BlogWorld ~ musings from Brooklyn

Back in November 2011, I remember picking up my Nikon D5000 User’s Manual for the first time. To say I read it would be an overstatement. I recall glazing over the black text in Arial; I was so mind-boggled by the manual’s instructions. At the time, the concepts made no sense to me; the functions sounded so complicated; the verbiage may as well have been written in a different language. In short, I needed something akin to Google Translate for Amateur Photographers.

A butterfly fluttering around the East Village on a steamy Saturday. It wouldn’t sit still – except for this second when i snapped the shot.

Months later, I am happy to share that while there’s plenty yet to learn, I’m much more comfortable operating my devoted DSLR. Rewinding back to the start of 2012, I don’t think I have looked at my well tattered manual since then. Instead, I am more inspired by my fellow bloggers who are always telling an interesting story behind a photo; perhaps even gleaning insights into how they took the image. Such experience and knowledge-sharing is incomparable to what a camera manual could ever teach me, and I am grateful for that.

There are fire escapes a plenty in the East Village. It pays to look up!

A few lovely bloggers have nominated me for awards. I’d like to congratulate them on their awards, and in turn, say thank you for sharing such kind words about my blog:

Sandstone and amber for the Versatile/ABC Blogger Award; The Sasu Post for Blog on Fire Award; miramiandmog for the Lovely Blog Award; and Paula Turner (mom)ents for The Inspiring Blog Award

In nominating blogs, I curated a list of posts that have inspired me over the past couple of days. As I am not following the rules per se, I hope these nominations are accepted by the bloggers in any way they’d like.

Thank you for sharing your work!

VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD

I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it…. | Camerahols / Food, Photography & France. This blog makes me laugh, inspires me with its wit, and make me want to take a photography course in the French countryside.

After The Rain « A Certain Slant of Light Photography. The recent series of photos from Sydney were some of the best I have seen. This post: a wonderful reflection of the city’s iconic landmark.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Movement | Creativity Aroused A beautiful image always accompanies equally beautiful haiku. “…wisps of elegant swirls…”

Stormy Weather « Cornwall – A Photographic Journey. Meticulous with details, this blogger inspires with his photographic perspectives. I love this shot.

BLOG ON FIRE AWARD

Happy Independence Day « 2 Rivers Photos. The HDR shots are always so well done on this blog. This post is an homage to California – a state I also love.

Wimbledon and Coffee Cocoa Cookies | mondomulia. Food shots on this blog are always excellent – so well composed, so light and bright. PS This blogger won a competition by Lavazza and is going to Turin. Congrats!

LOVELY BLOG AWARD

COLOUR ❤ « Arhitektura+. Tastefully curated colourful images. Though the colour wheel has been used to its full extent, the final result is harmonious.

One Shot: By the Water Pump | WITH A HOPE. Beauty and happiness captured during an expected moment in Uganda.

Simplicity… | Helen’s Journal. The pairing of a DaVinci quote with a monochrome photograph is really lovely.

Joy ! « Light touch. Beauty is always captured on this blog; in this post dedicated to a blooming bougainvillea.

Bolsena « paolapandolfini. A photo that will make you want to switch on a Cafe del Mar CD, pour a glass of wine, and just look into the horizon.

Beautiful Day in Bangkok « Johnny Wanderlust. I was looking at this photo for a while. There’s so much detail when you look into the rows and clusters of buildings, and I really enjoy that about photography. It’s all about the details.

INSPIRING BLOG AWARD

5 Top Tips for Photographing Gardens and Flowers | Random Sights and Diversions. There are always tips and interesting perspectives shared on this blog. This post may be why I took so many photos of insects and flowers over the weekend. (See my top shot)

Daisy – Oh Dai-i-aisy! « Nature’s Place. AMAZING macro shots of winged insects.

stowaway « Strange Bird. The words that so well match the images make this blog always inspiring.

9/11 Memorial: A Taste of Travel. A sensitive post about a part of New York that I have yet to visit. Thank you.

A Centennial Celebration: Thank You!

