Archive for the ‘Travels’ category

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

 

* * *

If you enjoy this blog, please subscribe to it. Thank you!

* * *

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/

* * *

If you enjoy this blog, please subscribe to it. Thank you!

* * *

Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable

July 4, 2013

I hesitate greatly to reveal my secrets, but this weekly photo challenge calls for it … so here you have it – my favorite companionable friend is… my shadow! By stating this I might upset some of my dear “flesh and blood” friends, but yes – I truly like my shadow and enjoy its companionship a lot! We walk and hike together; we sit together and think about thousands of issues and wonders of the world.

My shadow is very patient and flexible – never complains or argues. It follows me everywhere, disappears tactfully when I go to sleep, and is ready to go at weird hours in the morning. What a great companion in the very late hours of the night since it is never tired! Youthful, reliable, and very loyal. This is truly one of my best “for better, for worse… till death do us part” relationships!

My shadow on the patio

Shadow on the patio

My shadow on the deck

Shadow on the deck

And here is another secret of mine. I learned to pay attention to my shadow many years ago and I learned it from my 4 year-old (at that time) son Leo (not his real name but an astrological one for my writings). I do remember that day so well, as if time had not passed at all since then!

It was the quiet morning of a sunny spring day on Cape Cod. My toddler Leo was playing outside all by himself; his older brother was in school already, and no other friends of Leo were around. Being a bit concerned, I walked outside and asked, “You don’t have any friends to play with today, Leo – aren’t you feeling lonely?” “Oh no, Mommy,” he responded, “I am playing with my shadow!”

What a terrific concept! I was stunned and deeply touched, my eyes became misty.

From that day my shadow and I started a good friendship as well. That relationship became even more significant when I began my photographic endeavors. In fact, after several years, I honored my shadow by making it the trademark of my photography. Some of you who have read my blog for a while might have noticed that already, especially since my shadow is placed in the header of this blog.

 My shadow - my trademark

My shadow – my trademark

I love to travel in summer, and so does my shadow. Every year in June Tucson is under a strong and very uncomfortable spell of heat. What a pity! June is a lovely month elsewhere. So I followed the call of the ocean as indicated in the previous post: https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/weekly-photo-challenge-curves/

This time an attempt to escape the heat took us, for a short time, to the Pacific Ocean near San Diego, California. Del Mar was the destination, but Solana Beach became my favorite spot.

 Entry to Solana Beach - long and steep wooden stairs

Entry to Solana Beach

 View of Solana Beach

Solana Beach

Author of the post walking on the line where ocean meets the sand

On that line

What a treat it was – I wish everybody who needs a small break could have it!

My shadow and I took late afternoon walks on the beach (usually empty at that time) following that line where the hard wet sand and the water touch each other in the rhythm of the ocean waves.

I love dancing, and I never had a better dance partner than my shadow. The day before returning home, we made a perfectly synchronized dance in honor of the monsoon which was supposed to arrive in Tucson any day.

Dancing on the beach - step one

Dancing on the beach - step two

Dancing on the beach - step three

Dancing on the beach - step four

The dance was effective – there was some rain in Tucson upon our return, but it did not last long. Perhaps the dance was too short. Perhaps we will have to repeat it over here in the desert. Perhaps more people should dance to bring down the rain – just like Native Americans do. I wrote about that in my post: https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/monsoon-report-from-the-patio/

Have a nice Independence Day holiday!

Please do some dancing for rain or for sunshine… or for whatever you wish the dance will bring.

Alicja

* * *

If you enjoy this blog, please subscribe to it. Thank you!

* * *

Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

June 6, 2013

Signs are all around us – warning, informing, communicating, decorating, and often irritating. They seem to be more visible when we travel by car.

I looked through some of my travel photos and made a choice of just a few, but with signs that differ greatly.   

Huge Rooster mounted on  white truck

This huge rooster is welcoming visitors to the small village of Hatch (population less than 2000) in New Mexico, located 40 miles north of Las Cruces. This village is proud of its bountiful chile crops and the annual event – The Hatch Chile Festival. The village is known as the chile capitol of the world!

Warm hospitality is part of the charm of Hatch and will stay in my memory as strongly pronounced Americana sprinkled with the chilli powders that I purchased there.

New Mexico Americana

While Hatch is a small village and there are so many small villages worth visiting, I had no idea that it is possible to have an official town of population 1… till we stumbled upon Lost Springs while driving along highway 20 West in Wyoming. So there it was – a green official highway sign stating just that: POP1.

Green road sign of Lost Springs with POP 1

I took this photo in 2010, not being aware that Lost Springs had a lot of media attention due to its demographic uniqueness at that time. Today, I learned, Lost Springs lost considerably its attraction since its population grew to 4 in 2011. Oh well… some gains and some losses.

The Sherwin-Williams Paint truck

Close up of the SWP truck  with their slogan - Cover the Earth.

This Sherwin-Williams Paint truck took my attention immediately. The Cover the Earth slogan reminded me of a political joke from the Cold War times when the tension between the Soviet Union and the United States also generated a strong competition in the exploration of space. Although in reality the Soviets did not land on the moon, for the sake of this joke they are placed there together with the Americans.

