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Archive for August, 2009

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The high tides from the previous night had created some tidal pools along the beach – perfect wading grounds for this seagull to take a stroll.  I thought this shot was a good illustration of using the rule of thirds.  The posts and their reflections run down the right side of the photo, intersecting with the subtle brown tones in the water that run horizontal along the lower third.  Both linear elements intersect at the seagull drawing the eye to the main subject.

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Lots of colorful umbrellas at the beach – but no swimming allowed.  I took this as Hurricane Bob was passing offshore and the rip currents were wicked.  Swimming wasn’t allowed but the surfers were given the OK to take advantage of the waves.  I thought that was a bit odd, but they said better than average swimming skills and the floatation device (aka surfboard) were enough to give them an edge.  I think in reality they figured there was no way they could keep all the surfers away from the 12 – 15 foot waves that were predicted – we rarely see wave action like that around here.

Playing around a bit in Lightroom – I decided to use a preset – Matt’s Vintage NY to give it the look of an old tinted B&W photo.

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Still pretty with their soft pastel colors, Summer’s Hydrangea fading as we approach the end of the season.

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The arena was filled with National Pride at Sean Hannity’s Freedom Concert in NJ on the 15th.  The annual concert is part of a series of shows that raise funds for the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund.  The fund has given over 2.5 million dollars in scholarship money for the college education of the children of members of the American Armed Forces who have lost their lives or become permanently disabled defending our country.  Only at an event like this would you find Col. Oliver North, Billy Ray Cyrus and Sean Hannity on stage singing Achy Breaky Heart.

Sean Hannity and Charlie Daniels singing The Devil Went Down to Georgia is another tradition that the audience looks forward to seeing every year.

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The event took place at an outdoor arena at Six Flags amusement park and we were treated to the weekly fireworks show partway into the evening.  Once it started, Billy Ray Cyrus finished his song and moved right into an a cappella rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.  The audience joined in and it was very moving to stand there with thousands of like-minded patriots proudly showing our national pride as we sang along.

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This ornate passageway was the sidewalk outside our hotel.  Walking home one night I glanced up and paused to snap a quick shot (much to my husband’s annoyance, as he was tired and just wanted to get back to our room).  The symmetry of the repeat pattern was just too good to pass up.

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Peeling paint and city grunge has it’s own sort of appeal, at least to me.  I love the textures, colors and patterns randomly created.

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What a cool crosswalk this was – super pattern that just made me smile every time we crossed the street here.  I commented to my husband how I liked the pattern of the crosswalk paint.  His response… “It probably costs a lot more than the regular kind too.”  Can you tell he’s the practical one and I’m the visual, artistic one in our family?

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This theme has been a challenge for me.  I’ve kept my eyes open for a good laundry shot to no avail.  So I was delighted to find this Claes Oldenberg statue!  In days gone by you couldn’t do your laundry without a proper clothes pin to clip your clothing to the line.

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JFK Plaza in Philadelphia, but more commonly known as Love Park, is home to one of many LOVE statues by Robert Indiana.  This well know icon of the 6o’s was first designed as a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art in 1964 and exhibited as a sculpture in 1966.  The well-known postage stamp was issued in 1973 – as an 8 cent stamp!

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Just beyond the sandcastle was this wonderful carousel with the most unique critters I’ve seen on a carousel, such as this cat with a fish shown here.  Eagles, Dragons and other fantastic creatures spend the day going round and round.  This park was set up for children, with a fun playground, miniature golf course, and a fountain too.  Located just a few blocks north of the Liberty Bell and well worth a visit if you find yourself in Philadelphia.

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This large sandcastle greeted us as we entered Franklin Square Park in Philadelphia.  It was starting to crumble a bit, but it was such a delightful treat to see the detail that still remained.  My favorite section was the salted pretzel sticking out from the jagged-edged “paper” bag and the lacing on the baseball glove.  It’s amazing that they can get such delicate details out of compacted sand.

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This discovery was so deliciously good it surpasses any possible theme – it has to be posted on it’s own just because it’s so wonderful.  This restaurant is devoted ENTIRELY to CHOCOLATE!   They celebrate chocolate in the most superbly tasty and inventive ways imaginable.  Chocolate drinks that were just like drinking a silky, creamy chocolate bar, chocolate waffles, chocolate cakes and crepes, the list goes on and on. They have locations in Philadelphia, NYC, the Phillipines, Singapore and Isreal.  And Austrailia is lucky enough to have 8 locations in Sydney and 5 more in Melbourne.  (Ron, you Aussies must really love chocolate – if you’ve never been there, grab Sally now and head on down to Syndey for the experience of a lifetime!)  Check out the menu, complete with pictures, but be forewarned, it’s best to have some sort of chocolate close at hand before doing so to satisfy the cravings.

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This fascinating building, which was right across the street from our hotel, is Philadelphia City Hall.  The statue up on top is William Penn, the city founder.  Check out the link if you’re interested in some of the history and architectural details.  I discovered one fun fact – starting in the 1990’s if one of the city’s sports teams is close to winning a championship they dress the statue in the team’s jersey!

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This flame burns at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolutionary War in Washington Square, Philadelphia.

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The clock tower of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.  A lot of significant historical events took place here.

(excerpted from the Independance National Historic Park website) Constructed between 1732 and 1756 as the State House of the Province of Pennsylvania, it is considered a fine example of Georgian architecture. From 1775 to 1783 (except for the winter of 1777 – 1778 when Philadelphia was occupied by the British Army) this was the meeting place for the Second Continental Congress. It was in the Assembly Room of this building that George Washington was appointed commander in chief of the Continental Army in 1775 and the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. In the same room the design of the American flag was agreed upon in 1777, the Articles of Confederation were adopted in 1781, and the U. S. Constitution was drafted in 1787. The building, inside and out, has been restored whenever possible to its original late-18th century appearance. Most of the furnishing are period pieces. The “rising sun” chair used by George Washington as he presided over the Constitutional Convention is original.

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One of the most recognizable symbols of our country and government – the Liberty Bell.  

The Bell’s Message (excerpted from the Independance National Historic Park website)

The Liberty Bell’s inscription conveys a message of liberty which goes beyond the words themselves. Since the bell was made, the words of the inscription have meant different things to different people. When William Penn created Pennsylvania’s government he allowed citizens to take part in making laws and gave them the right to choose the religion they wanted. The colonists were proud of the freedom that Penn gave them. In 1751, the Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly ordered a new bell for the State House. He asked that a Bible verse to be placed on the bell – “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof” (Leviticus 25:10). As the official bell of the Pennsylvania State House (today called Independence Hall) it rang many times for public announcements.

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This Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly was enjoying a nice meal on our butterfly bush in the back yard.  Capturing shots of these gentle creatures is one of my favorite summer passtimes.

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Inspired by Ron’s skills at stretching a theme, I decided that this star counts as a Celestial Body.  The large steel bouy was nestled in a garden off the beach not far from where I took the sunset shots in the previous post.

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Remember that barrier island that you could just barely see along the horizon if you enlarged this earlier post?  There are ferries that go to various beach towns over on that island, and Ocean Beach has several restaurants and shops.  This shot was taken recently from the shore near a marina in Ocean Beach when I was over there for dinner. This heavenly sunset deserves to be seen enlarged – be sure to click on the photo to get the full effect of these clouds. 

Here’s another angle taken about the same time.

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Lots of patriotic pride with flags proudly displayed by the marchers and spectators.

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