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.

Waiting for breakfast to come along…

We managed to sneak away for a few days’ vacation this past holiday (in the U.S.) weekend — for its cultural amenities, we chose Chicago. But this little guy (gal?) was just waiting for breakfast outside our hotel room window our first morning in town:

Waiting for breakfast to come along...

It must have been a good judge of real estate, as its web was littered with the remains of past meals. I thought the local buildings made a nice colorful backdrop (not too cluttered, though, when you put them out of focus):

Waiting for breakfast (redux)

If you’re working on your own case of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), I took these with an Olympus E-M5 camera equipped with a Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm lens. A potent combination, if you ask me…

Last (?) shot of winter

We got hit by an odd late-winter storm the other day, and here’s what we woke up to:

Last (?) shot of winter

This was the result of a storm that was supposed to dump a foot or more of snow on us, but wound up leaving us maybe an inch. And since the storm hit town quickly (temperature dropped by 40 degrees F in a matter of a few hours), it landed on warm pavement.

Shot of winter -- big

So for at least a few hours the next morning, I could play with my camera (in super cold temps) with this unusual snow pattern — only surviving over the joints between our patio pavers.

My little friend

An interesting couple spotted on the beach in Aa’ena Park, Kauai, Hawaii:

My little friend

The rock and bit of coral are shown just as I found them, resting on beach sand. So that should give you an idea of the scale of this scene — the coral piece is a bit over 1 cm across. Image taken using Olympus’ stellar 60mm macro lens for micro-4/3.

From some distant shore…

Seen on the beach at Ha’ena State Park; Kauai, Hawaii:

From some distant shore

I’ll freely admit that I posed my model in this shot — we found it laying in the sand a few feet away from where I took this shot.  I thought it’d make an interesting composition, so moved it over to this one little footprint-free patch of sand and waited for the sun to peek out through the overcast.  I love the look of a “castaway” coconut, trying to make a life in its new home.  I’m still debating whether I shouldn’t have brushed the sand off the coconut husk, though…

Across the street

A scene in New Orleans’ French Quarter:

Across the street

I took this out of a conference room window in a hotel I stayed at a few weeks back — and thought this was a fun composition, even though (maybe particularly because) it’s got a little secret.

That nice-looking wall in the background? It’s not a fancy hotel or luxurious home — it’s actually a well-disguised parking garage. Makes a nice background, though…