Showing posts with label travel photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel photography. Show all posts

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Visit Missouri-Explore St. Louis Review of Fall Photography in Forest Park


Fall is my favorite season of the year.  I love to photograph the beautiful colors of the season. On this page I will review Forest Park in St. Louis through my Fall photography.


When will Fall Colors Peak


It is always difficult to predict when colors will be at their peak and this year was no different.  All October I waited and watched for the colors to change.  Oh there were glimpses of color here and there but not the outstanding colors that you think of when Autumn arrives.  I read that you don't get the really good colors until after the first hard freeze.  Well last week we got temperatures down in the 20's several nights so I knew it was time.  On November 1st I headed to Forest Park with my husband and some friends and was delighted with the amazing display of colors.  The day was clear and crisp and great for capturing the beauty of Fall.

A Favorite Venue for Fall Photography


Forest Park in St. Louis is a venue I have written about before, it is one of my favorite places to visit.  Here is a link to more information on Forest Park from one of my previous posts. Forest Park and Jewel Box.  In this post I will highlight fall colors around the History Museum, the Art Museum and the Bandstand area by the Muny.


Art Hill and the Art Museum


Our first stop in Forest Park was at the base of Art Hill.  This hill extends down from the Art Museum and in the winter it is a favorite place for kids of all ages to sleigh ride down the hill.  On this beautiful fall day it was the perfect place to capture a photo of the Art Museum and the bright red trees that were on either side.


This photo was taken when the sun was high in the sky so the glare takes out the details of the building.  We decided to head to the History Museum and continue my photography later in the day when the sun was lower in the sky.  Here are two photos taken a couple of hours later.  The first is a statue of St.  Louis which overlooks Art Hill and the scene of the 1904 World's Fair.


I took the next photo from the parking lot of the Art Museum, looking down on Art Hill.


Muny Area



The next area that I photographed is the area in front of St. Louis's outdoor theatre, commonly called The Muny.  This area has a bandstand on a little island.  The bandstand was built in 1924 to replace the original wood bandstand built in 1876.  This used to be a popular place for musical entertainment in the summer months.  The trees surrounding the water were a brilliant red color and I was able to capture some beautiful photos. 




History Museum


My original purpose to go to Forest Park was to take in the display of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs that were on display at the History Museum.  This was a wonderful display and we spent a couple of hours enjoying the photos.  We had planned to go on a Wednesday but had to cancel.  I am so glad we changed it to Friday because first of all Wednesday was a very rainy day and secondly Friday was the perfect day to photograph the changing fall landscape.  The photos below are of the museum and one of my cousins leaving the History Museum.





The Camera I used for this Outing


One of my favorite camera's is my Sony A6300 mirrorless camera.  I wrote about it in the following post. Sony a6300.  I used a wide angle zoom lems with 16mm to 50 mm. 

   
                                                     


Zazzle Card from my Photos

 




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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Review of New Wheel at St. Louis Union Station

The Wheel at St. Louis Union Station was opened on September 30th, 2019 to help celebrate the 125th anniversary of Union Station.


Facts about the Wheel

  • 200 foot high observation wheel
  • 42 fully enclosed and climate controlled gondolas that each seat 6 adults
  • 3-4 rotations high above the St. Louis skyline during the 15 minute ride
  • The wheel is  now open from 10 am to 10 pm till October 31st when the hours will be changed to noon to 10 pm for the rest of 2019


My Experience on the Wheel

When my granddaughters visited in mid October, I decided to take them to Union Station to ride on the new "Wheel" that had just opened in late September.  In the photo above you see my friend DeAnn, my sister Julie and my granddaughters Ella and Rachel waiting for their turn on the wheel.

I had seen on the news that there could be rather long waits to ride the wheel, but the day we went we were able to walk right up, buy our tickets and ride the wheel when it stopped for the next rotation.  It was a rather chilly day but the gondolas on the wheel are all climate controlled so it was nice and warm.  There were five of us in our gondola and we had plenty of room to be comfortable and even move around a bit so I could get photos from all angles.

I am sometimes a little leery of heights but this  did not bother me at all.  I felt very secure in the enclosed gondola and thoroughly enjoyed the views of the city.  It was a cloudy day so I'm sure you would see more on a clearer day but I still thought it was fantastic.  I would like to go back at nighttime and take photos of the city lights from up on the "Wheel".


Views from the Wheel

This is the view looking east.  Directly in front you see the Enterprise Center where the Blues play.  Farther in the background you get a glimpse of the Gateway Arch. Also if you look close on the far right side of the photo you see the red brick of Busch Stadium where the Cardinals play.

This view is to the north/east.  Here you see the tops of the old train depot  and the red roof of the top of Union Station.
This view is looking to the south.

