FOTD: Rose

I took many photos of flowers at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma shortly after it had rained. This is a beauty from the rose garden.
Posted for Cee’s FOTD 9/29/19. (I am sticking to flowers as long as possible – I don’t want to let go of summer! When there are beautiful fall leaves to photograph, I may post them here. So far, I haven’t seen any.)

Lens-Artists’ #65: A Place With Special Memories…Sedona

I have been to so many places, in the U.S. and abroad. Every place has been memorable and I thought of the places that were most meaningful to me for this photo challenge: Lens-Artists’ #65 – Pick a Special Place. Scotland – my mother took us on an ancestors’ tour there in 1999 and visited the actual homestead where my 3-greats-grandmother lived. That was very special, but I have no digital photos of it. A couple of other very special places we traveled to came to mind: Tanzania – our safari there was the most amazing trip I’ve ever taken, and Egypt – I fell in love with the ancient ruins of a civilization over 3,500 years old. But I have blogged extensively about both of those trips. So I return to my childhood: I was privileged to attend high school in one of the most beautiful places in the United States and today a major tourist attraction – Sedona, Arizona. At the time I attended high school there, Sedona was just a small town in a beautiful setting where movies were sometimes filmed – it was not well-known then; just a sleepy artists’ colony of sorts. So here are some photos of Sedona, or more specifically, the high school that changed my life and my world view, Verde Valley School.

I start with some photos I took when I was at school there. In my senior year, I was learning photography and developing my own black & white photos in the campus darkroom.

I attended reunions in 2005 and 2006, and then didn’t return until December of 2015, when we were passing through on our way to the Grand Canyon. Here are a few from 2006.

View from inside the chapel – Cathedral Rock
“Brenda” the bus with Napoleon Rock in the distance. We used to take field trips in green buses like this one, which had been repurposed  as a store for VVS memorabilia.
This is a much older me in front of Rollie’s Camera Shop in Sedona, a place I spent considerable time and money during my high school days.

In June of 2018, Dale and I attended a 3-day anniversary reunion, celebrating the school’s 70th year. Unlike other reunions, there were people from all different classes and it was fun to get to know some of those I had never met and reconnect with those who had been there at the same time I was.

We were greeted with this sign painted on the side of a truck we had also used for transportation way back when. It was positioned along the dirt road leading to the campus.
My dorm room my sophomore year was the one at the top of the stairs.
The school “farm” – a new addition on campus. They grow a variety of vegetables and spices which are used by the cooks to feed the multitudes. One of the projects that weekend was making “seed balls” to add to the garden – but only the gardener and I showed up! It was fun getting our hands muddy with the wet red sandstone dirt.
Cathedral Rock in early evening in June
Looking through a window from the buffet table to where people are gathering for our last brunch on campus before returning to our ordinary lives.
Painting this geometric mural was the beginning of someone’s project, which was never finished – we were all supposed to write our names or whatever we wanted to say in black paint, but that part never got done.
Pathway near the art studio
Another photo of the girls’ dorm, which looks pretty much the same except that in that center circular area there used to be a huge cottonwood tree.
Someone painted one dorm room door this beautiful shade of blue and I like the contrast with the turquoise blue of the swing in front.
A student in recent years created this sign “MOTEL” which was the nickname given to the boys’ dorm behind it.
This awesome mural was painted by a class in the early 2000s, but was whitewashed over shortly after this picture was taken in 2006, which made a lot of people angry! These graduates were happy to learn that I had this photo because no one else had ever thought to take a picture of it.

And here are a couple of iconic Sedona landmarks: Bell Rock and Cathedral (taken from Oak Creek – the side facing the school is to the right). Elvis Presley once made a movie with Bell Rock as a backdrop. We students got to see him one day (in 1967) when we were in town, when he was filming a scene on a motorcycle emerging from behind a bank. This view of Bell Rock was the scenery from our back window at a resort/condo we rented with friends for 2006 reunion weekend.

