Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Accordion Player--San Juan

This shot captures the spirit of San Juan, or at least I hope it does. Got a lot of nice shots today after my meetings. Should fill up a lot of the Shot of the Day blog. Don't know if I like a tighter crop on this shot, but the frame as I shot it here signifies maybe a sense of smallness? Anyway, hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How far to Charlotte?

I don't like this picture particularly, except for the colors. Taken at a park near downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. Over the years I have enjoyed my visits to Charlotte. Some nice restaurants and book shops. This picture is a little busy but I couldn't find an angle that gave a good view of the signs and wasn't too busy. Oh well. It is not one for the walls but it does follow the theme of this blog with shots taken from trips around the country and the world, such as I have been able to gather. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Red Light District--San Francisco

Took this shot with the camera sitting on a mailbox to keep it steady. Took a couple of shots at longer exposures to get the car light trails. Always a bit of luck to get a good shot, but with digital, you can keep shooting until you get one you like. This shot is taken right outside Chinatown in San Francisco, in sort-of a "red light" district. Always a good area for nighttime shots.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bread Stand---Portabella Road, London

Staying with the food theme for another day, here was a beautiful fresh bakery stand at the Portbella Road market in London. The surprising thing about London to me was again all the shopping available. If you have money, London is the place to shop with Harold's and lots of upscale locations. We did a lot of window shopping, but if you like downscale, Portabella Road was a much friendlier area. They close off the street (mostly) and vendors bring out their wares. Lots of fun.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Vegetable Stand--Florence

Even before I started this blog I was always on the lookout for color. What can be more colorful than a fruit and vegetable stand? If you like history and shopping, but especially if you like both, then there is no better place than Florence. You can find an 18th century building and Gucci leather shop on the ground floor. Actually, if you are in the market for leather, then Florence is your place. So many stores selling leather. Should have picked up a bunch of leather dress belts. Oh, well. Loved Florence for the history (where the Renaissance began and the David still lives) and the shopping. Have to get back there some day.....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Moon over Chicago

Here is a bit of a different view of the Chicago skyline, one that you often don't see. Usually, a shot of Chicago includes the Sears (now Willis Tower) or the John Hancock. This is taken from Navy Pier looking south. Nice view with the moon hanging near the old Standard Oil Building.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hotel/Hotel in Central Illinois

Drove down to Champaign one day via Route 45 instead of I55. Tired of the highway. Got this shot of an old rundown Hotel while on the way. Love the contrast of the building and the green grass growing around it. This building has lots of character but has definitely seen better days.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Eiffel Tower View from the Base

Like yesterday's shot, it is tough to find shots not taken a million times already. Most shots of the Eiffel Tower are from a distance. This one attempts to get a different view.

Monday, March 22, 2010

St. Louis Arch View

Tough to find a view of the Arch in St. Louis that hasn't been photographed. I walked around and saw this view. Tough to get the whole Arch in a shot. Better to just get a hint. Hope you like it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Beijing On A Bike

The Chinese can fit an amazing amount of goods on a single bicycle. This guy was only carrying a reasonable load by Chinese standards. To Stephi and me, this looked like an incredible amount of stuff to carry. Later in the week (this was my first picture after we dropped our stuff in the hotel), we saw much more carried on a single bike. The key to biking in Beijing is to go slow. So much different than the US where you only carry yourself and a water bottle and you try to go as fast as possible. Traffic is incredible in Beijing. Cars seem to flow in and out of traffic without a hitch. It took some getting used to seeing all of the bikers slowly working through the streets as if on a pleasure cruise acting like the traffic was not even there.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Downtown Shanghai

Colorful scene of downtown Shanghai. Amazing vibrant city. So much new construction. Unbelievably modern. From a photography standpoint, I wish I would have given myself more room at the top. Damn, now I will have to go back.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hot Day in Beijing on Tiananmen Square

Umbrellas in China are very much in the pastel range and very common on hot sunny days. This is a shot from Tiananmin Square, not too far from the infamous spot of the man staring down the tank during the student revolution in 1989. This colorful scene is quite a contrast from those days. Probably the tour guide is quitely telling the story of that event to the tourists in that tight circle. Our tour guide said that he would not mention the event directly while on the square but would discretely point the spot out to us, which he did ("...and over there is an interesting sight...").

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dancing in the Park -- Beijing

Stephi and I agreed that this was the most amazing thing that we saw while we were in China last year. The Great Wall, the history, the cultral icons, the amazing buildings were all fantastic. However, the sight of all these people who would gather every day at the Temple of Heaven park to get together to dance, sing, play games and instruments, was like nothing we ever saw in the US. Every day, these people gather spontanously to participate in activities for enjoyment and excercise. Musicans bring instruments. People bring music to sing with others. The people here in this picture bring musice to dance to. It was an amazing sight.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Unusual View of Willis, aka Sears Tower

I hate that name, Willis Tower. Doesn't seem right. It will always be Sears Tower to me. Anyway, this is an unusual view of Sears Tower since it was taken during some construction in Union Station near the train platform that I take for my daily commute. They took off the roof for repairs on the platform and I was able to get this shot from below street level. Got lucky with the weather with a nice blue sky. Anyway, enjoy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Notre Dame Above Front Door

Love the statues above the front door of Notre Dame Cathedral. The group on the left, under Christ as the judge, as you look at the statues look like they are going to heaven. The group on the right, don't look so happy. The devils are wrapping them up to take them to hell. Pretty scary stuff.

