Recently in Photography Category

Spring in Portland

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Under the Bridge

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Underside of the Hawthorne Avenue Bridge across the Willamette River in Portland. (click to enlarge)

Filtered Photos

Sometimes it's fun to take an ordinary photograph and manipulate it with one of the many special effects available in programs such as Photoshop Elements filters or onOne's Perfect Effects 8. Here are a couple of examples. The options are essentially infinite.

Click photos to enlarge them.

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Apples at Whole Foods

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Dirt texture filter in Perfect Effects 8


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A picture posted a few days ago: Ornamental cherry blossoms in Portland


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Radial blur filter in Perfect Effects 8

Reflections

Reflections of a downtown Portland building in a the hood of a black car - two variations. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Spring in Portland OR

Portland is reputed to have rainy, overcast, generally dismal weather. But our experience is very different. Here, for example, are a couple of scenes from walking around yesterday -- looks like southern California. Today is very similar. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Oldenburg at the Walker

A few months ago, there was an exhibit of early work by Claes Oldenburg at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Here are a few images from the show. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Parking

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East River Road Ramp, University of Minnesota. Click photos to enlarge them.

Shadows

Nils Hasselmo Hall, University of Minnesota. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Power Pylons

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Seen from Saint Anthony Falls Water Power Park in Minneapolis. Click photos to enlarge them.

Water Power

The controlled but powerful turbulent water of Saint Anthony Falls seen from the Water Power Park in Minneapolis. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Facade (2)

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Facade

The new facade of Amundson Hall at the University of Minnesota presents brilliant interference colors in the bright sun. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Madagascar Boys

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On the way to the lemur preserve at Berenty. (click to enlarge)

Madagascar Girl

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In a shop stall in Hell-Ville, Madagascar. (click to enlarge)

Cuban Schoolgirl

Performing a dance for us at a school in Trinidad, Cuba. (click to enlarge)

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Cuba Kids

In our travels over the years, I've taken many pictures of children. Here are a couple from Cuba. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Havana


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Cienfuegos

Boutique

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San Diego. (click to enlarge)

Black and White

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San Diego. Click photos to enlarge them.

Intersections

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San Diego. I worked hard to get all those corners to line up. (click to enlarge)

Two Worlds

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Two worlds in San Diego juxtaposed: the Hispanic past, and the hypermodern present looming over it.

Cafe with Zebra

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An idiosyncratic cafe at which I had lunch in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego. (click to enlarge)

Primary Colors

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San Diego. Click photos to enlarge them.

Patina

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San Diego. (click to enlarge)

Pillars

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San Diego. Click photos to enlarge them.

Lines on Gray

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Seen in San Diego. Click photos to enlarge them.

Orange Signs

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Nonconformity

The streets of San Diego are not rife with anti-establishment signs, but there were a few. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Crisp

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San Diego buildings. Click photos to enlarge them.

Cubist Scenes

San Diego abstracts. Click photos to enlarge them.

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San Diego Concrete

Not all of San Diego is sunny and colorful. But the graphics can still be interesting. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Gaslight Reflections

Reflections in the windows of a tavern in the Gaslight District of San Diego. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Sunset over San Diego Harbor

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Reflection Confusion

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San Diego photos. Click photos to enlarge them.

San Diego Rose

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Smoke (or at least Fog) and Mirrors

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Two more scenes from San Diego. Click photos to enlarge them.

San Diego Geometries

Sky blue, rusty red, gray, and black + straight lines and angles. These images could make two in a nice series of paintings on large canvases. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Downtown San Diego

Two weeks after returning from Ethiopia, we went to San Diego for Elsa's WORLD Conference. I wandered the streets, taking shots of the urban scene around downtown and the Gaslight District. These will occupy this blog for the next couple of weeks. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Valiant Tour Guide

To complete this photo tour of Ethiopia, here are two photos of our excellent tour guide, Dereje. Click photos to enlarge them.

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On the bus


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In a music store

Riches of the Merkato

A few scenes from an "antique" shop in the Merkato of Addis Ababa, crowded with stuff to entice the tourists. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Back to the Merkato

On our last afternoon in Addis, we paid another visit to the Merkato for some last minute shopping. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Men carrying huge stacks of brightly colored mattresses were a frequent sight on our trip.


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Fun with mannequins.

Addis From Above

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The big off-white area is thousands of greenhouses, growing roses for export mainly to Europe. We were told that flower export is the 4th-largest sector in the Ethiopian economy.


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The Merkato, Africa's largest market, from above.


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Addis Ababa has about 4 million people, but they mainly live in small houses and buildings, rather than tall apartments.

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Flying Back to Addis

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Rather than driving back from the Omo River Valley to Addis Ababa, we had a chartered 12-seat Cessna, witha flat dirt field as an airstrip. Nice!


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The pilot talking with his copilot.

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This aerial view shows the curves and dustiness of the road back, but not its ruts and potholes - nor the interesting people along the way.

Click photos to enlarge them.

Colubus Monkey

A troop of these monkeys was in the trees over our camp in the Omo River Valley. They made a great racket in the middle of the night. The noises were unfamiliar - not like that from howler monkeys - so in my half awake state I imagined all sorts of fearsome things. (click to enlarge)

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Karo Courting

The Karo men dance by jumping...

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The Karo women respond in kind, but some have trouble keeping a straight face.

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Karo Young and Old

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Painted Karo Faces

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Karo and Hamar Portraits

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Karo People

The last tribe we visited in the Omo River Valley was the Karo people. The next few postings will be images of them.

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Happy


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Not so happy

Back Across the Omo River

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Bume Village Scenes

On the street of the village of the Bume people in the Omo River Valley tribal area of Ethiopia. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Bume Scarification

According to Wikipedia, Bume men must sometimes kill "violent raiders" (rustlers) to protect their cattle. "Upon killing an enemy they scar themselves repeatedly to stop the bad blood from magically killing them."

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Women in the Bume Village

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Crossing the Omo River

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To get to the Bume territory, one must take a small boat across the Omo River (now low in the dry season) ...


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then clamber up a steep embankment, on which are stored other things that crossed the river, to the village. Click photos to enlarge them.

Arid Bume Land

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The Bume, or Nyangatom, people were the poorest of the tribes we visited in the Omo River Valley of Ethiopia. These pictures are intended to show the harsh, arid land on which they must find grazing for their cows. Click photos to enlarge them.

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A Softer Side

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Not all of the Omo River Valley is dry and harsh. There are a few of these large, striking, flowering trees.


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A baby chick in a pile of petals in our camp.

Click photos to enlarge them.

Rough Wood in the Tribal Lands

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The tribal lands in the Omo River Valley in southern Ethiopia are mainly very dry, supporting only scrub bushes and dwarf trees.


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So when wood is needed for cattle corrals or to separate fields, the result is usually a striking assembly of grotesque shapes. Click photos to enlarge them.

Key Afar Market Portrait

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The wooden object this fellow is holding (and trying to sell to us) is a seat that cattle herders use. It's not clear whether it's also used as a pillow to protect elaborate hairdos; similar objects are used that way in other African cultures. (click to enlarge)

Practical Things at the Key Afar Market

Kind of a Walmart in the south of Ethiopia. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Clusters at the Key Afar Market

Note that the women don't wear the striking and provocative costumes and decorations that they do when posing for tourist photos. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Key Afar Market

The Ethiopian town of Key Afar, near Jinka, hosts a weekly market to which people from the various tribes in the area - who rarely interact otherwise - come to buy necessities from each other. And make some profitable contact with the tourists, as well. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Hamar Boys

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Hamar Girls

According to the Wikipedia article on the Hamar people, "only six tribal members have ever completed secondary education". (click to enlarge)

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Lead Bull at Sunset

In Hamar territory. (click to enlarge)

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Old Hamar Women

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Hamar: Old and Up To Date

Thatched mud hut and corral with cell phone. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Hamar Hairdos

Hamar women tightly braid their hair and color it with ochre, for a very striking effect. The phallic symbols closed around the necks of the women means that they are first wives. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Young Mursi Men

"The young men have the responsibility of grazing the cattle and they have long slathered on clay to prevent sunburn. Colors are used to designate position, for ritual, to ward off illness, to attract the opposite sex, to associate with family, a tribe or an animal, and of course just recently, to impress tourists." From http://www.inspirationgreen.com/tribes-of-the-omo-valley.html, which is worth looking at for many more, and different, examples of body painting.

Click photos to enlarge them.

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Mursi Young People

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Mursi Women

Not every Mursi woman, not even those with babies (who are probably married) wears a lip plate. But they still look striking and wonderful. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Mursi Lip Plates

A couple more Mursi women with lip plates, and one with the plate removed. I imagine it takes a lot of stoicism. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Mursi Portraits

The Mursi people are famous for their lip plates and other bodily decoration. One can't help wondering whether some of them especially adorn themselves for photo-happy tourists who pay small amounts to take these pictures. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Emphasis

This Mursi woman posed for me in a standard way, but when I reviewed the photo I wanted to focus on her elaborate decorations and challenging gaze. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Konso Generation Tree

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Every generation (18 years) the new Konso adult males add a new tree to the assembly. We were told that this is now in its third generation. (click to enlarge)

Konso People at Work

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Konso Fence and Huts

When rocks and sticks are all you've got, you build with rocks and sticks. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Konso Kids

The young children of the Konso peopletake care of even younger ones in an attractive way. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Ethiopian Bee Hives

The bee hives are up in the trees. Click photos to enlarge them.

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A view of the countryside as we drove toward Jinka.


Lake Chamo Fauna

Lake Chamo is one of the Rift Valley lakes, well known for its wildlife: hippos, crocodiles, pelicans, fish eagles, and herons. We got a good view on a boat ride. Click photos to expand them.

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Along the Road to Jinka

After staying overnight at Arba Minch (near a US Airforce base and ironically the only place we stayed where the electricity was off and remained off throughout our stay) we drove to Jinka, where we would visit the Konso people. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Waiting for cattle drives to clear the road was a constant feature of our drive south.


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Quite a few baboons along this stretch of road.

Head Shots

Head shots in the Chencha cultural center. The top guy was selling fabrics, the bottom guy was selling ...(click to enlarge)

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False Banana

The false banana is an important food source in southern and southwestern Ethiopia. We got a demonstration at a cultural center in the town of Chencha near Arba Minch. The plant is shaved, the pulp is pounded into a pancake or tortilla shape, and the cake is baked over a fire. The result is edible but not exciting. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Ethiopian Wheat

Wheat and teff are the main grains of Ethiopia. They're grown in small plots, not huge fields as in the US. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Generations

At a village on the drive from Addis to Arba Minch. It looks like the grandmothers take care of the kids while the parents are at work. (click to enlarge)

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You take the high road...

and I'll take the low road (to Arba Minch). (click to enlarge)

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Roadside Village People

Along the road to Arba Minch, we stopped at a roadside village with some interestingly decorated (and rather substantial) huts. As always, people came out to see what was going on, giving us the opportunity for some nice portraits. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Along the Road to Arba Minch

Continuing our drive south to the Omo River Valley tribal areas, we left Lake Langano for Arba Minch. Along the way we passed an interesting cemetery and a cattle watering station. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Evening at Lake Langano

On the first night of our drive from Addis to the Omo River Valley tribal areas, after stopping at Lake Ziway, we spent the night in a pleasant hotel at Lake Langano. This is another of the Rift Valley lakes, and the only one not afflicted with bilharzia. Our hotel was high above the lake, and the evening view was lovely. (click to enlarge)

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Lake Ziway Birds

Lake Ziway is one of the freshwater Rift Valley lakes of Ethiopia. We drove there, about 60 miles south of Addis, after the Timkat festival. It's notable for its birds, especially large populations of Maribou storks and pelicans. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Along with the big birds, a small pied kingfisher.

Celebratory Hairdo

Along with its religious function, the Timkat celebration is an occasion to see and be seen. Some of the women sported very elaborate hairdos; this was one of the best. (click to enlarge)

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Baptizing the Timkat Crowds

After the official baptism of the crosses in the inner enclosure, the crowds were allowed up to the fence for their own baptism. Quite a remarkable scene! Click photos to enlarge them.

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Restrained by troops until the signal is given. This is just a portion of one side of the four-sided enclosure. There may well have been several hundred thousand people all told.


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Opening the hoses.


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Ecstasy!

Timkat Persona

Scenes from Timkat morning in Addis Ababa. Click photos to enlarge them.

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The Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.


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The Patriarch is about to spray (baptize) his fellow prelates.


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A staffer who helped to direct traffic and keep order.

Worshipers in White

At the Timkat festival in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Click photos to enlarge them.

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A Coca Cola Timkat

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Timkat Throngs

Marchers from three churches merged, and spectators joined, as the Timkat procession entered a large square and approached the road leading to the ceremonial grounds. There were probably several hundred thousand people in the densely packed crowd. I scrambled to the top of our bus to get a better view. Each of these pictures shows just a small fraction of the total. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Timkat Marchers

Groups of marchers - uniformed, musicians, and just plain folks - accompanied the ark as it was carried from the church to the ceremonial grounds - a march that took several hours. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Beginning the Timkat Procession in Addis

We flew back from Bahir Dar to Addis Ababa to witness the huge Timkat celebration in Ethiopia's capitol city. The actual "baptism" takes place the next day, but on Timkat eve replicas of the arks are brought from several churches and paraded to the ceremonial grounds. Click photos to enlarge them.

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The crowd in front of one of the churches as the ark is brought out.


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The fellow in red robes bears the ark, very solemnly.


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This striking old man flitted around the scene. It doesn't show in this photo, but he wore a cartridge belt around his waist, filled with colored ballpoint pens.

Lake Tana Icon Paintings

Some icon paintings on the wall of the monastery on an island in Lake Tana, Ethiopia. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Lake Tana Monastery

A monk, some staffs, and some shadows through a reed wall in a monastery on an island in Lake Tana. Click photos to enlarge them.

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On Lake Tana

Lake Tana is thought to have several dozen islands, 19 of which have or had monasteries on them. We visited one.


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The locals get to the islands in papyrus boats.


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A scenic lakeshore location near where we boarded our boat back from the monastery.


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View of the lake from our hotel, with bird feeders.

Ethiopian Market Town

On the way to Bahir Dar, we stopped at a small market town - picturesque as usual. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Threshing and Winnowing

We drove from Gondar to Bahir Dar, a tourist town on the shores of Lake Tana, near the source of the Blue Nile (more later). Along the way, we passed this fellow threshing and winnowing some of his wheat crop. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Gondar Folk Festival

In the late afternoon we went to a folk festival in Gondar, where people from different groups from all over the province performed, cooked, sold crafts, and competed in a good-natured way for best-in-show honors. Sort of a state fair, Ethiopian style. It was fun to wander around and to interact, however fleetingly, with people who generally seemed surprised to see outsiders interested in their world.

Click photos to enlarge them.

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Gondar Grotesques

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Buzzards in the trees near the church


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Trees that have overgrown a wall near the pool of Emperor Fasilides. The pool will become a Timkat baptismal site in a couple of days.

Click photos to enlarge them.

Interior of Gondar Church

Interior of the church in Gondar. The ceiling and walls are covered with hypnotically- repeating, icon-style paintings.

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Carrying a replica of the Ark of the Covenant around the church. (Similar to carrying the Torah scrolls around a synagogue.)

Click photos to enlarge them.

Timkat Flags in Gondar

Colorful Timkat flags decorating the grounds of a church in Gondar near the palace complex. Timkat celebrates the baptism of Jesus, and is the major religious holiday of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. In a few days we will return to Addis Ababa to observe the largest Timkat celebration, but there are festivities all over the country. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Gondar Landscaping Techniques

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This poor guy bundled all that hay into one big package, bigger than he was, then carried it away.


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No lawnmowers here, not even scythes - just sickles to cut the grass. How to keep four people employed.

Click photos to enlarge them.

Gondar Palace Walls

Weathered walls, colored yet monochrome, moody ... Click photos to enlarge them.

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Gondar Castle Complex

Leaving Lalibela, we flew to Gondar. As an ancient capital of the Ethiopian Empire, it is notable for its complex of royal castles. Click photos to enlarge them.

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The Landscape of Lalibela

Lalibela is located in high, mountainous country, with plenty of big rocks to carve out those churches. Here are some pictures of the landscape, the first two taken from our appropriately names "Mountain View Hotel". Click photos to enlarge them.

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Lalibela People

Lalibela isn't just rock churches, it's also people doing what they do. Here are four examples. Click photos to enlarge them.

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High-school kids going to school


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Bringing the donkeys home in the evening


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Hanging out at a rock church


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Waiting for the show to start

Lalibela Church Doorways

Click photos to enlarge them.

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World Heritage Huts

The area around the Lalibela rock-hewn churches is kept as historically genuine as possible - a condition of the UNESCO World Heritage designation. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Rock-Hewn Windows and Doors

Everything in the Lalibela churches is carved from the rock: windows, doors, decorations, etc. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Lalibela Priests

Each of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela has a priest who is its principal guardian. There are eleven such churches, and I got reasonably good photos of six of the priests. Each has a slightly different costume and cross. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Lalibela Churches

Some of the monolithic rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are covered by modern roofs with metal supports, to shield them from the elements. These lead to interesting shadows and - when coupled with people - to dramatization of the scale of these structures. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Saint George Details

Details from the Church of St. George in Lalibela. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Lalibela Sunrise

From Axum we flew to Lalibela, where we had two days to explore the famous monolithic rock-hewn churches. I'll begin with the second day, since that presents a pretty sunrise picture and then a couple of photos of the most famous of all the churches, the Church of Saint George. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Last Shopping in Axum

In the morning, before leaving Axum to go to Lalibela, we did a little last-minute shopping. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Shadows on a shopfront on a sunny morning.


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Old craftwork.


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A shopkeeper reacts to a low bargaining bid.

Axum Vistas

Axum has more than stelae and religious treasures. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Axum Scenes

A few scenes in Axum.

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Portrait of the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, as a student. This is near the Ezana Stone, which is written in Sabaean, Ge'ez and Ancient Greek in a similar manner to the Rosetta Stone.


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Drawing water from the "Queen of Sheba's Bath" (actually a reservoir).


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Donkey carrying water from the reservoir.

Axum Portraits

Some photos of children in Axum. They seem skeptical of us tourists. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Under the Stelae

There are tunnels and passages in the ground under the Axum stelae. Their purpose is not clear, but they are seemingly very old. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Wedding Amongst the Stelae

The area containing the Axum stelae seems to be a popular place to hold wedding celebrations. Here's one happy - and regal - couple with their friends. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Axum Stele

Aside from the Ark of the Covenant, Axum is best known for a number of tall stelae, or obelisks. They have an interesting history, as related for example here. (click to enlarge)

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Axum Cathedral

More photos from the New Cathedral of St. Mary of Zion in Axum, Ethiopia. Click photos to enlarge them.

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A priest


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Opening an old holy book of icon paintings


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Playing some church music for the tourists

Axum Church Scenes

Axum is perhaps best known for a small, old church claimed to be the location of the Ark of the Covenant (which nobody is allowed to see). It is in the middle of a complex of newer churches. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Church tower with jacaranda tree


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Dome as pigeon roost


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Making concrete the old-fashioned way

Axum Angularity

A miscellany of images from our early hours in Axum. Nothing much unifies them except their general location and a certain striking angularity. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Stairs in our hotel. I was struck by the geometry and reflections.


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Cactus tree - large and stark.


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Shepherd driving his sheep over stony ground near the Queen of Sheba's palace.

The Stones of the Queen of Sheba's Palace

From Harar we flew back to Addis for an overnight, then flew to Axum, the next historic city on our itinerary. We went first to the very stony ruins thought to be the palace of the Queen of Sheba. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Harar Scenes (3)

Three last photos from Harar, all outside the walls of the old city. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Across the street from our hotel, showing the typical wooden (eucalyptus) scaffolding and concrete construction, also (typically) unfinished and not currently being worked on.


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Barber shop in late afternoon.


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Feeding the hyenas, who take raw meat from the fingers or lips of volunteers, a popular evening diversion for tourists. Here's a video and a photo essay.

Harar Scenes (2)

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Men run the sewing machines in Harar.


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Click photos to enlarge them.

Harar Scenes

The old city within the walls has a distinctly medieval feeling. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Harar Portraits (2)

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Children of Harar

Ethiopian children are enormously photogenic. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Sugar cane is the universal sweet.


Entering Harar

Harar is an ancient, strongly Islamic, city in the east of Ethiopia. Its old walled city is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Click photos to enlarge them.

After arriving in Harar and checking into our hotel, we drove around the walls, admiring the ancient gates.


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We passed a wedding procession, whose dancing women invited us to join in. (We didn't.)

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Market Town

On our way to Harar, we stopped for a while at a colorful market town. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Bundles of chat (khat), the mild narcotic plant widely used in Ethiopia, like coca in Peru and Bolivia.


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Seen Along the Road

On the drive from Dire Dawa to Harar. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Portraits Along the Road: Dire Dawa to Harar

Early in the morning of our third day in Ethiopia, we flew from Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa (the second largest city in the country, because it is close to Djibouti, which Ethiopia uses as its main port). From there we drove through the countrysid to Harar, stopping along the way for photo ops and to experience a colorful market. Here are some portraits from the drive.

Click photos to enlarge them.


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Ethnographic Museum

Toward the end of our second day in Addis Ababa, we went to the Ethnographic Museum of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies. The name sounds a bit musty, and the museum lives up to its name, but there's still a lot of interesting stuff.

Click photos to enlarge them.

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One out of hundreds of icon paintings in Ethiopian Orthodox style.


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Pages of a sacred book.


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Portrait of Haile Selassie, reflected in a mirror in his bedroom.

Addis Merkato (3)

The last of three groups of photos from the Addis Merkato, the largest open-air market in Africa. Click photos to enlarge them.

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These yellow water jugs are seen throughout the country. We also saw them in Madagascar.


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The scavenging pile at the end of the Merkato.

Addis Merkato (2)

More images from the gritty and tumultuous Addis Merkato in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. One more batch to come. Click photos to enlarge them.

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It was surprising to see this drawing in an otherwise rather straight-laced market.

Addis Merkato (1)

The Merkato in Addis Ababa is the largest open air market in Africa. It's rather chaotic, crowded, and dirty - not as elegant as the bazaars in Istanbul or Marrakesh. But it's a fascinating environment for street photography. Here are some pictures as we walked through the Merkato. Two more sets will follow tomorrow.

Click photos to enlarge them.


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There's lots of construction going on all over the country, with scaffolding made of thin eucalyptus trees.


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The creamy white stuff is a cheese-like substance made by fermenting the root of the false banana fruit.

Addis Ababa Refreshment and Relaxation

We took some breaks from our first-day touring in Addis Ababa to visit some places for refreshment and relaxation. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Afternoon stop for some good, strong Ethiopian coffee. The lion is a national symbol of Ethiopia.


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Restaurant and cafe of the Itegue Taitu Hotel, built in 1898 by Empress Taitu Betul, the wife of Emperor Menelek II. It was the first hotel in Ethiopia. The central portrait in the upper photo is of Emperor Menelik II.


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Injera dinner and dance performance at the Hebir Ethiopia Cultural Restaurant. The lion's mane, used here as a headdress, is a traditional trophy of a young man's entry into manhood.

