Archive for the ‘Places’ category

Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy and … Happy New Year!

January 3, 2014

This past year I started with “dancing my troubles away.” I also danced for rain in Tucson while on Solana Beach last June. In both cases the dancing was not very effective – my troubles did not go away, and we did not get as much rain as we needed.

Every New Year is supposed to be joyful, and of course often it’s not. When you live long enough, you lower your expectations. To my surprise, this New Year’s Eve was more joyful than I anticipated. For that I am very grateful to Tucson’s Laffs Comedy Caffe! That is where I met the New Year of 2014 (http://www.Laffstucson.com).

Comedy Club at New Year's Eve

Alicja laughing

Every one of us defines joy differently. However, we can all agree that a smile is a good indicator of joy … I mean a genuine smile!

Rodney's Smile

It is hard not to feel the power of Rodney’s smile, which is totally disarming. He owns a one-man-operation restaurant on the main street of Wilcox, AZ. If you are ever in Wilcox, I am sure you will try his cooking as I did in November.

Rodney Menu posted on the window

There is another type of smile full of joy that is not interactive, but self contained. This flower girl in a wedding ceremony on a Cape Cod beach just couldn’t resist the joy of touching and sifting the soft, warm sand.

Flower Girl smiling while playing with the sand

I experience a similar feeling of joy while looking at luminaries – the characteristic holiday lights that are common in this part of the country – their soft glow evokes a soft smile.

Luminaries in Tucson

Happy New Year 2014! 

Let it glow with JOY for each of us!

Alicja at New Year's Celebration

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

December 12, 2013

Silver Bridge at the bottom of the Grand Canyon

There are many grand things, events, and people that I have encountered in my life, but the day of hiking the Grand Canyon down and up with my Canadian friend several years ago stands out. It was awesome to be able to face that ancient and grand creation of nature and at the same time to feel our minuteness in contrast with that rocky giant. I took this photo on Silver Bridge over the Colorado River – at the bottom of the Canyon, facing the lengthy journey (9.5 miles = 15.3 km) up the Bright Angel Trail to reach the top before the inevitable arrival of darkness.

I wrote about that hike in my post Footprints Left Behind  https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/footprints-left-behind/

Potrait of Nelson Mandela

A similar feeling of awe and humbleness enveloped me last week when we faced the departure of Nelson Mandela – his strength, vision, perseverance, and political skills were not only grand, but super GRAND and will continue to inspire others for many years to come. I am happy to cherish memories of encountering that man during his visit to Boston in 1990 – soon after his release from prison. Even though I was a minute spot in the huge crowd of others who gathered at the Hatch Shell to honor Mandela, I will never forget that grand day.

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

November 21, 2013

Commonly the word layers is associated with layers of rocks or bricks, layers of sweet tasty cake, or layers of clothes – especially now when cold days are on our horizon. However, there are several meanings of this word. Here is one of them: layer – “a hen kept for egg production.”

Chicken in their coop

Here are my photos of “layers of layers” traveling or rather being transported to their new destination – perhaps to lay more eggs or…perhaps not.

Layers of white containers with chickens (layers)

Chicken in theirs containers being transported on a red truck

During one of my visits in Amsterdam (several years ago) I was stunned and mesmerized by colorful layers of bicycles waiting patiently for their riders in specially designated places – right in the heart of that big European city.

Layers of parked bicycles in special designated multi level place in center of Amsterdam

Many European cities are bicycle-friendly. Amsterdam is in fact super friendly. Consequently, the Dutch can eat their layered cakes without feeling guilty or fearful of gaining weight. Our cities should be full of bicycle-envy and follow Amsterdam’s path.

More bicycles in Amsterdam

 

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit

November 13, 2013

There is a natural readiness in us to label our habits as bad or good ones. They are also difficult to photograph. For instance, my good habit of religiously wearing a seatbelt while driving is not very photogenic, nor is my bad habit of misplacing sunglasses and frantically searching for them – a few moments before leaving home.

