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.



Baby on bike with rain and blur.

Baby on bike with rain and blur.


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.


Train to St. Galen

Landscapes, Photography, Portraits, Travel

Above: Beautiful vineyards and lake landscape shot through a train window in Switzerland. When photographing from any moving object a fast shutter speed is the number one factor to a good image. This was shot at 1/800 of a second, f 5.6, ISO 400.

After taking the cable car to the top of Europe on the Aiguille du Midi it was time to change countries. A brief trip through Switzerland was next on the list.

In my post Train Station Stretch I talked about the pleasures of riding on trains. Fantastic, constantly changing scenery and a intimate view of locals living day-to-day often made getting from A to B very enjoyable. This train was en route to St. Galen, northern Switzerland.

Town of Adventure – Chamonix, France

Landscapes, Photography, Sports, Street, Travel

Above: View of flower boxes, mountains and the river that runs through the town of Chamonix, France, July 20, 2013. 

Following the fantastic bike ride through Burgundy wine country, the adventure town of Chamonix, France, only 190 miles south-east, was a logical next stop. Surrounded by mountain fortresses, Chamonix is situated right on the border with Italy and Switzerland. It is perhaps the most accessible and popular gateway to explore the vast Alps.

Under foot a cold, silty, glacial-fed river bisects town. Overhead clouds veil and expose mountain peaks, gondolas whisk explorers in a web-like maze, climbers tackle treacherous peaks, and dozens of paragliders waft down and around in strong wind-currents.

The town itself is a resort town – crowded, lots of shopping, and lots of people tromping around in mountaineering gear. Needless to say the reason for visiting was not to explore then town – but the surroundings.  Those surroundings will be featured in future posts – particularly the Aiguille du Midi, an intense, two-gondola trip that ascends sheer-rock faces to an astounding 12,605 ft. (3,842 m,) in roughly 40 minutes.

Paragliders pepper the sky, cable-car wires hardly be seen stretching from one mountain peak to the other.

Paragliders pepper the sky, cable-car wires can hardly be seen stretching from one mountain peak to the other.

Being pulled on a bicycle through the main square in Chamonix, mountain peaks projecting in the background.

Being pulled on a bicycle through the main square in Chamonix, mountain peaks projecting in the background.

Windows – Piano, Dog, Cat and Abstract

Abstract, Alaska, Black & White, Film, Photography, Portraits, Street, Travel

Above: Piano lessons at night through a window in the University of Washington district. Shot on a Kodak Retine IIIc, 35mm film.

Windows, the current weekly photo challenge, can mean many things. Look in or out a window to see opposites. Eyes are windows. A window of time carries heavy implications. Windows are simultaneous openings and reflections. Insight into others and self. 

Throughmylens posted two wonderful windows to look through – one in British Columbia and one in Italy. 

Im excited to feature film frames this post. I have been neglecting film recently, so it’s good stimulant to shoot and process more. Two are film, the abstract black and white and the color frames are film. 

Beautiful Burgundy Bike – Facades

architecture, Landscapes, Photography, Portraits, Street, Travel

Above: Château de la Rochepot perched above Rochepot village. Parts of the castle date from the 13th century.

Believe it or not Château de la Rochepot is for sale – complete with drawbridge and barbican! The real estate listing has a lot interesting information and awesome photos, especially the meticulous tile roof. I would like to own a castle.

It’s time for Beautiful Burgundy Region Bike Ride – part two. Part one started us on a bike path leaving Beaune, Bourgognes. The 22-mile bike wound through beaucoup villages and vineyards on a hot and hazy July 17, 2013.

Fantastic architecture abound, culture seamlessly blended with scenery, and rolling hills like tides continually changed perspectives. 

Beginning of Ski Season – Weekly Photo Challenge

Alaska, Landscapes, Photography, Sports, Weekly Photo Post

Above: A quiet and foggy beginning to the 2013-2014 season at Skiland. December 7, 2013 at 10:12 a.m.

December 7, 2013, marked the start of the downhill season at Skiland – the farthest-north chairlift in North America. Opening day is often a mad dash; wake up after a party; corral people, some gear, and grub; then try to get there for first run at 10 a.m., because last run comes quick at 2:30 p.m.

This year was relaxed, waxed boards the night before and went to bed at a reasonable time. The next day lots of clouds made visibility difficult, but unseasonably warm temperatures – over 10 degrees fahrenheit – complemented  a snowpack that hide reasonable numbers of rocks! 

Not much lifts the spirits in dark and typically cold December then an early opening at the downhill. Here’s a few examples of rapidly-changing light from the chairlift. 

Beaune, France.

architecture, Arts, Black & White, Landscapes, Photography, Travel

Above: Chatting on church steps at sunset. Beaune, France.

Tucked away in Burgendy region, southeast of Paris, is the peaceful small town of Beaune. Fantastic food and wine may be Beaune’s mainstay – they are both salubrious – but the proximity to vineyards, vistas, and ancient architecture offer adventure galore. One of the most enjoyable days in Europe was spent bicycling 22 miles on smooth, paved paths through the small villages surrounding Beaune. I will feature that in a future post.

Today is a brief overview of Beaune.

Train Station Stretch

Photography, Street, Travel

One fantastic aspect of Europe is train travel. A chance to relax, watch country side whisk by, and wonder if you going the right direction. Some of the most magnificent sights are seen on trains, and people often present a more relaxed persona. Though much like any long transportation so much sitting can ache the legs – ergo it was perfect one of my first sights riding a train was companions doing a hamstring stretch in the station. 

Taking time to stretch at a train station in Versailles, France, July 15, 2013.

Taking time to stretch at a train station in Versailles, France, July 15, 2013.