Addis from the Bus

On our first day (Friday, January 10) we drove through various neighborhoods of Addis Ababa in our minibus to get a general feel for the place. Addis is a city of 4 million people, and one of the leading cities in Africa; but it's by no means prosperous except in a few enclaves. Here are some photos from the bus window. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Addis Ababa Portraits

Having completed my chronological summary of our trip to Ethiopia, I'm going back for a more comprehensive look - starting with portraits from our first two days in Addis Ababa. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Lecturer at Olympic Club


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Children outside National Museum


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Woman at National Museum


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Employee at coffee shop. Ethiopia is famous for its coffee.


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Shopkeeper in his stall in the Merkato

Ethiopian Crafts

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January 25: In the morning we took a chartered flight from the south back to Addis, where we checked in to our hotel and then went shopping prior to a very-early-next-morning return to Amsterdam via Djibouti and Nairobi. Our tour leader took us to a couple of small shops crowded with old (and not so old) crafts and curios, arranged in jumbled piles.

(click to enlarge)

Karo Dancing

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January 24: We spent a late afternoon in a Karo village. The Karo, one of the major tribes in the South Omo River Valley region of Ethiopia, have a dance in which men and women line up against each other. The men, most wearing white body paint, jump up and down to attract attention, and the women respond in kind. This goes on for quite some time.

(click to enlarge)

Ethiopia: Key Afar Market

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January 23: We drove from the Ethiopia Rift Valley Lodge, our home for three days in the middle of the lower Omo River Valley tribal lands, back to the Key Afar Market, a weekly gathering at which people from different tribes come together (which they rarely do otherwise) to buy and sell necessities to each other as well as to sell souvenirs to tourists. Many of the useful goods are probably made in China. (click to enlarge)

First Glimpse of the Mursi People

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January 22: We drove to the land of the Mursi people, famous for the lip plates worn by married women or those engaged to be married. Here's an example.

Now that we're back in Minnesota, I'll continue posting one photo per day of our trip, to give a chronological timeline, for the next three days. Then back to the beginning of our Ethiopia adventure, to show some of the full photographic richness of this amazing country.

On the Way to Arba Minch

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January 21: We continued our drive south, ending the day at Arba Minch, a major city in the region. Here's a pleasant face from a roadside stop along the way.

Lake Ziway

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January 20: After the Timkat festival in Addis, we began our driving tour of the south of Ethiopia. On our way to an overnight at the Rift Valley lake, Lake Langano, we stopped at Lake Ziway, notable for its populations of birds including Maribou storks and pelicans. Children also hang out there, hoping to earn a few birr, catch some fish, or just amuse themselves.

Timkat in Addis Ababa

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We flew back from Bahir Dar to Addis late this morning, and at 3 PM left for the Timkat festival. This is the major religious festival in Ethiopia, celebrating the baptism of Jesus. The color and the crowds were amazing - probably several hundred thousand people. This is a tiny fraction of the crowd.

Ethiopian Cultural Festival

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This morning we finished our tour of the Lalibela rock churches, then flew to Gondar, another ancient capital. After visiting a palace complex and an old church - both very photogenic, pictures to come - we went to a cultural festival featuring music, dance, and crafts of the various Ethiopian peoples. Here are a couple of people from one of the bands.

Axum Sheep

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On Tuesday morning we flew to the ancient capital of Axum, in the north. This is supposedly the place where the Queen of Sheba ruled. As we explored the ruins of her palace, I saw a shepherd driving his sheep over the stony ground.

Addis Ababa Mercato

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A busy day in Addis. First, a morning-long lecture on Ethiopia: geology, peoples, economy, religions, political history. Second, lunch at a Greek country club. Next, an hour walk through the Mercato, the largest market in Africa and certainly the dirtiest and most crowded we have encountered. Then a tour of the Ethnographic Museum at AA University, Finally, back to the Sheraton for a buffet dinner and preparation for a 5:15 AM drive to the airport and flight to Dire Dawa on the way to the ancient city of Harar.

Samurai Heads

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From the exhibit at the Portland Art Museum. Click photos to enlarge them.

I will be traveling for the next three weeks, so postings are likely to be sporadic at best. Please be patient, and I'll be back at the end of January.


Party Time

Even for lawn flamingos in Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Encounter

Mina confronting the Erector Set Panda at the Blackfish Gallery in Portland OR. (click to enlarge)

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Edward Weston Wannabe

If Weston had been shopping at Whole Foods and they were out of peppers ... Click photos to enlarge them.

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Samurai Faces

From the exhibit at the Portland Art Museum. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Samurai Horsemen

We made another visit, this time with our grandson, to the samurai armor exhibit at the Portland Art Museum. I repeated some of the photos from our first visit, this time trying to do a better job - both in photographing and post-processing - of exposing for the faces of the warriors. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Colorfully Abandoned

Abandoned and roofless industrial building in SE Portland, apparently serving as a refuge for some homeless people. Click photos to enlarge them.

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White Balance

Three versions of a photo taken at the Portland Art Museum: part of a swirly, shiny steel sculpture with a red, white, gray, and blue painting in the background. The top photo is a jpeg straight out of the camera with automatic white balance; the gallery lighting gave everything a warm, golden cast. The bottom photo has a bright spot on the sculpture chosen as the reference neutral gray, resulting in an attractive pinkish tint. The middle photo has the downward diagonal of the painting chosen as the neutral area; this gives the most realistic rendition. I like all three versions individually, but I particularly like seeing them all together.

Click photos to enlarge them.

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Group Selfie

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Corner of Selby and Western, St. Paul. (click to enlarge)

Triptychs

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Triptych by Francis Bacon of Lucien Freud, on temporary display at the Portland Art Museum. (click to enlarge)

Blue View

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Intermission at Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis. (click to enlarge)

Rough Geometries

NW 10th and Johnson, Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Celebration

Around the corner of the retaining wall from yesterday's photos, in SE Portland. Good stuff!

Click photos to enlarge them.

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Funky

On a retaining wall in Portland. When does graffiti become public art? (Maybe when it becomes less entertaining?) Click photos to enlarge them.

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Ladies

Cargo, Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Outside Cargo, Portland (click to enlarge)

Here's Looking At You

Cargo, Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Mao and friend at Cargo. (click to enlarge)

Curio Shop

Cargo , in Portland's Pearl District, imports intriguing stuff from around the world and displays it in picturesque jumbles. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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A single hawthorn berry. (click to enlarge)

Fallen Hawthorn Berries

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Hoyt Arboretum, Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Heavily laden hawthorn tree in Hoyt Arboretum. (click to enlarge)

Hawthorn Berries

They're supposed to be full of anti-oxidants. Hoyt Arboretum, Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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"Light, color, gesture" (Jay Maisel) Click to enlarge.

Intimate Landscapes

Hoyt Arboretum, Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Rough bark in natural color, Hoyt Arboretum, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Bark in Monochrome

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The same split-toning formula used in Lenswork. Click photos to enlarge them.

Ferns

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Hoyt Arboretum, Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Hoyt Arboretum, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Hoyt Arboretum, Portland

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Hoyt Arboretum, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Bark

In Hoyt Arboretum, Portland. The top tree is birch-bark cherry. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Hoyt Arboretum in Portland. (click to enlarge)

Fall Walk

We were in Portland a few weeks ago, and took a hike in Hoyt Arboretum. It was a somewhat foggy day, which - along with the fading fall colors - gave a nice misty atmosphere to the scene. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Fallen leaves on a window rock garden in Portland. (click to enlarge)

Seen in Portland

A couple of examples of the slightly strange scenes that typify Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Another version of today's "Stripes" photo, this time in a warm monotone. It's hard to choose a favorite. (click to enlarge)

Stripes

I was struck by this pattern of light and shadow coming through a narrow-spaced fence onto pebbly ground. In the first image the random colors on the ground distract from the main effect, so I converted to black and white. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Reflection in the Willamette River. (click to enlarge)

Reflections in the Willamette

Reflections of the Fremont Bridge in the Willamette River in Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Reflecting ... Tanner Springs Park, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Industrial Reflections

Willamette River, Portland, Oregon. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

A section of the Fremont Bridge, and its reflection, as it crosses the Willamette River in Portland. (click to enlarge)

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Transportation Curves

Railroad and bridge in Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Through a window, North Pearl District, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Windows

Shop windows and reflections in the North Pearl, Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Support structure for the Fremont Bridge carrying I-405 as it passes west over the Willamette River in Portland. (click to enlarge)

Primary Colors

Colorful condo construction in the North Pearl District of Portland, with the elevated Interstate 405 support structure - and a deep blue sky - in the background. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Hoyt Arboretum, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Rough Bark

In color and monochrome. Hoyt Arboretum, Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Street repair graffiti in Portland. (click to enlarge)

Portland Buildings

We were in Portland, OR for the past two weeks, and I accumulated lots of photos. Here are two from the north end of the Pearl District, where new condos are being built and old industrial buildings still remain. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Orange, red, pink, and brown. Kinda icky, but interesting. (click to enlarge)

Distorting Windows

United Hospital, Saint Paul. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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The faux-Hasselblad version. (click to enlarge)

Rocky Ledge

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Detail of a wall, Saint Paul. (click to enlarge)

Shadows

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The painter Ellsworth Kelly, when he was a young soldier stationed in Paris after WW2, took a photo of stairs in shadow that has always intrigued me. I try to copy it whenever possible. This is on the steps of the Saint Paul Cathedral.


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A monochrome version of the photo posted yesterday from Ramsey Hill in Saint Paul.

Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Wall along Ramsey Hill. (click to enlarge)

Steep Perspectives

On Ramsey Hill in Saint Paul. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Stairway in Saint Paul Cathedral basement. (click to enlarge)

Over the Fireplace

Items in the basement of the Saint Paul Cathedral. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Odds and ends in the basement of Saint Paul Cathedral. (click to enlarge)

Cathedral Storeroom

Plaster casts in the storeroom of the Saint Paul Cathedral. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Organ and rose window of Saint Paul Cathedral. (click to enlarge)

Tourist Photos at Home

When we travel, the churches, temples, and mosques are prime photographic subjects. Just a few blocks from our home in Saint Paul is a pretty impressive cathedral - though not as ornate as the baroque ones in Italy. So I thought I'd pretend I was a tourist. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Portion of complex but simple split bamboo sculpture in "The Audacious Eye" exhibit. (click to enlarge)

Audacious Elegance

The Audacious Eye exhibit had, in the last room, some elegant modern sculptures quite different from the paintings whose grotesque details I've been featuring for the past few days. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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To conclude, a calm and gracious face. (click to enlarge)

Poignant Grotesques

A couple more from "The Audacious Eye" exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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A deity from "The Audacious Eye" exhibit. (click to enlarge)

Fierce!

Details from paintings in "The Audacious Eye" exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Detail from the "Audacious Eye" exhibit. (click to enlarge)

Ogres

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has a wonderful exhibit called "The Audacious Eye", featuring works from a collector of Japanese art. I was struck with the horrific faces in many of the paintings and scrolls, and made a little collection of them. More to come. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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A busy miscellany in the studio of a productive artist. (click to enlarge)

Sculptor's Studio

Perci Chester's studio at the Traffic Zone Studios open house. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Studio open house. (click to enlarge)

Painter's Studio

The studio was cleaned up for the open house, but the mess of an active studio can't be disguised. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Traffic Zone Studios open house. (click to enlarge)

Studio Open House

Traffic Zone Studios, a converted warehouse building with lots of interesting art being produced and viewed inside. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Studio open house. (click to enlarge)

Studio Open House

Scenes from the open house at the Traffic Zone Studios in Minneapolis's North Loop. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Oregon Holocaust Memorial, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Holocaust Memorial Castoffs

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Casting of a castaway doll, Oregon Holocaust Memorial. (click to enlarge)

Left Behind

On the paths leading to the wall of the Oregon Holocaust Memorial are bronze castings of things left behind by (or torn from the grasp of) holocaust victims being sent off to their deaths. Startling and moving. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Oregon Holocaust Memorial. (click to enlarge)

Oregon Holocaust Memorial

In Portland's Washington Park. A beautiful, moving memorial. More images to come. See information here.