Monday, March 15, 2010

St Denis -- Norte Dame Cathedral Paris

As I noted yesterday, the outside of Notre Dame Cathedral is very ornate as is proper for a Gothic building. Here is an example of the statues that can be found all around the outside of the building. This is how the faithful used to get their stories. I always wondered who was the Saint without his head depicted in this statue. It happens to be St. Denis who was sent to Paris to found the Catholic Church there in the 3rd century. He would become its first bishop. As I now know from Google, in the year 257, he was decapitated in Montmartre with his companions after they were discovered by a Roman governor. He then got up, walked six kilometres with his head in his hands, and gave his head to a Christian woman before collapsing on the ground. It is on this site that the Basilique de Saint-Denis was built in honour of the bishop. Wow! That is some story. Must have been something freaky to see.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Inside Notre Dame Cathedral - Paris

Inside the Notre Dame Cathedral was a bit underwhelming from what I remember from our 2006 trip but the nave was beautiful. The real beauty for Notre Dame seemed to be more on the outside. Anyway, hope to get back there some day to see it again. Quite an experience.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Memphis--Beale Street

Beale Street in Memphis is a fun area with bars, restaurants and nightclubs galore. Not a very big area, but someplace you have to hit if you find yourself in Memphis some time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chicago Sunset

We are fortunate to have such an excellent skyline in Chicago. The trick to a shot like this is to (1) use a tripod (which I didn't have with me so I have to go reshoot this one day) and (2) catch the sky at twilight with deep color in it. Would have been even better with a cloudy sky to catch the suns rays, but this turned out pretty nice.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Color in Paris

I didn't know that I had a photographic style when I was taking pictures on our family vacation back in 2006. But I always look for color--the more the better. Saw this shot and had to take it.
This was a shot of an 8x10 painting on a bridge leading to the Louvre in Paris. As you can see, the version above is a very tight crop of that original shot.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Blue Truck Northern Missouri

Off the water theme for now, I will have more of those later. Today's shot was from a road trip I took last year between Memphis and St. Louis. Got on the back roads and stayed there the whole way. Got to get off the interstate if you are going to see some of the rural country sights. This was one of the shots I used for my photography show in downtown Chicago last year.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Summer Palace -- colorized

Stephi liked yesterday's shot. She thought it had a rococo look, which is, of course, what I was going for.
Ok, I had no clue what she was talking about, but it does have a stylized look that rococo painting does capture. So, I played around with the picture and turned it into a black and white line drawing. Then I painted on color using software. Anyway, I like how it turned out so I thought I would this revised shot as today's shot of the day. Hope you like it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Beijing Summer Palace

Still with the water theme. One of my favorites from the Summer Palace. This is a huge man made lake that the emporer of China would go to visit for its cool breezes in the summer. It was about 10 degrees cooler and a wonderful area to explore--although like many Chinese tourist spots, very crowded. I noticed these kids playing on the rocks across the lagoon and took a shot.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Another June Chicago Sunrise

Have a couple of these shots from 2006 but this is one of my favorites. Standing right off Lake Shore Drive, just south of Navy Pier and looking east towards the sunrise over Lake Michigan. Lots of pigeons and other water birds frequent this site. We do have a beautiful lakefront.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

North Avenue Beach Parking

More summertime water shots from near North Avenue Beach. Probably can't tell unless you look closely, but I just missed a shot of a fish jumping right in the center of the frame. Now that would have been some lucky shot. All you can see is the circle of waves moving outward. I like boats, but I really don't think I would want one. Too much work.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hawaiian Sunrise

I thought I would stay with the water theme and search the hard drive for shots near water. Today's shot was taken on a work trip to Hawaii. Decided to get up early before meetings for a couple of shots. The great thing about traveling west is you automatically become a morning person, especially in Hawaii where you are waking up at 4 am thinking it is mid-morning (and it is back home). This shot was taken near Diamond Head, which is to my back as I looked to the sun rising in the east.

If you think the colors are weird for a picture, you are right, in a sense. Your eye sees many more levels of light than is possible for a camera. However, you can trick a camera to "see" the scene as your eye sees it. Basically, you take a series of pictures on a tri-pod from overexposed (to catch the details in the shadows) to underexposed (to catch colors in the bright areas). Then in the computer you combine the pictures using special software. This is called High Dynamic Range or HDR photography. You might think this is "cheating" but all pictures are a representation of the real scene. HDR brings the scene much more like it was in person. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Small boat in Long Beach

Continuing with the beach and water theme, today's shot was taken yesterday near Long Beach California. Happened to be in a meeting in an office building right across from the docks. Just had enough time between meetings to snap off a shot or two of this colorful scene...and yes, it did rain in southern California shortly thereafter.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tropical Sunrise---in Chicago

Doesn't this shot bring up images of warm summer breezes, gorgeous sand beaches, the salt spray and the smell of suntan lotion? Well, it may bring up those images, but this was taken at sunrise over Lake Michigan near Navy Pier in June 2006. Who knew that Chicago could have a tropical feel to it?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tooling Down the Pacific Coast Highway

This shot was taken last year on a road trip from San Francisco down the Pacific Coast Highway to LA. You should try to do that ride one day as it is an amazing trip. Even though I was driving, the twists and turns in the road almost made me a little car sick. Stopped lots of time to get coastal shots like the one shown here. Enjoy.