Three continents, eight countries, thirty one days

A few months ago I had the pleasure of exploring Paris with my daughter Carissa, making some very special memories together. The little scooter video we made ( never ceases to make me smile!

Carol and I are so excited to return to Europe today and explore this part of the world together with Carissa. I cannot wait to photograph from The Bernina Express as this amazing train makes its way through the Swiss Engadin Alps and on to beautiful Lake Como in Italy. Flying from Milan to Iceland will give me the opportunity to photograph “The Land of Fire and Ice” with its dramatic volcanos, glaciers and geysers.

After Iceland Carissa and I will revisit Paris before making our way by train to the south of France. Surrounded by the lavender fields of Provence we will stay in one of Frances most fascinating villages, 12th century Oppède le vieux. Perched on a hill with cobblestone streets so narrow that ones car (and cares) are left at the base of the mountain, we our entrance on foot. BELLE DE NUIT, a former bakery turned home will be the perfect base for day trips to the French Riviera where I will have the opportunity to photography Cassis, home to some of the most beautiful water on planet earth.

It will be very hard to say goodbye to Carissa as she studies abroad one more semester in Lausanne but from there I will continue to Lisbon Portugal before making my way to Ethiopia via Dubai to photograph for the Adera Foundation in Addis Ababa.

My daily 3pm seat at Avoca coffee will be unoccupied for over a month but I will return with fresh stories for those that I regularly meet and whose company I treasure.

Star Effects, Sun Stars and Starbursts in Thailand

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I find writing to be a most interesting process. I read recently that much of what we write we must have the courage to wad up and throw away, as it was simply a process to get to what we were really trying to say. Practicing this allows one to reveal one’s heart and soul, and in so doing perhaps allow fellow readers to have that moment C.S. Lewis describes as, “Oh, you too? I thought I was the only one.”

My previous post on Narrow Gate Farm in Chiang Rai, Thailand contains a photograph that I will always remember, an image of God speaking to me with clarity. While that post needed to be done for the sake of telling about this amazing farm, my heart longed to share more.

My time on the farm was a much appreciated respite from the noise of traveling through every imaginable scenario in multiple countries over the prior 10 days. The quietness here was only interrupted by the baahhhing of goats, the wind stirring in the trees and the occasional sound of milk hitting the bottom of an aluminum bucket as Nat, the farm caretaker, continued her chores.

Nat (pronounced Not) has a very sweet spirit that reflects how much she loves working here on the farm, milking and caring for the goats. Our communication consisted of few words but very big smiles. Our time together with the goats and the newborn puppies was very special. Nat’s smile and kindness reminded me of my daughter Christina, whose physical presence here on earth is missed beyond which I have words to describe. Finding that Nat is only a year apart from Christina made the connection I felt with her all the more meaningful. After kneeling over the newborn puppies with Nat and repositioning them so that their feeding continued, I walked away with tears streaming down my face, reflecting on how much Christina would have loved this place and working here as Nat does. My short walk alone prompted me to cry out to God for some confirmation that Christina could see what I’m doing and continue her proudness of me that was so evident throughout our life together here on earth.

Returning from my brief walk I stopped to photograph the Narrow Gates sign, peering through the viewfinder in hopes of a new and unique angle to add interest.

This is where Star Effects, Sun Stars and Starbursts come into play. It’s a photographic phenomenon that occurs, irreproducible by humans, and it cannot be seen through the view finder of the camera but only after the photograph is taken. To me, the timing of the starburst peeking through the hole in the sign was God saying, “yes I see you, Chistina sees you and you are loved beyond your ability to comprehend.”

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and of unspeakable love.” ~Washington Irving

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