months and $8 the rest of the year. Be sure to rent a wagon (near admission entrance).

      ·         Experience Music Project Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. One of the world's largest collections of memorabilia from Seattle icon Jimi Hendrix. EMPSFM appeals to rockers, high school teens and parents who remember Hendrix. It celebrates American popular music genres. Also, a SpinKids Station amuses young kids. Kids ages 4 and under are admitted for free. Admission for youth (ages 5-17) is $12, and admission for adults is $15.

      ·         Tillicum Village & Tours. For a memorable four-hour evening, take a late afternoon cruise to scenic Blake Island State Park, birthplace of Chief Seattle, for a Northwest Coast Native American dance presentation. An all-you-can-eat traditional salmon bake dinner is yummy. Board from downtown waterfront's Pier 55. Kids under 4, free; kids aged 5-12 pay $30 and adults pay $79.95.

      ·         Bainbridge Island. Board a downtown Seattle walk-on ferry (about $7 roundtrip, no reservations) at downtown's Pier 52 for a 35-minute ride to charming 28-square-mile Bainbridge Island. It's a fun day trip for the family. Enjoy ice cream, coffees, lunch or picnic. Bring a stroller.

      ·         Olympic Sculpture Park. This free, downtown nine-acre sculpture park is a great spot to view Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains scenery. A z-shaped path rambles among permanent and rotating sculptures. Great for a picnic lunch with treats picked up from shops at nearby Pike Place Market.

      ·         Alki Beach Park. Kids love this true sandy free beach park, with a 2.5-mile pedestrian walkway. It's where the first white settlers arrived in Seattle in 1851. Catch a Metro Bus (Route 56) a block from Pike Place Market. Water temps average 46 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit.

      ·         University District Farmers market. Washington's largest "farmer's only" market is also Seattle's oldest market, taking place every Saturday throughout the year. Sample local farm foods and watch chef demonstrations. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. near University of Washington.

      ·         Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Kids love watching salmon climb up a fish ladder or catching a glimpse of a sea lion from a viewing window. Also known as the Ballard Locks, the locks raise and lower boats between fresh and salt water.

      ·         Downtown parking is expensive and is challenging to find. Keep it simple -- walk, ride Metro Buses or take a cab.

      ·         One-way streets and steady construction can cause direction confusion; ask for directions.

      ·         The city's scenic waterfront-area hills are steep. Pack each family member's most comfortable shoes.

      ·         At dusk, avoid historic Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market areas (hangouts for rowdy, alcohol-slugging vagrants).

      ·         During late spring and summer, throngs of visitors and cruise passengers frequent popular spots; arrive early in the morning. Arrange a meeting place if family members get separated.

      ·         Summer air conditioning is scarce, so plan accordingly. November kicks off the cool rainy season. In winter, dusk arrives come late afternoon.


      Other things things you should know

      ·         Seattle's Visitor Center and Concierge Services have free bookings and reservations for dining, tours, and transportation. Open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Washington State Convention & Trade Center's Upper Pike Street lobby, 7th and Pike streets. 206-461-5800.

      ·         Most top children's attractions are conveniently located near Seattle Center, a 74-acre urban park, including the Space Needle, the modernistic 1962 World's Fair landmark.

      ·         Seattle's climate is refreshing from July through September. Pack a light jacket or sweater, but most humidity-free temps range from 50s Fahrenheit to the 80s.

      ·         Dressy attire not required. Seattle is casual and laid-back, with layered comfort a fashion standard.\

      ·         Multiple public parks, with green space for running and hiking (some with beaches) offer kid-friendly places for dissipating energy.

      ·         Caught in a downpour? Cool weather? The towering, downtown flagship REI, billed as the world's premier outdoor gear store, has a 65-foot freestanding indoor climbing wall. (Residents typically shun umbrellas).

      ·         At Pike Place Information Booth, corner of Pike Street and 1st Avenue, buy half-priced concert and play tickets for day of performance.

      ·         While walking downtown, have kids look for Seattle's iconic bronze pigs. Take pictures.

      ·         During the winter, rent a car for the day and take the kids skiing. Crystal Mountain has the state's highest vertical drop, along with scenic chairlift rides, hiking trails and biking trails (www.skicrystal.com). Also, the Summit at Snoqualmie has easy accessibility and lessons, both skiing and snowboarding, for adults and kids (www.summitatsnoqualmie.com).

      ·         Plan picnics after visits to the Pike Place Market area. Fresh fruits, cheese, meats and sweet treat food choices are abundant. Don't miss Beecher's for cheese near the market; kids love the homemade mac and cheese on a cool day.

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
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  • Snake River at the Grand Teton Snake River at the Grand Tetons

    • From: KatieHolland
    • Description:

      June 2008  Gramd Tetons   This is the spot where Ansel Adams took his famous black and white photo of the Grand Tetons.  You know a place is beautiful when your teenage children are even amazed!  This is my son and he still says he could move out west because of how beautiful the country is there.

