Foto Friday CXXIX


Many of my #FF pictures come from my travels around the world, but it also seems that while I am traveling I never post anything. Weird. Anyway, this week’s edition does indeed come from a recent getaway to Portugal. You are looking at the annual Feira de São Mateus in Viseu, Mafalda’s hometown. I don’t really like fairs but I wanted to go see if a Portuguese fair was the same as a fair anywhere else. Spoiler alert – it was.  There were rides that make me sick, loud music, rigged games that you can never win, and fried food. Except here instead of an elephant ear you get a fartura, which is like a churro except larger and softer. It was surprisingly fun to walk through the fair, they are always a great place for pictures.

1/125s f/5.6 100mm ISO 2500. Contrast adjusted. Au revoir until next week.

Foto Friday CXXIII

IMG_7580_blurIt has been so long since I updated a Foto Friday that I almost forgot how to do it. The good news is that I probably have about 2000 pictures to go through from my recent travels through Europe and the USA. This is one from Comic-Con in San Diego where I went with my camera just to take pictures of the costumes and weirdos. I was actually about to pack up my gear and head home when I saw this little princess being paraded around. It was probably nearing 80 degrees (27C) and I needed a break from the full sun, so who knows how this little girl felt.

1/125s f/5.6 90mm ISO 100. Lens blur and vignette added. Au revoir until next week.

Foto Friday CXX


This picture is again from Barcelona, and again it is La Sagrada Familia.  Adding to the nature theme in many Gaudi works, the inside of this church instantly reminded me of a forest.  It is easy to see, with the large columns opening up to a canopy at the top, but it took an hour inside the building before I read the sign stating that the inside of this church is supposed to look like a forest.  The columns are made of different materials and are of varying diameters making them appear to be many colors and sizes, like you might find in a forest.  We also got lucky with the timing, as the sun was just at the right angle to blast through the stained glass windows.  One side of the building is red and yellow glass, and the other side is blue and green.  I have seen pictures from inside the church taken in the middle of the day and much prefer to be bathed in colored sunlight.

1/40s f/3.5 18mm ISO 250. Cropped.  Au revoir until next week.

Foto Friday CXIX


This is a view of Plaça d’Espanya from the top of the Arenas shopping center in Barcelona.  The shopping center is a big modern circular building where there used to be bullfights.  If you follow the road on the upper left of the picture it will take you to Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, another magnificent building in the city.  We went to the top of the shopping center in order to catch a view, and try and grab a snack at the rooftop restaurants.  This picture turned out almost like I wanted, the timing of the lights made it very difficult to get cars moving on all sides of the circle, and then my arms made it difficult to keep the camera still for three seconds.

3.2s f/7.1 18mm ISO 100. Cropped.  Au revoir until next week.


Foto Friday CXIII


In Loving Memory

June 2005 – September 2014

You were a survivor.  Neglected for nearly the first four years of your life, you didn’t let that stop  you from seeing the world.  You have lived through pouring rain, snow and ice, sweat and sand, and didn’t care that it left you a little disfigured.  That is what survivors do. You crossed the Atlantic ocean 8 times, yet never got lost.  You have been tossed around embassies five times, in three different locations, on two continents, and still kept your sunny disposition. You have moved nine times, and even outlasted a marriage.  In the end, you have taken me to 16 countries, and helped to produce thousands of pictures and a lifetime of memories.  I want to say thank you and goodbye to my now-expired passport, you have served me well friend.

1/200s f/4.0 60mm ISO 100. Color adjusted.  Au revoir until next week.

Foto Friday CXII


This is another picture from Portugal, in a city called Sintra that is very near to Lisbon.  Sintra is home to the Portuguese royal palace, but also a structure called Castelo dos Mouros that dates back to the 9th century.  The Moorish castle is on the top of a hill and offers some amazing views of the surrounding area.  A byproduct of the elevation is that the wind is very strong, nicely illustrated above by Mafalda’s hair.

1/1000s f/4.5 40mm ISO 100. No adjustments.  Au revoir until next week.

Foto Friday CXI


This picture was taken in the gardens of Quinta da Regaleira, one of the sites of interest in Sintra, Portugal.  Sintra is a unique city on it’s own, and these gardens were an excellent way to spend the afternoon.  I saw my first live cork tree, a California redwood, and many other cool trees and plants.  The gardens were also full of underground passages and tunnels that we could explore.  I recommend taking half a day to visit this place should you ever find yourself in the area.  I like this picture because the sun acted as a perfect natural spotlight for this flower, and you can see my fellow photographer and tour guide being silly in the background.

1/250s f/5.6 130mm ISO 500. No adjustments.  Au revoir until next week.

Foto Friday CX


This will be the last picture from the Porto portion of our trip, but I think it is an important one.  Port wine is a big industry in Portugal, and the wineries are especially represented in Porto, at the mouth of the Douro river.  One of the benefits of living with a wine and spirits buyer is that he has contacts all over the industry, some of whom he contacted to set up our tasting.  We went to visit Taylors, one of the oldest and largest port wine houses.  We had a free tour of some cellars, and got to taste the four wines you see pictured.  For the wine enthusiasts out there from left to right you have: Chip Dry white 5 year old, Late Bottle Vintage 2009, Tawny 10, and Vintage 2011.  All of these wines were good, and we took our time tasting and comparing them.  I liked the Tawny the best, but probably only because the Vintage was too young.  We also paid for a sample of their 1964 vintage – an amazing treat in itself!

1/125s f/4.5 50mm ISO 100. Vignette added.  Au revoir until next week.

Foto Friday CIX


I think this picture is an accurate representation of our visit to Porto.  Although the picture of Ponte Luiz I is probably my favorite and what I will think of first when I think of Porto, this picture is a close second.  It reminds me of the recently remodeled apartment we stayed in, the old abandoned (and cheap!) buildings, the narrow hilly streets, and the rain.  Apparently it rains more in Porto than Oxford!

1/80s f/5.6 50mm ISO 160. Cropped and contrast adjusted.  Au revoir until next week.

Ponta da Piedade in Lagos, Portugal

You get a bonus post this Friday, one with a technology I have never used before.  One of the hidden gems in my phone is a feature called “Photosphere” which takes the panorama feature on most phones to the next level.  It allows me to stand in one place and digitally stitch images together all around me, creating a 360 degree panorama.  I would guess that it normally takes about 25 pictures to fill up a photosphere, which makes the process difficult if you have landscape around you that changes and don’t want to look like an idiot standing there taking 25 pictures.  Another drawback of the feature is that I thought I was only able to view the composite image on my phone – it turns out I was wrong.

I encourage you to click on the full screen option on the image below (top right), and scroll around just like you would with Google Street View.

After hopping a wall (you can see it on the stairs) I scaled a windy-but-safe path up to the top of an isolated point that offered a spectacular view.  I started taking panorama shots with my DSLR but then realized this might be the perfect opportunity to use my photosphere tool.  Last night I discovered that I can upload my image to Google Views, a tool connected to Google Maps.  Using the GPS on my phone, the coordinates upload automatically to the world map, I just have to annotate it with what I want.  The result is what you see above, probably my favorite stretch of coast that we visited in Portugal.