Category Archives: United States

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.


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…


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…


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: 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.

Perry Found

Day 358 – July 14, 2012

Tying together previous posts of mine concerning a visit to the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History (see here) and my fascination with the animated television show Phineas and Ferb (see here), I give you this visual gem from my July visit to that wondeful museum that sits on the National Mall.

If you are familiar with the show Phineas and Ferb then please join with me and say together, “Oh, there you are, Perry!”

Platypus skeleton at Smithsonian Natural History Musuem

He’s a semi-aquatic mammal of action

Museum Photography: Natural History

Day 358 – July 14, 2012

Following on the heels of a post I did concerning a series of photographs at Perufloral 2012, I wanted to share this other exercise in street photography that I created while I was on vacation back in the United States.

Our location today is the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History located on the National Mall. Yes, I understand that, technically, I am not engaging in street photography as I used my camera in a museum, but I hope that you will grant me some leeway.

Rather than walk around the museum snapping photos as I moved (which I did do, but that’s a post for another time), I stayed in one spot to see what would come into my viewfinder. To make it even more interesting to me, I decided to use one of the artifacts as a frame. Let’s meet our frame, a rai stone located on the lowest floor of the museum.

Rai at Smithsonian Musuem of Natural History

Our subject

And now, the photos…

Subject through rai hole at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Subject through rai hole at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Subject through rai hole at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Subject through rai hole at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Subject through rai hole at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Subject through rai hole at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Subject through rai hole at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Finally, just in case you wanted to know what a rai actually is…

Info card about rai at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

Day 242 – March 20, 2012

WordPress, the wonderful organization that hosts this blog, announced the theme for their Weekly Photo Challenge and it is “near and far“.

I have been waiting for a theme just like this one so that I can highlight this photo that I have been holding on to.

I would love to take credit for this photo, but, alas, I cannot.

This snapshot was taken by my wonderful mother-in-law to let our family know what we were missing back in the United States. As we moved to Peru from the hinterlands of Virginia, one of our annual springtime activities was to travel down to the Tidal Basin and view the cherry blossoms. This year, the first year we have missed in a dozen years, was the 100th anniversary of this event.


We missed it this year, but my mother-in-law did send this picture to let us know what springtime in the nation’s capital looked like.

Washington Monument and cherry blossoms

Thanks, Japan

Once again, a big tip-o-the-hat of gratitude to my wonderful mother-in-law for this picture.

The Joys of Moving

Day 000 – July 22, 2011

The short reply to my choice of title is that there are no joys of moving. Moving can only be described as one of four settings: “Hell”, “quasi-Hell”, “Purgatory”, and “southern Utah” (Mental Note: Share that story for another post).

Your mileage may differ, but my recent moving experiences have all been complicated by “The Last Five Percent”. The last few weeks have seen this phenomenon come to bite me in the tuchus yet again. Here’s how it works…

When we first received the schedule from our moving company for when they would come to pack all our belongings for our sojourn to Peru, we found out we would have to sort our stuff into four piles:

1) Items to be stored in a warehouse in the States. These are items that we would not need for the next ### years we are in Lima. This was known as Storage.
2) Items that we would like in Lima, but did not need for 2-3 months. This was known as the Boat Shipment (BoSh).
3) Items that we would like in Lima and would need in 2-3 weeks. This was known as the Air Shipment (AiSh)
4) Items that we would like in Lima and that we would need upon arrival. This was known as Luggage.

During sorting, we quickly saw the rise of a fifth pile: CWNLN, which is not a very handy acronym for Crap We No Longer Needed, so we shortened our word for it and simply called it “Trash”.

After piles were made, yard sales were had, donations were given to charity, and boxes were readied, Day One (of three) of the Pack-Out arrived and 70% of our belongings went into either the Storage pile or the Trash pile.

(Aside: It was astounding to me to see just HOW MUCH stuff one can accumulate and how much of it, when push comes to shove, can be so casually tossed out.)

Days Two and Three saw the packing and carting away of the AiSh and BoSh piles which constituted 20% of our belongings.

The day before our flight left was spent packing away our Luggage pile into ten suitcases and five carry-on pieces of luggage. That accounted for 5% of the stuff we owned.

For those of you who have been playing along with a calculator realize that I have only accounted for 95% of the stuff in our house. As my wife and I surveyed our home, there was a variety of items strewn about the rooms, closets, drawers, nooks, and crannies of our abode that we had forgotten to pack in Storage, BoSh, AiSh, but these were items that could not be thrown away.

Since we were renting out our house, we couldn’t leave the items there so we had 24 hours to remove that Last Five Percent. Not the way I wanted to spend my last days in the States.

In the end, it was done through a variety of means including having my wife’s sister come and take all the cleaning supplies away, storing items with my wife’s parents, giving items away to neighbors, and decided (reluctantly) that some items just needed to be thrown out. All in all, and like I said, dealing with the stress of the Last Five Percent was a pain in the nalgitas (Spanish for tuchus).

We also reserved a small corner of our unfinished basement for a few items that fit none of the above categories in the paragraph above and we told our tenants about it. Hope they understand, but I simply could not part with my framed Seurat poster from the Art Institute of Chicago which I had forgotten was in the garage.

With our life in (not-so-) tiny little boxes, we boarded a plane to Newark and then to Lima.