02-26-10 Main Street - Corfu Village

This is a shot that I took through our rental car window as Deb and I drove through a small village on the island of Corfu. Europeans drive much smaller cars than many Americans, in part because fuel is more expensive but also in part because less space is devoted to autos - such as this road which, to me, looks more like a alley.

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01-22-10 Peaceful Moment

I was waiting for my tour group to gather after a tour of the Roman Colosseum. As always, the ancient building was crowded, noisy and swelteringly hot. I turned away from our group and found these two tourists sitting in the flood of light entering the colonnade, no doubt plotting their strategy for their visit to Rome. This photo makes the Colosseum look quiet, cool and relaxing. Maybe that's the magic of photography. Or may it's the deception.

There are many things I like about this photo: I like the repeating lines of the columns and the repeating bright and dark made by the Roman sunlight. I also like the pock marks that show the age of this place. Finally, I like that by accident the three primary colors are present in this photo, though in very muted shades. Can you see them?

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12-16-09 They Are All Children

I thought I would post one or two more from our son Brian's experience in Japan, in this case a bunch of kids and Brian getting ready for a group portrait. I love looking at candid photos of groups - there is so much to look at.

One of the things that struck me about the Japanese pre-school we visited was the degree to which "play" was part of the learning process. I think you would find this in most pre-schools. In most societies, though, once "real" education starts, we start to discourage play. That's too bad because I think that playing with things is how we learn and create.

The Google corporation understands this and that's why they have what is called "Twenty Percent Time." Google engineers get to spend 20% of their time working on things that aren't necessarily part of their job description. The get to play, experiment and tinker. What a great idea!

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08-23-09 The Sirens of Amsterdam

By Scott Shephard

Amsterdam is known for many things, including coffee bars that sell marijuana brownies, and young ladies that sell . . . well, I'd just as soon not mention it.

These ladies were selling lingerie and leather goods. I and my friend Billy didn't succumb to any of the temptations of Amsterdam, other than the great art museums.

Some rights reserved under Creative Commons Copyright

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08-21-09 A View of Toledo

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07-30-09 Whale Watch

By Scott Shephard

We stopped at a road side look-out on the west coast of Maui. And as my three traveling companions leaned against the rail in the hopes of seeing whales, I couldn't resist snapping this photo. They weren't impressed when I showed them the photo. But they did see whales.

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06-29-09 Back Street - Assisi, Italy

_MG_9708 Back in the days of film (the 20th century for those who wonder), I had been to Assisi with a student group and found this spot during the half hour or so I had to wander around on my own. I took a photo using black and white film and liked it except that the exposure wasn't quite right and the print I made from a film scan was a little too grainy.

So, a few years later, I was in Assisi again and I went looking for the spot. Given that Assisi is a maze of streets, I was a little surprised that I actually found it. And this is the photo I took.

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06-20-09 Prague Wedding

We were outside of the Old Town Hall in Prague waiting (along with about 5000 other tourists) for the famous Astronomical Clock to do it's thing. But before it chimed, a wedding party came streaming out of the Town Hall. Though the bride and groom were Czech, the wedding looked like it could have occurred in the US - rice, flower girls, photographer, videographer and all the rest. Notice the couple to the bride's right - did they just have a fight?

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04-24-09 Japanese Temple - Kyoto

04-24-09-japanese-temple-kyoto Something just occurred to me as I was trying to figure out what to write about this photo: I have taken around 75,000 digital photos over the last 6 years and when I look at them, I can remember a remarkable number of details about the circumstances surrounding each photograph. Why is that?

My answer has to do with flow, a theory developed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. Flow "is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity."

In a crude way, my "focus" while taking photographs reminds me of golfers like Jack Nicklaus and other athletes and coaches who can remember amazingly precise details about every shot they hit or plays they made in games performed 20 and 30 years ago.

No, I am not Jack Nicklaus, nor was meant to be. :-) But I can get focused once and a while. When do you achieve flow?

Canon 1DII 1/80s f/1.8 ISO800 50mm (35mm eq:65mm)

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03-27-09 Reflections of Chicago

03-27-09-reflections-of-chicago I like the juxtaposition of lines and curves in this photo. I also like the warm, gold tones of the reflected buildings. What strikes me about this picture is how easily something as structured and perfect as a high rise building can be reduced to an abstraction by glass panels, which seem so flat and perfect themselves.

I am also struck by the myriad of interesting things that I see when I go to a city like Chicago. What I find interesting, though, the natives seem to ignore. But I'm guessing that if someone from Chicago visited my small town for the first time, they would see interesting things that I pass by every day.

That is one of the virtues of photography - it has the ability to open our eyes to all the interesting things that surround us.

Canon 5D f/9.0 1/250 Canon 24-105mm 4.0L (80mm) ISO 400

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03-26-09 A View West from the Arc de Triomphe

03-26-09-a-view-west-from-the-arc-de-triomphe I was in Paris with a student group in 2007 and we had made our way to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. We had timed our visit for this time of the evening - when the sun sets and the lights of Paris come alive. There are so many views and so many things to photograph but this view caught my attention.

In this photo I am looking west along the Avenue de la Grande Armee. In the distance is the ultra modern la Defense high rise complex, which is dominated by the stark, white arch known as the Grande Arche de la Defense. There are three famous arches in Paris which line up along what is known as the Axe historique: the Arc Du Carrousel (near the Louvre), the Arc de Triomphe and the Grand Arche de la Defense. Two of the arches were built by Napoleon and one was built by Mitterand.

Compare this to "Chicago Skyline."

Canon 5D f/1.8 1/100 Canon 50mm 1.4 ISO 320

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License

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03-21-09 Early Morning On the Canal

03-21-09-early-morning-on-the-canal It's good for a photographer to be a morning person and this photo is evidence. The light is good, the breeze has yet to pick up and there is a serenity in this scene that I doubt exists an any other time of the day.

This was taken is the picture-perfect city of Brugge, Belgium, on a trip Deb and I took in June, 2008.

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