Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 6)

Friday Fitness Hike

Bob, Mike, and I hiked a 9.1 mile loop: Pemberton, Lariat, Granite, Stoneman Wash, and back on Pemberton.

Prior to the hike, I noticed this Wolfberry bush. The berries are starting to dry out.

Look for the hare/jackrabbit at the bottom right…

A raven:

Look for the raven nest and raven’s head in the near saguaro:

A view from Stoneman Wash:

The car in Stoneman Wash:

Tuesday Night Sunset

I got this photo of Tuesday evening’s sunset from the Scenic Trail:

Server Build

These are photos of a new file server I’m building:





Friday Fitness Hike

Bill, Bob, Linda, and I hiked a 9.2 mile loop starting from the Trailhead Staging Area.

Early morning views from the Shallmo Wash Trail…


Views from the Tech Loop…





This is where the Tech Loop goes under the Sport Loop.


A saguaro in Stoneman Wash:


Cholla on the Granite Trail:


A Snowy Day in February (of 2013)

I’m revisiting photos that gave me trouble in the past. I used tone mapping in my original attempt and also failed to correct the blue cast.


Another edit – I used different techniques for this one.  In the one above, I used ALCE to add contrast. In the one below, I removed the lens profile corrections, skipped channel blending, but used luminosity masked curves early on to improve contrast. For the edit below, I used some mild settings in Topaz Adjust to enhance localized contrast. I also burned the bottom and corners and decreased the saturation of those areas too.


Figueras & Tossa del Mar

Everything about the Dali museum is surealism magnified.  Wild stuff, but interesting.

This, however, was not what I would expect to be a work of Dali.   He had very traditional painting skills that you never see elsewhere.


Karla and Bonnie told me, “You HAVE to see the Mae West room.”  It was hard to get a good photograph of this because people are lined up to march along the edges of the room before they climb the staircase to see “Mae West”.  And she really IS there…as you look through a blond wig, you see the lips, nose, and eyes/pictures below depicting Mae West’s face.

Only a surrealist would make you stare through a lens between camel legs to see “Mae West’.

Dali must have intended this as a spin-off of the fresco ceiling murals so common throughout Europe.

This is one of the few Dali pieces I was familiar with before coming to the museum–I like the flow of it.

This is Dali’s homage to Velasquez’s  famous “Las Meninas” portrait in the Prado Museum in Madrid. Dali painting the portrait of his Russian wife, Olga, with his own reflection in the painting.

These are photos of Elena, our guide with Educational Tours, on the beach at Tossa del Mar. She is a dynamic person!

From Figueras, we drove for an afternoon at Tossa del Mar, a tiny seaside resort town on the “Costa Brava” south of Barcelona.  You have to drive down a narrow, winding road down a cliff to get there.  Tucked along those cliffs is this little jewel of a town.  Kids enjoyed some beach time here.

A look out tower above the beach area of Tossa del Mar.

Cafes and hotels along the beach at Tossa del Mar.

I would never have guessed it, but this is a statue of Ava Gardner on the hillside fortress area above Tossa del Mar.  Yes, that Ava Gardner….the Hollywood movie star of the ’40’s and ’50’s…one of Frank Sinatra’s “ex’s”.   Apparently, when Hollywood discovered that this was a great filming location, Ava Gardner stayed in Tossa del Mar and brought a great deal of tourism to the town.   And this is their way of saying thanks for the economic prosperity she fostered by promoting their town.

If you stroll up the hill from the beach, you find a beautiful path winding around the lookout towers down to more cliffs along the edge of Tossa del Mar.

Amazingly, a cruise ship coasted right up to the beach to take on passengers.

The remains of a chapel near the towers.

A small island just off shore. High winds and crashing waves that day/

The road we drove down to get here were also along cliffs like these.


Marie enjoyed the views of crashing waves more than the beach.


View of Tossa del Mar from the hillside.

These towers were sad to be used to guard against pirates sailing in from….where?  France?  Italy?  Not sure, but kids like this area.