Information about St. Louis Union Station


St. Louis Union Station was first open to the public on September 1, 1894.  At one time it was the biggest and busiest train terminal in the country.  It is on the registry as a National Historic Landmark.  Today it is being renovated as a family entertainment complex.

Inside of Union Station you will find the St. Louis Union Station Hotel.  A beautiful hotel that serves guests from out of town along with many meetings, weddings and other celebrations of St. Louis residents.

The Grand Hall is a wonderful meeting place for people.  It is beautiful and the architecture is truly amazing. After our ride aboard the "Wheel"  we visited the Grand Hall and as we stopped to rest at one of their many comfortable seating areas the lights dimmed, we heard a sound of a train coming, and then a fantastic 15 minute 3D light show began.  We weren't expecting it so we were pleasantly surprised.  Beautiful music played and the ceiling was transformed with an different light scenes.  The photos below show two of the scenes.



More to do at St. Louis Union Station

There are several places to eat in the complex and we chose to stop at the new Soda Fountain Restaurant which also opened on September 30th.  It features "Freak Shakes, Boozy Shakes and Remedies".  We were however a bit cold to try the shakes so we enjoyed their delicious cheeseburgers and fries.  They also have a gift shop and a candy counter with lots of barrels and bins of old fashioned candies.

The outdoor area at Union Station also includes a carousel, a mini golf course and in the evenings a fire and light show with dancing lights, water and fire.

A big coming attraction for Union Station will be the 120,000 square foot St. Louis Acquarium.  It was under  construction while we were there but should be open by the end of 2019.  




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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Review of Historic Stonington Lighthouse and Museum

Stonington Connecticut is a delightful small town built around Stonington harbor.  We visited there on a beautiful July afternoon and parked in the lot along the harbor.  I then walked back up the hill to photograph the historic stone lighthouse.


History of Stonington Lighthouse

Stonington lighthouse was built in 1840.  It is a wonderfully preserved example of a mid-19th century lighthouse. The tower sits on a hill just up from the harbor and is 35 feet tall.  It was used for navigation until 1889, when it was replaced by another navigational aid out in the harbor.  The lighthouse is now used as a museum that explores the life and history of Stonington's seafaring people.  


Visiting the Inside of the Lighthouse

The museum is open seasonally and when you tour the museum you may also climb the 29 steps up the tower.  I climbed the steps and enjoyed taking photos in the museum and around the lighthouse grounds.

The brochure I was given when touring the lighthouse states that the seaside village of Stonington has been the " home to farmers, and fishermen, sailors and sea captains, explorers and entrepreneurs for more than 360 years."


Walking the Lighthouse Grounds- Views from the Back


Zazzle Products from my Photos





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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Review of Lighthouses Seen from Avery Point


On a July visit to Connecticut, we made a stop at the Avery Point campus of the University of Connecticut (UCONN) to photograph the lighthouse that I had heard was located at the edge of the campus.  We were pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful campus that along with the lighthouse had some beautiful sculptures.  Just offshore of the campus we had a wonderful surprise when I located two additional lighthouses.  On this page I will share my photographs of all three lighthouses and some of the sculptures I saw while walking along the paths on the campus.

Avery Point Lighthouse



Avery Point is the last lighthouse built in the state as an official navigational aid.  It was completed in 1943 but was not lit until a year later because of concerns about a possible Nazi attack during WWII.

As I strolled along the paths of the university I could see the lighthouse in the distance.  It is a distinctive beige brick tower and is a beautiful icon overlooking the water.


New London Harbor Light


Across the water from the campus I noted what I thought might be a lighthouse.  When I put on my longer lens, I was delighted to find this stately structure, which I found out was the New London Harbor Light.


In reading a brochure on lighthouse cruises, I found out that this is the oldest lighthouse in Connecticut. It was said to help to guide colonial privateers who sought shelter up the Thames River during the American Revolution.

New London Ledge Lighthouse


In the water, not too far off shore from the campus, I spotted a third lighthouse.  This lighthouse has some rather unique architectural features.  I read that it is a French Second Empire structure that is architecturally unique for a lighthouse.  It is also reported to be haunted by a former keeper.


There were lots of sailboats in the harbor and I was able to capture one just before it passed the lighthouse.


Other Interesting Features on the Avery  Point Campus of UCONN


Here are some of the photos I took of a building and a few of the many sculptures on the grounds.




Zazzle Products from my Photos


I enjoy sharing my photos on products made at
Zazzle.  Here are a couple you might like.






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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Photographic Review of Buffalo New York Lighthouse





I enjoy photographing lighthouses and on a recent July day we made a stop on our trip east to visit the beautiful lighthouse in Buffalo NY.  This lighthouse is located at the mouth of the Buffalo river at the north entrance to Buffalo harbor.


