Saturday, November 12, 2011

Arizona State Fair - 2011 Amateur Photography Division

These photos were entered in the Arizona State Fair, in the Amateur Photography Division.  This is the last year that I can be in this division and next year will be moved up to the Pros. So I am enjoying any recognition that I get this year because next year the competition will get tougher.

This is the Roman Forum.  It was displayed but no ribbon.

This is the Sans Souci castle in Pottsdam, Germany.  It was not displayed.

This is the pond and bridge at Monet's Garden in Giverny, France.
This photo won Honorable Mention.
I have an enlarged 20x30 hanging on my wall at home and the colors are amazing.

This is the view from inside the Pantheon in Rome, Italy.
It was awarded Honorable Mention. I enlarged this photo to 20x30
and it absolutely glows.

I also entered four photos in the Black and White division.  I tried some artsy approaches to see if I could catch the judges' eye. It didn't work.

This is gatework from a church along the Elbe River, Germany.
Not selected for display.

This is the dome from a church along the Elbe River in Germany.
Not displayed.

These are the wintry steps in Montmartre, Paris, France.
These lead up to Sacre Coeur.
Displayed but no ribbon.

This is one of my favorite of the Louvre Museum, Paris, France.
I probably like it a lot because I took it on my last day in Paris with Tina.
It was not displayed.

All of these photos are available for a reprint. Let me know what size you want and I'll quote a price.

Arizona State Fair on Facebook

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Phoenix - Beckett's Table

Beckett's Table has been open for a few months and I finally had an opportunity to enjoy a wonderful dinner.  We had reservations so our table was ready when we arrived. I have noticed driving by in the past that the parking lot is full, so I recommend reservations so that you won't have to wait.  We made reservations a week in advance because it was "Phoenix Restaurant Week" and this place was bound to be full (and it was!)

We split appetizers so that we could have some of both.
This was chicken meatballs and smokey tomato sauce, roasted onions, eggplant & peppers, bread crumbs and basil.  Very tasty.

We also had a vegetable chop salad, razz cherries, pepitas, cucumber, carrot, fennel, potato, tomato, green beans, celery, red bells, corn, champagne basil vinaigrette.  This was good too.

For our entry we both had the same thing: Steamed white bass with farmer's market organics.
 The other choices were Fire Roasted green chili pork stew with corn bread, cotija cheese or J's Meatloaf, cream yukon mashed, green beans, mushroom gravy.

Included in the $30 fixed price was a glass of house red wine (or white or beer).

Dessert was a choice of "award winning fig and pecan pie, with cream cheese citrus zest ice cream. (Yes, cream cheese ice and creamy.)

You could also have Chocolate dipped bacon s'mores, caramel, house-made marshmallows, whipped peanut butter, graham cracker.  Sounded good.

I highly recommend a dinner here.  The service was good and timing of the courses allowed plenty of time to relax, chat, and enjoy good company and good food.

Click here to go to Beckett's Table on the web.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Versailles - A Garden in Four Seasons

Versailles: A Garden in Four Seasons 

The sumptuous palace and gardens of Versailles represented both Louis XIV’s celebration of himself and a perfectly balanced integration of art and nature. Millions of tourists have long admired the gardens for their inexhaustible source of new life and enduring mystery. The allĂ©es and parterres resonate with memories of pomps and promenades, feasts and follies. As a monument to the Sun King, the solar symbolism of Apollo reigns over both architecture and ornament at Versailles, yet French classicism dominates the gardens, imposing a strict geometrical order on the forest, shaping the flowerbeds and boxwood, and brightening the bosky depths with fountains and statuary.  [Book Description]

Photographer Jacques Dubois presents Versailles through the cycle of the seasons and the shifting intensities of their light. His evocative images show the great facades, the stone goddesses, the flowers and pools, the masks, columns, and towering trees transformed by the ever-shifting forces of nature. Brief essays provide historical perspective and insight into the development of this enduring landmark. This gorgeous book will be treasured by visitors to Versailles as well as any garden lover.   [Book Description]

