May 2011 Archives

Sarajevo Scenes

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(Click to enlarge) Finally, some impressive clouds and good morning light to set off the hills and buildings of Sarajevo's Old City.

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(Click to enlarge) We walked from the Old City along the Miljacka River, lined with buildings from Austro-Hungarian times.

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(Click to enlarge) Not all of the buildings are pretty. These tenements probably date from Communist times.

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(Click to enlarge) The Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina has a moving exhibit of everyday items, photos, newspaper stories, etc., of the Siege of Sarajevo.

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(Click to enlarge) Walking back from the museum along Marshall Tito Street through the center of Sarajevo, we encountered an attractive, quiet park devoted as a memorial to the children killed in the siege. These cylinders list the children, their years of birth and death.

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(Click to enlarge) Amid the grass and wildflowers in the park were some Muslim tombstones.

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(Click to enlarge) The walls along the city streets are often covered with the remains of bright signage and grafitti.

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(Click to enlarge) Back in the Old City, we strolled through the Brusa Domed-Market Building. The building is reminiscent of covered markets in Marrakesh and Istanbul, but those would have been filled with spice and food merchants, while this was filled with sellers of sunglasses and costume jewelry. Still, some of the shops - and shopkeepers - were colorful.

Sarajevo's Stari Grad

Today we took a guided tour of Sarajevo's Stari Grad (Old City) in the morning, and wandered the narrow streets the rest of the day.

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(Click to enlarge) Minaret and mosque against a mountainside from which bombardment and sniper fire came during the siege of Sarajevo.

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(Click to enlarge) Bullet casings turned into ballpoint pens - beating swords into plowshares.

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(Click to enlarge) Our guide in Sarajevo's Old City.

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(Click to enlarge) The Austro-Hungarian empire's influence on Sarajevo's architecture around the late 1800s-early 1900s.

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(Click to enlarge) Detail inside the Ashkenazi Synagogue, the only one active in Sarajevo today. The Sephardic Synagogue is used only during the High Holy Days; the rest of the year it's a museum.

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(Click to enlarge) Peaceful coexistence: a minaret seen with the Star of David through the window of the Jewish Museum (the Sephardic Synagogue).

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(Click to enlarge) Smoking water pipes in a cafe in the Old City.

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(Click to enlarge) Evening worshipers at prayer outside the Mosque of Ghazi Husrev-Bey.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

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(Click to enlarge) As one leaves the Croatian coast and drives north into Bosnia and Herzegovina at Metkovic and then toward Mostar, the road parallels the Neretva River through one of the most dramatic limestone karst gorges in the world. The river itself is a beautiful blue-green, reminiscent of Lake Louise in Canada. This is one of the most striking drives I've ever taken.

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(Click to enlarge) The drive passes villages on alpine hillsides, with the unexpected presence of mosques and minarets, since this is strongly Muslim territory.

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(Click to enlarge) In Sarajevo, near our hotel in the old town, we see this building riddled with bullet-holes, presumably from the siege of 1992-96.

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The main door to the Mosque of Gazi Husrev-Beg, in Sarajevo's old town.

Montenegro

Today a van and driver took us from Dubrovnik, Croatia over the border to the tiny (only 670,000 population) but scenic country of Montenegro.

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(Click to enlarge) We first made a stop at Kupari, near Dubrovnik. During the conflict in Croatia, the Yugoslav Army destroyed this hotel in 1991.

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(Click to enlarge) Two views of the Island of St. George, with a monastery and closed to tourists, in the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro.

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(Click to enlarge) Altar of the Church of St. Luke in Kotor, which served both Orthodox and Christian worshipers.

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(Click to enlarge) Wall and railing in Kotor, Montenegro

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(Click to enlarge) Barbie and friend, in a Kotor antique shop window.

Dubrovnik Miscellany

A day of leisurely strolling around Dubrovnik's Old Town, with a miscellany of pictures as a result.

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(Click to enlarge) Laundry drying on the line over the courtyard where we're having breakfast.

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(Click to enlarge) The Old Pharmacy in the Museum of the Franciscan Monastery

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(Click to enlarge) An old church seen from the Stradun, the main promenade of Dubrovnik's Old Town.

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(Click to enlarge) Woman in a shop along the Stradun.

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(Click to enlarge) Oranges on a tree seen between columns in the cloister of the Dominican Monastery.

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(Click to enlarge) Columns in the cloister of the Dominican Monastery.

Dubrovnik

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(Click to enlarge) From the highest tower in the city walls, one gets the broadest view of the famous tile roofs of Dubrovnik, with Lokrum Island just offshore.

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(Click to enlarge) Detail of old tiles. Most of the tiles in Dubrovnik are new and bright orange, because the old ones were destroyed in the 1991-92 shelling of the city.