Lobby of the Palau de la Musica Catalana

Marie and I decided to book a tour with a separate group to see the interior of the Orfeo Catala, based on photos I had seen in a book about Barcelona.  Will be interested to see if Mara attended any performances here during her family’s visit to Barcelona.  This place was well worth the time.

Here is the stage.  Fabulously ornate.  Sculpture on the left is a tribute to a local choral director and the one on the right is a tribute to Wagner.

The Muses on the back wall of the stage are intended to spring forth from the mosaics on the wall.  Loved the graceful figures and musical themes.

The glass dome above the theater is very “modernista”.


Wider view of the dome and ceiling as you look up from the seats in the theater.

Upper side balconies in the theater.

Statue featuring Catalan choral director.

Wagnerian statues.

I imagine these are areas to stroll during intermissions.  You can see the exterior mosaic columns on the balconies outside.

You can only enjoy this if you pay for a performance or take the tour–tours are offered in Spanish, English, German, and French.

Side view of the glass mosaic dome over the theater.

Wide view of the theater.


They did play a short organ piece to show off the great acoustics of the theater.  I really regret not having time to attend a concert, because the acoustics were wonderful.  Notice that the workmen are setting up a smaller wooden platform for a flamenco performance scheduled for that evening.

Parc de la Ciutadella–our meeting place at the end of our last day in Barcelona.


A man was blowing bubbles in the park, to the great delight of crowds of children.

Our “Last Supper” as Elena called it, was arranged at a restaurant called Tapa Tapa on the beach.  Segway tours were available in many cities in Spain.

Everyone enjoyed the sand sculptors along the beach in Barcelona.  Notice he has casks with “blanco”, “tinto”, “rosado” for wine.

Group dinner at Tapas Tapas near the beach.


Barcelona–Orfeo Catala  or  Palau de la Musica Catalana. Marie and I visited this alone separate from the tour group.  The choral theater was not on our tour agenda and after seeing pictures of it related to the “modernista” architecture of Gaudi, I decided I had to see it.   You actually have to hunt a bit to locate this music theater because it’s nestled among many equally tall buildings downtown.  Rows and rows of glass columns line the balconies.

Columns have colorful mosaics and miniature floral sculptures.

Front entrance to the Palau de la Musica Catalana.  This was built in the early 1900’s at the height of the “modernista” architecture boom.  The plan was to create a performance theater specifically for the numerous choral and musical groups of Barcelona.  Community groups banded together to raise funds for its construction.

Busts to famous composers, such as Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, and Mozart are perched along the upper balconies.


La Boqueria is THE market to visit in Barcelona off Las Ramblas.  A little of everything here, and all of it is colorful (yeah, expensive, too, but fun!)  Smoothies and fruit concoctions are popular.  Locals must find the influx of tourists an annoyance!

A carniceria featuring Iberian ham…their piggies roam wild and feed on acorns.

In the 1970’s I always saw piggies laid out in the windows of carnicerias, or hanging to cure (I guess) in the butcher shops of Spain.  I suppose times are changing…I did not see any of that this time, but did catch a glimpse of game fowl and bunnies in la Boqueria.

Fruterias and verdulerias–artistic in their own way.

OK…this is not a pretty sight to American eyes, but is very typical fare for a Spanish carniceria.  Liver, sheep head, cow tongue…I’m sure my grandmother would not have blinked an eye at this in her day, but you surely don’t see it in America often.


Barcelona…Park Guell was our first stop with its view over the city.  (Sorry for the absence of accent marks and umlauts here, but I couldn’t find accent keys in the blog editing.)

This park was designed in the late 1800’s by Antonio Gaudi as a posh residential suburb, but the development of high end homes never took off because it was too far from the conveniences of downtown life for most who could afford to build homes in Barcelona.  While there are only a few houses here, the park remains as a great example of Gaudi’s style…flowing lines, non linear, mimicking Mother Nature’s forms as much as possible.

