LAPC: Long & Winding

Lens-Artists’ 100th(!) photo challenge is long and winding roads.

French countryside, province of Normandy
Not exactly a road, actually it’s a path. But it’s a long way down! Above the town of Arromanches, France and Port Winason. The British created an artificial harbor here using old barges and truck bodies, which was named Port Winston, in preparation for D-Day.
The island of Mont St-Michel is reached by a long causeway at low tide (at high tide, the island is cut off from the shore). Taken from the abbey at the top of Mont St-Michel, France.
Are we looking down at the road just traveled, the road yet to be traveled, or the road not traveled? Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA
The road winds up and down mountains at Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
A long and winding hiking trail (which we did not explore) at Arches National Park, Utah, USA. We were content to photograph the scenery!
A dusty and winding road at the base of Masada plateau, Israel – the workers’ entrance?
A very long and very dusty path for the hardy hikers who take it up to the Masada plateau. Taken from the cable car our group wisely chose!
Another photo of hikers on a very windy path taken from the top, at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.
Not much of the road is visible here, but the sign tells us about it! Near Oatman, Arizona, USA
Around that 15 mph bend in the road and who do we see? A couple of Oatman residents on the road! Oatman, Arizona, an old mining town today survives because of the tourists on Route 66, (of which this is a part), who come for the burros that hang around town – and hike along the road! Oatman has a couple of Route 66 touristy stores and buildings that are the remnants of its mining heyday.
Leaving Sedona, Arizona, after a weekend celebration of the 70th anniversary of Verde Valley School, where I attended high school (but much less than 70 years ago!).

And to end, I can’t resist – because this is what I was singing in my head while composing this post.

RDP: Dancing, Yeah!

Ragtag Daily Prompt today is Dance.

A Sunday afternoon on Avenida Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil: Ballet and…

…political protest batucada: “Fora Temer” – a protest against the vice president (Temer) who took over for Pres. Dilma Roussef after her arrest.

Panama Canal Cruise – in Mexican town of Tuxtla Chico, Chiapas
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Panama Canal Cruise on board m/s Veendam: Mexican dancers
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Verde Valley School 70th anniversary: Saturday night dance

Tuesday Photo Challenge & CFFC: Eye Candy

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week begins a series exploring the five senses. This week is sight. She says: As the saying goes, a picture worth a thousand words. Think of photos you can take or have already taken that remind you of a fabulous sight. I like to call it “Eye Candy”. Several of the photos I picked out are of animals, which is conveniently the topic of Dutch Goes the Photo’s Tuesday Photo Challenge.

A romantic couple: Swans make a “heart” after mating, in one of our community ponds.
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Cheetah mom and cub frolic in Tanzania:
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After watching these two gamboling for about half an hour, I decided the cheetah is now my favorite wild animal!SONY DSC
In a close second place are these adorable genets, who reside at Ndutu Safari Lodge.  They looked down at us with such curious faces, and sat up there so quietly observing the humans down below.
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My youngest “grandcat” Freddie – how can I help falling in love with this guy??
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Here is my own beautiful cat, Hazel! This is an early photo of her, but it has always been my favorite.
This is a beautiful picture of Hazel!
This is a more recent photo of her, taken in our new house.
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I guess it’s clear that I just love cats in general! (Genets are not cats, but they sort of look like cats.)

More eye candy is to be found in the beauty of nature.

A sunset in Tanzania
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Flowers: at Chicago Botanic Gardens
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I love to look at beautiful works of humankind as well.

In St. Matthias Church, Budapest
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If I had to lose either my sight or my hearing, I think I would choose being deaf than missing out on the beauties of our world.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Future

Lens-Artists’ Photo Challenge this week is to depict the topic of future. How can I take photos of something that hasn’t happened yet? Of course, that is impossible, but I can photograph potential and anticipation: the changing of seasons, children growing up, construction sites where buildings are being built on their current foundations.

I read this morning that there are currently six generations of people alive today. The G.I. Generation was born in the years 1900-1924. This generation is disappearing, but a few of them are still living independently in our senior community!

Mother facing the empty shelves
My mother, born in 1917, sat in her empty apartment in 2009 contemplating her future – the last chapter of her life – as we, her children, packed up her possessions in preparation for her move to assisted living. The empty white walls and shelves represented the end of her independence. (She died at the end of 2014.)

The Traditionalists/Silent Generation was born during the Depression and World War II, 1925-1945. Baby Boomers, the largest generation, were born 1946-1964 (this is my generation).

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Members of three generations – my husband, Dale, was born in 1944 and grew up in the 1950s and early 1960s. Behind him is me, born in 1952 – a Baby Boomer. In back, that smiling, handsome young man is my son, Jayme, born in 1985 – a Millennial, because his generation reached adulthood in the 21st century. Every one of us has a future to look forward to, although Dale takes it less for granted than Jayme. Dale and I look to the future as one of travel and pursuit of our own interests in our retirement years. Jayme – assuming he lives as long as we have – will see a very different world: one with altered climate, perhaps shortage of food and hopefully, a more enlightened government that invests in renewable energy. Will his health be compromised from smoking during his young adulthood? Will he quit before that? Will he find the love of his life, get married and have children? Will he publish a book of poems? I wonder about his future when I look at his face. HOPE is always a projection of the future!

Generation X is those born between 1965 and 1979. Millennials were born between 1980 and the late 1990s. Finally, Generation Z (because we don’t know what else to call them yet!) are the kids of today: born in the last years of the 20th century to the 2010s.

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A member of Generation Z is filled with wonder and delight at the ducks around her. She hopefully can look forward to a long future ahead.

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Mason (in lime green hoodie), holds his younger brother, Max, (my grand-nephew) as they watch fireworks over a lake in northern Wisconsin. I have already seen their future – this was taken in 2014, and Mason is no longer a child – he’s in high school, and Max, age 2 or 3 in this photo, is now a second grader.

Each of these generations had or have a future. The older ones have already fulfilled their potential – their hopes and dreams either completed or frustrated. The future they looked toward is now.

In the political arena, I see the youngest two generations as our hope for the future. These are the kids of Parkland High School, who are turning eighteen and have registered to vote; they are 18-year-olds all over the country who are signing up to vote fueled by the passion of their peers, peers such as the survivors of Parkland who saw their classmates gunned down at school, or such as Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old face of the movement to deal with climate change. We need their passion nowadays! We older folks can continue to march and protest Trumpism; we can show our concern for climate change and help in various ways. But it is really these younger people that carry us into the future.

Hope for future reflected in participants in a flash rally (including us – that’s me in the photo at left) in downtown Arlington Heights, that Robert Mueller would be allowed to do his job and discover damning information that would implicate Trump. What has Trump got to hide? Much of that is still to be uncovered – will the future bring us the full truth?

The future is my 50th high school reunion in June. Sedona, see you soon!
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The future for an artist is an empty canvas.
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I was taking a walk on a chilly (but not horribly cold) afternoon last week and took this photo of a tree rising out of a sheen of ice on a retention pond. Later, when I looked at it in large size on my computer, I noticed a lot of white specks on the branches and realized, the tree is budding already! This has been a very mild winter and plants have been fooled into thinking it’s almost spring. Already we see the future on this tree – a future of blossoms and green leaves.

All species are equipped to reproduce, so that their kinds will continue. Flowers have fertile interiors, filled with the pollen needed to spread its seeds. The flowers’ colors and fragrance are designed to attract insect species to spread their pollen. Few orchids are red, because bees cannot see that color. And flies prefer flowers that are brownish, resembling decay.

To look into the center of a flower is to see the future – or the promise of it!

Baby animals start out so small…

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Our grandcat, Freddy, when he was still a kitten. Look at the hair in his ears – what breed was in this shelter kitten? Only the future would tell…Now he’s six months old with the bushy tail of a Maine coon cat!

and in the wild, their parents can only hope that their future includes reaching adulthood!

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Leading Lines

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #80 is about leading lines. Leading lines are one of the “rules” of composition: There are indeed “rules” of photographic composition, which like many other rules, are made to be broken. Whatever their skill level or experience though, understanding and knowing when to use the “rules” of composition can be helpful for any photographer. This week, our challenge will explore a key compositional element, Leading Lines. …Leading lines carry our eye through a photograph. They help to tell a story, to place emphasis, and to draw a connection between objects. They create a visual journey from one part of an image to another and can be helpful for creating depth as well.

This is how I spent the last two Junes, 2018 and 2019.

Our road trip (mostly) on Route 66: Sedona and Winslow, AZ
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We visited the Painted Desert, too: first, horizontal lines.
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Undulating formations which slope downward.
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In Santa Fe, colorful pillars…
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and a souvenir shop with paintings lined up along a counter.DSC_0626
When on Route 66, here’s a sight not to miss: Cadillac Ranch. It had rained the night before.