Brief History of Buffalo Lighthouse


In 1805 Congress designated the Village of Buffalo to be a port of entry into the United States.  It was determined that the port needed a lighthouse but because of the War of 1812 construction was put off.  In 1818 the first lighthouse was built in Buffalo.  As the city of Buffalo grew into a major port a new lighthouse was needed.  The current lighthouse was built in 1833 at a height of 68 feet. You can read more about the history of the lighthouse at the following link Main Buffalo Lighthouse .


Photographs from my Visit


I was hoping to get up close to the lighthouse and had read the instructions online with directions how to get there by walking alongside the coast guard station.  What they didn't say was that this path was only open on Friday, Saturday and Sundays and since it was Wednesday I had to find another way to view the lighthouse.  I got back in the car and drove down the road to the nearest park on the harbor.  I found a charming park with a beautiful rain garden, some delightful wind catchers and paths all along the harbor.  The wind catchers were on a hill and when I climbed the hill, I got a great view of the lighthouse.  I had a 210 mm lens with me and it worked great to zoom in on the lighthouse.  The following photos are of the lighthouse and the park.





                                                               




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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos
Photo of Elfin Forest from Boardwalk, Los Osos, California, © B. Radisavljevic

The Elfin Forest is a natural area in Los Osos. It's named for its "pigmy" live oaks which have been stunted by growing where they do. The forest looks out over the southeastern shore of Morro Bay and covers about 90 acres. 

Should You Visit the Elfin Forest?

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos
Sign at Entrance of Elfin Forest, Los Osos, Photo © B. Radisavljevic


Every traveler or tourist has unique interests. I, for example, am much happier walking a nature trail than I would be walking in downtown San Francisco. I know, because I've done both. I'd rather be surrounded by nature and have a camera in my hand.

One winter day we decided to play tourist while out doing errands. We had time to kill after our medical appointment in San Luis Obispo. It was too soon to take advantage of the lunch special at our favorite restaurant (now closed).  After twenty years in this area, we’d never stopped in Los Osos. I thought it was time. I wanted a photo walk, and Hubby couldn't take his usual swim at the gym because we were away. We both needed exercise. We decided to go see the Elfin Forest in Los Osos.

Before we left for San Luis Obispo that day, I'd checked the sites that listed tourist attractions. Although the AAA Tour Book for Northern California did not consider this attraction worth mentioning, I had passed signs along the road before. So I looked it up and discovered we could walk the entire trail through the pigmy oak forest in less than an hour. We decided to see what was there and walk off a bit of the buffet lunch we would eat afterwards.

We took the Los Osos Valley Road exit west from the 101 Freeway in San Luis Obispo. Below is a scene we passed on Los Osos Valley Road once we were out of the commercial area. I made my husband stop the car so that I could snap the photo I used in this canvas print. It's also available as a greeting card, poster, postcard, and iPad Mini case. In fact, once you are on the Zazzle site, you can transfer the design to any product you choose.



What We Saw at the Elfin Forest

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos
Shot from Elfin Forest, Los Osos, Photo © B. Radisavljevic


As mentioned above, we toured the Elfin Forest in winter, but Los Osos is on the coast and the climate is mild. The weather was just right for taking a walk outdoors -- not too hot or too cold. But the season did give us a different experience than we would have had in spring or summer. We were still experiencing the drought of 2014 when we took our walk, as well. 

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos - View of Estuary
Estuary, with Morro Rock in Distance, © B. Radisavljevic


 I took the photo above from a lookout on the trail called Siena’s view. It looks out toward Morro Bay, and you can see Morro Rock off in the distance. Do you see how the drought has affected the estuary?

This is another view of the estuary from the boardwalk, looking toward Baywood Park. I made a puzzle of it on Zazzle with the same design as the postcard below. The text is easy to remove with the customize button.




Fauna I Saw During My Visit


I'm sure there were probably some fauna around, but I didn't see anything in the Elfin Forest itself the day I visited. The creatures must have seen me first. In other reviews I've read, people mentioned seeing rabbits, lizards, and even a fox. All I saw was birds. In one of the photos above there was either a hawk or a vulture in the sky. There were many water birds I could see in the estuary from the boardwalk. To get a good view one would need binoculars. This is what I was able to capture with a zoom lens from quite a distance. It would have been better if I'd been zeroing in on the birds, but at the time I was more interested in the overview.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos- Water and Shore Birds in Estuary

Many people enjoy bird watching from the Elfin Forest. I recognize the ducks, but not the birds with longer legs. Here is a complete list of the birds that hang out here. Unfortunately, there aren't any photos. If anyone recognizes the two wading birds near the center of the photo below, please let me know in the comments.




Flora of the Elfin Forest


I have seen photos taken in spring when the forest's many plants are in bloom, but not much was blooming in January. I did see coyote brush in bloom. You can learn more about coyote brush here - Coyote Brush: Blessing or Curse.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos- Coyote Brush
Coyote Brush in Bloom,  © B. Radisavljevic
I did find something else in bloom, but I haven't been able to identify it yet. I'm quite sure it's a berry, but the blooming times and/or leaves didn't match what seemed to make sense from the list I checked of the flora of this forest. Or maybe my eyes are bad. If you recognize it, please let me know in the comments. 

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos- Flora
Mystery Plant in Bloom at End of January,  © B. Radisavljevic



Poison Oak also lurks around the Elfin Forest. Be careful of it, especially in winter when it's harder to see. In the photo below, the very bright leaves are oak leaves. The leaves that show some red are poison oak. Do you see their bare stems? Those are just as dangerous to touch as the leaves are. Sometimes in winter there aren't any leaves to warn you. So stay on trails and don't touch bare stems unless you know it's not poison oak. Find more help with poison oak identification in this article: Oak and Poison Oak in Photos - Can You Tell the Difference? 


The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos: Poison Oak
Oak and Poison Oak in Winter,  © B. Radisavljevic
The pigmy oaks are live oak trees that are stunted by their environment and can't grow as tall as the live oak trees you find in other places. It appears many of them are dead or barely alive. Some appear to be skeletons offering a place for Spanish moss to establish themselves. Below you see one such tree with what appear to be suckers or fresh baby branches near the bottom of the tree. A healthy tree sits to the right displaying branches full of deep green leaves. 

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos: Pigmy Oak and Spanish Moss
Pigmy Oak in Winter with Spanish Moss,  © B. Radisavljevic
To get things into perspective, here are some photos to help you gauge the size of the plants in relationship to the boardwalk. Usually when one thinks of walking through a forest, one imagines looking up at the trees which block the view of what's beyond them. The Elfin Forest is different. Everything that grows there is short -- elf-size. Here's my husband, a giant among the pygmies.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos: Hubby on Boardwalk
Giant Among the Pigmies,  © B. Radisavljevic


But sometimes the trees and shrubs along the boardwalk do grow higher, as did the oaks in the previous photo. The photo below shows that they can often go over one's head and block the surrounding view.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos
A Tunnel through the Elfin Forest,  © B. Radisavljevic
There are many other photos of the flora that I snapped from the boardwalk, but there is not room for all of them here.

Amenities in the Elfin Forest


There really aren't many to speak of. There are no restrooms or drinking fountains nearby. If you plan to stay long, bring water. Most people would not spend more than an hour here. The boardwalk loop is only 4/5 of a mile long. It is flat and wheelchair accessible. There are several benches for resting along the way. Here is one resting place. You can find out where the nearest restrooms are here.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos: A Resting Place
Benches along Boardwalk at the Elfin Forest,  © B. Radisavljevic
Some benches like these, do have backs.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos: A Resting Place
More Benches along Boardwalk at the Elfin Forest,  © B. Radisavljevic


Along the walk there are also signs to point out attractions or help identify some of the plants. Some just let you know where you are on the walk. I showed one such sign near the beginning of this post. Although sometimes as you go through a "tunnel" you may feel like you are in a maze, there is little chance you will get lost.

The Los Osos / Morro Bay Chapter of Small Wilderness Area helps maintain the Elfin Forest and also sponsors nature walks on the third Saturday of each month. You can find more information about visiting the Elfin Forest here.  If you are ever driving south on Highway 1 or 101 from Paso Robles or Cambria or points north, The Elfin Forest is a quick place to stop and stretch your legs and get a dose of nature. 

Hungry people can take a short drive to the San Luis Obispo Costco afterward for an inexpensive snack. Pizza, hot dogs, frozen treats, and more are available to the public -- not just Costco members. Purchase the food outside the store and eat at the picnic tables provided. There are also several restaurants nearby.  


If you are in the area with some time to kill and would like to take a quick nature walk or do some birdwatching, stop by the Elfin Forest. It's also a good place to walk your dog. And admission is free. I plan to go back in a couple of days when we again have a medical appointment. I'm hoping to find all the plants that were dormant in January in bloom in June.
The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos:
This collage was created with Fotojet. See review by Contributor Dawn Rae

Related Posts


Dawn Rae reviewed one of my favorite places that also appears to be one of hers -- Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. She has done a lot of hiking there. I've only been there for a couple of hours at a time on my way to and from other historical sites. If you're ever near it, don't hesitate to stop and explore.

Contributor Mary Beth Granger reviews some tips for taking photos while hiking.


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