Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Here's Looking at You Kid.

Whimsical Wednesday returns!

Seen in the same park with prior Whimsical Wednesday entries. This is a park bench, just added recently!

Monday, June 27, 2011

An Olympic Misha

This is Misha the Bear, the official mascot of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. So then, why is this seen in Kiev? In 1980, Moscow and Kiev were both part of the same country, the USSR. But again, why Kiev? These weren't the Kiev Olympics.

While during every Olympic Games, there is one official host city, certain events are often held a long distance away. For example, the 1996 Atlanta Games had events in Miami and Washington DC. During the 1980 Games, Kiev was one of the host cities for football (soccer) competitions.

This is one of three Olympic Misha's still found in and around the Kiev area, that I'm aware of, but this is the best maintained of the group.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Emerald Lake, NWT Canada

•  The Saturday Archive Series

If you really want to travel the "Roads Less Traveled," try this place. Nahanni National Park, Northwest Territories, Canada. It is so "less traveled" that there are no roads entering or exiting the park, and no roads within the park either. As a "Let's get away from it all" destination, it can't be beat. By law, yearly visitors are limited to 1500, and in most years, it's only half that.

And boy, is it a task to get to this place. Living in New Jersey, USA at the time, I had to take flights from Newark NJ to Toronto, Toronto to Edmonton, Edmonton to Yellowknife NWT Canada, and Yellowknife to Fort Simpson, NWT Canada, just to meet the fellow travelers for my trek. Then we had to take another flight from Fort Simpson into the park, well, because there are no roads you can take to get there.

Once in the park, the mode of transportation for most people is by river. By canoe…or by raft. Depending on where your plane dropped you off, you might be traveling this way for one week, or two weeks, or three weeks. Traveling by boat by day, sleeping in a tent under the stars at night. Experiencing something you've never really experienced before. Life before technology. Life without TV, indoor plumbing, telephones, engines, shopping malls. You, your new friends, your guides, and yes, your inner self for company. Enjoy.

You can do this. And you'll emerge better at the other end, two weeks from now.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Heavenly Glow

• HDR Photo

And an optical illusion, or rather, an illusion created by optics!

Getting the back of this church into one photo is a difficult task, since this church is quite large (notice the people) and there is a wall behind you limiting how far you can back up. No problem, I thought. I can use the Sigma 10-20 lens. But even then, I couldn't get the whole building into the shot, at least not the way I wanted it. So I opted for a panorama. This is a four image panorama. (Original plan was to have a six image panorama, and include a building to the left of this one).

So, where's the optical illusion?

Anyone who has seen this building in person knows that the crosses on top of the building all face in the same direction. But here, the side crosses are at 45 degree angles to the center cross. How is this possible?

Before there was a Photoshop, before there were stitched panoramas, there were other ways to create an image that did not reflect what you saw with your eyes. Your choice of position, your choice of filters, and yes, your choice of lenses would all effect the eventual outcome. Using a very wide-angle lens on a nearby subject would make the center of the object appear to be much closer than the outer edges of the object. Which in reality IS true, however, your eyes and your brain tend to compensate for that. Stitching together four different images into one only tends to exaggerate this effect even more.

This is the Dormition Cathedral at the Kiev Pechersk Lavra in Kiev.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kiev ~ View Toward the Left Bank

•  HDR image, 6 image Panoramic Photo

This photo was taken from the top of a hill at the edge of the Kiev Botanic Gardens. The older, historic, downtown, part of Kiev is the Right Bank. The buildings in the background here are part of the Left Bank of the city. The Left Bank remained relatively undeveloped until the 1960's, when the first Metro (subway) Line opened to move passengers across the Dneiper. The part of the city seen here is even newer, opened up to development with the second cross river Metro Line in the 1990's.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father of the Soviet Space Program

Statue of Sergei Korolev ~ Seen at Kiev Polytechnic University

Sergei Pavlovich Korolev (Russian: Сергей Павлович Королёв Sergej Pavlovič Korolëv, also transliterated as Sergey Korolyov; born 12 January [O.S. 30 December 1906] 1907 in Zhytomyr, Ukraine; died 14 January 1966 in Moscow, Russia) was the lead Soviet rocket engineer and spacecraft designer in the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the 1950s and 1960s. He is considered by many as the father of practical astronautics.

Although Korolev was trained as an aircraft designer, his greatest strengths proved to be in design integration, organization and strategic planning. Arrested for alleged mismanagement of funds (he spent the money on yet unsuccessful experiments with rocket devices), he was imprisoned in 1938 for almost six years, including some months in a Kolyma labour camp. Following his release, he became a recognized rocket designer and a key figure in the development of the Soviet ICBM program. He was then appointed to lead the Soviet space program, made Member of Soviet Academy of Sciences, overseeing the early successes of the Sputnik and Vostok projects. By the time he died unexpectedly in 1966, his plans to compete with the United States to be the first nation to land a man on the Moon had begun to be implemented.

