Category Archives: Photography

Taking the High Line

One of the places I wanted to visit during my stay in New York City was the High Line, a 1-mile long, elevated park on a former railway line. The High Line starts at 14th Street in Manhattan’s west side, and extends to 30th Street.

High Line

The original rail line was at street level in the 1800s, but there were so many collisions that 10th Avenue was nicknamed Death Avenue. Eventually, for the safety of New Yorkers, the rail line was elevated. But as a line that brought livestock into the city to be slaughtered, it really still was Death Avenue. I’m glad it’s a park now.

The original rail lines are still in place and beautiful plants grow around them in a way that makes it seem overgrown. In reality, it’s a carefully planned and elegantly cultivated garden.

Highline Collage

My parents and I started at the south end and walked the length of the High Line, enjoying sculptures, gorgeous views, live music, and lush greenery. It’s such an oasis in the city and a tremendous boost to the community. It’s even safe at night! There were so many people wandering through the park on our first visit there, that I felt totally safe.

During the day, you can see across the Hudson to New Jersey.

New Jersey

You can practically see in people’s apartments too! I like the mix of old and new along the High Line. You can see a famous Frank Gehry building, and the infamous Standard Hotel (there weren’t any exhibitionists on this day, however).

Diane von Furstenburg was a major financial backer for the project and it’s fitting that her flagship store is right next to the park.

DVF

DVF and Empire State Building

No matter where you look, you’ll see terrific views, like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building!

Chrysler Building

When we were done, we descended the staircase and continued exploring New York City. My mom wrote about our visit too. Have you been to the High Line?

Jean and mom

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Doors of New York

When I wandered the streets of New York a couple of weeks ago with my parents, I took a lot of pictures. We all did. Between the three of us, we had five devices–one DSLR, two point-and-shoots, a smartphone and an iPad! We didn’t set out to capture a series of doors, but there’s something about doors that drew us in. And when I looked through the photos, I saw a theme.

Maybe you can’t judge a book by its cover, but my dad said you can tell a lot by the interior of a house by what the front door looks like. He should know–he’s a painter and decorator and I bet he’s painted a lot of doors!

I hope you enjoy a few of the doors we captured in pixels.

Here’s a beautiful building a block away from the place we stayed at in Harlem. Warm, inviting wooden doors and pretty flower boxes drew me to this scene.

twin doors

A red door is classic and the black shutters and brass mail slot and kicker add elegance to this doorway in Chelsea.

red and black

I liked the arched doorway, the combination of dark wood and light stone, and the flowers flanking the steps.

arched wooden door

Carved faces and grapes, and lions guarding the stairs makes this entry special. The black door with half window is very inviting.

lions

Another red door, this one with great ironwork and crisp, white shutters.

red and white

The entry to this cathedral in Morningside Heights had a heavy, strong door.

brass handle

Nothing beats a fire station for style. I really liked this one in Little Italy.

fire station

I like the greenery growing around this door’s arch. The iron gate is a nice touch that adds privacy without being obtrusive.

black door

I can’t stop looking at the warm tones of this wooden door in Greenwich Village. The forest green trim works well with the wood and bricks.

green and wood

Here’s the detail of the door knocker–lovely!

knocker

How does a building or house draw you in? Is it the doors, the garden, windows, something else? Have you done something special to your entry?

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Building Castles in the Sand

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Savannah was going to the north beach on nearby Tybee Island and checking out a sand sculpture competition.

SCAD hive

The competition was part of the Sand Arts Festival and participants were all student from SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design. SCAD is a big part of the Savannah landscape, with buildings, shops and art peppered through the city. Savannah is a beautiful place and the college enriches it even further, adding another layer of culture.

sand bee

It’s was really hard to pick my top sculptures. I took a lot of photos, and a few things stood out. This life-sized merman takes the cake! I wasn’t the only one who thought so. It took first place in the sand sculpture category.

merman

I have a feeling that mermaids have a higher standard to live up to and, just like us people, the mermen can get away with being a little soft. At least he’s buoyant!

