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Reed's Photography Blog
Covering photography, travel, food and whatever else comes to mind!
I am continuing to work though the photos from our Italy trip. Florence was our next stop after Venice. We only stayed two days in Florence, but would have loved to stay longer. We were picked up at the train station and driven to the hotel. This was my first real experience with traffic, pedestrians, and driving in Italy. My word of advice about driving in Italy is "Don't". I might chance driving in the countryside but not in the city. You would need to go to Mexico and practice driving there before attempting to drive in the larger cities of Italy. We visited the two main museums there which are the Academia and the Uffizi. The lines to get inside these museums are unbelievable. The only option, in my opinion, is to have a tour guide or purchase the "skip the line" passes ahead of time. Some of the museums will not allow cameras inside, so that is why the only photo in this blog from inside the museum was from my cell phone.
All of the cities and towns we visited had a "Duomo" in them. The term Duomo means Italian cathedral. All of the duomos that we saw were huge. I cannot put into words or photographs as to how massive these structures are. All are very ornate on the inside and outside of the cathedral. These are the photos of the Duomo in Florence:
As you can see the camera lens I had with me was not wide angle enough to get all of outside this massive structure into one frame.
My favorite photos of Florence were the ones taken at night:
This was taken along the banks of the Arno River.
Ponte Vecchio Bridge
Ponte Vecchio Bridge with light trails from the passing vehicles
I had to put this photo in because this is how many in Italy travel. The scooters are everywhere. This photo was taken in the early morning, which is why you only see two people on scooters here, otherwise this roadway would have been heavily congested with traffic.
Mary and I both said the three things about Italy that we did not care for was cigarette smoke, scooter exhaust, and city traffic.
Florence holds the one piece of art that I really wanted to see. Michael Angelo is known for his paintings, but his heart and passion was sculpting. The Academia museum holds the statue of David which was sculpted by Michael Angelo. I have to say it is impressive and very much worth fighting the crowds to see. Here is a cell phone photo of the sculpture:
This is the same photo but gives a perspective to the size of this sculpting:
Simply and unbelievable impressive work of art that I feel very fortunate to have observed from such close proximity.
That about wraps it up for Florence, but just as an added note the food was outstanding. I'm hoping to start on the Tuscany photos and blog soon. Hope you enjoy the photos.
Our trip to Italy was outstanding. Mary said she did not think words could describe how much she enjoyed the trip. Just a slight glitch when we arrived at Houston Intercontinental Airport to check in. Seems there was an air traffic controllers strike in Italy and the flight from Paris to Venice had been cancelled. Now I've learned that transportation strikes in Europe are common. We arrived in Paris at 8:30am and the attendant at the ticket counter was able to get us on a 8:30pm flight to Venice. That put us arriving in Venice 12 hours later than initially scheduled. So we grabbed a train out of the airport and went in to see the Eiffel Tower, walked around Paris and ate dinner before returning to the airport. We made it to our hotel in Venice at midnight and then decided to go walk the streets of Venice. We finally got to bed after 1am and did not wake up until 1pm. When we woke up I kept telling Mary there was something wrong with the clock because there was no way we slept for 12 hours, but apparently we did. I guess we needed it.
We hit the streets walking the next day and was amazed at how easy it was to walk from one side of Venice to the other. It's not a very large island. I had read several articles that said to go get lost in the streets of Venice. That was really good advice. Every small street and alley leads to something different around the next corner. Most will come to a square of varying sizes with a church in the square. There are more churches in Italy than you can count. If you like looking in old churches then this is the trip for you!
Before I get to the photos let me just add that we booked this trip through Classic Vacations and it was the best decision I could have made. For a first time traveler to Europe I was not sure about the transportation to get from the airport or train and then to my next destination. We arrived 12 hours late to Venice and there was a person at the airport with a sign and my name on it. He took our luggage and drove us to our hotel. When it was time to leave that hotel there was someone in the lobby waiting to take our luggage and drive us to the train station. We never had a problem and if anything changed I would call the Classic Vacation concierge with the issue and they would figure it out. Classic Vacations also put together an itinerary that was incredible. I was initially trying to fly in and out of Rome, which is doable but I was having lengthy layover issues. Their itinerary flew us to Venice (which I would have not thought about doing) and then had us working our way down through Italy, ending in Sorrento, and flying out of Naples. And NO I do not own stock in Classic Vacations - but I do have a contact if you are interested.
Here are a few photos of what I think of when you say Venice:
The photo below is not from me drinking too much vino! Several buildings were leaning in Venice, so we did not have to make the trip to Pisa to see a leaning building.
All of these photos were taken at St. Mark's Square:
Here are some of the photos we took at night:
The photos below were taken inside the Doge's Palace which sits next to St. Mark's Basilica:
The room below was massive. The photo does not do justice to the size and scope of this room.
No trip to Venice would be complete without a Gondola ride. The best way to relax and see the sights.
