Wednesday, October 8, 2014

And So We Come To The End

After five years and exactly 700 posts it is time to retire this blog. It has been both fun and challenging to post regularly about travel photography, but posting three times a week is also a chore. However, it is not the drudgery of regular posting that is causing me to move on (it's really not that bad), but the simple fact that I am growing and changing, as a person and as an amateur photographer, and a blog no longer fits with what I want to be doing and how I want to share my photos.

I never intended to have a popular or successful blog, and I certainly succeeded in that. Over the years this blog has averaged about 10 visits a day, mostly from people finding an entry as the result of a Google search, rather than regular readers. As I say, that's perfectly OK. I was posting more for my own edification than for anything else.

Although I still enjoy travel and travel photography, and hope to do lots more of both, my interest in photography has grown both bigger and broader over the years. Most of my photography now is less representational, as above, and more abstract or impressionistic. I hesitate to use the word "art" (it sounds pretentious) but I have moved from simply trying to picture the world to trying to express myself through photography. This work is highly personal to me, and of much less interest to others, so a blog is the wrong format for sharing it.

To those of you who have read this blog regularly or semi-regularly over the years, I am deeply, deeply grateful. It has been an honor to share my photos and talk about travel. I am honored to have had your attention.

I am ending this blog, but I am not going to take it down. I look on it as a finished document, and it will be here as long as the vicissitudes of the Web permit.

For those with interest in my ongoing photography, I post photos regularly on flickr:

I can be reached at

Monday, October 6, 2014

Favorite Trips: Japan, 2006

Picking the most important trip of my life was really not a struggle. None of my other travels have had an impact on me like my trips to Japan. I have been to Japan three times, and each time has been a profound experience. Traveling there has sparked in me an interest in Japanese history and culture that borders on an obsession. As far as photography is concerned Japan is an amazing wonderland. My biggest challenge in creating this post was selecting just three photos from the almost 15,000 I have taken during my travels there. I'm still not sure I made the best choices.

Of my three trips to Japan I have selected my trip there in November of 2006 as the best. I saw many of the major sights on that trip, traveling to Tokyo, Nagoya, Ise, Nara, and Kyoto. I had some amazing, wonderful experiences and got some wonderful photos.

Above is the Nijo-Bashi, the Bridge of State, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, taken at sunrise. Normally this area is mobbed with tourists, but I got there early enough that it was deserted, and yet the light was beautiful.

Below is another Imperial Palace view, but this is of the old palace in Kyoto, a wonderful expression of traditional Japanese architecture.

Finally a view of the Kyoto Tower and the Kyoto skyline. The bustle of activity in the lower part of the picture gives a small taste of the vibrancy of modern Japan.

The importance to me of my trips to Japan speaks not just to my interest in that country, but to the importance of travel as a human activity. The world is a beautiful, wonderful place, and it is good to see as much of it as possible, but beyond that travel provides the chance to expand our understanding of others--other people, other places, other cultures--and grow in our understanding of ourselves and our place in the world.

I firmly believe that travel leads to understanding, and understanding leads to peace.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Favorite Trips: Driving Coast to Coast

I've picked four of my trips that I think are the most important to me, and I'm posting about them this week. This is the trip I consider the second most important.

It had long been a dream of mine to drive all the way across America, if not in one trip then in one summer. In 2103 I finally achieved that goal. Since I live in the center of the country it made sense to do two trips, one east and one west. In late June I left Illinois headed east, drove along the lakes, up through upstate New York, and on to Maine. I visited friends in Boston and Connecticut, and then headed home through Pennsylvania.

Above is the beautiful Mackerel Cove in Harpswell, Maine, just north of Portland.

A week or so after completing the eastward leg I loaded up the car again and headed west. I visited my son in Minneapolis, and then headed west to Seattle. From there I drove south along the Pacific coast, and then came back east through Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming.

Below is a photo of dust devils in the fields of eastern Washington, near Warden.

The Oregon Coast, pictured below, was just as beautiful as advertised.

America is such an amazing place to travel. I had been to both coasts before, but to cover the breadth of the country in one summer by car brought home the grandeur and the variety of what this country has to offer. Words are really failing me here. I guess that's why I take photos.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Favorite Trips: Provence

I've picked four of my trips that I think are the most important to me, and I'm posting about them this week. This is the second post, and number three in importance.

When I was presented with the chance to spend a significant part of the summer of 2006 in a villa near the coast of Provence in France I agreed immediately. Having lived in France as a child I knew I would love it. I had never been to Provence before, but it was everything I'd hoped and more.

Above is a view of Grimaud, one of the many small walled hilltop villages near St. Tropez. It, and other such villages nearby, are economically vibrant and alive, while remaining storybook cute.

Below is a view of the Mediterranean coast west of Cavalaire-sur-Mer. The coast here is rocky and wild, and the only way to access this little beach is by boat. The water was crystal clear and warm, and the weather sublime. It was an idyllic afternoon.

If you visit Provence you'll want to visit Aix-en-Provence, and for good reason. It is a lovely city with great restaurants and lots of culture. The church in the background of the photo below is next to the Granet Museum, which at the time had a wonderful display commemorating the centenary of the death of Paul Cezanne.

France will always have a special place in my heart, and I have been to Paris many times. My trip to Provence in 2006 allowed me to experience the Mediterranean France, a casual joyous culture of sunshine, the sea, flowers, food, wine, and art. It was magical.