Scooters, Scooters Everywhere!

I’m in love with Taiwan! There are scooters everywhere.

Rows of scooters lined up outside of restaurants…

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Cute pink scooters parked by the door…

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Weaving through traffic to get to the front of the pack, and then zooming ahead of the cars at a traffic light…

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Drive through shopping at the night market…

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Parking wherever you like…

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It’s reminiscent of Italy, only different in the sheer numbers and the type of scooters. Taiwan is its own brand of scooter heaven.

Oh, scooters, how I’ve missed you! Who needs trees when there are scooters about?

Medieval Connection

Today I’m continuing on with my stories of connection, this time from the medieval town of Shrewsbury. If you look at a map of England, Shrewsbury might seem a bit out of the way place for a stop between Yorkshire and London. However when your primary purpose for a trip is to meet people, then it all starts to make sense. I had someone to meet, so I was headed that way. And that someone was Gilly Walker.

Gilly and I have been in contact online for several years. I first ran into her on Flickr while I was in Italy, then we shared comments on blogs and for a short time we were both Mortal Muses together. I’ve always loved her photography, her thoughts and philosophy, and – bonus – she teaches photography too. We seemed to have much in common, so she was on my list of connections this trip to England. She’s recently moved north, not far from Liverpool, so we had a bit of a struggle to figure out the best way to meet. Should she come to London? Should we meet in the middle? Finally she just invited me to come stay at her house, and then we could visit Shrewsbury the next day. Perfect! She apologized that it was a two hour train ride, but I assured her, after traveling 12 hours to get to England, a two hour train ride was no problem. That’s why I was there!

So from Hebden Bridge it was off to Hooton, to stay the night with Gilly and her husband, and then on to Shrewsbury the next day together. All of the images in this post are from our day in Shrewsbury.

I have to admit, on the surface it seems a bit strange to visit and stay with someone you’ve never met face-to-face. Here Gilly was inviting me into her home, and I was staying there, without knowing more about each other than our photography and writing. But I’ve always found that when you meet and develop a relationship with someone online, one that is built over time and around a common interest, that relationship is real and your gut feel about a person is accurate. So while we were both a bit nervous to meet in person, I had a feeling it would go just fine. And it did! Better than fine, we talked non-stop and had a lovely visit.

I knew Gilly was knowledgeable about photography, but I hadn’t realized the depth of her study until I visited her home. Staying in her home office, I got to peruse her bookshelves which had an amazing array of books on photography and creativity. I was in heaven. She had many of the same books I had, but also many, many more I had never even heard about. It was exciting to hear about her creative journey and what has influenced her along the way. I wanted to know which books were her favorites, and why. (Since I knew you all would want to know too, I asked her to write a guest post sharing a few. Come back tomorrow to read her recommendations!)

The next morning we were off to Shrewsbury, known for its medieval architecture. The day started off partly sunny, transitioned to mostly cloudy and then the rains settled in. It was interesting to wander the tight alleyways and see the mix of timber-frame and brick buildings side by side. It is always shocking as an American to see buildings that have existed for such a long time. It’s hard to fathom. Our idea of “antique” is on a different scale. The mix of the modern and historic gave this city a wonderful visual feel.

I’ve found that when you spend some time with another photographer, you get to know more about them through what catches their eye. Their work makes more sense to you, because you see how their heart and soul comes through. Ask anyone who’s gone on a photowalk with me and they will tell you: If there is a scooter sighting I will stop, with enthusiasm, to capture it. For Gilly, she has a series called “Fallen Things” and she stopped often to capture things fallen on the ground. I couldn’t help but capture one or two as well, and here’s my homage to Gilly’s Fallen Things series.

As I write this I start to wonder, if you spend time learning about another photographer’s point of view, does that affect you too? Did the time with Gilly get me started with looking down on the ground? Did that influence my current mobile photography series, As They Fell? Probably. As I talked about yesterday, the time spend with another in creative connection influences us in ways we don’t always realize. Everything we see and everyone we connect with becomes input that informs our output. Choosing our connections is as important as choosing our input.

For me, Gilly is a great source of inspiration. I am grateful to have have this connection with her. Thank you, Gilly, for a lovely day!

Under the Weather

What do you do when it rains? You get creative with your photography! We generally had nice weather in our week in San Francisco, but one afternoon we had some serious rain. We visited a couple of indoor places and then found a fun outdoor-ish activity – we rode the cable cars around. We waited for seats in the right location (outside bench, on the downwind side of the car) and then rode around the city. The photography challenge I gave myself was to quickly compose interesting scenes from the streets – I called it “umbrella spotting.”

It turned out to be quite fun! It wasn’t about getting a clear photo – that was nearly impossible in a moving cable car in the rain – but about prediction and timing. Here are my favorites from that rainy day. Which do you like best?

Colorful!!

All Blue

The tourists of Lombard Street

Which way is up?

The trees know. The trees always know. It doesn’t matter how steep the slope, trees always know which way is up.

A new one for my Town Trees series, this one captures the hills of San Francisco along with the tree. There are lots of great trees lining the streets in San Francisco, but it’s hard to capture one without cars! I actually tried to eliminate the cars in this image, but realized that the cars add to it. It’s San Francisco through and through: the cars parked on a steep street along with the cable car lines. All I needed was a bay window in the building, but you can’t have everything, can you?


The March Photo-Heart Connection is still open and going strong! There are so many wonderful connections this month. It’s interesting to see the topics evolve as the year progresses. Earlier months had a very introspective feel, and as spring has blossomed there is a lightness and joy that is coming through in the heart connections. We are all connected to the cycle of life around us.

You can link in through tomorrow. I hope you will join us!

I Left My Heart

In San Francisco! We just got back from a wonderful Spring Break trip, exploring the beautiful and lively City by the Bay. It was so good to be back in a big, diverse city with all of the great energy that comes along with the hustle and bustle. We stayed near Fisherman’s Wharf and didn’t drive the car for a week, it was fabulous.

I’ll have lots of new things to show you over the next few days as I get settled in back home. San Francisco has so much to do and see! Scooter sightings and markets and textures and visits with friends, I was in my photographic element. Heaven.

But now I’m back and it’s time to visit those March Photo-Heart Connections. I can’t wait to see what’s connecting with you all this month!

Town Trees: Ashland

Against the Wall

Almost a month ago I discovered a new series to capture, images of trees that line the streets of our cities and towns, bringing a little bit of the forest to our concrete-and-asphalt world. I’ve decided to call this series “Town Trees.”

I found several Town Trees when we visited Ashland, in southern Oregon. This first one is my favorite. I love the shape of this tree, it looks like it has it’s hair all mussed up, maybe it hasn’t had a trim in a while. I love how it’s grown up right against the wall, standing straight with good posture. There were several of these in a row, sentinels guarding the parking lot along the side of a building.

Green and Gold

The colors here caught my eye, how the green and gold in the tree repeated in the windows and their reflections.

Capped

I wonder who thought to plant a tree under an awning? Maybe it was never supposed to grow this tall, but someone should have realized that this is Oregon and trees seem to grow bigger here. Maybe it was supposed to be cultured by a gardener to stay small, but someone cut the landscaping budget. Whatever happened, the tree is thriving and continues to reach for the sky. I love that.

These Town Trees all seem to have personality of their own, don’t they? I think this is going to be a fun series to capture.