Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best of the Year, 2011 (11 of 11)

Top 11 Photos of 2011

Sun Setting on 2011 ~ Trukhaniv Island, Kiev, Ukraine.

12 hours until the New Year here in Kiev. I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year and the best of everything in 2012!

See you on the other side!

This concludes the Top 11 of 2011.

I'll be uploading my top 11 photos of 2011 during the duration of this week. My top 11 photos are based on when the current version was created, even if the photo itself was taken before 2011. They are presented in no particular order.


Best of the Year, 2011 (10 of 11)

Top 11 Photos of 2011

Old Castle Wall ~ Uhzgorod, Ukraine.

I liked the look of this from the very beginning. Here, I decided to go a bit over the top with the processing to really make the colors and tones pop!

I'll be uploading to this album my top 11 photos of 2011 during the duration of this week. My top 11 photos are based on when the current version was created, even if the photo itself was taken before 2011. They are presented in no particular order.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Best of the Year, 2011 (9 of 11)

Top 11 Photos of 2011

Here Comes the (K)nights (HDR) ~ Park Kievan Rus, near Zastuhna, Ukraine.

Park Kievan Rus

This is a grand project. No one dared to reproduce ancient Kiev, the capital of the biggest country of medieval Europe, till construction of “Kievan Rus” Park was started to the South of Ukrainian capital. The Park is supposed to reproduce the city in the way it looked in the period of its golden age. Celebrations, knight tournaments, historic reconstructions, master – classes and tasting are conducted in the park almost all year round. We invite you to visit this remarkable place and feel as if you were in the bygone epoch.

The project impresses by its range. The organizers set themselves the task to reproduce Detinets, the oldest part of Kiev, on a scale of 1:1 with maximum historic authenticity. And not just to reproduce, but saturate this territory with atmosphere of Kievan Rus. Total area of the park “Kievan Rus” is 50 hectares. The territory of Detinets is 10 hectares.

Construction works are still being carried out here. Such scale demands time. But even what the park has now is worth great interest. “Kievan Rus” is the first historic park on the territory of The CIS. There are tens of such parks in Europe, North America, Egypt, in some countries of Asia. For us “Kievan Rus” Park is the first one. And it’s worth coming here, to the picturesque Obukhov land.

Park Kievan Rus

I'll be uploading my top 11 photos of 2011 during the duration of this week. My top 11 photos are based on when the current version was created, even if the photo itself was taken before 2011. They are presented in no particular order.


Best of the Year, 2011 (8 of 11)

Top 11 Photos of 2011

St. Sophia Cathedral (HDR/Panorama) ~ Kiev, Ukraine.

Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is an outstanding architectural monument of Kievan Rus'. Today, it is one of the city's best known landmarks and the first Ukrainian patrimony to be inscribed on the World Heritage List along with the Kiev Cave Monastery complex. Aside from its main building, the cathedral includes an ensemble of supporting structures such as a bell tower, the House of Metropolitan, and others. In 2011 the historic site was reassigned from the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Regional Development of Ukraine to the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine. One of the reasons for that move was the fact that both "Sofia Kyivska" and Kiev Pechersk Lavra are recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Program as one complex, while in Ukraine the two were governed by different government entities.

The cathedral's name comes from the 6th-century Hagia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople (meaning Holy Wisdom, and dedicated to the Holy Wisdom rather than a specific saint named Sophia). According to a less popular theory, its model was the 13-domed oaken Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod (ca. 989), which Yaroslav I the Wise determined to imitate in stone as a sign of gratitude to the citizens of Novgorod who had helped him secure the Kievan throne in 1019.

St. Sophia Cathedral, Kiev

I'll be uploading my top 11 photos of 2011 during the duration of this week. My top 11 photos are based on when the current version was created, even if the photo itself was taken before 2011. They are presented in no particular order.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best of the Year, 2011 (7 of 11)

Top 11 Photos of 2011

The Former Leipzig Hotel (HDR) ~ Kiev, Ukraine.

