Category Archives: photography

Thursday Door – Madrid, Spain

Lynton and I joined the Trafalgar Tour on a 10-day trip in Spain several years ago. We can purchase a land tour only or land and flights. Their tours usually fly out of New York. We live in Southern California, so we cooked our own flights and met the tour at the first stop in Madrid, then went to Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Granada, Valencia, and Barcelona.

Lynton and I arrived in Madrid and stayed at the same hotel where the tour met. All the tour members met and introduced themselves to each other the evening before the tour began. The next day, after breakfast, the tour guide took us on a quick tour around the city. We only spent a couple of hours in Madrid because it was not our major sightseeing city. We got off the tour bus long enough to take a few photos. After making a few stops, we were on our way to Toledo.

I took the following photos and got the information from the websites about these places.

Las Ventas Bullring

The Las Ventas Bullring

Madrid’s main bullring is called La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas del Espíritu Santo, or simply, Las Ventas. The bullfight season runs from March to October. The best time to see bullfights in Madrid is during the months of May and June. The world-famous San Isidro bullfight festival takes place during these months and brings together the best fighters, bulls, and aficionados. Outside San Isidro, fights are normally held every Sunday, starting at 7 o’clock in the evening.  https://www.gomadrid.com/activity/madrid-bullfights.html

Royal Theatre

Teatro Real (Royal Theatre)

Teatro Real (Royal Theatre) or simply El Real, as it is known colloquially, is a major opera house in Madrid. Founded in 1818 and inaugurated on 19 November 1850, it closed in 1925 and reopened in 1966. Beginning in 1988 it underwent major refurbishing and renovation works and finally reopened in 1997 with a capacity of 1,746 seats. Today the Teatro Real opera is one of the great theaters of Europe hosting large productions involving leading international figures in opera singing, musical direction, stage direction, and dance. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teatro_Real

Royal Palace of Madrid

Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real de Madrid)

Madrid’s Royal Palace is a beautiful baroque structure with some 3,000 rooms, making it one of Europe’s largest castles. Although the royal family no longer lives here, the Palacio Real still serves as the king and queen’s official residence, a venue for state ceremonies, and a place for tourists to get a peek into the royal history of Spain. https://www.viator.com/Madrid-attractions/Royal-Palace-Palacio-Real

Monumento a Felipe IV (on horse)
Reinando Isabel Segunda de Borbon
Miguel de Cervantes Monument in Plaza de España Madrid

Thursday Door – Madrid, Spain

.

.

.

Thursday Door – City Tour

One morning my husband and I joined a Fullerton downtown tour. We started at 7:00 a.m. before the city got busy. We walked 45,000 steps recorded by several people’s apps.

According to Wikipedia, Fullerton was founded in 1887. It secured the land on behalf of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway. Historically, it was a center of agriculture, with notable groves of Valencia oranges and other citrus crops.

Fullerton is in the Orange County. When the name Orange County was first proposed, there weren’t very many oranges. Most locals were growing grapes and raising hogs, but in an effort to better promote the area, the county looked to oranges. The name became official in 1889. Migrants poured in, and many planted small citrus groves. Around 1900, oranges became the county’s main crop. Millions of orange trees were planted.

Most of the homes in our neighborhood, including ours, have a Valentia orange tree in the backyard. We benefit greatly with a harvest of 1,500 oranges in the last crop. We squeezed and froze the juice for our daily consumption.

The orange tree in my backyard

In 1886, the city began negotiations with George H. Fullerton, president of the Pacific Land and Improvement Company, also a Santa Fe subsidiary. They offered free right-of-way and half interest in the land to the railroad and name the city after him. On July 5, 1887, the negotiation came through and the railroad station is now the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue.

Railroad Station

Downtown Fullerton, with its palm tree-lined streets and low-rise historical buildings, is full of old California style and character.

Downtown Fullerton

The city was built on level ground, which makes walking around the area easy and a great way to explore. It rains on average twenty days out of the entire year.

Fox Theater is a landmark feature from the inception of Fullerton City. The City Council considered demolishing it but the citizen organized a campaign to save it. The group raised funds to strengthen the structure and improve its appearance.

The original California hotel, now named Villa del Sol, was completed in 1922. The project was initiated by Charles C. Chapman for the purpose of creating a first-class hotel in the city. It now currently has a variety of restaurants. The Cellar restaurant is one of the restaurants in the basement. The prices are ranging from $$$ to $$. The Cellar was one of the restaurants in the basement of Villa del Sol. Steak dinner with wine and dessert for two easily costs over $200.

Thursday Door – City Tour

Thank you for joining me for this short tour.

Have a wonderful weekend!

.

.

.

Monarchs in My Garden: Part 2

The female monarch has thick black veins on the forewings and hindwings

My previous post mentioned one female monarch came back from the south earlier than I expected. She laid many eggs on my milkweed. There were three adult monarchs that emerged from the chrysalises before our Memorial Day weekend trip to see our grandkids in Oregon.

The male monarch has two thick dots on the hindwings

Before going on the trip, I asked my neighbor to babysit the caterpillars, but she didn’t feel comfortable doing it. I bought two additional butterfly cages with a total of four, and put the milkweed with the most eggs in the cages, then left them alone. One cage had five chrysalises. I left the cage door open in case the adult monarchs emerge while we were gone.

A mess is put at the top of the milkweed pot level so that the toddler caterpillars won’t fall to the bottom of the cage.

