Tag Archives: Travel


I had the great good fortune to travel to Moscow for a few days. I wasn’t really sure about safety and I wanted to travel relatively light so I took my “travel kit,” a Nikon D3100 and Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3. This is a small a light combo with decent range and aperture.

The city center turned out to be far safer than my wife expected, but she had last been there in 1992. The early 90s were not a great time. It was an interesting time to be there, however, since Russia has recently “acquired” Crimea and I was actually in the room with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that he believed the US and the EU were trying to bring about another “color revolution.”

Basel, Switzerland

With Freiburg Germany as our base, we also traveled to Basel. It was a short train ride away and three round-trip tickets were less than 35€. Basel is, of course, an ancient and beautiful city with the Rhein running through it. When I was there 12 years ago I discovered that people will pack their clothes into water-tight, inflatable bags and float down the river on the hot summer days. I did it then, but I was a little leery of trying that with a backpack full of Nikon equipment.

The Basel Minster is gorgeous. My wife was the first to discover the memorial to the young graf and his mother and it brought to mind our own son’s early demise.

Utrecht at Night

This past week I was in Europe, in Germany and the Netherlands. Thursday I was stuck inside all day due to rain, but after dinner the rain let up and I went out with my camera and the very nice (and relatively inexpensive) Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX II Lens. This is about half the price ($495) of the Nikon equivalent and is a solid, great performing lens. The challenge I set for myself was to just use this lens, no switching, forcing me to think in wide angle terms. The f4 setting let in a fair amount of light and the D7000 range resulted in (I think) decent photos.

Samovar Tea Lounge, San Francisco

I was in San Francisco for business this week and only had my iPhone 4S with me. I snapped these first two shots with that. The image of the “guest” asleep in front was taken a year before with a D7000. As I noted at the time on my flickr account,

The mild weather no doubt contributes to the large number of homeless people in San Francisco. The Samovar Tea Lounge is a beautiful and amazing place for tea and treats at the Yerba Beuna Gardens. It is very expensive, however, and the condition of the gentleman in the foreground shows in stark contrast to the average Samovar customer.

The iPhone (or any phone camera) makes for a nice surreptitious shot. I certainly would not (and did not) hide the fact that I was taking a picture, but it is so common place now that no one took notice. I like the active expressions of those engaged in conversation in this picture.

Keeping a watchful eye on the market

I am back from my trip to Freiburg, Germany. It was a very productive time and on the last day, yesterday, the sun broke through just long enough to get some pictures at the flower market taking place in the Freiburg Münsterplatz. This statue, presumably of St. George, since he is slaying a dragon, and this older women were vigilant.

Headed Home

After a great 2.5 days with colleagues I am headed home. I am currently in Frankfurt Flughaf after an easy 2 hour train ride and awaiting a mere 14 hours more of travel.






Freiburg at Night

Bächle im Freiburg

A unique feature of Freiburg im Breisgau.

Freiburg Germany

I am very fortunate to be able to travel for Penn State this summer. I was recently named as chair of Freiburg “Faculty Implementation Committee,” or “FIT.” Last spring a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between PSU and the University of Freiburg. This is a university-wide agreement and we already have decades of collaboration between our two universities from philosophy to forestry and now energy and honors. In a few weeks over a dozen of my colleagues in the Penn State Institutes for Energy and the Environment will be arriving in Freiburg to meet with their counterparts here and we will reciprocate by hosting the Freuiburgers next year in Happy Valley. In addition to representing the university as a whole, I am also going to be working with their new University College Freiburg to establish an exchange program. I am very excited about that and more details are to come…

The trip here was fairly uneventful, although delayed by two hours. We pushed back from the gate at Dulles and they realized there was a brake problem. We returned, they fixed it, and an hour later we were on our way. Somehow we then lost another 50 minutes en route (with a tail wind, go figure). It was not a big deal for me since I simply took the train from Frankfurter Flughafen to Freiburg and walked two blocks to my hotel.

The Best Western “Hotel Victoria” bills itself as the greenest hotel in the world and I believe it. They have solar cells on the roof, wood pellet heaters for the water, and wind power from the city. (Freiburg is one of Germany’s foremost “Green Cities.”) After dinner at a local Italian café (and watching Spain-Italy tie in Euro 2012) I took a walk around town. Here a few pictures of my walk.

Continue reading Freiburg Germany

Pacific Surf

This was taken on a trip with students to San Francisco and the coast. Beautiful day with brunch at the famous Cliff House.

Sea Fortress of Helsinki

This is another one of my favorites and Sally gives it a vote for the office wall. What I like about an image like this or the image below are the simple, geometric shapes. You have to look at them for a minute to realize what it is you are seeing.

Moss & Siding