Author Archives: sinpolaris

Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette Redux

May 26, 2013 – Day 674

WordPress, over the weekend, announced their topic for this week’s photo challenge and it is “silhouette“.

WordPress has done this theme before (hence the word redux in my title) and I answered that challenge with this post.

For this go-around, I am taking us back to our family’s trip to Sillustani which I wrote about earlier (in yet another response to a Weekly Photo Challenge).

Sillustani, located near Lake Titicaca in Peru, is a burial ground that pre-dates the Incan Empire. Instead of tombs dug into the ground, the Colla people (those that built Sillustani) created tower-like structures called chullpas where the dead were interred.

For my response to this week’s topic of silhouette, I gave you the tallest of those chullpas taken from a distance.

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Completely by accident did I catch that pillar of diagonal light that cuts through the chullpa and it oddly reminds me the “Pale Blue Dot” photograph made by the Voyager I spacecraft in 1990.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

February 11, 2013 – Day 570

The theme this week from WordPress in their photo challenge is reflections.

My response this week takes the form of light reflected through drops of water. In other words…a rainbow.

In our family’s trip to Iguazu Falls, our second day was spent on the Argentina side. From a certain vantage point close to the first set of falls that you see on the tour, the mist from the falling water travels up and when the light hits it just right, you can see…

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Enjoy.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

February 1, 2013 – Day 560

Inside is this week’s theme from WordPress. The last time WordPress chose this as a theme, my response took you to Sillustani near the waters of Lake Titicaca in Peru.

Today’s answer takes us again to South America, but this time to the country of Brazil and its city of Rio de Janeiro. Previous posts about our vacation stop in this city have highlighted landmarks such as Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer.

We were able to see those sights and many others courtesy of a tour operator that we had hired for the day. Near the end of the trip, our tour guide took us down the fabled beaches of Rio (including the Copacabana). One of the trademarks of the beach front portion of Rio is the distinctive sidewalks. Each section of this Brazilian city has its own pattern of black and white mosaics laid into the sidewalks. People in the know (and if they have enough street sense) can identify where they are on Rio’s beach scene simply by looking at the tiles.

While inside (and there’s my hook for this picture, thank you muchly) our tour van attempting to take pictures of this dichromatic diorama, we saw a scene that demanded its own picture.

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You can see the black-and-white pattern of the sidewalk (and savvy travelers will be able to identify exactly where we are), but you can also see a guy lying on his stomach on a skateboard which is being pulled by a rope attached to the bicycle in front of him.

I can only wonder what is going on inside both of their heads to try such a stunt.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition

July 4, 2013 – Post-Peru Day 011

With a definition of the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect, the theme this week for WordPress’s photo challenge is juxtaposition.

My response takes us to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on America’s Independence Day. On the Fourth of July (the 2013 version), the Smithsonian Institution was hosting its annual Folklife Festival. This is a yearly gathering where the Smithsonian picks (usually) an international culture, an American culture, and a government agency to highlight.

In 2013, the global culture the Folklife Festival shone its spotlight on was Hungary. I don’t know where this picture fits in the Hungarian culture, but one of the items showcased on the National Mall was this gigantic dog made out of stacked (and painted) planks of wood.

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The juxtaposition here is the size of the dog compared to the size of the child underneath. Usually, it’s the other way around.

I guess one could also compare and contrast a Hungarian symbol being showcased on an American landmark on Independence Day, but the picture above doesn’t quite show that. This one does, though…

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Wherever you’re from, hope you enjoy.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie

July 28, 2013 – Post-Peru Day 035

Perfect for the season, the word “eerie” is the theme this week for the photographic challenge brought to us by WordPress.

My entry takes us to Disneyland, that theme park in Anaheim, California, where the family and I like to spend part of our summer vacation when we’re in transit from wherever we have been to wherever we are next going.

No, what follows is not a picture of the Haunted Mansion, but is instead this…

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So, what’s happening here?

This looks like a tree on fire but without being consumed, but of course that can’t be what is transpiring.

Eerie, isn’t it?

Actually, as with most things eerie (actually, with all things eerie) the explanation is more mundane. Every night, at half past nine, Disneyland has a fireworks show. For every other year we have spent at Disneyland, we have viewed this spectacle from the front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. For this year, we changed it up and decided instead to view the spectacle from behind the Castle and we were parked outside of the Storybook Land ride (that’s the one where the little boats go through Monstro’s mouth). Because of our new vantage point, there was a patch of trees that semi-blocked some of the pyrotechnics for us. This shot (one of many that I took that capture this effect) shows the lingering afterglow of one set of fireworks as it exploded behind the tree.

