Museum Visit

There was a computer based interactive map centre where you could access a timeline with select active years. You could call up the year you were interested in, see the map of the time (which were highly variable from pre 1616 through to current day). In another window, you had access to a series of clips on a variety of topics – aboriginal history, natural history, history of industries in the area, interviews with knowledge experts, wildlife topics and more. We monopolized these two centres for quite some time – lucky the place wasn’t too busy!!

Two other media centres were set at opposite ends of the museum where videos were constantly running – each one 1 ½ hours in length about consisting of short interviews on a very wide variety of topics. There was an interview with the aboriginal woman who had donated her shell collection to the museum – it was a very impressive collection which she had collected as a young girl and her grandmother had saved it for her to pass on to her children. She spoke of life as a young girl living near Shell Beach – her daily chores, trips into the outback with the grandparents, how she acquired the knowledge of her ancestors.

There were many such clips; all very interesting. They included:
· a couple who run Dirk Hartog Island. His family has run a sheep farm for several generations and he and his family continue to raise sheep, but also run a tourist centre for 14 people. They have occasional long term visitors – including 2 Canadian girls who (with permission) camped at one end of the island for 4 months studying a species of bird
· experts on dolphins – the history of how the Monkey Mia dolphins came to being such regular visitors.
· archaeologists studying the camps of the Zuytdorp survivors and how they first found the settled area, and the excavation of the site. This link also contains lots of interesting info on the shipwreck.
· studies of shipwrecks and the history of their finds – especially the Zuytdorp which was carrying a very rich silver cargo (much of which has been pillaged).
· marine biologists who spoke of the diversity of the area. This area is the southern most point for warm water fish, and the northern most waters for cold water fishes. As a result the biodiversity is extensive.
· how water is collected – aboriginals used to expand on the kangaroo scratches. The kangaroos would scratch an area where fresh water existed – the salt water would seep in also, but the fresh water floats on top. So they just siphoned off the top water. This same method was expanded on by the ranchers for their sheep and cattle. A windmill was connected (lots of wind here!) with a float and the fresh water was siphoned off for the animals. As wild goats became more plentiful, they would destroy the kangaroo scratches with their hooves (kangaroo have soft paws). In addition, the water stations for the sheep were then used by the wild roos and they stopped making scratches. Eden project has eliminated the ranches in the park, and kangaroo scratches are reappearing.
· Eden project (several clips) – the introduction of the fence across the peninsula has allowed the elimination of many of the foreign species. Foxes are mostly gone, rabbits also. Feral cats have been harder to eliminate since they only eat fresh meat (baits won’t work). Goats are also being eliminated. This has allowed several native endangered species to be reintroduced – with varying success (Cats still eliminated a couple of species)
· The waters of the area – hypersaline in the deepest areas, supersaline in the mid section which results in the cyanobacteria ability to survive to create the stromatolites and Shell beach existing.

There were also many other displays of shells, artifacts and more. We had a grand old time.

Local Fashion Show

I had one of my students appearing in a local fashion show and she gave me a ticket so that I could take some pictures of the event.  It was a fund-raiser for sick kids hospital.  It was a great event and allowed me to work on my photo skills.  The lighting was very poor, even the pros that attended the event were complaining.  As a result I had to shoot very quickly and use dynamic focus tracking and high ISOs.  The runway was also very short so you did not have a lot of time to compose.  I still felt that I held my own and even got to give some shooting pointers to a young freelancer.  Loads of fun.

Fun with Photoshop

Just revisiting some of my old pictures and working on them with Photoshop.  One is from Bali and the bottles from NewFoundland.  The greenhouse was from a Hapsburg Castle in Slovakia.  The Inside of the church was in Prague.  Finally the town hall is very close to were Derek lives which is Olomouc Czech.

I think that my skills are improving since I have been teaching my full time photography class.  🙂

All pictures taken with my Nikon d200 and 18-200mm Nikon or a 12-24mm Tokina.  The Bali picture and the inside of the church were exposure bracketed.

Barcelona Day Five

Barcelona – Wed July 25th 2012

Just sitting waiting to head for dinner, so jotting down some stuff.

Got up early to head to Segrada Familia for our 9am tickets – had to pick them up first – directions were to get them at LaCaiza – however 1st try no luck with English and our attempts to self solve didn’t work.  We found another couple with an English speaking guy – but our card was still not being accepted by machine so went straight there (9:15 by now) – and got in not problem – paid extra E6 for both to go up the left also – was worth it as you could really see the work being done from above, (see photos).

The church basilica was yet again another incredible building – this time much more unique.  It was like being in a canopy – the columns branching out like tree limbs – resulting in none of the typical architectural domes as the weight became dispersed.  And the top layer mad to resemble palm fronds over everything.

Barcelona Day Three &Four

More Barcelona & Some Dali!

Down to just two full days remaining.  🙁 but have seen lots, drank lots and eaten lots, so no complaints.  yesterday morn we all met and after a bit of fiasco getting started (Derek left his bags in our room for some reason that caused some confusion.)

But before 10 Mike and I went down to break the E500 – paid GL back the E200 from La Riaja – now just owe him for the car.  Well use MC a great deal for last few days so we don’t need to take out any more Euros.

Also found Moviestar to add to our phone time, but didn’t know our phone number (fixed that on Tuesday).  Very funny on bank, a short nun with her shopping cart in line adead of us.  Pulled out her massive zip lock bag full of coins (pre-rolled at least) and got bit bills (couple of E100 at least were in a pile of other cash).  Expect she was cashing in the collection plate from Sunday.

Derek’s last day so we let him make the calls – so we walked down to Los Ramblas all way to the ocean.  The monument to columbus.  He sort of looked for ideas for Brit on the way.

Then took subway back up and went for a nice lunch.  Had a lobster pailla as a salad.   By the end of the meal I was not feeling well and headed back to the hotel.  Mike and Derek went to do shopping.  Derek finally got something for Brit, but hot himself.  then came up to say farewell and pick up bags.  Sort but sweet visit, was nice he made it here.

After Derek left M&GL went for open top bus four of Barcelona.  Mike and I went shopping – got four shirts and I got a dress and skirt.  Found a great pair of shoes too, but haven’t bought them.  got some yummy cookies too (wheat free).

When all back, M&GL came in for wine/cheese/bread/olives/cookies and ham (bought @ market with Derek & Marucia found gluten free bread at a backery).  We had the white from Bia Gorui and we still like it a lot.

M&GL also went to Casa Batllo and insist we should go.  This afternoon we were going to Figueres to see the Dali museum so Mike played (streamed) some Dali stuff, interviews by Mike Wallace, Dali/Disney film and Dali on what’s My Line – great prelude!

I booked the tickets online – could only get 5:30pm!

GL also found a Guitar concert @ Palais de Musica on Thursday night for 33E so we’ll go to that too, (I still owe him for the tickets less the 12E for Dali).

Mike and I got to the CASA Batllo for opening @ 9:00am – at least less crowded.  Amazing space – every detail artistic and functional at the same time.  His use of light thru the central “Courtyard” space – From 7 stories @top with darker tiles to the base with lighter.  Top floors smaller windows, bottom largest to balance the light – each room had multiple light sources – external or skylight or windows over doors.  Ventilation on throughout via louvres on the doors/below windows.  Use of wood, iron, glass, ceramic all show great skill.

Overall effect of being in the sea – which ceilings with swirling vortexes and ripples on walls.  Many walls detailed with “scale” effect painted everywhere.  Even the rear facade from the back patios was ornate with great balconies.

The attic space was elegant – clean which arches throughout with laundry room and storage space.  The roof also was well thought with “groups” of chimneys to create turret type sits to match the dragon topping the façade.

From the roof you could see the design aspects of the drainage and plumbing and lighting.  Bought a book on Gaudi – so can get more info there!