My custom of drinking wine on the patio at sunset I consider a very pleasant and definitely photogenic habit.

Patio on the end of the day.Glass of wine on the patio's table

Ever since we built our large, sunny patio that connects and embraces the house, my studio and a beautiful mesquite tree, we have had the custom, an end-of-the-day routine, to sit on the patio and enjoy the last warm rays of sun. The fact that the sun goes down right behind my studio is a nice coincidence for me. I welcome that soft announcement of the end of the day and, perhaps, the end of my work…. A glass of wine is a must!

closeup of the glass of wine and image of the studio

I offer a toast to the gentle, late warmth of Tucson’s sun, since most of the day that very same sun is hot and harsh – even in the middle of November.

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

October 31, 2013

This photo challenge arrived at a perfect moment for me. Being absent for three months from these pages, I was having a hard time to get back to them. Why? Many doubts, many worries, lack of time. So I welcomed “the horizon challenge” photographically and, even more so, metaphorically.

The boundary between earth and sky, as the horizon is usually defined, is easy to visualize. The synonyms of horizon – range, perspective, limit, scope, reach – are also familiar. My favorite is “a field of vision.”

Here is a photo that I took this past September while visiting Cape Cod.

Two birds and the horizon

The minute I noticed these birds’ synchronized sitting, I knew that I had to capture the moment! I was afraid that they would fly away the minute I touched my camera. This time I was lucky – they did not! I was even able to take a couple more pictures of them.

One bird with the dark horizon

The field of vision differs greatly for each bird. For this one, it is a dark field.

Another bird with the bright horizon

And for this bird, it is a very bright field – almost blinding.

The same horizon, different fields of vision! This is also how we, people, perceive our horizons, our vistas, or our dreams…very differently!

The darkness arriving with the night or heavy dark clouds covering the sky affect greatly our visions, our perspectives. And that’s what has happened to me recently. The huge dark cloud of grief and disappointment engulfed me and blocked my vista.

For birds dark clouds will be blown away by strong winds. For us, people, that seldom happens. So I know that it is I who has to move that dark cloud away– inch by inch– till the horizon appears again, clear and crisp….

Sea horizon with a dark cloud over it

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece

August 1, 2013

seaweed and sand interesting image # 1

This masterpiece was created by ocean waves challenging the sand and weeds on the beach. I was enchanted by such “paintings” during my walks on Solana Beach, California, this past June.

Seaweed and sand interesting image #2

And here is another one!  The sand of Solana Beach is characteristically gray in comparison to the light beige of other sands I know on Cape Cod and Florida. It is that wide range of grayness that makes these images from Solana Beach so strong and unique. Their beauty and temporariness evoked my desire to make them a bit more permanent – with my photographic lens.

Little Flower Girl playing in the beach sand

Children love to play with sand on the beach, regardless what are the circumstances. I took this photo a few years ago while watching a formal wedding ceremony on Silver Beach (Cape Cod). This little Flower Girl just had to play with sand the minute her work of throwing petals was done!

Children seem to recognize instinctively the hidden beauty of seemingly ordinary things. Fortunately some adults do too.”Every grain of sand is a jewel waiting to be discovered,” according to Dr. Gary Greenberg of Hawaii who combines his knowledge of science and art of photography with amazing results. Thanks to my friend Valerie, who introduced me to Greenberg’s photography, I can share it with you.

See awesome masterpieces of nature under our feet!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2_eKX9iVME

http://www.sandgrains.com/

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour

July 18, 2013

Boats at the harbor at dusk

The “golden hour” – a relatively short time when the day meets the night or when the night meets the day. A truly magical moment filled with a soft sunlight and its gentle power of evoking tranquility and stillness. That special energy negates the turbulence of the day or restlessness of the night.

Sunset at the beach of Cape Cod

Beach sand at dusk

Three women sitting at the beach watching sunset

View of the coasline at dusk

Sky and the ocean after sunset

Those are some golden moments I captured last year on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

This post will be published late in a “wee hour” of the night rather than a golden one. I think it is better late than not at all.

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann


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