This is the former Leipzig Hotel building, constructed in 1900. Unlike many older buildings in Kiev, which are left vacant by greedy owners who covet the land the building is on, but not the building itself, this building is being restored by it's new owners and will once again open as a hotel, just in time for the Euro 2012 football championships. (That's soccer to you folks in the states).

This is my most viewed photo on Flickr this year, being seen over 12,500 times! The viewing habits started out quite normally for Flickr: quite a few views the first 3-4 days, then fading, fading, fading. Then something unusual happened. About five months ago, it started getting around 70 views a day, plus or minus five. And it's continued, each and every day since then.

I'll be uploading my top 11 photos of 2011 during the duration of this week. My top 11 photos are based on when the current version was created, even if the photo itself was taken before 2011. They are presented in no particular order.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best of the Year, 2011 (6 of 11)

Top 11 Photos of 2011

St. Andrew's and Andrew's Descent (HDR) ~ Kiev, Ukraine.

St. Andrew's is the church in the upper right of the photo. In the lower left is a building known locally as the Castle of Richard the Lionhearted. It's been said so many times that a clear sky is as bad as a totally cloudy, uniformly gray sky. But I think this shows that you don't need clouds to have an interesting sky.

I'll be uploading my top 11 photos of 2011 during the duration of this week. My top 11 photos are based on when the current version was created, even if the photo itself was taken before 2011. They are presented in no particular order.


Best of the Year, 2011 (5 of 11)

Top 11 Photos of 2011

Rain, Independence Square (HDR) ~ Kiev, Ukraine.

No selective coloring or de-saturation involved. This is pretty much how it came out of Photomatix, with just a few minor tweaks, like sharpening.

I'll be uploading my top 11 photos of 2011 during the duration of this week. My top 11 photos are based on when the current version was created, even if the photo itself was taken before 2011. They are presented in no particular order.


Best of the Year, 2011 (4 of 11)

Top 11 Photos of 2011

A Winter Dreamscape ~ Kiev, Ukraine.

One of the entrances to Mariinski Park, Kiev.

Created using Fractalius. Then blended it with the original, made it B&W, and bought back some slight color in the brick.

Flickr "Explore" #16 of 2011.

I'll be uploading my top 11 photos of 2011 during the duration of this week. My top 11 photos are based on when the current version was created, even if the photo itself was taken before 2011. They are presented in no particular order.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best of the Year, 2011 (3 of 11)

Top 11 Photos of 2011

A View of the Dnieper (HDR/Panorama) ~ Kiev, Ukraine.

As seen from Mariinski Park, the former Kiev home of Russian Czars.

I guess you could say I had quite a good year on Flickr this year. I had 16 of my photos hit "Explore" (the top 500 photos of the day as determined by their super-secret recipe). This was my highest ranking Explore of the year, topping out at #42.

I'll be uploading my top 11 photos of 2011 during the duration of this week. My top 11 photos are based on when the current version was created, even if the photo itself was taken before 2011. They are presented in no particular order.


Best of the Year, 2011 (2 of 11)

Top 11 Photos of 2011

St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery (HDR/Panorama) ~ Kiev, Ukraine.

St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery (Ukrainian: Михайлівський золотоверхий монастир, Mykhaylivs’kyi zolotoverkhyi monastyr; Russian: Михайловский златоверхий монастырь, Mikhaylovsky zlatoverkhy monastyr) is a functioning monastery in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. The monastery is located on the right bank of the Dnieper River on the edge of a bluff northeast of the Saint Sophia Cathedral. The site is located in the historic administrative Uppertown and overlooks the city's historical commercial and merchant quarter, the Podil neighbourhood.

