Amsterdam Street Part Two

Photography, Street, Travel

Time to look at more pictures from Amsterdam, one of the best spots to people watch I’ve ever encountered.    

Public transport in Amsterdam.

Public transport in Amsterdam.

Failed focus in this image. So many layers, but the focus in in the wrong spot. Should be on the boater.

Failed focus in this image. So many layers, but the focus in in the wrong spot. Should be on the boater.

Canal boaters frequently fill boats to max capacity.

Canal boaters frequently fill boats to max capacity.

Kids on bikes in precarious positions are commonplace in Amsterdam.

Kids on bikes in precarious positions are commonplace in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam street part one

Photography, Street, Travel

Above: Houseboats line one of many canals at sunset in Amsterdam. 

Amsterdam is a thriving city of diversity with immense cultural importance. Spectacular and somber museums, unique window shopping and an openness to marijuana all make Amsterdam a bit mind bending.

Easily one of the most enjoyable aspects of Amsterdam for me was simple people watching. Unfortunately, like much of my street photography, I struggled with sharp images or misplaced focus. I think the city had a certain hustle, — cars, mopeds, bikes and boats — I had never experienced before, and it took me awhile to catch up.

Though Amsterdam could easily become overwhelming it’s someplace I would like to return. 

Perhaps my favorite image from Amsterdam. The family feels timeless — mother and children in motion, an impressive bike. The background is strong with of many micro layers. 

A determined mother shuttles children in a large basket on a bicycle.

A determined mother shuttles children in a large basket on a bicycle.

Juxtapose

Juxtapose

Baby on bike with rain and blur.

Baby on bike with rain and blur.

 

Far Mountain Traverse

Alaska, Landscapes, Photography, Travel

Above: The view south from the top of Far Mountain, northeast of Fairbanks. Smoke rises far in the distance from a wildfire more than 100 miles south.

Far Mountain Traverse is roughly a 28-mile hike that starts and ends at Chena Hot Springs. The loop has a total elevation gain around 15,000 feet, with a summit of more than 4000 feet — one of the highest peaks in the surrounding area. 

In addition to considerable mileage: rock fields, granite tors, smoke clouds from wildfires, mild bushwhacking and a lot of mosquitos. All standard Alaska backcountry. 

One thought I had during the hike was to reach Far Mountain, then pack raft out. I found a very in-depth blog post about just such an adventure at Go Play Outside, a fun Alaska excursion blog with extensive information. A hike a raft is doable. 

 

 

Belgium, briefly

architecture, Photography, Portraits, Street, Travel

Above: A duo poses for a picture in front of Manneken Pis, a tiny bronze statue of a young boy urinating. I like taking pictures of people taking pictures, this one has a quite comical element. August 10, 2014.

Not an awful lot to say in this post, was only briefly in Belgium. I will say that Manneken Pis, a small statue of a young boy urinating, is far too popular.

The amount of people around and photographing the statue in the heart of Brussels is baffling. I almost feel bad contributing to the hysteria by posting three photos of the statue. I’ll admit, it is kind of cute, and the figure is often dressed in different costumes – which is probably charming. But with that said, I still don’t understand the draw of this little character.

 

 

Gorgeous turquoise ceiling of a Brussels church.

Gorgeous turquoise ceiling of a Brussels church.

The Atomium - design to resemble an atom - was built for the World Exposition of 1958.

The Atomium – design to resemble an atom – was built for the World Exposition of 1958.

 

Mittenwald, Bavaria: Waterfall and More Mountains

Landscapes, Photography, Sports, Travel

Above: A canyon with cool-blue water cuts through the mountains surrounding Mittenwald, Bavaria. Photographed August 7, 2013.

A long day of hiking is guaranteed to make one sore. One way to loosen up is another hike – this time to a swimming pool under a waterfall. A bike ride and a 30 minute trek up a stream bed led to the pool. The water was not warm, but greatly refreshed achy muscles.

A natural shower and a swimming pool to play in outside near the village of Mittenwald, Bavaria.

A natural shower and a swimming pool to play in outside near the village of Mittenwald, Bavaria.

