Special thanks to Dr.
Charles Cantor, of Del Mar, California, who is sponsoring eight of these
along with Keith Mantis, of Las Vegas, Nevada, who is sponsoring a 30x40.
Wednesday night, May 16th, 2012
10 p.m., at cafe below my two star 'Jadran
Residence' hotel in the port town of
Click photo to enlarge
I stayed on the end of this point at
Residence Jadran, in Porec. It is
sparse but clean, a two star rated hotel, with an ocean view.
was breakfast at the four star
Valamar Riviera Hotel, way cool!
Well, just got to Croatia about three hours ago via a
ferry from Venice, Italy, and just checked into a wonderful 2 star hotel
on the ocean. The whole world caved in when I checked my e-mail finally,
thru my iPhone, via free WiFi internet connection at the cafe below it,
where I also just had a small pizza type sandwich for 35 Kuna- $6 USD ($6
Kuna to the dollar).
Click photo to enlarge. All iPhone.
On New York bound plane from San
How did it cave in? I was informed 10 out of the 11 images I had
accepted into the fair (via submissions) did not meet the strict entry
requirements on printing and matting, BUT Ron, that runs it, is giving me
a little time to rectify the situation. Here I am dead tired, and I have
to try and rectify a situation across the world, one that has, as far as I
know, a deadline a few hours away to meet? I was stunned, flabbergasted
and brain dead on any solution right off the bat, my spirit sunk waaay
down to say the least. A lot of quick prayer was needed, just to 'get
balanced', and so I did. Then I had some ideas start to formulate minutes
later, just sent them off to protégé Jeffrey Sitcov, who helps me out too.
For example, he had taken my entries in for me to drop off with his own
that were accepted (he got 7 of 20 entries accepted, most of which I
helped him pick from hundreds of possibilities) as I was on my flight here
when they had to be delivered.
"It looked like a complete disaster at
first, with hundreds of dollars in entry fees, hours of printing, mounting
and matting time, all seeming, possibly, flushed away..."
But I'll backtrack here a little; I only slept 2 hours the night before
(Monday night), took a lot of time to custom cut the 11 mats for the
entries to the fair, and take care of all the bills for the home and
office, plus visit with a friend and Christian brother, Michael Perlin,
who was nice enough to buy me a new digital recorder, so I can keep up
with my notes, like this does, but during the day, not just at night when
I get a chance.
Anyways, almost did not get to leave as planned, the lovely bride
accidentally set the clock wrong, and we got up 15 minutes late- at 5.15
instead of 5. Praise the Lord she woke up without it for some reason, as
we were not too late, not that 80 mph did not help with on the semi-dark
freeway at 5.30 am. As we did not get much sleep, we did not leave much
leeway for error.
Got through check-in quickly, opted out of the long line on the street
in favor of trying my luck inside. Already had my e-ticket and checked in
online, so I only had to go through a line with two people in it there,
Then hit the security, and with my new Delta AMEX card, I'm supposed to
get perks, like early boarding, etc.,, cool. So when I saw First Class
security line, with only 50 folks, compared ot the 'regular Joe' line,
with 500, I went to the first, hoping I'd be cool. The guy only looked at
my passport, not the ticket, and said get in line. That saved over a 1/2
hour alone, so I got to the gate before Valerie had made the 1/2 drive
home, WOW. Answered pray all the way around.
Flew out of San Diego on a 6.55 am flight to N.Y. JFK airport, and had
40 minutes to transfer. They hand checked my film in San Diego (they
always do in the good old US of A). And more blessings, I only had to go
two gates down, and did not have to go through security again, so I did
not have to go through the hassle of them hand checking (that alone can
take a long time). TUL.
Flew into Milan, as I wanted to avoid extra airports with extra
possible film x-raying, so I figured a train to Venice (three hours,
beautiful green spring colors), then a ferry to Croatia, would fit the
Click photo to enlarge.
Just before boarding Venice bound train from Milan Train Station.
So after landing in Milan, I got the train to Milan Central, for $10,
and booked another train to Venice. My plan was to try and find a ferry
that day to Croatia, or if I had to wait a day or two stay in Mestre just
outside Venice for 1/2 the price over Venice. I'd read there was one major
one, Venezia Lines, and maybe others, but they were sporadic as not many
folks travel in May, compared to June, or especially July, when the weather is better for the
beaches, and more folks are on vacation. I nodded off, but tried not to as
to keep an eye on my baggage. It took three hours, and the weather turned from
sunny to dark, rainy, windy and freezing cold as we pulled into the Venice
"... I'd now only
slept a total of about 6 hours in two and a half days,"
I put on my heavy duty shirt to help with the cold, wishing I'd brought
long underwear at this point; it felt like the normal winter weather I
usually shoot there, in November!
My stress level increased dramatically when the tourist info folks at the train station
said there were no ferries to Croatia until July, and that I'd have to
take a bus around. I thought bus? How long would that take? (I found out later
it's not long, only about three hours, as when you book w/ the ferry and
the waves become
too large the company actually hires mini-busses to take you around!).
But I'd read in the tour books ferries start commuting, intermittently,
in April, so I decided to ask elsewhere. I was told yes, there are
ferries, and where to 'probably' get tickets, they thought. Three locations
and an hour later,
and while lugging all my gear, about 30 lbs in cameras, tripods and film,
and a 40# suitcase that luckily has wheels, I walked over a mile of
bridges and canals to the place I was told. NOPE, this was the wrong area!
But alas, they said there was one, and they gave me the address. But, the
Lord further blessed me, as two young women overheard my asking and were
there 'also by mistake' looking for their 'ALREADY BOOKED FERRY TO CROATIA
THAT WAS LEAVING AT 5 P.M."! TUL!
Yeah, that meant there was one, so we all three set out to walk the
mile back to the train station, and take a vaporetto, a
'water-bus' as I call them, a public boat for a hundred people (at about a
$9 US charge per ride, whatever the length, no more than a few miles
And I found myself to be WRONG on the x-ray machines not being at the
ferry, as on my entering the hall/boarding area earlier, empty except for
the receptionist lady, I'd spotted them. Dang it! I prayed from then until
having to go through it that I'd
have no problems. Now the train had no x-ray machines, but this ferry did.
I found out the prices, and then purchased round trip tickets, saving
about $12 per leg ($120 round trip) and only had to wait two more hours
for departure. (And yes, they only go every two or three days, so I got
I then tried to find a bank to change dollars to Euros, but the
closest, a quarter mile away did not, so I used an ATM back by the ferry;
I figured I'd at least have money for food on the ferry. But I ate a
panini, (Italian for sandwich) at a local pub, had a good beer to boot. I
made my way back to the ferry (which was located at S. Basilio
vaporetto stop by the way). The food lasted me till just a few
Click photo to enlarge. iPhone snaps.
Just before boarding the ferry to Croatia, after finally found the place
it left from.
Upon boarding time, I waited till the 200 or so folks boarded, figuring
that would give the guys plenty of time for a hand-check if no one was
behind me; but upon getting
there they refused, pointing to a sticker that read 'film safe', not
knowing I guess, that all films are not alike. I kept trying to explain
why it was not safe for all films, thanking them profusely for doing so,
even though they were not yet, and stating that only low rated ISO ones
are not problematic, but it was all a no go!! I tried to keep my cool, but the guy
would not listen to me explain, kept taking the bag of film and putting it on the
carousel. I kept stating I had a lot of high, 3,200 ISO film, and
that this would ruin it. The
stuff you never get x-rayed w/o problems.
The other two concurred with him 'no problem', that's all they would
say and none listened to a word I was saying. I called out one to one of the the
guys behind that was walking our way now to see what all the discussion
was about, asking if any spoke English, realizing that might help,
needing help from somewhere. The two other police that check the passports came
up and joined the fray, now there were seven of us all together, all
putting in there two cents. One guy finally went to bat for me, after
looking closely at my film, saying I was a professional (none of the
others heard it when I'd said it, only him) and that the film was also
professional (the outside read it), and he saw the highly rated ISO too. I
kept showing, by opening each pack of 5 films (that's how they come),
that it was JUST FILM, and said it was obviously not drugs, nor bombs, and
that a hand check would show it to be nothing foul. TUL, he let me
through, over-riding all the others objection, and I quickly scooted out
before someone counter-ruled it all.
The Croat kuna. 200 kuna is, at this point, about $33 USD.
$1 US= 6.5 kuna.
Click photo to enlarge.
View out my hotel window at the
Jadran Residence, my first sunset in Croatia.
As I'd only slept about two hours on the domestic 5 hour flight, and
the same on the eight hour International one, I'd now only slept a total
of about 6 hours in two and a half days, and with about a 1.5 hour nap on the three
hour ferry, and with a lot more time gone by (it's 10:16 pm here now, and
I'm dragging, just had a shower to revive me to help handle the fair
problem, mentally and physically), it's going on about seven hours for 2.5
When I arrived here in
Porec, at about 8 pm., in north Croatia, it was raining.
NOTE: Just went to check e-mails to see if any developments on my
problem, here is the GREAT news:
5.17.'12 / Thursday12:30 p.m. -
From the lobby at the Valamar Riviera Hotel and Residence, Porec.
Ok, the computer died last night from lack of a charge, at midnight, just before I could
upload the 'Good News', and the second half of what I posted above.
Luckily when it turns off it does not lose info, so I just went and bought
a converter for my power cord, charged it for a minute, then saved it.
Onward with my update...
So, I got a note from Ron, the manager of the fair, saying all was
well, here was some communication as it went down.
Click photo to enlarge. Fred Caldwell's Antique Store in Leucadia,
iPhone panoramic that was accepted in the iPhone division,
along with 10 other images I entered, two other 10 were also in the
Judging for ribbons is on 5.20.2012.
Here is how the San
Diego Fair International Photo competition fiasco went down
last night (for me anyways, I'm nine hours ahead of there now).
It looked like a
complete disaster at first, with hundreds of dollars in entry fees,
hours of printing, mounting and matting time, all seeming, possibly,
Hi Michael, I've been trying to
reach you and Jeffrey Sitcov, who dropped of your prints at the
Photo Show earlier today, to tell you
>> that 10 or your 11 printed photos do not
meet Fair rules and need to
>> be reworked.
>> All of the prints have bluish gray mats
(Note by m.s.: these were basically white, but they did have this
slight color cast, and in years past, were accepted by the fair, but
each year has a different coordinator and set of workers, so
obviously the exact rules are interpreted differently by different
folks, as I knew this), but the rules say that
the mats must be black or white.
>>Strokes (Note by m.s.: strokes mean a 'printed border', the
first time I've ever done it with them, but then again, this is the
first time I've ever adjusted them myself and printed them myself,
on my computer and printer, usually sent out and no border was ever
added 'on the print', only by matting) on some
of them are separated from the photo, but the rules say
they're allowed only if they touch the edges of the
And a few have double strokes, while the rules allow
>> only single strokes.
>> I think all the images could be fixed by
merely giving them new mats
>> - which could also cover up the illegal
second strokes. But Jeffrey
>> told us you're out of the country.
>> This is disheartening for us in the Photo
Show, because they're all
>> beautiful images and we'd like to see them
hang in the show for
>> others to enjoy.
Exhibition of Photography
2012 San Diego County Fair
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Seewald Galleries [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 12:22 PM
> To: Ron Ham; V See
> Subject: Seewald entries
> Hi Ron, just got here to Croatia few minutes
ago . Wow, will give all
> this some thought (NOTE: AND PRAYER, m.s.).
Thanks for the offer to help, when is final
deadline to rework these for judging?
> Hey Michael.
> ArtWare told me someone from my crew could
pick up the 10 newly matted
> photos Thursday morning, if they could
arrange payment from your wife
> today -- she was looking for your American
Express card yesterday.
> Wendy at ArtWare said they'd do the work for
$15 a pop, so I thought
> that was a pretty good price. Anyway,
Thursday morning will work for
> us here at the Photo show.
> We'll pick up the photos from them
regardless of whether you and your
> wife decide to have them to do the work.
Ron That would be great. I'll have my wife call you, or them,
with my AMEX card number.
My wife, Valerie, number is 858.245.xxxx.
Your ARE the man. Please have them do it in white.
---------------------------- Original Message
Subject: RE: Seewald Matting
From: "Ron Ham" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, May 16, 2012 4:26 pm
Everything's been taken care of, fyi.