WordPress keeps a tally of how many posts I’ve published and shows that I have written 99 already…. which means this is my 100th. Wow ~ 100 posts!? It sounds like such a large number though when I put it in perspective – a post every 2 days – it does make sense.

In celebration, I would like to publish #100 as a thank you post to those lovely bloggers who have nominated me for awards. (I am a little overdue on a couple). Thank you to In Search of Perfect and Random Sights and Diversions for nominating me for the Versatile Bloggers Award, Red Pants And a Mustache for the 7×7 Link Award, and Third Eye as well as Vidal’s NYC for bringing rays of sunshine to NY today: they both nominated me for the Sunshine Award.

The blogosphere is such a supportive community and we are shown this time and time again,  whether it be by pressing ‘like’, leaving a comment at the end of a post, or being so kind in offering feedback in response to a request for advice. All of these connections means someone has taken the time to stop, look, and leave something behind. On behalf of my blog, I am so appreciative of that.

I’d like to share some posts that have inspired me recently and award them respectively. Thank you again.

Versatile Blogger Award

Ms Sydney Life’s love for Sydney, NZ… well, the world really.. is woven into the fabric of this artful blog. This post was a lovely reminder to pause, to pay our respects, and be thankful: An Introduction to ANZAC Day from a Kiwi Living in Australia « This Sydney Life.

A wonderful blog full of architecture and design, this was my first glimpse of the new MCA in Sydney, Australia. I like it! Museum of Contemporary Arts | Sydney « +.

I had a moment last week when I just needed a laugh so I was reminded of this blogger’s motto, and I did just that – laugh. It is true: life is easier with laughter! Traveling with Laughter on a Sunday Morning | TravelWithLaughter.

This passionate photographer, who I have been following ever since I started a blog, gets published. No wonder – his nature shots are excellent! Yikes, I’m Published! « scottseyephotos.

A reminder of my Russian heritage; it was the word ‘bubliki’ that got me as I haven’t heard that word in ages. Russian Friday – Bubliki « While Chasing Kids.

Scenes from a market in Nice during the springtime. Ahhhh. Marché de printemps « Eric Benoist.

7×7 Link Award

This great post inspired alot of thought, opinion, and good conversation via comments: The World Doesn’t Need Another Ansel Adams | Münchow’s Creative Photo Blog.

I’m so enjoying going through all the archived posts of this blog. Exceptional photography and a quick wit; it’s a treat to catch a glimpse of life in the French countryside. White magic | Camerahols / Food, Photography & France.

This is what happens as a result of motivation and dedication, combined with a love for travel and writing. Go East! | Cosy Travels of the Viking and his Kitten.

Need a gift idea or some inspiration? Scroll through this blog of lovely things. Design: Alessi « White Cabana.

Sunshine Blogger Award

I love the sun, but did anyone see the Super Moon last night? Unfortunately, it was a little cloudy and foggy in NYC so I was treated to some spectacular views by exceptional photographers from all around the world. Check these images out:

Japan: 149 « mozuqu noir.

Serbia: full moon over belgradestreets | belgradestreets.

Australia: Day 199 – Super Moon | cindymccauley.

Always inspiring, this is a blog full of happiness and reminders to enjoy life’s moments. The quotes are always uplifting and there’s great dedication to an inspiring cause spurring this blog on! Not So Fast | in pursuit of more.

Grateful for the Altitude; Grateful for the Time

Plane trips from NY to LA – or from somewhere to anywhere – may never be the same again. For me, carry-on luggage used to mean juggling, amongst other things, a stash of magazines and guide books; the complexity of an inflight entertainment system determined, in large part, the (swift) passing of a (lengthy) flight time.

These days, WIFI has changed all of that. Whilst airport waits and high altitudes give some travelers the perfect excuse to switch off, I prefer to plug in and catch up.

This has inspired to compile an overdue gratitude post in response to a few awards for which I have been nominated. I am so appreciative for the love shared by fellow bloggers: in pursuit of morebinNotes and jmeyersforeman photography, who nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award; robertoalborghetti, who honoured me with The Very Inspiring Blogger Award; and Red Pants And a Mustache – I am grateful for the Stockholm Sunshine. Thank you!

