Weekly Photo Challenge: Blur (European Orchid Conference)

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: blur.

Yesterday I attended the European Orchid Conference. What an incredible blur of form and color!

image The conference is hosted from April 9-12 at the RHS Horticultural Halls. The main exhibit area featured displays from around the world. Vendor booths and a second set of exhibits were set up across the street.


Here are the best photos of the zillion I took! 🙂



wpid-wp-1428663543804.jpeg image image Until next time…

🙂 🙂 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral

I’ve been in London since March 21st…brrrr! Compared to Vero Beach this great city is COLD!! 😄

Last Thursday I met Claire of Promenade Plantings for a tour of the Chelsea Physic Garden, an apothecary that features herbal and medicinal plants from around the world.  Of course everything was labelled…except the one I’ve chosen for this week’s challenge! Claire thought it might be an Angelica and we both thought it was quite ephemeral.  If anyone can identify it let me know?




A word about today’s post: this is my first attempt at creating content via the WordPress android app.  Quite difficult to ascertain what the published result will be! Keeping fingers crossed!

Until next time…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale (Iceland)

For this week’s challenge I pulled the best shots from our trip to Reykjavik and the Ring Road. Nothing says scale better than Iceland’s sweeping vistas and urban contrasts.

Reykjavik from Perlan Viewing Deck

Reykjavik from Perlan Viewing Deck

Tjörnin Pond, Reykjavik City Centre

Tjörnin Pond, Reykjavik City Centre

Perlan Observation Deck, Reykjavik

Perlan Observation Deck, Reykjavik

A sign that could use a little English! ;)

A sign that could use a little English! 😉

Hydroponic Greenhouse, Hveragerði

Hydroponic Greenhouse, Hveragerði

Farmhouse, Skogar

Farmhouse, Skogar

Steps at Skogafoss  Waterfall

Steps at Skogafoss Waterfall

Skogafoss Runoff

Skogafoss Runoff

Rowan Tree with Berries, Reyjkavik Airbnb

Rowan Tree with Berries, Reyjkavik Airbnb

No real sun while we were there…and it was very cold and miserably wet! I can’t say we actually liked Iceland, but it was a memorable stop enroute to London!

Until next time…
🙂 🙂 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Depth (Gardenfest part 1)

I kept this week’s photo challenge in mind while taking pictures at Gardenfest.

First up: looking down a row of incredible Medinilla magnifca

Medinilla magnifica, Gardenfest 2015

Medinilla magnifica, Gardenfest 2015

…and a row of bananas:

Going Bananas, Gardenfest 2015

Going Bananas, Gardenfest 2015

Next, a view through the Spanish Moss:

Looking through the Spanish Moss, Gardenfest 2015

Looking through the Spanish Moss, Gardenfest 2015

…and a wander under impressive Live Oaks:

Under the oaks, Gardenfest 2015

Under the oaks, Gardenfest 2015

Each year Gardenfest grows bigger and better, with increasingly unusual vendors and displays.  Definitely one of Vero Beach‘s premier in-season events!  Part 2 later in the week!

Until next time…

🙂 🙂 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself (Converge Part 2)

This week’s photo challenge is part 2 of my Moscow penpal saga.  If you’re new or missed part 1, read this first. The short version: I’ve been communicating with a Russian man for quite awhile now, and this week I received a package!


Ayyyyyyyyyyyyy!!! 🙂  Such crazy fun and what an interesting glimpse of a major cultural difference!  First the trinkets:


…next, a perfectly themed Yuri Gagarin t-shirt!  Evgeny is an astrophysicist: one of our earliest conversations was about the Cold War Space Race.

Maggie arrived home while I was opening the final item and we nearly killed ourselves laughing. Gender roles are alive and kicking in Moscow…bigtime!


I’ve been around a long time, and no man in his right mind has ever given me an apron!  Apparently this is high praise from a Russian male so I won’t smack him with a frying pan; couldn’t reach that high anyway!! 🙂

I’ve been enjoying this entire experience so much I began studying Russian two months ago.  Slow going, but I’m getting better at cadence and recognizing which cyrillc syllables are stressed when I see words in print.  However, to express yourself well, you REALLY need to understand complicated grammar rules…so I bought these:


До следующего раза! (until next time!)

🙂 🙂 🙂


Related articles

Weekly Photo Challenge: Converge

This week’s challenge asks us to share images where lines and shapes converge in literal or abstract ways.  Because my pictures are part of a larger story with the same theme, I’ve written a photo essay tying the two together.

The Backstory:

Shortly before leaving Massachusetts I had cataracts removed so during the winter of 2010 I was primed to read a really meaty novel.  I came across an online review of a 2008 English translation of “Dead Souls”, written by Nikolai Gogol in 1842, widely considered the first of the great Russian novels and one of the indisputable masterpieces of world literature.

After reading a few chapters online, I decided the book was a keeper, ordered a copy and read nonstop for 3 weeks.  Such a fantastic novel I HAD to discuss it with someone! I found an online book discussion forum where I left the following post: “Anyone want to talk about Gogol’s Dead Souls? Email me!”

