Saturday, January 26, 2008

Počitelj - UNESCO World Heritage Site?

This will get long so you can skip ahead to the photo if you must :)

Unlike high schoolers in the USA, out here in the rest of the world, one sometimes has to travel to a different city or even country to take the SAT test for college. The nearest test for this cycle was in Mostar. So instead of making a 2-3 hour drive first thing this morning and then actually finding the test site before 8 am, we opted to drive to Mostar on Friday evening and spent the night. This ends up making it rather expensive for just a test, so while Shelby and a friend of Carl and hers took the test, Carl, Elesa and I took the opportunity and a little time to check out the surrounding areas and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air (neither of which is available on any regular basis in Sarajevo this time of year). At this point, we've seen Mostar enough and we will end up back at some point anyway.

First we drove about 30 minutes or so to Hutovo blato, a bird sanctuary. We were pretty our minds we were comparing it to Australia's Kakadu Yellow Water and Guatemala's Monterrico Biotopo. No such luck...3 domestic looking goose things and a glimpse of some type of raptor, maybe a Short-toed eagle???

Then we went to spend some time walking around Počitelj. Along the way, we came across an interesting old bridge similar in design to the very famous bridge in Mostar, and I stopped to take a couple photos. I'm sure one of which will someday make it here (especially once I remember the name and some of the details:)

Počitelj is an interesting looking old town built into the side of a hill. The first thing you notice is the castle/fort that sits up high on the edge of a cliff. It also has a neat bell/clock tower (minus the clock and bell). The town was heavily damaged during war and it is still undergoing a lot of reconstruction (although, according to the plaque, the bell and clock were long gone years before). There were men repairing a stone roof today. According to our Bradt guide book and a lot of web sites, including some decent Bosnia-Herzegovina ones such as this, Počitelj is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. However, when I go to the list itself, I can find no such reference. So I'm left wondering...are all those other sources wrong? is the UNESCO World Heritage site wrong or not up to date? Was it taken off the list? Has it applied to the be on the list and not been officially added yet? I mean what is the deal?

Here is a typical postcard shot that I took. The clock tower is in the foreground on the left and the fort (Sahat-kula), dominates the background up on the cliff. Also making a small appearance, the minaret of Hadzi-Alija Mosque on the right and a dome of the Sisman-Ibrahimpasina medresa in the lower left corner.

Počitelj - UNESCO World Heritage Site?

Oh, and Shelby reports that she thinks she did especially well on the math portion of the test...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Looking the Other Way

Exactly a year ago today there was an awesome sunset that Ryan and I watched from the balcony. This evening we had another neat sunset (unfortunately Ryan is not visiting this time) and I looked to the east and took this shot of the "castle" as I call it.

Sarajevo Sunset - 20 January 2008

Hanging In There

A little bit of fall is hanging in there trying to make it to spring....

Lonely Leaf - Veliki Park, Sarajevo

Flamingos in the Rain

I didn't get good subject isolation of the chicks, (and haven't come up with a realistic looking method of doing so in photoshop) but I still sort of liked this photo taken last summer at the Cincinnati Zoo. I liked the circular ripples in the water, I like the details in the front chick's feathers/down and I like the way the adult flamingos frame the chicks (two on each side in the un-cropped version, but the front one on the left is a butt shot and the butt is not sharp at that:) The grey chicks just don't stand out against the background enough...which I guess helps protect the little guys from predators. I'd give it a 6 out of 10 on my made up on the spot scale. Also, why does it always manage to rain when we get a chance to go there???

Flamingo Chicks - Cincinnati Zoo

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Two More From Last Summer

Went looking at some more of my photos from our time ashore in Mexico during our cruise this past summer. The first photo, the walls of stone, is a three image HDR which I used mostly just to bring out some details in the top flat portions of the wall.

...and they lifted many stones (Neil Young - "Cortez, The Killer")

Chacchoben Mayan Ruins - Mexico

While with this second photograph, I used photoshop's ACR lens correction function "vignetting" to actually add vignetting (the darkening of the corners caused by light fall-off, poor lens design, too many filters etc) for creative effect to add emphasis to the center of the photo and to the steps receding into the distance.

The Jungle Takes Hold - Chacchoben Mayan Ruins, Mexico

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Bit of Color

After a pretty ugly week with lots of fog and slightly warmer weather, the fog was totally gone today and the temps made it into the mid 50's. Town was packed with people out and about. That's not to suggest it was nice and sunny though...just much better than it has been :)

This afternoon I found a list I made in August of "photos to process" that had fallen behind my desk. Most of what was on that list would still be on the list if I were to make it today. Most of our summer vacation photos are still on the list...the cruise, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Cincinnati Zoo...I did complete the Judo photos though! The list prompted me to go back and have a peak, the color here immediately caught my eye...hopefully it will catch your eye too.

Trinkets -Chacchoben, Mexico

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Boring Photos???

I don't know if I am (or was) in a slump as far as creativity goes or what, but for some reason as I try to finish up the photos from our September trip through Dalmatia, my Krka National Park photos generally strike me as boring. Something just seems to be missing. Anyway here is one I forced myself through tonight...I certainly don't consider it a masterpiece :)

Krka At Dusk - Croatia

Friday, January 04, 2008

September Was a Bit Warmer...

This is another photo of the waterfalls at Krka in Croatia. It was a lot warmer there, then...than it is here, now :) This is also a photo that I've taken a couple tries at to get right. It may still need some work.

What I ought to do though, is hike back up to the Skakavac waterfall this weekend and get some photos of it all frozen. It has been below freezing here for about a month, with today's temperatures only making it to the upper teens (Fahrenheit). It would be a cold hike.

Krka National Park - Croatia

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

More Snow

It snowed some more over the New Year's holidays...but a number of the walls around town have elaborate paintings on them. The paintings and graffiti can really add color to what can be a drab and dreary time of year.

Park Art - Sarajevo

Happy New Year!

It was snowing generously, but at a minute or so before midnight, we simply walked out on our balcony and watched the city and the surrounding hills light up with fireworks. The main display was about a block or so right in front of us.

Fireworks Usher in 2008 - Sarajevo