New Zealand Day 12 – Nelson To Punakaiki

Mountain Road

Buller Gorge

Today the weather was as good as it gets. Cool temperatures and blazing blue skies. We drive from Nelson to Punakaiki via Westport and Cape Foulwind.

Heading west we drove along Buller Gorge which is a very scenic drive where we had the opportunity to stop by the longest swing bridge in New Zealand. Oddly enough, Cynthia was terrified of the bridge. Still, she managed to work up her courage and made the crossing and was very proud of herself.

Buller Gorge Swingbridge

Cynthia Crosses The Buller Gorge Swingbridge

Buller Gorge Swingbridge

From there we drove to Cape Foulwind, which was not as foul as the name might imply.

Cape Foulwind

Lighthouse At Cape Foulwind

From there we drive a short distance to see the Seal Colony at Tauranga Bay

Seal Colony Tauranga Bay

After enjoying these sites we continued down the coast to our final destination of the day, The Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki.

Pancake Rocks

Pancake Rocks

London – Day 3

A BEAR!

Today was the end of our glorious sunshine. Clouds have rolled in, but fortunately no rain to speak of. We took The Tube to South Kensington to visit the Natural History Museum with the intention of also visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Natural History Museum, London

The Natural History Museum is a fantastic building with an amazing collection of animal specimens ranging from insects to dinosaurs. I think the dinosaur exhibit is the most popular, especially with the kids.

Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum, London

I was struck by the beauty of the building itself. No tripods allowed, but I found a railing where I could perch my camera and shoot some longer exposure shots which yielded some good results.

Natural History Museum, London

When we left the Natural History Museum it was out intention to go to the Victoria Albert Museum, but we noticed that the Science Museum was right next door so we popped in there for a visit. I was curious to see the newly opened information age exhibit.

There were some very cool displays featuring technology that I was happy to see.

1959 Pegasus Computer

IBM System 360

I will say it is odd going to a museum and seeing technology like the Tandy TRS-80 that I used when it was new as a museum exhibit behind protective glass.

After we were done with the Science Museum we determined that we were a little too beat to try and tackle the Victoria Albert Museum so we headed back to the hotel to rest after having a late lunch. After we rested up a bit we caught The Tube out to Westminster to get some long exposure night shots.

Big Ben and Parliament

London Eye Up close

We walked around and took in the sites and then made our way back to the hotel for some snacks and now for some sleep.

Little Planet Panoramas Of The Bishop’s Palace

The Bishop’s Palace, also known as Gresham’s Castle, an ornate Victorian-style house in the East End Historic District of Galveston, Texas.

he house was built between 1887 and 1893 by Galveston architect Nicholas J. Clayton

Reportedly listed by The American Institute of Architects as one of the 100 most significant buildings in the United States, and the Library of Congress has classified it as one of the fourteen most representative Victorian structures in the nation.

Bishop's Palace - Galveston, TX

Bishop's Palace - Galveston, TX

Ireland – Day 11

First full day in Dublin and it has been raining all day. This has dampened our spirits a wee bit. It doesn’t help that we are also getting very tired. The whole trip has been so fantastic, but also very exhausting at times. We busied ourselves visiting the National Museum, the National Library and National Gallery. Admission was free to all of them, so that was a bonus.

I did get some interesting photos inside some of the spaces so I am happy for that. I was particularly mesmerised by the elevator/staircase in the back of the National Gallery

National Gallery - Dublin

National Gallery - Dublin

Cynthia enjoyed the reading room in the National Library

National Library - Dublin

National Library - Dublin

Tomorrow’s weather forecast is looking very good with sunshine predicted for the day. That means we get to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral, ChristChurch and many other sites in the glorious sun (fingers crossed)

The

Barcelona – Our Last Day

Our last day in Barcelona. We’re pretty wiped out. We managed to master the mass transit, but we still logged some miles on our aging tootsies. Cynthia and I both have blisters on our feet. Cynthia has managed to walk through the soles of her primary pair of shoes. Our favorite thing to say is “My dogs are woofin” referring to our feet.

