Monday, June 6, 2022

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Germany 2018 - Idar Oberstein & Herrstein

On this third day in Idar Oberstein, we visited a historic gemstone grinding shop, the Historische Weiherschleife, where all the huge grinding stones were powered by a waterwheel and a system of large belts and pulleys. We also visited the associated gemstone mine, the Edelsteinmine Steinkaulenberg.

Afterwards, we drove a few kilometres and wandered around the historic town of Herrstein, where we joined in with a tour group and marvelled at all the very old buildings, a large number of which are many hundred of years old and of original construction. My ultra-wide Laowa 9mm lens got a lot of use in the cramped little town! All of Herrstein's charming streets and alleys are constructed from very well worn cobblestones, with grass and plants forcing their way up between them in many areas.

This was the last day in Idar Oberstein and from there, we drove to the small town of Frielendrof where we visited some old castle ruins, Burg Herzberg, the following day.

Show: All blog postings from my 2018 Germany Trip

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

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Germany 2018 - Idar Oberstein - Day 2

On the second day in Idar Obertsein, we visited two more museums. First was the "Deutsches Edelsteinmuseum", or German Gemstone Museum, and the second was the "Industriedenkmal Jakob Bengel", or Jakob Bengel Industrial Monument. The Jakob Bengal museum has displays of Art Deco jewellery and a large array of fascinating machinery that automates the tedious process of making necklace chains. Somewhere I also have a video showing this process, which I may add to this posting in the future.

For now, there is a huge gallery of 155 images showcasing many of the amazing displays of gemstones, both raw and cut, Art Deco jewellery as well as shots of the town of Idar Oberstein and also the famous Felsenkirche, or "Cliff Church", which is literally built into the cavern near the top of a cliff.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

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Gallery: 2018 Germany Trip - Flight & Idar Oberstein

Gallery (120 images): Germany 2018 - Flight & Idar Oberstein

I'm going to call this my the first "official" posting from the Germany trip that I went on with my father in the summer of 2018. I had posted a few galleries previously a couple of years back, from the middle of the trip, but since I am now using new software to process my images (Capture One Pro instead of Adobe Lightroom), I will be republishing those galleries in the appropriate order and reprocessing everything I had already done.

The above gallery contains images mainly from a mineral and gemstone museum, called Deutsches Mineralienmuseum (or German Mineral Museum), in the town of Idar Oberstein. The town is famous for the processing of rocks & gems, lapidary and jewellery manufacturing. There are many rock and gemstone museums, and in a future posting, I will be showing photos from another spectacular one, as well as some others I took during a tour of a local gemstone mine. This is a long gallery, 120 images, but there are so many fascinating displays of minerals and gemstones, as well as some sculptures, that it was hard to pare it down.

There is one photo of my dad (photo 28), standing next to some giant crystals. The above blog post photo also shows some massive amethyst geodes, amongst others, most of which stand taller than my dad as well. In the middle of the gallery, photos 100 to 105, there are some shots showing UV fluorescence of some minerals, with pairs of shots, one in regular light and the next in UV light.

I am way behind in my image processing, and I am not going to promise that I'll get through all these quickly, but this is the first of many more galleries to come from my 2018 Germany trip!

Show: All blog postings from my 2018 Germany Trip

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

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Gallery: 2021 Island Trip - Victoria & Saltspring - Days 7-9

Gallery: 2021 Island Trip - Victoria & Saltspring - Days 7-9

This final gallery of our 2021 Island trip has photos covering the last few days of our vacation. After the long 460 km drive from Port McNeill down to Victoria, we stayed at Marketa's B&B. The stay was wonderful in this large Edwardian style home, with very cozy rooms and an absolutely delicious breakfast in the morning. We had a room with its own large Jacuzzi tub, and it was wonderful to soak in it after a long day of driving! The next morning we visited Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria, which features tons of colourfully painted floating shops and house boats.