I follow each of these blogs and encourage you to visit them when you have some time. You’ll be immersed into a world filled with the pleasures life has to offer – intrepid travel, artisan coffee, awesome art, wine briefings, therapeutic creativity, inspiring quotes, and wonderful photography – documented from various points around the globe.

I’m sharing a round-up of some excellent posts I’ve recently read, in thanks for the nominations. I hope you may enjoy them too. Bon Voyage!

Simply stunning minimalism. I will never tire of these images and can imagine them as enlarged works on the walls of my home. Day 147 – Minimalist | cindymccauley.

Ever since this post, 107 « mozuqu noir, I have been an avid blog follower. Delicate effortless beauty with every post.

Photography of fossils and ice, interwoven with vivid verbiage; a reminder that the changing of the seasons is a time to reflect on what once was. The Ephemeral and the Enduring « draw and shoot.

Street art is so refreshing; a symbol of creativity. Here’s a perfect example. This is a lovely blog for its great architectural shots too. eYe « El Bueno, El Feo y El Malo.

A reminder of the bountiful beauty that is in Sydney, Australia. Sydney’s Bay Run (in my case, walk) « This Sydney Life.

Space – stunning in its simplicity; a hint of complexity. I appreciate the versatility of this blog’s postings. Fog.. « Cornwall – A Photographic Journey.

A powerful post, balancing the abstract with the poetic. desire « Strange Bird.

Passionate about art, music, and her family; interesting and interpretative. See why: little baby you are so CUTE! « marsblackvintage.

Street art, reinterpreted through nature. Can’t wait to see this as an Impressionist series. Metallic Elements | The Lantern Room.

Always a fresh eye with photography, this post is a current favourite from Barbara’s blog – in part, for my love of chandeliers. Fred Wilson | barbaraelka.

Very much enjoying this collection of posts in tribute to Egypt, and the universality of its messages. Day 20~ March 20th~ Egypt « 365 from the archive.

Inspiring black and whites from a talented photographer. This post of people – of life – is so refreshing. Winter Winds | Klara’s Street.

A post that showcases the reality of a city; the beauty of its people; the sights a traveler comes to see, to feel, to experience. the streets of Jerusalem | the human picture.

There’s always an interesting find, a creative recipe (not restricted to the edible kind), and a wonderful sharing of art within this blog. This post immediately caught my eye. Smithsonian Magazine’s 9th Annual Photo Contest | Violets and Cardamom.

A post, well flagged. 18 March 2012 « 366 Days of Photos.

It’s nice to share in a mutual love for the West Coast of the US with this blogger. Rooftop View « 2 Rivers Photos.

A perfect end-note. I always enjoy this blog, and this post especially so. Say cheese…. | Camerahols / Food, Photography & France.

Musings at The Conservatory Garden, Central Park, NYC ~ with thanks

The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know. ~ Michel Legrand

On a micro level, Michel Legrand’s quote is a good summation of how I feel about Central Park. The more I see the less I know, I thought as I left through The Conservatory Garden’s beautiful cast iron gates yesterday and into the (com)motion of Fifth Avenue’s rush hour. A combination of genius design, thanks to Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, and upkeep maintained by the Central Park Conservancy; Central Park will have you returning many times over – to explore a part of it that you may not have known about before, or to simply enjoy its changing landscape with the unfolding of the seasons.

The silhouetted skyline of Manhattan from the northern end of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. Photographing around here never gets tiring.

Renowned chef, Marcus Samuelsson, in an interview with a travel magazine that rounded up his favourite spots to visit near his neighbourhood of Harlem, had the following to say: “To relax, I enjoy walking in the Conservatory Garden in Central Park just off East 105th Street.” I’d read this article a while back, and had filed away the Garden-mention in the back of my mind; yet another place to visit and experience in the grandeur of Central Park. 

Main entryway into the Conservatory Garden - the gates once stood at Cornelius Vanderbilt's mansion on 58th St and 5th Avenue

February 1st ~ another warmish 59F winter’s day in New York; a day to make an uptown trip to Central Park North. As I hadn’t done any prior research, I had thought that The Conservatory Garden would be encased in a greenhouse. Not so.

The Conservatory Garden began as a large, E-shaped greenhouse, or conservatory in 1898. It featured an indoor winter garden of exotic tropical plants and outdoor decorative Victorian flowerbeds. In 1937, the deteriorating structure was demolished and this… formal garden was designed in its place.*

Six acres of open air sculpted garden beauty defines its expanse; a triad of stylized gardens, influenced by France, England and Italy. A little bit of Europe in NYC – what a wonderful idea. I’ll let you see for yourself. I hope you enjoy The Conservatory Garden through this pictorial. A mental note: You are entering into an “Official Quiet Zone”.

As an aside, I would like to dedicate this post to my few bloggers: Vidal’sNYC for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger award. I hope you may check out Vidal’s photo-glimpses of New York as he sees it. I’m also so appreciative of the support by robertoalborghetti and MiltonJohns Photography for reblogging my posts on Letting Love Rule @ Radio City Music Hall (Lenny Kravitz) and Gated Abandonment on Bowery ~ downtown NYC. I am really humbled by your kind comments and thank you for your inspiration. I hope you may check out the photography and art portfolios of all three bloggers. I’m a keen follower of their work and hope you will be too.

Musings at The Conservatory Garden

Strolling away from the motivated joggers circling Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir on a temperate winter’s day. Approaching the Conservatory Garden from within; along one of Central Park’s meandering pathways. Rules from hereon in ~ observing a quiet zone. Winter’s natural stillness, further enforced.

S’il vous plaît entrez: The French inspired part of the Garden, at its northern end.

Fountains, standing on empty ~ for now. Dancing Maidens sculpture by German artist Walter Schott.

Manicured hedges; swirling patterns of green. Symmetry, order and form. Envisioning scenes from Sophia Coppola’s, Marie Antoinette. The Gardens of Versailles ~ I need to see them.

Winter’s calm beauty, so amplified ~ still trees, late afternoon sun, shadows. Fifth Avenue – steps away, yet unheard and unnoticed, except for its mansions looking over the fence. A solitary bench…

… adorned with a dedication. Love lives on, always.

Hibernating hydrangeas; beds of roses, asleep ~ looking forward to a long awaited yawn and stretch. A blooming prospect: the onset of spring.

Intermission: Lenny Kravitz – I Build This Garden For Us

A stream of late afternoon rays, painting patterns on the pathways, like those of sun-drenched stained glass windows.

Please enter: the English inspired part of the Garden, to the south.

Grassy furry plants; recollections of Mr. Snuffleupagus. Reminiscing about those days of watching Sesame Street as a kid, back in Sydney. Somehow still remembering this shaggy-haired muppet’s name ~ Snuffy, for short.

From this angle, looking like a fuzzy topped bouquet of hay. Inspiration for a lavish centrepiece.

More recollections; this time of those crazy hairstyled muppets on Fraggle Rock. Do you remember? The English part of the Garden may be themed on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic, The Secret Garden, though it is so Jim Henson inspired.

Early bloomers ~ jonguils. Perhaps spring really is closer than we hope it to be.

~ Pausa ~

Generosity of the human spirit. Thankfulness; appreciation for the love bestowed by family and friends.

Inserisci il giardino: the Italian inspired garden, in the Conservatory’s centre.

Entangled beauty; Chinese wisteria, in a winter slumber. Wrought iron details of an ornate pergola against a Fifth avenue vista.

A blue period.

A touch of history ~ the names of the original 13 states, engraved into tile.

The grand gesture ~ an engraved proposal. Time, at a stand-still.

A place to create memories for generations to come.

Imagining being on the terrace of an Italian villa: directly ahead – the jet of the fountain’s thriving 12-foot high geyser; a grand lawn flanked by two exquisite allées of pink and white crabapple trees*; a perfectly hedged and manicured perimeter; birds chirping; the faint fragrance of wisteria in the air; views of Fifth Avenue mansions in the distance. Such is the anticipation of seeing the garden’s beauty in full bloom.