Me personally, I’m looking forward to not hefting a camera bag everywhere I go and worrying about some crafty pickpocket or confidence man scheming to separate me from my valuables.

Not that I’m complaining. This has been an awesome trip and we have enjoyed almost every moment of it.

For our last day we decided to visit Casa Milà. I figured we could get there early and hopefully beat the crowds, which we did.

Inside Casa Milà

I really love the Gaudi architecture. So interesting, especially considering the time-frame he was working in. From the top of Casa Milà you can get a pretty amazing view of another of Gaudi’s works, one that is still in the process of being built, La Sagrada Familia.

Sagrada Familia From Casa Mila

And the roof of Casa Milà is just plain cool.

Sentries Atop Casa Milà

Sentries Atop Casa Milà

After we finished up with Casa Milà we made our way back up the side of Montjuïc via the funicular to go to the Miro Museum. Sadly, no photography allowed inside the museum. And I had to check my camera bag by locking it in a locker. That was a little stressful, but it seemed safe enough. I just didn’t want to lose the camera on the last day.

From there it was back to the hotel room to rest up and then off the Bari Gotic area to see if we could find a nice restaurant for our last meal of the trip.

Spanish wine with lunch in Spain. Does it get any better than this?

We happened upon an Italian restaurant called Gravin and it was fantastic! We had a vry nice meal, a bottle of Rioja and a cafe and desert. It was a fine finish to an excellent trip.

Now it was back to the hotel to pack and get some sleep before getting up at 3:30 to check out and catch our 6:00 am flight back to America. This trip, like all of our previous vacations, is over in a flash. We’ll be happy to be home, but will miss the adventure.

Barcelona – Day 3 – Part 1

The sun came out today. After a full day of rain yesterday we were very happy to see it. We got up and headed out for some breakfast and then walked down La Rambla to the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia aka the Barcelona Cathedral to watch the Sardana dances.

Human Statues

La Rambla was bustling early. The crowds were building fast and the human statues were gearing up for a busk-o-rama day.

And the beggars were also taking advantage of the sunshine.

Beggar

Walking through the Barri Gotic on the way to the cathedral we marvelled at the ornamentation on the buildings in the neighborhood

Ornamentation in Barri Gotic

Ornamentation in Barri Gotic

Ornamentation in Barri Gotic

Ornamentation in Barri Gotic

Ornamentation in Barri Gotic

During our wandering we stumbled upon the secluded Gothic cloister which encloses the Well of the Geese (Font de les Oques) where 13 white geese are kept, the number explained by the assertion that Eulalia was 13 when she was martyred.

Goose

After communing with the geese for a bit we found our way to the front of the cathedral for the main event. Each Sunday the citizens of Barcelona gather in front of the cathedral for for the Sardana Dances. Some to dance, other just to watch and listen to the cobla.

sardana dances - 4

sardana dances - 3

sardana dances - 2

sardana dances - 1

After this it was back to the hotel to recombobulate and have a snack. The walk back was met by extremely large throngs of people jamming La Rambla

Crowds On La Rambla

Next up, La Sagrada Familia

Wider Than Wide

Experimenting with my panorama setup. The first photo is 8 shots taken in portrait mode with the Zeiss 24-70mm at 24mm while the camera is mounted to a Nodal Ninja pano head.

Living Room

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Living Room

The above panorama is known as a single row panorama. It is comprised of several photos, each take side by side while moving the camera a short distance between each shot. This next one isa bit more complex. It is a multi-row panorama and is comprised of 45 separate shots in 3 rows. The camera shoots a series across while angled up, a series across while angled down and then again along the horizon.

The House

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The House

Click any of the above images to see a larger version.