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Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Portland Walls

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Piece from 2013 Contemporary Northwest Art Awards at Portland Art Museum. (click to enlarge)

Outdoor Sculpture

Sculptures outside the Portland Art Museum. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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From a show of selected Northwest artists at the Portland Art Museum. (click to enlarge)

Gift Shop Treasures

More artifacts from the Portland Art Museum gift shop. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Portland Art Museum gift shop. (click to enlarge)

Museum Shop

The gift shop at the Portland Art Museum displayed some attractively (dis)arrayed piles of artsy objects - a nice opportunity for some still life photos. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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The last of the samurai. (click to enlarge)

Open-Mouthed

Samurai armor exhibit at the Portland Art Museum. One can almost hear the terrifying war cries. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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The original color version of the monochrome picture posted earlier today. Not nearly as imposing, though more decorative perhaps. (click to enlarge)

Samurai in Black and White

Samurai armor is both fierce and colorful. Sometimes the color dilutes the fierceness, so I converted a couple of photos to black and white. Much more fearsome! Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Another samurai warrior. (click to enlarge)

Samurai Armor

A spectacular exhibit at the Portland Art Museum of Samurai armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection in Dallas. As something I read recently said, this makes western armor look like a bunch of articulated tin cans. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Elegance in the wine country. (click to enlarge)

Willamette Valley Vineyards

Impressively neat and well-tended. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Berry bush in Washington Park, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Willamette Valley

Oregon's prime wine country, in early fall. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Variation 3. (click to enlarge)

Halloween Leftovers

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Fall colors in Portland, Oregon - while the leaves were still on the trees. (click to enlarge)

Fall(en) Leaves

If Jackson Pollock used leaves instead of paint. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Even the stern Victorian lady on Summit Avenue in Saint Paul has a blush on her face in the bright Fall sunshine. (click to enlarge)

Oregon Wine Country

We were in Portland several weeks ago, and took a day trip to the Willamette Valley wine country. Good looking territory! (Click photos to expand them.)

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Portofino Mare Scenes

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Weathered wall in Santa Margherita Ligure - Variation 2. (click to enlarge)

Portofino Mare

Wall ornaments. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Church by the steps coming down into Portofino Mare. (click to enlarge)

First Glimpses of Portofino Mare

High on the path from Nozarego in the Portofino Regional Park. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Boo!

Halloween decorations in my St. Paul neighborhood. All photos taken with my cell phone. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Exterior of church in the tiny hamlet of San Sebastiano, not far from Portofino Mare. (click to enlarge)

On the Path to Portofino

Grapevines and neat stonework. As the path approaches Portofino, the landscape becomes neater and more prosperous. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Fall in Portland, Oregon. (click to enlarge)

Along the Path to Portofino

A profusion of attractive vegetation in the Portofino Regional Park. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Another example of rugged stonework from the path to Portofino. (click to enlarge)

Stonework

Along the path to Portofino. Given a stony land, the people have made beauty. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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On the path to Portofino. (click to enlarge)

Portofino Regional Park

Along the path from Nozarego to Portofino. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Weathered wall in Santa Margherita Ligure - Variation 1. (click to enlarge)

Nozarego to Portofino

Seen on the hike in the Portofino Regional Park. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Cosmetic consultation, Mall of America. (click to enlarge)

Then and Now

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Statue in the Monterosso square of Giuseppe Garibaldi, leader of the fight for Italian unification in the 1860s.


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Hanging out on a warm afternoon in Monterosso.

Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Washington Park, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Monterosso Minutiae

Oddments that struck my fancy. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Portland shop window. (click to enlarge)

Shops for Tourists

Colorful accessories to match the bright colors of the Cinque Terre, in Monterosso. Plus hats that would be useful to fend off the sun. But who wears ties these days? Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Oratory of the Dead in Monterosso. From Rick Steves' guidebook:

"During the Counter-Reformation, the Catholic Church offset the rising influence of the Lutherans by creating brotherhoods of good works. These religious Rotary clubs were called "confraternities." Monterosso had two, nicknamed White and Black. This building is the oratory of the Black group, whose mission -- as the macabre decor filling the interior indicates -- was to arrange for funerals and take care of widows, orphans, the shipwrecked, and the souls of those who ignore the request for a €1 donation. It dates from the 16th century, and membership has passed from father to son for generations."

Monterosso Churches

Black and white, often striped, is a theme in this region. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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A sandy beach and a bright sun means lots of colorful beach umbrellas - Monterosso, in the Cinque Terre. (click to enlarge)

Approaching Monterosso from Above

Descending the path from Vernazza. Monterosso is the only one of the five Cinque Terre towns to have a sandy beach. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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I'm not sure whether these tanks along the path from Vernazza to Monterosso are vats for fermenting the wine in situ, or to hold water for irrigating the vineyards, or fuel for the little tractors that bring down the picked grapes on a monorail, or...

(click to enlarge)

Along the Path from Vernazza to Monterosso

It's a steep climb: vertical gain (and eventually loss) of 380 meters in three kilometers. But everywhere one turns is a pretty sight. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Stairway in Washington Park, Portland, Oregon. (click to enlarge)

Olives in the Cinque Terre

Aside from tourism, growing and processing olives and grapes are the two biggest parts of the economy in the Cinque Terre. As we hiked the paths between towns, we passed numerous olive groves. Click photos to enlarge them.

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When it's time for harvest, the nets will be spread to catch the olives as the trees are shaken.


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An old olive press, now just a picturesque object along the way between Vernazza and Monterosso.

Picture of the Day

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Prickly pear cactus along the high path from Vernazza to Monterosso. (click to enlarge)

Another View of Vernazza Harbor and Waterfront

From the path beginning our hike from Vernazza to Monterosso. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Grape vines in Oregon's Willamette Valley. (click to enlarge)

Vernazza Harbor

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Idyllic, no? Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Vietnam vet on Portland Streetcar. (click to enlarge)

Vernazza Painting Class

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A great location for plein air painting. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Taking the sun in Vernazza. (click to enlarge)

Vernazza from Above and Below

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A concentration of the things that make the Cinque Terre so attractive: bright colors, deep blue sea and sky, dramatic verticals, sharp geometries, striking viewpoints.


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The steep cliffs from below, robed with nets to protect against rockfalls.

Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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The scene as you approach Vernazza from above. (click to enlarge)

Corniglia to Vernazza

Views along the way. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Fall flowers on a morning walk in Saint Paul. (click to enlarge)

Cinque Terre Details

Old walls, overgrown with vegetation, are irresistible to me. These scenes are near the beginning of the walk from Corniglia to Vernazza.

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Picture of the Day

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Lunchtime for tourists and natives in Vernazza in the Cinque Terre. (click to enlarge)

Cinque Terre Winemaking

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Lugging new wine vats through the streets of Corniglia. (click to enlarge)

Picture of the Day

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Grasses in Portland, Oregon. (click to enlarge)

Manarola Grapes

Grapes and wine, along with tourism, are the essence of Manarola in the Cinque Terre. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Picture of the Day

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Servant in Portofino Mare cleaning the stairs and wall; someone had splashed red paint. (click to enlarge)

Manarola Monuments

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Manarola from above. (click to enlarge)

Manarola in Monochrome

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Yesterday's photos in monochrome. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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A rather strange-looking Virgin Mary in a niche in Manarola. (click to enlarge)

Mysterious Manarolo Mechanisms

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I think this drives a small irrigation system for the vineyard. Or maybe a pulley system for heavy baskets of grapes. Or ...


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The stones hold the roof slates down in a windstorm.

Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Another photo of a bright plant poised high above the bright Mediterranean water near Manarola in the Cinque Terre. (click to enlarge)

Near and Far

From the path high above Manarola in the Cinque Terre. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Another view of the rocky cliffs and sea off Manarola. (click to enlarge)

Blue Mediterranean at Manarola

The tiny harbor/swimming area and off-shore waters of Manarola, the next-most southerly town in the Cinque Terre. The scenes felt as idyllic as they look. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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The tumbled landscape: harbor at Riomaggiore. (click to enlarge)

Murals of a Tumbled Landscape

Sections of the mural in the pedestrian tunnel connecting central Riomaggiore with the train station - evocations of the tumbled landscape in the Cinque Terre. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Part of the mosaic lining the pedestrian tunnel between the train station and the center of Riomaggiore. (click to enlarge)

Riomaggiore Murals

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More details from murals in Riomaggiore. Roughly life-size, and very finely done though not so well maintained. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Riomaggiore is a rather vertical town. (click to enlarge)

Views of Riomaggiore

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In evening light


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From the water. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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A mural overlooks the plaza near the center of Riomaggiore where kids play soccer and grownups watch. (click to enlarge)

Riomaggiore Murals

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Riomaggiore is the southernmost of the five towns in the Cinque Terre. It is distinguished by some remarkable murals by Silvio Benedetto. Here are a couple of details depicting the hardship and danger associated with wresting a living from the sea. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Another smiling statue: the newly installed Goldy Gopher at the University of Minnesota. (click to enlarge)

Villa Durazzo

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Two scenes from the lovely Villa Durazzo in Santa Margherita Ligure. Click photos to enlarge them.

Ligurian Greens

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There hasn't been much greenery in recent postings, so here are a couple from Santa Margherita Ligure. The first in the central square, the second along the sidewalk below our hotel. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America. Our version of baroque holiness? (click to enlarge)

Santa Margherita Ligure Churches

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa. His statue is in the main square of Santa Margherita Ligure, near the harbor, where it provides a convenient roost for birds. (click to enlarge)

Trompe l'oeil in Santa Margherita Ligure

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Two more examples of trompe l'oeil, except that the barred window, and the statue and the niche, are real. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Night lights of hotel swimming pool in Santa Margherita Ligure. (click to enlarge)

Orange

Santa Margherita Ligure is a pleasant small city near the much more trendy Portofino on the Italian Riviera. It was our starting place for our tour of Liguria: the Cinque Terre and Genoa. The walls, with bright earth tones and trompe l'oeil paintings, were particularly striking.

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Picture of the Day

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After a series of rather melancholy photos from Genoa, I thought to end my coverage of that city with a more colorful image: a remarkably ornate cabinet from the Palazzo Rosso. (click to enlarge)

Genoa Far and Near

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A crowded, interesting city. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Sidewalk in Santa Margherita Ligure at night. (click to enlarge)

Immigration from Italy

An exhibit at the Galata Naval Museum in Genoa, which details the desperate conditions confronting people who sailed steerage from Italy to the Americas. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Men's sleeping quarters in steerage.

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Gangplank to enter the ship (and the exhibit)

Picture of the Day

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Detail of the well-worn floor of Chiesa del Gesù e dei Santi Ambrogio e Andrea in Genoa, a fine Baroque church dating from 1589. (click to enlarge)

In the Red Palace

The Palazzo Rosso in Genoa. Two more examples of virtuoso painting, the first being a fascinating room-sized trompe l'oeil production, and the second a wonderfully ornate ceiling. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Another example of intriguing accidental art in Genoa. (click to enlarge)

Building Art

Outdoor paintings in Genoa. High class graffiti, perhaps? The first is relatively frequently seen: a quasi-monumental painting on the street-facing wall of a building, often repeated several times along the facade. (See the second photo.) The third is on the highway bridge support across from the building and near the Aquarium. It's clearly not a slapdash, middle-of-the-night job, but it's got a somewhat outlaw flavor to it. More interesting, to my taste.

Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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On a signpost across from the Saint Paul Cathedral. (click to enlarge)

Genoa Graffiti

Interesting interactions with the walls and residue thereon. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Saint Paul, Minnesota has a cathedral, also, with a copy of Michelangelo's "Pieta". (click to enlarge)

Baroque Church Interiors

The first image is from the Cathedral San Lorenzo in Genoa. I neglected to record the information for the second, but it's still impressive. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Church of Gesu, Genoa. (click to enlarge)

Baroque Churches of Genoa

Resplendent variations on a theme! Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Big, fat mushrooms on a produce cart in Genoa. (click to enlarge)

Variations in Black and White

Cathedral San Lorenzo, Genoa. This place is almost as amazing inside as outside. It offers a seeming infinity of compositional possibilities for a photographer. See earlier posted images here, here, and here.

Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Detail of a portrait of a nobleman in the Palazzo Rosso, Genoa. (click to enlarge)

Genoa Walls

A visually intriguing city. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Paganini's violin case, in Palazzo Tursi, Genoa. (click to enlarge)

Genoa Shop Windows

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Another charming Genoese chicken. (click to enlarge)

Genoa Arcades

Along Via San Vicenzo, an engaging combination of old and new. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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One of the narrow, dark streets so characteristic of old Genoa. (click to enlarge)

Genoa Street Scenes

People hanging out. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Picture of the Day

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Ceramic chickens in a Genoa craft shop. (click to enlarge)

Genoa Aquarium

Supposedly the biggest and best in Europe, it has a wide variety of species and attractive displays. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Piazza De Ferrari, Genoa. (click to enlarge)

Genoa: On the Steps of Cathedral San Lorenzo

From the sublime to the ridiculous, and back again. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Picture of the Day

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Shop window display with reflection, Genoa. (click to enlarge)

Genoa Pharmacies

We kept running into representations of old pharmacy paraphernalia and researchers in Genoa. The first of these pictures is from the wall alongside a contemporary pharmacy, and the last is from the Palazzo Tursi. The middle three are from some old building that we wandered into on our way to the Aquarium, but I didn't record more precise information. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Genoa Grafitti

Wednesday, September 11. We're back home in Saint Paul, after a very good vacation in a relatively unfamiliar part of Italy: Liguria, including the Cinque Terre and Genoa.

The walls of Genoa are rich with grafitti and peeling posters, a boon if - like me - you're a fan of the Jackson Pollock/Robert Rauschenberg/Jasper Johns school of art. (Otherwise, maybe not so much.) The tunnel underneath the Brignole Railway Station near our hotel was particularly rich in vivid material. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Paganini's violin, kept in a climate-controlled case in the Palazzo Turci in Genoa. (click to enlarge)

Genoa, Day 3

Tuesday, September 10: Genoa was a very wealthy city in the 15th-17th centuries, so it attracted and supported some great artists. Their work is displayed in churches and in a UNESCO World Heritage complex of three "palaces": Palazzo Bianco, Palazzo Rosso, and Palazzo Turci, the former homes of wealthy merchants and rulers of the city. We saw Palazzo Bianco on Sunday; today we saw the others.

We're flying home tomorrow.

Click photos to enlarge them.

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Baroque interior of the Church of Gesú, with a Rubens painting of the circumcision of Christ.


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Statue of the penitence of Mary Magdalene by Canova in the Palazzo Turci.


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Detail of a painting, "The Cook", by Bernardo Strozzi in the Palazzo Rosso.


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Detail of a painting by Anthony Van Dyck in the Palazzo Rosso.


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Roof terrace of the Palazzo Rosso, with a stormy sky.


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Street musician, a good jazz guitarist.

Picture of the Day

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A child, helped by its mother, petting one of the lions on the steps of Cathedral San Lorenzo in Genoa. (click to enlarge)

Genoa, Day 2

Monday, September 9. Another day to explore Genoa, much of the time in the vicinity of the port. Click photos to enlarge them.

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A temporary stand with beautiful produce, just outside the Brignole Railway Station. When we returned in the evening, it was gone.


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Window display in the Via San Vicenzo arcade.


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The strong Gothic interior of the San Lorenzo Cathedral, which was closed yesterday (Sunday!), perhaps to focus attention on the spectacularly decorated exterior.


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We spent much of the day at the Aquarium. This fish posed nicely for its portrait.


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Across the way from the Aquarium is this elaborately painted palazzo/apartment. Similar decorations are seen throughout Genoa, though few are so extensive.


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We spent the latter part of the afternoon at the Galata Naval Museum. The top floor had a very interesting exhibit on emigration and immigration, relating the Italian outflow of the 19th and early 20th centuries to the current inflow from the currently stressed parts of the world.


Picture of the Day

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Detail of a door of the Ducal Palace in Genoa. (click to enlarge)

Genoa

Sunday, September 8: This morning we took the train from Riomaggiore to Genoa, where we'll spend the next three days before returning to Minnesota. Genoa is rougher and less elegant than Rome or Florence, but it's got a lot of visual interest and variety. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Lots of interesting graffiti and peeling posters, especially in the covered passageway by the Brignole railway station.


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Some of the narrowest streets, flanked by tall buildings, that we've seen in any major city.


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Lots of sidewalk cafes.


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The San Lorenzo Cathedral, with perhaps the most highly decorated exterior we've ever seen.


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An exceptionally good-looking couple sitting on the steps of the cathedral.


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Shop window displays that interact interestingly with goings-on in the street.


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An extremely elaborate baroque church.


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A red-light district comparable to Amsterdam's, with men (perhaps sailors from the nearby port) milling around.


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One of the workers.

Picture of the Day

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Sitting on a hot day in Monterosso, Cinque Terre. (click to enlarge)

Cinque Terre: Vernazza to Monterosso

Saturday, September 7. This morning we took the train from Riomaggiore to Vernazza, and then made the trek - about two hours - to Monterosso. This was nominally a bit more challenging than the Corniglia to Vernazza hike, but it didn't seem any harder or take us any longer. Perhaps we're getting conditioned.

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The path was this steep, and generally much rougher, for the first 1/3 of the walk: a gain in elevation of 385 meters.


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Below we could see one of the railway tunnels, used by the trains that serve the Cinque Terre.


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Once the path leveled off, it was frequently like this: narrow and shady. Note the wire netting on the cliff to the right, to fend off rock-falls.


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Down and to the west one saw occasional bright white sailboats, inverse-silhouetted against the deep blue sea.


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A pretty stone bridge crossed a narrow stream.


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In Monterosso, two of the main attractions are old churches. This one is the Church of Saint John the Baptist, notable for its black and white striped decor.


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The other is the Oratory of the Dead, the home of a Catholic brotherhood that helps with funerals, assists widows and orphans and victims of shipwrecks.


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To end on a less somber note, Monterosso has the only sand beach in the Cinque Terre. It is provisioned by multitudes of colorful beach umbrellas for rent.

Picture of the Day

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Sculpture in a niche near the train station in Manarola. (click to enlarge)

Manarola in the Cinque Terre

Friday, September 6. We took the train (about a three minute ride through a tunnel) to the neighboring town of Manarola, where we spent the morning.

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Manarola is a small, colorful, vertically-stacked town that nestles against a rocky seacoast.


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There's no beach, but swimmers enjoy jumping off the rocks. And we enjoy looking down on them from high above.


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Plants growing on the cliffs gain luminance framed against the blue sea.


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Aside from tourism, the main industry of the town is grape growing and wine production. Vineyards closely abut the town.


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There's not much land, so most burials in the beautifully-sited cemetery are in above-ground niches.

Picture of the Day

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Two tourists lighting candles in the harbor-side church in Vernazza. (click to enlarge)

Cinque Terre: Corniglia to Vernazza

Thursday September 5. Today we took one of the famous walks between towns in the Cinque Terre: from Corniglia to Vernazza. (We took the train from Riomaggiore, where we're staying, to Corniglia; and a ferry back.)

Click photos to enlarge them.

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A dramatic rocky staircase in Corniglia, a rocky town.


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Despite being on the edge of the Mediterranean, this is in many ways a desert climate, with cacti and agave (century plant).


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But there's also lush vegetation to accompany the stone bridges.


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The beautiful town of Vernazza, "the jewel of the Cinque Terre", seen from above as we approached on the high path.


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Vernazza suffered a devastating flood on October 25, 2011. The waters punched a hole in this rock face, opening a path to a new pebble beach.


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Despite all the tourist hubbub, a resident enjoys a peaceful time with his newspaper.


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It was very sunny and hot, so sun hats and sun glasses were on display on the rocks near the boat landing.

Picture of the Day

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The subway corridor from the train station to the town of Riomaggiore, facing a crowd that just arrived. (click to enlarge)

First Day in Riomaggiore

On Wednesday afternoon we took a train to Riomaggiore, the most southerly of the the five towns of the Cinque Terre. We will make it our base for the next four days. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Riomaggiore has a profusion of good public art - mainly murals. Here is a section from one that emphasizes the labor and dangers of wresting a living from the sea. Tourists may be easier!


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In the evening, women and men gather - separately - in lines along walls to talk over the day's happenings.


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The sunset was beautiful, illuminating the waters and the boats in the tiny marina.


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A crowd gathered on the rocks by the marina to watch the sunset, and were themselves illuuminated.

Last Day in Santa Margherita Ligure

Wednesday, September 4. On our last morning in Santa Marhgherita Ligure, we wandered around the city center, visiting some of the important churches, buildings, and parks. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Black Christ in Oratory of Sant'Erasmo (St. Elmo), the protector of sailors. A particularly human face, due in part to the mustache.


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Large and elegant mosaic of black and white stones - a particular art form of Santa Margherita Ligure - in the courtyard of Villa Durazzo.


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Sculptures of musicians in a niche of the Villa Durazzo.


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Elegant trompe-l'oeil painted wall - also a Santa Margherita Ligure specialty - set off by some not quite so elegant laundry.

Picture of the Day

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Colored buildings along the marina in Portofino Mare, reflected in the rippling water. (click to enlarge)

Portofino Regional Park

Today we took a four hour hike after breakfast, from Santa Margherita Ligure to Nozarego, then into the Portofino Regional Park: Gave, Sant'Anna, Mulino, Olmi, San Sebastiano, and down into Portofino Mare. Lots of ups and downs, some of them steep, but all along a paved trail. The weather was great and the scenery was beautiful: one of the best hikes we've ever done.

Click photos to enlarge them.


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The path was like this the whole way: stones underfoot and stone wall alongside.


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View back down to Santa Margherita Ligure from an outdoor cafe in Nozarego.


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An old olive press in Mulino, where we stopped for a cold drink.


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A bright red church stood out against the olive groves on the hillside in San Sebastiano.


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Archway in Portofino Mare


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Portofino Mare buildings and marina. We took a ferry back from here to Santa Margherita Ligure.

Picture of the Day

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Detail of display case in our hotel in Santa Margherita Liguria. (click to enlarge)

Santa Margherita Ligure

We've just managed a long, connection-filled trip from Saint Paul to Santa Margherita Ligure on the Italian Riviera, our jumping-off place for the Cinque Terre. The trip was long, of course, but also more stressful than expected. Our flight from MSP to AMS was smooth and got in early (about 5:45 AM), which was a relief because we had a tight connection to Paris CDG. Unfortunately, heavy air traffic and a broken door hinge delayed our flight to Paris by about an hour, leaving us only 15 minutes to get to our flight from Paris to Genoa. With zero help from Air France ground personnel, we managed to get to the most distant terminal (2G) and onto our plane with one minute to spare. The flight to Genoa was fine, and we had an interesting bus ride through Genoa (big bus, narrow, winding streets) from the airport to the train station whence we took a comfortable half-hour ride to Santa Margherita Ligure. We were met and taxied to our charming hotel, Villa Anita, where we rested for an hour and then spent the rest of the afternoon strolling through the town.

Click photos to enlarge them.


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Santa Margherita Ligure is on the Mediterranean, so there is a lot of recreational boating and commercial fishing, with a lively marina. This red boat was just unloading its day's catch in tne late afternoon. We may have had one of the fish (orato) for dinner.


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It also has a small but well-populated beach, nestled picturesquely at the base of some low mountains well-covered with houses, hotels, etc.


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The commercial and tourist hub of the city has some nice little parks. This monument memorializes the contributions of soldiers and sailors in World War 1.


