Friday, December 30, 2016

Snowy oak leaves

Oak trees seem to like to hold their leaves, and hold them though the snow and cold of winter. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Morning walk in fresh snow

Since retiring most mornings I take a walk. Around my home I have a number of directions I can go but all have become familiar. The challenge is to keep looking for the interesting and unexpected. Of course fresh light snow always presents new perspectives.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas

Wishing all a happy and safe holiday... hope Santa is good to you. And a have a joyful new year too.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

And at night

After dark the Steel Stacks (see earlier post) are lit, this time of year, for Christmas. If you look closely you will see stairways and walkways up into the works, providing a self-led tour of the parts and process of steel making. Unfortunately it was 20F and windy while we visited so I did not attempt the tour.

I shot this as a four exposure series and back home attempted an HDR composite. It was not to my liking. I created a better result by taking the best single exposure and working on local adjustments. I have found the dynamic range of most modern cameras often provides all that is needed, even in difficult exposure situations.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Steel Stacks

Bethlehem Steel ceased operations 1995 and left behind a large industrial site including these blast furnaces. Although there was talk of tearing them down to recover the site, it was eventually decided to leave the stacks as a backdrop for a redevelopment effort. It is now a music, arts and festival site for residents and tourists. The project was in part aided by the approval and development of a casino and hotel on part of the property. It appears to have been a successful transformation despite the sometimes detrimental downside that a casino can bring.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Main Street Bethlehem

No, not "O Little Town of Bethlehem"... this is Bethlehem Pennsylvania, the former home of Bethlehem Steel. Although this is not that Bethlehem it does takes inspiration from the original and is know as Christmas City.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Hookah bar

I do not know much about hookah bars but it seems to me that the combination of hookah bar and oxygen bar might not be the best match.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Batcheller mansion

The Batcheller mansion in Saratoga Springs is a Victorian inn with distinctive style and character. According to the website, it has hosted "U.S. Presidents, European Royalty, Dignitaries and Hollywood Celebrities."

Sunday, December 4, 2016


This doorway is a lingering photo remaining in my "selects" from the Italy trip. For some reason I never posted it back when I was putting up pictures from my travels, but today Blogger is telling me this is my 1000th post. Somehow a doorway seems to be symbolic of my Second Look project as it has been a point of entry into a sustained way to do something with my photos. Photography can be a pretty private affair if the work only collects on a hard drive and seen only by the photographer. Of course pictures can be printed and displayed, but there are only so many walls.

Ironically the pictured entryway has no door handle, no visible way to open. Not sure what that means, but I do intend to continue with posting my images.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Christmas at Hattie's

'Tis the season to decorate windows and doors and anything else that can hold color and lights... which brings some color and sparkle to an otherwise often gloomy time of the year.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Morning walk

It was a gloomy day in Saratoga Springs but still a good day for a walk.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Whoa... no parking

In horse obsessed Saratoga Springs NY everyone understands what "Whoa" means.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Drop shadow

I like the way the tree throws a shadow on the wall in the late day sun. It also represents my last post from Italy. It was a great trip and one I will always remember. I took 800 photos, of which many were just personal snapshots, but also found many that were, IMO, interesting enough to post.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Humble homes

There aren't any humble homes on Capri, only homes for the 1% (or maybe 1% of the 1%). We saw villas owned by Gucci and Sophia Loren, and several 5 star hotels and restaurants.

But it was fun to wander around the island with the other day-trippers for a few hours.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


The Faraglioni, or stacks, are iconic defining rock formations off the coast of the island of Capri. The size is hard to judge from this picture but our boat, carrying perhaps 16 people, easily fit through the opening. You can see another smaller boat on the other side if you look closely (click the image to enlarge).  It is considered good luck to pass though and demands a kiss from your partner.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Vesuvius view

My last two posts were from Pompeii... today's photo we see the outline of Vesuvius, the volcanic mountain that buried Pompeii in the year 79 AD. This was the view from our hotel in Sorrento.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Amalfi Cathedral

The Amalfi coast is a beautiful drive with stunning views of cliffs and coastline. Amalfi itself is a picturesque small town with a stunning cathedral surrounded by gelato shops and other tourist focused shops.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Corinthian order

The Corinthian order was the third classical design for architecture and the most ornate. Although this particular column does not exactly follow the style, it seems to me it cannot be classified any other way. The rectangular column is one deviation, and another is it's mix with rustic stonework.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Another one day break from Italy...