PBR on the belly

Using the natural environment and creating a realistic sand mold was a good move. I liked this guy. He was so big that if he were real, he’d have been able to pull me right in!

mole

What a croc! No really, he was quite something. It’s easy to forget that those sharp teeth are made of sand. It’s such a tricky medium, but the sculptors executed their designs flawlessly.

croc

Speaking of dangerous critters, look at the teeth on this one! I think it’s an angler fish.

toothy fish

This sand chicken is sitting on her nest of sticks and twigs found on the beach. Her beak, comb/wattle, and feathers are color-coordinated shells from the beach. Love the mixed media in this sculpture!

sand chicken

The students had only a few hours to complete their masterpieces before professors and SCAD staff judged the entries. I was amazed by this dino/seamonster/dragon.

dino

Speaking of dinosaurs, look what this group unearthed. At least it looks like an excavated dinosaur skeleton. It’s really just a fantastic example of relief work. That’s probably why it got first place in the sand relief category.

dino fossil

I liked this one. He looks so sad though.

sad guy

I really enjoyed the competition. These pictures are all that remains though. My nightfall, the tide and winds probably took them all away. So fleeting.

castle

The beach was a beautiful place. I liked how close to the water, the sand gave way to broken shells.

shells on th ebeach

The pretty birds running along the beach reminded me why it’s good to get away. It’s easy to forget everyday worries when you’re at the ocean.

sea birds

Have you ever been to a sand castle competition?

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Shadow Shot: Savannah

I enjoy writing posts about art and I enjoy taking pictures and the Shadow Shot challenge is a way to participate in both. Why then, have I neglected my shadow shots for so long? I hope to make up for lost time with a few shots from Savannah, Georgia.

I visited Savannah last month on the annual trip I take with a few friends. What a gorgeous city–and full of history! We enjoyed wandering through the historic part of town and snapping shots of brick and ironwork.

American flag

Amore

I’m always happy when I see palm trees–it means winters can’t be that harsh.

Mansion on Forsythe Park

The skies were blue and the weather was perfect–mid 80s (mid 30s for all you Celsius folks!).

church

Is it the shadows or do those cherubs look angry?

cherubs

We found a lot of tattoo parlors, each with interesting signs. Here’s one of my favorites.

tattoo

Even misplaced recycling looks nice with the sun shining on it.

blue bottle

We imbibed too, at a second-story bar next to our hotel, The Mansion at Forsythe Park. I’m so glad I didn’t find out until after our visit that the hotel was built on a cemetery and the bar was once a funeral parlor. Yikes!

drinks

By day, the hotel doesn’t seem haunted at all. The pool was in a relaxing courtyard surrounded by palm trees.

poolside

Savannah is a wonderful city and I’ll add other posts soon too: The fashions, the beach, the Scottish Highland Games–we had a fun and busy weekend and I can’t wait to share more pictures with you.

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Kailua Beach and Then Home

I never get tired of seeing tropical beaches, but in case you are getting weary, rest assured: Future posts will be set in dreary Seattle. In the meantime, here’s how hubby and I spend the last few hours for warm, windy weather in Kailua.

morning at the beach

The city is in the windward side of the island–perfect for kiteboarding, surfing, and working on getting a “beachy waves” hairstyle.

surfer

swimming

The homes along the water were amazing (and really expensive!)

beach house

Why did we keep finding fruit in the water?

apple

And why was I so obsessed with taking pictures of it?

grapefruit

I love how Mr. Jean of all Trades dressed during our trip and I’m proud to say he bought the entire Hawaiian wardrobe at Goodwill the week before we travelled. He’s not normally a shorts-and-t kind of guy, but I think he pulls it off well.

hubby

We had a fantastic whirlwind of a time and we hope to be back soon.

aloha

Mahalo!

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Hawaiian Getaway

Mr. Jean of all Trades and I took a quick Hawaiian vacation recently. We left Seattle on a Thursday morning and came back on Monday. It was a long-long weekend. Probably too short in retrospect, but any time away is better than none.

