My Virtual Vacation Day 11—Strasbourg France

We had hoped in retirement to travel the world. So far we have done a pretty good job with trips to Mexico, Hawaii, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and The Czech Republic. However the pandemic has stopped all of that for a while. So while waiting for Africa, Alaska and Scandinavia, our current travel is going to have to be virtual. Today’s stop is Strasbourg in the Alsace region of France

Strasbourg is the capital city of the Grand Est region, formerly Alsace, in northeastern France. It’s also the formal seat of the European Parliament and sits near the German border, with culture and architecture blending German and French influences. Its Gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame features daily shows from its astronomical clock and sweeping views of the Rhine River from partway up its 142m spire.

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Strasbourg France

Real Onion Soup

Rhine River

Strasbourg FR

Strasbourg FR

Pittsburgh Party Deck

The empty party deck of the Gateway Party Liner provides a colorful frame for a view of Pittsburgh from the SouthSide across the Monongahela River.

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Pittsburgh Party Deck

Ghosts of Köln

Years ago I learned the basics of blur motion photography. Placing the camera on a tripod and using a slow shutter speed allows you to create blurred motion on a still background. If you pan with the movement you will create another type of blur effect like this one entitled Running Deer. I have often thought of this process as creating ghosts.

While relaxing in Köln on the waterfront I decided to try to make some “ghosts” using a monopod. A lot of my attempts didn’t work. A monopod is not as good as a tripod but I still managed to capture a couple of ghosts.

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Ghosts of Köln

Ghosts of Köln

Ghosts of Köln

Köln Fall Foliage

This autumn we will be returning to Europe. Our last visit was during the autumn of 2016. This time we will be in Spain and Italy and I am sure we will not see any colorful fall foliage there. I remembered being disappointed in seeing little dramatic foliage during our last trip through Germany and Austria.

Looking through the files I think I was mistaken. These were taken in Köln (Cologne) Germany during that trip.

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Fall Foliage Köln Germany

Fall Foliage Köln Germany

Strasbourg Revisited

This time of year I like to revisit old images and sometimes edit them with newer tools. This image was originally in color. A friend of mine recently purchased a mirrorless camera and I love that you can actually “see” a color image in black and white before you shoot it. Unfortunately my camera does not have that ability. So I used the NIK Silver FX tool to create the monochrome versions.

It was a dark and blustery day when the original as taken so I thought it might actually look better in monochrome. What do you think?

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Strasbourg France

Rhine Castle Revisited

This time of year I like to revisit old images and sometimes edit them with newer tools. This image was taken from the deck of The Viking Longship HILN as we cruised the Rhine River Gorge, Most of the images I took were worthless because the movement of the ship was so fast that the images would blur. For this one however for some reason the ship slowed dramatically and I was able to take a clear shot.

I reedited this using the NIK color tools and adjusted the color and exposure to make the clouds and sky stand out.

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Rhine River Castle

Beal Street

In Austin it is six street, in New Orleans it is Bourbon Street, in Chicago it is Rush Street and in Memphis it is Beal Street. This is where you go if you want to hear live Music and in most places it is blues music that you will hear.

Memphis is a famous Music City. Most people think of Nashville when they think of live music which is fine if you like country music. However, Memphis is the birth place of soul. Stax Records was known as Soulsville USA and Sun Records is where Elvis Presley and many others recorded.

In 1956 B.B, King moved from Mississippi to Memphis and founded his own record label, Blues Boys Kingdom, with headquarters at Beale Street in Memphis. He opened his first Blues Club on Beal Street which is still serving live music and Barbecue.

After his death B.B. King’s body was flown to Memphis. A funeral procession went down Beale Street, with a brass band marching in front of the hearse, playing When the Saints Go Marching In. Thousands lined the streets to pay their last respects. His body was then driven down Route 61 to his hometown of Indianola, Mississippi.

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Beal Street Memphis

Beal Street Memphis

Beal Street Memphis

The Memphis Queen

My wife and I met on a River Boat 50 years ago. It was a paddlewheel ship called the The Gateway Party Liner in Pittsburgh. It was a party cruise with Archie Bell and The Drells. So it seemed right that visiting Memphis as tourists we should take a cruise on The Mississippi River.

We boarded The Memphis Queen and cruised down river a little bit to the south. We then turned and headed North and cruised under the bridges crossing the Mississippi learning the history of rivers boats on the Mississippi. We also learned a lot about the history and culture of Memphis in the 90 minute cruise. It was fun and inexpensive.

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The Memphis Queen

The King on Beale Street

Beale Street in Memphis is where you go to hear live music. The street has many famous clubs where legendary blues and rock artists have performed over the years. Two blocks are closed to traffic and as you get close you can smell the barbecue which is arguably the best in the USA.

It is only fitting that as you stroll down the street there is this magnificent statue of The King, Elvis Presley

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The King on Beale Street

The Memphis Trolleys

Memphis was a city I visited a few times for business but only came away with hours of work and memories of good barbecue. For the first time we spent a few days as tourists and we loved the small city. It has a unique culture, great music, and wonderful people. One of the big surprises was the streetcar system.

Coming from Pittsburgh gave us and appreciation and fond memories of streetcars. However, we had nothing like these wooden beauties. The Memphis Area Transit Authority trolley system began running in 1993. Although the trolleys enjoyed a 21-year run of shuffling locals and tourists through the heart of the city, they haven’t operated in Memphis since 2014, when service was suspended after fires broke out on two cars. They just returned to the city last year. Leave your car in the garage, the trolly is fun and inexpensive.

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Memphis Trolly

Memphis Trolly