I've visited Versaille in each season to see the differences in colors and perspectives.  It's easy to think "Oh, it will just be the same." But each season brings something new, with the changing light, the weather, and the crowds. Sunshine, rain, snow.  It all makes such a difference in the look and feel of the gardens.  Here are a few comparisons from my trips.  My first trip to Versaille was in the Summer of 2007. I toured the Palace, and walked the center part of the gardens.  I was fascinated by the statues and water ponds. In the fall of 2009, I wanted to go to see what the trees looked like with full color, and discovered the other areas of the grounds that were now open, such as the Trianon.  In the winter of  2010, I was amazed with the snow cover, iced over ponds, and stillness of the grounds.  It was beautiful, and freezing!  In the spring of 2011, I had read some additional literature and books on the gardens, and, to my delight, discovered that there were more water fountains, grottos and delightful areas hidden amoung the trees.  The trip from Paris to Versaille is very easy and is a short train ride.  More and more rooms are renovated, and opened, at the Palace although I have gone just to see the Gardens. The fountains are all running on the weekends in the Spring and Summer. Check the website for exact dates and times.  You can buy a ticket just to visit the gardens if you have already seen the Palace interior. (The Gardens are free during the week.)  Okay, on to the photographs and the seasons.

Note: I will add my Summer 2007 pictures soon.
The Front Entrance
Fall 2009
Notice that the left facade is under renovation.  The palace is in a constant state of renovation to restore it to the former condition.
The open plaza leading to the gates is all cobblestone. This is not a problem in dry weather.

Winter 2010
The facade update has been completed. The gold trim is brilliant.
The cobblestone is slushy and hides puddles of cold wet surprises.

Spring 2011
The cobblestones are wet and slippery, and water is running down hill.

Side Gardens
Fall 2009

Winter 2010

Spring 2011

Water Parterres
Large reflecting pools on the first level at the Chateau's back.
Fall 2009

Winter 2010
Ice covers the ponds and the fountains are still.  Snows lays on the statues around the pool.
The gold statue in the background is from a special exhibit.

Spring 2011
The grass is green and the fountains are active.

The Grand Perspective
From "the king's viewing point"
Fountain of Latona, mother of Apollo and Diana, in the center of the Grand Perspective.
Fall 2009. The trees are just beginning to turn color.

Winter 2010
Snow covers the ground and the trees have all dropped their leaves.

Spring 2011
The fountains are active from April to October, and the Gardens come alive.
White blossoms can be seen on the trees in the forested area.

More books on the Gardens at Versailles (Amazon affiliate links)
Versailles: The History of the Gardens and Their Sculpture
Versailles Gardens
Gardens of Versailles
Territorial Ambitions and the Gardens of Versailles (Cambridge Cultural Social Studies)
Gardens of the World VERSAILLES Paris, France
Marie-Antoinette and the Last Garden at Versailles
The Gardens of Le Notre at Versailles: Plans by Jean Chaufourier
Key to the Panorama of the palace and garden of Versailles. Painted by J. Vanderlyn.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pittsburgh, PA - Allegheny River Tour

I love to see Pittsburgh from the river.  This Gateway Clipper dinner tour started on the Monongahela River at the docks.  We then headed up the Allegheny River.  Pittsburgh's skyline has a mix of old and new.  The bridges are frequent.

 The Heinz Field stadium with Point State Park in the foreground.
 Looking at downtown Pittsburgh. Point State Park is in the foreground where the two rivers meet to form the Ohio River.  The evening sunlight is perfect!
 We travel along the Allegheny Riverfront and Fort Duquesne Boulevard Park
 We passed under the Andy Warhol Bridge, historically known as the 7th Street Bridge.  This is one of the "Three Sisters Bridges", three parallel bridges. The other two are "Roberto Clemente" and "Rachel Carson" bridges.
 The US Steel Building is tall in the background as we approach the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
 The railroad bridge.
 The David McCollough Bridge in honor of native historian, author and commentarial.  The bridge is known locally/historically the 16th Street Bridge.  Bridge type "Arch Bridge", "Through Arch Bridge".

Church spires along the north side banks.
The view of downtown from the Allegheny.
Barges turned and stowed along the banks.

The Duquesne Incline on the south shore Carson Street at the lower end to Grandview Avenue on Mt. Washington.