After a delicious fish&ship lunch at Fisherman's Wharf, we headed off to Schwartz Bay to catch the ferry to Saltspring Island, where we stayed for three days at my friend Ted's place. The first evening on Saltspring was great, nice and clear but the following days, the smoke from all the wildfires in BC and Washington finally got pushed out far enough to severely affect the visibility there too. In the last few shots in the gallery, you can see the smoke and haze, and the orange and red sun which was nearly blotted out completely. It was really too bad that the amazing views from Mount Maxwell were all hazed out. Oh well... we will definitely be visiting there again in the future, hopefully with clearer skies next time!

That's it for this trip, summer number two of the COVID-19 pandemic. Next year, Emily and I really hope to be able to visit Germany with my father! Crossing fingers the pandemic is under control by that time finally...

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2021 Island Trip

Monday, September 13, 2021

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Gallery: 2021 Island Trip - Alert Bay - Day 5

Gallery (45 images): 2021 Island Trip - Alert Bay - Day 5

Unfortunately the weather did not improve much and our day over at Alert Bay was pretty much overcast the whole time, with a smattering of drizzle occasionally too. We took the ferry from Port McNeill to went over to Alert Bay on Cormorant Island first, staying for maybe three to four hours, then caught the ferry back to Port McNeill, and stayed on to get to Sointula on Malcolm Island.

By that time it was evening, we were both hungry and as it turns out, absolutely nothing was open in Sointula anymore, save an ice-cream stand. It was also drizzling and the prospect of spending about three hours wandering around there, getting damp and hungry, didn't seem appealing. Emily and I looked at each other and decided to quickly walk back to the ferry before it left. We managed to get on and headed back to Port McNeill.

Alert Bay was very scenic though, with lots of colourful buildings, a great walk through the ecological preserve, as well as a visit to the interesting and educational U'mista Cultural Centre, where one wasn't allowed to take any photos however. Hopefully the next time we visit the area, the weather will be better! We'll also have a better idea how long it takes to explore and can optimize the timing of our visit...

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2021 Island Trip

Saturday, September 11, 2021

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Gallery: 2021 Island Trip - Telegraph Cove - Day 4

Gallery (35 images): 2021 Island Trip - Telegraph Cove - Day 4

The weather improved slightly the day after our three night stint in the ever so relaxing school bus, and after photographing the bus in detail in the morning (seen in my last gallery), it was off again, driving further north up the east side of Vancouver Island, first to the small historic community of Telegraph Cove, then further on to the town of Port McNeill. We stayed in Port McNeill for two nights and after a ferry ride, spent most of the next day over in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island, with a very brief stint to Sointula on Malcolm Island. That will be in my next gallery...

Telegraph Cove was wonderful visually, with brightly painted old buildings right at the seashore built upon pilings, weathered floating docks and lots of history. We didn't take any whale watching tours but spent some time with binoculars searching the ocean off in the distance for any signs of large sea mammals. Sadly, we only spotted boats, kayakers and birds...

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2021 Island Trip

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

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Gallery: 2021 Island Trip - Days 1-4

Gallery (45 images): 2021 Island Trip - Days 1-4

After an aborted camping trip to the Fraser Canyon, right at the start of all the forest fires in BC (the town of Lytton was burning down the evening before we had planned to leave), our first trip of 2021 turned out to be to Vancouver Island. Back in February, we had arranged and booked a trip to the interior, to the Kootenays, but after the Lytton fire we thought the interior would be too risky due to the risk of forest fires, so decided to book an alternative trip to Vancouver Island. Good thing we did it when we did, since everywhere we wanted to stay still had accommodations, and the ferries were not yet fully booked either. Had we waited even a few weeks, we'd likely have had a very hard time...

These are shots taken during the first four days of the trip, a few near Nanaimo where we stayed one night, and the rest up the east coast of Vancouver Island, north of Campbell River by the town of Sayward. We stayed in a converted school bus parked in the forest, a whimsical and enjoyable accommodation to be stuck in during three days of rain. A bit more info on this place is in the gallery link above...

