Looking down on the Cinque Terre town of Vernazza on a stormy afternoon. The harbor would normally be full of small boats at this time of day, but they were all pulled out of the water due to dynamic sea conditions.
Earlier this year, we were able to spend a bit of time in Italy. Out of this, we had three days to rattle around in Cinque Terre — a group of 5 old fishing towns. They’re quite a photogenic group, although I’d vote for Vernazza as the prettiest. They’re all also connected by both a seaside hiking trail, and shuttle service on the local rail line — so you’ve got multiple options for getting around to see the sights, as a function of your schedule and exercise tolerance. I took this shot from the trail on the north side of town — not terribly far to go for a “postcard” view.
Like many photographers in the Olympus / OM System world, I’m in the process of upgrading my photography gear from the E-M1III to the OM-1. Fortunately, SmallRig just started shipping a camera cage for the OM-1, since their long-unavailable cage for the E-M1II (which also fit the E-M1III) does *not* fit the OM-1. Before I sell off the old cage, I thought it might be helpful to compare the two models for anybody that may be in the market for one or the other.
At a high level, there are some key changes: some mounting points went away, or moved; the overall shape changed just slightly (in the process, access to body-front buttons is improved); and the new cage has a built-in Arca-Swiss mounting plate and captive attachment tool.
One lesser-known bit of trivia about the Inca Trail — some current-day communities on it still rely on the trail for transportation of cargo. How to do this while keeping the trail in its largely-historical state? Why, by burro, naturally:
We recently took a family “spring break” trip out to Washington D.C. As part of a “behind the scenes” tour of the National Cathedral, I spotted this little gargoyle through a tiny window in a service door:
Even from just a few steps away from the door, it took 110mm of focal length (220 in full frame terms) to capture the little guy.
A scene from this year’s “Christkindl Market” in downtown Denver, Colorado — shelves of beer steins on sale at a vendor’s stall:
Oddly enough, it was only on a recent trip that we discovered that while the word stein is German, this style of beer mugs is only called a stein in English-speaking countries. Stein is an abbreviation of the German steingut (stoneware), the material they’re made of. But in Germany, bierstein (“beer stone”) is the term used for a scaly deposit built up in poorly-cleaned brewing vessels. A mug like one of these would be called a krug, or more properly a bierkrug.
So there’s your language lesson for the day, more about the “Christkindl Market” in subsequent posts.
Another piece of art glass by Dale Chihuly (two pieces, actually), currently located in the Denver Botanic Gardens‘ Monet Pool:
This arrangement is one that absolutely looks better at night. In the daytime, you’re distracted by people and plants and benches behind the piece (from this vantage point). At night, the lighting on the glasswork helps isolate it from what would otherwise be clutter.
Oly 12-40mm f/2.8 lens at 21mm and f/4.5 on E-M1 camera
1/25 sec at ISO 1600
Time for some more Dale Chihuly art glass, as seen at the Denver Botanic Gardens. My wife and I both decided that some pieces looked best in daylight, while others were real stand-outs when lit up at night — so for comparison’s sake, let’s look at the installation White Tower over a few hours’ time.
White Tower is a fine piece — but in daylight, we both thought it was most interesting up close. Those magenta spots on the white branches (tentacles?) aren’t painted on — they’re clear areas in a white outer layer, which let the inner color shine through.
Unfortunately, the background is a bit too cluttered to really set the piece off, at least from this angle. Continue reading →
For the next few months (through November), the Denver Botanic Gardens is hosting an exhibition (part of the Garden Cycle series) of glass art by Dale Chihuly. When you first walk into the gardens, you’re greeted by this sight:
It’s called Blue Icicle Towers, and is one of Chihuly’s new works. Like most of his art, it’s neither small nor subtle — but it’s an eye-catcher and will leave you wondering just how he and his crew make everything. More to come…