Perched above pillars in the park is a sinuous, curving bench along the whole perimeter.  The bench is decorated in a manner that preceded our trend to recycle…glass and ceramic pieces fit into every curvy to form flowing designs.  Tourists can also snap pictures of the skyline of Barcelona.


The ceiling supported by the columns below the benches is similarly decorated with ceramic and glass pieces to reflect the plants and animals of the seacoast.


As you descend the stairs from the benches, you see more Gaudi designs….

…and his popular lizard statue at the base of the stairs.  More whimsical than our desert lizards!

View of the stairs, columns and upper bench from below in Park Guell.

Alejandra, Catalina, Griffin, Jaimie (our English instructor), Miranda, and Kyle enjoy the party atmosphere.

This is a view of Barcelona, featuring La Sagrada Familia (and the forever present cranes) from the viewpoint of Montjuic, a hillside park near the Olympic venues.

Marie, Charlotte, Jaime resting in Montjuic and enjoying a musician in the park.

Photo stop at Montjuic.

Barcelona is split into various neighborhoods according to when they were built/added on to the town proper.  This is a popular spot in the Gothic Quarter.  The “Bridge of Sighs”, although very pretty, was not built until the 1920’s to connect a few town official buildings for a world exhibition in 1929.  The buildings it connects ARE Gothic, however!

This is the cathedral of Barcelona (NOT the basilica of Sagrada Familia) in the Gothic Quarter.  It is dedicated to the city’s patron saint, Eulalia.  Rather smaller compared to some of the other Gothic churches we saw, but still charming.

Interior of cathedral–choir stall.

Crypt of St. Eulalia.

Space above the main altar of the cathedral.

Marie enjoyed taking the (very small) elevator to the roof area for a better view of the spires.  The anti-war t-shirt is one she bought in Pamplona.

Interior cloisters in the cathedral.

Front view of La Sagrada Familia.  This is the still-unfinished basilica and brain child of Antonio Gaudi as his master work.  Guadi was very devout, even living in the church for the last few years of his life until he was hit by a trolley in the 1920’s.  Construction began before 1900, I think, but charitable donations are the only source of funding at this time.  Gaudi originally designed 12 spires, one for each apostle, for this church–these are not all built yet.  Although he designed many homes and apartment building for wealthy patrons prior to working on this church, the basilica was his sole focus later in life.

The facade to the basilica entrance is devoted to the Nativity and the early years of Christ.

Again, organic motifs are everywhere in the sculpture work.  Architects who took over construction after Gaudi’s death have tried to keep the design faithful to the organic themes Gaudi favored.

These kids (band members??  Never found out!)  were too colorful to pass up as we waited to enter the basilica.

Sculptures at the entrance were incredibly detailed.

Again, organic leaf designs behind the Nativity scenes.  As a young student, I used to think that Gaudi’s style was gaudy and over-done, but I didn’t really understand his artistic motivation until I prepared for the trip to Barcelona.  He was a tremendously creative and expressive architect and way, way ahead of his time in material use and design.

Interior of La Sagrada Familia….true to form, Gaudi wanted the columns to be reminiscent of tree trunks/forests.  The interior space really soars and creates a light, airy space of worship.

The interior also creates an atmosphere of constantly shifting light and color with its stained glass windows.  Much more dramatic and at the same time softer than any interior space I have seen in any other church.  For years I had seen pictures of this as a Spanish student myself, but photos don’t really do justice to the beauty of this place.  You have to see Gaudi’s work to truly appreciate it fully.

Looking up from the floor of the basilica…

Karla takes photos to capture the beauty of the light.

Plaques feature the four Evangelists near the main altar.


Windows create a light show inside.

Exterior doors where we exited the tour have a Crucifixion theme.

Casa Batllo is a famous apartment building / museum designed by Gaudi in busy downtown Barcelona.  La Pedrera, a larger example of a commercial building he designed, was under renovation at the time of our visit, so I was unable to get photographs.  Karla and I scrambled around a backhoe doing street construction to get a shot of this.