The Italian Renaissance Garden: The Medici, the ruling dynasty of Florence, used gardens to demonstrate their own power and magnificence. “During the first half of the sixteenth century, magnificence came to be perceived as a princely virtue, and all over the Italian peninsula architects, sculptors, painters, poets, historians and humanist scholars were commissioned to concoct a magnificent image for their powerful patrons.” **

Musings, interrupted. Dusk descends, and the grand gate must close.

Entering the real world. Hello again, Manhattan.

* http://www.centralparknyc.org/visit/things-to-see/north-end/conservatory-garden.html

**Wikipedia

The Versatile Blogger Award!

I was completely floored when Victor Ho nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines versatile as:

“1: changing or fluctuating readily : variable <a versatile disposition>

2: embracing a variety of subjects, fields, or skills; also: turning with ease from one thing to another…”

That said, what a great award to receive in recognition of my blog and its posts. Thank you, Victor, for nominating me for it. I enjoy reading your blog very much, photobackstory, for its beautiful photographs and introspection. I also enjoy your comments, that have brought many interesting New York finds to my attention.

Now, back to business!

This award comes with a few rules that recipients are to follow:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!
4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award.

So here goes:

1. Again Victor – thank you! And congratulations on also on being the recipient of this award.

2. Seven things about myself:

i)  I do Bikram Yoga every day and plan my day around the 90 minute class. Crazy to some – yes; to me – no.

ii) I think red wine, cheese, pesto and a baguette is the best dinner ever.

iii) I am a fan of the movies – The Departed and Inception – as every time I watch them, I discover something new.

iv) 33 is the new 21.

v) I fear driving, especially in New York City.

vi) I still long for a long hot summer when Christmas rolls around in NY. Basically, I wish I could spend every Christmas in my hometown of Sydney!

vii) I love French house music so if anyone has some good tunes to share with me, my MP3 is requiring a top-up of new music.

3. Being new to the blogosphere, I recently discovered a number of wonderful blogs that I thoroughly enjoy reading. Combined, they take me on a global tour as I read through their posts. Sometimes separately, sometimes consecutively.

Camerahols / Food, Photography & France is a feast for the eyes and the stomach, with a good dose of humour, all the way from the French countryside…

To fulfil my love of coffee and food, along with memoirs of travels that hail as far off as The Kimberlys, I enjoy reading A Taste of Travel | A Journey of Travel and Food….

For a fun ride through Eastern Europe, curiouscatontherun always makes me laugh with her eye opening experiences…

Smart, funny, witty and super talented, Aware of the Void hails from Dublin and is a source of photographic inspiration…

Photos of Canadian landscapes, and artworks that are featured on draw and shoot are always so beautiful and original…

Travels through Southeast Asia are engaging, colourful and fun as Tricia A. Mitchell documents her adventures whilst on a sabbatical…

Om Nom Culture brightens my day with delectable food shots from China, Thailand and beyond…

For artistic inspiration from Italia, robertoalborghetti is always as interesting read. Roberto’s torn poster art inspired silk scarves are going to be the next big fashion trend…

I love streetscapes and all the way from Serbia, belgradestreets inspires with its black and white photos, with a dash of colour. So well composed and always interesting…

http://violetsandcardamom.com/ wows with photography by Parisian photographer, Doisneau, one day; and details a recipe for Vanilla Crescent cookies, complete with step by step photos, on another…

For Tin-Tin murals and interesting city finds in between, Cosy Travels of the Viking and his Kitten tour Belgium and beyond…

Beautiful images and words, whether documented on Paris, Seville or Singapore (amongst plenty other destinations) Dakota .D Journal is an ode to wanderlust…

After reading Little Trot, a trip to The Shambles in York is definitely in order. The photography on this site is beautiful…

I heart Japan and live vicariously through Japan in 365 Days. I will get to this fascinating country one day though for now, I am following this blog daily…

For original and thoughtful photography, travels through Tibet, and simply beautiful nature scapes – The Way I See It is always inspiring.

Thank you again and I hope you enjoy these blogs as much as I do!