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(Click to enlarge) A vendor inside the city wall.

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(Click to enlarge) Orange trees laden with fruit against the wall.

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(Click to enlarge) A small church silhouetted against the night sky, as we return to our rooms after dinner.

Dalmatian Coast to Dubrovnik

The Dalmatian coast to Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful encounters of land and sea in the world. I couldn't limit myself to just 2-4 pictures today.

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(Click to enlarge) Approach of the ferry that will take us to the mainland, dwarfed by the limestone mountain behind Korcula.

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(Click to enlarge) Crew member on the ferry.

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The Great Wall of Croatia, guarding the salt pans at Ston.

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(Click to enlarge) This Renaissance fountain and the next three photos are from the charming Trsteno Arboretum, about 15 km from Dubrovnik.

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(Click to enlarge) Along the coast approaching Dubrovnik - extraordinarily beautiful scenes.

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(Click to enlarge) The walls of Dubrovnik are massive and dramatically lit in the evening.

Views of Korcula

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(Click to enlarge) There's an art class in Korcula ...

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(Click to enlarge) ... drawing various views of the cathedral.

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(Click to enlarge) The countryside is very rocky, with the stones being collected and turned into corrals and sheds.

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(Click to enlarge) The next town over from Korcula (the town, not the island) is Lumbarda, which has a nice sandy beach and a smaller, rockier harbor.

Korcula

Korcula is a good-sized island off the southern coast of Croatia, popular as a summer resort. We took the car ferry from Split this morning, a three-hour ride. Fortunately, we are here before the vacation season is in full swing, so it's not too crowded yet. We have a room in the medieval town.

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(Click to enlarge) A net guarding a stairway on the car ferry.

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(Click to enlarge) The settlements along the coast of Korcula look like Cezanne landscapes, precursors of cubism.

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(Click to enlarge) Roses along the town wall.

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(Click to enlarge) A boat in sunset light, taken from a outdoor restaurant atop the town wall, where we enjoyed local wine and a whole grilled fish.

Croatian Faces

Our vacation continues in Croatia. Today we held the driving to a minimum, recovering from yesterday's long trek.

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(Click to enlarge) We spent the morning wandering around the medieval center of Trogir, where a main attraction is the Cathedral of St. Lawrence. The cathedral took two centuries to build, so the lower part is plain Gothic, the middle is Venetian Gothic, and the upper part is Renaissance. This old man is in the Gothic style.

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(Click to enlarge) In mid-day we drove half an hour to Split, where we saw the very impressive Palace of Diocletian, had a pleasant lunch, then drove to the Galerie Mestrovic. This museum is devoted to the work of the great Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic. A feature of the first floor is a pair of larger-than-life-size sculptures in wood of Adam and Eve. This is the head of Adam.

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(Click to enlarge) We returned to Trogir for an excellent dinner at Konoba Idra in the Old Town. The waiter told us that there would be music, which turned out to be a live radio broadcast of Croatian folk songs. We sat in the adjoining room, where these men seemed just to be sitting around and chatting. But then they also broke into song. We were told that the fellow in the center is one of Croatia's best-known singers.

Croatia Scenes

A long day of driving today, from the north central part of Croatia to the southwest coast, but full of interesting sights.

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(Click to enlarge) We took a midmorning coffee break at the resort town of Opatija, where we found this statue on a pedestal coming out of the sea. The gull added the crowning touch.

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(Click to enlarge) From Opatija to Zadar we drove the highway A1 for about 150 miles, passing through heavily forested, rugged mountain terrain with little evidence of human occupation. Perhaps the Smoky Mountains in the US are the closest parallel. Passing over (and through, thanks to an amazing sequence of tunnels) a final set of mountains toward the sea, the scenery changed abruptly to a much drier and rockier terrain. This photo seems to show a snow-covered peak, but in fact it's light-colored limestone. At the bottom is an unfinished section of the highway.

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(Click to enlarge) We stopped for a lunch of bread, cheese, and fruit at the seaside city of Zadar. The canvas roofs of the market stalls made a striking pattern.

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(Click to enlarge) We're staying for the next two days in the old city of Trogir, whose medieval center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cobblestones, worn smooth by centuries of walkers, shined in the evening light.

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(Click to enlarge) Just as I was finishing this post, the sky exploded with fireworks above the old city, just across the harbor from our hotel window. A fitting conclusion to a remarkable day.

Croatia - Istrian Views

Istria is one of the most appealing parts of Croatia. On our explorations today, we saw some lovely sights.

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(Click to enlarge) The harbor at Rovinj, with the Cathedral of St. Euphemia at the top of the hill in the background.

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(Click to enlarge) A field of poppies outside of Rovinj.

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(Click to enlarge) The great Colosseum at Pula.