The Story

Three weeks passed before someone reached into my backyard from a street in Moscow:

After a spirited discussion of the book, we communicated randomly for a year about James Baxter’s science fiction. Somewhere in year 2 we began sharing occasional news stories about Obama and Putin and having intellectual debates about socialism vs capitalism and the “New Russia.”  Year 3:  “Have you studied Latin?”( “of course!”) which opened up new conversations about Ovid, The Metamorphoses, and Latin as the building block of our native tongues.  Great intellectual stuff and I began thinking “man, this guy has one helluva mind,” and on it went to year 4.

When I returned from England in September,  I saw he had messaged me (something new!!) so I turned on my smartphone notifications should it occur again.  A week later it pinged as I was heading to bed. I said I was just back from a trip and we had our first personal conversation about impressions of Europe, what we liked and didn’t like about it, etc.  5 hours later I finally said goodnight and went to bed as the sun was coming up!

The following weekend we began flipping photos back and forth…not of ourselves but of what we were doing at particular times to see how life differed. (Note: Hovering your mouse over all photos reveals captions)

The practice of showing each other where we were at given moments in time seemed a surprisingly close approximation of running into someone for a few seconds at the store or on a subway platform.  “What’s up?”  “Where you headed?” “How ’bout that weather?” “Talk later!”   A few days into this, the first actual phone call came from Moscow…and a few days later a Skype call.  For kids brought up on opposite sides of the Cold War, seeing inside each other’s homes via webcam has been a strange and exhilarating convergence!

One day he “brought me along on his commute” via a series of photos that work particularly well for this challenge. Before I close, one final gallery:

Until next time….

🙂 🙂 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

This week’s challenge asks us to share a “minimalist” image, one with “a large portion of negative space, a fairly monochromatic color palette with good contrast, and an interesting subject that is able to stand on its own to capture the interest of the viewer.”

That’s a tall order!

Here are two shots from last February and (hopefully!) they hit the mark.

minimalist at the beach

After a few minutes, the ladies above joined their friend in the water:


Photography is a funny thing: I was aiming for Maggie on her paddleboard (teeny-tiny figure back/center of first photo; nearly off frame in the second) but the three women became the focal point instead!

Sometimes the subject you shoot isn’t the subject you get, but I think it worked out perfectly for this challenge!

Until next time…

🙂 🙂 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art (Requiem for a Dream)

This week’s challenge asks us to share a photo to illustrate the cover of a movie, cd, or book.   For several days I plowed through every image on my hard drive but nothing inspired me. Then ten minutes ago, a light bulb moment: I DO have a picture that illustrates an award winning movie from the year 2000 AND ties in with key components of my blog.

First the photo, then the explanation/description.

Requiem for a Dream (2000) is a psychological drama that explores the mental states of people suffering drug addiction. When they use, a door opens briefly into a world where everything is colorful and bright; but then it closes and everything is worn, rusty and miserable.  Having been through this struggle, I can vouch for the movie’s portrayal, and I love how the photo informs it

Now at first glance you may not notice (I didn’t!) the small green “running man exit sign”. How great is its inclusion for the cover art?  Sure, there’s a way out, but it’s barely visible in the upper right corner of an addict’s mind.

This photo was taken last month from inside The Orangery at Kew Gardens and I feel fortunate to have it!  Two days prior, I sat alone in Turnham Green and wept at being drug and methadone free thousands of miles from home. In a way, this image is a souvenir of my past as well as a trip I thought I’d NEVER take.   I’m glad I could share it as cover art.

Until next time…

🙂 🙂 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs

This week’s photo challenge asks us to share images of signs, and since taking pictures of unexpected/oddball signage is one of my oldest habits (seriously!!) I have plenty to share. 🙂

The three “gallery” photos are from Chiswick, Paris and Brighton, respectively; the fourth/bottom shot was taken today on the access road to Tracking Station Beach. (Note: Hover your mouse on the individual pics to see their captions)

Ordinarily I hate misspellings, but there was something serendipitous about two Estas driving behind this guy!  Gave us quite a chuckle on our way to the beach:

Until next time…

🙂 🙂 🙂



Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime (in Paris)

While we were in Chiswick/London last week, we took the Eurostar to Paris. We arrived in the Bastille district just before nighttime.


Our Airbnb was around the corner on tiny Rue de Lappe; As we checked in, Maggie leant out the bedroom window to catch the activity below:


Great Party Street in the Bastille. So Fun!

Next we hit Corcoran’s Irish Pub for a bit of dinner.


By the time we left the pub it was completely dark, perfect for viewing the Eiffel Tower in illuminated glory. 🙂

Eiffel Tower by night

Can you believe this GREAT pic came from my Samsung Gs3!! Best phonecam ever!

The lines were short, so we rode the elevators to the summit observation deck. WOW!  There’s Versailles!


The Seine looked beautiful, too.


Nighttime in La Ville-Lumière was pretty damn incredible!  All photos (except Rue De Lappe) taken with Samsung Galaxy S3.

For other interpretations of this week’s challenge, click Weekly Photo Challenge, Nighttime and on the Zemanta links below.