Originally built in the Middle Ages by Sviatopolk II Iziaslavych, the monastery comprises the Cathedral itself, the Refectory of St. John the Divine, built in 1713, the Economic Gates, constructed in 1760 and the monastery's bell tower, which was added circa 1716–1719. The exterior of the structure was rebuilt in the Ukrainian Baroque style in the 18th century while the interior remained in its original Byzantine style. The original cathedral was demolished by the Soviet authorities in the 1930s, but was reconstructed and opened in 1999 following Ukrainian independence.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Michael's_Golden-Domed_Monastery

Panorama created from 3 images, then HDR'd. This shot was quite difficult to put together. To create this, I took 3 images using a Sigma 10-20 set at 12mm and stood with my back to a wall behind me. It was not possible to fit this whole building into a single shot!

I'll be uploading my top 11 photos of 2011 during the duration of this week. My top 11 photos are based on when the current version was created, even if the photo itself was taken before 2011. They are presented in no particular order.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Best of the Year, 2011 (1 of 11)

Top 11 Photos of 2011

Shadows of an Afghan War ~ Kiev, Ukraine.

Taken February 15, 2011, the 22nd anniversary of the end of the Soviet Afghan War. This memorial is about a ten minute walk from my residence in Kiev. Yet in the six years here, I had never made it there on the anniversary. Until this year. As I wrote on February 16th...

Yesterday, February 15 2011, was the 22nd anniversary of the end of the Soviet-Afghan War. The total duration of the war was 9 years, 50 days. The photo is from yesterday’s anniversary in Kiev, Ukraine. The duration of the US Afghan War, so far, is 9 years, 131 days, if my calculations are correct.

Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union up until August 1991, when they declared independence.

Temperature at the beginning of the ceremony ~ approximately 4F/-14C.

Well, the US involvement in this war has topped the ten year mark, proving conclusively that the USA can take any quagmire the former USSR could dish out and top it handily. Not sure why anyone would want to try though...

This photo garnered over 7,000 views on the first five days on Flickr, with a total view count now of 7,908. No "Explore" though...

I'll be uploading my top 11 photos of 2011 during the duration of this week. My top 11 photos are based on when the current version was created, even if the photo itself was taken before 2011. They are presented in no particular order.



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wishes for the New Year ~ Peace Around the Globe

Seasons greetings to all my Roads Less Traveled friends and viewers, and their friends and families. I hope you had a great year, in life and in photography, and best wishes for an even better year next year.

Best wishes for Peace Around the Globe.


Friday, December 23, 2011

National Christmas Tree

This is a view of last year's National Christmas Tree, sponsored by Milka.  This year's tree is much different and, according to some, it looks more like a multi-colored traffic cone than a Christmas tree.

Sponsored by....

Yep, this is a corporate sponsored Christmas tree. If you're wondering where they found a tree like this, well, they cheated a bit. It's has a steel trunk, with choice bits and pieces from numerous other trees pieced together to form one tree.

It was a bit of a disappointment for me too, since I had read that they were going to bring out the old Soviet era decorations for the first time in a long time. (I have never seen them). They were nowhere to be found on the tree. However, I think I found them elsewhere...


Monday, December 19, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Waiting for Spring

• HDR Photo

This was taken inside the grounds of the new Kiev Botanic Gardens, but since the lower entrance was not open this day, I did what any good photographer would do. I snuck in through an opening in the fence. :)


Friday, December 16, 2011

Rodina Mat

Mother Motherland (Ukrainian: Мати-Батьківщина) is a monumental statue of the “Mother Motherland” in Kiev, Ukraine. The sculpture is a part of Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Kiev. Built by Yevgeny Vuchetich, the titanium statue stands 62 meters tall upon the museum building with the overall structure measuring 102 m and weighing 530 tons. The sword in the statue’s right hand is 16 m long weighing 9 tons, with the left hand holding up a 13 m by 8 m shield with the Coat of arms of the Soviet Union. The Memorial hall of the Museum displays marble plaques with carved names of more than 11,600 soldiers and over 200 workers of the home-front honored during the war with the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Hero of Socialist Labor.

