Tag Archives: photographs

Summer Is Over

I don’t know where the summer went. It’s been a while since I blogged. Summer activities and trips took over our lives and something had to give. I’m sure you know what I mean.

My son started 2nd grade yesterday, and my daughter started pre-school today. As my husband said, this is the first free five hours I have had in a few years (lots of alliteration there!). I’m not quite sure what to do with myself. I guess I’ll blog!

Since I haven’t posted in a while I thought I’d just ease back into it and share a few of my favorite photos of the kids from this summer. Despite their bickering, I think they like each other.

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Filed under childhood, photography

Cool Glass

A couple weeks ago, the family took a little road trip up to Tacoma, Wash. Our original intentional was to spend the weekend in Gig Harbor, go sightseeing in Puget Sound and have a lovely time. Unfortunately, the weather stunk so we only spent one night and went home after spending little time sightseeing. But alas, we did go to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, and it was wonderful!

Tacoma is the hometown of Dale Chihuly, the famed glass artist. I don’t feel quite educated enough on the matter to describe Chihuly’s involvement with the museum, but suffice it to say, if Chihuly weren’t Tacoma’s hometown boy, there probably wouldn’t be a Museum of Glass.

Glass sculpture on the Chihuly Bridge of Glass - photo by alyse vordermark

Anyhow, the museum is linked to downtown Tacoma by the 500-foot pedestrian Chihuly Bridge of Glass. The glass art on the bridge is spectacular way to be welcomed, and even though it was a cloudy day when we visited, the glass illuminating.

Fluent Steps by Martin Blank - photo by alyse vordermark

These hand-sculpted pieces of clear glass sit in a reflecting pool outside the entrance to the museum. The glass appears to water suspending in air. Beautiful!

Inside most areas of the museum, for obvious reasons, photography is not allowed. However, we were able to take a few photos inside The Hot Shop. The Hot Shop is a working glass studio/amphitheater where visiting artists work their magic in front of an audience.

The Hot Shop cone - photo by alyse vordermark

The Hot Shop is housed inside a 90-foot cone.

The Hot Shop

The visiting artists work with a team of five glass blowers, the Hot Shop Team, who are museum regulars. The day we were there, the visiting artist (the bearded man in the back) and the team were working on a glass pick-up truck. It was very fascinating watching the “blobs” of glass formed into a truck – even my 3-year-old daughter sat mesmerized.

So even though our Puget Sound weekend might be considered a bust, I’m so glad we got a chance to go to the Museum of Glass. It would have been a highlight, no matter how the trip turned out!

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San Francisco’s Chinatown

We went to San Francisco last month. I posted some photos from the Steinhart Aquarium a few weeks ago but forgot about the Chinatown ones until I was going through some other photos.

I’ve always loved San Francisco’s Chinatown. I find it nostalgic. The first time my hubby (who was just my boyfriend at the time) and I went to San Francisco we stayed in a little place called the Grant Plaza Hotel which is right in the heart of Chinatown. It was clean and inexpensive. No frills, but to two people who were barely making a living, it was perfect. So perfect that we stayed there again when we went to San Fran on our honeymoon a year later.

It’s always a trip to walk through Chinatown – the touristy junk, dim sum, barbecued chickens hanging upside down in the windows, dried fish parts.

I love red. And there is so much red in Chinatown.

I don’t usually take photos of people. It seems very invasive to me, but I took this photo under the ruse of photographing the building behind her. I think old Asian people look like they possess so much wisdom.

I hope I look wise when I’m old and wrinkly!

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It’s Spring in Oregon

Having grown up in the Midwest, I have a real appreciation for the coming of Spring. Saying goodbye to the nasty cold, snowy winters and saying hello to Robin Redbreast and the first crocuses – that sometimes popped up through the melting snow – was always a joyous celebration. I’ve lived lots of places – from cold Minneapolis to HOT Phoenix – but this spring I am truly grateful for living in Oregon.

