Krakow City Scenes

This gallery is from Krakow, Poland. Krakow is the oldest and one of the largest cities in Poland.  It is located on the Vistula River, making it an important economic hub in Europe. Historically, the city has been a leader in culture, the arts, and academia. I loved the market on the square in Old Town with its handmade goods, yummy food vendors, and beer readily available. As with most major European cities, you’ll find churches everywhere. Poland is 96% catholic, so they definitely like their cathedrals. In Old Town Krakow, you’ll find Wawel Castle. It was built by Casimir III the Great and has a very Italian feel. It has several different structures centered around a courtyard and combines medieval, renaissance, and baroque architectural styles.

At some point, I will probably do a blog about WWII and Nazi Germany and the way it changed the Polish landscape. We did visit the Jewish Ghetto, Schindler’s Factory, and Auschwitz while in Poland. I have many emotions related to those places and the massacres and atrocities that took place there. However, this gallery is about the city in its current state.

We visited the Wieliczka Salt Mine. They take you down 400 stairs to get in to the mine. My legs were a little like jelly when we reached the bottom. We did get to take an elevator back up. The tunnels themselves were lined with wood but there were quite a few alcoves and larger rooms which would have sculptures made from rock salt from the mine. There is a large cathedral like room with several sculptures of the Mary and Jesus (catholics, remember?). The salt finishes with a smooth glass and is translucent, so they would be backlit. All the chandeliers were made from rock salt. Also, our tour guide was a much older gentleman, possibly in his 70s or 80s and he outpaced us all. The salt does wonders for your health, I guess.

 

Now for Poland

After Budapest, we traveled to Krakow, Poland. I seem to have taken a great many food related photos in Poland. I found some lovely dark beers and ate some amazing food in the outdoor market in Krakow. I’d say the biggest issue for myself is that I do not eat a lot of meat. I do not eat chicken at all. I will occasionally eat beef or pork. But mostly I prefer seafood or no meat at all. So, traveling to landlocked cities that are known for their meat and potato meals was definitely a challenge. Sometimes when traveling you have to set aside certain things, like free toilets and available seafood. So, I did eat a beef kabob from a vendor in the market. I have to admit, it tasted amazing.

 

Last of Budapest

This is the final Budapest gallery (for now). It’s time to move on to Poland, land of cheese and meat. So, watch for that soon.

In this gallery you will find street scenes and small slices of every day urban life. I love shooting cities. At a quick glance they all tend to look the same. While the buildings are old, they all have that beige concrete look. But when you start getting into it, you see there are many differences. You can feel a difference in the people. In the way they interact with one another. In the way they decorate or eat. You just have pay attention and be open to the experience.

The markets in Budapest were amazing and left me wishing I lived close to something similar. The rich history of the area is inviting and eye opening.

To view my  complete Budapest gallery, click here.

 

To see works from other artists, visit this link.

Red All About It

Red draws the eye. It doesn’t matter if it’s a see of red or just a pop of red.

In this gallery, you’ll find red signs for restaurants, bars, diners, and cinemas. In Dublin, the Temple Bar is a bright red building on the corning in the Temple District. Yes, it stands out against the gray and beige stone of the other buildings, even the red brick of the building it’s attached to. We did have a pint at the Temple Bar while we were there. The Chairs and Sofas is a favorite of mine. I love signs painted on buildings, especially if they are faded and old. The whole side of the building at one time announced its wares. But when that paint faded, they decided to put up this tiny little sign. It almost gets lost in all that ghost paint. Lema’s is a small joint down the street from me. The building is bright red with that kitschy sign announcing World Famous Chittlins. I have not eaten at Lema’s. Chittlins are not on my menu. Ever. Just down from Lema’s is the, now closed, Keeton’s Jewelers. The sign still stands and the clock is in perfect shape even if the sign has lost a bit of its paint. Aunt Sarah’s is a pancake house in the Richmond, VA area. The sign has a goofy guy chasing a chicken because “Cousin John’s Chicken” I suppose. The pancakes are yummy and the coffee pretty tasty too! The Yara cinema is in Havana, Cuba. The huge amount of empty space on that sign struck me. It was difficult to capture it, as there were a million (maybe not that many) people milling about and the light was fading fast.

The dark red rose is now dead and gone, as is the bush it grew on. But the rose bush lasted for years without any help from me. Every year, it presented me with one or two of these magnificent beauties. Spools of colorful thread were bought for embroidery purposes but have now become props for my photography instead. They are the perfect subject with all that color and texture.

Cars and trucks are favorites of mine. These really stood out as the red really pops against the chrome. An antique fire truck has been perfectly restored to look almost brand new. The chrome bird is the perfect compliment to red paint. And the Custom Cab emblem really caught my eye.

Markets and festivals are great places to find subject matter. The scarves are from a festival. They were blowing in the wind and caught my attentions with all those colors. The farmer’s market is definitely a favorite. I tend to buy produce for the purpose of photographing it since I rarely have time to cook it before it goes bad. Those peppers were screaming at me. I knew I couldn’t buy the whole basket, so I took photos instead. I did buy a purple pepper from this vendor though. The red chinese lanterns were hanging outside of a shop in Chinatown in London. I knew I would never be able to get it home in one piece, so I took pics instead. My photos are my souvenirs when I travel. Some shops and vendors don’t want you taking pics, so be mindful.

The others are pretty self explanatory. A red flag, a red telephone booth in London (how could I resist?), red boots, and a red cape. Actually, the cape was originally green, but I thought red would better represent my solo adventurer.

The selfie photo is a favorite of mine. The windows all closed except one. That one single window, open to the world, and she has her back to it. I’m sure that at some point, she turned around to see what was happening below.

I wanted photos of the vintage mixer, but they were so boring. I needed something to put in that thick glass bowl. But what? I had these strips of red satin (I have no idea why) and they seemed some how appropriate for my mood, frustrated, angry, and a little depressed. But I wanted it to feel like more than a gory looking pic. So, I grabbed the fabric up in tight fists. That was the last photo that I got before my cat decided to photo bomb everything. I might revisit this with a better plan. Eventually. Some day. Maybe.

As always, questions or comments are welcome and appreciated!

To visit my gallery, click here.

 

 

 

To view red art by other artists, click here.

 

Love Poems

As an artist, I use my photography to express myself. Often my photos are allegories for events and emotions. Photography is about the moment. Sometimes the moment is simple, pretty flower,  cool shadow, or awesome view. But sometimes the moment is more about the emotion. When the heart opens up or closes down. When we say, “ahhh” or “ugh”.  I decided to take it a step further and start writing poems to go with my photos.

These are all love poems, written for my husband. It’s easy to see the ups and downs when I put them all together. At first, I felt unsure about posting them. They are very personal. But then I realized that we all feel this way. We all get angry at our partners. There are moments for all of us when we forget that we love this other person and why. But in the end, I remember why I love him. Enjoy!

Fine Art Photography by Sharon Popek