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365 Project - January Highlights by Sandra5

After a friend challenged me (Thanks, T!) I decided to give this project a try, although I didn't see the point of shooting every day. I also bought a new camera a few days before New Year so I began the project the day my camera arrived. I skipped a few days (5 actually) but I decided to not make a drama and keep shooting until I collect 365 images. It will probably take more than a year, but who cares, really?The winter was cold so there were days I was stuck in the house, but on the other... 
side it was the holiday season so I could easily find something interesting to photograph. It was challenging to find a shot every day, especially on those days when I had a cold or work. Looking at my pictures now in an album, my life looks more interesting then I thought it will look. I was tempted to carry my camera with me everywhere so I wouldn't end up searching for something to shoot around the house at a few minutes till midnight.

Trakai by Alpha Whiskey Photography

The following day, I headed out to the small town of Trakai, a thirty minute bus journey from Vilnius. Trakai is teeming with history all of its own, having been settled by people from many different nationalities. The town has many individual sites of interest but the most popular to visit is the castle situated on its own island.The castle complex offers a fascinating glimpse into both the history of Trakai and Lithuania, describing how the various settlers came to develop the town. The... 
story is illustrated with abundant collections of artifacts and armaments, porcelain and paintings, and the castle complex itself has been very well restored. This was a great place to visit and learn some interesting history. All images taken with the Olympus E-M5 and 12-40mm F/2.8, and a couple with the Samyang 7.5mm F/3.5 fisheye.

Postcards From Vilnius by Alpha Whiskey Photography

Had a couple of days to kill last week so decided to spend it in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, a former satellite state of the former USSR. A beautiful, if small, city with resplendent architecture from several periods and colourful rendering typical of buildings in Central and Eastern Europe. Most of the main points of interest were conveniently situated within walking distance of each other in the Old Town and the warren of narrow, cobbled streets were easy to navigate. The... 
focal point of the city has to be the imposing Cathedral with its Bell Tower and statue of the Grand Duke Gediminas outside. From here a walk up Pilles Street would become a detour down a small alley, finding my way to visual treats such as St Anne's and Bernadine Church, a stunning example of both Flamboyant and Brick Gothic architectural styles. Back up Literatu Street, displaying artworks mounted on the walls, and around a corner to find the House of Signatories, where Lithuania's Act Of Independence was signed. The Presidential Palace was fairly ordinary but further down, past several more beautiful churches, is the Town Hall Square, and a short walk past that is the Gate Of Dawn, a city gate and one of the country's most significant cultural and historical monuments. Great views of the city can be had from several viewpoints, the most popular of which is probably Gediminas Hill. Alas it was closed for renovation during my visit and so I soaked in the city skyline under a hazy cloud cover from the Hill Of Three Crosses nearby.Being time limited, I managed to get some dusk shots of Gediminas Hill and Mindaugas Bridge, as well as the Cathedral. The second day was spent at the castle complex at Trakai and I shall present photos from there in another post. Seeking out authentic Lithuanian cuisine meant a farmer's meal of meat accompanied by a lot of potatoes and dumplings, but a tasting menu and several courses at Dublis Restaurant was a touch more sophisticated. Of course there is no shortage of museums to explore, and even catacombs within the Cathedral complex, but having limited time I visited only the Holocaust Exposition, a harrowing account of the murder of the majority of Lithuania's Jewish community during the Second World War.  Vilnius is an impressive little city to kill some time in, extremely clean and well kept and presenting its aesthetic in an abundance of colour and style. I enjoyed it.As ever, these images were processed in my usual postcard style and shot with the Olympus E-M5 and 12-40mm F/2.8. 

A Morning On Ice by Alpha Whiskey Photography

So I spent the better part of a morning in Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon during my week in Iceland, dwarfed and chilled by the massive flotilla of glacial bodies drifting past. While many visitors were busy taking the clichéd long exposures of waves lapping at chunks of ice on the beach (yawn) I wanted to capture the exquisite shapes and forms made by the melting chunks of glacial fragments. The random geometry of their swirls and angles were an exotic beauty too alluring to ignore, entire... 
miniature worlds formed within the glistening icy architecture. Further on from the lagoon one could get closer to the Fjallsarlon Glacier, its enormity only apparent with a person or ship in the foreground to offer scale. These were all shot with the Olympus E-M5 and processed to convey the chill. 