It’s February 22, and the spring flowers are blooming, buds are on the trees, and we’ve even mowed the lawn twice already. It’s been a pretty crappy winter for you brave souls in the Midwest and East, but this winter has been the BEST in Oregon since we’ve moved in…and it’s been 6 years since we set roots here. We’ve only had one day of snow. Yes, one day. It started snowing at about 2 in the afternoon. We got about 4 inches, and by morning, it was all gone. (Of course, I probably just jinxed us.)

I got out this weekend and took a few photos of “springness.” I hope these give you a little hope that spring is on its way!

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Filed under inspiration, photography, Uncategorized

Abandoning Photography

Back in the day, I lived in a little town called Minneapolis. It was a simpler time. Newly married, little house (not on the prairie), new kitten, no kids, and lots of good friends. Where am I going with this? Not sure – sometimes my mind just wanders.

Oh, here’s where I’m going…back in Minneapolis, I have a good friend named John who I met when I was working for a small catalog/advertising company. I was the sole female among the 7-person copywriting staff, which wasn’t a surprise since the company specializes in motorcycle parts and accessories. John was, and still is, the head photographer for the company. He shoots a tailpipe like no one else! But on the side, he photographs some amazing landscapes.

Twin Butte School - Abandoned North Dakota by John Piepkorn

Landscapes is a bit confining for what John photographs because it is much more than that. His “specialty” is shooting abandoned buildings and ghost towns in the upper Midwest, mainly Minnesota and North Dakota. His family probably finds him a bit crazy as he ventures into abandoned, dilapidated buildings to document the odd, interesting stuff people leave behind. It’s quite fascinating, somewhat voyeuristic – and very beautiful.

Left Hanging - abandoned Minnesota by John Piepkorn

After spending an inordinate amount of time looking at his gallery on Flickr, I was thrilled when John agreed to sell me some of his prints. I love the idea of having original artwork. And I love the idea of having a friend’s original art in my home.

Hudson Police Cruiser by John Piepkorn

John has had his work recognized in lots of local publications and websites like the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Top Reader Pictures from 2009 (11th photo in the slideshow) and the City of Minnetonka’s 2008 Photo Contest (honorable mention).

If anyone is interested in adding John’s photographs to their collection, you can email him: j_piepkorn65 (at) yahoo (dot) com [sorry for the cryptic email address but spamming stinks] or contact him through Flickr (if you’re a Flickr member). He’s a great guy with a great eye!

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Nature, it’s all around me – So I have to take photos!

My husband always mocks me when I break into the The Samples song, “Nature.” “Nature, it’s all around me. Nature is so astounding.” There I go again.

It all stems back to when I was a camp counselor at Aloha Hive (I know, funny name) in Fairlee, Vermont. It was the summer after my freshman year in college, and I thought maybe I should be a crunchy, hippy-kind of chick. Far cry from the preppy girl that showed up at the camp. I later figured out that “crunchy” meant disheveled and kind of dirty. I ended up not liking that so much.

But anyhoo…I do love taking photos of nature. And I do love playing with my new favorite photo editing program, Picnik.com. Here’s a few of my latest creations.

Wooly Caterpillar using the Grainy and Cross Process features on Picnik

Dragonfly using the Cross Process feature on Picnik

Butterfly using the Fancy Focus feature on Picnik

Now if only I had more wall space in my house to print and frame all my photos. Perhaps a rotating gallery is what I need. I do have a set of three photos of Paris shop fronts that I took on our trip in 2006 hanging in the dining room. Maybe I could rotate photos there. Hmm. I feel an idea emerging. I’ll keep you posted!

Maybe a rotating photo gallery in the dining room?

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Summer Carnival

I’ve had some fun lately using the online photo editing site, Picnik. I love that you can upload your photos and do cool effects without the commitment of buying a program like Photoshop.

Here’s some of the photos I’ve taken over the past couple summers – enhanced with Picnik.

Swings at the Oregon State Fair

Chicago's Navy Pier

Motorcycle Ride at the Oregon State Fair

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