Becker Vineyards

The Texas hill country is one of my favorite places in our state. Get lost on one of the backroads and you might think you were in the mountains along the east coast or elsewhere. The small towns are magnets for artists, shop owners and tourists year-round. Last week, my wife and I visited Fredericksburg for a few days. During that trip, we visited our first winery. I’ve always thought of California for domestic wines. Who knew that made wine in Texas? Come to find out, there are now quite a few vineyards in the hill country and it seems to be catching on. On a recommendation, we visited the Becker Vineyards. Though we had just missed ‘the tour’, we were able to look around and even sample a taste or two. Just seeing the acres of vineyards and their lavender fields made for great scenery.

This ornamental entrance opened into the lavender field. Though some were blooming, I would like to return when the majority were blooming. I bet it would be a sight to see. If you visit the hill country, take time out to visit Becker Vineyards or one of the many other vineyards in the area.

 

This ornamental entrance opened into the lavender field at Becker Vineyards. Though some were blooming, I would like to return when the majority were blooming. I bet it would be a sight to see. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography

The Honfleur Marina

If you are an artist in France, then you have certainly heard of, if not have already visited a town called Honfleur. The small picturesque marina, surrounded by shops, restaurants and houses of different colors, is a favorite stop for artists and tourists. Some of the more notables were  Gustave CourbetClaude Monet,  Johan Jongkind and Eugène Boudin.  Today, you see many more cameras that you do canvases. But the scene, nonetheless, is just as beautiful today as it was years ago.

 

The small picturesque marina in Honfleur France, surrounded by shops, restaurants and houses of different colors, is a favorite stop for artists and tourists. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.

Cold Morning Sunrise

Winter mornings can be so beautiful. The leafless trees offer lines and vantage points not found during the spring and summer, when their foliage hides the view. The cooler weather brings higher altitude clouds that offer broad, sweeping strokes across the sky.

This morning scene was on my way to work, via my iPhone. I’m hoping to upgrade my phone to a better model with an improved camera, but probably not until the fall. Right now, my older 4S will just have to do.

 

This morning sunrise scene was on my way to work, via my iPhone. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.

Agriculture and Victory

The Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace is quite unique. It has several sets of bronze statues around the base of the monuments, which is ordained with angels and Queen Victoria. This is the other view of the woman with a sickle and lion, representing Agriculture.  The gold statue at the top is called Victory. I wish the day we visited had been prettier, but in London, you get used to the grey skies.

This is actually a good example how HDR photography can bring out the details in the dark bronze. Normally, the statue would be all black, with a bright sky. The three images combined allows for more details throughout.

Agriculture and Victory

French Quarter Flags

Walking along the French Quarter in the wee hours of the morning (or any foreign city) is a strange experience. Not knowing exactly where you are, or how to find the way back to your car, is a strange feeling. Fortunately, someone in our group knew the area well, so I could relax.

When I found an interesting scene to shoot, it did make it difficult to remember where I was or what the building’s name was though. Take this building with the different flags flying in the dark. It looks like so many other blocks in the French Quarter that I am at a lost to know where it was. Do you know?

 

French Quarter Flags

Sunset On the Thames

When in London, you have to ride the London Eye. It’s something all tourists do, so just buy the ticket and wait in line. You won’t regret it.

Even though it was almost 9:00 p.m., the sun was just setting as we took our turn on the London Eye.  This time of day has to be one of the best times to take a spin on the giant wheel. It’s not as easy taking pictures on the ride as you might think though. The plastic is thick and have tiny scratches outside and are not perfectly clean. For most of the day, that should not pose a problem. However, in the bright glare of the sun, they cause extra flare, making a flawless sunset hard to capture.

The bridge on the right is Hungerford Bridge, that leads up to Charing Cross Station.

 

The sun sets over the Thames in London with Hungerford Bridge leading up to Charing Cross Station. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.

Inside Fort Macomb

While in New Orleans, we visited two Civil War forts, the second being Ft. Macomb. This site is not open to the public, but we were granted special permission by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Louisiana for a morning photo shoot. The layout is very similar to Ft. Pike, just a few miles up the road.  Because Macomb is not currently open to the public though, it is not as manacured as Pike is. This did give it a bit more rustic look.

This scene is looking out from one of the perimeter tunnels, back towards the center of the fort. We want to thank the Louisiana Office of State Parks, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, and the State of Louisiana Office of the Lieutenant Governor for the opportunity to visit and photograph this seldom visited landmark.

 

This scene is looking out from one of the perimeter tunnels, back towards the center of the fort. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.