Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pussy-Willows & Popcorn: Forever Family

Pussy-Willows & Popcorn: Forever Family: Our plan, to be on the road at 8:30 AM, heading for Niagra Falls and Niagra On The Lake, to visit Lawrence's cousins, was derailed, whe...

Haven't visited your blog for awhile, so will spend awhile catching up.  I love how you document your daily life both in photographic and journaling form.  Kudos to you!! As I red this well past the time you posted, let me just say that I am glad that Lawrence did not have a heart event.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Naples, Florida

This was one of the few days that was just rainy and miserable.  Not to be stopped from my never ending quest to see the country and hone the craft of photography, we went out for a bit anyway.  Glory be, there was a Costco . . now that is one of my favourite places to visit . . . . found some of the neatest items there that we don't have here . . . like a lime green (love lime green) picnic satchel with insulated pockets for wine or pop or whatever.  Obviously needed to buy an umbrella as of course there was no room to pack one and some waterproof shoes . .. it was REALLY wet. 

Went to the wharf as I love the water and the multi colours of the boats.  Took some neat photos of the canoes all upside down . .. the colours were especially brilliant in contrast to the overcast skies and constant drizzle.  We found a little shopping area with the most vibrant coloured shops . . had the wrong lens on but went with it anyway.  Stopped in a little bistro for a late lunch and had the most delicious sandwich.  Mmmm good . . . 

We stayed in the Residence Inn by Marriott which was fairly new and just a breath of fresh air . .. the colours were vibrant and the decor very contemporary.  Loved the extra homey touches they added to the foyer.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Florida Coast . . .

. . . . I now know why so many people flock here.  You are never further than 90-100 miles from water at any given place in Florida.  It is lush and green with gorgeous skies and fantastic beaches.  It is truly like Paradise . . .somewhat like Hawaii . . . and the vegetation looks like it is on steroids.  The coastal towns that we visited all provided great access to beaches . . .yes some were private . . . but there was always lots of access  . . . .after all the planet is God's work and was meant to be enjoyed by all.  On our way to Palm Beach we passed through Boca Raton . . . a place that I have read about and wanted to see.

 I love architecure and old buildings.  This gorgeous building was right across from the park where there was a fair amount of parking and access to the public beach . . . right in the middle of town.  Palm trees, stately buildings and a beautiful sky make for a photographer's paradise.  The beach was not crowded at all . . . in fact it was downright empty, but then it had been stormy just before we arrived.

I love the sky in this photo and the sun just starting to peek out.  The massive scale of it all is reflected by the size of the people at the beach and the tiny red umbrella.  Like I said, it was pretty devoid of humans.

We met the most delightful man, Eduardo, orginally from Columbia and arriving in Boca Raton from Tennessee. He was most charming and told us the local things we should see, and even drove ahead of us to make sure we took the right turn into the nature preserve.

Let me just say that those Latin men certainly know how to make you feel  beautiful.  Annnnd, that is all I have to say about that!!!  

Off to the nature preserve we went and it was well worth the time.  It was like a step back in time and soooo quiet.

After climbing up to a lookout and looking over the treetops (my photog friends should be impressed with all the climbing I have been doing), we got a bird's eye view of the landscape.  Absolutely beautiful.  Photos don't do it justice.

We saw all matters of vegetation and even saw the release of butterflies, unfortunately I couldn't get photos because of the wire caging.  However I did happen upon this creepy crawler on my climb up to the top of the lookout.  Now I happen to hate these creatures and this one was larger than the average bear, however, the joy of actually being able to capture him in focus completely outweighs my utter distaste for anything with eight legs.

One might think that I took this photo because of its gorgeous  curved lines and striking architecture.  Now this is partly true . . . . however it is the police station in Boca Raton and Lynnwood needed to pay a visit.  It appears that he paid for the wrong parking space at the public parking lot and the constabulary took exception to this.  He then had to visit the station to obtain forgiveness of the ticket.  In view of the fact that we were in a rental car and not going to be staying in the area . . . . time was of the essence. 

Oh the tales one can tell after a three month road trip.

