Cathedral of Santa Maria; Duomo di Firenze at sunset; Monochrome Madness Week 35

Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, Florence Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, Florence Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Everyone loves a sunset, and I never imagined that they could look better as a black and white image, then they do as a colour image, after all we watch or photograph a sunset for the colour, don’t we?!  Bill and I walked up to the Piazza Michelangelo specifically to watch the sunset. It was our last night in Florence, it was the first clear evening during the week we were there, so we had one chance to see it.  When we arrived on top of the hill, it was crowded. Other tourists who had made the walk, vendors who are selling their wares, and at least one engaged couple getting portraits done, it was a hub of activity.

The Cathedral is actually south-west of the Piazza Michelangelo, so the sunset happens to our left as we are look over Florence,  the setting sun was lighting up the side of the Duoma, and colouring the clouds all across the sky, but the colour and drama just didn’t translate well into the digital photo. The lights in the city were starting to come on, the Cathedral was warmly lit by the street lights from below, and the colour in the sky was starting to fade, and I still did not have an image that I was happy with.

Back at our apartment when I started processing images I knew that I would want at least one photo to submit to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness post this week. So I picked a couple of the sunset images, figuring if I wasn’t happy with the colour in the images the light might seem more dramatic if colour was removed. I have to admit I wasn’t optimistic, but quite happy with the results.  Hope on over to Leanne’s blog and check out the other submissions for Monochrome Madness.

Friday in Venice Italy

love locks, Iron railing, bridge, Venice Italy, gondola on the canal in the background, copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Love Locks on a bridge in Venice Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

We spent Friday in Venice Italy, yes it is unfortunate that we had only one day to see this lovely city, but we made the best of it. We have been to Venice before, so it was a day to visit some of the lovely spots we hold in our memories, and catch glimpses of the Venice in the autumn light.  One of the new things we noticed this time, Love Locks are starting to appear on some of the bridges!  It could be that I have been too busy looking at the scenery to notice them before.

Lots of boats in the canals, but with the number of visitors to the city there are only a  few places to sit quietly, and enjoy the sunshine.

Lucy, a boat, a person, a canal in Venice Italy, copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Lucy, at the side of a canal; Venice Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Of course there are beautiful masks hanging on every stall waiting to be picked up and taken home by a tourist.

white Carnival mask with white feathers, copyright jmeyersforeman

Venice Italy, Carnival mask; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

A view from the bell tower in St. Mark’s Square at sunset. We had not visited the top of the bell tower before, so this was a new view for us, and of course the best time to go is at sunset, as the lights come on in the city.

A view of Venice from the bell tower at St. Mark's Square; copyright jmeyersforeman

A view of Venice from the bell tower at St. Mark’s Square; copyright jmeyersforeman

One of the favourite places to visit is the Rialto bridge. Even though both the canal and the bridge are crowded with people, it is a lovely spot to watch the sunset.

Grand Canal, night, Rialto Bridge, Venice Italy, copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

A view of the Grand Canal at night from the Rialto Bridge; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

It was a long beautiful day, we are off to Vienna Austria………….

 

 

Acquitaine France and finding family!

Garden gnome

Garden gnome

My mother has been doing family research for years, as a result she has been able to find several members of her father’s family who come from Wales. One member of the family Richard now lives in the Aquitaine area of southern France. Mom first met Richard’s father George quite some time ago, and Richard has been kind enough to send mom a lot of his father’s family history research filling in blanks or branches in mom’s family tree, as well as an open invitation to visit his home if she was ever in the area.

We, Bill and I decided that we would pay a visit to Richard on mom’s behalf. It was a lovely visit to Aquitaine, and while there Richard took us to visit the Castle of Bonaguil, high on the hill just north-west of Agen.

Bonaguil Castle; copyright jmeyersforeman

Bonaguil Castle; copyright jmeyersforeman

Bonaguil Castle; copyright jmeyersforeman

Bonaguil Castle; copyright jmeyersforeman

We went out to a wonderful restaurant for dinner with some of his lovely friends, and watched the sunset over the beautiful valley.

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sunset after the rain; copyright jmeyersforeman

sunset after the rain; copyright jmeyersforeman

Richard also took us for a ride in his 1954 Austin Healey.

IMG_4357 IMG_4348 IMG_4338

Meeting and visiting with Richard was wonderful, he can’t thank him enough for the warm hospitality. It was a great treat to have someone show/drive us around the beautiful French countryside for a closer more personal view.  Thanks Richard for a wonderful two days.  We are off to Bordeaux!

 

Sunset, boats and Friday’s

sunset, boats and friday's

sunset, boats and friday’s

Between travelling to new locations, meeting new family and friends I have found a few minutes each day to watch a Photoshop tutorial and try some new creative techniques for manipulating an image! I love sunsets over the boats and harbour, playing with double exposure and textures adds a new layer of interest, pardon the pun.