The Rialto Bridge:
As you can tell these are not all of the photos from our trip to Italy. I decided to just work my way through the photos and post them as I finish processing them. So I still have Florence, Tuscany, Rome, and Sorrento to finish. Just not enough hours in the day. Click on the link below to see all of the photos from Venice. From a photography point of view I was a little disappointed that almost all of the major historical landmarks were under renovation. There were several sights that were somewhere between difficult to impossible to get a photo without scaffolding or cranes somewhere in the picture. I had been told how wonderful the Trevi fountain was in Rome, but it was under renovation and there was scaffolding all around it with no water. I guess we will just have to go back and take those photos another time! Tough job but someone has to do it.
If you like the blog or any of the photos please "Like" and "Share" on Facebook. It helps me boost my ratings for my web site.
Link to all of the Venice photos:
Houston Museum of Natural Science - Samurai Exhibit
I was recently invited back to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to photograph their Samurai Exhibit. Very interesting exhibit and I would encourage you to see the exhibit for yourself. I really enjoyed taking the photos but seeing the items up close is very impressive. Great opportunity for me and I hope you enjoy the photos.
My wife actually asked me if that was a real person.
This is one of the most ornate saddles I have ever seen. Hard to imagine the amount of time that was put in to make something like this.
Another photo of the Samurai saddle.
The Samurai helmets were the most impressive items on display.
These are just a few photos of the items that are on exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. To see all of the photos you can click on this link www.reeds-photography.com/samurai which will take you to the gallery with all of the photos. The photos in the gallery are by no means all of the exhibits in this display. Most all of the photos I took were taken on a tripod with a long exposure time. This was very time consuming and with the 2 hour time period I had to work with, did not allow me the time to take all of the photos I would have liked to have taken. So take a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science for the Samurai and other exhibits on display. You won't be disappointed. Please "Like" my blog on Facebook and share with your friends and family.
Las Posadas in Santa Fe, New Mexico
This year was the third occasion for Mary and I to make the trip to Santa Fe during the Christmas season. We love the Santa Fe area, especially during the Christmas time of year. Santa Fe hosts the "Las Posadas" every year on a Sunday about two weeks before Christmas. Las Posadas is Spanish in tradition and reenacts Mary and Joseph seeking lodging for the birth of Christ. People fill into the Santa Fe plaza just before the reenactment begins where candles are handed out and lite. Mary and Joseph arrive in the plaza surrounded by people playing and singing Spanish Christmas songs. Mary and Joseph travel to three sides of the city plaza seeking shelter. On each side of the plaza there is a person atop the business awnings dressed to look like the devil. I have to say the actors playing the part of the devil really get into their role. As Mary and Joseph travel to each side of the plaza they ask for lodging and of course the devil rejects them. Finally, at the fourth location Mary and Joseph ask for shelter and they are allowed to come inside. Everyone cheers and the procession of people follow Mary and Joseph into the courtyard of the Santa Fe Community Center lighted by luminaries to show the way. Once inside the courtyard Christmas songs are being played and hot cider is served.
People entering the town plaza:
The lighting of the candles:
Mary and Joseph arrive:
They encounter the first devil:
The second devil:
The third devil (which was strikingly similar to the second devil):
Mary and Joseph walking down the path to the courtyard after they have been given shelter:
I hope everyone enjoyed the photographs of the "Las Posadas". If you have not traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico I would encourage you to place this destination on your to-do list. Christmas is a unique season in Santa Fe with the luminaries, decorations and the Las Posadas, but any time of the year is a great time to be in Santa Fe. It is a unique destination that to my knowledge is not duplicated in any other part of the United States. They have managed to hold on to the southwest spirit with their culture, activities, architecture, and food.
Museum of Natural Science / Faberge Collection
In October of this year a friend of mine emailed me and told me about the Museum of Natural Science holding a "Pixel Party". He thought I might be interested and gave me the information as to how to request to attend. I logged onto the site where I had to submit my information and learned the subject of the photo shoot, which was to be the Faberge collection that is currently on display. I submitted my information and was notified about a week later I had been selected as one of the photographers to attend the photo shoot on November 2, 2014.
Here is a little Wikipedia information about Faberge:
A Fabergé egg (Russian: Яйца Фаберже́; yaytsa faberzhe) is one of a limited number of jeweled eggs created by Peter Carl Fabergé and his company between 1885 and 1917. The most famous are those made for the Russian Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II as Easter gifts for their wives and mothers, often called the 'Imperial' Fabergé eggs. The House of Fabergé made about 50 eggs, of which 43 have survived. Two more were planned for Easter 1918, but were not delivered, due to the Russian Revolution.
When I arrived there was approximately 10 to 15 other photographers who were also there to photograph the collection. We were told before we started that we had only two hours to photograph the collection through the glass and we could not use any flash. I love using flash but, with the glass, I don't think it would have worked well.
Here are a few of the photos I was able to capture:
I was amazed to see the item below because I had always thought Faberge only designed the ornamental eggs and other jewelry.
The intricate detail in this art work is unbelievable.
All in all beautiful works of art.
I would like to thank the Museum of Natural Science for inviting me to photograph the Faberge collection. I would also like to thank David Hyde for letting me know about this event. These are just a few of the photos I took while I was there. If you would like to see the other photos just click on this link http://www.reeds-photography.com/faberge and it will take you to the gallery with all of the photos. Also, I would encourage everyone to go the the Museum of Natural Science and see the collection for yourself along with all of the other wonderful exhibits there on display.
Hope you enjoy the photos!
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