When we came back from the trip, two of the chrysalises had only empty shells. I was glad the cage door was open, so the butterflies flew away. There were still three monarchs that emerged after we returned home.

They crawled around the cage until they straightened the wrinkled wings to be strong enough to fly

The other three cages had tons of caterpillars. Some grew bigger in our absence. Some eggs were hatched.

I only had enough milkweed to feed the caterpillars I had so far. My visit to the nursery was disappointing because the plant was dry and almost dead but cost the same. Currently, there are about 20 chrysalises in four cages. When all the adult butterflies emerge, I’ll pack up the cages.

These are 7 of the 20 chrysalises

My home-grown milkweed is doing well. Hopefully, I won’t need to purchase commercial ones next year.

I took a photo of them before they flew away

My monarch raising season is almost over this year. I made a few recordings of the different stages. I want to show you two of them. If you don’t want to spend 14 minutes watching them, you could fast forward.

Incredible creature
Amazing transformation

We all have our beautiful butterflies within us, you and me!

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

Family Time

Fanno Creek Trail, Beaverton, Oregon

We canceled the Mother’s Day trip to see my daughter’s family because the kids caught some non-Covid virus from daycare. The entire family was not feeling well.

 I rescheduled our trip for Memorial Day weekend. It is also my daughter’s and her hubby’s anniversary. Whenever we visit them, I offer to watch the kids so they can go on dates. Since this last weekend was their anniversary, they went on a two-day trip to the beach.

Mercy is a master planner. She made a comprehensive list of suggestions from breakfast to bedtime for us to go by. Even though I’ve been watching the kids for four and a half years, it helps to have her suggestions to fall back on.

Autumn has no problem with mommy and daddy going on dates or a short getaway. Nora is attached to Mercy. She was not happy to see mommy walking out of the door after breakfast on Saturday. Fortunately, I had a special treat for the girls to distract them, at least to calm down Nora.

It turned out that both Saturday and Sunday went smoothly. The girls painted the garden stones, read, and played together, but did something separately with grandpa and grandma. Grandpa is Nora’s favorite. Grandma is Autumn’s favorite. It is just perfect. It was easier for us to handle while they got our individual attention.

Autumn painted the butterfly and the sun, and Nora painted the ladybug

It was raining most of the day on Saturday and Sunday. Whenever the sun peeked out a little, we headed out to the school playground right away. One neighbor has some goats. Nora loves to feed the goats. The kids rode their bikes to the playground on Saturday and just walked there on Sunday.

There was something I tried to do this time around. I asked Lynton to read bedtime stories to Nora and put her to bed. Amazingly, it turned out to be a success. Yay!

It worked out perfectly because Autumn wanted me to read her many books. I could just relax to spend time with Autumn without worrying about Nora.

During the two-day trip, Mercy and Will went wine tasting, hiking, and strolling on the beach. They came home after a late-night movie on Sunday. I was happy that they had a wonderful time.

Monday was the Memorial Day holiday. We went on a family walk together. The girls rode their bikes, and Will rode his skateboard to keep up with the kids.

Family Walk on Fanno Creek Trail

By the way, Lynton and I did the cooking for all the meals from Thursday to Tuesday. We tried to cook different main dishes, such as salmon, veggie & sausage casserole, pizza, and tofu. Lynton cooked mashed potatoes a couple of evenings. I cooked the same mixed vegetables. It turned out perfectly because we could eat what we normally eat at home. Mercy and Will loved to have some days off without doing cooking.

.

.

.

Lens-Artists Challenge #197 – The Rule of Thirds

This week, the theme from Tina Schell, for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is focused on one of the most well-known and widely used rules of photography, the Rule of Thirds. She said, “For those who would like to study the concept further, there are many online descriptions and examples. Adobe offers an excellent summary here. Basically, the rule is a compositional guideline that encourages placement of your primary subject on at least part of three equal rows and three equal columns as illustrated below.”

The Adobe article entitled: How to use, and break, the rule of thirds

Rule of Thirds Grid

The idea is to place your subject on one (or more) of the grid lines, or even better on the dots, theoretically making the image more pleasing to the eye.

I’ve been taking photos since I was a teenager when there were only Black & White photos. As indicated in the Adobe article, “The more you do it, the more it gets ingrained into your head.” I apply the Rule of Thirds most of the time in my photo compositions.

I learned drawing and painting at a young age, the Rule of Thirds also applies to the composition of drawing, painting, and some other forms of art. I’ll post my photos and two of my paintings in this post.

There are many kinds of butterflies in my garden, Swallowtail, Monarch, Mourning Cloak, and Cabbage butterflies. A Monarch came back from the south early this year and is busy laying eggs. I collected 10 eggs so far. Three are in the chrysalis form, two are growing strong, and five are 1/8″ babies. I’ll post some Monarch photos later. I saw a Nymphalis antiopa, known as Mourning Cloak, a few days ago but didn’t take good photos. I took the following one a while ago.

There are many turtles in the lake within walking distance from home. This colorful turtle was sunbathing when I walked around the lake one day. The entire colorful body is attractive. The reflection of the sunlight made part of his body draw more attention.

I took the following photo in Maui, Hawaii. The crashing waves evoke my imagination. I strive to take photos with droplets dancing in the air as the waves splash the rocks.

The following are my two paintings. Naturally, the tree is the focus of the first painting and the butterfly is in the second painting.

~ ~ ~

Lens-Artists Challenge #197 – The Rule of Thirds

.

.

.

« Older Entries Recent Entries »