    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 208
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  • Foundations Foundations

    • From: Geoff Sills
    • Description:

      While traveling Dominica in the caribbean, it quickly became my favorite island because of sites like these.  Located along a path leading to one of the islands top rated hot springs I quickly snapped this photo so my group wouldn't leave me behind, lost in the jungle.  The texture within the wood and the flow of the foundations of this tree captivated me and forced me to snap a shot.

    • 4 years ago
    • Views: 515
  • Red Sunset Red Sunset

    • From: Photography
    • Description:

      Red Sunset. Photo taken:  Cape Cod Bay Eastham, MA. 

      http://www.dapixara.com Black and White Photography Beach Scenes.

    • 4 years ago
    • Views: 414
  • Motorcycle in an Empty Alley, Motorcycle in an Empty Alley, Verona, Italy

    • From: mdsadler
    • Description:

      This photo was taken during a trip to Northern Italy in the summer of 2007.  My family and I had stopped to take this picture and once we started walking again I was shocked to realize that a fairly large group of people was patiently waiting behind us.  I am still amazed that we were able to capture an entirely empty alley and to make the extremely busy city of Verona look so calm and serene. 

    • 4 years ago
    • Views: 688
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  • Bridge at Portsmouth, RI Bridge at Portsmouth, RI

    • From: BethanyAngle
    • Description:

      This was one of the many bridges in Portsmouth, RI. It was torn down a year or so ago, just after this photo was taken. This railway bridge spanned the river between Portsmouth and Tiverton, RI.

    • 4 years ago
    • Views: 284
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  • Yosemite Falls Yosemite Falls

    • From: bobcat812
    • Description:

      Yosemite Falls is a surprisingly beautiful falls on the Yosemite River in Yosemite National Park, California.  The falls has an unusual turquoise streak flowing over the left hand side.  I haven't figured what would cause that.  In an historic photo from a century ago, John Muir is standing with the falls in his background and there (in black & white, of course), is that same streak!

      The falls flows into the lower valley which is aptly called "The Grand Canyon of Yosemite". 

    • 4 years ago
    • Views: 258
  • New York City Fisheye View New York City Fisheye View

    • From: lilliswerder
    • Description:

      Seeing the whole of New York City from the top of the Empire State Building was a treat, but even more interesting through a fish eye lens.  The black and white of this photo brings together a feeling of nostalgia combined with the classic scene of rooftops and skyscrapers.

    • 4 years ago
    • Views: 3459
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  • Chrysler Building in New York Chrysler Building in New York CIty

    • From: lilliswerder
    • Description:

      The Chrysler Building is striking against the sky as seen from the top of the Empire State Building. Some things never change, and one can see the whole world below when looking down from the observatory of this famous icon.  Seeing the photo in black and white evokes memories of old New York, and a classic style that never dies.

    • 4 years ago
    • Views: 4421
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  • Gorgeous Amsterdam! Gorgeous Amsterdam!

    • From: ErinNorthington
    • Description:

      The canals and coffee shops are plentiful, as are the photo ops. 

    • 4 years ago
    • Views: 327
  • Genesee River Reflections Genesee River Reflections

    • From: shattman
    • Description:

      I uploaded this under a different title some 8 months ago. Seeing as how BT is interested in pics with a reflectiion, I have renamed it -- please forgive the duplication.

      This picture was originally made during development of an image from a black & white negative -- the dark room light was briefly flashed [solarization] creating the eerie 'shadows'. That print was then digitally scanned to produce what you see. I'm proud of this and could never ever duplicate the conditions to make another one-- It won 1st place in the Abstract category in a Univ. of Rochester photo contest [in the 70's]--

    • 5 years ago
    • Views: 350
  • Winter Day in Bratislava, Slov Winter Day in Bratislava, Slovakia

    • From: melpilgrim
    • Description:

      Snow on the ground and cold temperatures just add to the feel of winter in this black and white shot taken in Bratislava, Slovakia.

    • 5 years ago
    • Views: 738
  • Our Budget Travel Trip to Irel Our Budget Travel Trip to Ireland - Part 1

    • From: CliffK
    • Description:


      View from Charles Fort

      This trip actually began last June, when I was notified by email that I had won the Budget Travel Photo Contest with a photo I had taken in Costa Rica. My wife didn't even know I had submitted an entry, and she was in a meeting all afternoon, so I could not call her. We were meeting friends for dinner and had all of five minutes in the car together for me to inform her, "Um, honey, I have some news for you..." She screamed and quickly responded, "Well, I guess we know how we're going to use our furlough days this year!"

      After doing our research, we settled on a region (southwest Ireland) and a time frame (October, after the high season but before it gets too cold). I worked with Una at Sceptre Tours to iron out the details, and before we knew it we were on our way.

