Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Doorway to the Future


As I travel, doors and windows tend to draw my camera's eye. It's always interesting to me to see how different cultures use their personal spaces, different shapes and colors. When I made an earlier post of doors in various European settings, someone commented that it interesting for the viewer to speculate about the unknown that is found on the other side. I have to agree.

This particular door was located on the outskirts of the Moroccan city of Marrakesh. It is an object of simplicity and beauty. This could also be taken to be a symbol of the doorway to the future. As we end the year 2009, I wish you the best for 2010. Thank you for visiting over the last year, please come back again. In the meantime, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable. Do take the steps to travel beyond your present horizon when you can, there are so many new experiences to have.

Kerry

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Moroccan Wide and High Places






I've finally started my project of digitalizing the slides of Morocco taken in 1974-5. These photos were chosen because they are strikingly opposite of my many water-themed postings. Traveling southward in Morocco was the first time I had ever been exposed to vast open spaces and mountains. It was not until a recent trip through New Mexico that I had a similar experience. The beauty of Morocco's mountains in contrast to the stark rocky emptiness of the plains was a source of wonder to me. It was that beauty of the land and the good people that we met that made the year teaching English as a Foreign Language in Morocco a truly memorable experience for us.

The photos in this first Moroccan collection were taken as we traveled to and from the exotic city of Marrakesh. A bus that broke down far from any town gave the chance to take photos of the plains with mountains looming in the distance. (We later found out that it was the brake system that needed repair. Brakes are something you do not want to be without as you travel through mountainous areas.) I also included photos of a couple of scheduled stops along the way. It is hard for me to imagine life in those rural settings so far from others.They give a very real example of what it means to be isolated.

I hope that you have enjoyed your visit. Please stop by again. In the meantime, may your travels be both interesting and enjoyable.

Kerry

p.s.

A couple comments I need to make about these photos and ones that will appear in later posts. All of them were taken in 1974-75 with a 35mm camera in Morocco. I have used a slide scanner to copy them and have tried to use a photo editing program to clean up slide flaws, scratches, and other photo-ageing events. The other comment I must make is that I can not be sure whether Lori or I took a particular photo. Digital cameras leave identifying traces on individual shots, 35 mm slides do not. I can guarantee that I am the editor, if not necessarily the actual photographer. Therefore,as editor, I will take "credit" for any photographic flaw in the series. I just hope that you enjoy the sights of Morocco as much as I have enjoyed revisiting them through this process.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sheboygan in Sepia







While I haven't traveled any great distances in recent months, I have been experimenting locally with my photography as a result of a composition in photography class that I've been taking. The photos in this post show aspects of the city I live in and some of the reasons that I've settled in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on the western shore of Lake Michigan. I chose to take the images in sepia as it seems to reflect the Fall season in the Northern Hemisphere. Perhaps the sepia tints also give the images a feeling of timelessness.

Most of the photos relate to water, either the Sheboygan River or Lake Michigan that it empties itself into. The nature of the city combines industry and recreation. Manufacturing has grown due to waterways. At one time ships traveled from the Atlantic Ocean, along the Great Lakes via a canal system, with some ships stopping in Sheboygan. Today, due to changes in commerce patterns, the main commercial vessels are fishing boats. Yes, there is also an active surfing community here. Admittedly, often the Lake is flat and placid, but there are times when surfing is very good. The metallic bird made of found art materials seems incongruous in this collection. My intent was to present aspects of the city that have kept me here. The scissor-beaked bird stands outside of the John Michael Kohler Art Center, a very active place and one in which I spend some of my time as a volunteer.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope that you have found something to enjoy during your visit. Please feel free to come again.

This is apparently my 100th posting on this blog. I especially would like to thank those of you who have returned over the last couple of years and have occasionally left comments. I have enjoyed sharing ideas with you and hope to do so through future posts.

In the meantime, may all of your travels be both interesting and enjoyable.

Kerry

Friday, November 20, 2009

Urban Visions







Urban settings vs. natural settings are always a dilemma for me. I love walks in nature-the quietness and natural beauty are things that I truly appreciate. On the other hand, a good urban setting is also full of surprises and a different kind of beauty even though it lacks the quietness of Nature.