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There are numerous gelaterias, with lots of interesting flavors. Note the intense concentration.

Picture of the Day

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Schipol Airport, Amsterdam, at 6:30 AM Monday (11:30 PM CDT Sunday). Waiting for our flight to CDG Paris and then on to Genoa. (click to enlarge)

Light and Shadow

Nils Hasselmo Hall, University of Minnesota. Click photos to enlarge them.

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We'll be traveling for the next ten days, in Italy's Cinque Terre. We expect to have internet access, and I'll try to post photos from the trip. But postings may be a bit erratic, so please be patient.

Picture of the Day

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A test of dynamic range: from bright sun to deep shade. Not bad for a point-and-shoot camera (Panasonic ZS-19). (click to enlarge)

Family Fun at OMSI

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, in Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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The glow of learning. (click to enlarge)

Happy Birthday

In early July our granddaughter celebrated her 8th birthday. We took her around to some of her favorite places in Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Comfy but spiffy shoes for the day.


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Gift of a tasty birthday tortilla at the Farmers Market.


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Looking for a new dress.


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Shopping for art supplies.


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The end of a fun day,

Picture of the Day

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Working on Amundson Hall windows. (click to enlarge)

Cranes in WarmTone

The same cranes-against-a-dramatic-sky photos as yesterday, but now converted to monotone and treated with the warm tone settings in Lightroom as used by Brooks Jensen in LensWork. I'm not usually a fan of sepia-like toning, but this is somehow different, and I like it. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Shadows in Hasselmo Hall, University of Minnesota. (click to enlarge)

Cranes in Blue

The cranes around the University of Minnesota campus this summer look dramatic against a blue sky with cirrocumulus clouds. I've tried to heighten the effect by darkening and saturating the sky way beyond realism. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Shoe tree next to Washington Avenue Bridge. (click to enlarge)

Pompeii of the New World

From the exhibit Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed at the Science Museum of Minnesota in Saint Paul: "Around AD 600, ash from a volcanic eruption buried the village of Joya de Cerén, in El Salvador." Here are a couple of details from the wall of a hut that was excavated. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Red, brick, and blue in Dinkytown. The golden arches entrance is around the corner. (click to enlarge)

Crane Variations

Modern post-processing programs such as Perfect Effects and Topaz ReStyle offer some striking possibilities to explore variations to the originally captured scene. Here are some examples. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Barge on the Mississippi River, about to go under the Washington Avenue Bridge connecting the East and West Bank campuses of the University of Minnesota. (click to enlarge)

Colored Glass

Two views of the new glass windows and facade of Amundson Hall at the University of Minnesota. The color changes beautifully depending on whether the building is viewed from the west (top) or east (bottom). Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Full moon rising behind buildings in downtown Saint Paul. This was taken with a Canon G15 with full digital zoom, then cropped heavily (probably 10-15% of original area) in post processing. Hence the dismal technical quality. But I think the image has some interest because of the puzzling juxtapositions. (click to enlarge)

Doorways in Black and White

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Black and white versions of the photos posted yesterday. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Minnesota Science Museum, Saint Paul. (click to enlarge)

Doorways

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In Dinkytown. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Coming to the end of their season. (click to enlarge)

Dinkytown Textures

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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In front of Coffman Union, University of Minnesota. (click to enlarge)

Painting with Bricks

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Dinkytown alley, Minneapolis. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Main floor of the Science Museum of Minnesota, from a balcony. (click to enlarge)

Dinkytown Windows

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Corner of the Weisman Art Museum (Frank Gehry, architect) at the University of Minnesota, against an active sky. (click to enlarge)

Dinkytown Doorways

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Science Museum of Minnesota, Saint Paul. (click to enlarge)

Studio Sessions Opening

The last three artists whom I photographed at the "Studio Sessions" opening. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Mary Griep


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Randy Johnson


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Wayne Potratz

Picture of the Day

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A black and white version - with a little grit added - of the photo of Ginny Beuide from the "Studio Sessions" opening. (click to enlarge)

"Studio Sessions" Artists

Three more photos of artists, their works, and my photos from the 1970s at the "Studio Sessions" exhibition. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Stewart Turnquist


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Carole Fisher


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James Kielkopf

Picture of the Day

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Another version of the photo of Anthony Caponi, from the "Studio Sessions" opening. (click to enlarge)

Studio Sessions Opening

Last night was the opening of "Studio Sessions", an exhibit at the Minnesota Museum of American Art of photos I had taken in the 1970s of artists working in their studios, along with examples of their work. At the opening, I took photos of some of the artists with their photographs and the piece they put in the exhibition. I'll be posting those photos over the next few days. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Hazel Belvo


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Anthony Caponi


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Ginny Bueide

Picture of the Day

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Jerry Ott in front of his painting and my photo of him from the 1970s, at my show "Studio Sessions" at the Minnesota Museum of American Art. (click to enlarge)

Dinkytown Bikes

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Another woeful Minnesota M on the neglected side of the Washington Avenue Bridge betwee East and West Banks of the University of Minnesota. (click to enlarge)

Cedar-Riverside Mural

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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The Cedar-Riverside murals near the West Bank campus of the University of Minnesota, which I've been posting for the past several days, are brightly painted and kept up by the Somali community that lives there. Some of the University of Minnesota symbols on the Washington Avenue Bridge leading to the West Bank, however, don't show an equivalent pride.

(click to enlarge)

Cedar-Riverside Mural

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Part of a mural, Cedar-Riverside district of Minneapolis. (click to enlarge)

Walkers in the City

In the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, which has a large Somali population. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Part of a mural, Cedar Avenue. (click to enlarge)

Signs and Reflections

Storefronts on Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Cedar-Riverside wall. (click to enlarge)

Reflections

Shop fronts on Cedar Avenue near the West Bank of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Compare with the pictures posted earlier today - all from the same bulletin board. (click to enlarge)

Campus Advertising

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Happy!


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Maybe not so much.

Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Morrill Hall, University of Minnesota. (click to enlarge)

Golden Light

The golden light of late afternoon and early evening is often thought to be the best for landscape and other scenic photography. In some cases, however, this light can be duplicated simply by tweaking the white balance in the camera or in post-processing. As in this example: tweaked version on top, original below. Both nice. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Trailer Hookup

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Newberg, Oregon. (click to enlarge)

Ominous Dolls

Seen in a shop window in the Pearl District, Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Against a wall in the Pearl District, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Old Industrial Buildings

Seen in early evening light from Fields Park in the Pearl District, Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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A picture that I posted yesterday in color, redone here in a dark black and white and cropped to a longer aspect ratio to emphasize my sense of the somber nature of the scene with the abandoned framework and the dark, reflective water. On the Willamette River near Newberg, Oregon.

(click to enlarge)

Reflections

Reflecting pool, rusted rails, and high-rise in Tanner Springs Park, Pearl District, Portland Oregon. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Decayed posts in the Willamette River near Newberg, Oregon. (click to enlarge)

Canoeing on the Willamette River

From Chehalem Paddle Launch in Newberg, Oregon. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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It's dinner time - feed me! Pearl District, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Squash and Peppers

Portland Farmers Market. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Shop window and reflections in Pearl District, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Allium

Portland Farmers Market. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Picture of the Day

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Shop window in the Pearl District, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Purples

Portland Farmers Market. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Vertical tanning booth, Fields Neighborhood Park, Pearl District, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Variants

For yesterday's "Picture of the Day" I posted a photo of bright green dill at the Portland Farmers Market. Here are a couple of variations that tone down the brightness. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Portland Farmers Market. (click to enlarge)

Reds

Portland Farmers Market. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Heirloom tomatoes at the Portland Farmers Market. (click to enlarge)

Greens

Portland Farmers Market. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Maroon and gold in front of Coffman Union, University of Minnesota. (click to enlarge)

Mushrooms

Portland Farmers Market on the Portland State University campus. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Sidewalk sculpture in the Pearl District, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Black and White

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Black and white conversion


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Original. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Light rail tracks on Washington Avenue through the University of Minnesota. Major construction is done, but communications and testing will take months more.
(click to enlarge)

Crane Variations

Our University of Minnesota campus has a lot of construction going on this summer, and I've been exploring the look of cranes against the sky. Here are some variations made with presets in onOne Software's Perfect Effects 4 in the Perfect Photo Suite 7. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Geometries

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East River Road Parking Garage, University of Minnesota. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Maroon and gold, in front of Coffman Union, University of Minnesota. (click to enlarge)

Overheads

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Convention Center carpet, Orlando. (click to enlarge)

Light and Shadow

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Nils Hasselmo Hall, University of Minnesota. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Student Union

Coffman Union at the University of Minnesota. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Welcome mat, Hasselmo Hall. (click to enlarge)

Crane

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Working on the addition to the Chemical Engineering Building, University of Minnesota. Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Fountain, Coffman Union. (click to enlarge)

Focus

Coffman Union at the University of Minnesota. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Student Union

In the basement of Coffman Union, University of Minnesota. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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New window wall for Amundson Hall. (click to enlarge)

Portraits

From a mural in Coffman Union at the University of Minnesota. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Nitrogen fixation? (click to enlarge)

Tree

Challenge: Make two completely different photos of the same scene.

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Moody: Gnarled roots and trunk in subdued black and white


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Abstract: Moss on the trunk in bright yellow-green

Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Verdant Portland. (click to enlarge)

Victorian Lady

A formidable woman, sculpted from a dead tree trunk, on Summit Avenue in Saint Paul. Two versions. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Saint Paul Flowers

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Sculpture on Grand Avenue, Saint Paul. The inscription reads

"William Francis Skally
1908-1989
St. Paul Police Officer 1941-1973"

"Officer Skally would often buy winter boots for children who did not have any.
A beat cop in the old Rondo neighborhood.
A true community police officer."


(click to enlarge)

Sketches

Why do I maintain this blog? Mostly it's to show photos that I think have some aesthetic and/or psychological interest from my travels or current location. But occasionally the blog serves as a sketchbook, to try out some ideas and alternative treatments that may or may not lead to anything of permanent worth. David duChemin had an interesting recent blog on the topic of sketching in photography.


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I recently posted this photo of an old street in Brasov, Romania.


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When I looked at it a couple of days ago, I thought that the street might imply an older, darker mood. So I processed the photo in that direction.


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Of course, black and white can be the best representation of "older and darker", hence this version.

Which of these is best? There's probably no sensible answer to that question, but it's interesting to explore alternatives in this online sketchbook. Click photos to enlarge them.


Picture of the Day (Two Variations)

Two versions of a view from the roof of the Washington Avenue Parking Ramp at the University of Minnesota, past ongoing construction, toward downtown Minneapolis. I like both of them, though they're very different. Click photos to enlarge them.

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The original color version, with slightly enhanced saturation.


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Black and white version.

Portland's Japanese Garden

Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Rose Garden

Portland's International Rose Test Garden. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Portland Colors

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Portland (click to enlarge)

Sparks Lake Postcards

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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Amundsen Hall, University of Minnesota. (click to enlarge)

Sparks Lake Details

Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Japanese Garden, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Sparks Lake

Sparks Lake is located about 25 miles west of Bend, Oregon off the Cascades Lakes Highway. There are several lakes along this road, but Sparks is perhaps the best known and most beautiful. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Japanese Garden, Portland. (click to enlarge)

Cascades Scenes

A couple of views from Newberry National Volcanic Monument south of Bend, Oregon. Click photos to enlarge them.

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The Three Sisters in the distance


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Paulina Lake

Picture of the Day

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Big Obsidian Flow. This is a "detail", perhaps 5x5 ft, but it would probably look pretty similar if viewed from farther away or closer up. In other words, fractal. (click to enlarge)

Big Obsidian Flow

In Newberry National Volcanic Monument south of Bend, Oregon. Some chunks of shiny black obsidian are visible, but the greatest impression comes from the great height and volume of the volcanic flow, and its abrupt edges. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Ever optimistic, a tiny fir tree tries to establish itself in the rocks.