      We flew directly into Shannon, arriving at 7:00 a.m. on a Friday morning with a full day ahead of us. A friend had told us how beautiful it was to fly into Shannon where you could see all the green as you were landing. Well, at 7:00 a.m. on an October morning, the sun had yet to rise and it was still pitch black. Not to mind, we got our rental car and hit the ground running (that is, with a little adjustment for getting used to driving on the left side of the road). First stop: Galway. Although it was raining, we weren't going to let a little rain deter us from having fun. After stopping at the TI, we walked through Eyre Square (aka John F. Kennedy Park) and explored the old town center. We stepped inside the Widow Jane EyreCollegiate Church of St. Nicholas, where I was impressed with the testament to the Widow Jane Eyre's generosity, commemorated on a plaque. We then walked, struggling to keep our umbrellas open against the wind and the rain, to the much Irish Holy Familymore modern Galway Cathedral. This is a cathedral you want to visit during the day so you can better see and appreciate a more modern approach to stained glass artwork. Keep an eye out for the Irish Holy Family, where Mary is knitting and Jesus is offering tea to Joseph. Also look for the mosaic John F Kennedy Tribute(hidden the day we were there behind a curtain, but that did not stop us) of John F. Kennedy.  Needing some lunch, we found our way to Busker Brownes, where my wife had Aubergine and Sweet Potato Gratin and I had delicious Irish Seafood Chowder, accompanied by tasty brown soda bread. We did not want to sit too long and let our jet lag overcome us, so we got back to our car and pushed on, driving northwest toward Letterfrack and the Kylemore Abbey. One of the best ways to combat jet lag is to spend time outdoors, and so our first activity at Kylemore was to tour the walled garden. Still nice in October, this must be even more beautiful in the middle of summer. The Abbey itself is lovely, though only a few rooms are open to tour.Kylemore Abbey Also on the grounds is a small Neo-Gothic church, Neo-Gothic Church at Kylemore Abbeywhich is also worth a visit. Finishing at the Abbey, we still had a relatively short drive to Clifden and our first night accommodations at the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel. We checked in, dropped our bags in our room, and then walked about a mile into town to find a light supper. Back at the hotel, we headed downstairs to a common room where we thought we could sit by a fire and write in our journals. Ha! The combination of the warmth of the fire and the full day of touring, on top of our jet lag, and we were both dozing after writing only a sentence or two. However, it was also very effective: we got to bed early, got a full night's sleep, and when we woke up in the morning, we were both effectively over our jet lag.

      Saturday morning we woke up to the first of our full Irish breakfasts: a lavish buffet spread of cereals, yogurt, fresh fruit, rolls, eggs, bacon, sausage, and the traditional Irish accompaniments of grilled tomatoes and black and white pudding. Although we had another full day Diamond Hillahead of us, we decided we did not have to be held hostage to our agenda and allowed ourselves to backtrack a bit, driving back towards Letterfrack and the Connemara National Park. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day to Diamond Hill Hikehike, so we took the trail to the top of Diamond Hill. This wasn't the Ireland I was expecting: instead of the lush greens one hears about, this area was still beautiful but much more in shades of brown. Partly this was due to the season, but also the geography, as the terrain is very wet and boggy. We made it to the top of the hill, and were rewarded with wonderful views both of the harbor and of Kylemore Abbey from above. Once back in the car, already past noon, we headed out towards our next destination: back past The BurrenGalway and on to the Burren. The Burren is a region of massive outcroppings of rock that have been scoured by glaciers, rich in archaeological sites, the most famous of which is the Poulnabrone Dolmen. One look at this landscape and it is no wonder why there are so many stone fences and stone buildings in this country. It was getting late, and we had one more goal for this day: to get to the Cliffs of Moher. I had hoped we'd have a beautiful sunset looking out over the Atlantic from the Cliffs of Mohercliffs, but although the sunset itself was obscured by fog, it was still light when we arrived and we enjoyed the day dwindling away to twilight Poulnabrone Dolmenwhile there. After another full day, we recognized the wisdom of our chioce to go in October: pleasant weather for hiking and no crowds to contend with. Saturday was the night of our castle stay, so we drove (now in the dark) back to Dromoland. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that they had upgraded us from a standard to a deluxe room. This is not your drafty medieval castle: the room was quite spacious and luxurious. Sunday morning I went for a run on the castle grounds, through a wooded area where I came upon (and frightened) many pheasant.Dromoland Castle

      Friday and Saturday were both extremely full days, but this was our Irish Countrysidefirst time in Ireland and we wanted to see everything. Recognizing the need to slow down a bit, we had planned to spend two nights at our next stop: Kinsale. Driving south past Cork on Sunday we got our first taste of the beautiful green countryside that Ireland is so famous for. As the sun breaks through the clouds, the lush green fields just pop out at Kinsale, Irelandyou. Kinsale very much has a small-town feel, located on a beautiful, well-protected harbor, rich in history. It is one of Ireland's "Tidy Towns," a competition first launched by Bord Failte in an effort to improve the appearance of towns and villages throughout the country for the main tourist season. In addition to just wandering the streets and exploring the shops and restaurants, we took the "Historic Stroll in Old Kinsale." Our guide, Barry, was a wealth of information about the history of Kinsale, from the occupation by the Spanish Armada to theHistoric KinsaleCharles Fortnearby sinking of the Lusitania, including stories as well of the real Robinson Crusoe. Fun side trips included Charles Fort across the harbor and the Cobh Heritage Center, about a 45-minute Cobh Heritage Center Statuedrive. Our mainstay through most of Ireland was basic pub food, which we enjoyed, but in Kinsale ("the Gourmet Capital of Ireland"), we had to try a nicer restaurant. We couldn't have been happier than with a visit to Jim Edwards, where we had a delicious meal of grilled salmon.

