Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Black and White on The Road

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Converting color to black and white is still a labor of letting go for me. Losing color is sometimes difficult, but it is always a learning process of learning different gradients of blacks and grays and whites for an outcome that is acceptable, and sometimes even pleasing to my eye.

Photo taken at Estes Park in Colorado with my iPhone 6Plus, Camera+, and applying that filter for black and white.

Photo challenge by Sally D can be found here

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The Sunday Traveler~Riding The Rails on The California Zephyr

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The Sunday Traveler decided it was time to try on a bit of train travel to compare air to land travel.

The starting point for my trip was in the little town of Martinez, California, not far from my home in the east bay of San Francisco. Martinez is an old trading post established in 1849 and became the hub for gold and shipping industries. The “new” train station has a very small town feel to it harking back to days of old. A perfect way to start a relaxing trip; no lines of aggravated people waiting to go through security, little noise, pleasant customer service to check your suitcase if you wished (at no charge), or to buy a ticket if you didn’t already have one. In a word, efficient.

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Getting on board, and finding a seat in coach, I had my ticket checked by Amtrak staff, and then settled in to start enjoying the vistas rolling by.

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amtrak6Seats in coach are wide, and have an incredible amount of leg room, recline nicely and have a leg rest that can be elevated in addition to the foot rests on the back of the seat in front. Each row of seats is equipped with two electrical socket for charging up any electronics you’ve brought on board for use. The only negative I have to report is the lack of wi-fi, and going through the Nevada and Utah deserts, and canyons in Colorado, left us with no service at times. But then you should really be focusing on the beauty out the window.

Exploring the train was the next order of business, and I set off to find the Observation car with its panoramic dome and side windows…and comfy tables and club car type swivel chairs.

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At the station in Sacramento, docents from the California State Railroad Museum board the train to provide historical and sightseeing commentary between Sacramento and Reno; especially interesting as we head up into the Sierra and travel through the wonderful old gold mining towns of Auburn, Colfax, and by the American River Canyon,and along Donner Lake where the fateful Donner Party traveling west from Illinois were stranded during the winter of 1846-47. If you remember your history, there was cannibalism involved with only 48 of the original 87 surviving. If some did not know this history, the docent was giving us the info on the overhead in the observation car

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The train rumbled on, climbing the mountain continuously gaining altitude, and did not exactly make this like a bullet train. One has to be prepared for slow, no hurry, and some unexpected stops when there may be a train ahead with a problem holding your train back a ways. This happened a couple of times on my train in Green River, Utah, and I forget where else, but at least this gave us time to “de-train” and walk about the platform or nearby area until the All Aboard was called out.

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Sometimes there’s a lot of explaining to do

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One needs to approach train travel in the States with an air of nonchalance, and patience; you’ll enjoy it more that way. Do not try this if you are on any kind of schedule needing to arrive at your destination at a given hour.

Meal options are either in the Dining car, or food from the Cafe car (snacks, drinks, hot/cold sandwiches). I tried both. Both were very acceptable. The Dining car had some pretty good dishes on the menu including steak and a braised chicken to name just two items; seating is at tables of four, so if traveling solo you are destined to make new friends in the dining car. I met some great people and had wonderful conversations over meals there.

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Stops along the way at different stations were always interesting, including the 3 a.m. stop in Salt Lake City

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I couldn’t resist getting off to stretch my legs even if it was in the wee hours of the morning. I wanted to experience all of this, no matter the hour.

Morning brings the trip to the wash room (train WCs were extremely clean!) and brushing one’s teeth swaying back and forth. Kind of fun.

We moved on toward the Colorado state line and its beautiful canyons to traverse before hitting Denver, my destination.

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So far, I was favoring land travel over air travel. People just seem friendlier. More to come in the following weeks, with the view out the window next up.

Until then.

 

 

 

 

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Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ On The Street at Sundown

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Out on the street in San Miguel de Allende at sundown. A wonderful time to be out there enjoying the scene.

Photo taken with an iPhone 6Plus, Camera+, and edits in the Camera+ filters, and Snapseed.

Please visit Sally’s blog, Lens and Pens by Sally, for her mobile photography, and entries from others taking part in the challenge.

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The Sunday Traveler~ Afternoon Edition, The Nuns and a Templo in San Miguel de Allende

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The Templo de la Immaculada Concepcion in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. One of the many temples, or churches, that grace that incredible town. This is the first church the Sunday Traveler stumbled upon on a first walking trip in to town from my residence in one of the many colonias a little outside of the main downtown area. I was stunned at the colonial beauty and colors, and walked past it multiple times before actually going in to the courtyard behind these ochre walls.

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I ended up spending the better part of one afternoon just walking around in the small courtyard, or sitting on a bench taking in the feel of the history here, and watching the few people who were about that day just prior to Easter. The church was closed until later that evening. I knew I would probably not return again so just spent time there taking it all in; not a lot, but what drew me in and kept me there so long was the stone work, the textures, the colors. And I’ve heard often that a photographer needs to be patient. I found out why.

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I called out to the nuns to ask if they would let me in to the church, and I was told it was closed until evening.  I was already having this wonderful fantasy of being let in, just me, to see the church. Never hurts to ask. And I sat on the bench some more.

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The padre couldn’t believe I had dared ask. Or that I was taking his photo. Mea culpa.

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This was one of those rare afternoons, though in retrospect they were all rare, that I felt that I so belonged there, or maybe had been there before in another lifetime. It was hard walking out of that courtyard.

The Sunday Traveler has so many photos after spending one month in San Miguel. I plan to present them in future, with a break coming up for Sundays now until mid-July while I head out on another adventure, this time stateside. A jaunt from the San Francisco Bay Area to Denver via the Amtrak California Zephyr is about to happen. Stay tuned.

Hasta entonces.

As always, you can catch ongoing photos on my Instagram page at instragam.com/angeline.am

 

 

 

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Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge~Black and White Moon Solstice

blackandwhitemoonbirdcage2I have a front row seat on my back patio; sitting out there last night, on the eve of the strawberry moon solstice, I enjoyed my view. I’ll have to see what change there is tonight, and if there is a rose or honey color to the moon as some say there can be. The last full moon on the summer solstice was in 1967, the summer of love; I was engaged to be married and over the moon in love.

Photo taken with an iPhone 6Plus, Camera+ and its filters.

More mobile photography in black and white can be found at Sally’s blog here.

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The Sunday Traveler ~ Casa de Los Angeles in San Miguel de Allende

 

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The Sunday Traveler spent the month of March this year in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to volunteer at Casa de Los Angeles. Casa is a free day care center for single working moms (and a couple of single dads). The children, that range in age from about 3 months to 4 years of age, are in classrooms according to age; some classrooms are headed by a certified teacher, and those teachers in other classrooms not certified are overseen by the certified ones. There are lesson plans and teaching that fills the day at every age level, even for the babies with songs and music, tactile stimulation and colors.

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The teachers are assisted by volunteers who do whatever is needed, from changing diapers (lots of diapers), to helping with potty training for the toddlers, to helping the older kids with art work, and outdoor free play at recess. Oh, and there is helping with meal times

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The children are served breakfast and lunch, with their day beginning at 8:30, and going home time around 3:30 or so.

For everyone at Casa de Los Angeles, the day is busy with a lot of activities, and before the day’s close, all of the kids are changed into a clean set of clothes, and washed up to be squeaky clean for their trip home, most by bus. It’s a matter of pride for these moms to be seen with their children looking top notch.

The moms “pay” back Casa by providing one hour of work at the center for every day their child is there. Needless to say, the center is also squeaky clean all the time with the moms putting in their time throughout the week. While I was there, there were about 80 children in attendance, and the capacity is at about 100.

I’ll just go into a collage of photos from here to let you enjoy some of these cuties I had the honor of knowing and helping. And, just an fyi because I know some may wonder, there is a waiver the moms sign, and photos of the kids are allowed.

My weekdays were full helping here, and I fell in love with each child…and with the work done by Casa de Los Angeles. I’ll leave a link here to their website where you can learn a little more about it, and please note there is a donation button to make donations if you can help; this is how Casa is funded. I highly recommend this center as a wonderful place doing so much for some of the low income families in San Miguel. If you have any questions, please e-mail me (e-mail on my profile page).

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Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Macro in Red

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Bougainvillea. The flower seen tumbling over walls and in the gardens of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Observing in the macro viewfinder of my iPhone, I’m further enraptured with the etchings and striations of the flower.

Photo taken with an iPhone 6Plus, in Camera+, edited in the iPhone’s native camera edits, and in Snapseed.

Have a visit over at Sally’s blog for other entries in today’s macro challenge.

