travel photography

All roads lead to Rome

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Wherever I go, my roads lead to the ice cream shop. When I unpacked and left my hotel room on St. Patrick’s Day in 2010, I walked to the Colosseum, keeping my eye on the shop windows – and there it was! Via Leonina 18, Cafe Ciuri Ciuri, my personal discovery, Sicilian gelateria-pasticceria, paradise of sugar- and calories-packed deliciousness and the best Sicilian style gelato in Rome. In the photograph, I immortalized my first one, the pistachio-ricotta gelato, creamy, with the unique taste of roasted pistachios. I won’t write about the pastries. It is sufficient to tell that I ate them twice a day. They are that good. Never forgotten.

( Edit: Forgot to mention another Ciuri Ciuri close to Colosseum: Via Labicana 126. The same great food)

I saw the Colosseum from the airplane window and couldn’t wait to visit the ancient monument. I knew about the free admission to the gladiator games in ancient Rome, and was surprised to learn that the times have changed. So I got a combined ticked for several attractions, and my historical holidays began.

I posted some street scenes from my Rome trip in my blog post People in the streets, and probably in some other blogs too.

Shadowless afternoon, amazing quality of light. I don’t know what these ruins are. The place is situated above the Forum. I was trying to find more images like mine, but there was only one, taken in May 2010. Perhaps, the place is closed for excavations?

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The broken side of the Colosseum. Over the centuries, it was shaken and damaged by many earthquakes ( the most devastating ones in 847 and 1231), and also struck by lightening and damaged by fires. All the valuable materials were taken away and re-used.

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Glimpse of Roman centurions’ life.

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There is what it looks like inside the amphitheatre. Construction of the Colosseum began in 72 AD, and was completed in 80 AD.  This place has seen the most horrible scenes of bloodshed and slaughter. The advent of Christianity changed Roman culture, morals, principles and values. The last gladiator game took place in 404 AD when an Egyptian monk Telemachus came to Rome, visited Colosseum, and shouted for the gladiator game to cease in the name of Christ. He was stoned to death, but after a few days the Emperor issued a decree that the games were to stop.  Centuries later, when the Colosseum was in danger of demolition, Christians  saved it as a site of martyrdom .

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Evening light, at about 6pm. I took pictures of Colosseum every day on my way from hotel and back.

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River Tiber. I enjoyed the light in Rome, so different from where I live.

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St Peter’s Basilica. In my blog Make it light I posted a picture of the interior.

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This is a picture I got from Google Earth, just to show the Basilica and the grounds.

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This is the dome I climbed 🙂 I intentionally left all these picture icons. The rule is that people who upload their images for Google Earth, have to map them properly – in exact place where the picture was taken from. I doubt that any picture was taken from the top of the tree …

I used a lift ( 170 steps?) and climbed the remaining 320. With my walking stick. With my claustrophobia.

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The lift took me to the roof ( the level behind the statues of the saints, the base of the dome). The roof looks like a small town with buildings and bridges. I walked around, even looked down inside the basilica below my feet, and up to the ceiling.

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The climb is scary, definitely not for the faint of heart ( I overestimated myself, but there is no turning back, by the way). The staircase is getting very narrow as you climb. It is slanted, and curves up between the outer and inner walls of the dome (1m? less?).

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As you can see, the windows are scarce, but there are windowsills. The temperature wasn’t too bad in March, but I would NEVER go there in summer. When there is no one around you, it is OK, but seeing people who actually take all the space of the staircase makes you panic. And I did panic, but at the last moment I saw the window, and I climbed some more steps and fell on the windowsill, almost in coma 🙂 When the others cleared off, I quickly finished the climb.

And this was my reward 🙂

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I think this is the residence of the Pope.

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On my way back I took a picture of these fine guards, and ate a gelato to restore my shaken health.

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Here are some more pictures.

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I still miss Rome.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful Sunday!

From South to North and back – I

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First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to all the thankful out there, wherever you may be! Have a wonderful and happy weekend!

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To those who haven’t read my blog before – it is the fifth post in the series about my trip to the North of Ireland to take part in Elena Shumilova Workshop.

I got this lovely map from  http://www.ireland-information.com/irelandmaps.htm, and drew my route with a green marker. My plan was to use smaller roads instead of motorways so that I could stop for a photograph. Most of the route was familiar to me, but I still got lost somewhere between Counties Cavan and Monaghan, twice – on my way to and from.

I left early in the morning from Waterford, drove through Kilkenny  and Durrow, and didn’t stop until I got to Abbeyleix. These photographs were taken in different years, but I think they are good enough for illustrating my journey.

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These photographs are taken in Kilkenny Castle park, in early  November 2010. The day was chilly and foggy, and very quiet.

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The National Monument to missing people was unveiled by President Mary Mc Aleese in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle in 2002. The sculpture is designed by Ann Mulrooney. Each hand was cast from the actual hand of a family member of a missing person. There is also a stone with inscription: “This sculpture and area of reflection is dedicated to all missing persons. May all relatives and friends who visit find continuing strength and hope”.

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Another old photograph – the River Nore in Kilkenny.

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After leaving Kilkenny I headed to Durrow, Co Laois. I think that it will help if I give you a link to a page where you can learn how to pronounce Irish names for places: http://www.logainm.ie/ga/

For today it is Laois [leash] and Abbeyleix [abbey- lees]

I already wrote about Durrow twice. Every year they are hosting a Scarecrow Festival, and it is a huge fun event. In my Scarecrow blog Part I I reflected on the life of Scarecrow of Oz and his predecessors; in the Part II I gave an account of the festival activities and attractions. I wont’s repeat myself and hope you visit these blog posts if you haven’t read them yet. There is also a video from which you will learn a thing or two about the nature of scarecrows 🙂

Today I am sharing two picture that I took after the festival in 2014. The day was fabulous, but then we noticed the darkest cloud menacingly approaching the town. We escaped, but all the merry gathering was drenched with rain in a matter of minutes. We drove up the rolling hills until this magnificent view opened to us. I had just a minute for a couple of snaps. The skies opened and the rain poured on us all the way home.

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2014 durrow pano

Now back to my Grand cross-country trip.

As  I said, my first stop was in Abbeyleix.  Lonely Planet offers you six things to do in Abbeyleix, including a visit to the former Yvo de Vesci Carpet factory where a number of hand tufted carpets were made for Titanic’s staterooms. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to stay in Abbeyleix longer than 10 minutes, it is why I will just share with you this old picture from Cobh (former Queenstown), the final port of call for Titanic. I will write about Cobh another time. 

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I think you already understand why I am getting lost while travel…

So, I didn’t have time to do six things in Abbeyleix, neither was it my plan, but there is something in this little town that  I love and want to share with you. I love their street lights.

It was early in the morning, and I stood  in the middle of N77 without  getting in trouble. The fog was thick, the colors and sounds muted, like in a dream.

