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Category: Travel   |   View all recent posts

HDR Cloud Images
WHAT: Random, Travel   |   WHEN: July 8, 2010   |   WHERE: Outside My Front Door
I was sitting inside working in my office yesterday when Kylie strolled in from walking the dog with the neighbors and casually said, "Storm's roling in... you're missing the clouds.  There's good light out there, but you better hurry; it's starting to sprinkle."  In about 11 seconds, before my chair stopped completely spinning, I was outside with camera in hand.  You've heard of storm chasers?  I was light chasing.

She was right.  There was good light out there.  And those clouds were ridiculous. 

I took a couple images before the weather completely turned, and here's 2 of my favorites.  These are HDR (High Dynamic Range) images, and you can see a tutorial I posted about how I create them here.


In Louvre - A Paris Wrap-Up
WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes, Travel   |   WHEN: May 22, 2010

I spent the last night in Paris outside the Louvre, and it truly is breathtaking.  I mentioned on Facebook that few things genuinely amaze me anymore, but the Louvre, especially as night time fell and the lights came on, genuinely amazed me.  The photos below don't do justice to this place.  It's scale is massive, and it's architectural  and aesthetic prowess is even massiver.  Yes, massiver.  It's ornateness is something to marvel; so much so that it's unfathomable to me how it was even designed and built in phases hundreds of years ago.  I mean seriously, we can't even make a roof that lasts 20 years these days.

It started out as a fortress back in the 12th century and was then converted to a royal palace in the 14th century before finally being made into a public gallery at the end of the 18th century.  What's astounding is that the Louvre only occupies 3 wings of the former palace.  Incredible.  Oh, and in case you're interested, the glass pyramid which functions as the main entrance, wasn't added until 1989.  I can't tell you how much I was impressed by this place.

I've included just a few of the images from that evening below.  I got to the Louvre around 9:00 pm and had just over an hour of sunlight left.  It doesn't get dark in Paris until just after 10pm, which works out well for visitors trying to see as much as they can in a couple days.. 

By the way, in case you've never seen it and don't think you'll ever get there, I created a very quick iPhone video to show it to you.  Here's the Louvre in 7 seconds.  In case that's too quick for you, here's some images you can peruse at your own pace.

This next one was actually just outside the Metro station before walking into the main grounds of the Louvre.

Sorry, this was left over from the day before.  Not at all related to the Louvre; just seeing if you were paying attention.

If you look towards the bottom of the middle opening in the arc monument below, you can see the much bigger Arc de Triumph way far away in the distance.

One of the many outside corridors.

I used my 14-24mm wide angle lens at 14mm to get the image below of the intersection of two corridors.

An abstract image of the glass pyramid support structure rods.

I really like this image looking over the water at the base of the pyramid.


Déjà Vu is Appropriately French
WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes, Travel   |   WHEN: May 20, 2010
Feels like I was just in Pari... never mind.  It's been a long week, and I'm lookin' forward to headin' home to see my sweetie tomorrow.  I did see the Louvre (well, at least the outside) for the first time this evening.  As much as I love beautiful images, I'm not really a museum kinda guy.  I get bored quickly and start applying the art blanket rule after about 30 minutes, meaning I admittedly unjustly start saying "Yeah, I know these are great paintings by master artists and all, but they kinda look a lot like the ones we just saw in the last 3 rooms.  Can we go get ice cream?"  That's when I know it's time to hit the door.  Sadly, though, if you take me to any factory tour where they show you how they make Coke bottles, automobile headlights, Twinkies, etc. and I'm in total bliss.  Sorry, Monet.

I'm headin' to the airport in a few hours, so I need to go get reacquainted with my pillow for a bit.  In the meantime here's a few random images from some downtime I had.

This little guy rocked.  Didn't matter what kinda face I made at him, he gave me the same you're an idiot and your blockin' my view look.

I don't know what it is about Vespas, but I'm a fan.  One of these days when Kylie's not lookin', I'm gonna get one.

TONS of people sitting outside on any grass you could find.  Amazing weather.

I kept having birds show up in all my images for a while.  It was cool at first, but got annoying after a while.  Then I realized this was a piece of dust on my camera sensor.

An HDR image with multiple exposures processed from  single RAW file.

This guy was resting in one of the gardens in a patch of sunlight.

No idea who these people were, but I appreciate them starring at me and looking cool for this image.


Greetings from Paris
WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes, Travel   |   WHEN: May 17, 2010
Back in Paris for a couple days this week.  Not much free time so far, so here's just a couple. 

Happy birthday, Kylie!  I love you and can't wait to see you on Friday!  Miss you lots!!


Paris ~ Part Quatre
WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes, Travel   |   WHEN: April 13, 2010
This is the last post of images from the recent trip to Paris; after this, it's back to regularly scheduled programming.

The Eiffel Tower is likely the most-famous of all the Paris icons - arguably the most recognizabe landmark in the world - and yet for as much as we see it in movies, photos, etc., it's still even more impressive when you experience it in person.  It's massive in size and still mind-boggling how it was even designed, let alone built. 

Unfortunately, like the Arc de Triomphe, the tower had some renovation work going on with some netting and scaffolding around part of the base, so it was difficult to photograph the tower up close without getting some of that in the image.  The have to repaint the tower every 7 years, and it looked like they were starting that process again as well as updating the lifts in a couple of the legs while we were there.

And as a bonus from our trip, here's a quick iPhone video showing the sparkling lights on the tower at night:

And here's a few of my favorite images of the tower.

I think what I like about this next image is that it begins to show the massive scale of the tower.

Kylie chillin' (literally) in the gardens in front of the tower.

This is from the 2nd deck of the Eiffel Tower.  It was windy and in the lower 40's by this time, and i didn't have a jacket, so we didn't last long before heading back down. 

A merry-go-round out in front of the tower.  While I was taking this, Kylie was ordering up some delish crepes.

A few random images before heading to the graveyard.

And here we are now at Père Lachaise, one of the more famous graveyards in Paris and home of the final resting place of - among other notable people - Jim Morrison.  It's a little morbid, but the graveyard was one of my favorite stops because of the amazing architecture and textures found there. 

This first image below shows a row of typical monuments of families each with a set of decorative doors that opens to a small interior with a memorial/shrine including family member names, often flowers, and some type of small opening or stained glass window on the back wall.  Kinda creepy, but very cool.

There was a large crematorium near the center of the graveyard (right side of the image).

More cool doors... very typical of many of the memorials.

Below is the grave for French journalist Victor Noir, reportedly portraying his body as it fell after he was shot in 1870 by Prince Pierre Bonaparte.  Myth says that placing a flower in the upturned top hat after kissing the statue on the lips and rubbing its, um, genital area will bring fertility, a blissful sex life, or, in some versions, a husband within the year. As a result of the legend, those particular components of the oxidized bronze statue are rather, ahem, well-worn. 

And no, Kylie did not perform the bizarre ritual with Victor's monument.  I know someone would ask if I didn't mention it.

There were several people crowded around Jim Morrison's gravesite, so I couldn't get a very good image of it... although ironically enough there's not much to photograph as it's one of the most non-descript memorials in the whole cemetery even though it's stil the most visited.  There used to be a cement bust if him here, but it was stolen years ago and repalced with a more simple head stone marker.

You could do a whole series on defferent cross styles you'll find in the graveyard, and I did.  You'll see just a couple of them in some of the following images.

Boo!  Freaky, right?


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