Sunday, March 25, 2018

Photos at Dawn

On a visit to Chicago, a friend asked me if I wanted to go with him on an early morning photo shoot to capture "The Bean" at dawn.  Even though the night before had been a late one, I jumped at the chance.  That's my friend getting set up for one of his shots.

The city early in the morning looks lovely in varying shades of blue.  And, there is the added benefit of no crowds.  For a city known for hustle and bustle, it was refreshingly quiet.

I was able to get some interesting shots of Anish Kapoor's beautiful "Cloud Gate" and enjoy it's reflective qualities in a totally different light. Taking this photo from the east side looking west, I can see the light from the sun as it nears the horizon.

Taking the photo from west looking east, I get a wonderful reflection of all those buildings along Michigan Avenue.  My friend and I had it all to ourselves for a little while but, gradually other early morning risers were starting to show up.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Expected Rain...Unexpected Snow

When I went to Oregon with my friends Julie and Dave last month we anticipated cold and rain.  After all, we were headed to Oregon in the winter.

Although the vineyards looked wintery in shades of gold and brown, they were still beautiful  and a delight to observe around every bend in the road.

Dave found a great place to stay that was located right in the middle of vineyard.  It was called Red Ridge Lodge and it was actually a small house.

It was a perfect place with views out over the vineyard and the trees in every direction.  It had two bedrooms and two baths and a porch that wrapped around the outside.  It was a perfect retreat.

On Sunday morning we were surprised to find our vineyard view had turned white with snow.  For us desert dwellers, it was a bit of a treat to see all that frosting decorating the scenery.

All those pretty vineyards were now a patchwork of green, brown and white.

It was interesting to observe.  The snow would stop for a while and the snow on the ground would melt.

And then, it would start again and quickly cover everything in sight.  
It was a treat to see for our short visit to this winter wonderland. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Wine Country

These days good wine is produced almost everywhere in the world.  It's no longer just France and California dominating the top ranks.  The Oregon winery Domaine Serene located in the beautiful Willamette Valley, was tagged by one critic as one of the 50 best wineries in the world.  In 2013, one of their Pinot Noir's was ranked #3 in the world.

My good friends Julie and Dave are members of the Domaine Serene wine club and when they received an invitation to go to a special dinner at the winery, they decided to go and asked if I wanted to join them.  I had never been to the Oregon wine country before so I thought it was a great opportunity to see what it was like.

The weekend we were there was designated the Oregon Truffle Festival so this dinner had a truffle theme that went with everything that was served.   I didn't know that Oregon also harvested quite a lot of truffles.  That was a surprise to learn.

The dinner began with a wine tasting and small bites in the beautiful cellar of the Domaine Serene Clubhouse.

Every course of the dinner was complimented by some of those Oregon truffles.  Above is the main course, a braised short rib.  (The full description reads: Braised Wagyu short rib with Oregon black truffles, celeriac-truffle remoulade and truffled pommes Anna.)  Look at the size of those truffle slices!  Delicious!

The Domaine Serene Clubhouse is a beautiful facility from the gorgeous cellar on the lower level to the main floor where the dinner was served to the private members room where a warming fire was roaring.

I certainly enjoyed learning about wines produced here and how the owners built this business after retiring.  They were also instrumental in creating the Oregon luxury wine industry that has skyrocketed since.  And, in a true turn of events, they recently achieved a dream of theirs by purchasing a winery and vineyard in France.  I'd say they have a bright future now on two continents.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Iconic New York Scenes

It doesn't get more iconic than the sight of the Statue of Liberty.  I took this photo from the boat trip out to Liberty Island.

If you go up to the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you get a wonderful view over Central Park toward the tall Manhattan buildings.

The Atlas statue at Rockefeller Center has been there since 1937.  It was created by Lee Lawrie with the help of Rene Paul Chambellan.

Around the corner from the Atlas is the very famous Radio City Music Hall.

St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church is a Byzantine Revival building located in a very prominent location on Park Avenue.  I love the look of this building.

I stopped on a raised walkway to snap a quick shot down a street toward the Chrysler Building.

Located very close to the World Trade Center is a historic cemetery called the Trinity Church Cemetery.  This is a beautifully peaceful spot in center of a very busy city.  It's on the National Register of Historic Places.

Not far from the cemetery is that famous Wall Street Bull.  This sculpture was originally displayed as "guerrilla art" which means it was displayed "unofficially".  It became so popular that it was given a temporary permit and it's been here ever since.  Not so temporary after all.

New York....what a great place to visit!