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I took some more photographs,  one of them I used in my previous post – the iron gate and the rising sun. After saying good bye to this lovely little town I resumed my journey.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Back to the North: Inishowen

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It is ten years since my last visit to Inishowen Peninsula. Last summer I was close, and you can read about that trip in my  Dark Hedges, Giant Causeway and Rope bridge blogs. This time I had different plans, none of which worked out. Well, except for the main reason why I went to Inishowen, so let’s call it a business trip then – a magic business trip, to be precise 🙂  I will share the details next week after going through my photographs galore,  but in this blog  I just want to share a sad song that mentions Inishowen, because yes, I am very sad,  and I want to go back.

The lyrics:

You maidens of beauty, I’m a swain that’s forlorning,

I carelessly wandered away from my home,

I am off by the moonlight and day break of morning,

I am found in the mountains of dark Inishowen.

I strayed  a place that they called sweet Clonmany

In search of a fair maid who I might adore,

But a maiden for to love me I could not find any

From Meendoran bridge to the Gap at Mamore.

Adieu to the place where I once had a sweetheart,

But now she has left me no wonder I mourn,

When I think of that sweet spot the haunt of that fair one

I pine for her absence in dark Inishowen.

Oh it’s distance divides us in dreams I caress her

For I was as happy as if I was at home,

When I speak to that vision that it bids me compress her

To a bosom that’s pining in dark Inishowen.

I am now sad and lonely since I left her dear dwelling

To repine on that sweet spot I shall never see more,

For I’m off by the wild beach where the salt seas are swelling

From Tullagh’s black rocks to the gap at Mamore.

And now I am stationed in the county Fermanagh,

And I left my wee darling with her parents at home,

If I ever return it will be to marry,

And to wed my wee darling in dark Inishowen.

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Inishowen is not actually dark. The opening image is the view from my hotel window in Ballyliffin, Co Donegal, taken at the sunrise, and this one is another early morning view I captured when driving along the shores of Trawbreaga Bay, not far away from Malin.  I drove through ” sweet Clonmany” too, but took no photographs ( failed plans as I already said…).

The last image is of water. Not just ordinary water, but the water of Pollan Bay…

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This is all for now. More to follow…

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Irrelevant story

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Having a real summer ( I use the term loosely) in July here in Ireland is something of fiction. Some people live here all their life still waiting for their first summer. This year they finally have got it, but in October.

Last Friday afternoon, a couple of hours before the sunset, I went for a walk around beautiful Tramore Bay & Backstrand, enjoying unusual weather, soft light, and tiny wildlife. I don’t have a real macro lens and have to manual-focus my trusted 70-200, but it is how I like it.

At home, I picked up some images, resized them, added them to the draft of my new post, and started thinking about a story to match.

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I was almost ready to start writing, but got a “visit” to my blog and paid a “visit” back.  It is where I read a remarkable story that  brought back my own memories.  A story I want to share is not relevant to the pictures I have selected, but …  may be it is?

Sometimes we have dreams so vivid that they can be quite disturbing. When it happens, we either maniacally want to know the meaning of the dream, or to erase it from our memory. It is only a bad dream, it has no consequence, right?

In winter 1985, shortly after my father’s death, I had a terrifying dream that woke me up breathless. I saw a man with long arms that reached down below his knees. The man was dressed in some sort of rags, and stood at the edge of the forest. He did nothing, just stared at me – not blankly but as if considering something. This stare followed me for months.

The same year, in early autumn, I took my mother and my three years old daughter for a spin. The weather was sunny, chilly  and dry, and the air was filled with that bitter-sweet scent of fallen leaves and sadness.

We drove through an unfamiliar forest, but it looked friendly and we decided to stop and walk, and pick some berries. On our way through the forest we didn’t see any farmhouses, or any sign of human presence, so we felt quite safe and at ease. Our car was parked just behind the trees. I laid a blanked on the soft moss for my daughter to play on, and my mom and I walked around with our mugs in our hands picking lingonberries.

After half an hour our mugs were almost full, and I sent my mom and my daughter to the car to start packing so that we could leave soon, and I would stay another five minutes to fill up my mug. I didn’t see them, just heard their voices. The mug was finally full, I stood up and there he was. The man from my nightmare.

Our eyes met. He stood there exactly as I remembered him – dressed in some dirty, shapeless gown, and with his arms hung down way below his knees.  His hands were empty and it scared me the most: people are not walking that deep in the forest with their hands empty. He stared at me, and I could not read his stare.

I knew I was going to die, but there was my child, and I had to act quickly. All my instincts came to my rescue. I gave him a blank, uninterested look, slowly turned my back to him, and slowly started walking away. The only thought pulsing in my brain was ‘… don’t run… don’t scream…’ I called the first male name that came in my mind, and added ‘ I am coming!’ I kept walking; I expected being hit from behind at any moment. When I was at some distance, I finally looked back. He was no longer there. Gone. And then I ran.

My daughter was already in the car. I yelled to my mother to get in, fell in the car seat and locked all the doors. My heart was pounding with terror. With shaking hands I started the car and took off still expecting him to jump out of the bushes somewhere along the road. Yet, he was gone for good.

I have never been nowhere near that place again. What was that dream? Who was the man? How long had he been watching me? I will never know.

After the photo session with the spiders and caterpillars, I walked to the strand. The tide was out, but the sand was still wet and reflected the skyline.

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The sun was already low, but the cloudless sky wouldn’t make any dramatic sunset pictures.  I sat on the rocks staring at the distant water.

I love shooting into the sun. Dream and reality are somewhat mixed in this kind of pictures.

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Thank you for listening to my story! Please share your ideas – I still feel like I need some explanation.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a great weekend!

Traveling American Southwest… Part II

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At the exit of the Antelope Canyon ( see Part I), we saw this little chick on the ground and heard his mama chirp somewhere close. I quickly took a picture and off we went, in the back of a 4-wheel drive comfortable truck.

In the evening, driving around, we stopped at the marina parking lot and took some pictures of the endless sky, Colorado River, and Navajo Generating Station –  the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the USA.

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The next day we drove, all  excited, down to Lake Powell to take a boat tour to the Rainbow Bridge.  A two hours boat ride or a two day hiking? You have to choose if you want to see many places in just a few days. The tour took about five hours, from which four hours on the boat with the most breathtaking scenery all around, and a fresh breeze.

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This is a furnace ( only about a mile long though) we had to hike through to get to the famous natural  bridge. In the evening I was all red like a lobster, and it was only May!

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We turned around the corner, and there it stood.

Rainbow bridge

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My daughter said that she wanted to sing for us, and she did, and it was really moving.

Judy Garland, “Over the Rainbow

The next day was Sunday. I saw that there was a church across from our hotel, and I decided to go and mingle with the locals.

I entered the room  and quietly sat in the  back row. When I looked around I realised that all the congregation except me and another couple were either Native Americans or Mexicans. Presiding was a solemnly looking Native American man with long hair, who spoke with majesty and authority. I was mesmerized.

