June 2011 Archives

Saint Paul Porches

A couple of shots in my Saint Paul neighborhood, where most of the houses have nice porches.

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Dramatic Tone (4)

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Dramatic Tone (3)

A couple more "Dramatic Tone" photos from a walk along Selby Avenue in Saint Paul.

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Dramatic Tone (2)

Olympus's Dramatic Tone setting does particularly interesting things to yellow-greens.

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Dramatic Tone with Olympus XZ-1

Recently I got a new digital camera, an Olympus XZ-1. Among its other features, it has six "Art Filters", including "Dramatic Tone", which is like over-the-top HDR. I played around with it during a walk in my neighborhood, and got a few that I liked. Here are two; more to come.

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Venice - Reflections in the Canals

At evening, when the water is still, the reflections of buildings in the small canals can be quite beautiful.

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This will be the last of the photos of Venice --- until I go there again.

Venice - Walls

Sometimes the simplest walls are the most eloquent.

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Venice - Shop Windows

There's a definite taste for the macabre in many Venetian shop windows. I think that's part of what draws many tourists to Venice: it's a bit spooky.

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Venice - Architectural Details

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Venice - Shop Windows and Reflections

Sometimes one takes photos that, when viewed later, look a little mysterious.

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Venice - Graffiti

An engrossing mix of crudeness and elegance - like so much of Venice.

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Venice - Man, Wall, Cell Phone

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Venice - St. Mark's Square

The public center of Venice is Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square). According to Wikipedia, "A remark usually attributed to Napoleon calls the Piazza San Marco 'the drawing room of Europe'. ... It is one of the few great urban spaces in Europe where human voices prevail over the sounds of motorized traffic." Early in the day - and early in the tourist season - the cafes that ring the Piazza are relatively unpopulated, as the first two photos show. Later, things get more crowded, and bands at each of the cafes vie to attract customers.

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Food in Venice: Gelato

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Food in Venice: Restaurants

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Food in Venice: Produce Markets

The produce in Venice markets looked fresh, inviting, and somewhat ahead of the season in Minnesota. A couple of examples:

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(click to enlarge) In the Rialto Market

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(click to enlarge) Directly off a boat in a canal

Food in Venice: Salumeria (Delicatessen)

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Food in Venice: The Fish Market

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(click to enlarge) The Rialto market in Venice has a big seafood section, including these elegantly arranged scallops with their roe...

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(click to enlarge) ... and a bountiful pile of what appear to be large sardines.

Working on the Canals of Venice

The smaller canals in Venice are busy side streets.

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(click to enlarge) Bringing in sand for construction. One of the reasons that things are so expensive in Venice is that transportation is a hassle.

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(click to enlarge) A gondolier on his way to work

Venice - Students at the Accademia

The Accademia Gallery in Venice is a great museum of pre-19th century Venetian painting. We encountered many student groups visiting museums throughout our trip; this was one of the most amusing, because of the disparity in sizes between the students and the art.

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Venice Canals

It seems appropriate to celebrate my 1000th post on this photoblog with two extra-pretty (if I do say so myself) pictures of Venice.

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(click to enlarge) A classic view of the Grand Canal

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(click to enlarge) One of the many small canals, seen in evening light

Venice Shop Windows

We left Venice early this morning and are now back in Minnesota - but with many images yet to post. Here are two from the fantastic shop windows of Venice's mask sellers.

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Bled Castle and Venice

This is our last day in Europe. We began the day at Bled Castle, which has a fine museum. The two images below are of remarkably lifelike models constructed from remains in burial sites near the castle.

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(Click to enlarge) A Lombard warrior

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(Click to enlarge) A 6th century peasant boy

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(Click to enlarge) Then we drove to Venice for our flight tomorrow morning. Here are three images that capture aspects of life in Venice: a poster about child abuse in the Catholic Church,

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(Click to enlarge) a sidewalk cafe,

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(Click to enlarge) and some gondolier's regalia.

Slovenia: The Julian Alps

Today we drove through the Julian Alps, in northwest Slovenia near the borders with Italy and Austria. These mountains are lower than the Swiss Alps or the Rockies, so they're covered with trees in most places, but they're equally spectacular in terms of high jagged peaks and deep valleys and canyons.

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(Click to enlarge) It rained on and off throughout the day, so the mountains were shrouded with low-hanging clouds.

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(Click to enlarge) The Russian Chapel commemorates the deaths of a hundred WWI Russian prisoners of war who were killed in an avalanche while building a road through the Alps for the Austrian army.

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(Click to enlarge) Sheep were grazing near the Vrsic Pass, the highest pass in Slovenia.

