Two Oregon tourists in Florence, Italy

It was a week ago that T* and I flew out of our little corner of the world, looking for some new views, & to make some memories.And so far we have done both!

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But I must say, this tourist gig is darn hard work! Between getting to our transportation on time (after figuring out how it works, that is), seeing the sites, then keeping up with all the photos we are taking to share with you all I am exhausted! But every night I fall asleep with a smile on my face, because we are in Italy!

And you can follow along on our visit. Enjoy the photos, and the story.

Our Florence adventure began when we opened the door to the B & B where we spent 3 nights. The house was built in the 1300’s. Holy wow! And the street it was located on is the oldest in the city.

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Florence is built alongside the peaceful Arno river. The famous Ponte Vecchio spans the river, with it its shops and throngs of tourists. Our room was a block away from the river, and we found ourselves crossing the bridges countless times during our stay. We watched the sunset, found the famous Love Locks and even watched fireworks with the crowd.

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There was so much to see in the many piazzas – modern art, centuries old churches with their classic domes and towers, a carousel, and so much people watching! Each hour the city walls echo with the music of the church bells tolling, and at night the historic buildings are bathed in light. We heard street music ranging from solo guitar players to an acapala mens group and symphony music. Chalk artists spend hours re-creating masterpieces on the ancient brick sidewalks, only to wash them away at the end of the night.

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We spotted graffiti in many places. Of course there was the usual writing on the walls. Florence is home to a French graffiti artist called Clet. We spotted his work and enjoyed his sense of humor, no translation needed.

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The views are classic, the buildings timeless. Even everyday views seem special in the jewel light of Florence.

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On our first day we visited the Basilica of San Croce. It was breathtaking. Here are a few teaser pics. I have much to say about our time there, so I will devote another post to our visit.

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Summer Artwork*

It’s been a while since I have added any new images to my printed portfolio.  I took some time yesterday to sort through some recent images; I even had time to work up another sunflower!  Some of these you have seen before ….

click an image to view larger

Next up:  Beginning to work on the 2014 Calendar!! Stay tuned.

*S.

The love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies * Gertrude Jekyll

April 2 *St. Johns Bridge

Today I decided to get my camera on and shoot the bridge in St. Johns, Oregon.  So I loaded the Pup into the truck, and off we went.  I had hoped for more sunshine, to produce more shadows.  But of course springtime in Oregon comes with lots of cloud cover, especially in Portland, near those two big rivers.

The St. Johns Bridge was built in 1931 with two Gothic towers holding up the suspension bridge.  It’s also the tallest bridge in Oregon.  But if you want more facts than that you will have to Google it.  The real thing about this bridge, and Cathedral Park below the span is that I just love it.  It reminds me of my beloved Big Mac (Mackinaw Bridge in Michigan) and just has a great industrial vibe about it.  Many years ago, when our kids were small and we had a boat we would run down the Willamette River and sit near her span and marvel at the way she looked.

Now days she is a destination when we feel like driving, but not too far, and want to look at man-made wonders.  Or to place our cars underneath and take pretty pictures. Today I just wanted to get the bridge, and with the trees not all leafed out yet, that is just what I got!

Enjoy!

the trees are just beginning to bloom below the bridge

the trees are just beginning to bloom below the bridge

this angle really highlights the supports beneath the bridge.

this angle really highlights the supports beneath the bridge.

showing off the cyan color of the bridge.

showing off the cyan color of the bridge.

the real workers, the supports beneath, standing here you can really sense the power of the road by the thunder the traffic above creates.

the real workers, the supports beneath, standing here you can really sense the power of the road by the thunder the traffic above creates.

one of my first shots, its my favorite

one of my first shots, its my favorite

here I played with the now common filter effect of HDR toning.

here I played with the now common filter effect of HDR toning.

this effect is basically monotone to show off the Gothic towers.

this effect is basically monotone to show off the Gothic towers and the famous Portland clouds.

Sunday morning *

The Pup and I got up early this morning to make breakfast for Hubby as he left to make a delivery in Washington.  It’s not my habit to get out of bed before the sun rises, but love makes you do the strangest things!  (of course Pup doesn’t care what time it is, he is always ready for anything … )

Hubby and Pup, photo taken last summer

So I find myself with a few “free” hours, or unscheduled time and open up WordPress on my computer.  Wordpress is one of those things that I have just not had the time for much this year.  I read a few of the blogs I follow, and two of those gave me the inspiration to linger  a while; to write, and to freshen up my page a bit.  Thanks Jesse for this post, all your work is just wonderful.  “What we are made for”  and Candice for taking the time to share. “Natures Ornaments”  .

As I have been sitting here, looking out over my almost sleeping garden, the sky has changed from inky black to winter white and the birds have returned to the feeders eager to begin another day.  It’s really hard for me to resist the urge to check my to-do list, open my email program, just do what I do every day.  This morning the chores will just have to hush up and wait for me to get to them, because every once in a while I hear the words from the film The Shining:  ” All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”  and who wants the fate of the Jack Nicholson character?!  So this morning I just let my mind wander to see where it would take me.  So I think of that film and how some of it was made right here in Oregon at our landmark  Timberline Lodge.

Timberline Lodge photo taken in September of 2011.

Hubby and I drove up there last summer for some fresh air and scenery, and of course to take some pictures!  It was a great afternoon, and a wonderful memory to wander around in.

The lodge in December

The lodge in December

And that trip down memory lane led me to the last time we made the drive in the winter, to Timberline (above) and Multnomah Falls (below) in 2007.

Multnomah Falls lodge in December

Multnomah Falls lodge in December

I will be back later, to add a few more pics and just chat, in the meantime I better get that dang list going, after all, it’s the busiest season of the year!!