After the service I was about to sneak away, but two young men who sat next to me started conversation and marveled at the fact that I came all the way from Europe. I really enjoyed our conversation and marveled at the fact that I was chatting with 100% Native Americans 🙂 After 40 years, since…

In the 1960s, DEFA film production studio based in Berlin, Eastern Germany  produced the Western The Sons of the Great Mother Bear, directed by Josef Mach and starring Gojko Mitić. Many other films followed. Basically, the films portrayed the good Native Americans and the bad white Americans. What else would you expect from the Cold War era movies 🙂

The DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is the only archive and research center outside of Germany devoted to the preserving and promoting DEFA movies. In October 2005 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City hosted a two-week DEFA festival, and several titles are now commercially available on DVD.

And for those who wonder – no, this is not American Southwest 🙂 In fact, it is not America at all. The movies were filmed somewhere in Southern Europe and even Mongolia.

To make a long story short – In  this photograph you see Gojko Mitić.

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I was 10-12 years old at that time. The crush wasn’t on him! I still have no idea if he was ever married or something. The crush was rather on his characters 🙂

I and alike, were the most devoted fans he has ever had. We recorded the soundtracks from TV shows, we quoted his characters, we wrote screenplays, made tomahawks and bows, and all sort of jewelry. We went to the library and researched all the books on American history and anthropology that were available. We have read all the books on which his movies were based! He influenced a whole generation, and somehow we knew that the white Americans were not as bad as we were told, because some of them were good friends of Chingachgook, Tokei-Itho, and Ulzana.

I wish all celebrities used their influence upon the young generation as he did.

In this photograph, he is 75 🙂 Yep.

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The following morning we left Page AZ and traveled North.  After visiting Monument Valley we took Utah State Route 261, passed stunning rock formations  – Mexican Hats, and crossed the Valley of Gods. I was clueless  about specifics of US 261… I just wondered, where are we going to drive if there stands a gigantic mesa all the way along the valley… When we approached the mesa, I got it. I asked if I can leave the car and walk. The answer was “no”.  Moki Dugway. I didn’t know we were destined to meet…

Holding my camera tight, I stretched my arm out of the window, closed my eyes and up we went. I cannot tell how many switchbacks are there. Five? Six? There are no protective walls or anything, and we were lucky that no one was traveling down the mesa in their campervan.

Most of my pictures look like this one.

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Valley of Gods from Moki Dugway.

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This is my daughter’s photograph taken on the top of Cedar Mesa  this year when they traveled the Southwest again. You can see some of the switchbacks.

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Our next stop, Navajo National Monument. In the photograph below, there is a whole city in the rock, Betatakin cliff dwelling, as seen across the canyon. Anasazi lived there in the 13th century and vanished  overnight without a trace.

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A dinosaur footprint.

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We traveled through the beautiful desert, and finally crossed the Glen Canyon again.

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This is actually a picture of the same area, but taken from the top of the canyon wall. You can see the bridge across Colorado River near the confluence of Dirty Devil River.

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Unlike the DEFA movies, this American Southwest is real 🙂

One more video,  and Ennio Morricone music for you.

Thank you for your company!

IneseMjPhotographyHave a great weekend!

Traveling American Southwest, Part I

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I have this image of Three Gossips taken in color at the sunset, but I added  gradient and changed color balance to make it look like a distant memory, because I will share some almost forgotten, and for most of you, unknown memories… in my next blog, Part II 🙂 But first, let’s go back to the story about our Southwest travels.

We have made two trips to Southern Utah and Northern Arizona, in 2007 and 2008. Our first trip included:  Arches National Park, Four Corners, Little Colorado River Gorge, Marble Canyon, Grand Canyon, St George, Cove Fort – a round trip  we had made in five days.

There is no photograph that could adequately depict the stunning beauty of Arches National Park. You come there in awe, and you leave in awe. If you are short of time and cannot stay longer than one day,  I would suggest something like that:

Morning – Devil’s Garden Trail and Landscape Arch ( 2 hours) and probably another 2-3 hours if you want to walk to the end of the trail ( we didn’t);  Double Arch ( 30 min); The  Windows ( 1 hour). It is just how long it takes to walk. You will need more time – driving, taking photographs, sitting and admiring the scenery.

Afternoon – Delicate Arch ( at least 3 hours; parking is limited!); Balanced Rock before the sun goes down ( 30 min). Check the map to calculate how long it takes to drive from place to place.

Check out the links to the long and short trails, but regardless of the distance you have to take a lot of water with you.

There are 2000 arches in Arches Nation Park. Well, perhaps 1999, since the Wall Arch collapsed in August 2008.

The best photographs of Delicate Arch come out in the afternoon. We went there first thing in the morning. It made sense because we had no idea how long it takes to hike, and we really wanted to stay there a little longer. Photography wasn’t our priority.

In the first photograph, Delicate Arch is just around the corner. The weather is changing to overcast, and the arch looks differently every half and hour. Sitting there and staring at the arch was one of my favorite activities in the Park. If you have been there you know what I am talking about.

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This is the Landscape Arch, or what is left of it after the first slab of sandstone fell off in 1991. Still, it is the longest natural arch in the world with the span of 290 feet.

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It is the Devil’s Garden trail, the most spectacular of all the trails in the park. The weather was changing, and by the time we reached the Landscape Arch, it was raining and we turned back.

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These formations are called “fins”. I mentioned them in my previous blog.

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The rain stopped and we actually visited more arches than expected. We took beautiful photographs of the Balanced Rock half an hour before the sunset, and the Three Gossips a minute before the sun went down.

This is the Window Arch. For the scale, see a tiny human sitting in the left corner.

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The following day we started our unhurried trip to the Grand Canyon, a ” hole in Arizona”. It is hard to put the Grand Canyon in words and pictures, and yes, “not all holes are created equal” 🙂 I was standing there speechless and almost breathless.

South Rim, Colorado River. Here we spent a day, hiking around and down in the canyon.

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North Rim, the following day. There, we took a short  but breathtaking  Bright Angel Point trail.

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We walk along the narrow ‘peninsula’, surrounded with the stone ‘waves’. At the end of the trail, The Bright Angel Point, most of people just stand and stare across the vast expanse. It is difficult to believe that this  is all real. I think you will love reading this very informative and very poetic article about the area down there.

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Reading displayed information I had to smile. What is the Bright Angel Fault?  As I learned, faults are fractures in the Earth crust that occur under the pressure – compression, extension or side-by-side movement. The Bright Angel Fault is such a fracture that stretches almost straight across the Grand Canyon from the South to the North through the Bright Angel Canyon, which was formed through erosion along the fault.  Yes, the view that we see at the view point is not technically the Grand Canyon, but a side canyon,  the jagged border ridge of the Bright Angel Canyon!