Picture of the Day

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Deschutes River in Bend. (click to enlarge)

Portland Colors

From a walk around our neighborhood a couple of days ago. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day (with Variations)

The color photo was taken in Bend, Oregon. The black and white variants were produced with three of the b&w presets in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Scenes in Bend, Oregon

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Landmarks of the Old Mill District in Bend, formerly atop a lumber mill, now the REI Building.


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I asked him how long he had been working on his tattoos. He said, "I'm 31 now, and I started when I was 18, and I'm not done yet."


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Friendship, Bend style.

Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Where's the Rocket?

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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This gives a reasonably accurate impression of the vibe of Bend, Oregon - except that it seems like a very cheerful place. (click to enlarge)

Amateur Rocketry Gathering

In the high desert scrub near Brothers, about 40 miles east of Bend, Oregon. My primary impression was of the wide-openness of the place. Click photos to enlarge them.


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A scenic work environment


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Work stations and living places


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The necessities


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Sleeping quarters


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Sun screen


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PA system


Picture of the Day - Rocket Landing

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The Portland State rocket, supported by its main parachute, is about to come back to earth. The orange first parachute has become wrapped around the rocket, with its lines dangling below. This photo was taken at the launch site, a distance of probably 1-2 miles from the landing site, with a 300 mm-equivalent lens, and the original file was cropped roughly in half for better composition. Hence the poor resolution. But the line from where the photo was taken to the shoulder of the hill in the background helped to locate the rocket where it had fallen in the sagebrush.

PSU Rocket Launch Team

Some photos of the PSAS team members from Portland State University as they prepared for the launch of their rocket yesterday. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Picture of the Day - Rocket Launch

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We spent the day at an amateur rocket launching event near Brothers in central Oregon. The Portland State U team, led by Elsa's son Andrew Greenberg, had the most sophisticated rocket. The launch was a cliffhanger, but it finally happened, and this is what it looked like from about 1/4 mile away. I was shooting at 10 fps, and the rocket was out of the next frame. I estimate that its initial velocity was about 100 m/s and its acceleration about 10 G.

Tubing on the Deschutes River

In Bend, Oregon. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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A few days ago I posted a black and white picture of this sculpture/construction in the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota. This time I was struck by the subtle pink coloring, so I relinquished the square b&w format for the occasion. (click to enlarge)

Valley of Roses

A couple of pretty scenes on the grounds of the rose oil distillery in the Valley of Roses in Bulgaria. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Weisman Art Museum. (click to enlarge)

Crafts in Plovdiv

Weaver and ceramic plates in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Ottoman Influences

In the Old City of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Plovdiv Streets

Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Arts in Old Plovdiv

The Old City has some nice sculptures of a violinist and a painter, and a museum across the street with interesting paintings of rural Bulgarian life. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Complementary Colors

On the streets of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Minneapolis: View from the Guthrie Theater "endless bridge" toward the Central Avenue Bridge with the approach to the Stone Arch Bridge in the foreground. (click to enlarge)

Roman Ruins in Plovdiv

In the center of the city. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Nils Hasselmo Hall at the University of Minnesota. (click to enlarge)

Bulgarian Winery

From our visit to the Todoroff winery near Plovdiv. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Picture of the Day

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At the Weisman Art Museum. (click to enlarge)

Bulgarian Graduation Festivities

In Plovdiv, outside our hotel. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Rila Monastery in Bulgaria

The Rila Monastery in the mountains south of Sofia is amazingly large, colorful, and highly decorated inside and out. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Where the monks live


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The church


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The frescoes on the walls and ceiling of the outer corridors of the church are especially noteworthy.

Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Sofia Churches

Two more church scenes from Sofia, Bulgaria. The first is the exterior of the Old Russian Orthodox Church. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Picture of the Day

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Line, shadow, and texture. (click to enlarge)

St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia

St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral in Sofia, and is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world. Click photos to enlarge them.


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The lion is the symbol of Bulgaria.

Picture of the Day

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Active sky over Minneapolis. (click to enlarge)

Morning in Sofia

A couple of images from the beginning of our trip in Bulgaria. The first is the view from our hotel window toward the west in morning light. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Romanian Faces

A few images that seem to belong together, from our just-concluded tour of Romania. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Brassai was one of the pioneering Hungarian photographers, along with Andre Kertesz, who rose to fame - largely in Paris - between the two world wars. This plaque is on a building across the street from the hotel in which we stayed in Brasov (which was then part of Hungary).


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Eduard Popescu, our guide to Jewish sites in Romania, dressed himself in some props at the National Jewish Theater in Bucharest.


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One of a set of sculptures along the Danube waterfront in Tulcea


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Grillwork on a Tulcea Synagogue door, reminiscent of line drawings of Saul Steinberg (a Romanian Jew) in The New Yorker

Romania: 2013-06-15

Today we flew back in early afternoon to Minnesota from Bucharest via Amsterdam. Our hotel in Bucharest was on a side street near the central square. After breakast we took a stroll around the neighborhood, where I concentrated more on architectural details, street scenes, and grafitti than on the more "touristic" scenes of previous occasions (see the blog for June 3, June 4, and June 12). Click photos to enlarge them.


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Romania: 2013-06-14

This morning we took a boat trip through a small part of the Danube Delta near Tulcea. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Danube delta flooded forest


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Russian fishermen's camp

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We went into a lake fringed by trees in which were roosting many cormorants.


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By happy accident one of the cormorants flew low near our boat, so I got a good "bird in flight" picture.


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In the early afternoon we went to the Synagogue in Tulcea, which is under renovation inside and out.


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We then visited the Old Cemetery, to see if we could find any evidence of Elsa's ancestors -- without success.


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Dr. Solomon Faimblat, President of the Tulcea Jewish Community. He is a professor at the local university, where he teaches engineering, mathematics, computer programming, and basketball.


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Dr. Faimblat with our knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide, Eduard Popescu, outside the cemetery.

Romania: 2013-06-13

Yesterday we drove from Bucharest to Galati, a city on the Danube Delta, to begin our investigation of possible records of Elsa's ancestors in this region. We first went to the synagogue in Galati, a large, handsome building that's in the midst of restoration. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Vic and Elsa with Dr. Sorin Blumer, the President of the Jewish Community of Galati: a very impressive person who is a high-level engineer who has worked on off-shore oil and gas projects around the world.


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Transcribing pages of old birth and death records from handwriting to computer


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After getting some potentially useful information from the Synagogue, we drove to the Jewish Cemetery, where we found a ceremony of Heroes Day in process. Here are two soldiers guarding a monument commemorating the Romanian Jewish soldiers who died in WW II.


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We didn't find the gravestone we were looking for (the older areas are virtually jungle) but we did find some interesting things, including this line of gravestones for soldiers killed in 1917 in WW I. Note the helmet on each monument, and the fresh carnation laid on each grave.


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We then drove to the ferry across the Danube to Tulcea, where we will do some more searching tomorrow. This picture is of the ship-handling cranes on the far side of the river.

Romania: 2013-06-12

Very early this morning we flew from Cluj to Bucharest, where we were met by Eduard, who will serve as our guide and driver for a three-day exploration of Danube delta records and cemeteries for information about my wife's distant relatives. We began with a half-day tour of places and people in Bucharest. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Mr. Solomon Siegel, 88 years old, in the Yeshua Tova (Lubavitscher) Synagogue


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Lobby and concert hall of the Atheneum


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Detail of the Holocaust Memorial


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"The Architect", a scholar who has compiled a major book on the Bucharest synagogues, in the Great Synagogue, which hosts a major exhibition on "Memorial of Jewish Martyrs"


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Marcel, the Production Manager at the National Jewish Theater, in a cafe


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The Tailors' Synagogue, which also hosts the Jewish Museum in Bucharest


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Recently restored exterior of the Coral Synagogue. The interior is still under renovation.

Romania: 2013-06-10

This morning we walked around the streets of Cluj-Napoca. There were lots of historic buildings and grafitti, but for this blog I'm concentrating on pictures of people on the street. Click photos to enlarge them.


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In the late afternoon we had a lecture and discussion about contemporary Romania with a young economist and psychologist:

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For dinner we went to a dinner arranged by the Theodidacticos Foundation, where we were warmly welcomed by the Director (who had hosted Elderhostel/Road Scholar meetings for the past 18 years)

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We had lively discussions with a student:

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and a translator:

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Romania: 2013-06-09

Today was a long drive from Bucovina (Gora Humorului) back to Transylvania (Cluj-Napoca). We stopped at a few places along the way. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Perhaps nobody is more responsible for the "popular" image of Transylvania than Bram Stoker, who patterned his fictional Dracula vampire character after Vlad the Impaler. Stoker's statue is on the grounds of Hotel Castle Dracula in Step Tihuta.


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Fireplace and candlestick in the coffee room of the hotel


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Lunch was in Bistrita, where the ostrich is the town symbol


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An attractive synagogue, though used only for special cultural events


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With a Holocaust memorial in a park across the street


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In the afternoon we stopped in Bontida to view the ruins and restoration work on Banffy Castle. Outside the gate was this horse and cart, still a common conveyance in the Romanian countryside.


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Above are four photos of the Banffy Castle complex.


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After dinner in Cluj we took an evening walk through downtown. Above are a couple of photos from the walk.

Romania: 2013-06-08

Today we used Gura Humorului as a base to visit four of the famous painted monasteries of Bucovina - all UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Voronet Monastery. The others looked generally like this from afar.


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Our tour leader, Arpad, lecturing in front of a great mural


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Detail: the saved


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Cemetery of the Voronet Monastery


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Two details from the Moldovita Monastery. The first shows cannons at the siege of Constantinople.


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Ukranian kids competing over the sale of Easter eggs


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Horse and wagon passing a farmstead near the Moldovita Monastery


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Two details from the Sucevita Monastery. Note the grafitti on the top one. Some murals at all the monasteries were similarly afflicted.


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Ceramics workshop


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Abandoned Jewish cemetery on our wqy back to Gura Humorului


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A funeral procession crossed our path near the Humorului Monastery. Note the open casket, with the lid carried behind.


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Exterior and interior from the Humorului Monastery. In the latter, the nearer nun is reading a permitted part of the liturgy, while the other one prays.


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Woman in a window, seen on our evening walk

Romania: 2013-06-06

A day in Brasov and environs. Click photos to enlarge them.


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View from our hotel window on a rainy morning


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A small church in the forest on the way to Bran Castle (the castle of the fictitious Dracula, used in the movie)


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Spires of a tin-roofed church near Bran Castle


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Tourist (or Chicago Sun-Times reporter?) taking a picture with an iPhone from a window of Bran Castle


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Waiting for entry to the castle


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Bearskin rug


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Dark stairway


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Chimneys on mossy roof on a building near the castle


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In the afternoon we explored the heart of old Brasov. This is the fountain in the center of the city square, with historic buildings in the background.


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Statues on the wall of the cathedral


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The exterior of the synogogue that is still in use. It's in an interior courtyard flanked by other buildings.


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Interior of the synagogue


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The old Guild Hall, now City Hall, framed by a narrow old street


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Exterior of the Greek Orthodox church. Like the synagogue, it is in a courtyard and hidden from the street.


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Iconostasis of the Greek Orthodox church


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Old buildings against a forested hillside that bounded the old city


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Street in the old city


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In an old courtyard/alleyway


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View of the top of the old synagogue, no longer in use, from the hill above the old city, with a clock tower in the background. We were unable to access this synagogue from the street.

Romania: 2013-06-05

Sorry for the gap in blog posting. It turns out that the UM spam filter blocks certain Eastern European sites - but not all of them, fortunately.

Today we drove from Bucharest to Brasov - a large, formerly highly industrialized city under Communist rule - with several interesting stops along the way. Click photos to enlarge them.


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The bartender who made us coffee at a morning bus stop.