Before his death he was often referred to only as "Chief Designer", because his name and his pivotal role in the Soviet space program had been held to be a state secret by the Politburo. Only many years later was he publicly acknowledged as the lead man behind Soviet success in space.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Welcome to Summer

The Saturday Archive Series

Here in Kiev, we're three weeks into summer already. Of course, that's based on traditional calendars going back many centuries, not the strict scientific based definition of summer. But it's all good.


Don't worry, be happy!

Eat, drink, and be merry!

(Taken at the Kiev Flower Show, an end of summer event. Oh well)...

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Path to St. Andrews

Have a great weekend everybody!

•  HDR Photo

The Saint Andrew's Church (Ukrainian: Андрiївська церква; Russian: Андреевская церковь) is a major Baroque church located in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. The church was constructed in 1747–1754, to a design by the Imperial Russian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli.

The Saint Andrew's Church overlooks the historic Podil neighborhood, situated on a steep hill to which the church gave its current name Andriyivska Hill.

St. Andrew's Church, Kiev

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Russian Ukrainian Friendship Statue

•  HDR Photo

Another of the big, bold, oh-so Soviet statues found in Kiev.  In the early 1980's the Soviet Union found itself in a budgetary bind, caused by the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, imperial excursions gone astray, and war demands in Afghanistan. This forced cuts in spending in many areas, but apparently the building of statues was hardly impacted at all. This is the Russian Ukrainian Friendship statue, built 1982.

To get this shot without some hard to remove, gaudy structures in the background, I practically had to lay down on my back and shoot up at this angle. Along with HDR processing and some Topaz Detail, it gives it a rather dramatic look, don't you think?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cranes in the Fog

•  HDR Photo

No, not those types of cranes. This is a city, after all.

Taken one early morning in Maryinsky Park, looking toward the left bank of the city.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Simena Sunset Revisited

•  HDR Photo ~ The Saturday Archive Series

In honor of my wife's father leaving for a vacation to this part of the world, I've updated this photo for the Saturday Archive Series.  The original photo is here... Simena Sunset. Feel free to leave a comment if you have a preference!

Friday, June 10, 2011

More HDR Fireworks

•  HDR Photo

Looks like I'm a bit late for my own party today!  I always try to have photos up earlier than this, but other events got in the way.

More fireworks from the "Day of Kiev" fireworks, 12 days ago.

The conventional wisdom is to leave the shutter open longer, allowing for more bursts to appear. In this case, more fireworks going off would not have made it better, IMHO. Plus, there was still enough light about, which would have overexposed the image.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Twitter Tree

Photo Series ~ Whimsical Wednesdays

The whimsy just overflows in this part of Kiev. This is less than one minute from the Zebra fountain, featured last week two weeks ago!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunrise, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

Sharm El Sheikh is a beautiful resort town near the southern end of the Sinai peninsula in Egypt. It's also considered one of the best diving and snorkeling destinations in the world. Sadly, events have caused a severe downturn in tourist visits to Sharm and other Egyptian resorts.

The uprising against Hosni Mubarak is considered the main source of the problem, which created a great deal of uncertainty, and uncertainty is not good for tourism. Sadly, tourism still has not returned to pre-revolution numbers. A couple of shark attacks near Sharm El Sheikh is considered only a minor contributing factor. (!)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Soviet Era Dacha (Summer Cottage)

•  The Saturday Archive Series  •

This is quite typical of a Soviet era dacha. One floor with an attic and cellar, likely two rooms on the main floor. (Anything more signaled that you just might be a closet capitalist, necessitating a visit from the KGB). Although it’s clearly been maintained sometime since the fall of the USSR, I have not seen anyone live here in the five years I’ve spent summers here. It clearly could be worth something to the owner, since the property is a five minute walk from a river and in an area close enough to Kiev that it could command a nice price. But this dacha, along with at least ten others within a five minute walk, remains unmaintained and unused.

Friday, June 3, 2011

St. Anthony & Theodosius

•  HDR Photo

Sts. Anthony and Theodosius were sainted founders of the Russian and Ukrainian monasticism. They established the Kiev Pechersk Monastery in the mid-11th century.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Modern Love

My updated Twitter feed, 2.0!

Though I've had a Twitter account for awhile, it's one of those things that takes a while before you figure out what you can do with it, without wasting numerous hours daily. But I think I finally have it set up with some cool stuff you might fine interesting. At least I hope so!

There's new links daily to articles about photography, technology, and travel too. Not your five star resorts, though. The travel links are more of the "Roads Less Traveled" destinations. Although it's certain possible in many cases to spend your evenings at a nice resort and take day trips on "Roads Less Traveled."

And you don't need to have a Twitter account to read it either. Just click on the Twitter link on the right of the page, and it will bring you to my new Twitter 2.0. There you'll find a short description of the article, and a link to click. Hope you find something interesting!

Modern Love

Photo Series ~ Whimsical Wednesdays

This was spotted in the vicinity of the subjects of the last two Whimsical Wednesday photos. I was way up on a hill, and this sculpture was down below, but looking at the photo close up, it appears that our young lovers are made of car parts!