The Bright Angel Fault is still active and has produced small earthquakes that visitors sometimes feel. The fault is visible as  a 186 foot displacement: you can see it in the image of the distant South Rim, where the left side of the horizon line is visibly higher than the right one (sorry it is heavily zoomed and taken with a 3 mp camera)

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I have read a lot about the side canyons, and I still have more questions than answers. I know that I will never hike the Grand Canyon and see everything by myself. I can only pray that the people who go there in the future are considerate and respectful to the Nature.

Little Colorado River Gorge, and Marble Canyon and Navajo Bridge are worth to mention not only because they are located on the way to Grand Canyon National Park and to stop there seems like a natural thing to do. These places are beautiful.  Cross both  – New and Historical Navajo bridges, and enjoy the emerald color of Colorado river if you travel early in summer. Little Colorado river is a bright  blue color, but later when the rains start, they both become chocolate milk  brown, and as the saying goes ‘ too thick to drink, too thin to plow’. Marble Canyon and  the Grand Canyon join where the Little Colorado River enters the Colorado River.

In the image below, a view from the Old Navajo bridge.

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On the way back, we had a stop in St. George, UT,  and visited their Pioneer Park.  We climbed up the Dixie Rock for the downtown panorama, and I can tell you that the place is certainly worth to stop by.

Our last stop was the Cove Fort, with their curious exposition of the 19th century artifacts, workshops and the Big Barn. Lots of history, with no admission fee ( the place belongs to the LDS Church).  We even learned how to play the long forgotten game! 🙂

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There is a wonderful book  – Travelers’ Tales, American Southwest: Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah… A great read when you feel nostalgic.

The other trip was also a five days long trip : Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Lake Powell and Rainbow Bridge, Horseshoe Bend, Upper Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, Mexican Hat, Utah State Route 261 and Moki Dugway, Natural Bridges National Monument,  Utah State Route 95 across the end of Glen Canyon, and a long drive through the breathtaking canyon country up to Salt Lake Valley.

As I said, we travel with no hurry. We stop to admire buttes and mesas; we  even climb them sometimes. We buy Native American jewelry made from  seeds,  beads and semiprecious stones; we watch the wildlife and marvel at the flowers bravely standing out against the barren rocks. One cannot plan discoveries and surprises.

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On our way to Page, AZ we turned into the side road to check out a  unique place, a part of Zion National Park – Pink Sand Dunes.

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It was fun to run down the dunes, and it is where I lost my wide angle lens…

We stayed in Page three nights exploring the area. Horseshoe Bend was one of the places on our list. I failed to take a good picture, but my daughter had a good fun taking pictures of me wriggling on my belly towards the rim with my camera holding hand outstretched, and with the mortified face. Due to the embarrassing nature, these pictures may not be published.

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We went there again after dark. The full moon lit up the waters of Colorado River; wildlife enjoyed the coolness of the night, and we enjoyed watching the cottontails happily run around. I didn’t get any braver, and this sorry picture is the best  I have got.

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Another place on our list was  Antelope Slot Canyon. Probably many of you have heard about the tragedy that happened there in August 1997. We went to the safer and easier of the slots, the Upper Antelope Canyon ( the Upper and the Lower slots are a few miles apart) . All the land around Page, including Antelope Canyon,  belongs to the Navajo Nation. It is a family business, and we got a handsome young man for a guide, a University student who was on holidays at that time, and not only gave us photography tips, but also played the flute for us.

Antelope Canyon is one of the most mesmerizing places on Earth, where the light is everything. The corkscrew walls polished by flash floods change their color every second as the light bounces between the twisted columns. In the image below – Slot entrance.

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Images taken inside the canyon, available light.

Antelope Canyon

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In my next blog, I will cover the rest of our Lake Powell trip, and reveal my first (and last) celebrity crush from the 1960s 🙂

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Waterford Walls

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Waterford Walls is a visual Street Art project in Waterford City, Ireland. Irish and International street artists and talented school students transformed old spaces into extended art gallery. The first image is the work of Joe Caslin, a street artist and art teacher from Roscommon who is known for his project “Our Nation’s Sons” – large scale portraits of young men from disadvantaged social backgrounds.

In the image below, a man stopped to touch the surface of the portrait. I will tell you why.  Joe Caslin paintings are done on biodegradable paper,  and will come down within a few weeks.  We are lucky with the weather, and I hope the paintings will last another month.

murals

Another work of the same artist in Olaf Street. It is sad they won’t stay here too long.

murals

murals

I went around the city center to look for the other murals. First of all, I visited one of my favorite places in O’Connell Street and was pleased to find an interesting work.

murals

murals

After that I walked to Stephen Street. This is unused De La Salle Hall built in 1915. I love the new look of it’s facade. As it often happens in life, the facade is the only attractive part…

murals

murals

More murals in Stephen Street.

murals

murals

murals

murals

I like this mural  because the girl is holding a camera in her hands.

murals

It is where the rain started, and I rushed under the roof of a garage. From there I took a picture of a mural and a family with the matching umbrella.

murals

The rain didn’t last long and I walked to New Street to see the gardens and more murals.

murals

It was my last destination. There are about twenty murals, very colorful.

murals

This one is dedicated to Waterford Hospice.

murals

I stood there waiting for someone to come over and do something amazing, or at least something worth a picture, but there was no one in the gardens, so I just took a snap of the girl and her bees.

murals

Thank you for walking the streets with me. I know, it is not a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but think about the murals that won’t last longer that a couple of weeks. You have seen them!

This is sort of a similar exposition in 2008.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Bryce Canyon National Park- the home of the Hoodoos

Bryce Canyon

If you visit Utah National Parks, Bryce Canyon should not be missed. It is (surprisingly) not as popular as Zion and Moab. It is not, technically, a canyon, but rather a giant natural amphitheater created by erosion, yet there is no other place in the world that features as fine and abundant collection of hoodoos as Bryce. The park is family and wheelchair friendly, and has an ample parking. There are drinking water fountains around the parking lots, and all the necessary facilities. You can hike a whole day or only an hour, you can just walk along the rim, or just stand and look around – you will still enjoy yourself.

However, you should know that it is a high altitude location (above 8000 ft – up to 9000 ft). The trails vary from easy to moderate and strenuous; the descents and ascents are very steep though, and it could be very hot down there at the foot of the hoodoos. Do a good research before you pick up a trail. Thankfully, because of the high altitude it is always a bit cooler on the rim, and also thunderstorms are quite common in the area.

We paid $30 for a vehicle which gave us a 7 day access to the park.

What is “hoodoos“? Read this link, you will love it (all the links open in separate windows). In Bryce, most erosion occurs from “frost wedging” – rain water freezes and expands in the cracks of the rocks. You can find all the stages of erosion during your hike, from plateaus to fins and finally hoodoos. The process never stops, and when you come again, it will be a different Bryce.