It has been a while since I have visited a truly urban scene. As I scroll through my photos of prior travels, scenes of my favorite city keep calling me back. In the end, I decided to return to Paris, at least virtually. There is just something about its essence that wants to make me revisit it again and again. To be honest, I'm not even going to attempt to analyze my attraction to the city; I'll just present images of some of its many aspects and hope that you enjoy them. If you have the opportunity, visit Paris yourself-I would be interested in your impressions.

Thank you for visiting. May your travels be interesting and enjoyable.

Kerry

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Art of Commerce







The ways that cultures deal with different aspects of life is one of the reasons that I enjoy travel. Cultures are influenced by the physical characteristics of their location. They are also influenced by social interactions, those from within their own group and from groups outside of their own. One of the many basic human activities is commerce. What is sold and how the buyer's attention is captured is not all the same as you travel from culture to culture.

There are two common factors in the photos in this collection, regardless of where they were taken or the product, itself. First of all, they are all trying to sell something. Secondly, they all involve urban settings.

The top photo, taken in Lucca, Italy, is trying to sell part of local culture in the form of the musical works of a great musician. The second focuses on a tea product, using twist of distinctly British humor (a twist that would be called unacceptable in most smaller communities in the U.S.A.). The third is a neon call to a Las Vegas hotel, one where there is always a show performance. The lobster claw sign in Bar Harbor, Maine draws tourists to this coastal gift shop, a place where they can buy works of both local artists and a multitude of sea-themed trinkets made in China. Lastly, we observe the image of a sophisticated woman promoting the fashions of Paris.

The reason that I chose these particular photos is that I felt they clearly invoked their cultural locations. If we were to exchange the images and their original locations, like mixing up the pieces of a jig-saw puzzle, I don't think they would comfortably fit. I hope that you enjoyed looking at cultural differences in this way.

As always, thank you for visiting. Please feel free to leave a comment if you wish, and do stop by again some time. May your own travels be interesting and enjoyable.

Kerry

Friday, October 30, 2009

Twilights







Twilights are a time of transition. In rural settings they often mark the end of a day's labor and the start of peace, quiet, and a time for family and friends. In urban settings, they are interm period between the bustle of the day and the frenzy of the night. Wherever I am, twilight is one of my favorite parts of the day.

In this post, I revisited a variety of twilights:
-the outer wall of the old city of Lucca, Italy.
-a street corner in Paris
-a rooftop view of a Spanish town in the Pyrenees.
-riverside in a town found in Western France.
-the harbor in Sheboygan, Wisconsin where I live.

I hope that you have enjoyed these twilights. As always, I wonder what sort of images these photos bring to mind in the people who have viewed them. People are so diverse in their outlooks, even when there are experiences that we all have in common. Personally, I feel that without that diversity the world would be a poorer place in which to live.

Thank you for visiting, please feel free to leave a comment behind. May your own travels be both interesting and enjoyable.

Kerry

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuscan Religious Artwork






Religious overtones are something that I usually avoid. Religion is something that is personal and, to be quite honest, something that I am not overly comfortable discussing. On the other hand, it is impossible to explore images of Tuscany and ignore the impact religion has had on its artwork and the everyday lives of Tuscans. I have tried to include religious artwork from a variety of settings, not a difficult task because it is found everywhere you turn in the older parts of Tuscan cities (these photos were taken in Lucca and Florence). I was struck by the range-from the simple to the highly ornate and intricate, all of them beautiful in their own way. I do not pretend to have knowledge of Italian religious art in terms of style or period, therefore I will let the images speak for themselves. Sometimes an image can be appreciated simply for what it represents, without an in-depth analysis.

Thank you for visiting, please feel free to leave a comment behind. May your own travels be both interesting and enjoyable.

Kerry

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wild Spaces and Ghost Towns







One of the many aspects of the American West is its “ghost towns”. No, this does not refer to poltergeist (though maybe some could be found there). Instead, I am referring to towns that once existed but then lost most or all of their populations as people moved onward. Often the abandonment of these towns by the people who had settled there was due to economic reasons. Cerrillos, New Mexico was one of those towns that became a mining town and then expired. If you would like to learn more about Cerrillos, I suggest that you try this link: http://www.legendsofamerica.com/NM-Cerrillos.html.

I enjoyed our short visit there, although we drove past it at first and had to backtrack a bit.. Today, a few people work and live in this town on the Turquoise Trail, a short drive (by New Mexican measurement) from Santa Fe. Besides the photos that captured some of the essence of this rustic, isolated place, I gathered some “treasures” at this mining museum/general store that was staffed by knowledgeable caretakers. Where else could you buy a sun-bleached coyote skull, unpolished turquoise nuggets, and a weathered bronze bell for your arbor? It was a truly unique Southwestern experience, one that I encourage you to try if the chance arises.

As always, thank you for visiting. Please feel free to leave a comment if you wish, and do stop by again some time. May your own travels be interesting and enjoyable.

Kerry

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Looking Upward






When we are in a place strange to us, we are conditioned to walk briskly, not look around, and appear to be moving with a purpose. This is what is referred to as "acting streetwise" in an urban area. I usually practice this behavior when I am traveling. After all, you try to blend in and not appear to be a person who is foreign and be taken advantage of. On the other hand, if you always do this you can easily miss photo opportunities.

The photos in this post were taken from a perspective of looking upward, disobeying the basic rules for trying to blend into the community. They were usually taken with few or no other people nearby. Sometimes a photo is worth being pegged as a tourist.

The face on the wall surrounded by fleur du lys was taken while I was wandering around St. Brieuc (Brittany, France). The hillside church was in a small town in the Catalan region of northern Spain. I'm honestly not sure where the arch and church window were, perhaps in Carcasonne, France. Blue skies over the clock tower were found in a town in southeastern France. Last, but not least, are the partially hidden peaks of the Pyrenees as we neared the Spanish-French border.

All of these images with their upward focus give the eye a different perspective. Looking at places in different ways is not a bad thing to do, though walking looking upward can cause collisions in crowded places .

In any event,thank you for stopping by. I hope that you have enjoyed your visit and will return. May your own travels be both interesting and enjoyable.

Kerry

Monday, September 28, 2009

Local Harbor Scenes in Black and White






I decided to experiment with black and white photography again as I took a walk around Sheboygan harbor a couple of days ago. The day lent itself to black and white visions-intermittent glimpses of sunlight with a theme of grey clouds and haze.

I spend a lot of time walking along the harbor-there are a variety of sights, an interesting way to get some needed exercise, and an excellent oasis (the Weather Center) of Delta Mud (one of my favorite blends of coffee). The harbor is a blend of working fishing vessels, tourist shops, a marina, food and drink places, a yacht club, and piers where people fish. The one thing that I'd add would be a salty breeze, but you can't have everything.

I tried to capture a number of aspects of the harbor. Here you can see the hopeful fisher boy and bobbing ducks, both with the same intent. The fine hillside house overlooking the harbor-those who can afford to have amazing views as part of their daily lives. Lake Michigan can be very violent at times-you see reconstructed timbers of a ship that was reclaimed after being submerged for decades. The marina with the smokestacks of the electrical power plant nearly hidden in the haze. All of these images, and more, make up the flavor of the harbor in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on the western shore of Lake Michigan.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope that you have enjoyed your visit and will return. May your own travels be both interesting and enjoyable.

Kerry

Friday, September 25, 2009

Leaves That Are Green Turn To Brown






Once more we in the Northern Hemisphere are slipping into Fall. With its cool, crisp, and often brilliant days, the seasonal change isn't unpleasant. At least that is true as long as you don't anticipate the snow-filled arctic winds that come afterwards.

Before winter rears its head, I thought that I would share autumn (or Fall, if you so choose) scenes from rural New England. In that area as in other places I have either lived or visited, I am always amazed by the fact that no matter how long a region has been settled you can always find parts of it that are relatively untouched by people. A few of the scenes in this post reflect that. What is also evident is the importance that water plays in human settlement patterns. The swift-running streams of New England became the power sources for mills and later for the generation of electricity. None of these areas shown grew into vast population centers, but most have had human settlement in one form or another for centuries. They also still show aspects of their natural beauty.

I hope that you enjoyed your visit to parts of rural New England. Please stop by again. In the meantime, may your travels be both interesting and enjoyable.

(Yes, I did steal my post title from a Simon & Garfunkle song of the 1960's; must give credit where it's due.)

Kerry