Arrival – Barcelona

We made it to Barcelona without a hitch. The only real bump in the road was that we arrived to the hotel around 11:00 am Barcelona time and the room wasn’t ready for us to check in yet. After a long overseas flight it is tough to cool your heals waiting to get into your room. They finally gave it to us around 1:30. We quickly unpacked a few things and took a 2 hour nap.

One we woke up we were pretty hungry so we walked across the street to the El Corte Ingles and bought some groceries.

After we had eaten something we felt much better and rode the metro over to see the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

Magic Fountain of Montjuïc - 1

Magic Fountain of Montjuïc - 5

Magic Fountain of Montjuïc - 4

Magic Fountain of Montjuïc - HDR

We ran out of steam pretty quick and headed back to the hotel. As we were walking Cynthia suggested we go have a look at Casa Batlo which is not to far away. We walked over and snapped some shots, but I am not overly pleased with what I got so may plan to shoot some more later.

Of course William The Sheep is tagging along for the journey

Time to get some sleep and get ready for tomorrow. Rain is forecast, but we’re prepared!

Trippy Christmas

The last few years we’ve traveled to Europe for the Christmas holidays. Last year we traveled to Copenhagen and the year before that we went to Brussels.

This year we needed to spend some money on some much needed home repairs and upgrades so there was not enough in the kitty to be able to go anywhere for the holidays. And based on the severe winter weather in the US and in Europe, it was probably for the best anyway.

So rather than having any Christmas trip pictures, I offer you these trippy Christmas photos. Shot using a tripod and setting the exposure so the shutter would stay open while I zoomed out. It is called photo zooming and the effects are, well….trippy.

Trippy Tree

Close
Trippy Tree

Trippy Tree

Close
Trippy Tree

Vienna – Day 2 – Part 2

We took the subway out to Wien Meidling railway station to go ahead and purchase our train tickets to Prague for Monday. The subway is clean and fairly easy to navigate so we didn’t have any trouble except that somehow we managed to get off one stop too soon coming back and had to hoof it a bit further than we would have liked.

Having the train ticket secured we were able to confirm our driver in Prague who will pick us up at the train station and drive us to our apartment. Apparently, taking a cab from the train station in Prague is a dicey proposition and should be avoided. Having a driver pick us up takes a load off our mind.

After taking in the crown jewels and the crypt we had planned to go to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, but the sun had come out and it was so beautiful outside we opted to skip it and go for a walk instead to get some outside photos.

We were walking down the street when I saw this

The Third Man

Close
The Third Man

Movie buffs may recognize this as the front of Harry Lime’s apartment from the film “The Third Man” featuring Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli and Orson Wells. I recognized it immediately, despite the scaffolding.

We walked over to the The Vienna City Hall, only to find that they were in the process of setting up for the Vienna Film Festival. This included putting a giant movie screen smack dab in the middle of the city hall building.

Vienna Film Fest

Close
Vienna Film Festival

From there we walked across the street to the Burgtheater

Burgtheater

Close
Burgtheater

And then across the street for a much needed sitdown and snack break at the legendary Cafe Landtmann, the preferred coffee house of Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Peter Altenberg, Felix Salten and Emmerich Kálmán,

Cafe Landtmann

Close
Cafe Landtmann

From there we walked back along the Ringstrasse back to the hotel to recombobulate.

Belize – Jay The Wedding Photographer?

As I mentioned previously, I do not see myself as a wedding photographer. I think it is a challenge I would be too fearful to face. At least currently. I dread the thought of being responsible for the photographic memory of an event so special only to find that I blew it. Aside from my general lack of photo talent, there’s potential mechanical failure or just brain fart where you shoot the whole event using the wrong ISO or something stupid. It’s not like you can just declare a wedding mulligan and shoot again.

Luis and Sarai hired a pro to shoot the wedding, as I suggested and for the reasons I stated above. This meant that I had to stay out of the pro’s way. Something the pro made VERY clear when she arrived. But it did not mean I had to stay idle. I took advantage of the time before she arrived to catch some candids and then I was up to the balcony of the villa to shoot long distance and then back down to take advantage of some of the time after the actual ceremony.

These are the results

Next – Defying certain death!

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

Close
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

Close
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!

Brennan’s Houston

I shot this on request for my friend at Studio RED Architects who were strongly involved in the rebuilding of Brennan’s here in Houston. You might recall that Brennan’s burned down during Hurricane Ike.

Shot from across the street using the A850 and the Zeiss 24-70mm.

21 second exposure at f/13.

The neon sign wasn’t finished before the grand opening and if you look closely, the gas lanterns are also not complete.