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2021 Island Trip

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

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Gallery: 2019 Grand Canyon Trip - Moab Area

Gallery (50 images): 2019 Grand Canyon Trip - Moab Area

This last gallery wraps up my 9300km, 2019 Southwest road trip with my dad! The last two days, before the long drive back home, were spent in the Moab, Utah area. This above gallery contains images taken in Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park as well as Arches National Park. On the drive back, the weather wasn't very good, so almost no photos were taken. In fact, we ended up driving through a blizzard with substantial snow on the ground, going over a long pass in eastern Nevada, and that was in mid-May!

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2019 Grand Canyon Trip

Finally, to end this last 2019 Grand Canyon trip blog post, here are six more expansive panoramas which will open in new windows or tabs when clicked.

Grand View Point, Canyonlands National Park...

A similar view as above, but with differing foreground and a wider field of view...

Buck Canyon Overlook, Canyonlands National Park...

Candlestick Tower Overlook, Canyonlands National Park...

Plateau Viewpoint, north of Canyonlands National Park...

Dead Horse Point State Park...

Thanks for viewing. The end!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

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Gallery: 2019 Grand Canyon Trip - Southern Utah Area

Gallery (25 images): 2019 Grand Canyon Trip - Southern Utah Area

This gallery contains images shot in southern Utah, in the vicinity of Mexican Hat. It was a leisurely day, first visiting a viewpoint looking down on the amazing loops of the San Juan River, at Goosenecks of the San Juan State Park. Next, we drove through a large portion of the Valley of the Gods, kind of like a "mini Monument Valley" in some ways, and there were lots of beautiful wildflowers blooming. Then, we drove back up the Moki Dugway to visit the Muley Point Overlook, since we ran out of time the day before. The photo of my dad near the edge of the cliff was nowhere near as dangerous as it looked by the way! Finally, it was an easy drive up the highway to Moab.

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2019 Grand Canyon Trip

Here is one panorama I stitched from Valley of the Gods, presented as a 4000 pixel wide image once you click on the thumbnail below to open it in a new window or tab...

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

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Gallery: 2019 Grand Canyon Trip - To Mexican Hat

Okay, now back to blogging about my 2019 trip to the Southwest with my father! Working on these photos again, more than a year after posting the previous gallery from that trip, fills me with a longing to spend time in the desert once more, but unfortunately I'll have to wait until COVID-19 is thoroughly under control before venturing south again. 

The drive to Mexican Hat was lengthy and we took a completely different route than originally planned. I had wanted to drive the Burr Trail, in from Boulder, Utah, like we had the day before, then drive south through the Strike Valley / Waterpocket Fold area, taking the ferry across Lake Powell to Halls Crossing. Two things kiboshed that idea completely: firstly, there had been a lot of rain and the road south was apparently very muddy. I have experienced Utah mud in that area, and even with a real 4x4 with proper off-road tires, the mud can clog treads almost instantly and make driving nearly as bad as if you were on ice. My Outback had mere all-season tires, which I felt were certainly not up to the task. In addition, even if the road hadn't been muddy, I found out that Lake Powell's level was so low that the ferry was grounded and wasn't running at all. There are some shots of the nearly empty lake with more descriptive text in the gallery.

In the end, after driving through Long Canyon, then wending our way down into Strike Valley, we headed north instead, exiting Capitol Reef National Park to the east after spending a bit of time the park. Driving to Hanksville we turned south, eventually crossing the Hite Crossing Bridge, then finally down the crazy switchbacks of the Moki Dugway before arriving at Mexican Hat. That evening, we drove towards Monument Valley near sunset, and we happened across a heard of wild horses, which I carefully stalked and managed to frame with the Monument Valley spires and mesas in the background. The shot in the gallery was the best one, and also the last shot I got in before they finally had enough of me and galloped off...

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2019 Grand Canyon Trip

I shot a number of panoramas that day. Firstly, a near 180 degree shot in Capitol Reef National Park...

The next shot is just outside of Capitol Reef, en route to Hanksville. There were yellow wildflowers carpeting the desert, just beautiful!

South of Hanksville, there was a gorgeous view with red rocks in the foreground and some snow covered mountain peaks in the background, quite a nice combination...

Lastly, there are two views from the top of the Moki Dugway, looking east towards Mexican Hat...