"I don’t trust words. I trust pictures.” ~ Gilles Peress

I've always said that I believe very little of what I hear and only some of what I see.  The same goes for photographs as I know now that they can be edited and manipulated in many ways.  I still often get asked by many of my friends and people why I would want to visit some of the places I do - especially Antarctica and Tanzania in Africa

It's great to be able to punch a few buttons on my cell phone and pull up some images from my Instagram account and show people a few pictures of these places.  I can tell by the looks on their face that they understand why I would want to travel so far away into places that many perceive to be dangerous.   At least I can show them why I wanted to see certain places in person.

Blogg1Above is a photo of myself in Paradise Bay and below is Paradise Bay which I thought was the most beautiful part of Antarctica which is saying a lot.

Blogg111This ship seemed so small compared to the other ones I saw and compared to the glaciers surrounding it

Blogg111The sun would go down around 11:00Pm and come up around 3:00 AM
Blogg1The glaciers were so much bigger than I expected and it really was not as cold as I expected.  It was generally around 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Blogg1This was the closest thing I saw to a sunset and it was almost midnight

Blog11111The following photos were taken on in Massai Land and on safari in Tanzania.
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  These zebra kept running back and forth past these lions.  I was so scared they would get caught playing their "game".Zebras-278084_960_720

Thank you very much for stopping by my blog.  Please feel free to leave any comments or questions.  I really enjoy hearing from my readers.  I hope you are all having a wonderful week.   

~Michelle

 

 

 

 


My Travel and Photography Goals for 2016

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The above photo is of my angel Coco who left us on March 19, 2010

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I stopped making New Year's Resolutions a long time ago when I realized that I never kept any of them and they always seemed to be the same.  I do believe that setting goals at any time of the year is a good thing for me to do.  Although I do plan to travel this year I want to take more photos while I'm at home.  I especially want to take more photos of my family, cats and friends.

I also got a new lens for my camera that will take really great bokeh photos.  It's a very different type of lens than I'm used to working with. I think that it's going to require a lot of practice as it has controls on the lens itself.  I would like to create some prettier and more colorful bokeh photos than the one of my chandelier you see above with one of my favorite quotes by Dorothea Lange.

 

CatsAbove are Peanut (age 9) and Princess (age 8)
CatsThe above photo is Jasmine who is ten years old and is Elizabeth's sister seen below who is also ten years old.  They were our first "foster" kittens that we fell in love with and decided to keep.

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This is Coco's sister Chanel.  She will be twelve years old on May 29, 2016.  We got them from a rescue organization when they were only eight weeks old.  We miss Coco very much, but are so happy to have her sister with us still.

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This is Fleur who is almost eight.  She was another foster kitten that we thought it best to stay with us.

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This is Jack who is about four years old.  Someone left him at our house when he was about six months old.  Our veterinarian believes he is a Maine Coon cat.  He weighs about twenty pounds, but the doctor does not think he is overweight.
Cat-762079Finally, we have two FIV positive (Feline immunodeficiency Virus) cats you can see below.  The orange cat's name is Peaches and the grayish brown cat is named Piney.  Peaches is about five years old and Piney is about four years old.  Since all of our cats are rescues, we don't have definite birth dates for any besides Chanel.  Piney and Peaches have their own room and balcony in our home,  The risk of them infecting our other cats with FIV is very low, but we've decided not to take any chances.

Piney and Peaches are kept healthy with a fairly new drug called T-Cyte.  Few people know about this medication so I will post the link here.  It's not as expensive as one might think it would be.

http://tcyte.com/.

 

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What are your goals for 2016?  I hope the new year is starting well for all of you!  Have a wonderful week!

~Michelle

 


What are Some of the Best Ways to Store and or Preserve Photos?

Ever since I lost many treasured photos due to AOL photos going down about a decade ago, I've tried to store my photos in multiple places.  It was my fault that I lost those photos as I received multiple notifications from AOL that they would be deleting the photos.  Some of the photos I lost were of my cat Coco. 

My husband and I adopted Coco and Chanel from a rescue organization about twelve years ago when they were eight weeks old.  I took many photos of Coco and Chanel when they were between two and six months old, but I only have photos of them from six months on.  This situation would bother me regardless of the fact that Coco got cancer when she was just four years old and passed away just shy of her sixth birthday.  We did everything we could to save her and extend her time on this Earth.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about her: 

A collage of Coco and Chanel at about six months of age:

CocochanelbabyCoco and Chanel age 2-5
CocochanelbabySo...when I think about backing up my photos I remind myself of what I lost.

There are many methods for backing up photos and people need to choose which is best for them.  I see many people storing photos on Facebook, but Facebook doesn't store photos in full size.  My two choices for storing photos are Pixabay and Panoramio.  I also back my photos up on a one terabyte external hard drive:

Pixabay is very selective.  In order for your photo to be accepted it must be flawless in their eyes.  You are also releasing your photos under Creative Commons CC0 into the public domain which is irrevovable.   Here are some frequently asked questions about the use of photos on Pixabay:  https://pixabay.com/en/service/faq/

Here are my photos which you are free to use and there are photos from all seven continents.

Mariamichelle's photos

For those of you who don't want to give up the rights to your photos and want to store them in their original form Panoramio might be a better option.  You can choose to let the world use them or reserve all rights to your photos.  The amount of space you can use is not unlimited but you can buy more if you need it.  Since not all of my photos are accepted by Pixabay, I use Panoramio along with my external hard drive to save my photos.  One feature of Panoramio is some of your photos might be used in Google Earth which some people like.

