Posts tagged “International

Rome- Crazy light trails

Another of the series from Rome and this shot was taken in a rather tricky spot with the wife helping me dodge the crazy cars, motorbikes, and tourists. For tips on how to do this same shot- check out the tutorial section on our website- just click on the photo itself and you will magically go to the site! Thank you again, Kathleen & Erik

Mud Flowers

This was taken in the Winter in New Zealand a bit outside of the thermal regions of Rotorua. We discovered this seething pond of thermal mud, which was alive with sulphury, bubbling hot mud. Some areas would spout large globs into the air while others, like this one, would craft constantly evolving shapes like these mud flowers. It was fascinating to just watch what creation would spout out next!

Thermal activity is at the heart of much of Rotorua’s tourist appeal. Geysers and bubbling mud-pools, hot thermal springs and the Buried Village (Te Wairoa) —so named after it was buried by the 1886 Mount Tarawera eruption— are within easy reach of the city.

Kuirau Park, to the west end of the central city, is also remarkable: hot bubbling mud pools dot the park, lending a surrealair to the setting. Visitors can soak their feet in hot pools. We elected not to do this – this one was a bit too hot to handle!

I’ve Got My Eye On You!

I've Got My Eye On You

While I was roaming around looking for a lagoon shot, Kathleen was mesmerized the a very friendly bird. Almost from the time we arrived until we left this isolated beach in New Zealand, this beauty was within feet, swooping closer, resting, observing and just being nice. We thought she was curious and happy to see company. A lovely beach, a few sand flies but just charming and empty in New Zealand Winter. Later, after discussing with locals, the behaviour of the bird was explained!

The bird like humans who attract sand flies! The hover around and eat them once they determine that there are enough congregated around the “bait”…in this case, Kathleen!

Sandfly (or sand fly) is a colloquial name for any species or genus of flying, biting, blood sucking Dipteran encountered in sandy areas. We all were scratching later wondering what bit us…luckily this bird consumed most!

Hoar Frost: Onwards To Mt. Aspiring, New Zealand

This was mile 2 up the road to the top, everything was covered by Hoar Frost, rocks, trees, fences…and with the early morning light it was just a Magical Place…no tourists, hikers, just the two of us heading into the unknown frosty blue. We left our “Destination Cards” at the Trailhead and onward we went toward Mt. Aspiring. Why this shot? Everything was covered with Hoar Frost….

Hoar Frost is the solid deposition of water vapor from saturated air. It is formed when solid surfaces are cooled to below the  dew point of the adjacent air as well as below the freezing point of water.  Frost crystals’ size differ depending on time and water vapour available.

Hoar frost (also called radiation frost or hoarfrost or pruina) refers to the white ice crystals, loosely deposited on the ground or exposed objects, that form on cold clear nights when heat losses into the open skies cause objects to become colder than the surrounding air. A related effect is flood frost which occurs when air cooled by ground-level radiation losses travels downhill to form pockets of very cold air in depressions, valleys, and hollows. Hoar frost can form in these areas even when the air temperature a few feet above ground is well above freezing. Nonetheless the frost itself will be at or below the freezing temperature of water. COOL, eh?

A Sunset Bath in New Zealand

When The Moment is Right!

This is another sunset shot from Winter in New Zealand off the West Coast of South Island from the charming Bed and Breakfast close to Bird’s Ferry. The proprietors had spent considerable time and artistic effort to create an Ulitmate Getaway. The have spent years planning housing such that one would receive the morning sunrise from the Bedroom and also be able to relax in the setting sun in the adjoining living room. Brilliant!

During our “Wak-about” on the expansive estate, we found this bathtub which reminded us of some TV Commercials where two couples sit in warm water and look lovingly into each others eyes…Thank Goodness for some Pill that would Enhance the Evening! We got the picture, did not get in the tub and had a great dinner in nearby Westport. Westport is such a charming coastal community…and the food was five-star!

Around this area are man places to explore, hike, eat and just have a great time – we plan on at least a one week stay in this amazing part of NZ sometime soon!




Bird’s Ferry Sunset, New Zealand

Shifting gears, we now take you back to the West Coast of New Zealand to a charming Bed and Breakfast we stayed at in Bird’s Ferry. This was the view from the back yard which overlooked the ocean – absolutely breathtaking! Bird’s Ferry is just south from Westport, a town s located on the northern bank and at the mouth of the Buller River, close by the prominent headland of Cape Foulwind.

