Category - travel

Hello, New York

Just my luck to be seated on the LEFT side of the plane as it headed up the Hudson toward LaGuardia – the Manhattan skyline shining through the windows on the RIGHT side of the plane. I was seated well behind the wing, too, and so couldn’t really see what was coming; Liberty Island was already behind me before I even realized it was there. I’ve never actually been to Liberty Island, I think I’ll put that on the itinerary…

GPS Failure!

Uh, Honey? I don’t think the GPS is gonna be much good in another mile or so… .

Over the next few weeks I’ll be digging into my “Portals of Stone” collection, a series of composite images that blend “the infinite and eternal with the ancient and ruined.”

The series was inspired by a visit to southern Scotland and Northern England in the spring of 2013. When I wandered among the ruins, I felt “the pull of time and space.” When I wanted to convey that experience in the two dimensions of a photo, I struck on the idea of blending my photos with starscapes from the Hubble Telescope (which, conveniently are all public domain!).

St. Paul’s Cathedral – London

For some reason, this is one of my favorite “keepers” from my photo-safari through the UK in the spring of 2017.

St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most dominant features on the London Skyline. After the original Gothic structure was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, it was rebuilt by the great Christopher Wren in a baroque style with a great dome instead of a spired central tower.

Maybe I like this shot because of the asymmetry the concentric circles from this vantage point beneath the dome. Or maybe I just like some of the colors that I pulled out with a variety of software (Luminar) and Lightroom presets.

Or maybe I just like it for its defiance: photography is strictly prohibited within the confines of the Cathedral. So, of course, I have no idea how this shot found its way into my camera… 😜 .

This one is called
“A Matter of Life and Death”

I first discovered this location several years ago on the road home from Erin, TN (where I had spent the weekend at a Civil War re-enactment).

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

–– William Wordsworth

Speaking of Maui…. . .

From a return visit in 2010, while driving “UpCountry” – the verdant slopes of the great (dormant, at least for now…) volcano called Haleakala. As the Brothers Cazimero said, “Where I live, there are rainbows….”

Rainbows all around
Can you find the silver and gold?
It’ll make you old
The river can be hot or cold
And you should dive right into it
Else you’ll find
It’s passed you by
––from Page 43, by David Crosby

The Brothers Cazimero


Barry Flanagan: Maui, 2005

I recently started sorting through some of the photos I’ve shot over the years in concert and club settings, and over the next few weeks I’m going to share some or those archives here on Instagram. So I thought I’d start at the very beginning… .

After years of dormancy my life-long interest in photography was re-awakened when I got my first DSLR (a Nikon D100) 2003. But it wasn’t until 2005 that I shot somebody in performance.

II lived in #Hawaii from 1980 to 1994, on the #Lahaina side of #Maui. About a year after I moved there, another New Jersey native named Barry Flanagan showed up and started playing at the bar in the Pioneer Inn – an historic old hotel adjacent to the harbor where I owned a yacht charter service (“Where do we go? Sailing is the destination…”) Once arrived, Barry immersed himself in the music of the Islands, eventually becoming the lynch pin of an award winning duo called ‘Hapa’ (that’s Hawaiian for “half,” as in “half haole, half Hawaiian”– Google it if you have to).

I left Hawaii for good when I moved to Nashville in 1994, but went back to visit for the first time in the winter of 2005. While I was there, Barry and his group played a show at one of the hotels, and I got my new-ish DSLR out and started shooting. It’s funny to think now how little I knew then: at one point somebody asked me to turn off the flash. The flash? I’m not using flash… That’s when I discovered the little light on the front of the camera that sends a beam out to improve the auto-focus in dark situations; that’s also when I discovered you can turn that little light off….

So here’s a shot of Barry Flanagan from 2005. Look him up on Spotify:


photo ©2005

Speaking of Hogwarts…

(…which we were talking about three posts ago…)

While watching “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” I took particular note or the location where the words “the chamber of secrets is open” appeared in blood on a stone wall. What caught my eye was the extraordinary “fan vaulting” in the ceilings of what I tracked down to the Cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral in the English Midlands.

When I returned to the UK in the spring of 2017 to “Chase The Light in the Celtic Latitudes™,” I made a point to put Gloucester on the itinerary. I also made a point to get to the cathedral before it opened, so that I could be there before the crowds started showing up – Gloucester Cathedral is now a very popular destination for tourists, and takes some pride in its “Harry Potter” connections.

The Cloisters (an isolated quadrangle of corridors with access to a garden where monks and priests could retreat for solitude and meditation), did not disappoint. Although medieval gothic architecture originated in France and Italy, “fan vaulting” like this is unique to England, and Gloucester Cathedral is arguably the most elaborate expression of the form. (Henry VII’s Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey is pretty cool, too, but they don’t permit photography there at any time of day… )

Since I was there early the corridors were empty, and after a few minutes of wandering, I found this perfect angle capture the vaulting and some stained glass with a fisheye lens and five HDR exposures.

photo ©2017

My Ride on The Hogwarts Express

I’ve seen a few photos on Instagram this week of the Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Scottish Highlands, so I thought I’d add one of mine to the mix. Harry Potter fans will recognize this location from the movies: the Hogwarts Express is shown chugging over this gracefully curved overpass in several of the movies. @westcoastrail operates a steam train service called The Jacobite that offers daily excursions out of Fort William to the fishing village off Maillaig on the Scottish Coast that goes over the viaduct and its passes through the valley on the edge of Loch Shiel. The wife and I took that trip in October, 2012, and made an obvious discovery along the way: It’s a lot harder to get a good photo OF the train when you are ON the train. So as the train approached the Viaduct, there wasn’t a whole lot else I could do but… get on the ‘port’ side, put my arm out the window and… fire away. Out of several clunky frames, I managed to get this one good one. .