ArtWare finished the work, and they confirmed that your wife paid
them for it, and I drove by and picked the 10 photos up (they did a
nice job) and they've been processed and are in boxes ready to be
judged Sunday -- so all is well.
TUL, answered prayer, something that looked to be a disaster at
first, and with prayer I calmed down and knew HE was in charge, and
all would end well, somehow, did in just three short hours. TUL
1:36 pm, update continued.
So, I slept great.
I awoke at 7:30 a.m. this morning, two hours ahead of the alarm, even though I still felt
dead tired, the body said "no, I'm awake". Marina, the nice lady at the
reception desk at the Valamar, who help get me the reduced rate for my
2 star hotel, (was E.45, reduced to E.32, -$40 USD), one with the ocean
view, said the 'all you could eat' 100 item breakfast at the four star
hotel would be something I'd love, and love it I did. 10 kinds of cereals,
five types of juice, a lady preparing custom omelets, a meat and cheese
spread that I should have photographed, cappuccinos, etc., really put me
in a good frame of mind, even though I had not checked e-mail yet, to see
how all had turned out w/ 'the project'.
Ms Marina had loaned me a converter last night so I could try and charge my
phone, and use the computer, but for some reason it did not work. So after
breakfast, and after seeing that all had worked out, I set out to find a
computer store to by a Croatian HP cord for my computer, which I found
after some searching (about an hour) about a mile walk from here. I also
got some quotes on a car, and the first quote (from a pedestrian whom
called a friend, was 700 Kuna (so that's a little over $100 per day) was
way more than I could afford. Not to worry, I'd ask around. Found a car
rental shop 20 minutes later, and the guy said he could get it down from
395 Kuna per day, to 295, (plus 40 K per day insurance for one week, then
it would be free). That was reasonable, compared to the first guy. Online
(ArgusCarHire.com) I'm finding them for a bit less still, looking to be
about $545 US, for 23 days.
"...Awoke for a few minutes this morning at
4:04 a.m. from an earthquake (heard it was based in Modena, an Italian city
about 200 km from ...."
I continued back towards the hotel, the sun out and the air warming, my
jacket now off, and stopped at a VIP phone store, where I'd stopped
earlier to check on getting a cheap phone with a sim card that would call
the USA. He said the carrier, 'Tomato', was only 4kn per minute, 3kn less than the VIP card, about $.60 cents per minute, with free
incoming. BUT I wanted to put the sim card in my iPhone, and the guy said
tomorrow he could 'open' my phone, some sort of technical term, it's not
manually opening it, so it would be able to work with other sim cards that
are not 'AT&T' ones, so I'll go back. This will save me from having to buy
a new phone ($30 for the cheapie) and will make it so I can buy a sim card
anywhere in the world and make it work- COOL. So that is taken care of.
Besides, the e-mail works fine, it's just that the wife like to hear my
voice every other day, and me hers.
Still here in the lobby, filling in details of this report, checking to
see if any of this makes sense; last night I was so tired it was a bit garbled. My
walking is not easy, I'm sore from yesterdays carrying of the gear over all
of Venice, I'm very out of shape. But as I always tell people about each
trip, "I start out weak like sheep, but come back (add strong accent and
much louder here) STRONG LIKE BULL!"
Click photos to enlarge.
The first night in Porec I was treated well by Niki,
family and staff from
Left: me, Niki, Zoran and Niki's son
Marcos. / Right: my pasta dish, following the
excellent mixed salad. The wine mentioned in the beginning is Malvazija
Festigia. Malvezija is a variety of grape, Festigia mean 'the best'.
It's a local wine of Porec.
Here is a short video I made of Niki, Marco and Zoran about their wines,
restaurant and the local UNESCO sanctioned church.
to wife, easy update at this point. I've got to get some
grub (breakfast), starved.
Morning, I took a bus to Rovinj yesterday
and found a room for only $17 per night, not far from city center (25
minute walk). It's on the coast, like Porec, and lots of tourists, mostly
German. Met some photographers at the Photo Art Gallery Batana
(Ermano Bancic, who is advanced level and volunteers there,
his son Christian, and there friend Josip Biland) at a city run photo gallery and we got
along well, sharing photos on internet, way past midnight.
Pre-paid for three nights. Weather sunny, but storm coming on Sunday.
Still don't know about rental car, trying to save money, found one company
online for about $500 for three weeks, and one local for $780, but
includes all insurance. Still debating whether to get one at all. Lot
tougher without one, but save money by not getting it. The guys I met last
night are going to drive me around, so the Lord is blessing me.
Click photos to enlarge. Photo Art Gallery Batana, Rovinj
Just got in,
boy am I bushed. My legs, and especially back, are sooooo sore, time for
an aspirin. hit a restaurant this morning and got the eggs, ham, bread and
coffee for $6, can't beat that. Tasty too. Made it to the Hotel Adriatic
where Josip works. Was to go shooting the old city with Christian. We had
a coffee there, and waited for his lady friend to join us, she is a
budding photographer too.
We first went to the boat building museum, and checked that
out. She stayed with us for an hour or two, and then had to leave. We shot
together, and chatted about the logistics of making money in photography
(he's in it very seriously, taking a special education program for it),
and is trying to figure out what to do. He left around 7:30 p.m..
I managed to get three or four very nice images later in
the day. Along with yesterdays two images (none for first two days) I'm
starting to get the portfolio going. Too tired for big update again, but
here is a shot made by Jerzy Palacz,
a Vienna cinema photographer I met last night, along with his wife
Inge. I took a cool panoramic of them, I'll post that when I get back,
can't download from that iPhone application program for some reason.
Click to enlarge/ photo copyright
Me taking a break in Ravinj, taken by
Jerzy Palacz, who is
a cinema photographer in Vienna. He also has the same Hasselblad as I, and
what got him started talking to me.
Short video I made on the iPhone about the artist I photographed, Radovan Rajko Svilar, in Rovinj, Croatia today.
What's in a name? I received this from Rajko's son
"Hi Mr. Seewald, this is Andrej, Rajko's son. I heard in the video you
were commentating about his name, so if you're interested here is
explanation of his full name and it's very interesting now that I`m
thinking about it..so..
Radovan Rajko Svilar
Radovan would mean ˝readily/gladly/willingly˝ (rado) ˝out/out
of/outside˝ (van) if we say it separately. But ˝rad˝ also means ˝work˝.
Rajko would mean ˝as paradise˝ where ˝raj˝ means ˝paradise˝ and ˝ko˝
is short version (to pronounce it faster) of ˝kao˝ which means ˝as˝.
Svilar would mean ˝a man who makes silk-silkman˝, where ˝svila˝ means
˝silk˝ and ˝ar˝ is ending of a word that signifies man's occupation.
That would be it, so thanks again for being interested in my dad`s work
and keep in touch!"
5.20.'12 / Sunday
10.30 p.m. Rovinj
Just got in from shooting all day, and again, completely bushed. Here's
Click to enlarge
Modena got hit with a 6.0, just 10 km below
Awoke for a few minutes this morning at 4:04 from an earthquake (heard it
was based in Modena, and Italian city about 200 km from here), but went
back to sleep. Got up at 7:30 and went to the old town where I had a great
'all you can eat' breakfast at the Adriatic Hotel. Worked the old city
from the cruise ship port side, with and without smaller boats in
foreground; soft light made today's work so much better than past couple
Click to enlarge
My first meal in Rovinj, at Carlos'
restaurant (only two months open). Wonderful.
Painted two watercolor postcards for my two
collectors, took about an hour, from the outside breakfast area at the
Adriatic Hotel. Went to two towns with Josip
today, from 3 pm to 5:30 pm, one was an abandoned medieval one, and the
other, where I made one or two nice images, was in Bale, an
old town about 15 km from Rovinj.
"...The area is interesting, with all
the ruins around, hope I can find something that works. It's a bigger city
and that part does not move me at all. ... "
Was going to come home
at around 8:30, but I thought one more time thru the old city, now that it
was almost dark out, and WOW, am I glad I did. Got three or four killer
shots with all the light reflecting on the white, shiny
stone work on the ground.
Click to enlarge
Rovinj restaurant at twilight.
On my return trip here a month later I'd eat here.
Plan on hitting Pula tomorrow.
Monday 7:30 a.m. -Rovinj
Slept very well, Just got up and started to work on updates here. First
checked e mails and answered questions Valerie had. Need to shower and
pack up, I'm planning on going south, to Pula today. First have to check on Stop
Rent-a-car, Josip said they had good rates and have an office here. Still
think going and shooting the main cities will be more cost effective,
albeit a bit more hassle. Overcast today, and supposed to be that way, and
rainy, for next three days.
a.m. update. Still in room, I've been working on uploading the above and
below photos, and publishing them on this page. It was pretty bare until
Here are a few from yesterday...
Click to enlarge
Left: "My cozy perch" / Right "Rovinj
-old city" from the 'cruise ship' side.
Click to enlarge
3:30 p.m. update, NOW in Pula: Saw
Ermano (the guy that runs the photo gallery) as I waited to get the bus,
he was headed to open up the gallery. He pretended to grab my tripod case, and I went
to stop a theft. Took me a second to recognize him, he was out of the
environment I'd met him at two night earlier, and then I settled
down and said my goodbyes, grabbing a quick snap of us first.
Click to enlarge
Ermano says his good byes.
Pula town (biggest city so far) around 1 p.m.. Took a while to figure out how to get to the old
city center. Usually, the towns are so small you are already in them when
getting there. Took the number 2 bus to the 'forum'. Lots of old Roman ruins
here, Amphitheatre, Temples, Gates, etc..
Found a place to hold my big suitcase
(weighs a ton w/ computer and spare everything in it- you DON'T want to
take it up staircases, and in some cases, like my first two locations, I
was second floor up with no elevators) and walked around looking for
a room for rent. Found a tourist info center, she gave me the website for
apartment info/phone numbers. Problem is, I don't need an apartment (kitchen, etc.) and they
usually want big money for them, and rightfully so. Anyways, I thought I'd try my luck with them
anyways, one person offered it for 25 euro, for two nights (down from 40,
about $50 per night). Borrowed the
business phone from the Forum Bistro and made some calls.
Found one lady that reduced her rate from 40 to 20 e., TUL. She will meet
me here at 4 p.m..
I found a fast
food 'Popeye's' down the street and grabbed a chicken sandwich, picked up
the suitcase, and now I'm hanging back at the Forum Bistro- they have free
WiFi, thus the updates from here. Cold and dark out, no rain per se, but I
can feel it coming.
is interesting, with all the ruins around, hope I can find something that
works. It's a bigger city and that part does not move me at all.
Tuesday 4 p.m. - Pula
Needed to do some more searching
for car rentals, so I brought the computer to the Cvajner Cafe/
Restaurant in the forum plaza next to the tourist info. The
Forum Bistro /Cafe's did not work, "it's a free city WiFi, we have
no control" they said when I'd asked, thus the change of venue (ordered a
coffee, I feel you always have to order something when you use folks services,
not that it's written in stone, even using bathrooms I usually grab an
Well, the lady showed up at 4 pm yesterday
afternoon, just as the downpour started, and we made
our way up the narrow streets over towards the Roman amphitheatre, a km
away, and mostly uphill.. It's also when I decided I needed a new pair of
shoes, my socks were soaked through with cold water within seconds; so
much for the glue job from the old and semi-dry 'Shoe Goo' tube three days earlier- obviously
it didn't work.
new landlady, for two days that is, showed me on the map an area where I
could get some shoes at reasonable prices a few blocks away. So after
checking in I went there and found a very nice pair. Went back, put dry socks on, took a 1/2 hour nap (body so sore,
but getting used to all this walking, miles and hours per day with all
this gear) and continued in the downpour to look around down by the port.
Nice to have dry feet while doing so, these worked well.
"... I'll scan
it when I'm back home. Love to see it as a 40x50, framed to 50x60!
Someday, Lord willing, when I have my giant retrospect that I'm lining
Made a real nice shot of a tug boat style looking
fishing boat, shot in 1/3rds for a triptych effect, it's gonna be nice.
Also shot the front of it with dramatic clouds and the giant cranes
looming in the
distance, looking other-worldly in their giant stature, like some warship
creations out of Star Wars (this is the largest ship building yards in Croatia I
found out, these things are hundreds of yards high), as it cleared up a
bit and gave me special light.
Walked around the
town some more, till dark, then took a brake at the Forum Cafe, it was
about 9 pm. Then went to the Amphitheatre Hotel and Restaurant, my land
lady suggested, and had the most wonderful mixed salad for 35 Kuna (about
$6) with a great dark yellow olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Got home about 11 pm, watched some BBC news (I get some 600 channels,
Al Jazeera even, but only two in English, the other was CNN,
not even FOX? Bummer).
Slept in till almost 9, in
my giant, warm, comfortable bed, noticing it was rainy out with no rain
before 9 when I turned over. But I was showered, dressed warmly and out
looking for photos before 10 a.m., grabbing two croissants, with dark
chocolate insides, at a local bakery (my usual European breakfast
now, none of this 'all you can eat' spoiled thing for me anymore). Got a
cappuccino at the Amphitheatre Restaurant, where I also ate the
Click to enlarge
Hanging at the Pula old Roman amphitheatre.
Walking around the amphitheatre afterwards (27 BC),
shooting some snaps with my 360 iPhone panorama, and getting some shots of
me in front of it from strangers that were nice enough to take it for me.
Mostly I just gazed in awe at the splendor of such magnificence, a two
thousand year old structure, standing hundreds of feet high. So a memorial to
the Roman engineering, thinking of all the fighting that went down, that's
why it was constructed. Just thought of this, that hopefully it wasn't for
the Christian killing spectacle that went down in the latter of the first
century, but maybe. (Noted later: read that yes, there were martyrs-
Walked the port again, saw the
ship I'd shot yesterday, now crammed between many others, maybe it's gone
out and gotten a load of fish overnight? Maybe. Sure smelled like it
today. Took a break to get a piece of pizza (8 Kuna, $1.25), but it was
not filling enough, and went looking over at the two story market, with the
fish market part closing up. I got a sandwich, then went home to get this
computer. Now I'm here, obviously.
e-mail, and saw where Valerie's and my friend Trish Rodriquez said
something on her Facebook page, and went there and noticed Valerie has let
everyone know I'm posting this day-journal here; I wondered how I had some 41
registered hits here in two days here (hit counter on the bottom of the
page) when really nobody knows it's up, cool. Hi all! (I see where
Patti Roth responded about the San Diego Fair miracle, congrats Patti on
getting three in!)
5:25 p.m. update.
The guy I was working with in Porec just said he'd
reduce the rate to beat the online company (which I notice is the same
company, but he does not know that!) He came down to 148.75 K per day ($24)! The only problem is I
take the ferry back out of Rovinj, and it's a 45 min. bus trip away, but
for the savings I guess I give him my business, besides I know him, I don't
know the guy behind the screen somewhere else, and they have not gotten
back to me anyways. I'll see if he'll throw in a free day for my hassle.
6:40 p.m. update: No, but
he's going to let me drop it off here in Rovinj, as they have an office
here, that's cool. I told him we
have a deal. T.U.L, very affordable deal, and $100 less than the online
deals. In this tough economy, it all adds up.
(NOTES from later on: the online folks never confirmed the
offer, so it would not have worked out with then anyways, glad it worked
with this other guy).
You'll fall in love with these towns by watching them, well
done, and I've seen much of it in real life now.
9 p.m. update:
Just got back to the Cvajner Cafe, where the very nice
worker bee, Andro Djuraki, was nice enough to watch my
computer so I would not have to lug it along with the camera gear around
the port. This
place is too cool, very artsy, as there is a lot of art on the walls first
of all, but it looks more like a youth hostel in overall setup, with
large, unmatched, comfortable lounge chairs all over, etc.. The change the
art regularly, done by locals, and I took a
iPhone 360 there- with him ending up in it twice and me once, he had not
seen the app and was blown away. It was Odlicno
(excellent in Croatian).
Click to enlarge
My favorite place to update my reports, and
have an espresso, cappuccino or a beer, was
this wonderful, funky, artsy place, Cafe Cvajner, that Andro Djuraki worked at.
So, I just worked the
port and got one for today. Actually two, but in the same spot more or
less. The first was of a single, small skiff, just off a narrow wooden
dock, but separated from it, giving it it's own space. And looming in the
background were the large ship building cranes. Yeah, still enamored with
them, must be a guy thing. Reminds me of a great shot, that none of my
sponsors picked, from Essouira, Morocco, of some giant tuna
boats, supported on beam out of the water, being worked on in the foreground, while a set of them sat way in
the back, floating and looking small in comparison, but only due to
distance, and the soft mist that added depth. I don't think I've posted
it, but if any of you want to see it let me know, I'll scan it when I'm
back home. Love to see it as a 40x50, framed to 50x60! Someday, Lord
willing, when I have my giant retrospect that I'm lining up.
"... The lady answered the door and
showed me the room, large with two single beds pushed together with a TV,
then opened the door next to it, "
Anyway, after putting the camera away, I walked 50' down
and saw the perfect little skiff to shoot, mainly as there was not a thing
around it (distracting elements wise), docks, buoys, etc., plus it was
just blue with white, so simple in line, form and light- it was still
soft. BUT, as with the first shot, I had to wait many minutes for the
waves to stop that would come in when a fishing boat went by, even though
it was 1/4 mile away, leaving waves for many minutes, and thus making my
long exposures impossible to take and still get a sharp photo of the boat,
especially at 1/4 second, which is not too bad, but I want as much
perfection that one could get, this side of heaven.
Wow, that's a long sentence, I can hear Mr. Wolf's
(God rest his sole, he passed away just before our 40th class reunion a
couple of years ago) senior English class at Bonita Vista High "Seewald,
these stories are great, but your run on sentences have got to go"! Yeah,
5.23.'12 / Wednesday
9:30 p.m. - Hum, near Buzet
Ok, today's update. I was up and
out of my apartment, rolling my suitcase to the bus stop by 9 a.m.. Found
a panifico (bakery) and got my two croissants, chocolate filled of course,
and then across the street for a banana and a cappuccino. Breakfast
secured I asked my way to the bus depot, only a 15 minute walk. I was
amazed to hear I'd have to wait an hour and a half for one to Porec, but
that's what it was. Was only 67 kn for the trip. Got to Porec and
looked up the guy at the VIP phone store whom was going to get my iPhone
to be able to accept local sim cards, but he tried the new gadget he
ordered and it just would not work. I thanked him anyways and then
purchased his lowest priced phone, $20, and got a sim card with 50 kn in
minutes. Could not wait to call Valerie and hear her voice, but it was
only 3 am at home, that would have to wait.
to the car rental place and the gent had given up on me, knowing the bus schedule and that a half hour had passed
since it'd got to town. He did not know I made the phone
store detour, and said to come back in an hour, he'd be back then. That was perfect, I was
going to see Niki at his restaurant, and let him know I'd put up the
YouTube video, and get a bite to eat there too, it was now 2 p.m..
Zoran was there, as well as Niki, and Zoran reported they
had seen the video from me posting it here, cool. I got the mixed salad
and bread, and I tell you, the bread was fresh out of the oven.
Got the rental car worked out by 3 p.m., and was driving
out of town by 3.30, after surveying the dents/scratches with Claudio (all
except for some small ones I found under the front license plate, the car
was up against the one in front of it making it impossible to survey that
area, he was nice enough to work it out of that tight space, I was not
used to the car yet, and it was on a bit of a hill.
I felt like a million dollars driving away, free at last
(not tethered to the bus system any longer, T.U.L!)
Went to a small town up north on the coast, parked and
walked around it for an hour, and
then went inland to Hum, the coolest little medieval town you could ever
find. I'd called Valerie just before getting here, at 7 p.m. or so, and she
was so surprised to hear my voice. Short conversation, to save minutes as
the cost per was still high, and
then I worked this town, making one really nice image. An old wall on one
side, an old building with the roof caving in, tile of course, on the
other, broken walls leading you into the scene, and the rolling green
mountains in the background. The sun was hitting the roof, but a shop sign was
in the courtyard and I went down to turn it a bit sideways so it would not
jump out like a sore thumb, to save time, but the light changed within seconds and it went from
perfect to 90% perfect in short order, dang it. As it was, I was
standing on a stone table to get the perfect composition, tripod and all. Took it in both
slight tele, and normal lens.
"... Drove to another
small medieval town, Kotli, and made a nice shot of
an old home, great sidelight, but in and of itself not very pretty, but
that's secondary to me creating my art."
Right after that it
started to pour like crazy, and I went to the rental car to get my 'golf
umbrella', as I had my emergency small one I have in a pocket in my photo
vest, which worked ok, but this was serious rain, with umpteen mile an hour
winds to boot.
Noticed afterwards a room for rent
sign, and as it was getting near dark, accommodation thought processes
started to enter my thinking. "Man who wait long time to find
accommodation not to smart sometime, but creating
more important sometime too".
As a matter of fact, I had been
running the prices that I would try to get for the room, out here in
the boonies, through my mind. I'd thought it through, 100 kn seemed good
(about $16.50 dollars, since I'd had whole apartments for $25 dollars). I
saw a room for rent sign, 'Nela Apartment', did not see any
stars (never saw less than three before) so was not sure what to expect.
The lady answered the door and showed me the room, large with two single
beds pushed together with a TV, then opened the door next to it, a large
bathroom w/ shower. Cool, but how much I asked? She pulled out a price
sheet, with 20 different lines, all with some sort of name in Croatian, I
can only guess some said: student; professional; seniors, starving artists
from America, etc.. And the funny
thing was, every one had the 100 kn price next to it! Is that a God thing
or what? I told her I'd take it, usually what ever the price they quote I'd offer less,
but what the heck, what a deal. I told her I'd be back, the light was
still good, rain or no rain, and I went out looking for more shots.
Click to enlarge
The medieval town of Hum, what a special
Ran across the restaurant Humska Konoba, where I met
the proprietor, a Ms Branka, I believe she said, and said I'd come
back for dinner. Come to find out they had WiFi, so here I am, after my
ham and cheese sandwich, doing an update, now in the dark (they closed 20
minutes ago, I told them I did not need light).
She did mention, when I asked about the parking, that they don't check
after 6 pm. Cool, I did not think they'd check way out here, but come to
find out this is a big tourist attraction and you pay to drive in, and pay
to look around. Probably another UNESCO deal. I had come so late
that was closed, and it does not 'start' till 10 a.m., plenty of time to do
some more looking around in the morning. The place, as in the trees for miles around, reminds me of
Southern Germany, it's so lush and green, with mountains to boot. Anyway,
it's bedtime, past 10 p.m. now. Hasta la Vista.
Thursday 11 a.m. Lovran
Click to enlarge
Lovran, the southern portion of one of the
the Croatian Rivera's, at one end of
a beach-side, pedestrian-only walkway some 14 km long!
day w/ clouds. Ok,
I'm now on the Riviera of Croatia the tourist lady just said, before I got
my cappuccino on a break on this wonderful stretch of waterfront, in Lovran, at the 'Caffe Bar Ana'.
Slept well last night, what a quiet town- not a sound, zippo traffic (only saw six cars in the whole town, counting mine). Woke
at 6:50 and was shooting by 7. Got two nice images, at the same spot I
took the early evening shot. Oh yeah, then one of some flowers growing out
of the stone work in front of Nela's home. I had breakfast after shooting,
on her balcony overlooking the mountains, consisting of a superb sausage,
spinach and artichoke
omelet, bread w/ jam and butter, sugar pastries of some sort and a lots of
Video of my breakfast view, on Nela's back balcony:
Drove to another
small medieval town, Kotli, and made a nice shot of an old
home, great sidelight, but in and of itself not very pretty, but that's
secondary to me creating my art. Finished that town by 8:30 and came this
way, eastward, then looked thru the town of Roc, and I now why they named
it that (I guess). Then here to Lovran. Checked e-mail, read Drudge Report
headlines, now ready to head out; pay the lady my 8kn. Onward...
9:30 p.m. update - Ozalj
Drove about 300 km to Ozalj, just north of Karlovac, near the capital of
Zagreb. Found a little two star motel, M.O.T.E.L. Paulakovic and offered the 100 kn 'maximum I
can spend' amount right off the bat, 'starving artist from California
discount needed' I told him, and if he did not think they could find a
room for that did they know of any homes renting a room that might?
Click to enlarge
Remnants of the war are all over, here is a
gun turret I ran across,
there was one area where saw one every 100 yards. I saw a lot of
destroyed buildings up along the border too.
He said hold on, had a quick pow-wow with the wife in the
kitchen and came back, 'give us 10 minutes to prep the room, I need you
passport'. No problem I said, it's still light out and I'm going back out
to try and create some art- no rush on the room. I did not even check it
out, like I usually do, but for that price I figure as long as it's a
clean bed how could I go wrong?
hearing this popped up (later found out his name is Kovacic Zvonko), "hey, we have some great places to photograph,
I'll show you!". Wow, how cool, he told me to follow him with my car and
he'd point out places. He had lived in N.Y., (worked in heating and air
for 25 years there, and is now retired) and was so happy to meet me.
He was going to chat later on but he had to scoot, and would try to come
by at breakfast time to say hi a bit longer. Hope he does.
Now here is the weird thing, the place is also a bowling
alley! I did not realize it, as no one was bowling (four lanes) when I
came in, but boy were they were when I got back. AND now I wondered how
I'd sleep, and if he could even get 100 kn for a room? But after dinner
(salad, mushroom soup and wiener schnitzel- tasty) it calmed down and
nobody is bowling any longer, maybe in difference to the folks upstairs,
5.25.'12 / Friday 9.30 p.m. Ozalj
well, considering the guys that also stay here, imported Serbs that work
some construction 30 km away, party VERY loud till 11 p.m, and again at 6
a.m. as they wake up talking like they are all deaf. Actually up and out
around 7, at that point dead quiet, they were long gone. Found a bakery-
got breakfast goodies and was ready to go find a decent cappuccino when I
hear "hey Michael". What, nobody knows me in this county, that really
threw me. It was Kovacic, he'd seen my rental car and
stopped to say hi; he'd cancelled our morning coffee meet up due to some
sort of swollen eye problem and was going to go to the doctor. I prayed
for him over the phone and then we ran into each other I prayed again
immediately and he decided to drive to show me a great place for a
coffee, then decided to join me anyway. His favorite place, Humicka
Coffee, was downtown Ozalj. While we were going in I noticed his
eye looked pretty normal, even more so when I left him, T.U.L!
Went up into the mountains and slowly drove it all day,
stopping here and there to create, one especially nice spot was a water
wheel, and I worked it with close up lens too. Ran into some guys pay
trout fishing, you pay per kilo. There are so many trout they bit your
lure with every cast, so you get your fill fairly fast- funny.
One shot I got was at the end of the
mountain trip, around 5 p.m., and I was down thousands of feet now. I
noticed some brush/small trees with special white flowers that looked like
mini-umbrellas that are all over the countryside, and are delicate and
beautiful, were covering an abandoned old stone building. Just after
getting the composition it started to sprinkle. I should have know
something was up when I saw the locals running for their lives. Seconds
later I had to get out my emergency umbrella, luckily I'd got the shot, as
my golf umbrella was 100' away in the car, and it did little to help once
the buckets started falling, seconds later. I was closing the tripod down
while walking as fast as I could to the car, knowing this type of downpour
can ruin stuff in seconds, and I'd have no time to do so at the car (the
tripod would not fit in without closing it up, and the camera was still
attached and needed to get into the car ASAP before it got ruined - a
three thousand dollar loss I did not need). I needed to open the
door and throw the stuff in, without breaking it, and I did. I shook the
umbrella out and I brought it in after me, slamming the door and the storm
out, and as I went to put in the passengers side seat I noticed my
computer was all wet on the floorboard! How, I just put the umbrella on
that side, how could it have got it so wet, it wasn't really there for a
whole second yet?
Click to enlarge
Scenes like this scattered the mountain
Oh, I looked over and
mystery solved, that window was half way down; I immediately got the key
in the ignition so I could get the window up, but the key was in my
pocket, another 10 seconds meant a wetter computer, map on the seat, etc..
Once up, I grabbed my handkerchief and started to dry it, the camera, and
then the camera bag. The map, well lets not talk about it.
Drove along Zagreb without going into the city, getting
back to this area. Got one more great shot, a back lit farm on a hillside,
killer. Worked till dark, and was looking to get a different place to
sleep, but the only B&B was over 400 kn, so that was out. I'm back at the
bowling ally motel. It works, and the diner I just finished.
Called Valerie, was nice to hear her voice, she said she
has to baby sit today, then the phone cut off. She e mailed me her phone
died, but at the same time mine ran out of minutes.
5.26.'12 / Saturday 6:50 a.m. - Zagreb
Slept well, having a coffee and then going out to get some
breakfast. Sunny out, not good for my light, but up here I notice it
changes quickly. Planning on heading to the city area above the capital of
5.28.'12 / Monday 12:30 p.m. -Varadin
Well, been a couple of days since updating, as the place
I've been staying at, the Pansion Josko, 20 km south of Varadin, in the
way north of Croatia here, does not have 'public' internet
connection. So I'm using one in Varadin, at the Pansion Maltar, where I
came in two nights ago trying to find affordable accommodations. They came
down to 150 kuna, w/o breakfast, but nobody could get near the 110 Kuna
the Josko charges. Funny, just found out, each is owned by a different
Shot Zagreb two days ago,
parked on the outskirts and took a tram in, saving the hassle of finding,
and paying, zone 1 parking charges. Met Zlatko, below, near where I parked
and he helped me with info before going to the city (about 3 km away).
Click photo to enlarge.
Had to shoot the tram as it left, and the
main square as I arrived. After traveling through the country so much
lately it was like arriving at a circus, only this place had more clowns!
I read in the tour book one 'must have an espresso in one
of many downtown cafe's', and I got a neat panoramic shot of me doing so.
Afterwards I walked the many old streets, something interesting on every
one, here are a couple of 360 panoramas I made while doing so!
Click photo to enlarge.
Had to follow the books instructions,
right? Sounded good, besides, I like coffee.
One of the first interesting places I found, and very
colorful, was the open fruit market, I think the panorama did a good job
of giving a person a feeling of the place.
Click photo to enlarge.
Open fruit market, Zagreb
While walking thru the old city center, I had to check out
the 'Assumption of Mary' Cathedral, which had an organist making the visit
a bit more special, here is a glimpse:
There was a 'changing of the guard'
performance as I got to the cathedral, so I got right within a few feet of
it and I captured it too.
Click photo to enlarge.
Changing of the guard, in front of the
Assumption of Mary Cathedral,
When I finished my stroll and got back to the car I found
out I'd somehow lost my survival knife, bummer. It's attached to my belt
via a cheapie holder, and it kept coming undone and I'd hear the knife
fall out, except once, but I'd found it.
Click photo to enlarge.
Mortadella and spicy salami with gouda
(not my photo, similar looking sandwich tough, my spicy salami was smaller
and darker red).
Click photo to enlarge.
Enjoying a Caffe Bar Retro
coffee and the re-uniting of my lost survival knife,
found by the 'waitress' here (inside joke), Zlatko Gzljusic,
who is from Split.
This time I ran
it through my mind, I'd used it just before going into the city, to cut
cheese for a home made sandwich at the car, which I ate with a cool draft
at the cafe that Zlatko (pictured above) served me (good bread, some
Mortadella and some spicy salami, and voilà, tasty grub). I made a photo
of the entrance door (great light on panes of glass) Traditional Heritage
Museum, maybe it fell out there. Or some other spots I stopped and took
breaks at. Oh well.
"...some young kid was doing about 120 mph
on a curve headed in my direction, with me on the outer side, ..."
I was at my
car and decided to take a leak back at the Caffe Bar Retro
and he first thing Zlatko did was say hey, here is your knife! TUL. I
would not have gotten it back. AND THEN he said, hey I have one just like
yours, here, you can keep it, and it has a better holder so you won't lose
it!!? WHAT, just keep it, I said no way, but he insisted. Now I have two,
and his was so similar. We chatted over my espresso, and I met his good
friend John, who is an excellent keyboardist, and I got to listen to him
downstairs for a minute on the new Hammond keyboard the owner bought so he
could play and practice.
Zlatko's relief showed up, she was very nice too and had to have my
website address, so I gave all three of them my business card, they all
said they'd write. THEN Zlatko said he loves to play the harmonica, and
they are good when you are by yourself, got one from his case and said
"here, take this one, you'll love it" and gave me that too! What the heck,
this guy was so nice. Zlatko, thanks for making this trip even more
memorable, hope to run into you again someday.
Click photo to enlarge.
My new friend Tomislav Lončarić (Tom) took me to some of his favorite bass fishing holes,
and since I'd not fished in three weeks (I usually bass fish weekly, it's
my favorite hobby)
I was a bit slow at setting the hook on the first three, which of course
were all bigger.
That night I made
my way up north, and found a place, the Pansion Josko, in a town called
Novi Marof, that advertised only 110 kuna for a room, found it, and it was
nice. Tried to get a multi-day discount, but it was a no go. I told them
I'd check around, and maybe get back to them. It was around 6 p.m.,
getting dark, and time to find a place.
Went the rest of the 20 km to the small city of
Varadin, and found three or four places, all three and
four star, with nothing under 150 kn, most about 300 to 400 (usually
including breakfast at these nicer places). So after a couple of hours I
went back and checked into the Josko, and found out they did not sever
dinner. So I high tailed it to a pizza place, but it just closed (now
9:30). Further down I found a fast food but most lights were out. The lady
was closing, but was nice enough to turn the grill back and and make me a
wonderful hamburger. Again, the buns are twice the size of US ones, and
the meat larger overall. Wonderful. Back at the Pansion I found out they
did not have internet, oh well.
The next day, Sunday, yesterday, I took the day off to honor the Lord,
(thank God he said to do so, as I used to work seven days a week before I
became a believer, and what a bonus that was to find out, what a command!
what a country!) and went fishing. I'd met Tom online through a bass
fishing website, and he was nice enough to show me his 'honey hole's' as
we call them. He even loaned me his high quality fishing pole (I got a
cheapie telescoping one from Italy a few years back, works but hardly).
Of course we hit it off well, we both
love the sport. He had bought me a one day license, which ran 60 kn, and
would not take money for it. Then he got us a couple of beers for the lake
(lunch we'd come back for he said) and we went over the main river north
of town, through a few villages, and about 20 km later we got out and
proceeded to get sun burnt, as well as catch fish (well, Tom did, a dink
as we call them, about the size I got later in the day, and pictured
above, although we could see one pounder swimming around, none wanted the
variety of baits we tossed at them. About three p.m. he had to go, so we
found a neat restaurant and had Greek salads, and I got an order of
Bolognese spaghetti, which would come in handy as I again would miss
finding a place to grab a bite later and as I could not finish it doggy
bagged it to go.
BUT the best catch of the day was when I came back
to town and looked for a bite to eat, stopping at the Pansion
Maltar, and after hearing they didn't serve dinner, only
breakfast, and although I was famished, I asked if they had WiFi and could
I use it. Yes, she said, and no password needed. Cool, and upon opening it
up (remember, no connection for two and a half days), something from
Valerie from the day before read 'GREAT NEWS', what could that be? I
opened it, she said one of my sponsors from this trip wanted one of my
last released images, the Hanoi Train Station, in a 30x40 size! Wow, can
always use a sale, will take the pressure off. I called her and her phone
was off, probably in church, it was noon back home.
"...then Stef's son Slavko showed up and
made me a proposition, if I'd speak at their photo club Friday night he'd
throw in two nights stay and a dinner! "
Did not find any restaurants, so I headed 'home', knowing I
had some leftover Bolognese spaghetti from the excellent lunch Tom and I
had. Before eating it, I tried calling Valerie to get particulars and any
other updates, and she answered this time. After getting only 2 minutes-
need to buy more minutes for the phone here, I went and had the leftovers
with some meats and cheeses. That after I almost got locked out, getting
back at just after 10:30 pm, then read the sign at the locked door "only
guests with keys after 10:30", but I'd left my room key, with the outer
door key I guess, at the reception desk that morning. BUT luckily the
front cafe was open, they had not closed that part completely, another 1/2
hour I'd of had to sleep in the freezing cold car, T.U.L.
Slept well, as usual, up and out by 9 a.m., and got here,
the Pansion Maltar, to check further e mails and post these
new pictures and updates, along with have their 35 kuna breakfast, ham and
cheese omelet, yogurt, fruits, breads, OJ and double cappuccinos, yum.
But time flies, and after sending all those panoramas I've shot for the
past week to my email (can't download them direct off my iPhone for some
reason, used to) so I could work on them, and then upload them, then
double check the spelling of places and peoples names, double check facts,
etc., well, you get the point, it's a lot of work, and now it's 4:30! Yep,
time to get to my other work, shooting. AND the clouds came in, even a
little sprinkling, yeah, it was sunny when I arrived, bad light- so see ya...
(oh, have to send a copy of my bass photo to Tom, so a few more minutes).
5.29.'12 / Tuesday
11:30 a.m. - Ivanec
Click photo to enlarge.
My new friends at the Kavana Ivana coffee
shop, in Ivanec, from left to right:
Kristina Breznjak (going to Orlando next month, recently hired by Disney
Cruise lines- how exciting), Dejan Pintaric, manager, and Ana-Marija
Thanks for all the great service over many days guys.
south to Ivanec yesterday afternoon after getting some more sandwich items
for lunch, and getting another 100 kn 'tomato' phone card to recharge the
minutes on my cell phone.
arrived in town and had a coffee at the Kavana Ivana coffee house in the
middle of town, popular with students. The said there was only a three
star hotel here, so I drove further south. About 20 km out of town I gave
a quick prayer as I had not seen a B&B since before Varadin, three days
earlier. Five seconds later I see a sign with a bed, said Apartman Eva, so
I turned and thanked the Lord. But 10 km up the road, and three or four
villages later, I realized either I passed it, or it was out of business.
U-turned and went back to the main highway, got gas, and asked about it.
"Nope, nothing but 20 miles back in Ivanec" they said. "Are you sure, I
thought a sign read Eva", they thought hard, "oh yeah, one up that
direction about 2 km.
off, and noticed there was no sign on that road about it, I thought I'd
let the foks know, if they didn't, they are missing business. I saw
another sign now, cool, then another, pointing to the cemetery on the
hill! "What the heck, I don't want to go THERE yet!" I thought to myself,
is this a joke?
As I drove up to
the cemetery I notice the road turn and run up along the side of it,
"Thank God" I thought. At the top of the mountain another sign took me on
a smaller road yet. Then I found it, a three star apartman. OUCH, three
stars, why can't they just have some simple rooms around the places I
thought, the last three star, out in the hills place wanted 400 kn!
A nice lady named Anreja (pron. Andrea in English) came out and introduced herself
before I even got out of the car. Her limited English communicated the
room would be 25 euro (200 kn). OUCH. I said that would be too much, that
I'd been paying 90 to 110. She said 'Oh, you one people, price for two
(notice I hear that most of the time after I say it's too much now),
single people 16 euro."
in Kuna" I ask (that's the money here, and what I now know, don't like
converting euro to dollars then to kuna.
"... Lovely. By the time I trudged
downhill though a cornfield, weed field, and down to the farmhouse to get it
larger, then set up the tripod, put the right lens on, re-compose twelve times- inch to the left, two inches to the right, no not good, back to the
left, the clouds that gave me the soft light disappeared- rats,"
"150 kuna." That's better I said, and she showed me the
room. WOW, all brand new, tv, shower, wood flooring, coffee maker,
candles, art, green and white 'stones' placed around in groups for added
feel, etc.. "Very nice, you take 120 for two nights?" I said in broken
English to communicate better with folks like her. She said Ok, TUL! "My
husband Slavko speaks good English, he come now, give one hour to clean room".
"No problem, I have to go make
photos now, great light." as I pointed to the sky so she might
"Restaurant by church good" she added as I got into the car, "Thanks" I
replied and drove off, looked for photos for another 1/2 hour, then went to
suggested restaurant and had a salad and small pizza.
Upon returning Slavko Steficar, her husband, was there, went to his
wine cellar where he treated me to some brandy he made, then some white
and rose wine. Very friendly guy, we had a nice chat. Problem here was
they have TV, and I had not watched any for two weeks, ended up seeing an
old Mad Max, and some Mr. Bean comedy, getting to bed around 1 a.m..
Up a little before 9 and had some of the
supplied coffee, did laundry by hand, as usual, and hung it to dry on
their back porch. Nice to have clean clothes again, obviously.. Came to
town (Ivanec) and found out the Kavana Ivana has internet, as well as free
parking (the town has pay parking) and I've been updating from there. Nice
folks run it, and heck, cappuccinos are only 7 kn, down from the one for
12 kn I paid on the outskirts of town earlier.
5.29.'12 / Tuesday 9:50 p.m. update.
Click photo to enlarge.
My, and hundreds of others, dear friend-
associate pastor 'Bear', passes just before I left.
Bummed I could not make his memorial! RIP buddy,
I know you will, you're in good hands now. MS
Back at the
Kavana Ivana cafe... almost never made it; some young kid was doing about
120 mph on a curve headed in my direction, with me on the outer side, and
could barely keep it on his side. He was actually straddling the line and
skidding sideways a bit, almost skidding into me head-on! How he held the
curve I'll never know, he went by so fast he was only a blur, wow. You
never know when your time is up, that's for sure, guess mine was not
today. He and his passenger maybe was though, or someone on the next
Well, a bitter sweet day it ended up being. Forgot
till about half way through the day that my good friend of 25 years, and
associate pastor at North Coast Calvary Chapel,
George "Bear" Trillizio's memorial was today. I
can tell you, I shed a few tears
in memory, especially when a song came on about a lady wanting her lover
back, 'un-break my heart' she sings to him, and I lost it then, as that was my
cry to the Lord, and many folks cry today "un-break our hearts Lord'; it's
been real hard on me and HUNDREDS of others, he was well loved, but we
rest knowing he is definitely in a better place now anyways, bitter sweet.
And the sweetest part was the completed sale of Dr. Charles
Cantor's 'Hanoi Train Station, Vietnam, a 30x40 in size, a $10,000 image (now valued at $10,500, as there are only 25 in that size
so the increase with each sale of $500), TUL!
Click photo to enlarge.
Our latest sale: A 30x of Hanoi Train Station, Vietnam, sponsored by
Dr. Charles Cantor.
takes a lot of strain off of me, and Valerie, and came in less than an
hour of deciding to dedicate this Croatia series to Bear. Knowing him he
was up there whispering in the Lord's ear, "Lord, that Michael guy sure is
nice to do that, couldn't you bless him with a nice sale and some great
things to shoot?" He always had a big heart.
Click photo to enlarge.
Lake Trakoscan, shot in memory of Bear on
Because I made
two nice images right after that too, at Trakoscan lake, next to the
Trakoscan Castle, what a castle too. Had an excellent dinner at 8 p.m. back in
Lepoglava town where I'm staying, mixed salad and grilled calamari with
butter and garlic, yum. Then high tailed it over here for the update, 10
km away, now back 'home'.
Good night all...
5.30.'12 / Wednesday 10:30 a.m. - Ivanec.
Updating from the Kavana Ivana once again... slept like five million
babies, love my little
apartment out in the boonies. When I got in last night I was surprised to
see some stranger out in the front yard, and asked if he was staying
there. He said yes, introduced himself, and then said he was a friend of Stef's, the father of
Slavko, the proprietor of the apartments, who, was also there but down in the
wine cellar with another friend, and all three invited me to a
variety of sliced meats and
cheeses, and a glass of their white wine Stef makes, mixed with
seltzer water. NOTE: the seltzer water, 1/2 and 1/2 with the white wine,
is a local custom there I found out, it 'stretches' the wine out in that
you can drink a lot more and not have it affect you like it would
straight! You only do it with the table wine they said, you would not want
to ruin a 'good wine'. It turns it into a kind of 'bubbly too'.
We chatted for an hour easily, and then Stef's son Slavko showed
up and made me a proposition, if I'd speak at their photo club Friday
night he'd throw in two nights stay and a dinner! Heck, why not, so I said
I'd be honored, and that they should get a good English speaking
interrupter (not that he's bad, but he knows he's not great) and said he
already had someone in mind.
Watched that dang TV again until the wee hours (I like it more when rooms
don't include them, less temptation to stay up late), got up and out a little
after 9. I've already had my croissants, caught up on all the world news,
viaDrudgeReport.com, checked and replied to my e-mails, started my YouTube
video on my shooting a 'tree-scape' yesterday afternoon, which I'll post
below in another 20 minutes (takes forever to upload them) and am already
on my second cappuccino (only 7 kn each here).
Video of me creating a tree-scape:
5.31.'12 / Thursday 10:30 a.m. - Lepoglava.
Yesterday did not go to well. Found an image in the early
afternoon, a farmhouse foreground, set of homes mid-ground, and small town
background, all red tile roofed w/ rolling hills of blue and green
disappearing to infinity. Lovely. By the time I trudged downhill though a
cornfield, then a weed field, and down to the farmhouse to get it larger, then
set up the tripod, put the right lens on, re-compose twelve times- inch to
the left, two inches to the right, no not good, back to the left, the
clouds that gave me the soft light disappeared- only sunny skies for the
foreseeable future. I packed up and trudged back the steep hill, thinking
I should double the price of all my art, THIS PHOTO-ART IS ONE TOUGH
FIELD. But hey, my prices are already top shelf, so forget that idea.
Onward I said, and I did.
a nice image not far from there, an real nice S-curve highway across the
ravine, with houses in each corner of the scene, a big tree on bottom
left, big house on bottom right (after moving right in a field to
accomplish this balance), get the proper lens out, check the light reading
on my light meter, put on the cable release so as to not move the camera
when I trip the shutter, and bang, the sun came out from behind the one
little cloud that had given me the necessary light, DANG IT again, as not
a cloud in the sky for miles!!! How frustrating, then thoughts of raising
my prices went through my head again, then thrown out again. I went to my
car, got out of the sun and heat, and waited. A half hour later I went and
took a look-see, not a cloud for miles still. Onward towards Krapina, the
town I was headed towards that is just south of Slovenia.
town I found a parking place that was a bit out of town, in the dirt
off the road, a fine, 'no have to pay' spot with about five other folks,
and went and got a big Coke at the local Konzum store (these stores are
like the national store, a few in every city and one in every town/ never
drink sodas hardly, but this was a rough day, I needed one), and walked
the town. Found a free WiFi coffee bar, checked e-mails and then spent a
half hour trying to figure out how to get back on the road I came in on,
which never happened. I did find a back road that looked like it would
connect me and it did.
was after I found this great shot, another 'across the valley' shot of
farmhouses with strong, now, backlight highlighting the whole scene up,
reminiscent of a couple I've made over the decades, one in N. Spain
specifically, if fact, here it is:
Click on image to see larger.
Northern Spain. Sponsored by John VanWart of
Although, in reality, I don't think it
was as good at this one, but the effect was the same. So I find a place to
park. Now this is a BIG deal actually, as most of the roads have NO
shoulders to speak of, only two lanes, or as in this case, a single lane
that is very hard for two cars to pass without a lot of forethought. So
you can't just pull over and get out, not without blocking traffic, which
means going forward to find a spot to pull off into someone's farmland, or
backing up to one you might see is closer. The farmland you then must pull
off into is usually occupied with the owner hoeing or doing some other sort of
farming activity, and invariably they stop and stare at a stranger
that suddenly appears on the edge of their land. In this case, I had one guy that was mowing
an area next to his house stop and stare, as well as a guy that was
rotor tilling his newly planted corn field next door.
So it's looking really good, only instead of having very
little cloud cover at this time, (it was about 7:30 p.m. at this point), I had
a storm approaching and the sun was mostly buried deep behind the black
mass. BUT an opening was coming, and I was trying to hurry to compose the
shot. I had two possible compositions to choose from, that I could see, but until the light actually came out I
would not know for sure how strong each was. I got ready for what I
thought would be the best one, when the light came out and started to hit
the top of the mountain with the church first. Looked gorgeous and I
quickly re-composed for this scene. It was exposure number 12, the last I
can get on a roll of film (another reason to go digital someday when I can
afford it, you can just keep shooting), and by the time I got the new roll
installed the light was gone, I never got the one I'd originally wanted,
and come to think about it, the light might have been much stronger than
what I had anticipated, and as I can't take a light reading when it hasn't
happed yet, I can only go with a 'guesstimate' based on experience.
So basically, the three images I'd found went to the dogs,
but that's how it works sometimes; sometimes your the windshield,
sometimes your the bug.
The I had
the same dinner as the night before, by the church in Lepoglava; mixed
salad and grilled butter & garlic calamari, and again it was to die for.
This while watching the rain and lightening storm go by. But when I was
done with dinner, the storm was done with the area and a nice light came
forth, and so did I. I drove around some country roads, scanning for
something with light, line, form and a center of interest. At the end of
one road, as it turned into dirt, I noticed a nice shrub with those wild
white flowers, growing in a nice semi-circle, with a barley lit-up group
of trees visible in the background, against an up-sloping hill, simple yet
strong, just like I like them.
"...Some drunk hunters stopped and asked
why I was in the middle of the street in the middle of nowhere (I think,
they only spoke Croatian),"
Parked the car, got out in light sprinkling conditions, read the light (it
was 8:40 p.m., not much left). It read f/5.6 at 1 second, which means with
polarizer I'd open up two stops, so I'd have to shoot this at 4 seconds.
Problem was, a light wind was coming up the valley, and I prayed like
crazy for it to calm down for the four seconds I needed to get it, or the
plant would just be a blur, not acceptable.
Alas, it never really seemed to stop completely, it got close, and
as the light dropped, I opened up another stop and took off the polarizer,
getting a shot of f/4 at 1 second, but as I did not need great depth of
field that might of worked. I took a few, but don't know how much they
will be out-of-focus due to the slight movement. Maybe I can get an
enlargement out of it that would work to 11x11 (square composition here),
or even 16x16, better than nothing.
So, the day ended up being ok, with this last shot, and as
I settled in Slavko, the proprietor, came by reported my speaking to the
photo club would not now work out, his boss was sending him out of town
for work that night, bummer.
decided to try and find a local place (to my apartment) with WiFi this
morning, and as I'd found the tourist info in Lepoglava she reported that,
yes, the Carrera Cafe, next to the Konzum store here in town, had it. She
also told me where I could pick up some croissants locally, which I did,
and I'm now finished with them, two excellent cappuccinos, and this
update. Back to my other work, making strong art, and hopefully I'll get
to report how the Lord blessed my socks off later.
Update / Thursday 9:30 p.m. - Lepoglava.
Click on image to see larger.
Here is the shot, I went back today and
captured it properly, of course this is the iPhone version,
but it shows the idea better than me explaining it.
Outside Lepoglava, N.
Croatia Copyright Michael Seewald, 2012, all rights reserved.
I went and captured the shot that I got last night, but
this time I nailed it. See sample above.
Also went back to try and get the other two I'd missed, but the light
was not dramatic enough for one, and I took a different route and never
got to the other. Good news was that I got two others while driving around
looking, one before I got to that area, here is one similar, the final
will be more dramatic.
uploading another YouTube video, one of me working this landscape scene.
Click on image to see larger.
Here is one I found going back south to try
to get the one I missed last night.
Although I didn't get it, I got this one.
hunters stopped and asked why I was in the middle of the street in the
middle of nowhere (I think, they only spoke Croatian), and the only thing
I think I understood was when I told them what I was shooting, pointing to
a broken branch in the forest, which created a strong diagonal composition. I think he said 'that's stupid', but as he
knew no other English I may have been wrong, but then again, I might have
heard him correctly!! Unless they really see the final results they won't
know how it looks, and even then they may still claim it's stupid,
everyone is entitled to their opinion. So I've already named the piece-
'That's Stupid'. Sounds good to me. That's if I release it, I too might
find 'it stupid', during the culling process my art goes through. Only
half will ever be seen by anyone, the other half I will have determined
not worthy of releasing, we'll see.
Click on image to see larger.
Here is the stupid shot. And again, it's
iPhone so the
quality is about 40% of what it will end up being when properly rendered.
Mark your calendars to come back to this site in November to see the final
Or send us your email to get on our mailing list, we will let you know
when they are up.
working a little after 8 tonight, hit the regular restaurant here in
Lepoglava, and again no one spoke English (every other night I get a guy
that does). So I tried to order 'regular schnitzel', but got one without
any breading on it, never seen it that way, oh well. The mixed salad was different too, that's four
different ones in four nights now.
6.2.'12 Saturday, 9:30 p.m. - Lepoglava.
I worked my way to Zagreb today, spent a few hours with Zdravko trying to
get my first pike fish (no luck, but did get to see a couple landed) and just got back two hours ago. No luck
on photos on the way there or on the way back, plan on going east on
Tomorrow is my day off,
T.U.L! Day of rest.
"...I then got a few shots of her standing
there, and took an iPhone one for you guys to see:"
Monday, 10 a.m. - Lepoglava.
Checked out of the room I've had for a week now (they reduced the rate to
100 km per night, due to me staying so long, TUL), breakfasted up, grabbed
two cappuccinos made by Tomislav Brodar, here at the
Carrera Cafe- free
WiFi. Checking e-mail again, and scooting out. Onward...
6.5.'12 Tuesday, 3.30 p.m. - Nasice
Made one nice image as I left Lepoglava yesterday, a
diptych of an old window. I've been eyeing thousands of them, and I am now
getting a feel for what I want in them. Purchased another batch of minutes
and gave Valerie a buzz, she's doing well. She is going to judge the 12
photos at the San Diego Fair for us we are sponsoring, 6 from our gallery
for picture framing, and 6 from the Seewald photo workshops for free photo
My friend Rajko
Loncaric, the brother of Tom Loncaricl, who took me
fishing a week ago, found me an apartment here in Nasice last night, and
got it taken care of price wise. I negotiated another night at 100 kn..
Click on image to see larger.
Rainy and cold last two days, but it does not
stop me. Here I'm working under the umbrella
making a nice image from this old building. You'll have to wait and see
how I cropped it and
how nice the final image will be, a real winner, bet my polarizer lens on
Click on image to see larger.
Another great window shot, been on a roll for
last two days
a heck of a storm last night on the way here. Today I've made at least
five great images, and again, I'm focusing on windows and doors. Headed
back out now, just got an espresso at a cafe I found w/ WiFi.
6.6.'12 Wednesday, 4:40 p.m. - Nasice
Well, looks like I'm done with the north, and the north
east, I'm headed south. First time I'll be taking the freeway, other that
a short trip on it a couple of days ago, since I can't stop to make a pic
if I see one.
Running out of time,
only one week left. Time flies.
p.m. update- Ozalj
Well, I was
going to try and get to Zadar, but it was getting late (dark out already),
so I decided to go back to the hotel w/ the bowling alley and get a room.
Just checked in, he had one, and I'll head south tomorrow. Forgot about
the Plitvicka jezera National Park, turquoise waterfall
heaven, so I plan on working it.
Checked e mail earlier
and had someone interested in a photo workshop gift certificate for their
boss. I sent some answers and Valerie called and finished the order, cool.
We have a few folks now, but been slow class wise for past two years, what
hasn't? She also is going to judge the fair
for us today, she is a busy girl, sure love and miss her. Bitter sweet,
love to keep working/traveling, but also need to go home and say hi once
and a while too. Was nice when she went with me, but she calls it 'boot
camp', it is a bit tough the way I travel, it's no vacation. And lugging
gear around for 18 hours a day in search of that perfect photo is
tiresome, but I sure love doing it.
6.8.'12 Friday, 9 a.m. - Slunj, north of
Plitvicka jezera National Park
up yesterday early, had the usual breakfast, and headed to
Plitvicka jezera National Park at 10:45, after stopping to photograph an older woman at her old
house. At first I told her I was interested in her old home, which had
been true, and she was glad
someone loved it. But I thought it would be doubly nice with her in front
I first motioned to take a picture with an
imaginary camera of her home, so she'd get the idea of what I wanted, not
just to look at it, and asked the international question "OK?". She shook her head OK
I then went to the car and got out the camera and tripod (then she knew I was
serious of course) and pretended to take pictures of her house, as I
really wanted to get her in it now. I then
motioned for her to stand in front of it, and she un-hesitantly did so,
cool! She had been hoeing some weeds out of the driveway, and that tool
was a nice addition to showing her personality. She put it down for the
pic, but I picked it back up and asked her to hold it still, it added so
much. She did.
I then got a few shots of
her standing there, and after I put the 'professional' gear away I took an iPhone one
for a snap for you guys to see:
Click image to enlarge.
She, along with the old house, had a lot of
Then I kept asking her for her name, to include it with the title if I
should release the image, and I wrote it down, Da. But Da means yes in Croatian, so I finally figured out it was the same
answer she gave for everything, even her age! I finally got out a 'Sama Sohn', so I
think that was her name. Then I wrote down the numbers 60, 70 and 80 on paper,
seeing if she would understand I was asking her age, but Da was the
response to each number I pointed at. I'm not sure she could even read the numbers actually.
after reaching Plitvicka, parking, getting the entry ticket, getting
tourist info on where might photographers get the best shots (every where
was the basic answer), I walked the few hundred yards down to
the entrance, where nobody looks at the $20 ticket you just bought to get
these trout are fresh, how fresh you ask? Well, glad you asked, they dip
them from a holding tank in the middle of the restaurant,"
You do have to show it to be able to take a ferry, if you
choose to take it, that cuts off an hours walk around a very large lake
that divides the other lake/falls are from 'upper' and 'lower' sections. A
few drunk Croatian misfits that went swimming in every pool (signs
everywhere not to), got real upset when they weren't allowed on the ferry,
but the staff let them go around them on the second try, to stop the scene
that was taking place. Seemed as they would go slow, to swim, and I to
stop and make photos too, so it ended up we took the same pace, and it
seemed I could not
shake them. All I needed was one of them to think it funny to
push me and tripod over, we were always on a five foot wide wooded
walkway over the water, very dangerous in that respect.
The thought the park to be a lot like
Jiuzhaigou, also a turquoise colored set of lakes with
cascading waterfalls, mile after mile, that I'd shot during my
Sichuan Provence series in China back on 2004. It's an unbelievable experience, believe me.
Click image to enlarge.
Sponsored by Grace Fang
of Florida. Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan Provence, China, 2004, by Michael
The light was not helping when I first
got there, too sunny, so I sent a lot of prayer up and by the time I found a
photo (an hour later, at the base of the falls where the largest one was)
a thin layer of clouds had appeared to soften for light for me, T.U.L, and
pretty much stayed on and off through out the day. I must say, I probably
made half a dozen nice images during the eight hours of trudging all over
the place, all uphill. I could barely walk at the end of it.
A young lady from New York found me
interesting and snapped me shooting (contemplating shooting anyways,
that's what I do most, the largest waterfall in the park, Veliki
Slap). Thanks Irina:
Click photo to enlarge
Michael with his Hasselblad film
shooting Veliki Slap (slap means waterfall) at Plitvice Lakes National
Photo by 'Irina of New York'- 6.7.'12
The main problem was actually that walkway, anyone within 30
yards got it to shaking, making my long exposure shooting near impossible,
thousands thronged it, and sometimes I'd have to wait 10 to 15 minutes for
an opening window of it to be clear of folks. At times I though it'd never
happen. Tours of 50 folks, Chinese, Italians, Croatians, mostly Germans,
kept streaming through. Every 1,000th person would stop for a 1/2 second and say,
'nice camera', which I of course would thank them for and go back to work.
I felt good about the day, going
and getting one set that really struck me, but poor light (direct sun),
stopped me from making art there an hour or so earlier.
Click photo to enlarge
Michael shooting a small portion of
This set ran across hundreds of yards of area.
So I finished at seven, even though the light was still
nice out. Unfortunately, the light was behind all the falls, so it was not
going to do anything for me that was not already accomplished by the 'open
shade' created when the sky is the light source, the sun not directly
hitting it. Besides, I could barely move my legs at that point, and still needed to walk a
mile to catch the tram so I would not have to walk the entire three miles back.
Plus I had to still go up
the big hill to the parking lot, which the tram gets close to but does not
stop at; clue-less folks run things sometimes, huh?
"... Oh, Oh, Oh. I forgot all about it.
Before all that, as I was leaving town after my update, I decided to take
one more look-see around Slunj, man I'm glad I did. "
I decided to go back to Slunj, just north of
Plitvicka jezera National Park by about 50 km, where Irina (the young lady
that took my portrait) told me there
are a lot of houses on a set of waterfalls, similar to those of these lakes. I'd seen
a bit of it driving through that morning, and I'm glad I went back. Found
an apartment for 100 kn, three star, just two hundred yards from the
city center (this is more of a village). Diana Apartments, and 100 was the
recommended the Petro Restaurant, and I treated myself to
having trout and my 'must have' mixed salad. Now these trout are fresh,
how fresh you ask? Well, glad you asked, they dip them from a holding
tank in the middle of the restaurant, which is situated over the
middle of the river, rushing water abounds (and so do the sounds, almost
too loud to communicate with friends, which was not a problem for me,
And they have WiFi,
which after dinner and I walked back up (yeah, walked a km from the room,
dummy, but my legs probably needed it, so as to not lock up). And then again,
this morning, I came here for cappuccino and to make this update.
Oh, four Croats last night said I should
shoot Dubrovnik, forget everything else, nothing compares, so that's where
I'll head today, and maybe finish this series at, we'll see.
6.9.'12 Saturday, 3 p.m. - Dubrovnik
Yep, I finally made it down to the most famous place in the
country. I breezed through it to get a feel for it in my rental car around
11 a.m., then headed back out of town and reserved a room for $15 on a
small harbor just 3 miles from the city- WOW. Yeah, most places wanted
about $45, for a room in a house.
"...Oh My GOSH! I realized just as I
finished my last update that I need to be all the way back up north by
tomorrow by 5 p.m.."
I found a
room last night after almost running out of gas in the middle of nowhere,
just after the freeway ends (about 100 km from Dubrovnik). No, it doesn't
go all the way through, and somehow I took a minor road and by 9:45 was on
the last indication level. I stopped at a restaurant/apartment place that
was still open and got directions. Cool, I had about 10 minutes to find
it. Found out the price of a room as I drove off, thinking I might have to
get one if I ran out of gas in the next mile.
But I made it to a station four minutes before closing, but
then realized it would not do much good to continue to Dubrovnik so late
in the night, and have to wake folks up to check on getting a room. So I went back
to the place that told me where to find gas, after getting lost for 10
minutes, but it was now dark and the front gate locked, shoot. But upon
asking a kid by the door if it was still open the lady that runs it came
back out and turned on the outdoor restaurant lights. It was a nice family run place, restaurant/home, outside the small port of Ploce, called
the Konoba Peka.
I was really
hungry and they made me a wonderful chef salad, made of all home grown
ingredients. Sun ripened tomatoes, cucumber, corn, yellow peppers, squash,
scallions, olives, lettuce, two types of cheeses and prosciutto ham.
Plus the vinegar and oil was of quality, most of the places lately you
could not tell the vinegar from the oil, by looks anyways, meaning both were
weak and tasteless.
'included' supposedly, but was billed on the final bill, lack of communication? Hope
so, but the total for room, dinner and breakfast only ran $35 total, can't
beat that. I forgot my shaver there (yeah I have a beard, but it needs
trimming) as it was charging up in another suite
I had attached to my room. I'll have pick it up on the way back north.
One other thing, one of my best protégés,
Jeffrey Sitcov, sent me the announcement earlier today that one of his San
Diego Fair entries took FIRST PLACE in it's division. "
Bought another batch of minutes for my phone. Planning on
getting back to Dubrovnik when it cools down a notch, I'm sweating and I'm
not even wearing my shirt, using the WiFi here at the Konoba Dandy in
Zato, a port about 5 km from Dubrovnik, where I'm staying just a 1/2 km
Oh, Oh, Oh. I forgot all about it. Before all that, as I
was leaving town after my update, I decided to take on more look-see
around Slunj, man I'm glad I did. I found about four award winning images
on the other side of the river, looking down at it. Falls combined with
old houses and mills. Worked it for at least two hours, and the light was
perfect, very soft.
6.9.'12 Update: 11 p.m. - Dubrovnik
Just got back from Dubrovnik, and am at the
Konoba Dandy again. Oh My GOSH! I realized just as I
finished my last update that I need to be all the way back up north by
tomorrow by 5 p.m.. Good thing I looked at my calendar today to
figure things out, or I'd of been in trouble. I was going to stay here two
nights, but I must catch a ferry to Italy on the morning of the 11th,
which means I must be in Rovinj, where it departs, the night before. Which
means I must return the car the day before, which is the 10, and THAT'S
TIME FLIES, so I must be
departing really early as it's 711 km to Pula, which is not as far as
Rovinj, but it's close. And with a lot of the driving non-freeway to start
with, I can see this taking most of tomorrow. I'm going to try to change
my ferry ride to a bus one the next day, that will give me one more day to
create, and maybe skip the x-ray machines at the same time (or do they
x-ray for busses that cross the border? Who knows)..
Click photo to enlarge
My trudging up and down hundreds of
these staircases in Dubrovnik paid off
with this wonderful felling spot. My 'real' shot is from further back,
the foreground is curved, and a cat came into it and posed for me-
One other thing, one of
my best protégés, Jeffrey Sitcov, sent me the announcement
earlier today that one of his San Diego Fair entries took FIRST PLACE in
it's division. Cool, he now owes Valerie and I lunch, as he promised if he
took third or better he would- I helped him narrow down his best few
hundred to the 20 he would enter. Congrats again Jeffrey (and now he wants
to go to Croatia, he's following me all over the world, his last one was
Australia/New Zealand. I don't mind, he picks my brain before leaving to
get the best ideas to where to create. Another complimentary lunch for
Off to pay my bill, and off to bed. Oh, my legs still ache
like crazy, I climbed so many stairs in the old city of Dubrovnik today you could not
count them all, then another thousand to get back to the public parking
structure on top of the town, from sea level. This is on top of that eight
hour marathon at the National Park two days ago. I'll upload some cool
panoramas when I get a chance in the next day or two.
And finally remembered to send the note about the 30x40
sale to Dr. Charles Cantor seconds ago, I'd been meaning to
for over a week now.
6.10.'12 6:50 a.m. - Dubrovnik
Up, showered and checked e-mail from outside the cafe while
in the car, no time to waste.
6.10.'12 - update 6 p.m. - Porec
Well, I guess I'm losing it. I called the car rental
company to see about extending the car for a day, figured I could take a
bus on the 12th instead of the ferry on the 11th. He said I was already
booked for having it through the 11th! Cool. I thought, now to check on the
ferry. I see it too is already for the 12th, not the 11th, so I hurried
back a day sooner for nothing. Oh well, at least I'm in the area where I
have to depart to Italy, not 400
miles to the south. Less chance for something to happen!? And I got to the area at 4 p.m.,
so it took 9 hours,
with a few stops just for gas.
"...as we arrived by ferry to Venice I
got caught in a tornado, of all things (called a waterspout on the water),
it was amazing, "
Realized I'd forgot to mention to Valerie to take photo fliers with her to
the San Diego fair when she judged it, that's the perk we get when
sponsoring ribbons with prizes, the right to do so. So I just sent out an
emergency call to help figure a way to get them over to them today, every
day they aren't there is possible lost sales from future photo class
6.10.'12 - update 10:30 p.m. - Pazin
Met Michelle and John, from Canada, at a shared table for
pizza for lunch earlier. They'd asked if
I'd visited Motovun yet, and I said I think I drove by it a long time
ago and saw it on a hill (most towns are on hills). Upon checking the map
later on I noticed I had not been there, so off I went. It is a
lovely medieval town, and as with many, the fortress walls are in good
I got a real nice shot
of the town on the hill with vineyards in the foreground, just as the last
light of the day hit it. Sweet. I went up into the town and made three
images, one looking down on rooftops, one in the main square, and one as I
was leaving, of the nice light on the old cobblestone road lit up with
restaurants lights and the last light of the evening.
One of the things this town in known for, maybe the only
thing really, is that the famous race car driver of all time was born
Andretti (born 1940 according to the plaque on the home). A guy that
owned a café on top of the city wall, where I had what is
known as a 'coffee with milk', like a cappuccino but stronger coffee,
bragged Mario's birthplace was only 30 meters away from his cafe, they are very
proud of him. Of course, anyone under 30 might not even know who he was.
Click photo to enlarge
Motovun's claim to fame? It's the
birthplace of race car legend Mario Andretti. I found the home and
captured the plaque on it.
After I left and got to the bottom of the hill I tried to get a room reduced at a home
in a village, but the
guy said I was loony tunes for asking for one for 100 kn ($16 US); he had
no idea that was my average price for the past month!
Click photo to enlarge
Motovun, a really cool medieval town
close to Porec.
So I drove to
Pazin, about 40 km away, and as it was dark my chances of getting anything
other than a hotel was slim. I found one, called Hotel Lovac (and
Pizzeria), I really worked at getting a deal. I finally got one for 177 kn
for one, bathroom and breakfast included, down from the first
stated 240 kn price.
And WiFi was available to boot, thus this update. Valerie
said she was going to handle the fair fliers, so that's handled.
6.12.'12 - Rovinj
Last night, from my room at the Hotel Lovac in Pazin, I tried
unsuccessfully to purchase a train ticket via TrenItalia's website, putting in a least an hour trying to do so. Now the way I saw it,
the train might eliminate the x-ray problem I'd have at the ferry, and I figured I'd just get a
refund from the ferry company for that portion of the round trip.
The travel agency lady in Porec had said it was nightmare
to get a train ticket via their website, for herself at least, and now I
concur. When I finally registered to finalize the purchase, and had to
re-submit the form umpteen times, it said the credit card part had an
error, in Italian! I was not about to re-submit that too, as I'd
probably get charged twice, and I did not know if the first purchase even
went through. But as I did not get a confirmation from them later on, I thought
Slept well and had a nice breakfast watching the rain come
down on the old city center. My rental now looked a lot cleaner.
Afterwards I drove over to Porec, looking for photos along the way. After
paying for parking I went to check to see if the ferry company was open,
so I could get my refund and then get a bus ticket to Trieste Italy. It
wasn't. But while there I went and asked the port police where they scan
the luggage, I hadn't seen any machines when I arrived a month earlier. They
reported they did not scan them, only Italy does. ONLY ITALY DOES? COOL!
That solved everything, I would not have to try and get the bus/train ride
to Milan, just stick with plan A and take the ferry back. Little did I now
destiny awaited in Venice! And besides, I read the small print later on,
no refunds within two weeks of traveling, would have wasted $60 US.
So now I went to relax at the port, as I'd another
1/2 hour paid for on the parking still, why waste it and head off to
Rovinj to return the car any earlier than necessary? While strolling around, I found an
interesting sculpture at the end of the port, figured out a piece of art I
could create with it, and went back to get the
camera. It was hot and humid, and bit of soft light enveloped the area,
Click to enlarge
While taking a walk around the port or
Porec I spied this black granite sculpture,
and decided to incorporate it in my own art. Here is a sample... it makes
The sculpture in of itself was cool, a monolithic piece of black
granite chiseled in half, and mounted with a little separation between the
two halves. I thought the piece had a nice mystical reflection of the port, and
thus shot it that way, with the ocean peeking through the middle, and
sometimes on both sides. I shot
it as a solo piece, then as a diptych, and then as a triptych. It makes
you think - what it is it's not easily recognizable. My cup of tea in that
respect, I love to make people think. THINK PEOPLE THINK! See?
Click to enlarge
While driving from Porec to Rovinj I saw a
ton of restaurants with pigs rotating on spits. So by the time I reached
the outskirts of Rovinj I was dying to try some. This one included fresh
bread, roasted potatoes with onions, and an ice cold locally brewed draft
to wash it all down. The only downside? Ants all over the tables, and thus
you in short order. Oh well.
I had to find a place to stay, and started out close to the
city and found a villa closer than where I'd stayed previously, but on the
same side of the city, the north, uphill along the harbor, called Hotel
Villa Dobravac, aka 'Apartamenti Dobravac', at 1 Karmelo St. It was a
four star with an older building next door, with lower rates, and we
worked out a deal (the manager and I, after she called the owner for the
discount) as I'd not be around for breakfast, only 170 kn, not bad
for the city. I left my bags, cameras and photo vest after cleaning out the car for the return.
I drove downtown and found the place to check in the car,
prayed I'd have no problems, and it went fast and smooth. I found out, per
a policemen, that the ferry left from that side of the port, the main one,
not the one on the other side of the old city, where the cruise ships
Now my new shoes had got muck in them the day of the fishing tournament
about 10 days earlier, as I stupidly went out in the pond to get a lure
off a branch, instead of taking the shoes off first (in a tournament, with
time running out, you might do stupid things as you've no time to mess
around- in my defense), and they still smelled like the decaying mud that
was stirred up and washed into them, but worse!
AND it seemed to get worse day by day,
instead of better with them airing out overnight each night, necessitating
me leaving them as far away from my bed every night. I'd describe it as a mix of smells between dead,
decaying fish and a pig
farm. This had to end but how? So as I walked the old city I decided to
wash my shoes out in
the salt water, figuring that should kill all organisms causing the smells
and I'd have enough time for them dry at this point. It was sunny, early afternoon,
and windy as heck (a major storm was reportedly to hit the next day, maybe
even causing us to have to take a bus instead of the ferry? We'd see), so
it should work, did not want to wear wet shoes for the final day home.
So I took them off and soaked them for a few minutes, then rinsed them with fresh water
so as to get the salt out that would ruin them, and put them out to
dry. Then I rested on a cement bench nearby, on the port, and went over
the hundreds of memories from the past month, and even made this short
video of my serene view while laying down, watching the world go by:
My view while waiting for my newly
washed shoes to dry.
So by early dusk my shoes were dry enough to put back on, and I enjoyed
walking around the city with only my shirt on my back; not having the 30
pounds of camera gear and tripod too, which was back at the hotel room... I
felt like an unencumbered tourist. After seeing so many folks enjoying
calamari that was what I now wanted as I got hungry, and that's what I ordered at the
restaurant I'd photographed weeks earlier, pictured below. Also got my
usual mixed salad.
Click to enlarge
Rovinj at night. Ended up eating my last
Croatian dinner here
NOTE TO SELF:
While eating I realized I should not eat at restaurants that don't have
proper olive oil and vinegar, as it's probably a good indicator of the
quality of all of their ingredients, and this place had oil that looked
like water (not dark yellow like most decent ones have, or even green,
indicating the freshest pressed, and the tastiest!).
I went back to the room after dinner, it was about 10:30 or so, and
noticed the ferry I'd take the next day was on the cruise ship side of the
city, which was the side I was staying at.
Hotel Villa Dobravac, Rovinj
The owner of the hotel (husband Damir
Dobravac) was now in, and he brought
out some of his own grappa products for a night cap. His wife Natalia
showed up, who spoke good English (he didn't), and I showed them a lot of
my work on the computer, which I had out and checked e-mails on there
WiFi. They told me about their large farm outside town, where they grow
their own food and have a vineyard. The family started it in 1960.
We parted good
friends, and she said they'd put me up next time, in the four star section
of the hotel, and trade for art! Here is a
video of their nice hotel! Cool.
I got to bed about midnight, and I had to get up at 4:45
a.m. so I could shower and walk to the ferry on time.
6.13.'12- D-day (departure day). Rovinj
(with updates after trip was finished, from
Slept well for only getting 4.5 hours of sleep. The ferry
was to leave at 6:30, and the instructions said to be there an hour before
hand. Now that seems like overkill, but I did not want to screw up. I was
out in the
rain walking by 5:15 a.m..
As I did I
noticed the ferry had not moved, it was still parked there.
Oh well, it was early still. I grabbed two chocolate croissants on my way
there, from a shop I'd found out that's open at 5:30 a.m., and stuffed
them in my film bag; I wanted to eat them with my cappuccino- tradition.
Went to the departure area, and not a soul was to be seen. What about the
check-in people, shouldn't they be there at least? I waited about 10
minutes, nothing. Maybe they would leave where the ship was. That was 15
minutes back the other way, I did not want to go there and miss
the sign-in if it was back here, what to do? The flier said the boarding closed 15 minutes prior
to departure, and you'd lose your money and seat- no refunds.
I called the number on ticket- machine. Left my number, but
figured that was probably a waste of time. Saw three guys go by with luggage.
"Headed to the ferry?" I shouted out. "Yes" one replied. Cool,
with oil now. Went back to the dock, and stood in line with them. It
rained some more, I got my umbrella back out, they stood there in the
rain. Another 10 minutes went by, now it was 6, and still no ferry
employees to sign anyone in, and no ferry. Then behind us we see a lady set up a table
by the police station, so we went and signed in. The ferry showed up then
too. We boarded, the rain came down harder.
We took off right at 6:30, and I got some shut-eye. This was going to be
a three hour ride. But we actually went in reverse, as I woke up to hundreds
of folks boarding 20 minutes later. We were now in Pula. They were day
tourists to Venice- Germans and English groups. I got up and got a
cappuccino finally, as the snack bar was now open, and my croissants were squished like pancakes, but
tasty as ever.
We started to arrive in Venice at around 11 a.m.. As I
looked out at the water, something strange seemed to be happening. It was
raining, and the guy announced it would be humid, but there seemed to be a
steam developing along the top of the water in the distance. Didn't make
sense, it was not cold outside so there should not be any steam. As I
tried to see better through the wet windows, the steam got thicker, and
then I noticed it was kinds swirling around. And then water was being sucked up and thrown sideways,
creating the steam effect. Oh my gosh, this was a water spout in the making.
Cool but scary too.
I looked to the right, and big waves started to hit the
reefs next to us, but that did not make sense, we were not shooting out
any wake, it as a no wake zone. Nobody was. Then the whole ferry was
suddenly enveloped in such a white out, which did not make sense either,
what was causing it, fog? Rain? No, it didn't seem to be rain, no water
slapping windows. Was the steam so bad? I told the English folks I was sure there
was a water spout going on, and now we were in the middle of it, but we
could not see anything to make sure.
I was very concerned, but nobody else around seemed to
realize the danger/strangeness that was happening. I realized the captain
would not be able to guide the ship by visuals, we had zero visibility. I
was afraid we'd hit another ship, or run over a small boat, as it happened
After a few seconds all cleared up, and then I felt it had
really been a water spout, but how big I had no idea. I mentioned it to
folks, but nobody believed it, or said anything. They were too interested
in trying to now see the sights of Venice go by. Heck, I'd already shot
the city for over a month, it was not my first sight of it, so I was not
as enamored as these folks.
Click photo to enlarge
I did not get to see this tornado,
which is called a 'water spout' over water, as it formed right over us as we approached Venice, then whited out our view as we were right in the middle of it.
And thank God our ferry was so large it was not ripped to shreds or lifted
out of the water, as we
were smack in the middle of it all.
It was reported roofs were torn off where it did go over a couple of
small islands nearby, boats upended, sunk, etc., but no deaths were
reported, thank God. And thank God it missed 'Venice proper', or a lot of
deaths would have occurred! I read about it on the way home the next day,
and found these videos while waiting for my connection at the Atlanta
After arriving in Venice I made my way to the train station
and purchased a 'super saver' ticket to Milan, something I noticed was
available on their website. A few seats on every
train sell at about 30% off standard fares, and the guy found one for me
(19 E instead of 39 E).
It was a two and a half hour train ride, so I snoozed a
bit, and when I arrived in Milan I debated getting a motel room. I knew of one
I'd stayed at years earlier, but it was quite a few blocks away, and I was
dead tired. I also knew I would not sleep well, and would have to get up
super early to get back and get to the airport, making it another 4 hour
night, so what the heck. I thought I'd just stay at the airport, was then
certain I'd make my plane, and I could crash for one night on the floor,
pretending I was back camping like in boy scouts. Besides, I'd actually get more sleep.
But before I got my ticket I noticed how nice the Milan
train station was, with soft afternoon light flooding in, and that it would be great subject matter for my art.
created at least four nice images, a diptych of the main entrance, and
some cool reflection shots up in the main platform area. At one point a
policeman came up and said 'no photos', seeing I had a tripod (I was
expecting this the second I'd set up, and kept praying nobody'd bother
me), and I got away with it for over an hour. This
happened while a guy with an iPhone took my picture taking a picture. Of
course, the policeman said nothing to him or the dozens of other tourists
taking pictures all over the station! :/(
Click photo to enlarge
When ever I see a scene now that looks great in
every directions I get out my iPhone and capture it in 360, as was the
case here, just before heading to the Milano Malpensa Airport.
Click photo to enlarge
Photographed the actual platform area of the
station, just after a station policemen said 'no photos'.
Afterwards, about 9 p.m., I got my ticket to the Malpensa
Airport and went there, it's probably an hour away. I had a Gyro sandwich
for dinner, browsed the shops, and had a glass of beer waiting for
midnight so I could hit the sack. Most folks that stay overnight, and there
are always a few, sleep sitting up in the chairs. They have little arm
rests between each one, so folks can't lay down on them. I found a little
spot near a staircase that was kind of hidden from everyone and threw some of my extra clothes down and made a
bed, and slept till about 6 a.m.. I slept quite well considering, as the
intercom announcements stopped around 12:30 and did not start up until
about 6 a.m..
Got my usual breakfast and checked my bags in, then got
through customs/ x-rays without a hitch, T.U.L.. The officer said the usual
'film safe' when I asked for a hand check, pointing to a sign 'film up to
640 ISO safe'. I immediately pointed to some marked 3,2000 ISO in my bag,
and he grudgingly took it and went and hand checked it.
The flight took off late, as they said the plane needed dogs to go through
it for some reason, and we boarded about 9:40, 10 minutes before original
departure time. We got off fairly quickly, considering, and the pilot made
up time, even though it was against the wind (at about 700 km per hour
The Boeing 767 was 80% full, so the back three rows were
basically empty, that's where I reserve my seats. So the 10.5 hour trip was
shortened up by my stretching out for a two hour nap over the three middle
seats, as my row had. That was after watching the best two of the
first three films offered/shown on the overhead TV monitors (not as nice
as the bigger planes, where the monitors are on the seat in front of you and you
get choices to
view). I did get to see the new Robert Downey Jr. movie-
Holmes 'A Game of Shadows', it was quite good, love the slo-mo effects
of his thinking an attack out before it happens.
Also saw 'This Means War', a pretty cool C.I.A. comedy with
Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy. Slept through the third
When I arrived in Atlanta at I re-checked my bag after
clearing customs (and getting film hand checked -no problem again- good ole USofA) and went to my gate. I plugged in my computer and iPhone to
charge it up, but did not have internet connection, that's extra through
the airport if you want it, so I just typed up some notes and bided my
time. I had about an hour wait. But after awhile I could not figure out why they
would not start boarding, as the flight was scheduled to leave at 3:40. When I
finally heard them start to talk about boarding, they mentioned San
Francisco- WHAT? So I looked, as I was way off to the side and could not
read the gate info, and sure enough it'd been changed to San Francisco.
I quickly found my new gate number and ran, but it was too late, they had
just left. I was bummed, as the next one was at 7:30, a long wait.
So I waited, and as we started to board someone getting off
late from the group that just got off, with kids, got sick and the plane
quit boarding to have a clean up session. Then as we started to board
again the management decided to shut the airport down, a storm was coming.
We waited for 15 minutes before we heard thunder, and then for an hour and
a half the thunderstorm kept us waiting. They were starting to talk of
getting us a hotel room and flying us out the next morning, as San Diego
airport stops allowing landings after 11 p.m., as the flight path goes
right over a lot of homes in downtown.
I prayed we'd get going, the plane was oversold, and I was
tired. We finally got the ok before the deadline to leave, after the lady first said, jokingly, the
plane was cancelled- very funny lady! But because the whole airport had
been closed for so long, it took us over a 1/2 hour to take-off, meaning
we'd be getting to San Diego late, and I was concerned they just turn us
around at any moment, canceling. But we took off, and sure enough, we landed at 11:30.
Guess Delta will have to pay a fine? Don't know.
Upon arrival I called Valerie, she came with friend
Gale Cunningham, and they were waiting at baggage claim. I got
my bag, which got there a few hours ahead of me, but took a while to find Valerie
as they went to a
different baggage claim. And then we took a while to find the car, they
forgot where it was parked, and we walked around lost for about 20
minutes. Talk about bushed! When we got home it was around 1 a.m..
Thank U Lord for such a wonderful adventure, and for
letting so many folks/friends pray for Valerie's and my safety while we were
separated. Can't wait to see the final results, I'm sure they will be
Soli Deo Gloria
Del Mar Plaza
1555 Camino Del
Mar, Ste. 312, Del Mar, California, 92014 USA
Open Wed. thru Sun., 11
a.m. till 6 p.m.