Forest Carpet

I took this a couple of weeks ago on a walk through the forest. Autumn came late this year, and only about half the trees had changed colors.

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Forest Carpet
The forest floor on an autumn day in Annapolis, MD – click on image to see full resolution

It’s pretty cool how the forest floor is carpeted with leaves while the afternoon sun shines through the trees. It was an amazing walk, and I was so happy to be in Maryland, which has all kinds of forest trails like this.

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To get this photo, I held the camera close to the forest floor and used a small aperture; that way, both the foreground and the background are in focus. That same aperture setting is what causes the sun to give off the starburst-like rays.

Siesta at La Bodeguita

Every afternoon at two, most French businesses close for a siesta. What that means for clueless foreigners like me is, no lunch.

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Siesta at La Bodeguita

The siesta, for me, has always been an abstract concept. However, now, I have first-hand experience. As we walked around French villages, we needed to be mindful of this custom. The best rule is to get up early, get out, and stop for lunch at a reasonable time. But getting up early doesn’t always work out when you’re on vacation, so thoughts of lunch get pushed out as well.

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On more than one occasion, we’d see an enchanting little place like this, and think to stop for a taste of local cuisine: not during siesta. It’s the law, and if you think you’re going to starve, then pack a snack.

Forest Highlights

It’s a late fall in Maryland and walking through the forest; there are only smatterings of color here and there.

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Forest Highlights
A smattering of colors in a Maryland grove

I expected the deciduous groves to be rich in autumn hues, but it’s mostly green. But here and there, one tree has broken from the crowd.

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To be sure, there are areas within an hour’s drive of Annapolis that are more colorful. Walking through a nature trail is reward enough. And when I do see a flash of color, all the better.

Beach Bistro

Here’s a random beach scene from Lloret de Mar. Everybody seemed to be having way too much fun for a weekday.

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Beach Bistro
The beach in Lloret de Mar, Catalunya, Spain

However, people here are on some kind of vacation, so the day of the week is unimportant. I had just arrived on a redeye from the states; it was Thursday, I think. And, I was just getting warmed up to the whole vacation thing.

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What better way to do that than take photos of others who are already warmed up. Eventually, I got into the rhythm of things, maybe even a little too much. By the time we left this town, I had managed to lose my passport, but that’s another story for another day.

Sitges Street

Walking along the streets of European coastal towns is an exercise in leisure. And if that’s not an oxymoron, I don’t know what is.

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Sitges Street
A leisurely stroll through the streets of Sitges in Catalonia, Spain

Actually, that goes for a lot I do on vacation – leisure and moron. Relaxation when traveling is a state of mind, sometimes easier said than gained. I do what I can.

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In this case, I was in the town of Sitges, walking around on a Sunday. I was next to the main church that sits along the sea. Sunday notwithstanding, nobody was going in or out, just tourists, like me, walking around it, taking pictures, and practicing leisure.

Cunningham Falls

The colors are here in the Northeast, so a few days ago, I drove to this random park called Cunningham Falls; it turns out it’s not so random.

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Cunningham Falls
An autumn scene in Maryland

I don’t know the area, so; I picked a random place to visit on Google Maps. Little did I know this is a popular spot because there were a lot of other photographers that showed up as well. I took all kinds of shots from different angles, including this, which is a twelve-shot panorama.

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The scene consists of twelve shots, four groups of three that I processed in AuroraHDR, and stitched in Lightroom. The result is a very high-resolution landscape of a not so random Maryland park.

Zen Pipe Smoker

This guy was sitting in a three-piece suit on a hot day, seemingly oblivious to everything around him. I don’t know if he was posing or just practicing the art of Zen pipe smoking.

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Zen Pipe Smoker
A cool character on a hot Barcelona day

Nevertheless, he seemed content to ignore anyone who stopped to look. It was his clothing more than the pipe that struck me. It was hot and humid, he appeared way over-dressed.

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There are loads of street performers up and down La Rambla, which made me think he was posing, yet he wasn’t collecting money. Now that I think of it, he probably works at one of the boutique hotels and was just taking a smoke break. Mystery solved.

Fishing Village

These boats are in Collioure in Southern France. It’s a Catalonian village known for sardines, among other things.

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Fishing Village
Small fishing boats along the French Mediterranean.

After I took the photo, I saw a couple of street artists selling paintings of these same boats. They seem almost picture-perfect, almost as though they were placed here for effect. But that could just be my jaded view of things, and it’s not something the French are prone to do.

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One of the primary industries here is sardines. The last time we came through, I ordered a plate of them at a seaside cafe. For all I know, these may be sardine boats that returned in the morning. The rest of the day, they are click-bait for photographers like me. That was a lame joke.

Rooftop with a View

When in Barcelona, the last thing on my mind is taking photos of the sunset. However, if one presents itself, I’m more than happy to oblige.

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Rooftop with a View
Sunset during happy hour

This photo is another that I took from atop the Fira Renaissance. The hotel is outside the main tourist area, so most of the people here were attending conferences. They would come up to the rooftop pool to socialize during happy hour.

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It still amazes me how structurally sound these buildings must be to support a pool on the top floor – water is so heavy. There is also an indoor pool on the floor below. I guess there is no limit to what people can dream and build.

Taller de Tapas

Here are some people in the gothic quarter of Barcelona sitting outside at a tapas bar, talking late into the night.

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Taller de Tapas
A typical night scene in the gothic quarter of Barcelona

Scenes like this occur over and over, and I think, are typical of Catalonian culture. Not that I’m an expert, but it seems quite friendly and puts a lot of value on spending time with family and friends.

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It’s not difficult to see the appeal, especially in places like Barcelona. Sure, every area has its problems, but it’s fun to see different lifestyles and wonder what it would be like to live there, if only for a spell.