      (Continued in Part 2)


    • Blog post
    • 5 years ago
    • Views: 4954
  • Big Cypress Big Cypress

    • From: bluebora
    • Description:

      We were driving through Big Cypress and stopped at Clyde Butcher's gallery. There on the pond was yet another photographer capturing alligators, birds, Spanish moss, and the swamp that Butcher calls home in his giant lens. I snapped a shot of the shooter and his canvas, and, thanks to unusual features on my black and white selection, I got these shades of green in the photo too. (I did nothing to alter the color in this photo. My camera does it for me!) Butcher's gallery and work are simply incredible. If you're ever along HIghway 41 in southern Florida, don't miss it.

    • 5 years ago
    • Views: 618
  • Horse Coming out of Water Horse Coming out of Water

    • From: christiana
    • Description:

      This photo was taken in County Cork in Ireland in a little village on the water.  We stopped at the pub for some chips and noticed a man swimming his horse in the water for a little exercise before cleaning him up and then hooking him up to a little two wheeled cart.  It was beautiful to watch so I went down to the water to wait for the horse to come out and got this shot. 

    • 5 years ago
    • Views: 423
  • Genesee River Mysterious World Genesee River Mysterious World

    • From: shattman
    • Description:

      This picture was made during development of an image from a black & white negative -- the dark room light was briefly flashed creating these eerie 'shadows' [solarization]. The print was then digitally scanned to produce what you see. I'm proud of this and could never ever duplicate the conditions to make another one-- It won 1st place in the Abstract category of a Univ of Rochester photo contest [in the 70's].

    • 5 years ago
    • Views: 406
  • Hiking Laguna Quilotoa to the Hiking Laguna Quilotoa to the Black Sheep Inn

    • From: nadavena
    • Description:

      Riding the Bus to The Black Sheep Inn, and the Hike from Laguna QuilotoaQuilotoa Crater Lake.png

      I travelled to Ecuador to visit my daughter, Sarah, while she was in the Peace Corps. For the short twelve days I was there we were able to visit three of the four geographical regions of Ecuador: the coast, the Andes, and the Amazon. This entry recounts our adventure while in the Andes.

      18 September, Chugchilan, Black Sheep Inn

      To describe the journey from Quito to here in Chugchilan, neither my words nor photos can suffice.

      Only yesterday, and a world away, on the beach in Muisne, America again cooked us a fantatastic breakfast of eggs with sauteed red onions, sliced avocados with grated cheese and sweet fried plantains. Excellent. We then walked to Sarah's apartment to finish packing her things. When we were done she hired a tricyclo (the preferred mode of travel in Muisne, as there are no cars) to haul her bags to the dock and ferry. Ali and I walked. On the way I stopped at la tienda to pay Sarah's account. We then took the ferry to the mainland and waited for Byron and America to drive us to el aeropuerto.

      When they arrived Byron noticed that someone had let the air out of one of his tires! I began to think we wouldn't make it to the airport, but Byron soon repaired it and we were on our way. We arrived with time to spare, said our thanks and good-byes and boarded the plane. Except, while going through security I realized I had forgotten to check my Swiss Army knife, and they pulled me aside and made me fill out a dangerous weapons form, and told me I could pick the knife up in Quito. Yeah, right, I thought, I'll never see that knife again. But, lo and behold, after we got our luggage in Quito, we were able to retrieve the knife. Yay! In the states I would have been interrogated, put on some watched persons list, missed my flight, and never have gotten the knife back.

      Soon after we arrived in Quito it began to lightly rain. We went up to our room at the hostal on the top floor, and the roof was leaking on to the bed. Sarah said she would sleep there, but I insisted we change rooms, which we did. So, in our new room Sarah went to take a hot shower, but that was impossible with cold water. She called the front desk and they said they would fix it. Next morning we did, indeed, have a hot shower.

      After we unpacked we went to an Argentenian steak house. I had filet mignon (twice as big as normal in the USA), Sarah had a bowl of chile, and we shared a bottle of wine. Magnifico! (I have not eaten so well while in Ecuador since I don't know when.) We then crossed the street to Papyanet where I called home. We then returned to the hostal and packed for the trip to the Black Sheep Inn.

      19 September, Black Sheep Inn

      Sunrise View From Room.pngSunrise. I'm sitting at the desk in our room, and it looks like the sun is going to rise directly in front of our window. Sarah is still asleep.

      Yesterday in Quito, we awoke, had our hot showers, went to breakfast at the Magic Bean, and then took a taxi to Terminal Terrestre to catch the bus to Latacunga. The bus was nearly empty when we left, but made dozens of stops and detours, and I feared we would never make our connection in time, but we did. We had 30 minutes in Latacunga to walk 2 blocks in the rain to catch the bus to Chugchilan.

