Sunday, July 31, 2011

Something On A Sunday

Ordinarily, Something On A Sunday looks at a photograph of a place outside of Walt Disney World. But yesterday, while looking through photographs, I came across this one taken from the parking lot of Disney's Hollywood Studios. I rather liked it.
Hollywood Tower Hotel 12.13.08

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

This is very possibly one of my favorite store fronts in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Have a said before? If so, this is still one of my favorites.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Photo Phriday

You'll recall that last week I shared how Gerrie and I had a bit of a reunion in Oxford. I also mentioned our deep appreciation for the writings of C. S. Lewis and our desire to seek out the haunts of Lewis during his tenure at Oxford University. We were especially interested in visiting places where he and his friends gathered.

His friends were called the Inklings, and among the places they gathered was The Eagle and Child.

The Eagle and Child, affectionately known as the "Bird and Baby", is found at 49 St. Giles in Oxford. Their history claims that public house sat on this site since 1650. In addition to sometimes meeting in Lewis's rooms at Magdalen College, Lewis and his friends would meet in the Rabbit Room of the pub on Tuesday mornings during the term. The bar keep informed us that they would usually gather at 11:00 a.m.

The Inklings were an informal group; "neither a club nor a literary society" as Warnie once said, but it did meet to discuss literature. In fact, Inkling member J.R.R. Tolkien first read excerpts of The Lord of the Rings at the gatherings. C.S. Lewis, in turn, shared readings from his Out of the Silent Planet and parts of The Chronicles of Narnia.
Today the room looks much as it did during the 1930s and 1940s. The literary connection and history of the room is noted with photographs of members of the group and sheet of paper with the signatures of Lewis, Tolkien, and others saying that they had drunk to the landlord's health.
During our time there, we enjoyed a meal (I had Fish & Chips no doubt) and spent time looking about the room. Once finished, we took a while to sit quietly and write. We both kept journals and being in this place, with the memories of the men who once met here stirring around us, we could not let an opportunity to write escape us.

There are many things I miss about our life in England. I miss our friends, our work and mission and how simple life seemed to be. I also miss being a place filled where I am surrounded by history. In fact the very road we lived on, the Watling Street (A5), was built by the Romans. Hundreds of years before we lived there, Roman troops would march along the road towards the northwest.

I miss being there.

Next up? I don't know. Perhaps we'll stay in England or cross the Channel and visit Paris. Or maybe we'll go further afield. Africa perhaps?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Still Dabbling Some More...

Cinderella Castle affords the park guest many spectacular views. There is the quintessential view of looking down Main Street U.S.A. and seeing the castle beckoning you onward. Then you have the shot where you place the Partners statue in the foreground with the castle just in the background. If you get this shot shortly after rope drop, you have a near empty background. Another favorite is the castle from the Liberty Square Bridge. You know the one with the castle reflection in the waterway.

One we explored earlier was a photograph taken of the walkway leading down from the castle to the Fairytale Garden. Today, submitted for your viewing pleasure, is another from this angle. Only this time it is the castle at the finale of the 10:35 Dream Along With Mickey show.

Isn't it wonderful what the camera can see while waiting two hours with your granddaughter to meet Rapunzel?

And by the way, it was worth every minute of the wait to see one my granddaughters wishes come true.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Where In The World

Wow. It didn't take my good friend April of Scrapping the Magic long to jump in and identify our last Where In The World. On the 11th we posted a sign that read Material is Money Save It! and she quickly identified the sign as being in the Backlot Express. Congrats! Oh, and be sure to stop by her site and give it a look. Good stuff.

Next up, Where In The World would you find this?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Something On A Sunday

Manitou Springs, Colorado 02.05.10

I enjoy the use of contrasting colors. As much as I enjoy seeing these on the streets or during my travels, I wonder if I could use them in my home and if I would grow tired of them quickly? An interesting question. My wife will soon be in the process of redecorating her writing room and she wishes to decorate it in a whimsical style. This could fit that style I suppose. But then it is her room.

Not sure if she'd like this much contrast.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Photo Phriday

My wife had just returned from having spent six weeks in India. I was just coming off the road from having toured England in the musical "Godspell". It was time to take a small vacation to rest and get away from our small flat. We decided to take the train to Oxford.

It was an easy trip to remember. As we came down the stairs from our flat for our taxi to the railway station, we heard that Diana, Princess of Wales had been in an automobile accident in Paris. The thought, at the time, was that she had been killed in the accident but this was not confirmed yet. By the time we arrived in Oxford the news had confirmed her death and the flags of the nation had been lowered by half. I share this only to put things in a time.

Among the many interests that my wife and I share is a deep appreciation for the writings of C.S. Lewis. Not only his works of fantasy and science fiction, The Chronicles of Narnia and the Space Trilogy, but also his spiritual writings. The apologist works such as Mere Christianity or the Screwtape Letters. We thought, with the journey to Oxford, we would make it a sort of Lewis Pilgrimage. We'd visit Magdalen College and seek out the pub where he and the Inklings would gather. We also wanted to visit The Kilns; the home that he shared with his brother Warnie in the Headington Quarry area. Near the home is the church, Holy Trinity Church, where he worshipped and where he is buried.
Us standing just outside the hedges at The Kilns.

Our time in Oxford was very restful. We took a room at a small bed and breakfast near the Lewis home. For a few days it was quiet and we enjoyed our walks, our reading and the refreshing that comes with not being quite so busy. Then we had to return to the real world. But we did so with a greater appreciation for Lewis and his surroundings.

Note: in a few weeks, perhaps next Friday, I'll share a bit more of the visit. In particular, to a small room, in a building found on St. Giles.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Still Dabbling

Among my photographs of Cinderella Castle this has to be on of my favorites. What makes it so is that it is a long shot down a crowded Main Street U.S.A. on a bright sunny day. Basically, a near perfect day!

Note: this is the same photograph, minus the high dynamic range processing, that I used in my Disney As Art series entitled, "Balloons".

Monday, July 18, 2011

Disney World After Dark: Morocco

"Moroccan artisans spent months creating the detailed geometric patterns in the buildings, like the Koutoubia Minaret, a recreation of the famous prayer tower in Marrakesh that stands guard over the entrance to the Morocco pavilion." So reads the text from the 1983-1988 section of Walt Disney World Resort: A Magical Year-By-Year Journey, the 1998 Edition. I found this book yesterday this past Saturday while rummaging around our local Goodwill Store.

The Morocco Pavilion opened along the World Showcase on September 7, 1984. For years it was a pavilion that I would pass by thinking there was no real reason to spend time there. That was a big mistake. It is rich in beauty and offers insight to a culture that we are all too unfamiliar with. For me, it is that reason that makes it one of the gems of the World Showcase.
I fell in love with the Morocco pavilion late in my obsession and I wish that had not been the case. By day it is a lesson in the artistry of a people then by night it becomes a place of quiet mystery. Step in. Imagine.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Something On A Sunday

A Fireplug
Ketchikan, Alaska 05.28.09

There are places in the world where the starkness or barrenness process a sense of beauty. In Alaska, the ruggedness, the sense of something being unkept, is it's beauty. Here, living life is too important to be overly concerned with a sense of order; or everything being kept pristine. Here, the landscape itself is what is pristine, what is to be enjoyed.

Perhaps this is too much to garner from a fireplug, but seeing it, unkept, paint flaking, caused me to think, in this place, the surroundings of the thing were more important than the thing itself. And in Alaska, the grandeur is what is important.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

I love Art Deco Architecture! There, I've said it. And Disney's Hollywood Studios is loaded with it. It is the design and architecture of this park that keeps bringing me back, over and over.
On a more personal note, while I was working on this photograph, I was advised that I am now Neurotic Disney GrandDad #7 (NDGD#7) on the Disney Driven Life. I almost feel like Steve Martin in The Jerk, once the new phone books arrived. "I am somebody!"

Friday, July 15, 2011

Photo Phriday

When we were not in the Midlands, more often than not, you'd find us London. We would stay at a friends flat in the City of Westminster; roughly 5-10 minutes walk from the Abbey. Some days we'd have a nice fish and chip from the corner 'chippie' on Strutton Ground then walk over and spend a nice afternoon in St. James' Park. Others would find us at the National Gallery or listening to classical quartets in Covent Garden.

Then there were occasions when we'd take the train and visit Stratford-upon-Avon for a few days relaxation and take in a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. There were trips to Oxford or further out, to the West Country to my wife's favorite seaside village of Port Isaac.

But as I mentioned a few weeks ago, The Beatles have been a part of life for lo these many years. I visited Abbey Road and hastily made my way across the road. But, if Abbey Road was the end, then there was a beginning and I needed to experience that as well. One weekend we visited a friend living just outside of Liverpool and being this close begged for a drive into the city and a visit to Mathew Street.
Located at No. 10 Mathew Street is the Cavern Club. The Cavern opened on January 16, 1957. A little over four years later, on February 9, 1961, The Beatles played their first lunchtime gig on the cramped stage of the club. The band went on to play 292 shows in the cellar with the last one being on August 3, 1963 shortly following the recording of She Loves You. By this time the group had become too popular for the already overly crowded club. The group made a promise to return, but this never happened while they were together. The promise was fulfilled in part on December 14, 1999 when Paul McCartney played his last show of the old millennium in the club.

Also found along the street is a statue of John Lennon, a la the 1975 Rock 'n' Roll album, leaning against the wall. A little further along, at No. 31, is The Beatle Shop. It is a great little basement shop selling all manner of Beatles music, art and other items. Not too far away is the Adelphi Hotel. Gerrie and I stopped for tea here, but anyone watching the Free As A Bird video from The Anthology, may recall the lobby. A lovely place.

I have not been one for completions in all that I do. The work stuff, yes, but not everything. It is my way of combating my tendencies towards perfectionism. Concerning Liverpool, my pilgrimage is not complete. Someday I hope to return to visit the barber selling photographs on Penny Lane or to find out if anything is real in Strawberry Fields. But until that day, I have the memory of standing on the stage at the Cavern. Of sitting there, leaning against the wall, enjoying a pint and thinking about all the great music that came out of this cellar.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dabbling (continued)

Cinderella Castle is probably one of the most photographed structures in the world. Not just Walt Disney World, but the entire world. True, Sleeping Beauty Castle would rank high on the list, as would the Eiffel Tower and Buckingham Palace I suppose. I know that during my trips I can't help but add a few dozen more to add to my already extensive collection; looking that different perspective. But of all the views and of all the angles, this is perhaps one of my favorite.

Take a walk over to the Fairytale Garden and look west and you'll enjoy the view as well. Though you'll want to wait until after the Rapunzel Character Greetings have wrapped up for the day to take your photograph. Otherwise, there will be a nice group of eager fans waiting their turn to meet the parks newest resident.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Where In The World

Take a little plaster and morter along side a grated window, and you have the content of a photograph taken of a wall in Fantasyland's Fairytale Garden. Once was you could attend a story told by Belle, but now you can queue to meet Rapunzel. The location was determined by Ami B., a new reader I suppose.

Before I move to the next photograph, let me encourage you to visit Ami on one of her blogs. She is the creator of Disney Park Goddess and Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust. You can also read her thoughts on the Disney Driven Life where she is the ethics and marriage blogger. This is where I was introduced to her and have enjoyed reading and thinking on what she brings to the table. I appreciate what she does and I am sure you will too.
Now, on to another photographic challenge. Where In The World would you find this?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Something On A Sunday

Near Red Rocks

In my Dream Book, there are a few pages where I am mapping out a road trip through the Southwest. It follows the route of Interstate 40 and then include as many drivable stretches of Historic Route 66 as possible once we reach and pass Oklahoma City. The photo of the wagon near Red Rocks is simply a reminder of some of the scenes I hope to find on this journey.

I have traveled to many places, both in America and abroad, but there are many places here that I have yet to see. It is dream, to see the places I haven't seen, but want to. It is a dream to visit the states that I have yet to visit. It is a dream to experience more of the wonder of our country.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

Combining my appreciation of the Art Deco architecture of Disney's Hollywood Studios and my love of neon, I give you a different side of Mickey's of Hollywood.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Photo Phriday

During my trips to Paris, and when time allowed, I loved visiting Shakespeare and Company.
Shakespeare and Company is a bookstore that opened as a lending library in 1919 by Sylvia Beach. The shop has a storied history. It was a regular gathering place for members of The Lost Generation during the time between wars. The with the occupation of Paris during World War II, the shop closed. Beach secreted her books away in a vacant apartment during the occupation. These books were later liberated from their hiding place by Ernest Hemingway.

Following Beach's death in 1951, another English-language bookstore adopted the name Shakespeare and Company. This shop, operated by George Whitman, strived to carry on the traditions of Beach's shop and became host to many of the writers of the Beat Generation. The downstairs with its shelves and tables overflowing with books was host to public readings, while the upstairs, complete with sleeping quarters, provided a place for writers to live and work.

Why Shakespeare and Company? I first learned of the shop while watching a travelogue. My wife and I, having spent our honeymoon in Paris, were planning a return trip in '95. So I bought a few books and watched a view videos to prepare. While watching I learned that the current location of the shop at 37 Rue de la Bucherie is within Kilometer Zero for France. The marker is located in the square of the main entrance to Notre Dame. When you purchase a book from Shakespeare and Company you can have the inside page stamped, indicating that the book comes from the shop inside Kilometer Zero. Being a collector, of sorts, I had to have book stamped. So one day while we were out walking and we visited the shop. I purchased a copy of W. Somerset Maugham's The Narrow Corner for 55 Francs and had it stamped.
We then went a few doors up and found an outdoor table with a view of Notre Dame. We had glass of wine, a plate of cheese, and talked about how nice the day was.

Gerrie and I are now planning to travel to London and Paris in October 2012. I hope to find time to visit this wonderful little shop, find a really good read, and add to my memories of one of my favorite cities in the world.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dabbling (continued)

As a would be photographer, I read books on composition and exposure and how to get the most out of my digital images. I have a subscription to a magazine that informs some of my processing and regularly visit a few websites to read and learn. If I can retain some of what I've read, all the better (I still have problems with the whole aperture / depth of field thing). I don't consider myself to be a great photographer, but I do hope that I am an improving photographer.

Another place I go for inspiration are photo sharing sites along with websites and blogs that a few of my friends, friends that I do consider to be quite accomplished photographers, have established. I like to see what others are seeing and doing. It causes me to ask, "How did they do that?" and then challenge myself with "Can I do that?" Thus, my interest in HDR. Here is another foray into that realm of photographic possibilities.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Disney World After Dark: A Fountain

From my first trip to EPCOT Center in the late 80s, I have been fascinated by the Upside Down Fountain at Imagination. Yes, it is a simple feat of imagineering, but still one that captures my interest with each return visit. With the lighting employed at night it becomes all the more captivating. On quiet evenings, once most of the park guests have made their way to the World Showcase to wait for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, it is quite soothing to listen to, and maybe get lost in your thoughts and dreams.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Something On A Sunday

U2 @ Vanderbilt 07.03.11

Something On A Sunday usually concerns itself with some of my other photographic endeavors; some successful, some less so. This Sunday is no different, in that it is a photograph of something other than Disney, but it isn't flowers or having to do with the adventures of Gerrie and I.

Strike that, it does have to do with the adventures of Gerrie and I. Last night we attended the U2 360 Tour here in Nashville. It was the one hundredth show of the tour. I will not give you a song by song review, but I do want to share one or two things.

I have seen U2 on two prior occasions. The first was on November 28, 1987 at Murphy Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It was the Joshua Tree Tour. The set opened with Where the Streets Have No Name and closed with 40. The second was on October 10, 1992 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. This was the Zoo TV Outdoor Broadcast Tour. This concert opened with Zoo Station and closed with an a Capella tribute to Elvis Presley, Can't Help Falling In Love. The two concerts were, in my opinion, almost polar opposites. The '87 event bordered on an almost spiritual quality. Even before U2 took the nearly bare stage, with the crowd singing along with Beatles music, it was moving, challenging, emotional. The Zoo TV concert was spectacle and I missed the near communal quality of the former.

Last night, the concert was both large and small. The trappings, the set, were large, as were some of the selections. But it was small in that it had moments recaptured some of the transcendent moments of '87. Moments such as a Bono singing Amazing Grace and hearing 47,000 plus people sing along. Or when all the lighting was turned off, save for the lights of cell phones (photo above) that he asked be held up as stars of hope to the thousands in search of freedom. The audience sang nearly the whole first section of I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, while the band listened. All moments. Followed by a closing moment of Bono having a blind fan from the audience play All I Want is You as he sang. All the man said was that he wanted to "play a song for my wife.'

I don't know. I don't go to enough concerts these days, save the Nashville Symphony, so I don't know what happens. These moments that can cause your spirit to soar and make you think, even if only for moment, that you are a part of something that is bigger than yourself, may happen all the time. I don't know. Perhaps its every concert using the medium music to cause you to think, if only for moment, that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people in the world who long for freedom. Who suffer for it. I don't know. I imagine every concert has a moment when you realize that it isn't about me, but it is about us. I don't know. Like I said, I don't go to enough concerts.

But I did go to this one. I like to think that perhaps I came out of it a little bit better person than I was.

"At the moment of surrender
of vision over visibility"

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

Why don't you say we spend the month of July strolling the streets of Disney's Hollywood Studios. Today let's consider Adrian & Edith's Head to Toe.

Friday, July 1, 2011

...if i lived in central florida i'd...

... go the magic kingdom prior to rope drop, find a place to sit, and then listen to the entire entrance loop while watching people enter the park to make their dreams come true. all to often i am eager to walk onto main street u.s.a. and make my way to the first thing; usually a peter pan's flight fastpass.

if i lived in central florida getting that fastpass, or any fastpass, would become increasingly less important and i would be able to enjoy some of life's simpler pleasures - that of simply living in and enjoying the moment without thought or agenda.

this morning, we woke up to the familiar strains of the magic kingdom entrance loop. a very pleasant way to begin any day.

Photo Phriday

My wife and I were driving home from having seen Cars 2 this past Saturday. A good film but it will not (in my opinion) rank among the best of Pixar. Still, a good film and Pixar still tells a good story and creates stunning digital scenery. But I digress. We were driving home and our talk turned to favorites and the subject of favorite bands came up. That is one of the easiest questions I will ever have to answer. My favorite band is The Beatles!

While we lived in England, my mother and sister flew over for a two week visit. This was shortly after the funeral for Diana: Princess of Wales. It was their first time in England and we planned to as much as we could during their stay. My wife and my mother took a trip to West Country for a few days and my sister and I took the EuroStar to Paris for a few days. But prior to these trips, my sister and I took a Beatle walking tour. This, along with a number of other tours, are conducted by a The Original London Walks.

The stop that I looked forward to most on the tour was the chance to see Abbey Road Studios. Sure, we saw other landmarks: Paul McCartney's townhouse in Soho, the Indica Gallery, the Apple Headquarters on Savile Row (site of the famous rooftop concert), and others. But it was Abbey Road that I looked forward to most. Abbey Road - home to some of the most creative music ever composed and recorded.
The tour would not allow us to enter the building or to visit the studios, but I did manage to have a photo taken on the steps.
I completed the tour by making my walk across the Abbey Road Crosswalk. I made my sprint across sporting denim, as the late George Harrison did. I would have preferred to wear white while making my cross, in honor of my favorite Beatle, John Lennon, but sadly, my white suit was in Nuneaton at the time.

Sprint? Yes. You must bear in mind that the Metropolitan Police halted traffic during the photo shot for the Beatles. Fans making the pilgrim across Abbey Road must do so minding the traffic. Cars are were not obligated to stop, so you pick your moment, make sure that someone has a camera ready, then you set out.

I did.

"And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make."