A trick of the light and treat I’m proud to show off.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

May 26, 2013 – Day 674

Today’s post is an inside job as that is the theme of WordPress’s Weekly Photo Challenge (and I shudder to think how many responses to this week’s challenge use the same horrible play on words that I just did).

My response again takes us back to the time the family visited Lake Titicaca. In addition to visiting the floating islands and kayaking on the lake, we also were able to visit the tombs of Sillustani.

We decided to make this location one of our stops because of the unique structures used in this pre-Inca burial ground. Instead of digging a hole in the ground and instead of building huge pyramids to honor their dead, the people who built Sillustani erected towers, like these, called chullpas

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Okay, so the one above is a bit of a fixer-upper, but you get the idea.

Oh, so how does this visit to this place fit this week’s theme? The answer is because while some of these of structures are in a bit of disrepair, this means that visitors can enter these silent sentinels.

So, that’s what members of our family did. They went inside. Here’s the view from the outside…

On the outside looking in

On the outside looking in

…and from the inside.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusal POV

June 26, 2013 – Post-Peru Day 003

An Unusual Point of View (or POV) is the theme this week for WordPress’s Weekly Photo Challenge.

One of the hints given by the author of WordPress challenge is to take a familiar subject and frame it in a new way. That is the path I have chosen with a photograph I took of an iconic object.

On our third day out of Peru (and, coincidentally, our third day in Mexico), the family and I soaked up the culture as we visited the Museo Nacional de Antropoliga (as seen previously in this photo challenge).

One of the main artifacts housed in this museum is the Aztec Stone of the Sun. Often mischaracterized as a calendar, this gigantic slab of stone resides on a dias in the most prominent part of the museum. It sits by itself and museum patrons are free to walk up to it, but not to touch as the artifact is not protected by any glass.

To obtain a different perspective for one of my shots of the Stone of the Sun, I positioned myself near the entrance and put another stone artifact square in the foreground.

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I chose this photo for this week’s challenge because placing the Stone of the Sun in the background fools the eye. The carved circle is twelve feet in diameter, but this shot does not convey that scale. A clue as to its true size is to notice the couple (man in white shirt, woman in sleeveless dress) standing to the right of the Stone of the Sun. They are up on the dias looking at the piece, but they are only half its size.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

July 24, 2013 – Post-Peru Day 031

The sea is the theme this week from WordPress. As I have lived both near the Pacific Ocean (California, Peru) and the Atlantic Ocean (Virginia), I have plenty o’pictures of el mar.

Today’s selection for this week’s theme comes from a stop on our summer vacation that our family took to California. Specifically, you are looking at the state beach at Corona Del Mar. As a boy, I used to travel down with my parents to the shore and we would soak up the rays while I splashed in the waves. Every once in a while, I even brought a boogie board and tried my best to ride the surf. A generation later, my oldest child takes to the ocean.

Ready to catch some waves

Ready to catch some waves

Time and tide wait for no man.

Very true.

Travel Theme: Distance

May 27, 2013 – Day 675

Distance is the theme this week from the folks over at the blog Where’s My Backpack? and I aim to fit that theme.

During the same culinary tour where I indulged in multiple shots of pisco, our gracious guide also took us sight-seeing.

From Barranco, the artsy district of Lima, we were able to look out across the art galleries, roads, and a section of the Pacific Ocean to see the following landmark in the distance.

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The location you are looking at is Morro Solar.

The cross you are looking at in the distance is made of metal, but that metal has some significance. According to our guide, when Pope John Paul II (who is still popular in Peru) came to visit in the 1980s, there were a series of risers built so that people could sit in the streets and watch the Pope drive by. Some of the metal from those risers was recycled and constructed into the cross that now adorns Morro Solar.

Oh, and it also lights up at night.

Travel Theme: Play

May 25, 2013 – Day 673

The wonderful website, Where’s My Backpack?, has posted their photographic travel theme for the week – and if I may quote William Shakespeare (Hamlet to be specific) – the play‘s the thing.

My response to this week’s travel theme takes us once again to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake on the globe. While I and our eldest son were laid up with altitude sickness, the rest of the family enjoyed a great day visiting the floating islands and kayaking on the waters of the Peruvian lake.

After bringing the kayaks back on shore, but before the tour boat arrived to take my lovely wife and my other two children back to home port, my travelling threesome spent some time with a family who lived on a non-floating island. While my group waited for their ride back to the hotel, my two kids and our host’s two children do what kids do naturally. Despite the fact that my brood did not speak Aymara and the local tykes did not speak Spanish, the kids managed to get along just fine anyway.

Flying bear ahoy

Flying bear ahoy

Above is my middle child tossing a teddy bear to one child while trapping a soccer ball that was kicked by the other local child (who is not pictured because he’s being blocked by my son).

Play…the universal language.

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