Wednesday, January 17, 2018

More Photos from Antigua

I thought I'd share a few more photos from Antigua, Guatemala.

As I mentioned in my last post, the windows of El Sitio are one of my favorite subjects to photograph in Antigua. (You can click on photos for a larger view.  If you're using a computer with a full size keyboard, use arrow keys to toggle through images.  Use the ESC button to exit photo view mode.)

Birds of Paradise and Lilies make El Sitio a perfect subject for photography.
Cherub fountains are all over Antigua.  This one is at the hotel La Quinta de las Flores.
Another fountain at La Quinta de las Flores.

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Monday, January 8, 2018

2018: A Good Start to the Photographic Year

As I mentioned in my last blog entry, I opened the New Year on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala.  Since then, I've spent time in Antigua and Guatemala City.

While I haven't had time to go through all of the photographs I shot, I thought I'd share a few that I've had time to process.

My feet in the black sand of the Pacific coast.  Technically this was shot at the end of 2017, but not processed until I returned from the beach in January.

My family and I had a wonderful breakfast at the Saberico Restaurant in Antigua, Guatemala.  Michael, the owner told us he uses organic and sustainable food.  Everything was also delicious.  This is an amazing restaurant that you don't want to miss.  In addition, I discovered that it had much to offer photographically. The bicycle and lemons were begging for a photo. (You can click on photos in this blog for a larger image).

A wider view of the same scene.

Eggs ready to be made into breakfast at the Saberico Restaurant.

These boots stuffed with plants are at the entrance to the Saberico Restaurant.

Agua Volcano from the rooftops of Antigua.

Antigua chimneys are unique to Antigua and the surrounding area.
Whenever I can, I like to photograph the windows at El Sitio in Antigua.  El Sitio promotes the arts and culture in Antigua.  It is also the site of my first international photographic exhibition a couple of decades ago.
I hope you've enjoyed a few of my first images of the year.  I assure you that there will be more to come.

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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Mystery of the Miracle Frisbee

Happy 2018! This is a true story that happened on New Year's Eve of 2011. I originally published it in January of 2012.  I've republished it on New Year's Eve over the past few years because it's true, possibly inspirational, and I think you'll find it amazing.  By the way, if you're reading this on New Year's Eve this year, I'll be at the same beach in Guatemala that I was on in 2011/12. If anything amazing or miraculous happens, I'll let you know.  However, I suspect that events such as the one below are very rare, indeed! (This article is scheduled to post automatically, as I won't have Internet access at the beach.)

The story below is absolutely true.  My family and I were there and experienced this first-hand.  It is not the type of material you find in my typical blog entry.  However, it is too good not to share.  Please post your thoughts at the bottom of this page.  Share this with anyone you think might enjoy it or get caught up in the mystery.

What do you call it when something beyond understanding occurs -- something that defies all odds? Is it a paranormal event?  A coincidence of unimaginable proportions?  Magic?  Or is it a miracle? And what if you can prove to yourself and others that it really happened because you were there and you took photographs!  This incident concerns nothing more elaborate than a Frisbee, but it is mystifying, nevertheless.

My wife’s family is from Guatemala.  My wife, our two children, and I live in Illinois and sometimes visit her family in Central America over the holidays.  This year, we, along with most of my wife’s large family, spent the week after Christmas at my sister-in-law’s beach house on the Pacific coast of Guatemala.

My daughter practicing her gymnastics on the black sand beach.
Every day, my wife’s younger brother, Gonzalo, would run out to the volcanic black sand with his Frisbee and toss it along the beach or over the waves and let the wind return it to him.  Two days before New Year’s, as my children and some of the cousins played on the beach, I took my camera and photographed him exercising with the white disc.
My brother-in-law, Gonzalo, running on the beach with his Frisbee.  Notice the design of the Frisbee on the inset.
Later in the evening, my wife, Maria, and I; Gonzalo and his wife, Marta Yolanda; and the children went down to the beach to catch the sunset.  The children built a castle in the sand.  Maria, Marta Yolanda, and I stood and watched the progress of the castle building activities, while Gonzalo launched his Frisbee toward the waves.  I took several photographs.  Several times, the Frisbee landed on the water and was returned in the waves.  Everyone was having a great time, until my brother-in-law made a bad toss.  He groaned as the Frisbee went into the waves and was not immediately returned on the surf.

The children made a sand castle, while my brother-in-law (far right) played with his Frisbee.

“It’s gone,” he said.

“Give it a minute, and maybe the waves will bring it back,” I suggested.

“No, Tom, I don’t think it’s coming back,” he sighed, as we all peered into the dark waves, hoping that he might be wrong.

After another half minute, I pointed into the surf as a white object came into view. 
“There it is,” I yelled.  The Frisbee washed directly to my wife’s feet and hit her on the shins.  She walked over and handed it to her brother.

He took the disc happily, but after only a moment said, “This isn’t my Frisbee.”

We all looked at him. 

“My Frisbee was red on top.   This one’s black.”

“That has to be your Frisbee,” I said.

“Maybe it had a sticker on it that came off in the water,” my wife suggested.

“No,” Gonzalo insisted.  “Mine was a pure white.  This is pearl colored.”

“That has to be your Frisbee,” I said.   “If it’s not, whose is it?  And how is it possible that it washed up at our feet just as we were looking for a Frisbee?  How many times have you ever had a Frisbee wash up at your feet, let alone when you’re looking for one?”

“Never,” he answered.

“And how many times have you ever just found a Frisbee on the beach?”