Off to Palm Springs . . . we took the Old Dixie Highway just to see something other than freeway.  I always enjoy taking the road less traveled.   Stopped dead in our tracks by a drawbridge . . now I never view this as a waste of time, rather a perfect opportunity from the middle of the river for some great photos.  I hopped out of the car with my camera . .. got some strange looks from other folks . . . and then pretty soon there were a whole lot of others following suit.

The Breakers

Right along the water's edge is the Breakers, one of those grand old hotels from the Gilded Era . . .. ie. the Flagers and Vanderbilts, etc.  I will write more about this place later, as we spent a whole day visiting the grand old buildings that had the touch of Henry Flagler.

More sights from the middle of the river . . . 

What a gloroius day . . . . filled with beauty . . . . . both natural and man made.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Edmonton, Alberta . . .

. . . I know, this isn't part of the journey, but it is where I live.  For some of my photography friends who have yet to make it to Canada . . . . and you know who you are . . . I thought I would entice you with some photos showcasing my City so that you can get your cameras and lenses ready for a real treat!!!!!

Edmonton is a beautiful City with a population of just under 1 million and with the immediate trading area and bedroom communities included, it is well over a million.  We are reputed to have the most beautiful river valley in all of North America that is in the middle of a  major city.  We enjoy all four seasons . . .. now I use the word enjoy loosely . . . since our Journey to the South I have become a big fan of warmth.  However, that being said, photographs with snow are magical.  We are also the Capital of Alberta, a resource rich province with agriculture, ranching, manufacturing, oil and entrepeneurial development being major parts of our economic base.  Photography gurus Bryan Peterson and Chris Hurtt had never visited this area before June of 2010 . . . they were blown away and only saw a small portion of what we have to offer.  The Rocky Mountains are within driving distance and people from all over the world travel here for their destination trip of a lifetime.

So here goes . . . some photos I have taken of the place I call home.  Seeing as how it is presently winter, we will start off with a winter photo, which by the way wasn't taken this year as we have virtually no snow this year and have above average temperatures (so I am not quite sure what I am complaining about actually).

This photo was taken on Christmas Day from my back door . . . set up the tripod on the deck and snapped away.  It was magical with the fresh snow and the brilliant blue sky.

I actually love softly falling snow with twinkling lights.  The sight of that always makes my soul sing, especially at Christmas with all the extra lights up.

This is a photo of our home after one of those lovely softly falling snow storms that we regularly have, much prefer them to the blizzards we also get.

Home Sweet Home

As we live so far north, we have amazing summers . . . and yes it can get really hot and we need an air-conditioner in the summer!!  As Bryan and Chris found out to their amazement, the days in June are incredibly long and the nights are incredibly short.

Downtown Edmonton taken from a walking bridge over the river and at about 5 a.m.

I have always called the above photo My Monet.  There is something about the dreaminess of it and the colouring that just immediately makes me think of his style.

We also have amazing sunsets . .. and truth be told there is nothing like a prairie sunset . . . Alberta is often referred to as Big Sky Country . . . something like Montana.

Prairie Sunset

 Edmonton is also the seat of government for the Province of Alberta.  Our Legislative Assembly building is drop dead gorgeous with fine European architectural details.  I love the fact that it is centrally located in Edmonton and is used all the time by the people that live here and with tourists visiting.  Try taking wedding photos there on a Saturday . . .. there is a lineup, literally to get a spot.  It is very much a family gathering place and it is really cool that it is actually enjoyed all year 'round.

Legislative Assembly

Love the detail of the dome

We also have an incredibly gorgeous downtown sector.  I never actually realized it until I had a camera, and now say you never know a City until you walk it.  You just don't see the details when you are in a vehicle.

Manulife Place . . . worked for Manulife for 5 years

Glass and reflections everywhere you look
More reflections, old architecture reflected in the new

Unique lighting

Cool sidewalk sculptures
Funky Stained Glass

Cool cars on a beautiful summer day

The Alberta Art Gallery . . . . stunning architecture

In the summer the rural areas are ablaze with colour.

Glorious colour of the canola fields

Gorgeous peonies . . . from my very own garden
North Saskatchewan River

In the park

Autumn Splendour

And that, my friends, is just a wee sprinkling of what a treat it would be to visit Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hollywood Beach, Florida . . . . .