Brennan's

Close
Brennan's

Copenhagen – Last Full Day

The last day in Copenhagen. New Years Eve. We’d wanted to go to the Nationalmuseet (National Museum) after running out of time the previous day (read: we couldn’t find it). Alas, it was closed due to the holiday

We figured not much would be open and decided just to walk around for awhile which lead us to the Børsen (Stock Exchange) building which features a tower formed by the tails of four dragons twined together

From there we spied the telltale tower of Vor Frelser Kirke. If you look closely you’ll see there’s a spiral staircase that goes around the outside of the tower.

It’s open to the public, but not at this time of year….

Even more unfortunate, the church was closed for the day but we did spend some time outside shooting pics.

From there we walked leisurely back to the hotel and upon arriving asked the hotel concierge for a recommendation on a place to get a traditional Danish meal and we were directed to Cafe Nytorv just off the Strøget. It was a charming place and the food was delicious. We ordered Carlsberg beers and snaps as our beverages. Cynthia is not a beer drinker. She hates it in fact. But she decided to be adventurous and ordered one and when she took the first sip she found that she actually liked it.

She did not, however, like the snaps. I had to drink hers as well as mine. Drat the luck! 🙂

After lunch we walked a bit more but then headed back to the hotel to pack and get ready for the fireworks.

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!

Copenhagen Day 5 – The Rundetårn

We headed off this morning to climb The Rundetårn (The Round Tower) which is not too far from the hotel. Cynthia really likes to climb things when we travel. Fortunately, the tower had a mildly sloping ramp that winds up most of the 130 feet to the top. There is a set of small stairs at the very top which are tight and difficult to manage when there’s too much two way traffic.

The fish-eye lens made for some really good photos inside the tower.

About halfway up we found this little alcove. The sign says Kissing Corner in Danish and there’s a piece of missletoe hanging from the ceiling.

Once to the top there’s a pretty spectacular view of the city

Another successful adventure!

Copenhagen Day 4 Part 2

As I noted in my previous post, I had not met with success in my efforts to capture the Copenhagen Opera House at night. When we had gone out to the waterfront it was a Sunday night and the building was dark. Checking on line I saw that there were performances all this week so on Tuesday night I loaded up the camera bag and the tripod and headed out to try again.

This time I got what I came for.

Copenhagen Day 4 Part 1

Today dawned bright and sunny. Still cold, but blue skies and sunshine. We had wanted to take the train over the Öresund Bridge to Malmö Sweden and this seemed to be the day to do it. Trains leave every 20 minutes or so and it takes about 30 minutes to get there.

We have no Swedish Kronier and we don’t have a map and we don’t really know what we want to do when we get there. My primary interest was crossing the bridge, which is half tunnel and is an architectural marvel. Plus I like the idea of making this a two country trip.

On the way over to the train station I grab a shot of an art installation on loan from Poland called the Tree Hugger Project.

We get to the train station and pretty quickly sort out getting out tickets and finding the platform to catch our train. There’s some confusion as there’s a train at the platform already, even though our train is not due for 15-20 minutes. We finally see a sign that says in three languages “Do Not Board This Train”.

The ride to Malmö is kinda of fun and exciting for me. For Cynthia, it is rather terrifying. She really hates being underground. And the recent London/Paris Chunnel passenger stranding which was all over the news didn’t help.

Malmö is quite charming. We set off toward the city center and explore our surroundings.

After walking for awhile I mention to Cynthia that I’d really like to see the Turning Torso which is an example of Deconstructivism architecture.

We could see if from the train coming in and I had a rough idea which direction it was, but as I mentioned before we don’t have a map and no Sedish Kroner to pay for a bus or a cab so we just walk. After a short time we spotted it in the distance.

We had hoped to walk a short distance and get a clear view of the building for a good photo, but it seemed no matter how far we walked, there was always some buliding or another in the way.

We kept walking and did eventually walk right up to the Turning Torso after traversing (on foot mind you) the industrial district of Malmö Sweden.

I will tell you this, it was worth the walk. I got some great photos!

Copenhagen Day 3 Part 2

After our great day visiting the castle and seeing The Little Mermaid we rested for a bit in the hotel. Next on the agenda was Tivoli Gardens to see the lights and witness the fireworks show. The park opened on August 15, 1843 and is, with the exception of Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg, the oldest amusement park in the world.

Sadly, my shots of the fireworks didn’t pan out. We staked out a spot that was too crowded and also behind a giant Christmas tree which obscured the view. Still, the park is amazing. I can’t even imagine how people ride those rides in the freezing temperatures, but they do. The whole park is filled with screaming and laughter as the rides buzz, whirl and whoosh right over your heads. And everything in the park is completely covered in multi-colored lights.

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Close
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Close
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Close
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Close
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Close
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Close
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Close
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Close
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Close
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Close
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Close
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Close
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Close
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Close
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Close
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen