Tag Archives: Urban Landscape

A Visit to NoDa

Mural on a building in the North Davidson (NoDa) area of Charlotte

This is the first of what I plan to be a series of posts under the category “Tourist In My Own Town!

Kathy & I paid a visit to the area of Charlotte near the intersection of North Davidson Street and East 36th Street, known to locals as “NoDa” as in North Davidson. Clever, huh? We went primarily to visit a wine bar and retail wine shop recently opened by a friend of ours, but decided to make an afternoon of it. It was a nice day, a little warm for spring with highs in the mid-80s, but the humidity was low and there was a nice breeze.

Mural on a building in the North Davidson (NoDa) area of Charlotte
Mural on a building in the North Davidson (NoDa) area of Charlotte

NoDa is packed with bars and restaurants, with a few retail stores and tattoo parlors mixed in for good measure. Kathy & I avoided the tattoo parlors! During the day it is pretty quiet, but I understand that things get cranking in the evening. We did our thing early and got out before the masses arrived!

The North Davidson (NoDa) area of Charlotte
Public art in the form of bicycle storage at the 36th Street transit station. The North Davidson (NoDa) area of Charlotte.

We walked around a bit and I took some pictures. Then with time to kill we hopped on the light rail, took it out to UNC Charlotte, wandered around there then got back in time for our destination to open at 4:00. We filled up on wine and snacks, bought a few bottles for souvenirs, and headed home in time to enjoy the sunset from our porch.

Shadows cast by the Mikyoung Kim’s Nexus Project – public art installation at the UNC Charlotte Main Station for the Lynx Blue Line

A nice day!

Exploring St. Petersburg, Florida

Monument commemorating The St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, the world’s first airline. On the pier in St. Petersburg, Florida

As I mentioned in a previous post, once we found out that our cruise had been cancelled, we began looking for something interesting to do for a few days.  We originally looked into a beach resort, but the temperature forecast – while warmer than North Carolina and a lot warmer than places farther north – did not seem to us to be warm enough for beach time.  Maybe it was just a letdown from not being able to go to Cozumel? 😉

Hampton Inn. St. Petersburg, Florida
Hampton Inn. St. Petersburg, Florida
Railing shadows. St. Petersburg, Florida
Railing shadows. St. Petersburg, Florida

We settled on St. Petersburg for a number of reasons.  We had never been there, it is on the water (Tampa Bay), has a number of interesting museums and looked to have some interesting restaurants.  We found a Hampton Inn right downtown near the waterfront for a reasonable price, and headed that way after our time in Lake Wales.

Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida

We found St. Petersburg to be a youngish town, and in a lot of ways it reminds me of Fort Collins, but with water instead of mountains, sandals instead of hiking boots.  There is a vibrant arts scene there, plenty of public space, a good selection of restaurants of all kinds, and a pretty open and accepting mindset toward people of all kinds, ages and preferences.  We really felt welcome there.

Teak Restaurant. On the pier in St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Pete Pier. St. Petersburg, Florida
Mural at the St. Pete Sailing Center. St. Petersburg, Florida
Duke Energy Center For The Arts. St. Petersburg, Florida
The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida

After visiting a town, Kathy & I often wonder aloud about how it would be to live there.  The downtown area has plenty of condos and apartments, and there were at least two grocery stores within easy walking distance of our motel.  With the restaurants, shops, waterfront and museums, there would be plenty to keep anyone occupied. Of course we aren’t looking to relocate, but the hypothetical is still interesting. It looks like it would be pretty expensive, and one of the things we love about where we are is that it is not expensive, which allows us to do the travel we do.  So we visit!

This boat owner is not going to be happy! Pelicans. St. Petersburg, Florida
Wild Nanday Parakeets In St Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida

I’ll write separately about the museums, but wanted to share a few of the photos I made while wandering around the town on our various outings.  We had lovely weather which helped a lot.  There is nothing like a blue sky and sunshine to provide a feeling of warmth, especially when it is 25 degrees with snow on the ground as I write this!

Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Fountain in South Straub Park. St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Internationally renowned artist and Tampa Bay native Janet Echelman has created one of her famous billowing net sculptures to dazzle Pier visitors. “Bending Arc” measures a massive 76 feet at its highest point and 428 feet at its widest and is perpetually in motion with the wind. The artist titled the sculpture Bending Arc in reference to MLK’s words: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” St. Pete Pier, St. Petersburg, Florida
Teak Restaurant. On the pier in St. Petersburg, Florida
Skyline from the Teak Restaurant on the pier in St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Mural at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida

Weekend In Asheville: A Preview

College Street in Downtown Asheville, North Carolina

Kathy & I spent last weekend in Asheville, NC celebrating our 40th anniversary.  While the weekend was mostly about celebration, we did manage to do more than just eat and drink – I took a few (hundred) photos.  About 770, actually! 🙂

Downtown Asheville, North Carolina
Downtown Asheville, North Carolina
Public art in Downtown Asheville, North Carolina

I did something a little bit different (for me) this time, taking only my X-T4 and 3 prime lenses – the 14mm f2.8, 23mm f1.4 and the 35mm f1.4.  Before heading out the door I would decide which lens to take, then “see” at that focal length during our outing.  I love doing that, as it is a good exercise in visualizing a scene then adjusting with my feet as needed.  I mostly stuck with the 23 and 35 except for our visit to Biltmore House, where I used the 14 and which I will detail in a future post or two.

Asheville City Hall in Downtown Asheville, North Carolina
Pack Square Park in Downtown Asheville, North Carolina
Flatiron Building in Downtown Asheville, North Carolina
Historic buildings in Downtown Asheville, North Carolina

I’m still trying to get through the rest of my photos from our Northwest road trip, so before I spend too much more time with these Asheville photos I’m going to try and get the Northwest photos done first.  So expect a little bouncing around the country as I get through the rest of my Northwest photos. 🙂

Downtown Asheville, North Carolina
Downtown Asheville, North Carolina
Downtown Asheville, North Carolina
Wall Street in Downtown Asheville, North Carolina

Means of Expression

Bus station in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina

It always interests me to see how people tend to refer to their equipment in more specific terms the newer or more expensive it is. I was reading a recent blog post that was commenting on the age-old (at least 10 years!) argument about whether phones were “real” cameras. Never mind the argument (which I think is silly), but the writer stated that “there are significant differences between my iPhone 8’s camera and my OM-D E-M5 Mark II, not to mention some newer full-frame cameras.” Well, no sheet, Sherlock!

The thought that went through my mind when I read that sentence was that, if he were shooting with a 3-generations old Android phone (like me) or a hopelessly obsolete mirrorless camera (like me) he might not have been so quick to mention his gear. Is that what is referred to as “humblebrag? As in, “I had a hard time finding a suitable parking place for my Porsche?” Anyway, my weird thought twists on this Saturday morning.

I hope everyone has enjoyable holiday week/weekend, whichever holiday (if any) they choose to be observing.

Bus station in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina

Oh, There Were People in San Juan, Too!

Trio On A Bench

Cedric commented on my last post about how the lack of people contributed to the “Tranquilidad” of the scenes.  Of course not all of my photos were devoid of people, as the people are a large part of what makes San Juan special.  Here are a few photos “with” people as a counterpoint against those without.

Painting a Fine Line
Afternoon Walk
Three Dimensional
Wrong Way
Random street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit
Scenery near El Morro Fortress in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit
Lunch at Barrachina, allegedly the birthplace of the Pina Colada. In San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit

An Unexpected Visit to San Juan

This Way!

Kathy & I recently returned from a cruise to the Caribbean.  We’re getting pretty good at the cruise thing – this was our 23rd cruise – but we’re still practicing!

An Address I Could Live With!

This cruise was on Celebrity Summit.  Celebrity has become our favorite cruise line, mostly because they just know how to do good food and good service.  While all of the lines are good, we’ve come to really like Celebrity.

Random street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit
Random street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit

Summit is one of Celebrity’s older ships, but we chose it because it is one of their smallest, at just 2,000 passengers.  The ship we were on last year was over 4,000 passengers, while we saw a ship this time that was over 6,000!  While I would love to experience one of those ships, that’s just a shipload of too many people!

Random street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit
Random street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit

This cruise was supposed to stop at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, but Punta Cana doesn’t have a  dock for the cruise ships so it is one where they need to take passengers ashore using tenders.  The seas were too rough there for tendering, so we ended up in San Juan, PR instead.  While we looked forward to Punta Cana, we love San Juan and were not at all disappointed to end up there.

Random street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit
Random street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit

Kathy & I spent our time in port walking around Old San Juan.  We had lunch (and Pina Coladas!) at a nice restaurant that claims to be the birthplace of the drink.  More to come on that, but for now, here are a few random photos from our time walking the streets of the old city.

Random street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit

A Few More

Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina

Nothing to say today, important or otherwise.  I just processed a few more photos from the same folder as the last post and thought I would share.  Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.  Staying warm where it’s cold and dry where it’s wet. 😉

Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina
Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina
Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina
Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina
Views of uptown Charlotte around the Imaginon Children’s Library in Charlotte, North Carolina

Cultural Awareness (or Lack Thereof)

Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina

One of the many advantages of not being a television watcher is that I don’t have to put up with all the commercials and mindless programming, including the so-called news.  One of the disadvantages of not being a television watcher is that I miss out on a lot of the sayings and expressions that come from both the commercials and the programs themselves.

Views of uptown Charlotte around the Imaginon Children’s Library in Charlotte, North Carolina

Case in point – last week I sent an email to a co-worker about something good that had happened, and he replied, “dilly dilly.”  I was puzzled but figured if he wasn’t making some obscure reference to my name that it was probably something I missed from television.  I get pretty good at recognizing things like that. 😉

Charlotte Transit Lynx Light Rail at the Seventh Street Station in Charlotte, North Carolina

Just today I came across an article about a guy with Charlotte roots who had found recent fame by being the “dilly dilly” guy, and it turns out he is the actor that plays the king in a series of Budweiser commercials where he replies “dilly dilly” whenever someone brings him beer.  Little did I know, but “dilly dilly” is this year’s version of “WHASSSUP?” 🙂

The things I miss.  Sigh….

Views of uptown Charlotte around the Imaginon Children’s Library in Charlotte, North Carolina
Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina
Views of uptown Charlotte around the Imaginon Children’s Library in Charlotte, North Carolina
Views of uptown Charlotte around the Imaginon Children’s Library in Charlotte, North Carolina

The photos – by the way – are more from 2012.  I took this during an outing with a digital point & shoot class I was teaching.  Although it appears I “cheated” and was using my then-new Canon 5D Mark III. 😉

Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina

Spoiled For Choice

If someone put a motor on an ofo, would that make it a mofo?

A recent Charlotte phenomenon is the proliferation of something called  “dockless bike-sharing programs.”  By using an app on your phone (of course) you can pick up one of these bikes, ride it wherever you want, and leave it there.  It unlocks automagically using the app, then presumably locks itself when you are finished.

It’s kind of an interesting concept, and I kind of hope it catches on, but I have to wonder just how many people are actually going to ride these things.  A recent news article indicated the city council had authorized four different companies to have up to 2,000 bikes in town.  That seems like a lot.

Maybe on the first 70 degree day we should have a Bike-In, and everyone head out at lunch time, ride a bike to some central location and leave them all in one place.  Seems like a lot of trouble but what the heck.