Verde Valley School is today one of the most prestigious private high schools in the United States. This school of about 120 students is known for its location, small teacher-student ratio, and its innovative and inclusive curriculum, with an emphasis on environmental and international studies. Many students, especially foreign students, are attracted by the IB (International Baccalaureate) program that was initiated sometime in the late 1990s. The IB is a rigorous, internationally recognized curriculum. VVS graduates are accepted at all major colleges and universities, well-equipped for the demands of college life. Students at Verde Valley School continue to go on one major field trip each school year, as has always been the case since the school was started, as well as shorter trips at various times a year, and also complete a two-week “project period.” If you think your son or daughter or grandchild would be interested in VVS’s progressive and inclusive program, you can browse the school’s web site


Thursday Doors: the Würzburger Residenz, Würzburg, Germany

June 30, 2019

On a walking tour of the city of Würzburg, Germany, we first visited the palace of the Prince-Bishop, known informally as the Residenz. The palace was built in Austrian/South German Baroque style, with some influence of the French Style, commissioned by Prince-Bishop of Würzburg, Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn in 1720 and completed in 1744.

This is only one façade of this magnificent palace.

When he moved into the first palace constructed, the prince-bishop (these leaders were head of not only the government but also the Church) thought it was rather small – he had fancied something more like the Palace of Versailles outside Paris or Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.  Having won a lot of money in a court case, he used the funds to build an edifice that would show off his power and importance.20190630_141042
He was supported in this endeavor by, among others, his uncle the Archbishop of Mainz and his brother who was Imperial Vice-Chancellor of Vienna from 1704 to 1734. These supporters had influence among architects and artists of the time, supplying the project with men of renown to design and decorate the building.
We were not allowed to take photos inside the building, only outside, but I got some splendid shots of doors, facades and gardens outside.
When Johann Philipp Franz died, his successor, Christoph Franz von Hutton, had no interest in such an opulent palace and ordered all work on it to cease. Work began once more under his successor, including the gardens, and was finally finished in 1744.
Inside we viewed the remarkable frescoes by Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, whose techniques make his paintings appear to be 3D.

This photo, downloaded from Google Images, shows a partial view of Tiepolo’s ceiling fresco.

The palace was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during WWII and restoration has been ongoing since the end of the war. In 1981 the Residenz became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.20190630_141119.jpg
We wandered through the magnificent extensive gardens in back of the Residenz.

From there, I could get better shots of the back of the palace.

I even found an “ex-door”!
It was very hot that day – we were in the middle of a heat wave in Europe – and there was no air conditioning inside the building! After our free time wandering the gardens, our tour group gathered on the front steps of the palace, where a group of teenage girls was practicing some sort of choreographed dance. They were in the shade, but even so, their energy on such a hot day was amazing!

I always enjoy witnessing an activity like this informally done by locals – something tours don’t really show you. Würzburg has several other tourist attractions, including the lovely Cathedral, which I will feature in next week’s Thursday Doors!

Historical information was taken from the Wikipedia article Würzburg Reidence.
Photo of Tiepolo’s fresco and the grand staircase from FAB Senior Travel.


Lens-Artist #64: Countryside and/or Small Town

Lens-Artists #64 has the theme Countryside and/or Small Towns. We saw many beautiful places on our European vacation in June/July. Yes, it was exciting to visit large cities like Paris and Amsterdam, but the most beautiful places were the rural areas and small towns. I also include beautiful country scenes from other trips.

Kinderdijk, the Netherlands, on the Rhine. This is a popular place for cruises to stop because of the beauty of the many windmills. Each windmill is the home of a local family.
Wine-growing on the Main River in Germany
Farm near the border of Germany and Austria
Village in Normandy, France
Besaw Island on the Nile River, Egypt
2-3 lake where we saw flamingos-Arusha NP.jpg
Lake in Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Desert of rural Israel
Scene from Devils Elbow Bridge, Missouri
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Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado


North of Sedona, Arizona


While exploring the botanic gardens at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, Washington, we came across two young doe. They seemed unafraid of humans, but cautious. As we (and others) approached, they kept their eyes on us and were ready to run. So I got no closer than this. I am posting my contribution to Idaho Bluebird 50’s Animal of the Day (AOTD) photo challenge.