Hoodoo has nothing to do with Woodoo, yet  in Blackfoot mythology, the oddly shaped rock columns were some malignant giants whom the Great Spirit had turned to stone because of their evil deeds. Deep in the night, the petrified giants would wake up and throw boulders down upon any human who dared to hang around. I wouldn’t be surprised, since some rocks do look like they are barely balancing.

Geology of the hoodoos is fascinating, but the look of them is something you will never forget. The colors vary from brown to red, orange, pink and ivory, and change during the day and the weather. A few steps to the left or right – and you enjoy a different angle, different shapes and hues. You cannot get bored in Bryce.

Click on the photographs to enlarge. They are all resized to resolution of only 72px.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

This huge natural bridge is spectacular. We have seen a smaller one too.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Our youngest team member is two, and we considered the shortest trail, the Navajo Loop that took us some 2 hours. Yet, you should be aware that more rocks fall on this trail than any other trail in the park. The last major rock slide occurred in 2011 though.

The trail begins to descend very steeply – don’t make it back to the rim this way! The series of switchbacks are very short, thankfully, but extremely steep anyway.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

The trail passes through Wall Street, a narrow slot between the cliffs, and takes you to the canyon floor. In the image below – entering the Wall Street.

Bryce Canyon

bryce canyon

A look back.

Bryce Canyon

Surprise greeting from a local resident. The little guy was very fat and had no fear of children. We took some hundred photographs of him and the kids.

Great views from the bottom of the canyon.

Bryce Canyon

The Inspiration Point – the highest point in the Park. We stood there a day before. Under our feet there is a river bed.

Bryce Canyon

The little legs are tired. It is time for a break and some snack.

We settled for a break, and there was another beautiful opportunity to take a photo. This Jay loved our company.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Full of energy, we proceed.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Some great views on the ascent.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

The ascent was not that steep, or perhaps I just lied to myself… Still I felt dizzy two times and had to stop for a minute. Didn’t take many pictures, was focused on surviving 🙂

In the image below – the ascent trail, a view from the rim.

Bryce Canyon

We had a lovely drive and stopped at almost each point on our map. The rain was coming and going. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any rainbow, and only a few distant lightning strikes.  In addition to that friendly Chipmunk and the curious Jay, we saw some Mule deer.  No Rattlesnakes again, darn it!

Bryce canyon

We loved our hotel, it was outside the Park. We loved the Rock shop, and all the funny props for children photographs, like Jail, Wooden Horse and Wooden Bears. We loved the stunning little Red Canyon where we made a stop and a short hike.

red canyon

red canyon

Thank you for taking this trip with me. If you ever have a chance, visit scenic Utah and enjoy a real adventure.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Roly Poly

baloon_festival

I wonder, what do you think looking at this picture?  Probably “Sweet little girl is watching a hot air balloon fly by”? Wrong.  The sweet little girl is actually screening the ground for roly polies. She is very good on that.

When we are young, we want to know more about the world. We look in the heart of things and people seeking to recognize what they actually are; we thirst for detail. Eventually, we learn that things and people are seldom what they seem – still, we wonder.

Rob ThomasLittle Wonder

 

We notice and acknowledge big things, but it is the little things that hold our attention and feed our curiosity. Cognition and learning depend on our perception of little things.

Everybody has their own roly polies. Hope they are not worthless, mundane and selfish. Hope they are striking and very alive.

PS:  Roly Poly Armadillidium vulgare

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

I want to see a Gruffalo!

antelope 185res

I am on holidays, and all I do is taking family pictures of no public interest. Yet, there is a place I really want to tell you about, so that if you travel through the area, you spare some couple of hours to visit, or even camp there over night. Antelope Island, Utah, a home to the Antelope Island State Park.

Great Salt Lake’s largest island looks like another world.

antelope island

It is my third visit, and I have a couple of photographs to share.

In the image below you can see a 7-mile  causeway to Antelope Island the way it looks from the top of the Buffalo Point. The causeway was submerged for most of the 1980’s, because of high lake levels.

antelope island

The island hosts countless nesting and migratory birds of about 250 species, including various species of waterfowl and  birds of prey.

antelope island

More than forty freshwater springs produce 36 million gallons of water each year supporting wildlife and vegetation. Pronghorn antelopes are native to Utah, and there is a big herd of them on the island.

antelope island

Bison, or American buffaloes, are the most famous residents. There are about 600 animals in different parts of the island.

antelope island

I have also seen hawks, lizards, mull deer, coyotes, and a porcupine in the tree.

porcupine

The picture of the porcupine is not great, but I think I was very lucky to take it.

Another attraction is the historical Fielding Garr Ranch, and I advise you to visit it. A tip: it closes early, so you better go there first thing in the morning.

antelope island

I could not resist to take a picture of this old Dodge pick up truck.

antelope island

Here is an awesome map of the Antelope Island I borrowed from Wikimedia.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AAntelope_Island_State_Park_Map.jpg

The most spectacular is the road that runs along the eastern coast. I have never been there in summer, but even in the winter haze it looks like a different planet.

antelope island

antelope island

antelope island

Buffalo Point hike is very steep and rough, but it offers you some truly breathtaking views over the White Rock Bay.

antelope island

antelope island

antelope island

This time we didn’t do any hiking. We were looking for buffaloes.

antelope island

There were many of them, all far away from the road. It is very difficult to explain to a toddler that a black dot barely visible in the tall dry grass is a promised huge buffalo. ” I wanna see a Gruffalo!”

But it was our lucky day indeed – we met one at the side of the road.

antelope island

After that we went off to the shore.

antelope island

antelope island

antelope island

Great Salt Lake is a remnant of prehistoric Lake Bonneville which covered more than 20 000 square miles during the Ice Age.

Water flows into the lake from four rivers, but Great Salt Lake has no outlet: water leaves only through evaporation. Concentration of minerals is very high and no fish or any other creature can live in this water except for brine shrimp and brine flies, and some algae.

Oolitic sand is a unique feature of Great Salt Lake. Round grains of sand are formed  similar to how pearls are formed, with the pellets of brine shrimp faces in the middle.

antelope island

A 15 minute walk to the shore in some 100F was a mistake: the lake smells 😦  The sand was crawling with the tiny flies, and I suspect, their larvae… Probably it is a seasonal thing.

antelope island

Nevertheless, it is a place I highly recommend to visit, especially during the Annual events like Moonlight Bike Ride, and celestial events  – for night photography. I am in love with the island and hope to come here again in Spring.

Thank you for taking this short tour with me! 🙂

IneseMjPhotographyHave a great weekend!

 

All creatures

pat_gibbons

For those who are reading the fox story for the first time – here are two links to my previous posts – Kindness and Fox News.