. . . . . I didn't even know there was such a place until we were looking for places to stay on the Florida Coast.  What a lucky find . . . we stayed at the Marriott right on the Promenade . . . . . would go back there in a heartbeat and highly recommend this as a place to rest your weary bones and take time to smell the roses.

Here is the link . . . it is more expensive in the winter than when we were there Marriott Hollywood Beach, Florida

Party time
We felt transported to a different time and place. . . . the Promenade goes for 3 1/2 miles and you can stroll, bike, or walk along the beach and the ocean. They have all sorts of two wheeled bicycle pulled carriages, etc. for rent by the hour or longer. There are numerous cafes and benches along the walkway. 

When we visited in mid-September there was a Latin Festival happening . . oh my goodness the band was amazing and every age group was just a-rocking. Flags of every Latin American description were flying and there was food in abundance.  Annnnnd everyone was in one very festive mood . .. .quite a carnival actually.

Not being a beach person except for photography purposes, I became an immediate convert!!!  This was one of the most amazing beaches I have ever seen.  Don't know what the French Riviera looks like, but in my mind's eye it must be similar.

I think I have died and gone to Heaven

Sun and sand . . .  perrrrrfect

The Promenade

Never get tired of seeing palm trees

The setting sun . . .. .OMG the colours were amazing

This vista greeted us in the early morning.  What a glorious day.  There must be a height restriction along the beach as you could actually see all the way down and none of these buildings were more than 3 or 4 storeys.  Towards the south was the downtown sector.  Rendered this photo in the style of a painting as it just seemed the right post processing for this photo.

Rise and Shine

The Master Painter at work again
Lynn having a leisurely breakfast at the Marriott . . .  there is nothing like enjoying an early cuppa coffee in the great outdoors
We had an early, leisurely breakfast and just soaked up the sun. I darted here and there taking some photos.


Just happened to notice that some running shoes had been left on the beach.

Left behind

All along the beach there were little beach houses.  Annnd yes, they really are this yellow.

Yep, that's pretty yellow

Definitely a European look

This is certainly a place I would visit again, so even though it wasn't on my bucket list it is now.  I just love camera GPS EXIF data . . it tells you exactly where you are, what time and what the elevation is . ... I laughed out loud when the data said this photo was taken at 20 m below sea level.  Funny thing, I didn't feel like I was drowning.  Wonder what it would say in New Orleans!!!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

State Capitol, Little Rock, Arkansas . . . . .

. . . . and what a beautiful place.  The gorgeous grounds, stately building, friendly staffing and exquisite interior all contributed to a wonderful and memorable experience.

The scale of it all is quite remarkable as when you look up close there is actually a person on the front steps getting the columns all decked out for Christmas. The front entrance doors are made of bronze, were highly polished, and flanked by huge columns.  The doors themselves are 10 feet tall, four inches thick and were purchased from Tiffany's in New York for $10,000.  They are truly spectacular.

I did a little research on this building . . . it was designed by St. Louis architect George R. Mann.  Drawings were presented in 1899 and construction took 16 years with completion being in 1915.  It was built on the site of the State Penitentiary and prisoners helped with the construction. The exterior is made of limestone which was quarried at Batesville, Arkansas.  Construction costs came in at $2.2 million dollars and today's value is $320 million.

Beautiful bronze reflecting the fall foliage

We were warmly met by the guards and given a great Arkansas welcome.  Upon walking into the interior I just said WOW . . .. the marble and design reminded me of European palaces.  We spent quite awhile there and just soaked in the ambiance.  It was truly breathtaking and one of the nicest Capitol buildings we visited during our journey.  The light changed many times when we were there and thus the colouration of the marble is different depending upon what angle I was shooting from.

Lower level, bathed in light from above

The eye of the chandelier, looking up from the ground floor . . . exquisite detail

Second floor detail

There were three levels of marble staircases with a huge dome over the top letting in light all the way to the entrance level.  Everyone in the building who came in contact with us, stopped and asked if there was anything they could help us find.  We indicated that we were visitors from Canada and that we and my camera were enjoying the scenery immensely.  Kudos to everyone for being so friendly and helpful.

Looking down . . . note the ceiling and column detail

Looking up to the Senate

Farewell to Arkansas . . . . we hope to visit again