I Heart Goats by blissfulwanderlust

Goats are a new found love of mine. I never really thought much about goats before I came to Bangladesh. I never had any interactions with them, but here in Dhaka...I see goats everywhere! When I go to the market they are frequently tied up for slaughter,  in preparation, for holidays like Eid. I also see many goats occupying the "free range" status...hanging out in streets eating grass or trash. In addition to Dhaka, I have seen a variety of goats during my holiday travels in Nepal,... 
Indonesia, India, Thailand, Norway, Ireland and Ghana. The goats are all so very different. I have grown, over the past year, to just love goats. Plus, they are hilarious. The more time I spend around them, the more I get to know them. Hilarious because they have such personalities, especially seen, and enjoyed, when they are in a group. I visited a goat farm  this summer in Townshend, VT and was able to see their little personalities as they spent time in their small families of 3-4 goats. They each were so different, yet so neat. One thing they all had in common, was that they were so snuggly and lovely. When I think of goats I think of this- horned, hopping, head-butting, hugging, and humble creatures, and plus...have you seen their rectangular pupils and felt their warm, care-free spirits! What's not to love....

St Alban's Cathedral by Alpha Whiskey Photography

Before my friend left I wanted to share with her the magnificence of St Alban's Cathedral, with its mix of Roman, Norman and Gothic architecture. Massive and grand, it easily lured us into the deep well of its architectural beauty, impressing us with the sumptuously carved towering masonry and numerous archipelagos of light and shadow.  A real photographic treat with copious geometry to lend to one's composition. Once again, the fisheye lens helped to open up the vast interiors and capture... 
some beautiful symmetry, and in slight contrast to the images from The King's College Chapel I have processed these to reflect the stunning warmth of light lancing through from the outside and nestling into pockets of stone everywhere. All images made with the Olympus E-M5, with either the 12-40mm f/2.8 or the sayang 7.5mm F/3.5.

View From The London Eye by Alpha Whiskey Photography

Another item on Christina's list so naturally Alpha Whiskey delivered. London doesn't have the greatest skyline but it does look beautiful when the lights go on, thus I timed our ascent to coincide with the onset of dusk. Despite the grey, murky weather we still had a good time seeing the city from above. The last few shots are from earlier shenanigans at Madame Tussauds. I had been there a few times before and so didn't take many photos except for the Star Wars exhibit at the end (which was pretty cool). And, of course, Christina had to take a snap of Alpha Whiskey alongside the man of the moment. Most of these were shot with the Olympus EM-5 and 12-40mm F/2.8, with a few from the Samyang 7.5mm F/3.5 fisheye. 

King's College Chapel, Cambridge by Alpha Whiskey Photography

My good friend Christina was lucky enough to visit Alpha Whiskey last week so she had the full tour of London, of course, but also on her wish list was a trip to Cambridge. I didn't hesitate to take her, knowing from my previous visits what a beautiful and picturesque town Cambridge is. The weather wasn't at her best for us but where better to take refuge than the King's College Chapel, a spectacular edifice of Gothic architecture with some of the finest stained glass windows anywhere in the... 
world. The magnificent and vast fan vaulted ceiling loomed mightily above us, inviting its tiny visitors to crane our necks up and marvel at it. The imposing central organ shadowed the chequered floor and wooden pews as light flooded in to backlight the stories depicted on the stained glass windows. After the Chapel we explored the town and went punting on the River Cam, where our excellent oarsman regaled us with a fascinating wealth of knowledge about the town and university. Most of these shots were taken manually focused with the Samyang 7.5mm F/3.5 fisheye lens mounted on the Olympus E-M5. The rest were taken with the Olympus 12-40mm F/2.8. I found that despite the obvious distortion, the fisheye captured the cavernous interiors rather well, providing a sense of size and scale that makes the viewer feel suitably small. I have tried to process the images to accentuate the geometry and vastness of the Chapel's interiors, as well as allude to its age with a slightly washed out look. 

With Gratitude...Iceland 2016 by blissfulwanderlust

Oh Iceland...you reinvigorated my soul, touched my heart and left me with an intense connection...to myself, the Earth and the Universe. With Gratitude to you Raw mother earth, I will always feel your connection & vibration, see your green pastures & massive glaciers in my memory, feel your energy, and yearn to see your volcanic black sand beaches again soon. The experience you gave me allowed me to be quiet in my body, crisp in my thoughts, and feel connected to my world. You are a special place.