This spring, I got a word that Minnie, the six-years old vixen,  was pregnant. The only “suspect” was a two-year old male fox Henry, badly mauled by dogs in his yearly days and restored to health in Patsy’s care. Being very busy at that time, I didn’t come over to greet the cub and take pictures. I feel sad about that – I don’t think I will have another chance.  Now the cub is gone. Pat has too much on his hands  to accommodate one more fox, and a lady from Kilkenny was happy to give the little foxy a family and a little pup for a sibling to  grow together. I only hope for an interview in near future.

I didn’t take pictures of Henry. He was in a bad mood, and we left him in his den. I only can tell that he looks very grown up, and his injured eye is not as teary as it was last year.

I have got a new “fox picture”, this time with Minnie.

fox

Grainne and Minnie are full of character, and are visually different.

pat_gibbons

pat_gibbons

fox1 170

fox1 189

Minnie is not angry in these photographs, or upset in any way.  She is just being herself, playing and watching if your attention is still on her 🙂  As you know from my previous post, Minnie doesn’t like walking and prefers being carried and cuddled, and talked to all the time. I think I performed all these tasks very well, and she expected me to carry on, but Patsy thought different and Minnie had to walk to the den on her own feet.

pat_gibbons

pat_gibbons

pat_gibbons

fox1 291gauss

After the photo session, we all went to the garden. The weather improved, a lovely change.  All the creatures of the house joined us, and I was amazed with their friendliness and good humor: even a huge rooster didn’t mind to be photographed. Cats, chickens, dog Blackie  –  all of them relaxed and at ease with the strangers.

chicken

rooster

chicken

grumpy_chicken

dog

pat_gibbons

And of course we talked about foxes, how important they are to the environment. Their diet consists mostly of rats and mice; if they steal a chicken it only means that the chickens were not locked properly. Wild fox killed his ducks yet Pat doesn’t blame the fox but the hole in the fencing. While opposing the fox hunting, Pat doesn’t encourage people to take a fox cub home if it has been found alone. The cub is not abandoned. Foxes belong to the wild and they will survive in the wild. Pat wishes people would just leave them alone.

We were invited for a cup of tea. Pat’s brother showed us a photograph of their parents. Calm, intelligent, beautiful faces. They have raised their eleven children well.

As I have learned, Pat is famous not only because of his foxes. While attending a hurling game, he was spotted and taken a picture of for Kilkenny People newspaper. What has drawn the photographer’s attention? A hat. Pat’s sister is knitting these hats for the match goers, in county colors. Amber and black – Kilkenny colors. I asked Pat if he had another hat for a photograph, and he brought me a Red and White, a Cork one… Didn’t feel comfortable in it… 😉  I should have replaced the colors in Photoshop… 😉

pat_gibbons

On our way back home we took a few pictures in Thomastown.

thomastown

thomastown

A French tourism-oriented website recently posted a story about Pat and his foxes, and asked if they could use my photographs. I am delighted that more people will learn about this wonderful man and his beloved pets. They are already known in England, Scotland, and New Zealand, thanks to Grainne who is kind of a movie star, since she has several film and tourism commercial credits.

I hope you enjoyed the day with Pat Gibbons, and will visit with him in person on your next trip to Ireland.

Have a great week!

People in the streets

sell

What is street photography? Almost everything! Photographing street scenes, public events and human characters; landmarks and architecture, urban environment, transportation… Plus colors, patterns, shadows… Simply everything.

People walk in the streets, but they also do many other things.  They sell and buy stuff, sometimes quite amazing, like this green cat…

sell

… or this hand-made jewelry. Well, the sellers can be remarkable too.

sell

This young man is not texting. He is reading. Not good for the sales, but good for him. I took this picture because of the color arrangement: red parasol and hoodie –  blond hair and wooden kitchenware.

sell

More amazing stuff, and the artist himself is a character.

sell

Street vendors in NYC are not different from their colleagues in  the rest of the world. It is an old photograph – I wonder if anything has changed.

sell

People also perform in the streets.   I already posted about the street performers in Dublin. This guy was spotted in Belfast.

perform

That’s NYC again.

perform

Tall Ships festival in Waterford.

perform

Dublin Pride – this girl came all the way from Brasil. A spectator in his underpants could be from anywhere – could be a time travelling gone wrong…

perform

This band was actually brilliant, but the streets were empty: beach party in progress.

watch performance

This guy is a reggae musician Cian Finn. I had no idea when I spotted him in Cork and asked for a photograph. Things happen 🙂

cian_finn

People use electronic devices in the streets.

dublin

carusel

dublin

People sometimes cook in the streets.

cook

cook

People are generally friendly and happy. They pose if asked nicely.

pose

pose

biker

People chat with strangers.

chat

Unhappy people protest, usually peacefully…

waterford

… or use electronic devices…

sad

Some people stay in the streets most of their time.

cork 197

Some people own terrific cars and look darn cool, like this Italian policeman. In 2004, Lamborghini donated two Lamborghini Gallardo police cars to the Polizia di Stato on their 152nd anniversary. On the 31st November 2009 one of these 165,000-euro cars was badly damaged in a collision near the northern Italian town of Cremona where it was on display at a student jobs fair. It was repaired in January 2010. I took this photograph of the famous Lamborghinis in Tivoli in March 2010, and consider myself very lucky for being in the right place at the right time 🙂

work

Some people own bikes, like this shiny one. I was circling around it long enough to get arrested 🙂

bike

Some people just wait for their bus.

waterford

Most of people walk…

dublin

… and cast shadows if the day is sunny.

shadows

Most of the days are not sunny here, it is why  I am posting a sad song for you:  Johnny Cash – Streets of Laredo.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

William Despard Hemphill, Clonmel, County Tipperary

Clonmel

Clonmel is one of my favorite towns in County Tipperary – a place rich of history, and surrounded by beautiful landscapes. If you travel Ireland and are interested in photography, it is a place to visit for many reasons.

In 1840 an instruction manual in the use of the daguerreotype was offered by the Dublin Mechanical Institute and the natural Philosophy Committee of the Royal Dublin Society purchased a camera for taking daguerreotypes in the same year. Photography started its journey in Ireland.

Photography was quickly taken up by Ireland’s professional and landowning classes and the residents of Ireland’s big country houses. One of Ireland’s pioneering photographers, William Despard Hemphill was a native of Clonmel

William Despard Hemphill (1816–1902) was born into a large professional middle class Church of Ireland Tipperary family in 1816. After graduating University of St Andrews, he returned to Clonmel and had a successful medical practice, being doctor to both the Lunatic Asylum and the Prison.

Clonmel

Dr Hemphill composed and played music, was an avid orchid grower, turned ivory ornaments and was interested in archaeology, geology, and Waterford glass. He experimented with the latest photographic techniques, won several prestigious awards, and left a vast historical photography record of the 19the century scenes and people. He won fourteen prizes in Dublin, London and Paris. His photographs were praised for excellence of composition and artistic taste.

William Despard Hemphill is best known for his book ‘Stereoscopic illustrations of Clonmel and surrounding country, including Abbeys, Castles and Scenery. With descriptive Letterpress’, which was printed in Dublin, in 1860.

