Sunday, December 1, 2013

12 by the Dozen Challenge

Our latest challenge was to produce a piece using the colour periwinkle (a soft lilac/blue).  I based my piece on the photo of salt cones in Uyuni, Bolivia.  We spent a few hours taking photographs as the sun set and the sky grew more stunning with each passing moment.  Below is my rendition using layers of sheers to achieve the colour and effect that I wanted.  

Monday, November 11, 2013


 On our first day we did an 18km walk to French Valley.  So named because a Frenchman came here in the mid-1800s and bought a huge tract of land from the government who was encouraging Europeans to settle here.  He donated the land back later for a park.  This is the mountain we walked around to get up the valley which is on the right of it.
 Here we are setting out - you can see that it's a bit windy.  After a boat ride across the lake to the mountains behind, the straw hat was quickly replaced by a toque (wool hat) and an overcoat was put on.  It was really windy, cold, and occasionally snowy.  And up and down hill! 
 We stopped for lunch in front of this glacier
 On another walk we saw these tiny lady slippers,  probably no more than 3" high.
 And lots of guanacos which are part of the camel family.
These are the towers that Torres del Paine are named for. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Incahuasi Island, Uyuni Salt flat, Bolivia

The island lies pretty much in the middle of the salt flat and is a hill of lava rock and cacti that look pretty much like saguaro that one sees in Arizona.  It's quite amazing to see all this growth in the middle of such a "desert".

 Of course, lunch was an important part of the day and our picnic was set up on these tables whose tops were made of slabs of salt. 
 It was hard for us three Canadians to look out at this view and to remember that it was salt we were looking at, not ice!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Bolivia - Uyuni Salt flats

The Uyuni salt flat is about the size of Belgium and it took approximately 4 hours to cross.  We went about half way several times, to various spots.  In December to March it can be covered in up to 20cm of water, at which point cars can't go through it without causing rusting problems.

The first picture is that of a train way off in the distance.  There is a rail line that runs across going from Uyuni to Antofagasta in Chile.  It was just neat watching this black line snaking across.

We were heading for this volcano and it seemed forever before we got there.
And on the way we finally reached the tracks to cross.
There we are, Robbie and I.  The sun seemed always to shine, but with the thin atmosphere, sunscreen was essential.  We were at 3600m here
An artsy shot of the salt cones that were scraped up and then shipped off to be cleaned and sold.

Next will be an island in the middle of the salt flat.  
Thanks for reading, and your comments would be most appreciated. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Atacama - Bolivia

The trip into Bolivia was one breathtaking panorama after another.  The colours, the vastness, the emptiness and the beauty were almost overwhelming.  I hope some of these photos give a sense of that.
 We went to a number of lakes to photograph flamingoes and so here are a few pictures that I took with my little Canon.  This tour is a photo tour, learning how to take better photos, learning a new software package and I have yet to master using the photos that I took with my bigger camera and processed in Lightroom for the blog!  I will get there soon!
At Laguna Blanca

 A small group of houses near the lake
Hard rock cafe. 

 This was a picnic stop.  We travelled in 4 jeeps.  10 of us with 2 tour leaders, a guide and 2 local ladies who did our lunches for us, and of course 4 drivers, who ate coca leaves the entire day.  Lunches were great and mostly served in local halls that had been built for that purpose, but on this particular day, it was served off the back of a jeep.  Still delicious tho'.  

We spent 6 days bumping across the Altiplano at heights up to 5000 metres.  A few of us felt the effects of the altitude, but I duly took my pills and really just got breathless with a few steps.  The weather was cool in the mornings - about 3 or 4 ºC and then up to about 15 during the day.  Always clear and sunny.  And by evening, very windy.   And always dusty!  

More pictures to come! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chile: Santiago

We have had 3 lovely days in Santiago, a city that has impressed me with its cleanliness, efficiency, and friendly people.  And occasionally when we get a peak, at it's beauty surrounded as it is by white capped mountains. 

We spent one day doing the Hop On, Hop Off tour.   Unfortunately that day there was a municipal strike so there were many places that were closed and repairs closed a number of others.  But we did get to see the Pablo Neruda home, La Chascona which is built with a number of different rooms up a hillside, allowing him to take advantage of the view of the mountains as he wrote and entertained.

 some houses nearby

We had lunch at the Mercado Central which had been built in 1868 with a steel lace pattern to let in light.  I can only think that at some point my parents must have been in there.  I feel that I am walking in their footsteps at times and that my history is intertwined a little with that of Chile.  There are so many things that I remember my mother telling me about.  Conger eel being one of them and I dutifully had the congria caldillo (soup) which was terrific.

During our walk around the Plaza de Armas we were fortunate to see a sample of the tango as the square was being set up for a concert/ Tanguera the next day and these two were performing for the news station.  Hence also, the difficulty of getting a shot of the Cathedral Metropolitana.  The inside was very beautiful with lots of ornamentation and painting.

 Cathedral Metropolitana

Santiago seems to be a city of apartment buildings, and many of them are festooned with plants cascading down.  It is also a very modern city, particularly in the Providencia area. 

The inside of the Costanera Mall in Providencia.  Probably the nicest mall I've ever seen, huge, clean and well set up for lots of people.  It is only about a year old.

Today we took the subway to Quinte Park which has 4 museums as well as huge treed grounds complete with a pond and pedalos.  I think every school in Santiago had an outing there today, there were so many groups of children of all ages.  We toured around the Museo Ferrovaria which was all outdoors and all steam engines.

Monday, October 14, 2013

October at the cottage

 an immature loon
 Our beau prince noir
 The best apple sauce .  Roast halved and cored apples for 15 or so minutes at 400ºF, pluck off the skin and mash a little.
 It was a quiet weekend this year with just four of us.  But gorgeous weather!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Another Stratford

We spent a lovey 4 days in Stratford, Ontario with superb weather which allowed us to walk everywhere.  There is a small lake on a dammed portion of the Avon river which is quite lovely to walk around.  
 We saw outstanding productions of the Merchant of Venice and  Fiddler on the Roof.  And enjoyed Romeo and Juliet and Tommy.  The latter was a little on the loud side, but the choreography and costumes were great. 

The town hall

 A tow path along the Avon.  Just kidding - nothing ever got towed here, but a nice walking path between the water and the houses.
 And of course there are swans!  And Canada geese.
 The Festival theatre

Friday, September 27, 2013

Chihuly, a close-up look

I spent an hour with a new camera taking close-ups of some of the glass on exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art.  The Chihuly exhibit will be there until Oct 5th and is worth seeing for the unique way the glass is manipulated and displayed, and for the explosion of colour.

These first 2 shots are from the enormous structure that sits, outside, in front of the museum.  It's shown in the third shot.