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).

Unsung incidents of the French & Indian War

…or of the Seven Years’ War, if you’re outside the U.S.

A few months back, we took a trip out to Ohio to visit some of my wife’s relatives.  Near their corner of rural eastern Ohio, there’s a “Great Trail Festival” each autumn — with folks dressing up and (to some degree cooking) like frontier folk from centuries back.  Part of the experience is a group of semi-local re-enactors portraying a skirmish from the French & Indian War.

Unsung incidents of the French & Indian War

Here, you see a French soldier on the left (who’s been “shot”) about to spring a surprise on a local colonist.  Have to love the “French” gent’s expression…