Carmel By The Sea

There are few more scenic regions of the United States than Northern California.  Meg and I spent 3 glorious days driving through and photographing the California Coastline, visiting Carmel and driving along Big Sur.  As a mother, life doesn’t get much sweeter. As an amateur photographer, even my limited skills are bound to capture some of the beauty of the area.

This photograph of the bluffs, the water and the sky , is my favorite photograph from the trip.

Carmel

Carmel

Evening in Carmel has its own beauty.  The softer colors of the sun and sky at dusk are worth experiencing.

Sunset in Carmel

The Green Lantern was a bed and breakfast located an easy walking distance from the ocean and the downtown restaurants. Definitely a great place for mother-daughter bonding.

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Kauffman Garden’s Smallest Critters

It is a glorious season at Kauffman Gardens.  The fall flowers are in full bloom or blooming.  The air is cool.

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It is a busy time of year in the garden.  Not only are visitors spread throughout the garden, the insects are everywhere. they seem to thrive in the cooler weather.  In their ways, the insects are as fascinating as the garden that attracts them.

Monarch butterflies are in abundance, with their brilliant orange and black wings and spotted bodies.

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While incredibly destructive in large numbers, this grasshopper was all alone, enjoying the banquet that surrounded him.

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This wings of this moth were so pale in color they seem to have disappeared from the page.  However, the photograph reflects, its yellow body matched the flowers that surrounded it.

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Not as vibrant as its neighbors, this moth is a sharp contrast to the colors of the vibrant pink and green.

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The bees everywhere were busy as they darted from flower to flower.  None of the insects paid the slightest attention to each other or the human visitors.  All of them worked hard as though their own survival–and the beauty of the garden–depend on their work.  Probably they do.

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Hope you find a bit of nature to enjoy and explore.  Happy weekend.

Sonoma Mountain, From Mom’s Camera

After a beautiful morning hike in Helen Putnam Park, and an afternoon of wine tasting in Sonoma Valley, we ended our day of girl bonding by driving up the Western slope of Sonoma Mountain to watch the sunset. It was a stunning view.

Barn on Sonoma Mountain Road

Barn on Sonoma Mountain Road

It’s a rough and windy road going up the side of the mountain, but all the views along the way are incredible. From rustic barns to glowing valleys to old fences, it’s a beautiful way to end the day.

Sonoma Mountain Road at sunset

Sonoma Mountain Road at sunset

Happy sun-setting.

 

For The Birds

Pelicans are among nature’s most unusual birds.  They look prehistoric, dinaourish in fact. Graceful in flight, pelicans are cartoonish on the land.

If you want to see pelicans up close and personal, visit Florida.  I photographed this handsome specimen at Lake Okeechobee.  Half the size of Rhode Island, Okeechobee is the largest fresh water lake in Florida.  For reasons unknown to me, tourism is nearly non-existent around the lake.  When we visited a nearly abandoned dock there were a dozen or more men and women fishing for supper.  The birds and the fishermen occupied the dock in harmony, presumably with the birds anticipating scraps of food.  It made it relatively easy to get a few photographs of these wonderful birds.  DSC_0153

Habana: Sunrise Over a Once Forbidden City

Habana, Cuba.  In the states we refer to the city by the name Havana.  But it is their country and it seems they should receive deference in how to spell it.  Long forbidden to U.S. citizens, it is a place like no other.  Just 90 miles from the United States, it is shrouded in mystery.

The sunrise over Habana Harbor on the second morning of our visit was as dramatic as the city.  The sun was an intense reddish-orange and the clouds were dark as night.[1]

As I watched, the sunlight produced a softer image of the city around us illuminating the sky and the Atlantic Ocean in muted shades of grays and blues.

Within just a few additional minutes, the colors and the texture of the city were in full view.  This photograph reveals the contrast of the beauty and the decay that have enveloped Havana since Fidel Castro’s revolution. A revolution that has resulted in changes that continue to dominate life in Cuba more than 60 years later.

