29 December 2009
23 October 2009
I’ve entered it into a travel book contest. Aside from being extremely proud of the images and work presented, I’d like to win the contest. Unfortunately, the first round of competition is a popularity contest. The top 15 books with the most votes will move on to the next level and be judged by a panel of photography experts.
I’m asking that you follow the link http://www.blurb.com/photo-book-contest/view_book/912596 take a look (you can review the entire book via full screen) and if you feel it worthy, that you vote for my book.
Thanks in advance. Sure hope you enjoy the book.
17 October 2009
12 October 2009
23 September 2009
Gina seems busier than ever with work. Her schedule and duties are taking her all over Europe. Last week she was in Brussels for a night, home for a night and in Lisbon for a night. This week she's been to Antwerp for another overnight business trip. Anyone who's done business travel knows it's not pleasant. Having to arrive at the airport early, experience delays and getting home late at night make for very long, tiring days.
Me, I feel very lucky and fortunate. My Photo Tours In Paris business is going strong. I continue to guide people from all over the world around Paris and show them great spots to take photographs. In many cases, these photographers are fairly new to digital photography and want to learn more about how shutter speed, f-stops and ISO all work together. The tours turn into mini photo workshops. I don't feel too much pressure. I'm not in a classroom where I'm expected to understand the instructor, nor do I have to reduce head count or constantly be on a train or an airplane.
We've been in Paris for almost nine months and I can say we're having a good time and enjoying it in spite of the challenges of school and work.
30 August 2009
We stayed at the Hotel Rex which was modest but comfortable and perfectly situated right in the thick of things, just a few minutes walk from the beach. The staff was warm and gracious, pitching in to help us lug our suitcases and dog carriers up the steep steps to Room 6. Once settled, we ventured out to explore. It was very hot! We ended up buying tickets for the top level of a tour bus so we could both see and learn about the city from a high perch and enjoy a steady breeze! The Mediterranean was magnificent and the color of the water a beautiful cerulean blue.
One of the great beaches in Nice, France. We were surprised at the size of the public beach (well over a mile long) and how many people were out enjoying the warm Mediterranean Sea. The shore is mainly rock instead of sand, but that doesn't deter anyone from venturing down to lay on the beach. Some parts are private and owned by the hotels across the street, but there are plenty of public beaches so that everyone can enjoy the shore. It was magical to be there.
During our double-decker tour bus rid, we stopped at a traffic light which gave me a chance as afternoon storm clouds passed by, to take a photo of the beautiful Cathedrale Saint-Nicolas Russian Orthodox church built in 1912 by Russian Czar Nicolas. The cathedral is made up of a harmony of pink bricks, light grey marble and brightly colored ceramic.It is crowned by six domes and contains fabulous treasures, icons, woodork and frescoes.
Randy, Delaney, Gina, Tucker and Scout the walk home after a great dinner in Nice. Traveling with the dogs was a peace of cake. They were welcome everywhere and behaved extraordinarily well. It gave us peace of mind to know they were with us.
While in Nice, we took a short train ride to Monaco, home of Monte Carlo. As soon as got off the train, we understood why people love to live and visit this beautiful country. The streets were clean. There were no homeless in sight. The architecture was stunning and the views of the harbor breathtaking.
Overlooking Port Hercule in Monaco. Monaco is the second smalled city in Europe (Vatican City located in the center of Rome is the smallest.) It has a population of the 33,000, with just under 85% wealth and moved in from other countries to avoid paying income tax. Most people can cross the length of the country in just under an hour.
Our next destination was Cinque Terre, a group of five small villages (Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore) on the Italian Riviera. We traveled there by train from Nice. We stayed in Monterosso al Mare. The beach was sandy and clean, the water a gorgeous azure blue and the perfect temperature for cooling down from a busy day under the hot sun. Here in Monterosso, many parts of the beach are reserved for guests of the hotels across the street and throughout the town. Only a small portion is available to locals and people like us whose hotel didn't have a section of beach.
Local women waiting for at the butcher shop in Vernazza, Italy. Vernazza has no car traffic (a road leads to a parking lot on the edge of the town) and remains one of the truest "fishing villages" on the Italian Riviera.
The view of Riomaggiore, the most southern village. We visited each village via a water taxi that pulled up next to the dock and extended its gang plank so the passengers could quickly debark. Very unstable situation - not for the faint hearted! Each of the five villages was slightly different. If we go back, we plan to spend more time in Vernazza, our favorite village.
We hiked up above Manarola to get this shot. Time seems to have stopped at this village. The people are quite content. They have everything they need to survive as well as a tremendous view of the Mediterranean Sea.
Gina and Delaney stay cool with a cold drink while we wait for the train to take up from Monterossa to Firenze (Florence). Temperatures were in the high 90's for the entire trip. The heat really saps your strength, and was tough for our small mutts.
While in Firenze, we took a day trip to Siena and San Gimignano. We were in Siena just before the Palio, the traditional horse race run around the Piazzi del Campo on August 16th. The 17 Contrade (the city neighborhoods formed as battalions for the city's defense) vie for the trophy - a painted flag, also known as a Palio, bearing the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Though often a brutal and dangerous competition for horse and rider, the city thrives on the pride this competition brings. All of the locals, young and old, were wearing scarves representing the Contrade in which they live or were born.
18 August 2009
For the last several days, from our fifth floor apartment windows, we've watched our neighborhood be transformed into a movie set. Where parking spaces used to have cars, orange cones with plastic tape have become the norm. Security guards have policed the neighborhood 24x7 making sure no one parked in marked spaces or walked away with photographic gear that appeared on the scene.
Flyers posted throughout the neighborhood stated that shooting would begin this afternoon and continue through end of day Wednesday. We had no idea what movie was being shot. Yesterday, before they completely cordoned off several blocks, I took the dogs for a walk and noticed the movie crew had constructed a fake cafe, fake flower store, fake book store, and a fake produce market.
Today was the day filming was to begin and sure enough by 7:00am huge trucks started replacing the orange cones. By 9:30, filming had begun. I set up my camera, tripod and big lenses, opened up the double floor to ceiling windows and waited for the action to begin. After taking a few shots of the crew getting things just perfect, the doorbell rang and two very large and tall men in suits told me in French and in broken English that I couldn't take photos. I’m not sure how they got into our secure building. They said that Leonardo DiCaprio was not allowing outside filming. Because I didn't want to cause a scene and because I wasn't sure of the legal ramifications I said, sure no problem I'll take down my camera.
Gina did some quick research on the Internet and found out that Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page (from Juno) and Marion Cotillard (Oscar winner from La Vie en Rose) are starring in the film being shot this week in Paris. The movie "Inception" directed by "Dark Knight's" Christopher Nolan began shooting in London last month.
The set has hundreds of people all around performing their various duties: lighting, sound, catering, setting up movie camera tracks, finishing touches on the set, etc, etc. It seems much of the time people are just standing around waiting for something to happen. It looks rather boring.
We've spent the day glancing out the window to see if anything new has happened. We've watched them film about a half dozen takes of Ellen and Leo talking over coffee (after the third take it got boring to watch). This afternoon I thought something was going to happen as they nearly cleared the set and had the crew standing many yards away. As I was watching Ellen and Leo sit back down for coffee, the cafe exploded. A nearby car and motor scooter went flying in the air with debris falling all over the set.
It's about 6pm and outside below our window, a crowd of onlookers have gathered including the paparazzi with their cameras and big 500mm lenses.
Here are a few photos I was able to capture.
04 August 2009
A certain person I know thinks that if she wanted to be entertained she would have brought her iPod, while others find the whole scene part of the Parisian culture.
Take a look at a few of the videos I found on Youtube.com regarding the Paris Metro.
27 July 2009
Not knowing the exact course route, I figured I'd try to get an elevated position and view from the Jardin des Tuileries looking out to the middle of the Place de la Concorde (the Champs Elysees had too many barricades and trees lining the course to get unobstructed views.) I spotted another serious photographer (I knew he was serious because he was packing a five foot ladder and I had my three foot step ladder bungee corded to my camera roller bag) and asked, "Parlez vous Anglais?" He responded, "No". I pointed to the barricades out in the Place de la Concorde and asked using hand gestures and broken French where the riders would pass. Dinis, a photographer from Portugal, motioned for me to follow him and off we went to the Quai des Tuileries which had an elevated, unobstructed view of the riders as they rode from west to east. We figured this was as good a spot as any and spread out our gear to mark our turf.
I went off to find three lawn chairs: one for me, one for Dinis, and one for Gina who would be joining us later in the afternoon. From my backpack I pulled out a book and baguette and relaxed.
Another photographer, Sasha, an American now living in Sweden, joined our little group and we now chatted to kill time. Around 3:30 pm, Gina finally showed up after an eventful Metro ride (many of the Metro stations were now closed if they were too close to the route). Finally, at around 4:42 the riders arrived in Paris to finish the last 50km by circling the route several times.
From our spot, the riders would pass us six times before the final stage was complete. We all figured we would have plenty of opportunities to capture a few good frames. Gina picked up my second camera and she too fired away. Below are a few of the images we captured.
Looking west on the Quai des Tuileries with Grand Palais in background.
Alberto Contador, in yellow jersey, the tour's winner.
Thor Hushovd of Norway, in green jersey, the tour's best sprinter.
Samuel Dumoulin from France, Team Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne (COF)
Fabian Wegmann from Germany, Team Milram
Alberto Contador singled out.
04 July 2009
In appreciation for the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor, Americans living in Paris erected a small replica, about 35 feet high, of the Statue of Liberty. It is mounted next to the Pont de Grenelle, a bridge crossing the Seine, 1.5 km South of the Eiffel Tower.
24 June 2009
14 June 2009
Walking through the Saint Germain des Pres area, I spotted this remarkable painting in the front window of an art gallery.
11 June 2009
07 June 2009
I’ve been visiting this area for about six weeks and each time I visit I’m rewarded with the most imaginative and creative work on display. Last Friday I visited and found for the first time, several artists in the beginning stages of creating their latest piece of work. I decided to hang out and record the progress of Skio, one of the artists.
Fortunately, the corner café had chairs and tables running down the side of the alley so I pulled up a chair, ordered a Stella and watched these guys work.