Stereoscopic photography recreates the illusion of depth by utilizing the binocularity of human vision. Stereoscopic photographs, or stereographs, consist of two nearly identical photographs  – one for the left eye, one for the right. Viewing the side-by-side images through a special lens arrangement called a stereoscope helps our brain combine the two flat images and see the illusion of depth. Stereoscopic photographs became very popular after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert received the gift of a stereoscopic viewer at the Crystal Palace exhibition in 1851.

Dr Hemphill’s  “Stereoscopic Illustrations” book comprises two volumes – one is the stereoscopic photographs themselves, the other – the descriptive text. The work is extremely rare; it was never available to the general public, and possibly only distributed  by Hemphill to his aristocratic friends in South Tipperary. Each known copy is unique and differs from the others. The National Library lacks all the photographs. Clonmel County Museum has two full copies containing the photographs, however, they are not on display for the general public .

Clonmel Library has a copy of the volume containing the descriptions to the photographs (no illustrations). If you ask, they will give you the book and you can read it all – 102 pages. It is printed in red & black, with the decorative red border vignettes. A sonnet written by a well-known, or anonymous author, or by William Despard Hemphill himself, opens each chapter. The volume opens with two quotes written in Greek and Latin – by Lucian and John Dryden respectively.

Hemphill

I went around the town to recreate some of Dr Hemphill’s photographs. The bits of information about the scenes I took from that famous book.

In 1857 Dr Hemphill photographed St Mary’s, Clonmel, his parish church shortly before the reconstruction and alteration works. The Western Wing was not altered and looks the same today.

Hemphill

Clonmel

This image depicts a part of the Eastern Wing that was altered during the reconstruction works and no longer exists.

Hemphill

This image of the Quay is taken from a boat. Commercial barges like this one were used before the railway was built in 1854.  Some buildings along the Quay are still there, but the Manor Mills in the background have been demolished.

Quay, Thro’ The Arch Of The Bridge, Clonmel ( 1857-58)

Hemphill

Clonmel

Scot’s Church, Anglesea St, Clonmel (1857-58) with its pretty little Ionic portico

“Clonmel, the assize town and capital of the County of Tipperary, is situated on the River Suir, which here separates the Counties of Tipperary and Waterford, and is built principally on the north side, and partly on some islands in the river, which are connected with each other and the town by bridges of considerable antiquity.” (Descriptive text by William Hemphill)

Hemphill

In the street, you can see a car. It is a Bianconi long car. Bianconi was an Italian man who settled in Clonmel and became a Father of Public Transportation in Ireland. The headquarters of Bianconi’s Transport was in Parnell St nearby.

Otherwise the street hasn’t changed.

Clonmel

Clonmel

Another beautiful place that still exists is The Patrick’s Well and Church.

Hemphill

An old lady selling some religious souvenirs used to sit at the tree every day.

This is what the Patrick Well site looks these days. No one is selling souvenirs any more, but an old man, David, is there almost every day ready to answer your every question about the site and its history.

Clonmel

Clonmel

Clonmel

There are some changes inside the Church. The altar had to be removed because of the repeated acts of vandalism, and only the base of it remained intact. David showed me some carvings I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise: a figure of Jesus with the fields and buildings of Jerusalem in  background.

Hemphill

Clonmel

And here are a few more pictures of Clonmel taken over the years. Different seasons, different vantage points, different moods. Lovely town that has a tiny Tourist office in the Mary’s church premises, because there are very little tourists.  A gem that is not hidden, just overlooked.

Clonmel

Clonmel

Clonmel

Clonmel

Clonmel

Clonmel

So, back to Dr Hemphill again. His home was demolished and a shopping center was built where a beautiful garden used to be.

Clonmel

I went to the parking lot and asked random  people if they knew who William Despard Hemphill is. Two elderly gentlemen knew to tell me about the Hemphills’ estate. Not that he is completely forgotten – in 2013, Clonmel County Museum presented a stunning exhibition of the photographs of William Despard Hemphill – Silent Exposure. It was my first experience viewing stereoscopic photographs.

I went to his parish church graveyard and found his grave. There is a beautiful Celtic cross with the inscription that says: The memory of the just is blessed.

Clonmel

Thank you for walking the streets of Clonmel with me!

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Ghosts and mysteries

creepy tree

Many years ago I and my young daughter were looking for a place to rent. I was in the middle of my postgraduate studies and she was about to start her second year in the Mittelschule. After a long, fruitless search, we found that woman who gave us the keys of her late ex-husband’s apartment and asked for a very modest rent. The man died in September, and we got the keys the following July. The apartment was stripped almost empty, but if we really needed anything, we could ship some stuff from our own home, so I agreed and we moved in.

The worst piece of furniture was an old bed. I timidly inquired  whether the old man died in there,  but was told that it happened in the next room and his bed was dumped. Needless to say, we made that room a non-living zone.

The said bed didn’t look like the one in the picture, but it was still very old, so I though I would use this image to create some suspense, since the story is actually scary and difficult to believe.

folk park

That first night nothing happened – or so I think. I arranged for a children’s bed to be delivered, and until then my daughter and I shared the old wreck. It was our second night in the place. My daughter was already asleep when I switched off the light and joined her. Trying to be quiet, I covered myself with a woolen spread and the same second I heard distinct heavy footsteps coming from the kitchen. I stopped breathing. The footsteps walked into the room and my hair stood on end. I was waiting, breathless – I would fight hard to protect my daughter. The footsteps never stopped and went straight to the next room. I didn’t move. After a minute or so the footsteps made it back and disappeared in the kitchen exactly the same way they came.  Here is the path.

ghost pathI was listening for the door to unlock, but there was no sound. Being completely shattered I fell asleep.

The following day was a torture. I already realized that my visitor didn’t belong to this world, but this realization didn’t give me a clue how to stop him from coming. Besides, I was not sure he wouldn’t venture to our bed to say hello one night. I discussed the situation with my friend, and she suggested lighting a candle in church. The candle didn’t help.

For the rest of the summer, every single night he was there shortly before midnight. I was so grateful that my daughter was always sound asleep by that time. I have never looked at him – I was not sure if he liked attention.

ghost

But I did talk to him – after a month or so. “For God’s sake,  I would tell him in a hushed voice, why are you walking here instead of resting in peace? You are a grown up man, shame on you! Don’t you know I have a 8 year old child here, and you can scare her! What are you looking for here? Just let me know and I will take to your grave whatever stuff you need.”

He kept coming until his one year anniversary, and I kept giving out to him for that. Then he just stopped coming, and that was it.

