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Monthly Archives: November 2011
On beautiful summer evenings in Chicago, tourists and locals enjoy strolling around the city. Chicago’s Millennium and Grant Parks are similar to New York’s Central Park in that they’re both enormous public parks set in a very crowded city.
It’s nice to know in an area where real estate developers and corporations would love to get their hands is set aside for everyone to use, like the Chicago Riverwalk, the Lakeshore Bike Path and Millennium Park — home of The Bean.
July 2009. (1305)
This is one of my favorite images from Bali.
While in Indonesia, Alisha and I went to a nearby temple on the edge of a forest. Because the temple was so close to a heavily wooded area and not used very much by the locals, the temple had become over-run by monkeys. For the most part, the monkeys are friendly and curious.
Alisha took some pictures of the monkeys and showed them themselves on her camera’s display. Eventually, we realized the monkeys were more interested in their reflection on the glass then their actual picture.
Watching the monkeys interact with each other made me really realize how close we are to each other and how small our world really is.
October 2010. (6551)
This is Jim Ostergard and he is a super-nice guy. He’s was a fan of doing things the traditional way, so he chopped wood with an axe and carried it up to his house via horse.
October 2009. (0338)
I like to tell the story of my first visit to my parent’s farm after they picked up their new golden retriever, Casey.
Some time back I was scheduled to work a Chicago Bulls game on a Friday evening. Additionally, I received a phone call to work a softball game in Iowa City the morning after said Bulls game and, mathematically, the hours in the car would make it a long drive with minimal sleep. So, I turned the job down.
A day or two later, the phone rang again. “I really need you for softball,” said my contact. So I agreed.
As the weekend grew closer, I found myself dreading my decision more and more. However, I had made my bed so I must sleep in it, so to speak. On Friday night after the Bulls game (about 11PM), I jumped in the car and made the four-hour trip to Iowa City. After arriving at the hotel in the wee hours of the morning, I jumped into bed for a quick two hour nap before heading to work.
Work was work, but after we were finished, severe thunderstorms were going to be rolling in, with a strong potential for tornadoes. Not being a fan of tornadoes, I decided I’d rather spend my final night alive at my parent’s house then die in a hotel room in Iowa City. Therefore, on two hours of sleep, I made the decision to head to my parent’s farm, which was about three hours away.
I pulled into the driveway exhausted and was greeted by the smallest, most adorable puppy I’d ever laid eyes on. His name was Casey and as he ran up to me with his high-pitched bark, his ears where so big that he proceeded to trip over them. Again and again, as a matter of fact.
Casey was so young that he didn’t know how his body worked, and promptly tripped and stumbled over his own paws, or more adorably, his own ears. We played in the yard for a long time, before I finally fell asleep for an extremely long time. It happened to be Easter weekend, so while finishing touches were being made on a fantastic brunch, I played with the puppy some more.
That dog is one of the luckiest dogs in the world as he has nearly 50 acres to run around and call his own. He’ll chase birds, cars, thrown balls and sticks, or just fall asleep at your feet while you watch the sun set.
In the above picture, Casey buried himself down in the shrubs and waited for my dad to throw a stick into the river. Leaping off the banks of the river and swimming out to get sticks is one of Casey’s favorite activities.
July 2007. (0571)
Much like last week’s picture of the Willis Tower, this is another picture of the famous building taken nearly four miles away.
As mentioned previously, I like pictures taken of a famous structure but far enough away to show true “city life” in the foreground and whatever the building is in the background.
September 2010. (3604)
The body of Stephen A. Douglas forever rests at his tomb on the South Side of Chicago. Douglas died from typhoid fever while in Chicago in 1861 and was laid to rest near the site of Camp Douglas. A ten foot tall statue of Douglas stands atop a 46 foot column of white marble near the shores of Lake Michigan.
Stephen A. Douglas was a politician from Illinois and was known as a great oratator. He often battled Abraham Lincoln — another great oratator — in debates about slavery, and whatever else politicians in the 1800s debated.
More interestingly, I think, is Douglas once courted a young lass named Mary Todd, who would go on to marry Lincoln.
No wonder Douglas hated Lincoln and his policies so much.
May 2010. (2028)
The City of Chicago is broke, so they’ve started selling signage on their iconic bridge houses to various companies. The first deal was worked out to be a 30-day contract, and the numbers involved are all kept secret. What is amusing to me is the first advertiser is none other then Satan’s bank: Bank of America.