And for fun, another 360 degree panorama of the reading room shot with the Nodal Ninja and the fisheye lens. Comprised of 6 shots around and one zenith and one nadir shot. Click your mouse inside the picture and hold the left button down and you can then spin the image around and up and down to see a full 360 degrees.

Full screen, ultra-high resolution version (10 meg file) available here. Will take some time to fully load, but is VERY interesting!

Oscar Meyer Wienermobile

Oscar Meyer Wienermobile

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Oscar Meyer Wienrmobile

I was running a quick errand to the H.E.B. to pick up some postage stamps and lo and behold, the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile was parked out front. I don’t know exactly why, but I get kinda silly when I see this thing. Of course I didn’t have my camera with me since it was a quick errand. I went ahead and bought the stamps and then ran back home and asked Cynthia if she’d be interested in taking a whimsy break.

Oscar Meyer Wienermobile

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Oscar Meyer Wienrmobile

I grabbed my camera and we headed back over to the H.E.B. and had a nice visit with the drivers of the Wienermobile who are known as “Hotdoggers.” It was really quite fun and silly, but we learned quite a bit about the ongoing Oscar Meyer marketing campaign and some facts about the Wienermobile.

Oscar Meyer Wienermobile

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Oscar Meyer Wienrmobile

They still give away little plastic wiener-whistles!

Oscar Meyer Wienermobile

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Oscar Meyer Wienrmobile

*Photographer’s Note*
The first two photos were taken using the Lensbaby Composer mounted on the the A850. The Lensbaby Composer creates the selective focus effect you see in those images and is a fully manual lens. The third photo was taken using the 16mm fisheye and the last photo was taken using the 100mm macro lens.

Copenhagen – Happy New Year!

We had heard that there would be fireworks in the City Hall Square, but had no idea what to expect. There’s not an organized display. Instead, citizens (and I would assume tourists as well) armed with any number of different pyrotechnics roam the city and detonate at will. As the midnight hour approaches, more and more fireworks can be seen and heard about the city.

Every now and then someone sets something off in City Hall Square.

Cynthia is skeptical that there will be much activity. Copenhagen dies down after 8 or 9 pm from what we’ve seen over the last few days. I explain that new years eve is a global party and I bet her there will be a ton of people and a ton of fireworks.

The people DO in fact start gathering and before long the square is surrounded by people. Some waiting to watch fireworks, others there to actually set them off. Our hotel balcony gives us front row seats to watch the event. Here is a video I shot from the balcony about 30 minutes before midnight

Fireworks in Copenhagen from baldheretic on Vimeo.

My fish-eye captures some of the excitement.

Copenhagen Day 5 – Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

We’d heard good things about The Glyptotek but were apprehensive as Cynthia and I are not big fans of sculpture museums. They tend to be dim and crowded. The Glyptotek was a huge surprise. Everything is open, well lit and nicely displayed. I also discovered that my fisheye lens is great for shooting this type of setting and used it for about 50% of the shots.

Interesting to note, the museum was named after Ny Carlsberg, the brewery owned by the founder, brewer Carl Jacobsen. He added the word Glyptotek, ’a collection of sculpture’, to indicate the pride of place taken by that art form and in recognition of his debt to the older namesake, the Glyptothek in Munich.

One thing I really liked about this museum was the lockers where you could stash your coat and other cumbersome items, making for a much more leisurely walk about the museum

The first thing you see is The Winter Garden, a huge open space with plants and trees and a fountain.

Designed to attract more people into the museum, I could see myself visiting regularly just to sit on a park bench all day long.

The rest of the museum is just spectacular. Cynthia and I had a wonderful time exploring all the rooms and walking amongst the sculptures.

There’s even one of the over twenty casts of the sculpture “The Thinker” by by Auguste Rodin.

If you are ever in Copenhagen, I heartily recommend a visit. What follows are some of the better photos I took while visiting. I know there’s a lot, but it’s only a small portion of what I got during this visit. I have never enjoyed photographing a museum more than this one, and I have been to a LOT of museums!