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(Click to enlarge) A view of the hilltop citadel of Motovun, where we stayed last night and tonight.

Croatia - Old Cobblestones and Tiles

We've moved on to Croatia after Venice, and are finding it unexpectedly lovely and pleasant. Lots of history here.

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(Click to enlarge) 6th century Roman cobblestones in Porec.

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(Click to enlarge) Tile roofs and bell tower in Motovun, a spectacularly located walled medieval city, far above the surrounding plain.

Venetian Masks

Venice is famous for its elaborate Carnival masks, and versions are on sale, in places high and low, all over the city throughout the year.

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Venetian Street Lights

One of the many visually striking things about Venice is the street lights.

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(Click to enlarge) Note the full moon.

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Venice Scenes

We're in Venice. Here are a couple of typical scenes, tourist-kitschy but fun.

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Sheltered by Trees

The big, old mansions on Saint Paul's Summit Avenue are sheltered by big, old trees.

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I will be traveling for several weeks, with uncertain internet connections. So please excuse some gaps in posting, and thanks for your interest.

Saint Paul - Summit Avenue

A couple more black and white photos on a dramatically overcast day.

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Saint Paul Clouds

A morning walk along Saint Paul's Summit Avenue under an interestingly cloudy sky. Conversion to black and white in Lightroom, with enhanced contrast and clarity (to bring out detail), heightened the mood.

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Saint Paul Evening Shadows

Walking home along Selby Avenue in Saint Paul, I was struck by the shadows and sunset colors on these buildings.

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Storm Clouds over Saint Paul

A storm rolled in yesterday evening, with some spectacular clouds and unusual colors lit by the sunset. I photographed it from the roof of our condominium building, a historic building adorned with turrets that make a striking foreground to the scene.

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Mountainair - Old Buildings

Mountainair is near the geographic center of New Mexico. It used to be a major railroad and farming center, and still has some trains coming through, but a lot of the buildings are abandoned or seemingly underused. But that makes them more picturesque.

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Color or Black & White?

An abandoned barn near Mountainair, New Mexico.

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The colors are delicate, and the black and white is ethereal. I think this is a toss-up.

Monochrome Color or Black & White?

The original photo, taken in the courtyard of the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, is essentially monochrome -- the darker brown of the adobe and posts and the lighter brown of the bush. Is this more or less effective than the gray scale of the second photo? Michael Freeman, in his excellent book "The Complete Guide to Digital Black and White Photography", groups monochrome and b&w together, since different colors do not compete with the other structural and textural aspects of the image. But is the vividness of color, or the abstractness and austerity of black and white, more effective? In this case, I think I choose color.

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Color or Black & White?

Some photos taken in color seem to translate well (or better) into black and white. Over the next few days I'll be posting some color/B&W pairs. Which works best?

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On the patio of the complex of museums on Museum Hill in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

New Mexico - Doors in Mountainair

Mountainair is a small town about ten miles from the geographic center of New Mexico. We went there for a "Bach and Brownies" concert last Sunday, and found it an unexpectedly lively place. Here are photos of two doors on a storefront. The second one seems to have a star of David and some Hebrew letters on the fingers.

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Albuquerque Clouds

Sunday was a stormy day in Albuquerque with high winds and a couple of inches of snow (weird for May 1!). When the storm cleared in the late afternoon, spectacular clouds appeared. Here are three images from the west side of the Sandia Mountains. I've been wanting to try some conversions to black and white, and these seemed like the perfect subjects.

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New Mexico Museum of Art

Last Saturday we went up to Santa Fe for museums and dinner. The light and sharp shadows in the courtyard of the New Mexico Museum of Art drew my attention, as did a multi-colored ristra in the entryway of Restaurant Martin.

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Albuquerque Back Yard

Flora and fauna (?!) in our back yard.

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New Mexico Critters

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(click to enlarge) A great horned owl guarding her eggs or chicks in a window of the back wall of the ruined church at Quarai Pueblo, one of the three locations in the Salinas Pueblo Mission National Monument southeast of Albuquerque. The technical quality of this image is not wonderful, because it's an extreme crop from a photo taken with a moderate telephoto lens. The white streaks against the black window opening are snow flakes; we were having a snowstorm on May 1!

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(click to enlarge) Mounted head of a buck (one of several) in the Ponderosa Eatery and Saloon, a frontier-style establishment between Tijeras and Chilili, southeast of Albuquerque. It's about the friendliest, most community-oriented cafe I've been in, and they serve excellent huevos rancheros.

Andean Folk Costumes

On Saturday we went up to Santa Fe to the Museum of International Folk Art to see the exhibit "Folk Art of the Andes". This excellent show brought back memories of our trip to Peru last year, although I don't think we saw anything quite as elaborate as the suit just below.

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