“Then how is it possible that this isn’t your Frisbee?

“I don’t know,” he answered.  “It just doesn’t look like my Frisbee.”  It was obvious that my logic had convinced him to give up his argument.

We watched another dramatic Pacific sunset, and then returned to the house to have dinner and rest for New Year’s Eve.

It wasn’t until the next morning when I was looking at some of my photos on the LCD screen of my camera that I realized I had shots from before the Frisbee was lost.  I quickly found the photos and zoomed in on one where the design on the Frisbee was plainly visible.

There was no doubt.  It was not the same Frisbee.  The photographs plainly show a Frisbee with a very different graphic design.  If not for the photographs, we all would have given up on the notion that one disc had been thrown into the ocean and a different disc returned.  It was just too difficult to believe.  But that’s exactly what happened:  one Frisbee was thrown into the ocean, only to be replaced by a different one a moment later.

The Frisbee that returned in the waves (center) and the Frisbee that was thrown into the ocean (inset).
I have no explanation.  Something very strange happened.  I don’t know how or why.  Maybe it was nature’s way of assuring us that miracles can and do happen.  If something with odds this impossible can take place, it can happen again.  And maybe next time, the miracle will be something that will change someone’s life for the better.  Maybe next time we’ll believe the impossible really can happen.  It’s already happened once.  It can happen again.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

My Photography Year in Review - 2017

2017 has been another good year for my photography.  On January 1st, I will have been retired from my position as a college administrator for two years. My retirement has certainly given me more time for photography.

This year, I traveled to Greece, Turkey, and Spain.  I'm currently writing this post from Guatemala.

Here are a few of my favorite images I've taken in 2017.

Medieval and Modern - This image is from León, Spain. In the background in the city's famed Gothic cathedral. In the foreground is a mural on the side of a building.  Somehow they work together.  This image can be seen in the Shrode Gallery at the Mitchell Museum in Mt. Vernon, Illinois through the end of the year. (You can click on all images in this blog for a larger view.)

This Orthodox priest was resting with his dog at the Monastery of Agios Panteleimonas on the Island of Tilos.
The Priest in black &white
Old wooden Greek fishing boats,called kaikis, are quickly disappearing as the days of the lone fisherman are giving way to large-scale industrial fishing.
Glandular Globe-Thistles grown on rocky outcroppings throughout the Agean.
A man enjoys the view.
Here, you've seen a few of my photographs from 2017.  There's still a few days left in the year, so there may be more.  However, check out my blog on December 31 for my special New Year's Eve entry.

You can view my fine art photography website at:

This blog has been named one of the top 75 fine art photography blogs on the planet.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Fun with Photoshop over the Holidays

My son, Brian, seems to have multiple personalities over the holidays.  Apparently, one of them is very good with Photoshop.

You can click on the photo for a larger image.

Each year he produces a Christmas card with at least four of his current personalities.

If you like to play with Photoshop this is a good project to try.

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This blog has been named one of the top 75 fine art photography blogs on the planet.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas from me and my family to all my faithful blog readers.

From left to right: Maria, Tom, Cristina, Tom, Brian, Maria, (Upper row) Maria, Tom, Cristina, (Lower row) Brian, and Mr. Watson!

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This blog has been named one of the top 75 fine art photography blogs on the planet.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

I Told You So!

Over the past several years, I've posted several articles, complete with photographs, about the delicious food to be enjoyed in León, Spain.  My emphasis has been on my favorite variety: tapas.  For those of you who don't know, tapas are an ancient culinary tradition in Spain.  Tapas, in simple terms, are snacks served whenever you order a drink.  But as you'll see, they're much, much more!

However, tapas are only part of the culinary legacy of León.  The people of León love food.  You'll find amazing dishes everywhere, from small bars that serve only drinks and tapas, to fine restaurants that serve everything from traditional Spanish foods to modern, innovative creations.  That's why I'm pleased to tell you that my favorite culinary city has been named: "Capital Española de las Gastronomíca 2018."  Or in English: 2018 Gastronomic Capital of Spain.

In the video below that promotes León's achievement, you'll see many of the places I've photographed and presented in this blog.

You can view the article from León's daily newspaper by clicking here.

My photograph Modern and Medieval is taken from one of the streets that radiates from the Barrio Húmedo (the wet district, which is the area with many bars and tapas venues.)  In the background is León's famed Gothic cathedral. In the foreground is a wall with a modern mural.  This photograph will be exhibited this fall and winter at the 2017 Shrode Photography Competition and Exhibit at the Mitchell Museum in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. The opening reception will be Saturday, October 21, 6:30 p.m. and the top award winners will be announced that evening. Three Cedarhurst galleries will be opening their new exhibits which will be celebrated with food, a cash bar and dessert.  The exhibition will be open from Oct. 22  through Dec. 31, 2017.  (You can click on the image for a closer view.)

Bars like the Camarote Madrid serve tapas along with every drink.

Below are some links to some of my previous article about the food and tapas of León.

Spain Means History, Tapas, more Tapas ...and Photographs

Photographing (and Eating) Tapas in León, Spain

Photographing (and Eating) Tapas in León, Spain - Part Two

Preparing for Easter Week (Semana Santa) in León, Spain – An Unexpected Surprise of Tradition, Legos, Family, Pharmaceuticals, Food & Drink

Holy Week in León -- Family, Tradition & Food

Photos from León

Are Tapas Evolving?

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This blog has been named one of the top 75 fine art photography blogs on the planet.