*sharon

 

*And for my readers, I decided to move the furniture around and try some new things with the blog; the *home page has been changed to land on a listing of my most recent blog posts, my *about page has been tweaked a bit and a new page has been created, *just photos, a page solely for posting a single photo about whatever is on my mind at the moment.

Much of my blogging energy this year has been spent taking care of Hubby’s page, Chance of Rain Trucking which is now mostly up to date, if you want to take a peek, and my friend Beth’s page Paper Parachute Art Design Co.

 

 

*yesterday’s garden

A photo captures a moment in time.  Yesterday working in the garden the grey skies began to lighten up and the sun was peeking through.  Time to put some of those moments in my camera!  Here are 16 of the photos I took yesterday, (mostly) unedited.  I wanted to practice capturing a photo that needs no edits.  The exception is ALWAYS the reds.  They bleed terribly in digital form.  The rest are as the lens, the light and I, saw them in the early afternoon.

Enjoy the photos without captions or interruptions . You can either scroll down the page with the thumbnails or click the first image for a photo carousel of larger images to click through. 

*Sharon ~ from my garden

 

 

just scratchin’ that itch*

It’s always there for me, the desire to capture what I see and hold it for a while.  But there isn’t always the time or convenience to tote around my digital SLR camera.  This is one of the reasons I love my droid phone.   About a month ago I was able to upgrade to a better device, and I have to say, I am really loving all the features on it.  The camera is my fave non-phone feature, no surprise there!

So I have been satisfying that itch when I come across a scene that begs to be captured.  Here is a collection of some things I have seen in the past month; from frequent walks in a local city park, a recent garden / nursery tour I went on and of course a few shots from my own garden.  Enjoy!

Sharon*

(if you click the first photo a carousel will open to view the images larger) 

Sunday @ the Spring Garden Fair *

Sunday dawned with blue skies and the promise of a much warmer day!  We did have a short scare when some fog blew over the Fairgrounds, but fortunately it left almost as quickly as it arrived.

Walking around on Sunday morning before the Fair opens is relaxing, one of the things I love about this volunteer gig.  Took care of some clean up with my signs and then started snapping photos!  The low sun shining thru the big tree on the Main Lawn is a favorite view thru my lens.  The empty rows rolling past the vendor booths whisper for foot and wagon traffic; the sign of a successful event.

Gates open, the crowd is smaller on Sunday.  It’s a peaceful day, for a moment.  Wheels roll past on the pavement as the chatter of excited shoppers begins to rise.  My goal for the day was to walk the rows in order, not zig zag the way I did it Saturday;  of course the plan was to wait for buying until later in the day, but I ended my walk with a small flat in one arm and my camera in the other!

Artwork sparkles in the sunshine, and the plants are plentiful.  Conversations are easy early in the day.  I checked in with a grower that brought in some plants for me, and talked to a few artists, calling out comments to some in passing about some of the photos I have taken. My thoughts were “Sunday is going to be a good day!”

Cheerful shoppers, friends and family walk around us. Parents and kids walk together, I saw several families chatting away, and my family came by too.  For Hubby’s mom we chose a beautiful fuchsia basket for her patio, and my granddaughter was walking around with a big grin, holding a pepper plant she had talked her dad into buying.

As the day grew later, the air was warm enough to shed the coats I had been wearing every day since the set-up began.  What a pleasure the sun is!  Vendors and volunteers look a bit bedraggled by mid-afternoon, and we all start to think about the tasks ahead; putting it all away for another year.  Putting on this event is a much bigger job than I had ever realized as a shopper.

I usually had Hubby drive me over with my wagon. I would walk the rows, choosing my plants for the year then walk the few blocks home.  It seemed like Sunday was a better day to go, less crowds if I got there early enough.  But it would really depend on the weather which day I chose to attend.  I don’t believe I ever had to shop in the rain.  The real work for me then was planting my new purchases when I got home.  I never dreamed that many of the people I walked past all those years would later become friends.

Around 3:15 it’s obvious that things are winding down.  Rumors of a vendor selling all their hanging baskets for $20.00 circulate among the Master Gardeners.  The vendors begin to line up their trucks in anticipation of loading up and leaving.  My job is to collect all the signs that I put up around the grounds. I have a helper for this task, which was really nice after two long days of walking around.  We drive the cart around the late shoppers. Each sign we take down makes the grounds look less like ours; for two days now it has been home to the Clackamas County Master Gardeners.  I enjoy staying busy, and pitching in when there is work to be done.  I think that is why I like taking care of the signs.  I do take most the photos for the group, and help with the webpage and more … but when it comes to hands-on projects, I am usually just taking pics.  On Sunday afternoon I feel like I am really part of the group, not just a recorder in the wings, and doing my share of what needs to be done.

By 6:00 most of the vendors are gone, and its just us left to tie up loose ends.  We smile tired smiles at one another, because we know the job we have done really makes a difference; to the vendors that offer their wares, to the shoppers looking for that special plant, or just the begonia that they get every year from that vendor in row A.  In a world of changes and fast pace living, our “little” Spring Fair is an event our shoppers have come to count on for a relaxing time; from buying plants to learning more about gardening, to the simple fellowship with like minded people.  Remember, we are all friends here!

Now there is more to the story, as there always is. Let the pictures tell their tale …. as we close the gates on the 28th Annual Spring Garden Fair.  We have the memories, and the plants to prove we were here!

(if you click the first photo a carousel will open to view the images larger) 

I want to thank my family and my friends for all the support you give me, allowing me to give so much to this event.  I will see you all next year, May 4 and 5, 2013

other posts in this series: 

Saturday @ the Fair*  

Setting it all up* Spring Garden Fair  

Pre post * Spring Garden Fair