Some mysteries can be explained though, like the ones in the books of Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes

These pictures were taken in the Sherlock Holmes Museum in London, England. It opened in 1990 and is situated in Baker Street, bearing the number 221 B, as per books, although it lies between numbers 237 and 241. The Georgian town house was formerly used as a boarding house from 1860 to 1936, which covers the period of 1881 to 1904 when Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson were reported to have resided there as tenants of Mrs Hudson. The museum is run by the Sherlock Holmes Society of England, a non-profit organisation. I guess they actually have some profit since the tickets are overpriced, but it is not that  I am complaining – the museum was a #1 item on my London list.

This is the monster from The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Sherlock Holmes

The Red-Headed League

Sherlock Holmes

A criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty

Sherlock Holmes

I read all the Sherlock Holmes books when I was a young teenager. People read a lot at that time. Not that I am a hardcore Sherlock fan, but I enjoyed reading the novels way before I saw my first movie: for that, I consider myself lucky. And I did want to visit the museum because I love the idea of the monuments and museums dedicated to the fictional characters.

It is why the reviews in the Trip Adviser upset me. Especially one like this:

“I think it’s interesting if you’re a big fan and know all the stories. If you’re not (like me) you’ll learn nothing.”

For Goodness sake! Sorry you learned nothing, man.

But there was one review that  I loved. A very long one, and I want to quote a part of it here, because I couldn’t say it better myself:

“…I’m sorry that you probably live in a world where people insist that Sherlock Holmes is not real. I invite you to live in my world instead, my friend. Because in my world, people can fall from waterfalls and 15 story buildings and live to solve crime another day. In my world empty hearses are not creepy precursors to post apocalyptic zombie films. In my world one landlord can be both Mrs. Hudson, AND Mrs. Turner, because the hell with continuity! The difference between fiction and real life is that fiction has to make sense, and when did Sherlock Holmes ever make sense? Never! If that’s not confirmation, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, they’ll try to tell you this is a “museum”, but whatever. You know that the great detective and his dear friend Doctor Watson have just stepped out on a consultation at Scotland Yard. And don’t you ever forget it.”

Bless you, young lady.

Sherlock holmes

Sherlock Holmes

I want to share some soundtracks to the different Sherlock Holmes movies.  Which of the soundtracks is your favorite?

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984–1985), Granada Television,  starred Jeremy Brett  and David Burke/Edward Hardwicke. Composer Patrick Gowers.

 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1979-1986), Lenfilm, starred Vasily Livanov  and Vitaly Solomin. Composer Vladimir Dashkevich.

BBC Sherlock (TV series) 2010. Starring  Benedict Cumberbatch  and Martin Freeman. Composers  David Arnold and Michael Price. This is actually a cover, but I think it is brilliant – Sherlock Medley on Violin – Taryn Harbridge

And this one is from the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes movie, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Composer Hans Zimmer

The living room and all the familiar items are on display – you can sit in the chairs, put on the hats and even play the violin if you wish.

Sherlock Holmes

The maid is real.

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes

If you don’t mind wax figures, Madame Tussauds museum is some 10 minutes walk from here.

Sherlock Holmes

And you know what? There are people who still write to the famous Detective.  Blessed readers – I am sure that most of them are readers.

Sherlock Holmes

So, that’s the story. Some mysteries still remain unsolved…

Sherlock Holmes

The Rocky Road to Dublin by The Dubliners – this song was used in the Sherlock movie.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Saltee Islands – treasure bigger than money -part 2

Saltee_Islands

(Click on the photographs to enlarge them)

First three hours were gone in a blink. It is the magic of Puffins.  I was on my way to the Cat Cliff on the Southern end of the island – the land of the Northern Gannets.

Great Saltee island ascends from 3-5m high shore on the mainland side to 20-30m high cliffs on its south-eastern side. The Southern Summit rises to an altitude of 58m.

Saltee_Islands

I was walking along a stone wall, and after it ended the path took steep up through the waist-high ferns.

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On the summit I made a stop to take a picture. It was still foggy.

Saltee_Islands

A Great black backed gull was standing on a rock. I came closer. It is a large bird, a predator attacking and killing even the far larger animals and birds, and I didn’t want to take a risk. Yet, I didn’t notice the chicks until they ran and hid themselves, and only then I knew I was in trouble.  The last thing I needed was to be struck by a gull! I turned back and walked away as fast as  I could without running in panic, while the gull’s partner repeatedly flew over my head diving low enough to touch my hair.  With its wingspan of 150-170cm the attacking gull was as good as a small aircraft.

Saltee_Islands

I caught up with the other photographers and we headed to the Cat Cliff barely visible in the mist.

Saltee_Islands

There was another gull – a male with no chicks around ( we will see them later).

Saltee_Islands

Saltee_Islands

Saltee_Islands

To get to the Cat Cliff takes an effort, but it was a fun climb because of the many species of the sea birds and their young we met on our way.  Look at these Razorbills with their soft fluffy bellies.

Saltee_Islands

Saltee_Islands

A young Common shag looks from under the rock…

Saltee_Islands

…and makes a careful step with his clumsy webbed foot.

Saltee_Islands

An adult bird is different, all shiny and beautiful.

Saltee_Islands

This is the place. A small colony of Gannets are settled on the left from the Cat Cliff. We don’t go there  – it is a steep cliff and very little room for a tripod.

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This is the Cat Cliff itself.

Saltee_Islands

I sat there enjoying the sight, and took this panorama. Unfortunately there is no sky because of the thick fog.

Saltee_Islands

We came very close to the nesting birds, but they didn’t mind. They have lived a long life, and have seen it all…

In my previous posts,  there are more facts  and more different photographs. If you are interested, you can go back and read these post –   I have reblogged them.

Here you can listen to the gannet call. Multiply it by couple of thousand  🙂

Saltee_Islands

The sky is crawling with Gannets.

Saltee_Islands

After landing the birds perform a “dance”.

Saltee_Islands

Saltee_Islands

Sometimes they bring some weeds.

Saltee_Islands

Saltee_Islands

Under every rock there is a chick. I have no idea what bird they belong to.

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This one looks different.

Saltee_Islands

And finally I see them – the chicks of the Great black backed gull I photographed in the flight. Their mother is standing next to them and looking at me with the menacing red eye. They are so tiny and innocent, but the fact is that three more killers will join the party soon. Sorry for the Puffins…

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Look at this tiny wing 🙂

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Who can find the chicks in this photograph in 10 seconds?  🙂

Saltee_Islands

On the way back the sky cleared for a few minutes and I took another picture of the island.

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We also got to see the seals.

Saltee_Islands

The boat was coming in an hour.  I started getting nervous.  This photograph of a tiny rock that stuck between the big rocks forever shows exactly how I felt.

Saltee_Islands

We went down to the Boulder Beach and sat there looking in the mist. Our motorboats finally came, the inflatable boats took us six at a time on board, and off we went again. Lucky me. The wind was not that strong, and I had never left the deck this time, all soaked in seawater but perfectly well and happy.

Thank you for reading about my adventures!

IneseMjPhotographyHave a great weekend!