Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

Posted November 21, 2013 by Alicja Mann
Categories: Memories, Opinions, Photo essays, Photo stories, Photography, Places, Thoughts, Travels

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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

Posted November 13, 2013 by Alicja Mann
Categories: Arizona, Feelings, Photo essays, Photo stories, Photography, Places, Thoughts

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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

Posted October 31, 2013 by Alicja Mann
Categories: Feelings, Photo essays, Photo stories, Photography, Places, Thoughts

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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

Posted August 1, 2013 by Alicja Mann
Categories: Photo essays, Photo stories, Photography, Places, Thoughts, Travels

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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

Posted July 18, 2013 by Alicja Mann
Categories: Photo essays, Photo stories, Photography, Places, Thoughts

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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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable

Posted July 4, 2013 by Alicja Mann
Categories: Arizona, Celebrations, Feelings, Memories, Photo essays, Photo stories, Photography, Places, Travels

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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

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves

Posted June 18, 2013 by Alicja Mann
Categories: Arizona, Feelings, Photo essays, Photo stories, Photography, Places

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Fun with curves! That is what this photo challenge is about. After all, there are curves around us in great abundance, probably more so than straight lines.

Curves are sexy, mysterious, how can we not love them? There is a softness and charm in curves. Like the charm of a curving road and the gentle wave of the mountains in the picture below that I took a couple of months ago while driving from Amado to Tucson – a place not very far from the border with Mexico.

Curving roadin Arizona with the mountain view

Thinking about this photo challenge last night, I decided to focus on curves that are around us in our home. Well, there is a good reason for it – it is very hot in Tucson lately and not much fun to be outdoors – we are still waiting for the monsoon to arrive….

So I took some photos to honor the curves that are often unnoticed and taken for granted in our busy life, yet they define the charm of that daily life. Here are just a few of them:

Bowl of apricoats

Fuzzy Curves

Stack of colorful soup bowls

Stacked Up Curves

Colorful teacattle with cups

Great Companion

 Light in the Hallway

Light in the Hallway

White sea shell

Sea Shell

The shell in the last photo is a small treasure connected to my writing life. It sits patiently on the bookshelf most of the year, but in summertime (and it is summer here!) in the evening when the house is calm, I can hear it whisper – “Go to the ocean, go to the ocean….”

I might just do that…

Alicja

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann


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