The True Heart of Venice– Ponte di Rialto–Rialto Bridge

This bridge was built between 1588 and 1591 to span the Grand Canal and remained the only way to cross the canal by foot until 1854 with the addition of the Academia Bridge! The Rialta Bridge has three walkways one of which was designed to allow passage of galleys.
It is especially pretty at Sunset

Rialta Bridge

Sorry for the long Silence!

A recent picture of my hubby just before we took a Gondola ride in Venice! Many more pictures to follow so stay tuned!

I uploaded a few new photos on Flickr

Venice (Italian: Venezia [veˈnɛttsja] is a city in northern Italy known both for tourism and for industry, and is the capital of the region Veneto.

The name is derived from the ancient people of Veneti that inhabited the region as of 10th century B.C. The city historically was the capital of the Venetian Republic. Venice has been known as the “La Dominante”, “Serenissima”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The Floating City”, and “City of Canals”. Luigi Barzini, writing in The New York Times, described it as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man”. Venice has also been described by the Times Online as being one of Europe’s most romantic cities.

The city stretches across 117 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy. The saltwater lagoon stretches along the shoreline between the mouths of the Po (south) and the Piave (north) Rivers. The population estimate of 272,000 inhabitants includes the population of the whole Comune of Venezia; around 60,000 in the historic city of Venice (Centro storico); 176,000 in Terraferma (the Mainland), mostly in the large frazioni of Mestre and Marghera; and 31,000 live on other islands in the lagoon. There is a recent concern that Venice will be come a living museum with no Venetians living in Venice, just tourists!

The Republic of Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as a very important center of commerce (especially silk, grain and spice trade) and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century. This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history.[6] It is also known for its several important artistic movements, especially the Renaissance period. Venice has played an important role in the history of symphonic and operatic music, and it is the birthplace of Antonio Vivaldi, and the place that Richard Wagner died.

A fun city–Visit it soon!

More HDR News

There is an article reviewing the Top HDR Software in the April issue of Outdoor Photographer.

But the latest HDR news!

HDR is the latest craze in Photography and now it will even be on the ipad!
The newest how-to app for the iPad is now available: Rick Sammon’s HDR Portfolio (soon to be renamed – Rick Sammpn’s iHDR). This app is packed with HDR photos (his latest), info and movies. A great way to learn and experience HDR. Same great content, but when the new version is release, it will feature a Favorites section, which is very cool.

When one takes photos to be used for HDR a tripod in a necessary item. What about a tripod on a moving ship? That is how I took this picture, on a sail-away from the Island of Moorea on a cruise in the South Pacific, but I thought it turned out to be an interesting picture! What do you think?
Click on the picture to enlarge.

Colorful Crocea Clams Plus other Beauties of the Pacific Ocean

Colorful Crocea Clams plus other beauties of Pacific Ocean
One of my favorite things to do is Scuba Dive. This trip I was unable to dive, so snorkeled instead. Here are some pictures from underwater Bora Bora in a beautiful area called The Coral Garden.


Bora Bora, located about 160 miles northwest of Tahiti and approximately 2,600 miles south of Hawaii, was discovered in 1722, and is arguably the most beautiful island on the planet. Colorful Crocea Clams Plus other Beauties of the Pacific Ocean are just some of the things seen under water

Its ancient name of Vava’u suggests that the original inhabitants of this seven-million-year-old island arrived from Tonga.

And interestingly, in the local Tahitian language there is no “B,” so its actual name is then Pora Pora, meaning “first born.”

Bora Bora’s fabled blue lagoon is, according to novelist James A. Michener, “so stunning, that there are really no adequate words to describe it.”

Volcanic in origin, Bora Bora’s rugged main island, and a few smaller islands, are completely surrounded by coral reefs.

Made famous by books, movies, and its stunning beauty, the island is now besieged by tourism and overcrowding. Regardless, if you must visit a South Pacific island (and you should), Bora Bora would be an excellent choice.

Using Animoto– Tarcoles River Costa Rica and Roses

Two videos using Animoto software

I am playing with production of video and still shows using Animoto, http://animoto.com/

“Award-winning Animoto Pro lets you instantly combine your photos and video clips into sharp, sexy, HD videos.

At the heart of Animoto is our patent-pending Cinematic Artificial Intelligence that thinks like an actual director and editor. It analyzes and combines user-selected images, video clips and music with the same sophisticated post-production skills and techniques that are used in television & film. No two videos are ever the same.”

Can’t decide if I like the software or not.

The Rose video was made using all still photos taken after a rain storm in Tucson–Except for the last photo, which was from a Tournament of Roses Parade.

What do you think?

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

Off the Beaten Path in Hilo

On a recent Cruise on Holland America Line we traveled from San Diego to Hilo Hawaii– our first siting of land! The trip map is featured on the first picture in the gallery


The coastal town of Hilo is the largest settlement on the island of Hawaii and overlooks Hilo Bay. Mauna Loa, considered an active volcano, and Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano, are located nearby. Hilo’s location on the eastern side of the island makes it the wettest city in the United States and one of the wettest cities in the world with an average yearly rainfall of 127.77 inches. Some areas of Hilo have been known to receive more than 200 inches of rainfall!

The Wailuku River rushes through old lava rocks and lava tubes creating a “boiling” effect. The Kaumana Caves are reached by climbing down an almost vertical staircase. These caves were formed by the 1881 eruption of Mauna Loa.

A trek through white sand lagoons filled with a mixture of salt water and artesian well water from below the surface and surrounded by unique lava formations, leads one to a beautiful sheltered lagoon in which to swim.

Snorkeling with Sharks and Manta Rays

Snorkeling with Sharks and Manta Rays
We snorkeled with Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) in Bora Bora. It is easily identified by the prominent black tips on its fins (especially on the first dorsal fin and the caudal fin). Among the most abundant sharks inhabiting the tropical coral reefs of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, this species prefers shallow, inshore waters and its exposed first dorsal fin is a common sight in the region. Most blacktip reef sharks are found over reef ledges and sandy flats, though they have also been known to enter brackish and freshwater environments. This species typically attains a length of 1.6 m (5.2 ft).

Blacktip reef sharks have extremely small home ranges and exhibit strong site fidelity, remaining within same local area for up to several years at a time. They are active predators of small bony fishes, cephalopods, and crustaceans, and have also been known to feed on sea snakes and seabirds. Accounts of the blacktip reef shark’s life history have been variable and sometimes contradictory, in part reflecting geographical differences within the species. Like other members of its family, this shark is viviparous with females giving birth to 2–5 young on a biennial, annual, or possibly biannual cycle. Reports of the gestation period range from 7–9, to 10–11, to possibly 16 months. Mating is preceded by the male following closely behind the female, likely attracted by her chemical signals. Newborn sharks are found further inshore and in shallower water than adults, frequently roaming in large groups over areas flooded by high tide.

Timid and skittish, the blacktip reef shark is difficult to approach and seldom poses a danger to humans unless roused by food. However, people wading through shallow water are at risk of having their legs mistakenly bitten. This shark is used for its meat, fins, and liver oil but is not considered to be a commercially significant species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed the blacktip reef shark as Near Threatened. Although the species as a whole remains widespread and relatively common, overfishing of this slow-reproducing shark has led to its decline at a number of locales.

http://www.iucn.org/

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/blacktip-shark/
During that time we also saw a Lemon shark ( Negaprion brevirostris), a shark that belongs to the family Carcharhinidae that can grow 10 feet (3.0 m) long.[1] It is known as the lemon shark because at certain depths, the light interaction with the local seawater can make this shark have a tanned and yellow pitted appearance, much like the surface of a lemon.

The Manta Rays are also plentiful in the area, are used to humans, and swam all around over and under us and feel like velvet. What the giant manta rays do with humans is unique in this world. A totally wild animal, that can be twice the mass of a horse, seeks out and revels in human physical contact. Manta rays are the largest rays and are closely related to sharks. These harmless rays have a short tail and no stinging spine. They are very acrobatic; they can even leap from the water. Remoras (Echeneida) are frequently seen with mantas, staying near the manta’s mouth (even inside the gill cavities). The remoras probably feed on parasites on the manta’s body and eat bits of the manta’s food. These graceful swimmers are up to 29.5 ft (9 m) wide, but average about 22 ft (6.7 m) wide. The largest weigh about 3,000 pounds (1350 kg).

Mantas are dark brown to black on top with paler margins; they are mostly white underneath. Mantas eat microscopic plankton, small fish, and tiny crustaceans. They funnel the food into their mouth while they swim, using two large, flap-like cephalic lobes which extend forward from the eyes. Mantas have no teeth; they sieve their food.

Star Gazing in the Southern Hemisphere

Did you know that you can’t see the North Pole star after you cross the equator, midsouthern latitudes (15-45 degrees south), but the southern sky is brighter, and there are more stars to see!

Among the exciting celestial treasures that await the traveler who ventures deeper south is the Milky Way–well you say I can see it anywhere, but in the Southern sky it is brighter, especially in our summer, their winter. The Magellanic Clouds, though, can only be seen in the southern hemisphere. Never heard of the Magellanic Clouds?–

From the southern hemisphere the brightest galaxy to be seen is the Large Magellanic Cloud, a smaller galaxy than Andromeda (which we can see in the northern hemisphere), but 14 times brighter. With the naked eye the Large Magellanic Cloud looks like a gray patch in the sky, and the Small Magellanic Cloud nearby looks like a smaller gray patch.

