Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waves and Winds Close to Home

Every so often, I share aspects of my own home base-Sheboygan, Wisconsin located on the western shore of lake Michigan. Those of you who have visited the Tavern for a while know that large bodies of water have been an important part of my life. Large bodies of water give me peace of mind and places for contemplation.

The photos in this post were taken yesterday. I have never, in the 31 years I have lived on Lake Michigan,seen it so fierce as it was then. As I stood on the breakwater leading to the lighthouse, gusts of wind buffeted my body and waves of mist surrounded me at times. It was "awesome" in the original sense of the word.

Those of you who live near the ocean can now understand how a mid-western lake can produce a culture that includes surfers. No, the Lake isn't always like this. Often it is placid and allows large vessels to bring goods to its harbors, sailboats lazily exploring the coastline, commercial fishing boats stalking the wild salmon, or children and their parents frolicking along the beach. Then there are days like this one. I truly appreciate the lake in all of its many guises.

Thank you for visiting, I hope that you enjoyed it. Please feel free to stop by again. In the meantime, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.


p.s. At this time next month it'll be road trip time and I'll be on my way to sunny Florida.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving:Remembering the Wampanoag

Today is the day that those of us from the United States celebrate Thanksgiving. This is done in memory of the survival of the first English settlers in what they called the New World in the early 1600's. They would not have survived that first year without the help of those who already lived in that part of North America, the people who call themselves the Wampanoag.

Most of the English who arrived in what would later become Massachusetts were ill-prepared to survive in this new environment. The crops were different and the winters were harsher than anything they had experienced before. Without the willingness of the Wampanoag to help these people who had strange appearances and even stranger customs learn new ways, the new settlers would certainly have been doomed.

The photos in this collection were taken at Plimouth Plantation. In an earlier post, I took you through the replica 17th Century English settlement where reenactors simulated life in the Plantation. The Wampanoag who work in this part of Plimouth Plantation are not reenactors. Rather, their goal is to tell modern visitors about their past and present and show them aspects of traditional life among their people during the 17th Century. Essentially it is a place where the Wampanoag can say "That is where we came from and this is who we are today". I felt that it was a meaningful collaboration between the First American peoples and the European peoples. It was representative of who took place in the early 1600's.

Thank you for visiting, please feel free to stop by again. In the meantime, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Searching for the Sun

Ronda cafe

Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico

Dali's NE Spain bay

Paris on the Seine

Seville sidewalk

It's that time again in my part of the world. The days are shorter and the skies are grayer.As these times progress, I realize more and more that I am a creature of light. It's not that I don't enjoy the beauty of a foggy beach or the drama of a thunder storm, I certainly do. Sunlight and accompanying blue skies have a marked positive effect upon my energy level and my outlook towards life. They have also decidedly had an effect on where I have chosen to travel and how much I have enjoyed my stay.

Please don't misjudge me, I am not a fair-weather traveler. I can enjoy exploring a new place (or revisiting a place) in spite of dark clouds and rainfall. A couple of years ago I spent three weeks in early Spring exploring parts of Wales, England, and Scotland. Much of that time was spent with an umbrella in one hand and my camera in the other. In retrospect, I really could have used at least a third hand for a warm cup of strong coffee.

Still, if I am given a choice, sun and blue skies are two ideal parts of travel or just day to day living. Here in bleaker middle America I am waiting in anticipation for the month of January, a chance to explore parts of Florida for the first time. A few months later, it will be May and my first visit to the emerald hills of Ireland (yes, I know it takes rain to make those hills green).

In the meantime, I'll spend a little time looking at photos from past trips and reminiscing. The Pueblo of Acoma in New Mexico-the state that has blue skies 70% of the time. Spain-where sunlit cafes, benches , beaches, and plaza are places to meet friends and share times with family. Viewing parts of Paris as you travel on public transport along the Seine. Each of these brings back pleasant memories that help diminish a November gloom in Northa America. A picture is, indeed, worth a thousand words.

Thank you for visiting, feel free to stop by again. In the meantime, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable (and full of sunlight, if that's what you prefer).


Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Magic Gardens of Philadelphia

Perhaps you thought you'd be seeing riotous flower gardens or experimental urban vegetable gardens, not so. In an earlier post I mentioned that one of the things that I found in Philadelphia was that there was a surprise around every corner. This was very true during our walk along South Street. As we walked along there were parts of buildings decorated with "found" or recycled art. Camera came out and photos were taken. Then we arrived at Philly's Magic Gardens. We didn't go in that day, it was the end of a day with much walking and exploring behind us and it was obvious that the Gardens were so extensive that they would be better visited another day.

We did go back and had an enjoyable time exploring the work of Isaiah Zager and his amazing mosaics. To be honest, it was difficult to chose five photos that would truly represent the experience. While I was trying to be a reflective photographer and not take random photos, the imagery and varied combinations made it difficult for me to put the camera away and just appreciate it. If you ever do git a chance to visit Philly's Magic Gardens, be sure to to give yourself enough time to truly appreciate them. If you are interested in learning more about the Gardens, their website is:

It's interesting to me to learn how people in different places define "art" . Philly certainly presents the concept in a variety of ways-formal museums, building murals, and the mosaics of the Magic Gardens. There is so much visible artwork that it is like walking through a European city. In fact, the more I think about it, Philadelphia's artwork, street cafes, coffee houses, and diversity in approaches to food remind me very much of a European city (even though home of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall).

Thank you for visiting, please feel free to stop by again. In the meantime, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Dona Nobis Pacem

Dona Nobis Pacem/Give Us Peace

Today, on November 4, I’m taking a detour from my usual blogging to Blog for Peace. Those of you reading this on my photography blogs might react with a, “He promised that he wouldn’t get political in his blog posts on this site”. If you read just a little further, you’ll discover that I have kept my promise.

“Peace”, in my mind, is not and should not be a political word. Peace is a time when people are not in conflict with one another, and treat each other as they’d like to be treated- with respect, dignity, and understanding. True peace does not concern itself with ideology, religion, gender, social class, nation of origin, sexual orientation, or any other way that is commonly used to divide people into “us” and “them” categories. Peace is how you and I relate to each other on a one-to-one basis. I understand that these words are extremely idealistic. I also understand that here are circumstances when peace can only be attained or held onto through non-peaceful struggle. Still, as I travel in my own country and in other parts of the world, it is clear to me that we have more similarities than differences. As individuals, we all have a strong desire for peace for ourselves and those we care about. It is imperative for our own survival that, to the greatest degree possible, we “give peace a chance”. There is no substitute for peace.

Would you like to be part of this peace initiative next year? If so, follow this link: