Welcome to The Sears Tower


When I was in High School we (the band) took a trip to The Windy City. SNL was one of my favorite things back then so Chicago held a particular fascination simply for the accent people sometimes have in the home of da bears. I was to my disappointment that MOST people I encountered had not one iota of the accent…until I went to the Sears Tower. The lady who hosted the film on the building’s construction sounded like she WAS the original Super Fan! “Welcome to Da Sears Tower. Please watch your step,” she intoned. It stopped me dead in my tracks in the door of the theater. I looked at her opened mouthed and finally asked if she could please say “DA BEARS” for me. She didn’t skip a beat and in the same wonderful accent said, “No…Move along sir! Welcome to Da Sears Tower.” Somehow that was even better than I could have anticipated and something I will never forget.

P.S. To me, it will always be The Sears Tower!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 28 October, 2011
  • Focal length: 50mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/200s
  • Title: Welcome to The Sears Tower

Didgeridoo Player on the Helix Bridge in Singapore

Eclectic Style

If nothing else, Singapore is diverse. Architecture runs from ultra modern to old world. The residents are from China, India, Malaysia, Africa. I was not entirely surprised, but it was surreal none the less, to be greeted on the Helix Bridge by a street musician playing a Didgeridoo! Oddly this is the first time I have ever seen anyone playing one of these Australian instruments. I have always wanted to play one, but unlike my native saxophone, the Didgeridoo does not come with a spit valve.

Photo Technical Info

YuYuan Garden Building


I have sat in this spot twice now. The first time, I was watching a cat. We had a wonderful chat, though we didn’t seem to speak the same language. The second time my furry friend was sadly absent, but I again sat, this time waiting for Pamela, who was I think a bit awed by her first visit to Yu Yuan Garden in Shanghai. There is a tendency to rush when on vacation, but I think all this travel has started to teach me to find a good spot…there are SO many around. Sit, feel your surroundings, watch, smell, listen. Have a chat with the locals, even if it is a cat. You never know what you might learn.

Photo Technical Info

A Window of The Artist’s Cottage at Jardin Majorelle

Art Deco Cottage

Today’s photo is of the art deco Artist’s Cottage at Jardin Majorelle in Marakesh Morocco. The blue is so famous, they named it Majorelle Blue (indigo, basically). The studio has been converted to a museum focusing on Yves Saint Laurant’s collection of Berber costumes and jewelry. It is a WONDERFUL collection, but I was hoping to see the art deco interior of the cottage as it would have appeared when Jacques Majorelle would have used it. Perhaps it was originally boring inside (though I cant imagine that given the exterior), or perhaps they didn’t want competition for the Berber exhibit.

Photo Technical Info

Grand Staircase of the Vienna Opera House

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

I was only in Vienna one night before my flight to Paris the next morning. I wandered the streets, finding some interesting things along the way. I was about to go back to my hotel, which was directly across the street from the Vienna Opera house, when I realized the doors to the massive building were open. When I entered in I heard the orchestra playing and only I and two young ushers were in the lobby. I asked if I could take a photo, and one of the ushers shrugged, turned around and wandered out of the scene. I ascended the stairs, setup my tripod and grabbed a few photos. Always ask before you assume photos are forbidden. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Photo Technical Info

Gaudi Chimney’s and a Blue Sky in Barcelona

The Forms of Gaudi

I have been thinking about Barcelona recently. It’s such a beautiful city and everywhere you turn it seems there is an explosion of art. Random acts of beauty, more-so then you get with most European cities (which is generally quite a bit). Barcelona even takes the time to make it’s subway stations amazing. Obvious placement not withstanding, I often find the little thing the most delightful and it was very much so the case on the roof of Casa Milà, one of the many Antoni Gaudi masterpieces of architecture. These are some of his terracotta chimney designs, something that most designers would overlook, take on a life of their own against the blue Barcelona sky.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 19 February, 2013
  • Focal length: 17mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Location: 41° 23.7203′ 0″ N 2° 9.718′ 0″ E
  • Shutter speed: 1/500s
  • Title: Gaudi Chimney's and a Blue Sky in Barcelona

Massive Supports at the Bangkok Airport

Airport Trouble

I have never had trouble at an airport like I had at Bangkok Airport! SO many things went wrong for me here. I was denied access to the lounge inbound (I just wanted to take a shower after my very long business class flight). I couldn’t get a boarding pass for my next flight. I left the airport and waste some time on my 18 hour layover and on return there wasn’t anyone to check me back in. I got stuck outside the secure area for 6 hours. On checking in I got levied a tax for leaving the secure area! A thai airport cop nearly knocked me over because their entrance signs are poorly labeled. It goes on and on!

What to do when Stuck

I photograph! Sadly I was so upset and exhausted that I didn’t get as much decent work in as I should have, but after the sun went down and the airport lit up a strange blue color, the massive supports at the Bangkok Airport really impressed me!

Photo Technical Info

Shinjuku Washington Hotel

Random Fun Things

One of the things I loved most about Tokyo is the random fun things you find just wandering around the city. Most of the time there is too much competing for your attention…neon blazing, sounds, smells, barkers, etc. Occasionally though you will find something in the raw that sort of makes you stop and wonder…why is this built like this. The Shinjuku Washington Hotel is one of those things. In a neighborhood of skyscrapers, it stands proudly and sleekly against the contrast of modern highrises. In a way it didn’t really belong, but within that I found myself feeling that it belonged more, as if the new towers were out of place. That probably sounds odd but than again, to an American, so is Tokyo.

Tokyo International Forum

Simply Wonderful

When I visit a new city, I go online and do a search for the best photographic opportunities. I can generally fill my days to the brim with interesting places and it’s always a challenge to decide which locations get sunrise and sunset. Sometimes this is eased by weather, for if it will be cloudy, there will be no sunrise. In my search for Tokyo, one place kept coming up over and over…The Tokyo International Forum. This center is a multipurpose meeting space of sorts on a grand scale. I stopped by one night and was immediately in love with the space. There is just so much going on, such simplicity, but yet such wonderful attention to detail. I don’t know many of the particulars of Rafael Viñoly design, but the nautical influence is impossible to miss. The building looks as though it was constructed from pieces of what should have been a massive ship, but rather, these by some twist of fate simply ended up being affixed to the island of Japan.

The Skylight at La Pedera

Ingenious Lighting

I just loved the way the architect Antoni Gaudi used shafts of open space in the interior of his buildings to get more outside light into what would otherwise be dark rooms. This interior also serves an a common area for guests and residents at the apartment complex called La Pedera, located in Barcelona Spain. This particular shaft of open space is obviously very big, but quite ingenious. I also enjoy how light such an important an element in the design over maximizing usable floor space. It’s not something you see much these days.