The stream bed alone was gorgeous, with teal water, smooth stone and tall canyon walls. 

Mittenwald-3

Cool blue canyon.

The road between Mittenwald and the stream and waterfall is occupied with farmland. The return trip at sunset gave me a few great photographic opportunities.

Farmers enjoy mountain views at sunset while driving a tractor.

Farmers enjoy mountain views at sunset while driving a tractor.

Faded German signs, a biker and mountain ranges.

Faded German signs, a biker and mountain ranges.

Mittenwald, Bavaria: Part One

architecture, Landscapes, Photography, Sports, Travel

Above: Alps rise just north of the German-Austrian border. The winding road leads to the summer house of Kind Ludvig II, whose main castle I featured in an earlier post. Photographed August 6, 2013.

Mittenwald is a small village in the German state of Bavaria. It’s situated on the German Alps and shares a border with Austria. A friend of mine lives there, so it was a few-day stop while traveling in Europe.

Mountains are a high-hop and quick-skip away. Architecture follows strict guidelines. Ski hills and mountain bikes are popular pastimes. There’s more to come from Mittenwald.

Caribou, Moose, Dall Sheep and Ptarmigan in Trees

Alaska, Landscapes, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Above: Mother moose sheds her winter coat, followed close by a  yearling, Denali National Park, May 2, 2014.

My last post was the scenery I encountered during a long and hilly 50-plus mile bike ride inside Denali National Park. There were multiple large mountain passes, hot temperatures and in my case more then 10 pounds of photo gear. 

I brought along my telephoto, predicting I would regret not taking it. While I probably could have done without, it certainly got me a few wildlife shots. 

Both to my relief and disappointment, there were no bears on this trip. Bears in Denali are common, and traveling solo I didn’t want to see one too close. 

These were far from the only instances I saw wildlife, most were too far away to do anything but acknowledge their presence. 

 

Spectacular Polychrome Pass, Denali National Park

Abstract, Alaska, Landscapes, Photography, Sports, Travel

Above: The steep pitch of Polychrome Pass becomes evident when the horizon is set against the slope. May 2, 2014.

Polychrome Pass is a mountain pass named for Polychrome Mountain on the Denali Park Road, the 83-mile out and back road that takes visitors inside Denali National Park. The narrow, steep, winding pass is breathtaking, and steep. 

“Poly” is latin for many and “chrome” is latin for color, so polychrome pass means “many colors.” It’s an appropriate name. Reds, greens, blues, violets, ambers, yellows and browns are just some of the spectrums seen at any given time.  With the addition of sweeping vistas, it’s one of my favorite places in the park. 

According to National Park Service geological information, Polychrome Pass features basalts and rhyolites deposited by volcanic activity 56 million years ago. 

This post will feature some of the many colors and the swirling, striated patterns they create, mixed with grand vistas. 

 

All images were shot during a bicycle trip into Denali National Park on May 2. More to follow.

 

Farmer’s silhouette, seen through train window

Landscapes, Photography, Portraits, Travel

Above: A farmer in the distance is seen, silhouetted while working, through a train window. The stark emptiness of the image is what makes the person seem so prominent. Cool colors, green and grey-blue, create a relaxed and open landscape that contrasts the farmer’s firm form. 

1/2000 sec. at f/9.0 ISO400

Fairytale castles and grand views in Bavaria

architecture, Landscapes, Photography, Travel

Above: Neuschwanstein Castle, in Bavaria, southern Germany, sits on a hill high above farmland, lakes and small villages. 

Neuschwanstein was the castle of “Mad” King Ludvig II, a reclusive Bavarian King. It’s not an ancient castle like many situated throughout Europe. Construction began in 1869, and Ludvig never saw it’s completion, he died a suspicious death one day after being disposed of the throne. Immediately after the castle was opened to the public for tours, and can now accommodate 6,000 people a day. 

The castle has played a role in everything from Disney movies to a storage house and retreat for Nazi SS. It sits on a dramatic hill, overlooking Ludvig’s father’s castle, sprawling farms and bodies of water. Fussen, Bavaria, is the closest town.

A hill behind the castle offers the most dramatic views.