Hello and welcome. Hope you enjoy the images I have posted. Please do not reproduce them without my permission. Most are available as note/greeting cards or as prints/enlargements. Thank you for visiting my site and your comments.
Many have asked about the Header image above, which I named 'Eerie Genny'. It was originally shot with film [taken on the shore of the Genesee River near the Univ. of Rochester]. During the darkroom development, I flashed a light above the tray. The process, known as 'solarization', produces eerie, ghostlike effects; some have mistaken this image as an infra-red photo. Some 35+ years later, I scanned and digitized the print, and did a little modern day editing, and, voila.
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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Grand Circle River Tour 10: Bamberg [Sky Watch Friday]

Dubbed by some as the ‘Venice of Germany’, Bamberg is one of my favorite towns. Its old city center contains the largest existing group of historic structures and has earned UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Bamberg is laid out over 7 hills, near where the Regnitz River meets up with the Main River. Since our ship was docked on the latter, we needed another bus ride and walk to the town. As we walked along the Regnitz, I was moved by the richness of color and flowers in the morning light.

One of the highlights is the old city hall [Altes Rathaus]; Rat in German means Advice, not the rodent (although in some cases the latter might have been applicable). It dates back to the 15th century; however, remodeling and painting of the facade was done in the late 18th century. Below are several shots of this fascinating building. Notice the leg sticking out of the painted wall in the bottom two images.

I could have spent hours walking around and enjoying all its details. However, with some free time afforded us, I was on a mission to revisit the Bamberg Dom, completed in the 13th century. Having been under construction for many decades, architectural styles underwent change from the Romanesque [see the vaulting in the top image below] to Gothic [two of its four Gothic towers  are shown in the bottom image below]. 

 My top mission was to shoot some good images of the Bamberger Reiter [Horseman], a stone statue by an unknown medieval sculptor. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to be back here after more than five decades. I believe that I accomplished my goal and here are several of my favorite shots. I should note that the lighting was dim and flat, and a high ISO was required; so in post-editing, I boosted up the exposure and contrast. However, the sculpture's grandeur speaks for itself.

As we headed back through town to meet our buses, this sign caught my eye. I thought that the Star of David indicated that the owner had been Jewish. However, it turns out that the two triangles, one pointing up and one down, is the symbol for beer brewers.

I am going to be away from my blog site for several weeks [until mid-January]. Upon my return we will be visiting Nürnberg. In the meantime, Merry Christmas and best wishes for a Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Grand Circle River Tour 9: Rothenburg ob der Tauber [Sky Watch Friday]

The ship stopped the next morning in Gerlachshausen. Here a group of buses was waiting to transport those who wanted to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber, one of the most picturesque old towns in Germany. Originally, this was supposed to be an optional tour, which would cost each participant $90 to go. However, due to the low water that kept us off the ship for two days in Amsterdam, Grand Circle made the tour gratis for all. I thought that was pretty cool. Even more so than Wertheim, there were Fachwerkhäuser everywhere. And, the town still had its original medieval wall, entrance gates and cobblestone streets. Hence, it is not surprising that it is one of the most visited places in Germany. Here are several samples of this charming town.

Just by chance, I came across this butcher shop sign [Metzgerei]…now we know the real source of the Trump family wealth.

Saving the best for last, I headed for the iconic Plönlein, basicallyca fork in the road. On the left is  late 14th century Siebers Tower, part of the second fortification of the expanding city.The road down to the right passes through the Kobolzeller Gate leading to down to the Tauber Valley. Just in front of the central orange Fachwerkhaus is a large wooden box. This was where fisherman stored their catch until market day. I was quite lucky to get this shot since the area had been overrun with tourists.  I remained patient and bade my time until the crowd thinned out, though it looked for a while that it wasn't going to happen. [BTW, this was taken with my cell phone; it turned out better than my Canon DSLR shots.]

                                  Join me next week for our visit to Bamberg.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Grand Circle River Tour 8: Würzburg [Sky Watch Friday]

After departing Wertheim, we spent the morning sailing along the Main to the Bavarian city of Würzburg.  The ride was a smooth one; here is a shot I took through our cabin window.

We docked outside of the city, but within relatively easy walking distance. The way was already filled with wonderful sights. For example, across the river was the mid-18th century Käppele, a church that attracts pilgrims [in German, that is known as a Wahlfahrtkirche]. 