Here is my Panoramio account and all are Creative Commons CC0 :

Mariamichelle's Panoramio photos

 

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 Do you have a system for backing up your photos?  If so, please tell me about it because sites go down and computers and hard drives crash.  I've been trying to make more hard copies of photos and create albums with the thousands of photos I take while I'm traveling.  Thank you for stopping by my blog.  I hope that 2016 is being good to you so far and will continue to be.  

~Michelle

 

 

 


Christmas in Burlington Vermont Featuring Church Street

Everyone thinks I'm crazy for wanting to visit Vermont in the wintertime.  It's true that I have friends and family that I want to see regardless of the time of the year.  The truth is I miss the seasons now that I have lived in Florida for eight years.  I especially love the decorations on Church Street in Burlington in the winter especially around Christmas time.                           

 It was not especially cold this year when I was there in mid December but it was cold enough coming from 90°F in Tampa, Florida  to 30°F in Vermont.  I just wanted to share a few the photos I took this year.  Church street is busy regardless of the time of year and quite frankly I was a little too chilly to use a tripod.

Church2I just love the Christmas tree on Church Street in Burlington!

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This is another shot of Church Street heading away from the Christmas tree:
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The landscape in Vermont is not it's prettiest after the foliage is gone and the snow hasn't fallen yet.

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The pub where we had dinner was very empty.  If the students were still in town, it would have been standing room only.
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Here is a family portrait and a photo of my mother's gorgeous Christmas tree:

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I will leave you with a photo of a covered bridge in Underhill, Vermont:
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Thank you for visiting.  I hope you all enjoyed the holidays!  I wish you all a healthy, happy and successful 2016!

~Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

 


My Top Five Trips of 2015

This post is just a look back at my travels during 2015.  I chose my top five trips and a few of my personal favorite photos.  I do believe that Oahu and Vermont made the list only partially because I have friends there and that tends to make vacations more fun!  I will say that Bora Bora / French Polynesia were at the top of my bucket list and I finally made it in February and March 2015.

Lake Garda,  Italy

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Ko Olina Oahu Hawaii

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Curacao

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Burlington, Vermont

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Bora Bora - French Polynesia

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 Sorry this is a photo only post.  If you've been following along you've probably seen these photos already.  Thank you for the visit.  Happy new year to all and I hope 2016 is your best year yet! 

~Michelle

 

 

 


Under the Tuscan...Clouds

 

Wandering and searching Island Girl  (1 of 1)-176While visiting Florence I chose to go on the "Tuscany in a Day" tour.  It was very good tour but it was also very long.  It started at 7:00 AM in Florence and ended back in Florence at 9:00 PM.  Perhaps it would not have seemed so long to me if my hotel concierge hadn't booked my "Rome in a Day" tour for the following day.  If I were younger or a much higher energy person that might have been OK. 

I named my post what I did because it was a cloudy day.  I was also reminded of the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun" starring Diane Lane.  I don't regret visiting Italy in November as I believe Italy is worth visiting any time of the year.  I do think Tuscany will be amazing when I'm able to visit during the spring or summer when it's sunny and the flowers and fruit trees are blooming.

I absolutely fell in love with Tuscany!  We started in Pisa and although I was happy to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it was not my favorite  part of Tuscany.  I liked all of Tuscany, but Siena was by far my favorite!  Unfortunately, Siena was our last stop on the tour and we arrived at dusk.  It was very difficult to take photos in the dark while I was so tired.  I plan to return to Tuscany and spend more than a few hours in Siena. 

For those of you reading this post who are planning a trip to this area of Italy, there are other tour options that only visit one or two areas of Tuscany as opposed to all four like mine did.  If I were to plan my itinerary again I would choose to visit Siena on a one day trip which only lasts six hours.  The only downfall to visiting the different areas of Tuscany separately is that it will cost your more.  I paid 99 euros to see all four areas during my day trip.  If I had broken down the trip into three or four shorter days it would have cost approximately 200 euros.
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The above photos are of the center of Siena at dusk and a famous tower across from the beautiful Siena Cathedral. 

I happened to witness my third wedding in just a few weeks.  The bride is wearing a red wedding dress and her groom draped his jacket over her shoulders as she was cold.  I was very happy to see chivalry is still alive and well!
Wandering and searching Island Girl  (1 of 1)-176Here is the Siena Cathedral.  I have visited many, many churches and cathedrals and this was probably my favorite.  I apologize for the low quality photo:
Wandering and searching Island Girl  (1 of 1)-176The inside of the cathedral was absolutely magnificent and one of if the not the most grand I'd ever seen in my opinion!
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Wandering and searching Island Girl  (1 of 1)-176The following photos were taken in San Gimignano.  This area of Tuscany is known for it's medieval towering buildings.  Families in the middle ages wanted to build their homes and or towers as high as possible to show their wealth.  They believed that having a towering home showed others their wealth.  

I really don't like asking strangers to take my photo but I made an exception in San Gimignano and the following eight photos were taken there:

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Wandering and searching Island Girl  (1 of 1)-176I will leave you with a view of the vineyards in the Chianti region during the fall season.

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Thank you for visiting my blog.  I love hearing from you and treasure all of my comments.  I hope you all have a fantastic week and are enjoying the holiday!

~Michelle