      The trip to Chugchilan by bus is long, but scenic. The bus climbed high into the Andes and the paramor where the indigenas live. Llamas, sheep, cattle, and donkeys are abundant, along with the women in their traditional hats and colorful ponchos. At every bus stop they get on the bus to sell exotic (to me) foods, especially varieties of corn and fruits. Finally, the bus reached the small town of Zumbahua, and turned down a dirt road towards Chugchilan. Most people in the USA would never take their car down such a road, mush less a bus. But they do in Ecuador; you can take a bus anywhere. It's fabulous!

      We arrived in Chugchilan about 4:00 p.m., and walked the half kilometer to the Black Sheep Inn, but it was the walk up the driveway that took our breath away, literally. It's 10,000 feet high, you know. Inside, Michelle, the co-owner, welcomed us and offered us a delicious cheese plate and cookies. Also there were 4 German girls who were in the hostal next door to us in Musne! The same ones that woke me up my first night there at 1:00 a.m. with their loud party. (This ia a story I neglected to write about earlier. It would take too long.)  Sebastian showed us to our room, another breathtaking climb above the main lodge. But it was worth it. Our view is heavenly.

      A little while later we were invited to watch a group of children from the area perform severalAndean Dancers dances accompanied with traditional Andean music, dressed in brightly colored costumes. The children privided an entertaining and relaxing way to end a long day.

      After a beautiful sunset we stumbled  back down to the lodge in the dark for another delicious vegetarian meal (I haven't had a bad one in Ecuador yet), and sat around and talked with all the other travellers. Later, we sat around a fire outside our room with our neighbors, Robin, Paula, and Harlan, and sang a few silly songs. I guess I finally went to sleep around 11:00, and with the wood stove, it was warm and cozy in our room.

      The Hike from Laguna Quilotoa, with Dogs

      Sarah and I caught a ride to Laguna Quilotoa with Robin, Paula, and Harlan. Thay had hired a driver to take them back to Quito. I offered to pay them $10 if they would drive us to Quilotoa. They took me up on my offer. WOO-HOO! I am forever grateful. This saved us from having to awaken at 4:00 a.m. to catch the 5:00 bus to Quilotoa. Now we could wake up at a normal time, eat breakfast, and leave around 10:30.

      We arrived at Quilotoa around 11:15. The village sits surprisingly close to the crater rim. You walk a short distance and  the crater and lake abruptly and stunningly appear. Caribbean nearly describes the various shades of blue and turquoise of the lake, but still they seem to be unique colors. It's also several hundred feet from the rim down to the lake. And you can hike the whole rim, but we chose to hike about a quarter of the way around and down a "trail" back to Chugchilan. It was extremely windy. Actually, there is no one trail, but several. Some going inside the rim, others out. Routefinding is a guessing game. It took us about an hour to find the trail down the outside of the crater to Guayama, the village on the way to Chugchilan.

      Gkids.pngNear the base of the crater we heard a chainsaw. Some of the locals were cutting down pine trees and creating perfectly shaped planks or boards. A little further down the trail we came upon four children who asked us in Spanish if we would like to take a photo of them for $1.00. Sarah obliged. I was particularly impressed with one of the boy's hot pink Chicago White Sox baseball cap.

      Soon we approached the first houses on the trail, and I heard dogs barking. I remembered in our trail guide the Black Sheep Inn provided for us that it might be a good idea to carry a stick to fend off "aggressive" dogs. So I found one. And good thing, too, beacuse as we passed the house two dogs came running and barking at us. And kept running and barking at us, displaying their plentiful, big teeth. At least that's what I saw. I turned towards them and began walking backwards, with Sarah behind me, pointing the stick in the dogs faces. I was ready to use it but the lead dog backed off, and we were safe. Temporarily. We soon reached Guayama, where there were a couple more aggressive dogs, but as soon as you passed their territory they would retreat.

      I should mention the many indigenas we passed along the way, again dressed in their colorful, traditional clothing, all working on various projects, including improving the trail, both men and women.There was something very communal and cooperative about it. It was comforting to me to see.

      After a while, we reached Toachi Canyon, which we had to cross to reach Chugchilan. Where the trail began its descent into the canyon was a work party of indigenas, improving the trail, plus a large group of German tourists. Sarah hurried me to begin hiking down the trail before the Germans started, but some beat us to it. (There were German women peeing behind some trees, in full view of some locals' house, who were outside the house laughing as they watched the Germans crouch.)

      Soon we had passed all the Germans who had started down the trail before us, and werehalandslide.png making good time when we came upon a landslide. I thought it must have just happened because sand and an occasional rock continued to fall from above, and the trail was wiped out. There was deep sand where the trial had been. Sarah wanted to cross anyway, but I told her no. I feared everything giving way just as she was trying to pass.