There is evidence that Māori settlers lived in the Buller (Kawatiri) area from very early on. Legends actually place the first visit as early as 950 AD via the waka Tahiriangi with its chief Ngahue. The settlers appeared to live mostly coastal lives, though they explored the mountains for pounamu (jade or ‘greenstone’), which they then traded with other iwi

The first white settlers came to Westport in 1861 as gold miners and the first European vessel known to have entered the river was the sealing schooner Three Brothers in 1884. The 1880s saw many exploratory parties of geologists and surveyors combing the area for the presence of valuable resources and taking the measure of the land.  While gold brought initial interest to the area, and for example, led to large areas of the coastal areas (covered by sediment from the river) being dredged for the valuable mineral, the area soon became much more famous for coal mining, still a dominant concern in the region today.

Basilica of St. John Lateran, Rome

Dedicated to John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, the Basilica of St. John Lateran (Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano) is the first among the four major basilicas of Rome. Built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century, San Giovanni in Laterano was the first church to be built in Rome. It contains several important relics, a lovely 13th-century cloister and an ancient baptistery (San Giovanni in Fonte).

An earlier post details the spectacular interior! 

More Rome updates on

Stop and Go, Rome

The streets of Rome during rush hour are awash with local pedestrians, curious tourists,  uncountable numbers of scooters, and the occasional car driving at breakneck speeds. Surprisingly, nobody seems to get run over.

The shot of this traffic signal is somewhat contradictory. The light in the foreground indicates Stop, whereas the light across the road facing the same direction indicates Go. The net result (I presume) is that they cancel and everything just moves along at its own natural pace.

Stop...or Go!

Get Off My Head, Rome

Hey Pigeon, SCRAM!

Plaza Della Rotonda in Rome is the square in which the Pantheon stands. The plaza also contains a majestic fountain with a Obelisk at the center. As the Pantheon is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome, the square is very busy almost all the time. In the evening it is a fantastic place to come and have a meal in one of the many restaurants that line the square.

The fountain is frequented by scores of Pigeons (And Tourists). I can hear these figures yelling, “Hey, get off my Nose” and “Pigeon, off of my head!”

Honey…Build Me a Temple, Rome

This is another view of a previous post which “The Green Door” was highlighted. This shot gives some perspective to this amazing Temple. I can somehow hear Faustina mentioning to Antoninus, “Honey, I’m sick of this Castle, can you build me a Temple?”

The building stands on a high platform of large peperino blocks. The later of two dedicatory inscriptions says, “Divo Antonino et Divae Faustinae Ex S.C.” meaning, “To the divine Antoninus and to the divine Faustina by decree of the Senate.”

The ten monolithic Corinthian columns of its pronaos are 17 m. tall. The rich bas-reliefs of the frieze under the cornice, of garlanded griffons and candelabri, were often copied from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries.

Mausoleum Door, Rome

The Roman Emperor Hadrian built this Mausoleum to house his and his family remains in 123AD. The ashes of Emperor Hadrian were placed here when he died in 138AD, along with his wife and his adopted son, and so are other Emperor’s ashes. The Mausoleum became a military fortress in 401AD, then a castle in 14th century…then as a prison.

 This red door beckons you to enter…


Enter if you dare

Bonus Image of the Day: “Emperor’s View”, Colosseum, Rome

This is where the Emperor of Rome used to watch The Games. It was built with 80 arched entrances allowing free and easy access to the 55,000 spectators. Over the course of The Games, over 700,000 contestants were killed, and countless lions, elephants, hippos, bears, zebras and elk.  more at

Image of the Day: Frosty Trees, New Zealand

Along the road to Mt. Aspiring, another stand of Hor Frost covered trees, with the mysterious blue mist lingering in the valley behind. Tens of miles along a lone dirt road, nobody to been seen – solitude!  more at

Blue Mist in the Middle of Nowhere

Nightly Image: Lone Farmhouse, New Zealand

On the long road back from a trek up Mt.Aspiring, we noticed this lone farmhouse in the middle of nowhere as we bumped along a single lane dirt and water road. Too cute! What was shocking about this scene was…No Sheep! (more at

Bonus Image of the Day: Rotorua, New Zealand

This was taken late afternoon in July, cool atmospheric temperatures were accentuating the steam coming from the Champagne Pool (previous blog image). The reflection of the steam in the water was magical.

Mirror Lake

More at

Image of the Day: Champagne Pool, New Zealand

We were the first ones in to the Rotorua cauldera region last July. It was cold, misty, steamy, spooky quiet. Lucky I didnt fall into this steaming cauldron as I was composing and taking the shots – apparently many people get cooked in these every year!

Lobster Pot for Overly Zealous Photographers