The Joke

Two teams of astronauts, one from the Soviet Union and one from the United States, were sent to the moon. After their landing, the Soviets immediately started to paint the surface of the moon with red paint – the color of their flag and symbol of Communism. Concerned, the Americans called Mission Control and reported that. They were advised to ignore the Soviets’ action.

When half of the moon was covered with red paint, the Americans called Earth again asking, “What shall we do?” The answer was, “Wait and do not worry!” So they did.

After a while, the American team called Earth again – this time with great urgency. “Look, the Soviets have already covered most of the moon with their paint – the whole world will see the moon in red!  What shall we do?! “

Mission Control now gave them an order, “Wait till the Soviets have covered the entire moon with red and then paint in huge white letters Coca Cola.

The End 🙂

* * *

If you enjoy this blog, please subscribe to it. Thank you!

* * *

Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

* * *

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

April 25, 2013

Sometimes we do not need words of explanation or captions for photos. Such is the case here with my interpretation of “Up”.

 

Tall building in New Yourk

GW Bridge

View from the car of  a highway loop

Soutwestern Church with ringing bell

Tall business building in Tucson

I responded to several Weekly Photo Challenges before:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lost in the Details

Weekly Photo Challenge: Kiss

Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

***

If you enjoy this blog, please subscribe to it. Thank you!

* * *

Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lost in the Details

March 7, 2013

I have been so lost in time lately, absorbed by the detailed work of finishing an important publishing project, that I almost missed today’s deadline for this photo challenge (by Word Press). Actually I found the title and description of the challenge a bit confusing and decided to interpret it as Lost and Found in the Details.

Here is how I see it:

Silver Beach on Cape Cod, MA

Silver Beach, Cape Cod

Walking on this familiar beach after the high tide you can see the dark clumps of seaweed on its sand. They are not very attractive and soon will be removed to make the beach more pleasant for visitors. Those clumps are not attractive at first, but there is some beauty in them that I tried to capture it in this photo.

Seaweed and sea shells  entangeled on the beach

Sea Offerings

The seaweed entangled with the shells, the color, the texture, and the feeling of some mystery attracted me enough that this photo, in a large format, hangs in my studio as a reminder of my visits with the ocean.

New Orleans building with the decorative iron work

Charm of New Orleans

The minute I walked into the New Orleans streets, I was charmed by that city’s ambiance and its characteristic architecture with the decorative iron work. The detail of that ornamental work represents for me the essence of that New Orleans charm – visually.

Detail of the ornamental iron work

Detail of the ornamental iron work

The above examples of details were sought by me intentionally, but sometimes one can stumble on such detail accidentally. That was the case with a photograph I took in my native Warsaw (Poland) a few years ago. I was attracted to the balcony full of flowers on Nowy Swiat (New World) street and only much later discovered the very attractive decorative details of the building on both sides of the balcony.

Warsaw balcony and flowers

Warsaw balcony and flowers

It is so nice to have flowers around us in many forms – they bring smiles to our lives.

***

If you enjoy this blog, please subscribe to it. Thank you!

* * *

Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

 

Unsent Postcard

September 28, 2012

Postcard from Alicja Mann

Dear Readers,

Please consider this to be a belated postcard from Cape Cod, one of the most charming vacation spots in this country and my “old home” place.

As I stated in my previous post, it was my intention to have a long, true time off from work and a real vacation. Well, it was a long time all right, but not as restful and free of stress as I desired.

Sometimes life presents us with challenging situations and even dramas that throw us off balance. I found myself in such a spot lately because of a difficult family conflict relating to my motherhood. Having a painful time with it, I needed a lot of solitude and was not very communicative or sociable for a couple of months. I am sure that I disappointed some of my readers by not responding to their comments before and during my “vacation”. The same goes for not returning my friends’ calls or answering their e-mails. I apologize and will try to correct that.

The great benefit of being on the Cape was having the ocean nearby. I loved my numerous visits with it — the soothing sound and touch of waves, and the ever changing texture of the beach.

Footprints and water on the beach

Summer afternoons on my favorite Silver Beach were always crowded with people, young and old, but mostly families with kids. I even took pictures of two boys that closely resembled my sons when they were in that happy, care free stage years ago.

Two boys on the beach

Like my Taurus; Like my Leo

Toys on the beach

After a few afternoon visits to the beach, I decided that they were not good for my psyche—they were too nostalgic! So instead, I decided to make my visits to Silver Beach in the very late afternoons, until the sunset. It really was a great idea! I loved that time when almost no one was there—except me and my shadow.

Silver Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Ocean and the beach to my right

Silver Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Ocean and the beach to my left

Sun over waves

Ocean in front of me

Two views of Silver Beach at sunset

Beach around me

Sunsets do not need any comments or captions!

Two views of sunset at Silver Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Sun at horizon, Silver Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Sun below horizon, Silver Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Alicja Mann's shadow waving goodbye Farewell to Cape Cod and hello sunny Tucson!

P.S. To see more Cape scenery, please visit my previous posts:

* * *

If you enjoy this blog, please subscribe to it. Thank you!

* * *

Text and photos copyright © 2012 by Alicja Mann.


%d bloggers like this: