Love locks

A relatively new phenomenon (for Paris), the Pont des Arts bridge has gotten covered with “love locks” since about 2008.

Love locks

If you’re not familiar with the meme, the idea is that couples write their names on a padlock, lock it on the bridge, then toss the key into the Seine river as a show of their everlasting devotion.  The problem, though, is that the bridge wasn’t really designed to handle this kind of a load (it’s estimated that nearly a million locks, weighing 60+ metric tons, have been snapped onto the bridge).
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Unselective color

When we traveled to Iceland a few weeks back, we were primarily hoping to see the colors of the northern lights.  We inadvertently saw some more urban colors as well — this time, in Reykjavik:

Unselective color

Many of the more-traditional buildings in Reykjavik tend to be painted in fairly muted tones.  One swath of buildings near the harbor is dressed in a more modern fashion, with saturated solid colors.  This one apparently got a bit of help from some of the younger locals — its sky blue front was augmented at some point with a variety of colorful graffiti.  When we passed by, the interior appeared to be in the process of being rebuilt — into a shop, or restaurant, or whatever — hard to say.  Regardless, it was a welcome splash of semi-chaotic color on an otherwise drab day.

The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens for butterfly photography — a user experience review

Some months back I purchased an Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens (officially, the M. Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens) and MC-14 1.4x teleconverter for my E-M1 body.  I’d given them some exercise on a road trip previously, but when an opportunity came up for a “Tripod Session” at a local butterfly pavilion, I thought I could give them a real workout on the facility’s residents.

Paper Kite

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Convoluted

An HDR view from Upper Antelope Canyon, near Page (Arizona), converted to black and white:

Convoluted

I’ll be posting a longer comparison of Upper to Lower Antelope Canyon at a later date.  For now, let’s just say that a walk through the Upper Canyon is a crowded experience — even in the “off-season,” even on a “Photo Tour.”  So taking shots facing the sky is a good plan.  In any case, the canyon is a unique experience, and always a reliable source of geological abstracts.

The many faces of Church Rock

Over the holidays, my family took an old-school road trip down to Arizona to visit relatives. Along the way, we came across an interesting geological feature that I’d never even heard of before — an old, eroded bit of volcanic material called Church Rock:

Church Rock

Located 10 miles east of Kayenta, Church Rock (nicknamed after its supposed resemblance to a cathedral from some angles) is part of a whole string of interesting geological features in this part of the country.  On the far horizon, you can see the chisel-shaped tip of Agathla Peak, in Monument Valley.  I think the line-up of features makes a good composition, although something like a 16:9 crop would reduce the impact of the foreground nicely.

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Steinland

A scene from this year’s “Christkindl Market” in downtown Denver, Colorado — shelves of beer steins on sale at a vendor’s stall:

Steinland

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.

‘Vette

A vintage Corvette, seen at the Great American Car Show in Westfield Center, Ohio:

'Vette

This particular shot was post-processed with Topaz Impression software (to give an oil painting effect).