Monday, November 9, 2009

Great weekend

It was chock-full of good stuff. Friday night was an art opening for a group photography exhibit that I am part of. Nice crowd - the photos look great and it was a good reminder that I've really got to get to work with deciding on which images I am going to use for my solo show in April.
Saturday was Mom's 80th birthday and she was happy and it was great to be together with all my crazy siblings. Got to visit with Dad for a short while, too. I am so blessed to have a large, wonderful, healthy family.

Sunday we took Andy's sister Margaret for a walk across the Walkway Over the Hudson. It was a magnificent day and we saw quite a few people we knew as we had a lovely stroll from Ulster to Dutchess and back.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sunday, Sunday

Had a lovely trip down Route 9 last Sunday, reliving memories from past trips down this same route, and speaking to a dear old friend along the way. Stopped and took some pictures along the way. Then I met my lovely daughter, Kiryn in Tarrytown and we went over to Piermont to see the spectacular artwork of Mary Altobelli.  What a lovely day!  Dined at Pasta Amore and saw a brilliant full moon before the day was done.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Photographing Children

I had the pleasure of taking pictures of Jenn and Bill's beautiful children this week. It made me realize that this is something I've been doing for years but have never really tried to market. It's a beautiful Fall and I'm hoping to get some more clients - I'll take "Pictures in a Park" and people can use them as Christmas presents, Christmas cards, calendars, t-shirts, jewelry, whatever. Sitting fee is $50 and you can purchase images from me (5"x 7" for $10; 8" x 10" for $20; ll" x 14" for $30) or purchase a CD of all the images for another $50.  Call me if you're interested 845 527-7608.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A few more Walkway images

Walkway over the Hudson

They did it! They met their Oct. 2-3 deadline and opened the Walkway over the Hudson - the world's largest pedestrian bride - right here in our backyard - Poughkeepsie, that is. It was really cool watching the Illuminary parade, seeing a fantastic firework show, and then getting to be one of the first people to walk over it. They did a great job - it's large, clean, sturdy and offers fabulous vistas. Come and check it out!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Opus 40 in Saugerties

What a beautiful setting for a lifetime's work! Sculptor Harvey Fite spent 38 years creating his vision of curving slate walls surrounded by acres of stone creations with a backdrop of majestic mountains. Fun place to visit and a challenge to photograph especially with a strong sun that kept playing hide and seek with the clouds.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cead Mile Failte Ireland

That means 1,000 welcomes in Gaelic and we really did feel welcomed!

Ireland greeted us with sunny, warm weather, very unlike what we had been prepared for. I was looking forward to a cold, foggy trip to the Cliffs of Moher – thought that would make great photography – but as we approached it, we found ourselves shedding layers and were quite surprised, and challenged, to discover bright sunlight displaying the cliffs to us in all of their glory. I set the tripod up and attempted a panoramic view. Don’t think I captured it, in it’s noontime sunlit glory, but it we did witness a spectacular vista.

We drove on, frustrated by the roads. Driving was more challenging than we had ever anticipated. We were prepared for the left side of the road challenge and even the perplexity of the left side driver’s seat. We’ve both driven stick shifts, albeit not on the left, but the twisty windy roads that weren’t wide enough for the traffic…and ongoing, constant impatient cars behind us really made it quite impossible to appreciate the unique landscape we were now having set out for us. The eternal green fields were filled with a bright yellow bush (gorse?), interspersed with massive, wild, purple rhodedendrums and wildflowers and a variety of many other nicely contrasting colors and the view seemed to go forever. The Burren! People had told us to visit it and we weren’t quite sure what it was…it was kind of like the Grand Canyon. Acres of rock and mountains of rock and fields of rock interspersed with flowers. Outrageous – you can’t imagine it until you see it.

I don’t think it helped the traffic situation that it was Sunday – going through towns seemed even more treacherous than out in the country. People were walking to church and they use the same roads you drive on. Andy was mega-stressed with the driving. We each took turns, but between the shift on the left side and the crazy Irish drivers, we were off to a bit of a frustrating start. Then we came to the roundabouts. Between sleep deprivation, honking and hitting the left curb, we were not off to a good start. We finally navigated our way to the first B&B we saw – in the Salt Hill section of Galway - I believe it was called Bohalo B&B and we took a nice midafternoon nap.

We awoke and took a nice walk exploring the area, searching for a view of the bay. My bladder led us back to our lodgings and we attempted the car again and drove west in search of dinner. I had a Salmon salad and afterwards we walked around the town. It was a warm, beautiful evening and we finally felt welcomed to Ireland.