Now, I’m not saying the devil, should he have a checking account, would be a customer of Bank of America, but they’re getting a lot of negative publicity for things lately. I read an article the other day ripping into BofA for charging the unemployed up to $5 per transaction to get their money for a state mandated debit card. Additionally, they had their recent and infamous blow-up with charging working customers $5 a month for a debit card. Now, they’re the first I’ve seen to jump onboard advertising for the Chicago landmarks. Bank of America has certainly embraced the phrase “there is no such thing as bad publicity.”
But I digress, as this post is not about bashing Bank of America.
This post originally intended to comment on a photographer’s new challenge of capturing images of Chicago. The picture above is no longer possible, really. From this week forward, logos will appear on some famous Chicago landmarks, and a keen photographer will have to find ways to avoid including said logos. Some photographers will greatly succeed, and other’s will spectacularly fail; either way, it’s a fine example of how a picture captures a moment in time. That moment may last for decades, mere seconds, or perhaps long enough for the City of Chicago to find a way to slap a logo on it.
July 2006. (0741)
In October of 2004 I was to go to San Francisco for work. I decided to go in a couple of days early and drive down the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to take pictures of lighthouses, or whatever else I could find.
The PCH is a really pretty drive, and I think anyone who has been on it will highly recommend it. On this day I set out before the sun rose and arrived at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse just as the sun cleared the horizon. I’d love to go back and try it again, but this time doing more with slowing down the shutter speed or even getting set up a half-an-hour before sunrise to get the crazy colors that can appear.
The problem with trying it again, is Pigeon Point Lighthouse is near San Francisco — an area famous for it’s fog — so its easier said then done.
Earlier this year I was in California and when I drove to Pigeon Point, I could barely see the lighthouse when I parked in the facilities’ parking lot. (I guess that’s a good reason to put a lighthouse and fog horn there then.)
Next year I’ll be in California again, so I’ll probably give it yet another try.
October 2004. (002)
Bermuda will always have a special place in my heart since it’s where Alisha and I got engaged.
This image was taken at a super-swanky resort outside of Hamilton. We’d play on the beach, relax in the infinity pool, or just lounge on our room’s deck while listening to the waves crash on shore. At night, I loved sleeping with the sliding glass doors open, so we could listen to the waves while watching the beam of light from the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse race across the sky.
March 2010. (1805)
While marching through the ancient temples of Cambodia, it’s easy to miss a lot of the small, small details. This image is from Angkor Thom in Cambodia (near Siem Reap).
The roots of a centuries-old tree make their way across bricks from a past civilization.
October 2010. (5650)
One of my favorite style of pictures, are the same iconic images we see over and over again, but from a different perspective. For example, there are a million pictures of the Eiffel Tower in Paris taken on bright, blue-sky, summer day. We’ve all looked at those images, but I really like the different Eiffel Tower pictures taken as reflections off of windows, through alleys and such. Some of my favorite pictures were taken a half-mile away from the structure, showing life around the famous tower.
So enter the above picture of Chicago’s Willis Tower. This was taken about four-and-a-half miles from the building on a bright and beautiful May morning. It’s the same iconic Willis Tower, but with a very different looking Chicago in the foreground.
May 2010. (2036)
I have no idea how different countries’ passport control stations work. Some countries (Malaysia, for example) make EVERYONE fill out customs forms, exit the airport and then re-enter before heading to their connecting flight. Other places (Brazil) have no problems allowing passengers to freely wander about the airport to find their next gate.
Then, more specifically, the individual passport control stations each have their own nuances. I’ll admit I don’t travel through international airports enough to find similarities, but I did have a unique experience connecting through Toronto, Canada a few years back.
In late August of 2005 I was heading to Toronto for work. I aimed for the young woman on the far end of passport control because she looked less surly and menacing as some of her co-workers. Since I was working for an American media outlet, covering an event being broadcast back to the United States I had no issues and swiftly passed through Customs.
Two weeks later, my wife and I were en route to Italy and had a connecting flight through Toronto. Pearson Airport was (at the time) one of those airports where one goes through customs, exits the secure area and re-checks their bag. In doing all of this, I had to go through passport control again, and again, found the least surly-looking person to deal with.