There has been quite a lot of hype over the supermoon (perigee-syzygy of the Earth–Moon–Sun system if you want to get technical!).  The reality it is the increased size in the sky is pretty minor. And in my neck-of-the-woods it was partially obscured by thin clouds.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Amphitheatre of Pompeii

A relatively smaller amphitheatre in Pompeii which predates the Coliseum by almost 100 years. It was buried by Vesuvius, like the rest of Pompeii and is believed to be the oldest stone Roman amphitheatre. It is sometimes used for events in modern times. David Gilmour, of Pink Floyd fame, performed a concert here a few months before we visited. Wish we could have seen it live.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Going to work

I don't know about you, but the entrance to my workplace was never quite as monumental as this.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

More parking

Motorbikes fit better on ancient streets, and seem to get parked most everywhere.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Quite a parking space

The great cities of Europe were never designed with automobiles in mind, so you have to park where you can.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

No photo!

Entering the Sistine Chapel the uniformed attendant kept repeating the phrase "no photo!"... sometime with emphasis as someone came into the space and immediately tilted their cell-phone toward the ceiling... leaning way back to take it all in.  And I think that was the issue. People would stop in their tracks and practically tip-over to photograph the famous ceiling frescos, and block the anxious crowd behind them.

We were lucky to find a way to squeeze a seat on the benches along the wall. Not feeling defeated I pointed my camera from my lap and took multiple covert pictures thinking at at least some of them might be framed and usable.

So, feeling only a bit guilty, here are a few images that I captured of Michelangelo's masterwork.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Spiral staircases are a common subject for many photos it seems. The twisting lines are almost hypnotic, but am I just stealing the work of the architect? It is a pretty obvious target for the photographer.

This particular stairway, which is really more of a ramp, is in the Vatican museum but it is not being used anymore. The entrance and lobby was expanded and modernized a number of years ago and the traffic now by-passes this feature.

But I could not help myself and took the picture.

Monday, November 7, 2016


I have more images than expected from my trip to Italy and will continue with that series, but I could not let Autumn pass without at least one image of the seasons hues... so here is a young maple in my yard at peak color taken a few weeks ago.

We did not expect to see a lot of vibrant color this year because of the hot dry summer, but I think the show was pretty good.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

One more

Pardon my black-and-white, but this image just did not work for me in the weak colors that were captured. I do not post much black-and-white but there are always exceptions.

This is another image from the Colosseum that I like for its tonal and compositional qualities.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Going to the game?

The colosseum (more correctly known as the Amphitheatrum Flavium) was surprisingly like many modern stadiums: it had numbered sections and seats, held over 50,000 spectators, and even had a retractable roof (made of canvas) to protect from the hot Roman sun or rain. It's in pretty bad shape now days, but considering it is almost 2000 years old, it is amazing the brick and concrete structure is standing at all.

Friday, November 4, 2016


I saw these tall bushy-top trees all over Italy, especially around Florence. I asked a guide what they were called and he called them "pino" which of course translates to "pine". They don't look anything line the pine trees I know, but they do have dark green needles, so I guess that is what they are but a different variety than I know.

Of course the tall skinny trees on the horizon are Italian cypress, famous as the archetype tree of Tuscany.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A rose

On a misty rainy walk I found this rose carefully placed in a vase outside a shop. It struck me as a nice gesture that someone placed something so beautiful for the passerby.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


It seems to be difficult to get too far away from churches and Christianity in Italy. Here is a chapel in a winery. I guess it is a popular place to get married... and wine, holy or not, is within easy reach.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Pink umbrella

A little rain is to be expected, but the hope is it will not last too long or dampen the spirit.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Under the dome

An earlier post mentioned Brunelleschi’s Dome that sits atop the Florence Cathedral (Il Duomo di Firenze), and here is a view looking up into the dome. There are many things about this dome that are remarkable. The dome caps an octogonal hole that is 150 wide that was open to the elements for over a hundred years. The original builders of the cathedral did not know how to complete the crown that would start atop 180 foot walls. This was 600 years ago, long before architecture or engineering was a science and construction was more of a trial and error affair.

After much discussion and a competition Brunelleschi was chosen for the task, a man with no formal architecture training. He was by trade a goldsmith.

National Geographic has a series of articles and graphics that provide a lot more detail of this fascinating accomplishment.

Shown in the above photo is the fresco that was later added inside the dome. The credit for that work goes to three men, Vincenzo Borghini, Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccaro.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

From behind

Everyone shoots a picture of Michelangelo's David from the front, but you don't see many from the rear. The crowd does like the view from all sides, and stand in line sometimes for hours for a glimpse. We were lucky to have a pre-arranged tour and no line.