Step back in time and fall in love with the Aran Islands

Day 2.
Great Irish breakfast (fried egg, ham, sausage, warm tomato & black & white pudding) and off to the Aran Islands. Thought we were late for the ferry but luckily we made it. The Irish don’t seem to be known for punctuality. It was a warm, gorgeous day as we ferried over to the beautiful islands. We got ourselves bikes and headed to the lighthouse. The Aran Isle (Innishmore) was absolutely spectacular! It was a very warm, sunny June 1st, I was actually overdressed with my short sleeve shirt, but the whole island was alive with color, texture and form. Stonewalls everywhere decorated by a multitude of colorful flowers and accented by cows, sheep and horses. I told Andy that if I ever have trouble sleeping, remind me of how wonderful it felt to be bike riding on the roads of the Aran Island.

What a fabulous day, as we were surrounded by magnificent sights, wonderful weather and just a great sensation of finally being away on vacation. My plan was to try and get as far east and south as we could as our next stop was supposed to be the Ring of Kerry. We returned to the port and turned our bikes in early, so we went to have something to eat. The ferryboat pulled out of dock at 4:50 and we had to wait in the blazing sun for another…and it didn’t appear for another 45 min. So, we returned to Rossaveal at 6:30. A might later than planned. We drove and drove (one road I took was the first time we encountered another car who had to back up so I could get through) Finally around 8:30 we were outside of Galway in a town called Kinvara. We tried for a B&B and were told it was full. We tried a second time and lucked out. The innkeeper, Kathleen, sent us nearby to "world famous" Moran’s for dinner, where she claimed, people came by helicopter to get a taste of their fine fish. It was a pleasant pub and we enjoyed our dinner there. Had a tough night’s sleep, though, despite the clean place and nice bed ... it was closer to the highway than we had realized & we heard car noises all night. All part of the adventure I suppose.

How are things in Connemara?

Day 3:
Another difficult night’s sleep despite the clean place and nice bed .. it wasn’t far off the highway & we heard car noises all night. Kathleen served a great Irish breakfast (her husband had worked for Waterford – he is an unemployed house painter now) We told her we were headed for the Ring of Kerry and she recommended, instead, that we head for Clifden (back where we had come from – west of Galway) and Connemara and Oughterard. She said that Clifden was an hour away whereas Killarney was 3 hours. She lied. Or perhaps the problem was that we kept stopping for photo ops and to check things out. We did have a great day, seeing more magnificent sights, stopping to explore and photograph the Aughnanure Castle, Cong where the Quiet Man Bridge is located, the 12 Bens (mountains), boglands filled with sheep, and visiting the town of Clifden where we were convinced to take their scenic seaside ride (and saw the best caste ever!).

We arrived at the magnificent Kylemore Abbey, that Kathleen had recommended, at 4ish. The stop was quite worthwhile - one of the most beautiful spots on earth - where a gentleman built a dream home in 1868 for his true love and today it is home to the Irish Benedictine nuns. Once again, it was the end of the day and we were way far west when our final destination was to be headed east. So, we drove and drove again, trying to make time and get east of Galway once again. We did stop for dinner in Oughterard and made it to a town an hour east of Galway by 9 or 9:30. Kind of late for getting a B&B. We finally spotted one and went off the road far into the country to find it and it was fully booked. Outrageous. He recommended one on the main road. We were so tired we were happy to find it. A teenager girl showed us a room and we jumped on it. However, it was in a house with a family and all kinds of family noises. Giggling, TV, running…..Still, it was a bed and a shower for the night.


Andy's thought on Ireland:
Stinks like cow poop
Drivers all think they're Mario Andretti
Good seafood
Stone walls everywhere
The B&B people are nice and friendly

My thoughts:
Gorgeous countryside
Wildflowers everywhere
Lots of ruins - old churches, etc.
Beautiful weather (we were blessed!)
Yummy brown bread!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Headed to Dublin

Day 4:
In the morning the Innkeeper turned out to be the mother of 4 who was trying to “do it all” The breakfast was not as fresh as the 2 previous days and she certainly didn’t have the time to make recommendations. We paid our fee and drove on to Dublin.

Driving to Dublin was actually lovely, albeit long. Driving IN Dublin was a horror! We had programmed Garmin to find us a hotel and it simply wasn’t there. As luck would have it, we found another soon after called the Castle Hotel. Pricey, but in the middle of the city where we could walk to everything and again, we were happy to have a clean room and BIG shower. The Innkeeper, Finn McCool, was dressed in a baggy, old, dirty suit, but he was the epitome of a leprechaun and he took us up to our room, talking politics and economy all the way. We settled in and headed to the “Hop on, Hop Off bus. We found it parked a block away and sat back to enjoy the sights of Dublin. We got off to check out the Book of Kells, but were put off that it cost another arm and a leg to see it. Back on and took way too many pictures of the architecture of every church, pub, and Georgian building.

Stopped off to see a lovely cathedral which turned out to be a tourism center (and shop). Got a bit lost in the Temple Bar area which was really charming (only lost from where we needed to pick up the bus) and finally got on a bus that announced it was the last one of the day, so we stayed on for the remainder of the city.

Best part of Dublin was visiting with the boys at the firehouse. They treated Andy like royalty and gave us biscuits (cookies) and tea and a tour of the stationhouse. Very nice!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Onto Scotland

Thursday morning, June 4th, we raced to the airport to return the car and board an hour and a half flight to Inverness. Goodbye warm weather. Views from the airplane were awesome. Inverness greeted us with both sunny and cloudy skies (bipolar weather as Mandy says). Andy upgraded our car to a bigger one and Mandy came to greet us and we all took off for a giant store, much like WalMart, to get some provisions. Not at all what I had imagined we'd find in Inverness.

We headed for the house she lives in and got her bags and computer (Thank God for the bigger car!) and then headed to the adorable little retreat house she reserved for us. Bridge End at Reelig. I didn't want to leave the place - it was such a lovely retreat - quiet and lovely with trails to explore.... Alas, we headed out to inspect downtown Inverness and really never enough time with the grounds around Bridge End.

Inverness was cool, though. Neat and historic, nicely laid out around a, Loch...really very visually appealing with a castle in the center and some cool architecture all around. We had ourselves a spot of tea and a bit of soup and stopped off at the tourism center to collect brochures and ideas. Then we headed to Mandy's L'Arche house to celebrate a birthday. 19 people for a big sit down celebration. It was really quite amazing to participate in this community celebration. Then back to Bridge End for a little bit of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" on my computer and the BEST night's sleep in days!

Traveling to Edinburgh

Saturday morning we had to pack up our charming retreat house after a lovely country breakfast. Andy wanted to head for some lighthouses. Mandy was eager to get to Edinburgh. We attempted to do both with a poor understanding of the geography and how far everything was from each other. On the map it looked easy - just head east and stay along the coastline and, after discovering lots of cool towns and lighthouses we'd arrive in Edinburgh.
In reality we'd gotten a later start and were headed in a direction that wouldn't get us to our final destination until the following day. Would have worked except we had reservations in Edinburgh and, after Mandy contacted them, learned we would be responsible for paying for the night whether we showed or not. So, we found the Lossiemouth Lighthouse and turned around and headed south for another long drive. Once again, the landscape along the way was magnificent.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Charming, Historic Edinburgh

6-8. Monday morning & we awake in Edinburgh after being here 1.5 days. It is quite an interesting city – more London feeling than I remember London. Rows and rows of tall, old, tan colored buildings that have blackened with age, all with majestic roofs and a truly historical feel. We climbed to Arthur’s Seat – quite a climb for an old lady with 4 layers on carrying camera and pocketbook filled with an extra lens. I am feeling the aches today. But what a glorious 360-degree view we were met with on top!!! Awesome is putting it mildly.

When we finally got down, we walked through a pretty park at the base of the giant volcanic cliffs and spotted the beginning of a heart walk. Andy wanted a Heart Healthy Scotland t-shirt so we walked over and had a talk with several local ladies. One old woman was happy to tell us that where we now stood had been her backyard growing up and they had boat rides in the local loch and, as we stood beside Holyrood Palace, she claimed that they used to bring excess food to the gates and all would be delighted at the spoils.

Hollyrood Palace is a place the Queen still stays at when she is in Scotland. We toured the palace – ostentatious ceilings, beautiful tapestries, lots of giant portraits on wooden carved walls – then began our decent up the Royal Mile.
We stopped for a lovely break in Clarinda’s – named for the inspiration of a Robert Burns poem – a lovely tea shop, where I had a brie and cranberry toastie followed by an almond delight .. all with tea of course. Up the hill to oooh and ahh over the architecture and the many silly tourist shops. Stopped to buy Scottish souveniers for N&K, past St. Giles –a very Gothic Church. Mandy told us that they make decrees here (still do) and, many years ago, if someone was accused of robbery, he would have his ear nailed to a thing in the middle of the road and have to stay there for 24 hrs. He could pull away, leaving him with a permanent scar that all could see and know his crime.

Onto the castle. But it was getting late and we like to take our time inspecting, so we went across to check out the Camera Obscura. That was a lot of fun. So much so that we went back on Tuesday.