Saturday, November 29, 2008

My first impression of Bosnia and Herzegovina

I, Grace visited our clinical investigators in Sarajevo and Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina (part of the former Yugoslavia) on Nov. 21, 2008.  Three clinical associates from Croatia and Bosnia accompanied me for a very short one-day tour.  Sarajevo is famous for the winter Olympics held in 1984, and sadly the country was besieged between 1992 to 1996 during the Bosnian war. I was impressed by its religious diversity of Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Judaism, which is why Sarajevo is nicknames Jerusalem of Europe.  

Mostar, about two and half hours by car from Sarajevo, is located in the Herzegovina part of the country.  It is named after its old bridge, built in 1566.  Unfortunately, the bridge was destroyed in 1993 during the Bosnian war.  It was reconstructed and completed in 2004.  It was very difficult to walk with dress shoe heels on the white limestone.  I had to hold on to Mirna to cross the bridge with 29 meters in length and 20 meters in height.  The night scenes of the bridge was unreal. Here are a few photos of both sides of the bridge.  

The next morning I woke up to a beautiful early snow.  I looked out from the hotel window, the picturesque views look like those in the postcards.  In the fore ground, there are mosques and church towers; and in the far ground, there are many houses on the nearby hills.  I stayed at Hotel Europa Garni right in the old town.  The hotel was bombed during the war.  It has a Moroccan restaurant in the basement which serves good Couscous!  I only had one hour to photograph that morning before leaving for the airport.  Here are some photographs of the old town and the restaurant.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Mexico III: Taos Pueblo, Elizabethtown, Eagle Lake and Angel Fire

On Sunday, November 9th, we rised early to photograph the Saint Francis of Assisi Church at Rancho de Taos again.  This time from the front when it was bathed in the morning light.  it was cold and our van was stucked in the car park with all the other cars of church goer.  We end up walk over to a nice restaurant, Ranchos Plaza Grill for breakfast.  It had some amazing mural painting.  Here are the photos.

After breakfast, we drove to visit the famous Taos Pueblo.  The adobe walled buildings are over 1000 years old.  The material is made up of clay and grass, thus it disintegrates in the rain and has to be repaired continuously.  The buildings are actively live in with no modern electricity, water and plumbing.  The local indians received their own language and culture education in addition to normal American education.  The color of the wall and the smoke from cooking fooled the camera's computer.  The pictures have to be extensively reworked by computer software to bring out their true color.  Here are the photos.

We then drove through the Enchanted Circle route around Wheeler Peak (13,000 ft), stopped by the Red River to photograph the mountain stream, frozen lake and beaver dam.  We end up in an abandoned mining town, Elizabethtown.  There were many old barn, horses, farm equipments to  photograph.  We also meet up with the gospel music group of "Cowboys for  Christ" in the local church.  They sang for us with their amazing voice and served us their moose chilli. Here are the photos.

The most interesting subject in the Elizabethtown to photograph was this old truck.  It was very colorful and the photographs came out perfect.  Unlike the photos from the Taos Pueblo, it needs no additional work up on the computer.  Here are more of them.

After the "Cowboys of Christ" sang the "Amazing Grace" for us, we were ready to leave.  Then we saw this amazing light, a real alpenglow, across the field, "The Load is shinning light on us".  It is followed by a beautiful sunset.  We chased the beautiful color all the way to the Eagle Lake, in time to photograph the moon rise.  We finished the trip by photographing the Vietnam Memorial at Angel Fire in the dark.  Here are the photos.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Mexico II: Arroyo Seco, Rio Grande, Ted Egri and Taos

The second day, Saturday, November 8th, we started our trip to Arroyo Seco and had breakfast at Abe's.  The Holy Trinity Church at Arroyo Seco was the only church that we were allowed to photograph the interior during our entire trip.  We then drove to Rio Grande Bridge to really have a taste of the open country of New Mexico.  We came back to Taos old town plaza to hang around various art galleries and had lunch.  The high light of the afternoon was the visit to 96 year-old artist,Ted Egri.  His wife Janet gave us a good tour of his studio and sculpture park, and an overview of his life.  It was really interesting and impressive.  We end the day photographing moon rise at Saint Francis of Assisi church at Rancho de Taos.  Here you can see our photographs of the day.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Mexico I: Albuquerque, Turquoise Trail & Santa Fe

Grace and I joined a photographic tour organized by Dave Wyman of Image Quest and co-led by Ken Rockwell of   We arrived at Albuquerque airport at 7 pm Thursday, November 6.  The whole group of eight photographers, gathered from all corners of the US, came to meet us at the airport and drove us to Albuquerque old town to have dinner.  They gave us the warmest welcome and let us felt at home right away.  After all, we are all photographers.

The trip started the next morning of a visit to the Albuquerque's old town plaza and the San Felipe de Neri Church.  The day was just beautiful.  We could have photographed the adobe wall against the turquoise colored sky all day.  We left Albuquerque to Santa Fe by way of Turquoise Trail, and passing by many old mining towns.  We arrived at Santa Fe in the afternoon and finished the day by walking alone and photographing the Santa Fe Old Town Plaza.  After sunset, we drove further north to Tao and settled in Adobe Wall Motel to get us ready for venturing into the Tao Pueblo country for the next few days.  Here are a few of our photographs of the day.


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