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August 17, 2014

My fellow phographers,

My friend and professional phographer and guide, Ralph Velasco offered this advice, "Find the human touch."

So after indulging my own proclivity for architecture and landscape, I follow Ralph's suggestion.

As per my typical routine, I find a quiet spot and try (unobtrusively) to shoot the natives.

If I am “busted” I give them a peek at the screen. 

Luckily, here in Estonia, the natives are mostly cheerful, and anxious to strike a glamorous pose. 



August 17, 2014

So where do all these tourists come from? 

My friends, they are deposited by the thousands from the cruise ships that dock in the harbor of this ancient Baltic city.   They follow the tour guide with her flag.  They crowd the cobblestoned squares and streets as they ogle the churches and bargain with the market vendors.  They snack at the overpriced restaurants and cafes before re-boarding their ocean-going hotel for the next exotic stop.  Helsinki?  Saint Petersburg?  Copenhagen?



August 12, 2014


Many years ago I had an American-Hungarian friend.  She insisted that Hungarian was “different” and resembled no other language in Europe.  Since I was a young man who thought he already knew everything, I doubted my friend’s characterization of her language.

Hungary lies in the middle of Central Europe.  Certainly the language is in some way similar to her neighbors’.   Surely Hungarian is related to Slovakian Slavic, or Romanian Romance, or Austrian Germanic?

Well I was dead wrong!

So here’s what happened.

Another series of “accidents”?

After my flight from Bangkok to Helsinki, I take the bus to the downtown station and walk towards my hotel.  I finally arrive at the proper street but do I turn right or left?  I stop a man and ask directions and he points to the right.  I notice he is wearing a Star of David so we chat a bit and he points out that the Helsinki Synagogue stands just down the street to the left. **

Stuck in the Mud!



Gongshan County

Nu Jiang Liuku Autonomous Prefecture

Yunnan Province


June 13, 2014


Stuck in the mud!  Is that ever a good thing?

Despite the gloomy weather and the potentially muddy country roads, my guide Ilian and I decide to visit a Tibet style temple and to explore the mountain villages above Bingzhongluo here in the upper and remote reaches of Yunnan Province.  We hire a local man with a four-wheel drive vehicle.