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(Click to enlarge) Many of the farm houses we passed had large stacks of firewood for the coming winter.

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(Click to enlarge) Mountains shrouded in mist are a dramatic and beautiful sight.

Slovenia: From Ljubljana to Bled

After a final morning in Ljubljana, we drove to Bled, a resort combining stunning lake and mountain scenery.

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(Click to enlarge) Entry hall of the National and University Library, designed by Joze Plecnik, Ljubljana's revered architect

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(Click to enlarge) Monday morning business meeting at one of Ljubljana's many sidewalk cafes

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(Click to enlarge) Bled Castle silhouetted against a stormy sky

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(Click to enlarge) Scene from a walk around Lake Bled

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(Click to enlarge) The picturesque little island in Lake Bled

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(Click to enlarge) Vines on a wall in Bled remind me of calligraphy or a musical score.

Ljubljana Sculpture

Ljubljana has a lot of good public sculpture. Here is a sampling.

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(Click to enlarge) The dragon is the emblem of Ljubljana; it was supposedly slain by Jason and his Argonauts.

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(Click to enlarge) Six bishops on the side door of the cathedral

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(Click to enlarge) The door of a bank

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(Click to enlarge) On the facade of an Art Nouveau building

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(Click to enlarge) In front of a museum

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(Click to enlarge) In the Tivoli Gardens near the Serbian Orthodox Church

Zagreb and Ljubljana

Today we drove from Plitvice Lakes National Park to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, and then on to Ljubljana, in Slovenia. Unbeknownst to us, Pope Benedict was coming to Zagreb in a few hours, which meant that many streets were blocked off and many police (polite and helpful, we should note) were deployed. So we photographed some of the early festivities, bought some sandwiches, and got out of town before we got trapped in the celebration.

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(Click to enlarge) Young women painting happy celestial pictures in the park.

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(Click to enlarge) Never miss a chance to sell some t-shirts.

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(Click to enlarge) Slovenia is strikingly more attractive and prosperous than Croatia. Ljubljana is a colorful, relaxed university town, with an attractive river running through it. This is a detail of a sculpture of the major of the city around the end of the 19th C, who was responsible for many of the characteristic period buildings. We were told that he lived until age 90, then committed suicide in 1941 when the Nazis took over.

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(Click to enlarge) An elegant door handle fits the style of the city.

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(Click to enlarge) Custom evening sails down the river are popular. This was one of the liveliest.

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(Click to enlarge) We are staying near the university, which has an abundance of art exhibits and an arts festival about to commence.

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(Click to enlarge) Even the grafitti are cheerful.

Plitvice Lakes National Park - Part 2

Here is part two of the Plitvice Lakes photo set.

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Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park in northwestern Croatia is a wonderland of water, vegetation, rocks, and atmosphere. It's one of the most strikingly beautiful places I've ever been, certainly deserving its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. The scenes today were made even more striking by a heavy fog that lasted until late afternoon, providing a romantic haze in many images.

I'm posting a dozen photos from today's visit, divided into two parts.

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Bosnia and Herzegovina Scenes

Today was mostly a driving day - from Mostar in Bosnia to Plitvice National Park in Croatia - but I took a few photos along the way.

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(Click to enlarge) Two scenes from the Muslibegovic House in Mostar, a museum of the Ottoman Empire in Bosnia, and also a small hotel at which we stayed last night.

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(Click to enlarge) The Kravica Falls in west Herzegovina, arise from the Trebizat River. Multiple cataracts and densely matted green vegetation make an attractive sight.

Mostar

Today we drove from Sarajevo to Mostar, two of the most attractive and important, but also the most tragic, cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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(Click to enlarge) The name "Mostar" comes from "Stari Most", or "Old Bridge". It's one of the most famous sights in the Balkans, but is no longer old, since the bridge dating from the 1500s was blown up by the Croats in 1993. It was rebuilt as a virtually exact replica in 2004.

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(Click to enlarge) Looking down the beautiful Neretva River, in the direction away from the bridge, toward Mostar's Old Town.

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(Click to enlarge) Interior detail of Koski Mehmed Pasha's Mosque, which overlooks the river and the bridge.

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(Click to enlarge) The main street of the Old Town is paved with rounded cobblestones, attractive but somewhat difficult to walk on, in places arranged in geometric patterns.

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(Click to enlarge) A cemetery just above the Old Town is filled with hundreds of gravestones of young men killed in 1993.

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(Click to enlarge) A rusted door of a shop, perforated with shrapnel holes from a grenade.

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(Click to enlarge) View over the Old Town at sunset.

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