It’s a five-hour flight to Honolulu, and that gave us the afternoon to wander through Waikiki, the busy, touristy part of the city. I was thrilled when The Pacific Beach Hotel upgraded us to an ocean-view room. Those little dots in the water are surfers waiting to catch a wave. The water seemed calm but every now and then, they’d ride a wave to the shore.

view from the room

Hotels in Waikiki are pricy so I picked a less expensive, no-frills place to stay. It was clean and close to everything. That’s all we needed. This picture is of the hotel next door.

Waikiki hotel

The beach was beautiful and it was a treat to see palm trees again.

palms

The last time I saw any was in Florida last year, when I met up with my parents who were staying in Pompano Beach.

Evening in Waikiki

We savored the sunset and watched the ships along the horizon. It was hard to believe we’d been in Seattle that morning.

sunset

When the sun lowered, the glow was gone.

Honolulu

But it stayed light later than it does in Seattle this time of year.

pre-valentines' day dinner

Best of all, it stayed warm! We wandered the beach before heading off for a Valentine’s Day dinner.

I picked up this maxi dress at a clothing exchange this past fall. I jokingly said that I didn’t have anywhere to wear it but I’d take it for my next trip to Hawaii (not knowing I’d be heading there so soon)! We ate in an Italian restaurant where I found a delicious vegan pasta dish and a drink made with sparkling wine and hibiscus juice. Welcome to paradise!

Next up is our first full day on Oahu: Exploring Honolulu.

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Visiting Fallingwater

Two years ago, I traveled to Mill Run, PA with my friend Donna to visit Fallingwater, an amazing home by Frank Lloyd Wright, built for the Kaufmann family. The Kaufmanns owned a department store of the same name and liked to spend weekend in the countryside, away from the hustle and bustle of Pittsburgh. Frank Lloyd Wright is probably America’s most famous architect. He designed the house and built it in the latter part of the 1930s.

Fallingwater house by Frank Lloyd Wright

I’d always wanted to visit this home. Thankfully it’s a National Historic Landmark and is safe from demolition, unlike a lot of Mid-Century Modern architecture (including other houses by Wright). Who would tear down an amazing piece of history–art you can live in?

edge of house

The multilevel home is long and linear and seems to float over the falls. Inside, it’s exquisite, yet unassuming. The ceilings are low and the rooms are open. Light floods in and it’s hard to tell where the walls stop and nature begins. That was the idea: To bring nature in and enjoy living with the falls.

fallingwater architechture collage

The Kaufmanns were world travellers. They collected art from all over the world and the decor in the house reflects their eclectic style. You might see a modern Picasso painting in one room, a 200-year-old Persian rug in another, and a 15th Century Madonna statue in yet another.

fallingwater art collage

Donna and I drove from my parent’s house in Cambridge, Ontario through Buffalo, NY and on to Pittsburgh. After a fun weekend traipsing though galleries and shopping districts, we made the two-hour drive to Fallingwater. We wandered through the house and grounds on a guided tour, snapping shot after shot of iconic art, furniture, and the architecture that we’d only read about in university. It was an amazing experience.

fallingwater interior collage

The department store is now a Macy’s, and the Kaufmanns are long gone, but their legacy, and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, will live on in the woods in Mill Run, PA. If you ever get a chance to visit, you won’t regret it.

multilevel home

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Shadow Shot: Factory Ruins

I’ve neglected Shadow Shot Sunday almost as much as the owners of this factory neglected their property. And look what happened to that! It fell apart, but in a beautiful, shadowy way.

shadows

woodpile

I like how I didn’t have to do anything to these shots. The light was great and the subject matter was so monochromatic that some of these shots seem sepia-tone.

fallen fence

decaying cardboard

This time last year, my dad was in Jamestown NY for Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday celebration. He captured excellent shadow shots of an abandoned factory. This was my turn. Nothing as cool as what he found though. Just a Seattle warehouse a few weeks before it was razed.

window

ladder

Check out the other shadow shots that people submitted this week.