     This was followed immediately by the Marienberg Fortress [the Burg]. Note the vineyard below.

Die Alte Mainbrücke [the Old Main Bridge], a medieval pedestrian stone bridge lined with statues of saints and other icons connects the two shores. The bridge is one of Wurzbürg's landmarks and a popular place to congregate, usually while drinking a glass of wine or beer.

A right turn upon reaching the end of the end of the bridge and a straight walk led us to the Residenz, an 18th century Baroque palace. In the front courtyard was a fountain that had a depiction of a reknowned 15th century German master sculptor and woodcarver, Tilman Riemenschneider. I had seen many of his masterpieces around Bavaria, so I was thrilled to come across this work in his honor.

The Residenz was well worth the visit, although picture taking inside was verboten. However, I did get this shot through a window to the outside. The twin towers of the Dom are in the background.

                            A related scene shot from street level, and in a different location.

Working our way back to the ship, we made a purchase for Rosemarie… a spiffy new coat.

                              Next week's post will be from Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Grand Circle River Tour 7: Wertheim am Main [Sky Watch Friday]

The next port of call on our Grand Circle Great Rivers of Europe trip was Wertheim am Main, where the Tauber and Main Rivers meet.  Wertheim is a small and picturesque town with many half-timber houses [in German, Fachwerkhäuser], church towers and an old castle overlooking the town.

The Fachwerkhaus below is of special note because of the blue painted beams. Apparently, it was exceedingly expensive and difficult to make blue paint; so, the owner of this house was bragging to the neighbors that (s)he was of substantial means.

As in almost all German towns, there was a Jewish population prior to WW II. Little remains of the synagogues, and the people are certainly long gone. But, their memory is honored in a variety of ways. For example, there are small museums or remnants of the synagogue placed in the original location [see below]

In addition, throughout Germany and other European countries, small brass plates have been placed in the ground in front of the homes of former Jewish residents. I showed examples of them in a previous posting on Berlin. While I did not come across any in Wertheim [not to say that there aren’t any there], I did see a cluster in Heidelberg. I am showing it here because of the coincidence that the family name was Wertheimer.  The date of their birth, deportation and execution are given [but, Karl fled to Colombia in 1937].

To end this posting on a lighter note.... Storefronts usually hung signs identifying the nature of their wares available for purchase; and one could create an album of shots dedicated to just that. However, to be more selective, I am showing the one that made me laugh out loud. Bäckerei is a bakery.

Next week we will be in Würzburg, a 'sister city' to my home town, Rochester, NY.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Grand Circle River Tour 6: Heidelberg [Sky Watch Friday]

After an overnight sail to Frankfurt am Main [pronounced Mine], we disembarked and boarded buses that would take us to Heidelberg [on the Neckar River]. Rosemarie and I skipped the group morning walking tour since we were met by our nephew and his wife, who had driven from Lambsheim. We spent the next several hours with Eckhard and Elie making our own tour, which included visiting the University and its so-called prison [for misbehaving students]. I think it was less of a prison and more of a frat house, and probably a badge of honor to have spent time there, where they could express their creative juices.

After taking lunch in the public market, we walked back to the central meeting place and rejoined our group in order to visit Heidelberg Castle; while Eckhard and Elie drove off to visit their grandson. It was a bit of a hike up to the castle, and before long I managed to get separated from my group. But that left me more freedom to get the shots I was interested in taking, particularly those overlooking the city.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Grand Circle River Tour 5: Am Rhein [Sky Watch Friday]

According to the original itinerary, we were supposed to sail to Rudesheim along a stretch of the Rhein that passed through a valley dotted with vineyards and castles. Due to the low water level, the Adagio was not able to do this. So, our Program Directors engaged a group of buses to drive us to a convenient location where we could then board a smaller ship that could make the trip. The details escape me now, but the images are more important than how we did it. Note the steep hills where wine grapes are grown.
                                                                      Burg Maus

                                                                    Burg Katz

                                                                    Burg Sooneck

                                                                   Burg Stahleck

The building below, the Pfalz, is in the river and it served as a toll station exacting payment from vessels trying to pass by.

Since I knew that we would be passing through wine/castle country, I specifically packed my infra-red camera. Being a small and lightweight retrofitted Kodak camera, it was convenient to have along. The shot below is the best of the images. 

We arrived in Boppard [image below] where our buses had driven and waited to pick us up for a return to our ship. Tune in next week when we will be in Heidelberg.