I haven’t quite decided how far I will take the new techniques I have been learning, but we are off the Bordeaux France today. Hopefully we can find a wine tour!

Sunset at Llanes Spain

Bill at sunset: Llanes Spain

Bill at sunset: Llanes Spain 

Llanes, Austrias Spain has a very nice little harbour, a couple of nice beaches, and a lovely town centre with wonderful restaurants and shops, it was a nice relaxing place to spend a couple of days.

We were out one night trying to find a nice spot to watch the sunset, and capture a lovely view of the harbour for our memories of this wonderful little seaside town. When I looked back and saw Bill standing in the perfect spot I knew I had my photo. Yes, it could be anywhere, but I will remember that it was taken in the harbour of the lovely town.

Sunsets on the Atlantic Coast; Baiona Spain

Sunset at Baiona Spain

Sunset at Baiona Spain  

When it’s not always raining there’ll be days like this
When there’s no one complaining there’ll be days like this  – Van Morrison 

I have to admit that since arriving in Spain I have been looking forward to watching the sunset on this side Atlantic Ocean. Sunset is a wonderful time of day; the day’s business has been done or at least what could get done has been done. I know there are a few of you that burn the midnight oil either by choice or habit or a job, but for me being a morning person, the day’s business has been done, and a day where I can sit and watch the sunset reminds me of the Van Morrison song “Day’s like this” 

I hope you are having a  “day like this”

 

Sunset, Ciudad of Arts and Science, Valencia Spain

sunset at the Ciudad of Arts and Science, Valencia Spain

sunset at the Ciudad of Arts and Science, Valencia Spain 

Along an axis of just under two kilometres that was formerly the bed of the River Turia, in Valencia Spain, this complex of striking architecture – designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela – and an endless capacity for entertaining and stimulating the minds of its visitors. In its various buildings, known as Ciudad of Arts and Science, people can get to know different aspects of science, technology, nature, and art.

I previously posted about the Oceanografic which is part of this Science and Art Park, it was unfortunately the only building we were able to visit. The building on the left of the image, L ‘Hemisferic is home to an IMAX theatre, a planetarium and a laserium, while the building to the right just behind it is the El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia is home to an opera house and performing arts centre.

Most nights when we head out to do sunset photos we are alone, the evening settling in around us and the lights of the city start to flicker, Last night it was quite different, while we were standing at the northeast corner of the “pond” that surrounds the buildings waiting and watching for the sunset we were joined by a small class of photographers, experimenting with ND filters and long exposures, tourists from various parts of Spain, Holland, and the US all chatting away, enjoying the sunset and the shared experience of the beautiful evening.

 

 

Tarragona Spain

Tarragona Spain, at sunset

Tarragona Spain, at sunset 

While I have many wonderful photos and stories of Toledo Spain, we have moved onto Tarragona. About an hour south of Barcelona along the Mediterranean Sea, we thought a few days of rest with an ocean view would be a nice change from the hills of central Spain. It has been reported that Augustus Cesar wintered here, and there will be a big celebration during the month of May honouring his life and times on the 2000 anniversary of his death.

 

Hunting for the perfect Toledo Cathedral Photo

Toledo Cathedral, Toledo Spain

Toledo Cathedral, Toledo Spain 

Toledo is filled with narrow streets, and it is seemingly impossible to get a great view of the Cathedral. We are either peaking between buildings as we are here,  or looking up at it, as we were in the previous post. So today, I was on a mission to see the Cathedral, and get a memorable image. The image below is from the Alcazar Tower.

Toledo Cathedral

Toledo Cathedral   

We walked out-of-town, crossed the Tagas River on the Alcantara Bridge, a Roman bridge and headed to the Valle Hermitage, high on the hill for a sunset view of Toledo and the Cathedral.

Toledo at sunset

Toledo at sunset 

Toledo Cathedral at sunset

Toledo Cathedral at sunset 

Finally I found the near perfect reflection in the window of the tourist information office. I thought it appropriate the town map was hanging in the window.

reflection in the tourist information office

reflection in the tourist information office

Plaza Espana, Merida Spain,

Plaza Espana, Merida Spain on a Saturday night

Plaza Espana, Merida Spain on a Saturday night

We were sitting having a glass of wine in the Plaza Mayor, here in Merida last night. It was full of kids playing, parents with strollers, and old people walking hand in hand.  Thought out the square there are about 4 or 5 Tapa bars where music was playing, and people were visiting. I decided a long exposure showing people moving about was a wonderful way of capturing the light, and the life of the square.

Photos are available through my gallery.