      Soon a German reached us and said it was time for "el guia" to do his job. When his Ecaudorian guide arrived, I gave him my dog stick, and he started across the slide area. A couple of times falling rocks nearly hit him as he poked with the stick into the sand that reached his boot tops. He helped one German across, then Sarah decided to go, then me. We left them there with my stick (big mistake) because the guide had 19 more people to help cross.

      We finally made it to the canyon bottom, crossed a stream and climbed the bank on the other side to have lunch under some eucalyptus trees. We were tired, hungry, and Sarah was a little cranky. I made fun of her because of it. I'd forgotten how she can be like that at times. She was funny.

      After eating and resting, we were refreshed and began the final climb to Chugchilan. Shortly after we started hiking, we smelled a dead animal, and Sarah soon came upon the source: a horse. Fortunately, we realized we were headed in the wrong direction and avoided having to go around the corpse.

      The trail went straight up, and we came to a house with another aggressive dog. We saw a boy coming down the trail and waited for him to pass the house. Sarah then asked him in Spanish if the dog would bite, and he said yes. He then asked us if we had any food, so Sarah gave him some popcorn leftover from lunch.

      We had no choice but to pass the house, but by the time we reached it the dog had disappeared. Perhaps the owner had brought him inside.

      The trail continued up. And up, and up. And straight up. Apparently the indigenas never heard of switchbacks, which I think explains their longevity: they have the strongest hearts in  the world. I slowly made it up, though, step by step. Sarah would have left me in the dust, literally, if she hadn't waited for me from time to time.

      School must have been let out by now, becuase soon small groups of girls began coming down the trail, all dressed in their hats, colorful skirts, kneehigh socks, and loafers, sucking on lollipops or popsicles. Some were more outgoing than others, but thay all seemed to be happy-go-lucky in their little "utopia" in the Andes.

      s at black sheep.pngFinally, we reached Chugchilan and the Black Sheep Inn about 4:15. Not bad time, but Sarah probably would have made it an hour earlier if she hadn't had to wait for her old man so often. We got back to the room, took hot showers, and went back down to the main lodge to have a Pilsener, the national beer of Ecuador. Andres, the co-owner, asked if we wanted to play volleyball, but I was physically unable.

      At 6:00, I went back up to the room to watch the sunset, then back down at 7:00 for dinner and visiting with the other guests, which was down to 6, compared to the previous night's 19. Three Brits and three  Americans. We ate and drank wine until it was time for bed and a 3:00 a.m. wake up call!

    • Blog post
    • 6 years ago
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  • Discovering Normandy and Le Jo Discovering Normandy and Le Jour J (D-Day) sites

    • From: kwalker99
    • Description:

      Easter weekend, 2006:  Our original plans were to fly out of Champaign IL at 2:30 p.m. and arrive in Paris at 8 a.m. with luggage. After local delays and three last-second reticketings of our Chicago-to-Paris flight, the result was landing in Paris at 3:00 p.m. with no luggage and no firm promise about when it would appear. The only thing that went smoothly was picking up our rental car, which took about five minutes.

      The lost day meant we had to scrap our visit to Monet's gardens at Giverny, so we drove straight (sort of) to our first hotel in Normandy. Navigating the autoroutes out of DeGaulle airport was harrowing, especially since our map was in our checked luggage. I had a sinking feeling when I saw the first toll booth and realized that in our haste to escape the airport, we had forgotten to exchange money. That was no problem, as all toll booths take credit cards.

      Honfleur East Normandy:  At sundown, we checked into our hotel in Honfleur -- the Mercure, right on the waterfront -- and realized the wayward luggage was going to be more of a pain than we had expected. A cold wind was blowing in from the English Channel, and all we had were the summer clothes we had worn from home, where it had been 30 degrees warmer. We decided to venture outside anyway, so I donned a red wool blanket as a shawl and we headed to the harbor area. As Mike said, "Everyone will be wearing those now".

      We had a nice dinner (bouillabaisse, the local specialty) at l'Absinthe restaurant. It seemed pricey at the time -- about 70 euros ($84 in 2006) for two dinners with wine and cheese -- but we hadn't seen anything yet. 

      The next morning, we bought two coats, exchanged money and enjoyed a walk around the gardens and harbor in Honfleur, a village that was a favorite of the Impressionist painters.

      In the afternoon, we took a long drive through the beautiful Pays d'Auge countryside, where cheese and apples are a virtual religion. We tried the apple cider and calvados, a very strong apple liqueur, in a big stone barn on one of the many farms that offer degustations (tastings).

      Bevron en auge, Normandy, FranceThe prettiest little town in the Pays d'Auge was the half-timbered Beuvron en Auge, which has one street, two churches and three pastry/coffee shops. It bills itself as "one of the most beautiful villages in France". We were going to be seeing a lot more of those.

      CambremerOne was the delightful Pays d'Auge village of Cambremer, where we stopped for a cafe au lait and a leisurely stroll through its downtown shops and galleries. I couldn't resist taking a photo of le chien, who kept a watchful eye on us as we walked down his street.