"I'd Love a Trip to Ireland..." Happy 60th Mom! by blissfulwanderlust

While sitting in my mom's kitchen one evening, almost 2 years ago, our conversation began to shift focus from education, family, health, cooking tips, new jobs and new partners to the fact that my mom was turning 60 soon. As the conversation continued to flow, I soon asked her what she wanted for her birthday, and thinking that I would hear something along the lines of, "Oh nothing really. Just you kids all here"...in case any of you are wondering, this was not the response I heard. What I... 
heard was, "I would love a trip to Ireland". Thoughts of hope and excitement were soon dashed with thoughts of, "Of course it was a joke, a faraway fantasy that she had been dreaming of since she was a little girl"...and then my heart took over, wanting so badly to do something as special as this for my mom..."Could I? I don't think so. Wait...I can and I will, but I won't tell her just yet!" I knew that night, sitting in my mom's kitchen, that I was going to take her to Ireland.As far back as I can remember, I have never seen or heard my mom ask for help or anything. So, when I heard my mom ask for a trip, it took me back a bit. I thought to myself, "She must really mean it, because she doesn't ask for anything ever". She doesn't ask for bday presents (Just a visit and dinner), nor does she ask for help in the kitchen, she doesn't need help with car maintenance (not like I could help anyway), and she certainly doesn't need help with anything that has to do with technology. She is a whiz. A wee bit of history... At 36, my mom had a 13, 12 and a 9 year old to support, on her own. She continued to rarely, if ever, ask for help. I'm sure it was difficult. She left what she thought was going to be her life, and ours...and never looked back. She probably cried herself to sleep sometimes, like we did, missing what once was, or what would be of our new life. She might have even stayed up late, wondering how on earth she was going to pay the electric bill, rent, or even small things for us...like soccer cleats and baseball gloves. My mom never faltered, and even if she did, the three of us never knew it. As the years passed, I continued to watch my mom continue to make it on her own, without help, and without fail. Looking back, I now see a mom who was incredibly resourceful and undeniably selfless. I only saw a small piece of this as a child by watching her sew my clothes for school, or neuter a cat herself on the kitchen table, and now as an adult only knowing a small piece, I am so grateful for all that she did for our family...to keep it together, to continue to give of herself.As resourceful as my mom had to be, she continued to put us first...even on a tight budget, she was able to create home cooked meals with frozen vegetables (fresh was too expensive and canned was not an option!), made leftovers taste delicious, held the line on discipline with phrases like, "As long as you live under my roof...and keep off the rug while I am cooking". I'm not sure how she did it, but through it all my mom still found the time to get to my softball games, volunteer in our band program at school and set strict curfews so that we could maintain structure in a world, that I am sure felt like absolute chaos to my mom most days. Mom, cheers to you. Thank you for your commitment to maintaining structure, setting expectations and loving us, on even what seemed like the most unloveable of days.  When I heard you say that you wanted a trip to Ireland, my heart sank and soared simultaneously. I knew that I could do it for you, if I set my heart in the right place, like you did for us for those long years when you were on your own, cheering for us in some of your most darkest days. So, my gift to you, a trip to Ireland is my way of saying happy birthday to you, but also to show you that you, too, deserve to feel the gift of giving. With gratitude for your tireless commitment to me. A trip to Ireland will never express my fullest gratitude I feel for you, but I hope that for those 11 days spent together, you felt the commitment, love and warmth that I felt from you all those years. 

Introducing SlickPic's Exhibit

Your Portfolio

The Portfolio is the place to showcase your very best photos. Think of it as the collage of the best pictures you've taken. It's separate from your Albums and you can choose whether to make it visible.

Private Affairs

As always, the privacy of your photos and videos is in your control. Because SlickPic offers both private and public photo sharing, you can host all your photos privately and choose to submit only your best photos to your public Portfolio.

High Exposure

The Exhibit allows you to showcase and promote your best work like never before, offering greater visibility and recognition. SlickPic's team of curators looks through all photos in public Portfolios and adds the photos they love to be displayed in the Exhibit.

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