It happened to be the same girl as two weeks prior, and she opened up my passport and said “I just saw you!” I presume she just stamps passports in the same place in everyone’s book, but it caught her and I both off-guard. I faced slightly more grilling round of questions, but since we were passing through to Italy we didn’t endure too much.
Those couple of Canadian Visa stamps have become some of my favorite passport stamps. Considering Egypt takes up two pages of my passport, and China takes up a page-and-a-half, you’d think two small Canadian stamps wouldn’t mean much to me, but apparently they do. If I were to guess, I’d say because they are the beginning of my true travel addiction. I’ve been to nearly 40 countries since then, but it was fun doing a work trip and two weeks later passing through en route to the first of several countries with my wife.
On this June night, I just wandered through the city of Chicago looking for things to take pictures of. Sometimes I really wish we lived closer to some really pretty mountain ranges, but other times, I love living in Chicago and it’s own unique urban canyons.
June 2010. (2272)
For awhile I was trying to make sure every country I’ve been to was represented with this photography blog. That’s a pretty hearty feat, considering I’ve been to 38 different countries and regions, as defined by the Traveler’s Century Club. One of the countries that apparently fell between the cracks was Austria.
Alisha and I spent some time in Salzburg back in August of 2008. We had a pretty crazy experience in that the place we had reservations to stay decided to close up for the night and the inn-keeper had gone home, all before we had arrived. We had dinner at the restaurant across the street while we tried to figure out Plan B. Unfortunately, we were in town the same weekend as Salzburg’s Classical Music Festival, so there wasn’t much available. We ended up getting a room at an American-style hotel on the outskirts of town. The worst part of our ordeal is that we looked at the map and decided to walk to it.
It much a much longer walk then anticipated.
August 2008. (0429)
This was an interesting sunset to watch because the bright colors of the sky were heavily muted by the large, ominous clouds. I recall it was slightly chilly on this night, too.
Regardless of the temperature, it was here Alisha and I noticed all of the boats fishing on the horizon, and hatched our plan to get up at sunrise and watch them push out to sea. We were staying right on the beach, and a few hundred yards from us is where the fishermen kept their boats on shore.
Walking along the shoreline that morning became one of my favorite parts of Bali, because everyone was out with the entire family collecting shells, fishing for dinner (and perhaps something extra to sell at the market), or just playing in the sand.
October 2010. (6322)
This picture popped up on my screen saver, and I figured it’d be a good blog post for today.
As the post heading states, these are the Pyramids of Giza. This was our second attempt at seeing the pyramids, but the first was a faint picture of the pyramids through a sandstorm, so we went back on a clearer day.
February 2006. (0081)
Just north of Champaign, Illinois is the town of Rantoul. In Rantoul is the Chanute Air Museum, the largest Aerospace Museum of Illinois. Apparently it’s a sleeper of a museum that is quite impressive to air-buffs passing through.
This is one of the planes on display, the C-97G “Stratofreighter” It was modeled after the B-29 bomber and used primarily for transporting cargo, although other times the aircraft was modified and used as flying command posts and rescue planes.
August 2009. (2517)
No one really knows when the Aqueduct of Segovia, Spain was constructed, but researchers estimate it to have been built around the late-1st Century AD and the early years of the 2nd Century by the Romans, when Segovia was a military base. The aqueduct would supply the town with water from mountains 11 miles (17km) away. It was actively used until the 19th Century, but impressively, it can still carry a stream of water.
July 2009. (0045)
While Alisha was out in San Francisco for her conference a few months back, I tagged along and spent the days taking pictures in and around the California city.
Being there for four days, I never got a chance to see this view without fog. Even on the days when the city was clear, the Golden Gate Bridge would be fogged in. I’m not surprised by that, since it’s what San Francisco is known for.
I did enjoy the calmness of all the fog. Even with the foghorn blasting every few seconds, it was sort of a comforting noise, which didn’t really pierce the silence, but instead (strangely) added to it.
September 2011. (9888)
I loved seeing these all over Cambodia.
Basically, everyone in Siem Reap drives scooters around. The tanks of the scooters don’t hold much fuel, so frequently the motorbikes will make stops along the way of their journeys to top off the tank with gasoline. As a result, along many of the main roads throughout Cambodia, people are selling bottles of gasoline.
In the United States, (legally) gasoline can only be stored in red canisters. In Cambodia, used Johnnie Walker bottles will do the trick.
October 2010. (6208)