      West Normandy & D-Day sites: Our luggage finally arrived at our hotel on our third day in Honfleur. We changed clothes quickly, checked out and drove west to Caen to the Musee de Memorial, a "peace" museum that chronicles the history of war in the 20th century. The main focus is on the buildup to WWII. The most powerful exhibit was a riveting, split-screen film showing the simultaneous unfolding of D-Day events on both the German and Allied sides.

      ArromanchesFrom Caen, we went on to Arromanches les Bains on Gold Beach, where the British landed on D-Day. It was the site of an artificial harbor called Port Winston (Churchill), which was used to offload cargo after the Allied invasion. Old battleships were sunk to create a breakwater, and those who know about such things say it was one of the greatest engineering feats of the War. Sections of the pier pontoons and concrete caissons still remain on the beach and in the ocean. That's Mike in the photo, next to one of the pontoon bridges that spanned the temporary harbor.

      We drove west to an old German battery at Longues sur Mer, where the original bunkers and even the guns are preserved. We had a picnic of sandwiches and apple cider and explored the bunkers and the pretty beach below.

      Omaha BeachThe final stop of the day was Omaha Beach. It's absolutely pristine, with no souvenir shops, no signs, not even a (shock!) payant sign in the gravel parking area. In fact, it was fairly hard to find -- the drive to it was on narrow, twisting roads with very few signs. It's difficult to describe the feeling of standing on that peaceful beach and thinking about what happened right there more than 60 years ago. I could almost see the ghosts, and found myself feeling guilty for enjoying such a beautiful day here.

      La Ferme du PressoirThe area south of the beaches is "bocage country", where every town is named after a shrub, a saint or a river -- or sometimes all three. Our home for the next two nights was outside Villers Bocage at La Ferme du Pressoir, a farm bed-and-breakfast run by a delightful lady named Odile. We stayed in a stone sheep barn (photo at left) that had been converted into a six-room cottage. In the mornings, we walked downstairs and there was Odile in the kitchen, preparing our breakfast and offering sightseeing tips in kilometer-a-minute French.

      We were getting by okay on my high-school French, but Odile and everyone else seemed to talk as fast as the guy in the old FedEx commercial, so I was frequently lost. The French are an ultra-polite people who use merci, s'il vous plait and madame/monsieur in just about every sentence, and they're very patient if you liberally insert those phrases into otherwise bad grammar.

      Le Mont St. MichelOur next excursion was a day trip to Le Mont St. Michel, France's top tourist attraction. I had seen photos, but viewing the real thing was a jaw-dropper -- a village and an ancient Benedictine abbey on a giant crag, rising from a vast tide pool in the English Channel. The tide comes in as fast as a galloping horse, so they say, and tourists have drowned trying to outrun it. If the tide doesn't get you, the steps will. We climbed hundreds of them to tour the abbey, but it was worth the burning thighs.

      Pointe du Hoc, NormandyWe returned to the Normandy beaches to Pointe du Hoc (right), a promontory that was taken on D-Day through the incredible bravery of U.S. Rangers. Three battalions landed here at 7:00 a.m. and scaled the 100-foot cliffs on a mission to eliminate a powerful German gun battery. Only half survived the machine-gun fire and made it to the top of the plateau. The 30-acre site still has the bunkers and bomb craters -- some more than 10 feet deep -- that remained when the Rangers left on June 8, 1944.

      American Cemetery, NormandyLate in the afternoon, we drove to Colleville-sur Mer to the American Cemetery. It's a beautiful, almost mystical, setting on a cliff overlooking the sector of Omaha Beach where the 1st Division landed on D-Day. It was impossible to hold back tears while walking among the 9387 graves there -- reading the names and hometowns and imagining their stories, finding pairs of brothers buried side by side, seeing the flowers placed on random graves by French volunteers.

      La Cambe German cemeteryWe took country roads to the La Cambe German Cemetery, where more than 22,000 German soldiers are buried. In stark contrast to the American Cemetery's bright white crosses and Stars of David, the German graves are marked by black stone crosses, set low in the ground in groups of five. In many ways, this was the saddest sight of all. The atmosphere was somber and eerie, made more so by the fact that it was twilight and we were the only visitors.

      We ended the day in the town of Bayeux with a short stop at the cathedral and dinner at Le Pommier (The Apple Tree). We returned to the Villers Bocage farm very late, partly from confusion about what village we were going to (several other towns in the area have the words "Villers" and "Bocage" in their names). 

      The next morning we headed south to the Loire Valley, then on to the Dordogne and Provence over the next two weeks. Our five days in Normandy, though, would be especially memorable. We enjoyed discovering its beauty and history and its friendly people, who welcome American visitors and seem to have a long memory for the U.S. heroics of more than sixty years ago.

    • Blog post
    • 6 years ago
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  • Maui Hawaii Maui Hawaii

    • From: p56jhaa
    • Description:

      My husband and I went to Maui for a vacation.  We found all our entertainment through nature.  What a way to spend a vacation.  We would run down to this private beach across from our resort at sunset with our folding chairs.  We'd sit and watch hundreds of tiny sand crabs scurry side ways through the white sand close to our feet.  The sunset was absolutely breath taking.  I was unable to download a photo to prove this, so you'll have to take my word for it.  We rented a jeep wrangler and cruised the entire island of Maui.  While driving, we'd spot whales jumping as we glanced over black volcano rocks as the water crashed up against them.  Parking alongside the road, we would sit along the road's edge staring at the beautiful creatures through our binoculars. We jogged along the beach every morning. The weather was perfect,  it was in January, slight breeze and mid 70's.  We'd stop every morning at this produce stand and by fresh fruit and take it back to our room and sit on our balcony and look out in the distance at the volcano peaks while eating our fruit and having our coffee.  I didn't realize how beautiful nature can be.  What a way to spend a vacation...

    • Blog post
    • 6 years ago
    • Views: 1033
  • Trequanda, Italy Trequanda, Italy

    • From: jbergman75
    • Description:

      img_0792.jpgI finally get why people go to Tuscany and love it. Yes, Tuscany is beautiful (I mean look at this hilltop town in the sunset), and yes, the food is pretty incredible (our family friend, Linda, had pici with wild boar ragu EVERY day for lunch--she seriously could not get enough). But it's the way of life that I found most intoxicating. The villages that haven't changed for hundreds of years. The bakeries where people go to buy their bread on Sunday mornings. The vineyards, olive groves, fig trees and fields of wheat.. I was in love with it all by the end of the week.

      My parents, Chris and Ron, and their best friends, Linda and Rich rented a villa for the week where we all stayed (me, my partner Alex, my brother and his wife, and Linda and Rich's daughter and husband). The reason was to celebrate my parents' 40th wedding anniversary--it was their dream to have everyone go to Italy together. We did the requisite hill-town touring during the day, and ate enormous meals at night, usually at the trattoria in our town, Trequanda, or at a local pizza place (we were WAY out in the middle of nowhere.. it was a 20-30 minute drive to any other town). Linda's daughter was eight months pregnant and we joked that if she had the baby in Italy, she'd have to name it Trequanda. The villa was enormous and had a slightly odd decor. We took a series of pictures posing next to a life-size ceramic tiger and with our heads in between two gigantic vases in the shape of heads--they sort of resembled John Lennon and Yoko Ono.


      We took walks (see left). This photo shows Chris, Ron, Rich and Linda on a walk behind a 12th century abbey, the name of which I'm forgetting now. My dad had this whole walking tour planned, but we got about a half mile down this road and turned back. Hunger called.






      Springtime was a great time to be there--the wildflowers were stunning. This hillside is covered in mustard flowers. There were red poppies and purple irises by the sides of the roads, and wisteria blossoming everywhere. It wasn't heaven on my allergies, but I dealt with the scratchy eyes.






      Siena was undoubtedly my favorite town. We were lucky. We visited on a Thursday (in early May) and there were very few tourists. In fact, the Campo was packed, but with local Siennese, sprawled out in the warm sunshine, enjoying the day. We got lost in the city's streets and tried to hit all of the different neighborhoods (each has a different symbol, like a unicorn or porcupine, and they compete for top neighborhood during the annual Palio horse race in the Campo in July. I think my favorite spot was Santa Maria della Scala, one of the oldest hospitals in Europe. The hospital, which is more than 1,000 years old, was recently closed and turned into a museum. The walls and ceilings in what was the main ward are covered with frescoes showing how medics treated the sick at the height of Siena's power (before the black plague decimated the city in the 1300s) and cared for the orphans of the city. img_0837.jpg



      Another shot from the Campo in Siena.. this little boy was chasing a pigeon which you can kind of see mid-flight. It almost flew directly into us.







      And to the left is why I didn't love Florence. Too many tourists. In contrast to Siena, Florence was a nightmare. We didn't get into a single site, although we did have a nice boozy lunch at Buca Mario. I figured if I wasn't going to get into the Duomo, I was at least going to have a couple glasses of wine with my risottino ai funghi porcini . Anyone going to Florence should seriously eat here. I was super impressed. www.bucamario.it/eng




      Alex and I finished our trip with two days in Venice. I had visited the city 10 years ago with my brother and hated it. I thought there were too many tourists jammed into San Marcos and the food was mediocre and expensive. I'm glad I went back. We couldn't have had a more different experience. We found plazas off the main grid where Venetians hung out, drinking spritzes (aperol and white wine with a green olive on a skewer) and showing off their white sneakers, big sunglasses, and tight T-shirts. We also took in the Peggy Guggenheim museum, housed in a very cute house right on the Grand Canal where Peggy used to live. This neon light piece was in the sculpture garden behind the house.

      Here's Alex back in Tuscany somewhere. I don't have any shots of us posing in the house with the John and Yoko heads (or of baby Trequanda who is due any day now). I will try to add some later. My family is to the right (from left: my brother, me, my mom and dad).

      img_0763.jpg img_0690.jpg


    • Blog post
    • 6 years ago
    • Views: 4409
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