Rodina Mat (Mother Motherland)


Monday, December 12, 2011

The Original St. Nicholas (Revisited)

Changes in the posting schedule.

For the last ten weeks, I've been posting every day.  Something new Monday thru Friday, and archive photos on Saturday and Sunday.  But at least for now I need to go back to my prior posting schedule.  Which is new photos Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and an archive photo on Saturday.

The Original St. Nicholas.  Why Revisited?

Two reasons.
  1. Reworked the photo and improved a few things.
  2. 'Tis the season!
Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas (Greek: Άγιος Νικόλαος, Aghios ["holy"] Nicolaos ["victory of the people"]) (270–6 December 346) is the canonical and most popular name for Nikolaos of Myra, a saint and Greek[3] Bishop of Myra (Demre, in Lycia, part of modern-day Turkey). Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker (Greek: Νικόλαος ο Θαυματουργός, Nikolaos o Thaumaturgos). He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose English name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as is common for early Christian saints.[4] In 1087, his relics were furtively translated to Bari, in southeastern Italy; for this reason, he is also known as Nikolaos of Bari.His feastday is December 6.

The historical Saint Nicholas is remembered and revered among Catholic and Orthodox Christians. He is also honored by various Anglican and Lutheran churches. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, thieves, children, and students in Greece, Belgium, France, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Albania, Russia, the Republic of Macedonia, Slovakia, Serbia, and Montenegro. He is also the patron saint of Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Barranquilla, Bari, Beit Jala, Fribourg, Huguenots, Liverpool, Siggiewi, and Lorraine. In 1809, the New-York Historical Society convened and retroactively named Santa Claus the patron saint of New Amsterdam, the historical name for New York City.[5] He was also a patron of the Varangian Guard of the Byzantine emperors, who protected his relics in Bari.

A nearly identical story is attributed by Greek folklore to Basil of Caesarea. Basil's feast day on 1 January is considered the time of exchanging gifts in Greece.

Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas

Taken during a side trip during vacation at Simena Sun Club, Kemer Turkey.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Autumn in Uman 2

No, it's not what it looks like, although I'm not exactly sure what this sculpture represents.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Environmentally Friendly Streetlamp

While it might not be easily seen here, these streetlamps have compact florescent bulbs. In a country that still has the typical Soviet mentality of "it's not my job to care," this was a welcome sight.

However, when I went back to this park today, I saw a lot of the streetlamps with the incandescent bulbs again. Which might mean that my hope was misplaced, or somebody's business stood to suffer if people adapted florescent bulbs, or the electric supply in the area was not stable enough, leading the expensive florescents to burn out too quickly. Or any number of other excuses. There's always an excuse available.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Autumn Decay

Seen on Trukhaniv Island, an island on the Dneiper, which divides the right and the left parts of Kiev. This is about a two minute walk from the location in last Friday's photo. Not sure what the pavilion was used for during Soviet times, but it hasn't seen use in many a year.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

St. George Church, Vydubychi Monastery

• HDR Photo

Vydubychi Monastery (Ukrainian: Видубицький монастир, Vydubyts'kyi monastyr) is an historic monastery in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

The monastery was established between 1070 and 1077 by Vsevolod, son of Yaroslav the Wise. It was a family cloister of Vsevolod's son Vladimir Monomakh and his descendants.

Vydubychi Monastery


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tropical Scene, Finike

• HDR Photo

This picture was taken about a one minute walk away from the Harbor at Finike, seen last week. Hey, if your bus is going to have problems with the AC, you might as well come away from it with a few good photos!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chincoteague Sunrise

Seen at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Area, just south of the Maryland border in Virginia.

This photo goes back to my pre-digital era. I scanned this about two years ago, but I didn't particularly like how parts of it turned out once digitized. But having now worked on it a bit, I'm happier with the outcome now.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Old and New Kiev

The three main buildings in this picture are a business center, a hospital, and a residential building. Guess which one is which?