A year later, we were on a river cruise in Europe. One of the first ports of call was Cologne, Germany with its famed cathedral, with stained glass windows reaching toward heaven…
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…and soaring arches decorated with sculptures of saints.
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Later we crossed the bridge to return to our ship. The inner side of the bridge is covered with “love locks” – padlocks people leave in honor of their sweethearts. They stretch on as far as the eye can see!
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Next stop was Marksburg Castle, which afforded beautiful views of the Rhein River and town below (I wish I could photoshop that pole out, but I don’t have the software).
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And here’s a different view: a steeple rises up as seen through a turret.
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Marksburg is definitely a “must” on any Rhine River cruise. It’s like a fairy tale castle!
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Farther on down the river, a swan swam over near our ship.
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We were passing through a lowland area.
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I loved the small town of Miltenberg, which was so picturesque!
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Inside a church, hymnals were stacked neatly in the narthex. One is drawn to the word Gotteslob, which perhaps means hymnal.
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Our final stop on the cruise was Budapest, Hungary. A memorable part of the day we were there was a walking tour through the old Jewish Quarter.
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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.

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View from inside the chapel – Cathedral Rock

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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My dorm room my sophomore year was the one at the top of the stairs.

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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.

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Cathedral Rock in early evening in June

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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.

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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.

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Pathway near the art studio

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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.

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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.

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A student in recent years created this sign “MOTEL” which was the nickname given to the boys’ dorm behind it.

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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 www.vvsaz.org.

 

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.

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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.

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Wine-growing on the Main River in Germany

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Farm near the border of Germany and Austria

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Village in Normandy, France

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Besaw Island on the Nile River, Egypt

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Lake in Arusha National Park, Tanzania

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Desert of rural Israel

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Scene from Devils Elbow Bridge, Missouri

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Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

 

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North of Sedona, Arizona

A Photo a Week: The Beauty of…

Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week challenge this week is Beauty.  This is a difficult one to choose only a few photos, for the Earth is full of beauty, natural and manmade! So I am going to choose some of my favorite “beauties” from my photo collection.

Beauty of a sunset: Rio de Janeiro, from the top of Sugarloaf. Every time I go to Rio, I make time to go to the Sugarloaf late in the afternoon, taking the cable car up to the top. I like to watch the sunset from there, and little by little, the beaches grow dark and lights begin to wink on. And up there, I see this view.
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Beauty of Sedona, Arizona: Everyone nowadays knows about Sedona, right? It’s been “discovered.” But back when I was a teenager, I went to a private high school there with the majestic Cathedral Rock as a backdrop. Few people even knew Sedona existed then. I still think Cathedral, viewed from the campus of Verde Valley School, is the most beautiful sight in Sedona. I took this shot late in the afternoon last June.
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The beauty of a national park. That’s a hard one! I love national parks and find great beauty in all of them. I should post a picture of the Grand Canyon or Yosemite here, but they are iconic. Instead I chose a scene at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, which we visited last June. I had always wanted to see it, but never had a chance until last year.
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I have to include one more, which was taken in 2016 at Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska.
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All these beauties are majestic scenery. I appreciate beauty on a macro level also: an animal, a flower, etc. This is a beauty of a flower – the lotus – which is sacred to many cultures. I took this shot last July when the lotus was in full bloom.
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The beauty of a cat (my Hazel, of course!)
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The beauty of a tree in autumn
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I thought of including manmade beauties, but that would take too long – I find beauty in almost everything! Besides, the greatest beauty in the world is the beauty of nature.

CFFC: Walkways I Have Traveled

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is about the sidewalks, trails and walkways we walk on, usually without thinking much about them.

Rio de Janeiro is famous for its wide sidewalks with mosaic designs – common places to walk, jog, and meet – and play with dogs. (Nove. 2016)
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In July of 2017, we spent a week at Blacks Cliff Resort on Upper Kaubashine Lake, near Hazelhurst and the location where we used to have a cottage. The cabins we rented were high above the lake. This is the walkway down to the pier.
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An artist drew squiggly lines that made faces on the sidewalk in front of the Convention Center in Denver, interspersed with messages. (June 2018)
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Path through the “farm” (a vegetable and flower garden – the veggies raised provide natural ingredients for meals at the school) at Verde Valley School, Sedona, Arizona (June 2018)
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Garden path at Chicago Botanic Gardens, July 2018
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The State Capitol building in Des Moines, Iowa, has beautiful tiled floors, such as this walkway leading to stairways up and down. (Sept. 2018)
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Winterset, Iowa – most famous for the bridges of Madison County – has a tiny park dedicated to George Washington Carver. We almost missed it because it is wedged between two downtown buildings. (Sept. 2018)
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In downtown Chicago, off Michigan Avenue, is a restaurant called the Purple Pig. This is the entrance to its outdoor patio. (Oct. 2018)
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Walkway among the ruins of Karnak, near Luxor, Egypt (Dec. 2018)
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This walkway under an arch is at the ruins of Caesarea Philippi on the Mediterranean Sea in Israel. (Jan. 2019)
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