I had anticipated our trip to Cuba would be an exciting and a constantly changing experience for me, and for all the members of our tour.  I was right.

Our journey had really just begun.

[1]  These photographs were taken with my Nikon D5100 camera using a Tamron telephoto lens.  They are not altered or enhanced.  Their beauty and their flaws are all my own.  To stabilize my camera for these slow shots, I leaned against the railing on my 17th floor hotel room and held tight.

Ben

Benjamin Franklin is one of our nation’s most beloved and celebrated founder. Truly a leader of men, he was a diplomat to France, author of the original Poor Richard’s Almanack, authored portions of the Declaration of Independence and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. And that is just the beginning of his talents and accomplishments.

Noted for both his eloquent descriptions of life and government, he could be witty, pithy and wise.  This wonderful sculpture of Franklin, created by George Lundeen, [1] sits by Latte Land on the Country Club Plaza.  Feel free to sit with him for a while.  There is plenty of room on the bench.

                                                   Where liberty dwells, there is my country [2]

[1]George Lundeen sculpted this wonderful bronze statue of Benjamin Franklin.  It is a warm representation of Franklin, one of a series of similar sculptures, large and small.  Lundeen’s creations include national heroes, child athletes, newspaper boys, Native Americans and others are charming and seem to capture the spirit of our national character.

[2] Widely attributed to Benjamin Franklin

Wandering the Grounds at the Kemper Atkins Museum of Art

Weekends are for wandering, pondering and enjoying life.  Especially gorgeous September weekends.  What could be better?  Casey is almost always with us on our weekend jaunts.  He is not a particularly well-disciplined dog.  We forgive him since his sense of adventure is similar to ours.  

Sunday evening we headed to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.  It is elegant and inviting.  While most of my museum time has been spent wandering the galleries inside the buildings, Sunday we focused on the grounds.

Since my earliest childhood, Auguste Rodin’s, The Thinker, has symbolized the Nelson for me.  Originally inside the museum, he now sits outside, prominently displayed near the front entrance.  The question has always been “What is he thinking about?”  I have no answer.

Sharing the front lawn with The Thinker are the shuttlecocks.  A total of four shuttlecocks  rest on the front and back lawns.  Presumably, the museum itself is the net.

The Kansas City Sculpture Park, located on the grounds, includes formal and more casual gardens with more than 30 sculptures by 20th and 21st century world-class artists.   It includes the largest collection of Henry Moore bronze sculptures outside England, as well as works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, (one of my favorites), Isamu Noguchi and Pierre-August Renior.

The original museum building is an architectural treasure.  Designed in the neoclassic style by Wight and Wight architects, it was completed in 1933.  Even the exterior lighting displays the grace of the design.

When the decision was made to expand the museum, the project was awarded to a renowned contemporary architect, Steven Holl.  He created a building strikingly different from the original museum; focused on fusing light, shadow and water.

Not to be ignored is the artistic nature of the landscaping itself.  Pathways meander through the trees, encouraging visitors to explore the nooks and crannies of the gardens in search of the art spread throughout the park.

If you live in Kansas City, visit the gallery for an afternoon.  If you are from out-of-town, spend a weekend.  Enjoy!

Ann’s Office through the eyes of Color Sketch

Color sketch is a so-called “effects mode” on my Nikon.  Described by photography writer, Chris Hall, as “making something out of nothing”, these photographs prove you can create art out of everyday things.  The first photograph is the view from my office chair.  You can see my clock, weights, M&M machine and books.  In the upper left hand corner is a calendar Meg gave me for Christmas.  The cover is a photograph of my husband, Terry, sitting in the back yard.

The beautiful flowers in this shot are really ink pens Meg gave me for my birthday in 2009.  She was  in the midst of final exams her first year of law school.

These photographs include some of my favorite reminders of Meg and Terry. But color sketch sure does make my office more fun for those who don’t understand the pure pleasure I get from the treasures with which I have chosen to surround myself.