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Boston Trolley Tour

Here are some shots from the trolley tour I took in Boston. It’s a beautiful city with a rich history.

This is Trinity Church, the only building in Boston (and only church) honored as one of the “Ten Most Significant Buildings in the United States” by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Trinity Church Collage

Here’s the beautiful Boston Public Library.

Boston Public Library

Some people look like they can walk on water.

walking on water

Even a non-baseball-fan like me knows about Fenway Park and The infamous Green Monster.

Fenway Park

The architecture in Boston is amazing.

Boston residences

more residences

The Massachusetts State House is recognizable by its gold dome.

MA State House

A plaque dedicated to Paul Revere, patriot in the American Revolution.

Paul Revere plaque

Custom House, a skyscraper, near the waterfront.

Custom House

One of the last remains of the elevated arterial road that used to cut through downtown. The road is underground now, thanks to a project called the Big Dig, America’s most expensive highway effort.

steel post

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Visiting Vancouver

You might remember the girls’ trip I took with my friends last year. Well, we did it again. This time we chose Vancouver, British Columbia. It was out first international trip, even though it was probably the closest we’ve stayed to home.

The first thing we did when we arrived was check out the view from our hotel. We stayed at The Westin and it was wonderful. We were steps from Stanley Park (Cheryl ran its 6-mile perimeter during the trip), and we were only a few blocks from Robson Street, a popular shopping destination.

view from the hotel

The second thing we did was find a patio and get drinks and food. I loved being able to order a rye and ginger and have the waitress know exactly what I wanted (rye whiskey–like Crown Royal–and ginger ale). The brews were local and the food was spicy. Yum.

drinks

After sustenance comes shopping. We hit Granville Street (we were saving Robson till Saturday) and looked around stores like Bedo, Plum, and Spank. We found a store that was promoting the Beagle Freedom Project in the windows display but the shop itself was closed.

Beagle Freedom Project

Boboli had a unique stone entrance. They are a high-end boutique that carries Armani, Robert Cavalli, La Perla, and more. We thought just being near such designers made us more sophisticated.

Laura, Jean, and Cheryl at Boboli

The second day of our trip was also shopping-focused (which is why Autumn chose to visit Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium–sorry Autumn!). We fought through the crowds at Brandy Melville (one of the only non-Canadian stores we visited).

Brandy Melville

We visited the oldest commercial corporation in North America: The Bay. The Hudson’s Bay Company was founded in 1670, and began as a fur trading operation. The Bay, and its quintessential striped logo are part of my childhood. Cheryl was going to buy some perfume but thought it might not fit in her suitcase.

Cheryl's perfume

Laura found great things at Bedo. Cheryl wasn’t as lucky. You can see her in the background, walking back to the hotel, empty-handed.

Laura's haul

Vancouver is a true metropolis and has a great mix of old and new buildings. We enjoyed the architecture and public art. Every time I visit Vancouver I vow to go to the Vancouver Art Gallery but the weather’s always too nice to justify going indoors.

old and new buildings

We got all dolled up for dinner and an improv show. On our way out, the valet offered to take our picture. I have three posed shots, but a funny comment from a passerby cracked us up and this last, candid photo shows us looking more genuine and happy. Can you believe we didn’t plan our outfits. Total fluke.

Jean, Laura, Cheryl, and Autumn dressed for dinner

On our third day we explored more along the waterfront. Vancouver is a beautiful city, and a lot of fun. People rode bikes, picnicked, and played games. The towering condos offer a luxe life for those with a lot of money. It’s an expensive city too.

flowers

hidden

waterfront

The public art brightened up an already fabulous day.

house in the sky

lego orca

metal couple

We even stumbled across the sculpture from the 2010 Winter olympics. I remember this piece from the opening and closing ceremonies. The flame is out now but it burned for the duration of the games.

Olympic sculpture

The trip to Vancouver was so fun, but much too short. I’ll be back again soon. North Vancouver, Kitsilano, and Granville Island await.

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