 

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The Sunday Traveler~The Faces in San Miguel de Allende, Part 2

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The Sunday Traveler was in San Miguel de Allende for a month in March with the primary goal of providing volunteer assistance at a day care center for low-income moms, Casa de Los Angeles. The weekdays were filled with helping the teachers care for kids, with the wonderful bonus of meeting the moms and grandmothers who came to leave off the children and pick them up at day’s end. This grandmother caught my eye. I’ll be posting more in future about the kids there. But for today, here are those promised photos mostly caught on the fly as I wandered through different areas of San Miguel in my free hours and days. Photos of the people who I spoke to and who agreed to being photographed, or those caught in passing.

Keeping an eye on things in town

 

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In the mercado (market), carving and slicing a papaya

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The street food vendors made delicious gorditas (fat little tortillas stuffed with different things)

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It seemed that everyone did something to help not only themselves, but the community and the tourists

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The following two photos were a coup; two indigenous women who agreed to photos when they usually do not want a photo taken of themselves. The first woman was from a group selling dolls in the jardin (main plaza/garden) who were almost all extremely firm about no photos of themselves. In my first day in town, one  of the doll sellers saw me pointing my camera at her from afar, and came over and told me in no uncertain terms NO picture; I assured her I had not taken it, and would not. I always asked after that and was usually refused. I think you can tell from this first woman’s pose that she seemed resigned, anything to make a sale. I did buy a doll from her.

 

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The next woman, younger (I think) seemed shy, but relaxed

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The downtown area on Saturdays were wedding central at the Parroquia, San Miguel Arcangel, and surrounding churches. Walking into the Parroquia one Saturday to witness one wedding was astounding with what sounded like a full symphony in the church choir loft. Most of my photos were limited to outdoors

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San Miguel is definitely a town for some wonderful people watching

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the baker

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This little girl was seen at a parade in town put on by all the preschools in San Miguel

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All in all, some of the faces of the wonderful people in San Miguel de Allende

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The Traveler will be back next Sunday to introduce you to some of the kids of Casa de Los Angeles

Hasta entonces.

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Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Nature Down by The Creek

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My morning walks are on a trail that is part of a regional preserve, and has a creek running parallel to the trail; it is fortuitously down the street a couple of blocks from where I live. The beauty of this place is what gets me up most mornings, knowing that early morning is the best time for cool breezes, and the morning light. I’ve also found that these wild turkeys are out grazing then too. They’re thinking breakfast, and I’m thinking Thanksgiving dinner. The creek gurgles along, the birds are waking up and calling to one another, and jack rabbits with huge ears run across the trail in a flash, and are gone.

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Things rustle in the grasses, and I keep an eye out.

“What nature delivers to us is never stale. Because what nature creates has eternity in it”  ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

Photos taken with an iPhone 6Plus, Camera+ and edited using a native filter within Camera+.

More nature photos can be found on Sally’s blog here

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The Sunday Traveler ~ The Faces in San Miguel de Allende, Part 1

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The Sunday Traveler’s first Sunday exploration from the outskirts of San Miguel proper where I was staying, and the people began finding me. It happened repeatedly throughout my stay in San Miguel de Allende. I would sit down on a park bench, many times in a church courtyard to rest from exploring and photographing the church, and a local resident would come and sit down beside me to strike up a conversation. This beautiful woman, the first who I think was meant to find me, is Lola. A service had just ended inside the church and she had a holy card with a prayer on the back; she asked if I would mind reading it to her as she had never learned to read. I began reading the prayer, and broke into tears at the power of the words, and their meaning to me with the recent death of my husband. I apologized to Lola and explained why I was crying; she took my hand and talked to me as my mother would have. I realize now writing these words that this had been a large missing piece for me, my mother to get comfort from. And so began my unintentional journey for healing in Mexico. As far as I was concerned, I had gone to San Miguel to relax, not have therapy sessions. The Universe thought otherwise. The meetings continued.

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That’s Don Jose above; another very special new friend.

And this last “character”, found me to make me laugh. I asked him if I could take his photo, and he said he’d agree if I gave him US10.00. I told him I’d give him a candy bar I had in my purse

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The Sunday Traveler seems to have turned in to a procrastinator and will return next Sunday with the remainder of the faces I’d like to introduce you to; mostly photos caught on the fly. I didn’t realize just how many I had until I started working on them…this morning.

Hasta entonces.

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