In a city that certainly could use some new hospitals, you won't see a new hospital in this picture. The new building is a business center. Guess I didn't have to tell you that. The economy in Kiev is still holding up somewhat, mostly because it's a low cost city compared to most of Western Europe and the USA. Meaning, labor costs are low, meaning outsourced work from the previously mentioned places. If they manage to get this building half occupied in the next five years, outsourcing would be why. The residential building is the one in the middle of the other two, on the right, and the one in the foreground is the hospital.

The hospital is an honest to goodness, Soviet era hospital. Drab, showing it's age, and maintained and supplied with the few kopecks thrown it's way. Inside, 75% of the lights are turned off to economize. But I guess Kiev needed this business center (and 100 other new ones like this) more than it needs a few new or rebuilt hospitals.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Starry Starry Night

In this case, this photo isn't really what it seems. Click on the following link and read the first comment in the "Comments and faves" section!

Starry Starry Night on Flickr


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Autumn in Hydropark

Deep in the Heart of Kiev, Hydropark is located on several islands on the Dnieper River, which separates the Right Bank and the Left Bank of the city.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

People Who Died

Seen in the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Kiev. On the wall are thousands of pictures of Soviet citizens who died during World War 2. The collection of photographs are even more impressive when you remember that the 1930's and 1940's were a time when few people had cameras.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Break on Through Too

Opportunities for shots like this don't come along often, at least not where I am, but when they do come along, you can often get a number of shots like this within 10-20 minutes.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

The View of the Dnieper

• HDR Photo

Mariinsky Park in Kiev has a number of scenic views overlooking the Dnieper and the Left Bank of Kiev. This is an evening view from one of them. This photo is about four years old, but it wasn't until recently that I returned to it and did some processing that makes it awesome! The structure in the center of the photo is the Moscovsky Bridge.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Turkish Countryside

•  HDR Photo

Seen in the Turkish countryside south of Kemer.  Late September 2010.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fort Street Guest House, Belize

The Fort Street Guest House, on the waterfront in Belize City, Belize.  Affordable rooms and wonderful food!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Onward to Oblivion

A Soviet era (obviously) wall mural, found tucked away on an obscure building on an obscure side street in Kiev.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ostap Veresai

~~ Wonderful, wonderful life history here… ~~

Ostap Mykytovych Veresai (Ukrainian: Остап Микитович Вересай), (1803 – 1890) was a renowned minstrel and kobzar from the Poltava Governorate of the Russian Empire (in today’s Ukraine). He, like no other, helped in the popularity of kobzar art not only in his country, but also outside its borders.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostap_Veresai


Saturday, November 12, 2011

St. Sophia, Kiev

Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is an outstanding architectural monument of Kievan Rus’. Today, it is one of the city’s best known landmarks and the first Ukrainian patrimony to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.

The complex of the Cathedral is the main component the National Sanctuary “Sophia of Kiev” the state institution responsible for the preservation of the Cathedral complex along with several other historic landmarks of the city.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Sophia_Cathedral_in_Kiev

Like any major church in Kiev, this church has a belltower. I took this photo from that belltower.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Where's Prince Charming when you need him?

This shot was invited to the Getty Images collection.  However, I could not add it because it's just a random street shot.  I'd need a model release to sell this in most places, and I have no idea who she is.  Oh well...


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mean

Three exposure HDR.

The HDR process did not make as big a difference in this one as I thought it would. Yet, there was some noticeable improvement. What really surprised me is that usually when I start out with an ISO 1600 photo, then create a three exposure HDR, the outcome is often unusable because of noise introduced by the HDR process, noise that even a decent noise removal program won’t deal with well. This time it worked out well.

But in the end, the outcome was more due to the use of Topaz Adjust then to HDR.

Located at the same restaurant as this one…

Traditional Musical Instruments.