Then a quick bite and meet GL & M to head out just past 1 pm to find the train – bit redundant walking between stops as the train platform entry was under construction.  Nice guy pointed us in the right direction and we managed.  Had a 1/2 hour prior to train so we went for a beer and I left 1/2 of mine, may be a first.  We got to Fig. with just enough time to have a bite before our 5:30 entry.  (Good Lunch – 2E Rioja wine cup @ a four cheese sauce ravioli – enjoyed despite my condition).

Then to Dali – another day of being amazed.  He was quite the “genius” – his mind was definitely unique – as his perspective – he was big on logarithmic patterns, cell biology and felt himself as much a math/science/philosopher as a artist – and he certainly was not restricted to paper/paint/pen.  His “structures” and his jewels collections show that he really needed to express in many ways.  As per his interview, it is the Dali genius of his personality – painting or art are just one way to express it.  Hoping the photos do justice as I’ll be hopeless at trying to describe his work.

Then back at 8:30 for the 2 hour train ride back – for another cheese/bread/ham/cookie snack and here I am just wrapping up @ midnight.  Mike still photoing.

We want to head early to Segrada Familia – so bed soon.


Barcelona Day Two

Barcelona Day One Continue & Day Two

From the wine stop we headed straight to Barcelona, with just one stop to eat and swap me in for Mike.  Mike had a very good pig knuckle meal and Marucia found more Santiago cake (no gluten!).  GL and her both love it.  We got to the airport around 6 – lots of time to return car (one week early), what a fiasco.  In the end Hertz agreed to take it early for no extra fee!  GL and Marucia argued for quite some time to little avail, (other then extra fee voided).  GL will need to take it up when back at home.  Also tried to do seat check-in and flight confirmation with Air Canada/Lufthansa but no luck; we will have to try on-line in Hotel.

We met Derek with no problems and we shared 2 taxis to the hotel.  Had a welcome champagne on the 8th floor.  Our rooms are on the 2nd with a view of a wall!  but roomy and big bathroom and easy to walk up to.  Se we unpacked then headed for dinner to place recommended by friend of Derek’s   Was quite good.  You got a drink and a plate, then took the tapas you wanted and paid per toothpick when done.  Had chorizo/bread, herb cheese with jam, tuna tart with artichoke, pate with chutney, slice goat cheese/cherry tomatoes.

Again lots of street activity especially on a Saturday night.  But the restaurants all closed by 12:30.  Guess the bar scene starts then.  We decided to meet and 9am to hike up to Parc Guelle.  Marucia had asked to move for a better view and so at 9am we had to fully pack up and leave our luggage in Dereks room for the day.

By 10 we started off for the day stopping for coffee and croissant.  After headed to the Gaudi church Familia.  There were huge crowed with the line up going around half the church.  We decided to check the outside and return a week day to see the inside.  We then headed up to the park; a good walk up; but there was an escalator 🙂  Walked through the upper park first then to the main section.  It was so crowed that you could not even see it!  I got frustrated with the volume of people and we decided we had enough and so back down with eyes open for lunch en route.  We found an ok spot.  M&I shared shrimp and a waldorf type salad and frites.  Decent meal and funny waiter.  Then back for a map.  We got our new rooms on the 7th floor with a nice view but smaller bathroom.

After a quick nap we reconvened for wine in our room.  Marucia went to mass during our nap.  Had a very good Rioja from the winery.  Mike/GL/M went to in Abalos and the Granache was great.

Got Jasmine on Skype too.  Gave her lots of confusing chatter.  Lent Derek a cable to charge his phone – which he immediately misplaced so spent time searching everywhere for that – did eventually find it.  Made him use it here!

After much trip adviser/googling found a place open on Sunday with good reviews.  It was around the corner so that made GL happy too.  Cerrezeria Catalanya – was a great find(had to leave our name – 1 1/4hr wait so left for a beer elsewhere and returned in 1 hour).  Well worth the wait for E100 all five of us ate with bottle wine, coffees and deserts too.  Favourites were the shrimp skewers, the veg with goat cheese, crispy Camembert, (also prosciutto on toast, potato, veal/gorg on bun)…probably more … then back for bed.  Derek took his phone/computer.  and will meet up @ 10 this morning.