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Our main destination en route was Peles Castle, the summer residence of the Romanian royal family. This lady was making and selling lace at one of the shops outside the castle grounds.


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A particularly fierce lion guarding the stairs to the castle.


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In the armor collection


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Balcony in the King's library


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Dining room


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At the head of a stairway


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Statues on the terrace overlooking the gardens


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Railing on the walk down from the castle


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Back on the road, an old tile roof in the late afternoon sunlight


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Statue and poster near the door to our hotel


Romania: 2013-06-04

A packed, interesting day in and near downtown Bucharest. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Near the square where the 1989 revolution took place.


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A small, old church nearby, with modern accoutrements


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Palace of Parliament. The next four pictures are of the grandiose inside of this remarkable building - the second largest and the heaviest in the world.


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View from the balcony of the Palace of Parliament down the "Champs Elysee"


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A downtown establishment


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Lunch at Caru Cu Bere, an old-time classic


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A very good string quartet accompanied our lunch.


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Old downtown buildings with strange attachments


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Prayer in an old church


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In the Open Air Village Museum


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Detail of a shingled church in the Open Air Village Museum

Romania: 2013-06-03

This morning we flew from Sofia, Bulgaria to Bucharest, Romania. We'll be in Romania until June 15. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Leaving the airport, I noticed these reflections in the glass wall of the terminal.


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A Stalinesque building which used to be called "The Palace of the Press" and is now called "The Palace of the Free Press".


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For contrast, a humble hut, glorified by grafitti, in Herastrau Park where our hotel is located.


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The park has a fairly large lake, which provides a pleasant venue for walking, biking...


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... and fishing.

Bulgaria: 2013-06-02

Bulgaria: 2013-06-02

Our last day in Bulgaria, starting the morning in Veliko Tarnovo, driving to Tryavna and then to Etara, and then returning to Sofia, from which we'll fly tomorrow morning to Bucharest, Romania.

Click photos to enlarge them.


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Mist on the hills over Veliko Tarnovo


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One of several excellent grafitti in a stairwell near our hotel in Veliko Tarnovo


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Man enjoying morning coffee in Tryavna


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Tryavna has a fine museum that shows the virtuoso woodcarving tradition of the region, while the grounds outside display contemporary art.


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Announcing recent deaths by necrologs


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Large (ca. three story) mosaic at the entrance to the Etara handicraft park


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Characteristic Etara roof of schist that has become covered with moss


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Vigorously falling water powers the traditional machines in Etara.


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Painter of icons


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Wood stored for the winter

Bulgaria: 2013-06-01

A day in and near Veliko Tarnovo, a picturesque hillside town. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Shadow of a chimney on a tile roof in the early morning sun.


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Wall on the hilltop fortress of Tsarevets


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Door of the Church of the Patriarchate on Tsarevets Hill


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Mural inside the Church of the Patriarchate. A self-portrait of the painter is at the extreme left.


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View down to the town from Tsarevets Hill


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The hall in the Museum of the National Revival, where the First Bulgarian Constitution was adopted in 1879.


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Some of our tour group in the beautifully decorated Nativity Church, dating from the 17th-18th centuries


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Dancers preparing for a folk festival


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Billboard and magazine stand in Veliko Tarnovo


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Old women taking an afternoon break


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Spinning thin noodles for baklava-like dessert


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Ceramics vendor on crafts street in Veliko Tarnovo

Bulgaria: 2013-05-31

Another wide-ranging day, with lots of driving around the country. Click photos to enlarge them.


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The first site was the Madara Horse Rider Rock-Cut Relief, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can't tell from the photo, but this bas relief is roughly life size, and is about 90 feet up on the cliff face.


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Other things about the site were nearly as striking, includidng the 220 stairs up to the base of the cliff,


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the dramatic forest through which the stairs ascend,


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the beautiful stone wall at the base of the stairs,


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and some of the most luxuriant roses we've ever seen.


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Next we went to the Tombul Mosque in the town of Shumen, the largest mosque in Bulgaria. It was under renovation, but the interior and some of the details were impressive.


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Finally, we went to the Royal Tomb of Sveshtari, dating from the 4th-3rd centuries BCE, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's a unique example of Thracian art and architecture.

Bulgaria: 2013-05-30

We spent a full day in Varna, Bulgaria's second largest city, and its major port on the Black Sea. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Exhibits in the very fine Archeological Museum.


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A memorial in the form of a shofar, erected by the Jewish community in Varna to thank the Bulgarians who saved them from the Nazis, located in a garden in front of the Archeological Museum.


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Exterior and interior of the Varna Cathedral (Bulgarian Orthodox)


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Aquatic Center in Varna's Sea Park.


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Three portraits. The middle one is of Krisi, a college student who met with some of our tour group to talk about the life of young people in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria: 2013-05-29

We spent the morning looking at antiquities in Nessebar, an ancient city on the Black Sea that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historic center is distressingly overrun with tacky shops selling gaudy souveniers, but the antiquities are stunning nonetheless.

Click photos to enlarge them.

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Items in the fine Archeological Museum


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Detail of a replica of an icon in the Archeological Museum


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Details of ancient churches


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Perhaps the only classy commercial display we saw in Nessebar.


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In the afternoon we drove north along the Black Sea coast to Varma, where we'll spend the next two nights. These are two views of the ruined Roman baths, the fourth largest in the Roman Empire.

Bulgaria: 2013-05-28

Today we drove from Plovdiv through the Valley of Roses (Valley of the Thracian Kings) to Nessebar on the Black Sea coast: a long day but an interesting one through some picturesque countryside. Click photos to enlarge them.


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First stop was the spa resort town of Hissarya, ancient Diocletianopolis. Impressive ruins of Roman walls, gates, and baths.


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Next we visited a rose oil distillery, observing fields of pink (damask) and white (rosa alba) roses (rather sparse at the end of the season),


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and learning how the rose petals are distilled into rose oil.


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Each of the bags weighs 17 kilos.


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An old still.


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A friendly but somewhat skeptical dog.


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Baskets for picking roses on a picturesque tile-topped wall.


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Pretty in pink: Selling rose-oil-based products


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After lunch we visited the replica site of the 4th century BCE Thracian tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then about four hours drive to Nessebar. We were glad to get off the bus.

Bulgaria: May 27, 2013

This was our day to explore Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria, and a rather attractive one. Some of its attractions are Roman ruins, a large and handsome mosque, a picturesque Old Town, a lively arts scene, and an active pedestrian mall in the modern part of the city. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Ceiling of the light and colorful mosque.


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Detail of the exterior of the mosque.


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Roman ampitheater


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Ruins of the city wall built by the Romans, looking out on the valley surrounding Plovdiv.


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Lovers on the wall (taken with a long telephoto lens).


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Mural near Old Town


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Table in a room of a wealthy merchant's home, maintained as a museum in Old Town.


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Statue of a painter in Old Town.


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When the artists aren't painting canvases, they're producing grafitti of better than average quality.


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The pedestrian mall near our hotel was also full of visual interest.


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At the end of the afternoon we visited a winery a half-hour from the city. It's a small, "boutique" winery, but the steel tanks looked pretty capacious.


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This woman led us in an instructive comparative tasting of five red wines. The paintings on the walls have been used on the bottle labels.

Bulgaria: May 26, 2013

Our internet connection in Plovdiv, for some reason, didn't allow connection to the University of Minnesota blog site, so I've been unable to post for the past two days. I'll try to catch up. Click photos to enlarge them.

We bused from Sofia to Rila Mountain to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Rila Monastery - a truly remarkable place. Large, decorated on every surface, wealthy, interesting details as well as overall impressions.

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View of the large courtyard and monastery. Church on the right.


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A wonderfully elaborately carved door in the museum.


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Our tour guide, Katya Melamed, explaining the imagery of a mural.


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A priest or monk reading in the church.


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Lighting candles in the church.


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Detail of a mural depicting the sufferings of sinners in hell, on the exterior of the church.


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Lunch at a rural restaurant that specializes in trout, raised locally. A very rapid stream runs past it down the mountain.


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There are a bunch of scruffy fishing/camping huts on the grounds.


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We passed a town in which many storks have built nests on the chimneys.


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Arriving in Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria, we found ourselves in the middle of loud, raucus high school graduation and prom celebrations. The girls were all wearing five inch stiletto heels.

Afternoon Stroll in Sofia

After returning from the day's tour and taking a short nap, we walked down Vitosha Street - the high-class street in central Sofia - to the Sephardic Synagogue, the largest in Europe. We knew it would be closed, because it's Saturday, but we wanted to see it anyhow. These are some photos taken along the way. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Along Vitosha Street


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Pastry shop in indoor market near synagogue


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Facade of Sephardic Synagogue


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Mannequin advertising a pizzeria


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Strange flower girl in wedding dress shop window


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Sidewalk cafe on Vitosha Street


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Break dancers


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Resting on a lazy afternoon

Day Tour in Sofia

Our first and only full day in Sofia. These photos are from our tour of some of the major sites/sights. Click photos to enlarge them.

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St. Alexander Nevski Church


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St. Alexander Nevski Church


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Ticket-seller at St. Sophia Basilica


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Russian Church


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Fountain in park


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Roman Serdica Fortifications


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Statue of St. Sophia


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Church of Sveta Nedelya


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Church of Sveta Nedelya


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Archeological Museum


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Archeological Museum


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Booth in Happy Bar & Grill where we had lunch


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Frescos in earliest room (8th C) of Boyana Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site


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Paintings for sale outside Boyana Church

Rooftops of Sofia, Bulgaria

View from our window on the eighth floor of the Central Park Hotel. Photos taken using the Olympus "Dramatic Tone" art filter, which seems to go well with the old tile roofs of the city. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Pictures of the Day

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Click photos to enlarge them.

We will be traveling for the next several weeks in Bulgaria and Romania. I hope to post a travelog on this blog, but postings may be erratic depending on internet access.

Vines

In the back alley. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Newly planted hostas. (click to enlarge)

Underground

Basement of the Blair Arcade in Saint Paul. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Blair Arcade, Saint Paul. (click to enlarge)

After the Rain

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(click to enlarge)

Picture of the Day

Some scenes just demand to be in vivid color. The Nathan Hale statue in the park at the intersection of Summit, Portland, and Western in Saint Paul. Read about the statue's history here. (click to enlarge)

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Stairways

Interesting geometries in our Saint Paul neighborhood. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Seen in Portland

Just wandering around. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Potatoes at the Farmers' Market


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Exercise class

Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Guthrie Theater Facade

The exterior of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis is adorned with large portraits of famous playwrights. Here are a couple. When the weather is nice, Sea Change restaurant serves dinner on the plaza. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Anton Chekhov observing


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August Wilson reflecting

Picture of the Day

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Mural, Coffman Union, University of Minnesota (click to enlarge)

Stadium Village Scenes

Near the University of Minnesota. Click photos to enlarge them.

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A Walker Evans-like scene (I wish).


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Reflections are fun to play with.

Picture of the Day

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Mixed messages at the Light Rail. (click to enlarge)

Afternoon Break

Relaxing on a warm spring afternoon at the University of Minnesota. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Suspension

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Sometimes the aim of a photograph is to show, sometimes it's to puzzle... (click to enlarge)

Picture of the Day

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MSP Terminal 2. (click to enlarge)

Musicians

Performers at the Portland Farmers' Market. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Pictures of the Day

Flying from PDX to MSP. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Produce

Farmers' Market in Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the day

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Carlos the Chihuahua (click to enlarge)

Shoppers

Farmers' Market at Portland State University. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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On the Portland Streetcar. (click to enlarge)

Japanese School

A classroom in the Japanese immersion program school in Portland that our grand-daughter attends. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Green in Portland

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

People's Market

Colorful scenes from the People's Market in Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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People's Market, Portland. (click to enlarge)

To Cross the Water

Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Pictures of the Day

City Market in Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Life in Flux

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Cannon Beach