In the 16th century , Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was the first to note the position and appearance of these two patches, remarking on their uniqueness in the heavens. Today we know they are satellite galaxies of our Milky Way, with the Large Magellanic Cloud about 5 percent of the mass of the Milky Way, and the Small Magellanic Cloud 1 percent of the mass of the Milky Way Galaxy.
Reference: Night Watch
A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe by Terence Dickinson 4 Edition

On a recent trip across the equator I saw the Large Magellanic Cloud, but the most impressive celestial sight to me was my first sighting of the Southern Cross. Maybe it was impressive because I was also able to get pictures of it! Laying on a deck chair on the Sky Deck of a Cruise ship at 4 or 5 am is amazingly wonderful! You say you aren’t a morning person, well neither am I but I still marveled at the beauty of the sky at those hours, and got up without the aid of an alarm clock! I do have a great lady to Thank for opening my eyes to the southern sky; Famous HAL lecturer, Star Lady Donna. Check her out www.stargazing.ca
Another site to check Skyandtelescope.com for interesting articles, Sky at a glance, Interactive Sky Chart, etc. You can also get Sky Calender on Twitter http://twitter.com.skymaps, then buy yourself a Planisphere for your Latitude and go out and look at the stars!

Happy New Year from Pasadena!

Happy New Year!
Windy and Cold here–Sunny CA yes but—also can get cold—Not quite this cold!


OOPS the Snowman was made in WA last week! Lemon tree in Pasadena.

The Tournament of Roses Parade is Tomorrow! Can’t wait to see it!

An Island full of Puffins

Vigur Island— A birdwatchers paradise, the pearl of the Westfjords are  words that can and have been used to describe this small island in the far northwest of Iceland.

It is the second largest island of the Isafjordur Bay or the Djup. It is about 2 km long and 400 m wide sits in the ocean and is surrounded by fjords. One family lives on the island all year. Their livelihood is based on farming, the collection of eggs and eiderdown, bird catch and tourism. The island is home to about 80,000 Atlantic puffins, a large number of eider ducks, arctic terns, guillemots and many other types of birds can be found on the island. Most of the houses are from late 19th century or early 20th. Seals often can be seen on the shore line as well as whales and dolphins further out in the sea.

The only surviving windmill in Iceland is situated in Vigur, owned by the National Museum of Iceland but maintained at the island. It was mainly used to grain corn.

Eider Ducks furnish the eiderdown for the famous pillows and quilts, and a living for the farmer. The ducks are wild, but develop a symbiotic relationship with the farmer and don’t seem to mind when he collects the down. He also builds shelters for them to use for their nests, and feeds the ducklings.

Eider Ducklings Eating

Eider Ducklings

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On the thirty minute boat trip from Isafjordur to Vigur Island there were many puffins flying and many more in the water all around us. Iceland is the breeding home of perhaps 60 percent of the world’s Atlantic Puffins. Parts of Vigur Island is covered with Puffin nests which are burrows in the ground.


View Larger Map

A different kind of Puffin not found on Vigur Island:

The Tufted or Horned Puffin is mainly found in the North Pacific and looks similar to the Atlantic Puffin, with the addition of the head ornaments.

There I was in Thailand…

In Thailand

Quite a Lap-Full

Hope he stays Relaxed!

So there my husband and I were in Thailand…(Click on images for larger views!)
The Theravada Buddhist temple is located in the Saiyok district of Thailand’s Kanchanaburi province, not far from the border with Myanmar, some 38 km north-west of Kanchanaburi along the 323 highway. It was founded in 1994 as a forest temple and sanctuary for numerous wild animals. In 1995 it received the Golden Jubilee Buddha Image, made of 80 kilograms of gold.

According to the abbot and others associated with the temple, in 1999, the temple received the first tiger cub, it had been found by villagers and died soon after. The story goes that several tiger cubs were later given to the temple over time, typically when the mothers had been killed by poachers, others who wanted to get rid of their tiger “pets” or those were under pressure to do so as laws and policies surrounding the keeping of protected species became more strict. As of 2007, over 21 cubs have been born at the temple and the total number of tigers is about 12 adult tigers and 4 cubs. As of late December 2009, the total number of tigers living at the temple has risen to almost 50.

The subspecies of these tigers is unknown as none of them have been DNA tested, but it is thought that they are Indochinese Tigers, except Mek (a Bengal Tiger). There is also a possibility that there may be some of the newly discovered Malayan Tigers and it is likely that many are cross breeds or hybrids.

Hello world! Introducing FordsFotos.net

Hello World; Welcome to Doris Ford Photography;
Ford’s Fotos Blog and Photo Gallery; http://FordsFotos.net and Gallery on FordsFotos.com, I also have a Smugmug site; http://FordsFotos.smugmug.com
Travel photography is my focus and I hope to show you award winning photos from all 7 Continents. Sometimes the photos will just be in a travel log vein, or reflect a current project on which I am interested. All photos are for sale so Please view them and I hope you enjoy the photos and the text to further explain the pictures.

FordsFotos on the Lawn

Fordsfotos on the Lawn

Uluru Sunset