Space Needle (Seattle, Washington)

The spaceship shaped top of the space needle looms large over Seattle, Washington as it has since it was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris the structure was built specifically for this event and has withstood the test of time.

Space Needle (Seattle, Washington)

Space Needle (Seattle, Washington)

It was a stormy day in Seattle (typical) and I zoomed in as tight on the tower as I could (this is my Tamron 270 lens at full extension). I liked the simplicity of the structure embedded against the interesting texture of the clouds behind it. In Lightroom I added a heavy vignette to center the focal point on the needle and also desaturated some of the colors.

Last Light on Long’s Peak (Rocky Mountain National Park)

One of the most easily accessible and thus visited lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park is Bear Lake. During the day the mile long, handicap accessible trail that circles the lake is packed with families with young kids and older family members who no longer get along as well as they once did. However, on this August night as the sun went down the area around the lake was surprisingly empty. It was chilly this evening – around 45 or so – which probably kept most visitors indoors. Admittedly, I wasn’t as prepared for the weather as I should have been but fortunately it wasn’t too far back to my warm car at the trailhead.

Last Light on Long’s Peak (Rocky Mountain National Park)

Last Light on Long's Peak (Rocky Mountain National Park)

“There is no place comparable to the Diamond [up Colorado’s Longs Peak]. It is high, cold, steep, a long way from the parking lot, and most of all, intimidating. Chasm View, or the Flying Buttress can get you acclimated, but nothing can prepare you for the Diamond but the Diamond.” — Malcolm Daly.

It’s hard to make out the famous, unmistakable diamond of Long’s Peak in this photo but when the sunsets it is the last place the sun hits as it rises 14,259 feet into the air. I do want to climb it one day (you can hike to the top) but I need to get more acclimated to the high altitudes first before I’m ready to tackle that challenge.

The Grand Canal at Sunset (Venice, Italy)

“Memory’s images, once they are fixed in words, are erased,” Polo said. “Perhaps I am afraid of losing Venice all at once, if I speak of it, or perhaps, speaking of other cities, I have already lost it, little by little.”

– Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

The Grand Canal at Sunset (Venice, Italy)

The Grand Canal at Sunset (Venice, Italy)

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a Venice picture but felt the need to go back through some images from our 2013 Italy trip (five cities in two weeks) over the weekend. I love reliving vacations through photos. This last trip to Paris we actually used the GoPro a bit and captured some video as well. Those were fun re-watching this weekend to. The sounds of the city bring back memories as well so we will certainly be using that more frequently.

Soccer Juggler in Montmarte (Paris, France)

Sitting on the steps of the Sacre Coeur in the Montmarte neighborhood of Paris, France is one of the most enjoyable things to do when vacationing in the City of Light. There is typically a guy/girl standing at the base of the steps playing guitar and a soccer ball juggler across the street behind them. Local hustlers are walking around selling beers and bottle of water to thirsty tourists (watch your wallets – gypsies are nearby and look for those distracted) while others sell snacks for those who don’t want to venture down the steps to a nearby quickie mart. I was surprised to see the same guy juggling the soccer ball that we saw four years ago – it must be a decent paying gig because he’s been doing it for years.

Soccer Juggler in Montmarte (Paris, France)

Soccer Juggler in Montmarte (Paris, France)

Since we had watched his act the last time we were there a few years back I knew that he was going to climb the poll and balance the soccer ball so I moved into a position where I could get more of the Parisian landscape in the distance behind him. Montmarte offers an amazing view of the city and is one of the more livelier areas in Paris – of course, it also used to be one of the seedier areas but has turned around in recent times and is now pretty safe (as long as you don’t get distracted – but that’s really any big city Paris or the U.S.).

Below is a video taken from Youtube (here is the link: that shows a part of his performance. Even if you can’t make it to Paris I hope you enjoy the show (he starts to climb the poll around the 1:45 mark)

Castle Mountain (Banff National Park)

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in tune once more”

— John Burroughs

Castle Mountain (Banff National Park)

Castle Mountain (Banff National Park)

In Banff National Park if I was to choose a place to go for serenity as the sunsets regardless of the time of year I’d head right to Castle Mountain Junction. Every time I’ve been there it has been mine and mine alone. Unlike other more popular locations – Lake Loise, Lake Moraine, etc… – this spot on the banks of the Bow River always offers spectacular views of Castle Mountain and the seclusion my heart desires when on this little explorations.

Winding Trail Ridge Road (Rocky Mountain National Park)

I was in Rocky Mountain National Park waiting to catch sunset. I wandered up to the top of a hill that gave me a pretty clear view of the Mummy Range and the Front Range (with the well known Long’s Peak) across Moraine Park down below. As I sat hoping to catch some color in the sky I noticed the little curve in Trail Ridge Road heading out towards the Mummy Range in the distance. I like using roads with curves in them especially if they create depth to the photo like this one does as it leads from the bottom of the image to the mountains in the distance. S-Curves in the road, or in rivers, are especially pleasing because when you view the picture your eye naturally runs from side to side. In fact, the S-Curve is known in art as being the ‘line of beauty’ because it is thought to be more pleasing to viewers than a straight line, circle or other geometrical shapes.

Trail Ridge Road (Rocky Mountain National Park)

Trail Ridge Road (Rocky Mountain National Park)

The Eiffel Tower (Paris, France)

Pretty quick post tonight as it is late and I got tied up with some work this evening and well don’t really feel all that into writing anything to long. However, in the near future I will be writing about why the best decision I ever made was to wait to buy a full frame camera. I appreciate it so much more now when I see just how amazing the pictures look coming from it but I also have the technique down to get more from it than I would have four years ago (trust me my pictures, and post processing back then, were garbage).

The Eiffel Tower – Paris, France

The Eiffel Tower (Paris, France)

The iconic Eiffel Tower opened just over 126 years ago (March 31, 1889) which is pretty amazing considering most thought it was an eyesore when they first saw it. Now you can’t imagine going to Paris and not taking the elevator (or the stairs – which we did because the queue to the top was so long) up to the observation decks.

Here is a nice list of random Eiffel Tower Facts to celebrate the anniversary (if you are interested)