Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Look Inside The US Supreme Court

The last few days have been full of suspense and expectations as the Supreme Court of the United States began to make its decisions public regarding a series of very important cases. Because of this, it seemed appropriate for me to put together a post with photos of the Supreme Court that I took during our Washington D.C. trip on May.

My husband has an acquaintance who is currently clerking for a Justice there, so we contacted him and he gave us a "behind the scenes" tour of the greatest court in the United States. Some highlights included the gym/basketball court, the court where big decisions take place, the library (into which regular tours are not allowed!), and meeting the Justice he is clerking for. I didn't necessarily like the Justice, but I thought it was fascinating to be able to go into his office, chat with him, and see how obvious it was that his political and religious views definitely influenced his work in the Court. Of course, I'm not going to name names because that's not what this blog is about.

Here's a peak into the US Supreme Court. Some areas in the court didn't allow cameras, so the ones you see here are the ones I was able to take.

For more fun photos, go to my Etsy store or visit my website.

The outside of the court was under restoration

This is the hallway that leads to the courtroom itself. No cameras beyond this point!

Entrance to the library, where the librarians sit.

The library

Gym class schedule

The courtyard where clerks eat their lunches during nice days!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Colors of the Night

At the beginning of April, I started taking a photography class. Over the past few weeks, I have learned so many photography techniques and tricks, and I couldn't be any happier about it! The bulk of what I've learned revolves around night photography, which used to be a huge challenge for me before I took this class. How do you capture the colors on the sky? How do I capture light without washing out my photograph? In my class, I got answers to those questions and many more!

One thing that truly fascinated me about night photography was learning about the different "stages" of night. The different stages (and accompanying sky colors) that happen after the sun sets. I learned about twilight and I learned that there are 3 different twilights as well: civil, nautical and astronomical. I also learned that night photography allows you to capture movement (and lights!) around you while you wait for your camera to be done with a long exposure!

In these photographs, I walk you through the different twilights, from right after the sun has set (civil), to the time right before night falls (nautical), and into the darkness of night (astronomical). I hope you enjoy these photos. For more fun photos, go to my Etsy store, or visit my website.

The sun sets and the sky turns blue in Santo Domingo

Capturing movement during civil twilight at a plaza in Santo Domingo

Entering nautical twilight by Grace Cathedral in San Francisco

Nautical twilight at Union Square in San Francisco. 

Nautical twilight as seen from Nob Hill, San Francisco
Busy night during late nautical twilight in San Francisco
The lights turn on as the night falls down during nautical twilight 

The night has fallen on San Francisco during astronomical twilight

The city lights are on at night

Monday, June 17, 2013

Life is a Beach, Take 2: Las Galeras

This is my final post on the Dominican Republic: Beach photos!

One of the main reasons why we chose to go to the DR was to spend time relaxing on the beach, swimming in warm waters and getting some sun. We accomplished all of that and more at the gorgeous beaches in Las Galeras, DR.

Most people I know who have been to the DR, have gone straight to Punta Cana, the most popular (and most visited) resort area in the country. We are not big resort people, so we immediately knew we were not going to be going there. Instead, we headed to the Peninsula de Samana, located on the north eastern end of the island. Samana is famous for attracting the entire population of Atlantic whales during mating season, when the town gets crowded with tourists. Fortunately, we were there in low season and we also set camp about an hour from Samana in the sleepy town of Las Galeras.

From Las Galeras you can visit many beaches. The best (and easiest, and most fun) way of reaching these beaches is by boat and that's how we did it. Below are some photos of Playa Rincon, a stretch of 3 miles of white sandy beach, lined by tropical palm trees. Definitely one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever been to. I also included a couple of photos of playa Fronton, the beach were Survivor Colombia filmed part of the show. At this beach we did a bit of snorkeling as well. Finally, I also included some photos of Las Galeras, a small fishing village with an incredible beach.

Enjoy the photos on this post. For more fun photos, go to my Etsy store, or visit my website.

Not a soul in sight at Playa Fronton
A Pelican Flies Away in Playa Rincon
Beach in Las Galeras

Arriving to Playa Fronton

Boats in Las Galeras
Palms trees reflect on the san at Playa Rincon

Picture perfect palm trees in Playa Rincon
Pleasantly cloudy at Playa Rincon

The only footsteps are our own - Playa Fronton
Endless Playa Rincon

Friday, June 14, 2013

Flora (and some Fauna) in the Dominican Republic

While in the Dominican Republic, we saw a wide variety of plans and flowers, as well as some interesting animals (mostly of the lizard type) and birds (hummingbirds and woodpeckers!). The place we stayed at in Las Galeras was ran by a French expat who was very much into his garden. The yard in the place, called Villa La Plantacion, looked more like a botanical garden than a regular garden. There were several kinds of palm trees, an endless variety of tropical flowers, and even a pine tree (!).

Here's a small sample of some of the gorgeous flowers we saw, along with two of the most interesting little lizards (I'm sure they each have a proper name, so I welcome that information!). The pink guy only came out to hunt at night and he/she sat behind an A/C unit. One night we saw it catch a moth as big as its head!

If you are a nature lover, I think you will enjoy these photos! For more fun photos, go to my Etsy store or visit my website.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Doors and Windows of Santo Domingo

I'm finally done sorting through the photos from our Dominican Republic trip. What a great 10 days those were!

Like I've done before, I'll be splitting the photos into several postings to avoid overloading you with too many images. In this post, I've included some of my favorite shots from Santo Domingo, the capital of the DR. In Santo Domingo, I fell in love with doors and windows and their charm and colorfulness. They were really pretty! And, just for fun, I included my personal favorite from the entire trip: a photo of a horse carriage resting in front of what once was Columbus house.

The colonial history of this city is quite rich. They take pride on being the oldest (colonial) city in the Americas and on having lots of firsts in the America (the first Cathedral, first university, etc.). I will include more photos of historical buildings in my future posts.

The city in itself was full of charm and personality, which was made even better by the friendliness of its people. In fact, I think they should also brag about the warmth and kindness of their people, as it is as beautiful and impressive as the big colonial buildings that adorn the entire center of the city.

Enjoy these photos. For more fun photos, go to my Etsy store or visit my website.