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Hawk in the Hood

Here in the suburbs of Washington, DC, we’re used to watching political hawks squawk on TV (think Donald and Hillary).

But we never expected to see a Red Tailed Hawk…

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…sitting pretty in our backyard.

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She (he?) visited us on two cold, February mornings.  

Just chillin and hawkeyed.

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Here’s looking at you, kid.

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Vancouver Forgets to Remember

We had occasion to take a brief January journey to Vancouver.  

The opening airport scene offered hope that this was a city that honored its history.  

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As it turns out, not so much.

Vancouver’s downtown core does offer many interesting views,

starting harbor-side.

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The city’s central library is an architectural treat,

with a soaring center space.

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While Vancouver’s Chinatown is mired in decay,

murals look back to better times.

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Hendrix lived nearby for a time, with his grandmother.

 

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We did see some fine examples of heritage buildings.

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But increasingly it appears that Vancouver’s history is shadowed by high rises.

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A sign of the times:

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As a Vancouver Sun article put it:  “We’ve done a remarkable job of erasing our architectural history.  

Many of the city’s historic buildings have fallen to the wrecker’s ball over the last 125 years.”

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Public pressure has brought Vancouver a “Heritage Action Plan,” and a renewed focus on “saving historic buildings.”

Let’s hope the city heeds the call…

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Looking Back

This past year, these scenes grabbed my attention.

Starting with my grandson keeping his eye…

on the pitcher.

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And then there was:

Focus…

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Incoming…

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Cloud color…

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An afternoon commute…

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Decked out in the backyard… 

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  Alone time… 

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Reason to celebrate…

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A setting sun soliloquy…                                   

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Pals…

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Harbor light…

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Bridge of sighs…

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House of mirth…

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New York bar….

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 Oyster bar…

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Window dressing…

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Tied up…

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Starin’ heron…

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Faux dog sunset….

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A Fly By Summer

Photography gives and takes,

you back.

Here’s an opportunity to revisit summer ’15 in Victoria.  

These scenes focus on flight.  

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Every dog must have his day…

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And buskers too…

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In August there was a hubbub along Dallas beach.

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Up in the sky, it’s a Bird, it’s a plane…

actually, it’s the Snowbirds. Canada’s take on

synchronized flying.  

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From our 14th floor rental, we were fortunate to have a bird’s eye view of seaplanes

soaring.

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In the backyard of our other summer stay, the bird feeder was so popular it called for air traffic control.  

Here the customer’s careen in for lunch.

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For our final summer fly by, an eagle soars,

in the mist of a Port Renfrew morning.

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New York City: Street and Island Views

Coming down from the High Line-here are some street level sightings. 

Times Square, of course—gotta see the show!  

(This was before NY’s big boob breakout–Google if you missed it.)

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Walking from Broadway to the subway, we happened upon this

underground band.  Dismissing the usual fare, they launched into, of all things,

the Beatle’s A Day in the Life.  

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Densely alive, NY is all about juxtaposition.  

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It feels like you can enter any New York City art gallery, and be challenged.

This exhibit featured female artists,

portraying the burden of women’s traditional roles.

Take the task of cooking countless meals.

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Another gallery focused on New York’s pet-centric nature.

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We’ll end this visit  with a tram ride,

from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island.

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Roosevelt Island, a narrow 2 mile long spit of land in New York’s East River,

provides a place of peace amidst the bustle of the big city.  

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Honoring Franklin D. Roosevelt, it also serves a higher purpose…

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…along with splendid views of the Manhattan skyline.

Views to go out on…

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High Times in New York City

April in New York.

I was reminded that no matter your stature,

the Big Apple will make you feel small (in a good way). 

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When feeling small, it’s great to step up, and see New York in a whole new light.

The High Line— is a 1.45-mile-long linear park, built on an abandoned railway hub.

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In 1999, locals Joshua David and Robert Hammond, started the effort to create an uplifting, public space–to go from rail to ramble.  Super heroes indeed.

 

 

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Today, five million people a year, walk the Line.

Here are some of the sights along the way.

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For apartment dwellers along the Line, their life is an open book.

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And for those who aspire to overlook the Line,

a sign of the gilded times.

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But for the Public, it’s a treasure.  High Line Park offers a bounty of visual treats.

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The High Line is a reminder that New York is always

busy being born.  

And, always a fertile experience.

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Next, we’ll get back to the NYC streets,

before we rise again.

Deer-ly Departed

Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria is a favorite walk of mine, 

bringing peace and perspective.

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These visitors were taking a different kind of sustenance.

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If not quite paying respect, they tread lightly.

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And engaged in their own kind of family reunion.

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All in all, quite a fine day for a nibble in God’s acre.

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Victorian Ramble

Here’s a sample summer ramble through Victoria, BC.

We open with the dating game at Beacon Hill Park.  

This male peacock opens up, in hopes of hailing a hen.  

It appears that size does matter,

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and turnabout is fair play.

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This guy appears to be up a tree, without a mate.

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But wait!  

What light through yonder branches blooms?

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Further along, you’ll run into the colorful characters of

Fisherman’s Wharf.

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And speaking of “colorful characters,” head downtown for the Gay Pride Parade.

Though this summer the colors were somewhat muted, as Victoria’s skies took on an ominous glow from the numerous wildfires burning BC.  

(They’ve since waned due to cooler weather, but beware the Ides of Marching Climate Change)

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Spirits still soared.  

Bottoms up!

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Turn another downtown corner and you might run into

a bike race.

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These gentlemen provided security,

Victoria style.

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Till next time,

keep on truckin.

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Walking Barcelona: OMG (Oh My Gaudi) Edition

Barcelona, of course, offers many archictecturial treasures. 

Starting with these ruins of a Roman temple, surrounded by an apartment building,

sandwiched into history. 

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To walk Barcelona is to walk through time.

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Hovering above all is the patron saint of Catalan modernist architecture, 

Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926).  

Gaudi integrated ceramics, stained glass, and wrought ironwork into his passion for nature and religion—redefining the architecture of modernism.

 

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This is Casa Batlló,  a home designed by Gaudi in 1904.  

At night its exterior takes on an other-worldly glow.

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A short stroll away is Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera (the stone quarry) because of its rough outer appearance.  

Built between 1906 and 1910, it is Gaudi’s modernist take on apartment house living.

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 Here, a courtyard is art.

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One apartment is kept for visitors—the same as it ever was.

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At night, La Pedrera’s rooftop appears,

out of some kind of George Lucas dream sequence.

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Which takes us to Gaudi’s masterwork in progress, la Sagrada Família.

 

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Started in 1882, this UNESCO World Heritage site is slated for completion in 2031.

Here it rises above Barcelona, as seen from the heights of Montjuic Hill.

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Up close, the facade of la Sagrada Famillia, offers scenes from

Gaudi’s own passion play of religion, art and architecture.

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Brought into soaring relief, inside Gaudi’s temple.

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Lifting spirits, no matter one’s belief.

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We’ll close with a view from the top.

Till next time Barcelona…

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Walking Barcelona: Street Art with Sole Edition

Every stroll through Barcelona is an art walk.  Centuries of creativity mix easily.

 Enter Sant Jordie, the Patron Saint of Catalonia.

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Another Barcelona dragon appears, perhaps auditioning for Mary Poppins. 

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Every turn, something special in sight.

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Art for contemplation…

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…and refreshment.

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A lesson in letting it all hang out.

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Above all, one can see art as fun.

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Walking Barcelona is experiencing art as life.

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Take a bow, Barcelona.

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Next Barcelona walk:  OMG (Oh my Gaudi!)