Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Reflections, the Wedding at Oheka Castle Part 2

Behind the Castle is the reflecting pool and gardens. The photo above was taken from the bridal suite on the second day of our stay (note the clouds). You can see the damped grass where the aisle was at the wedding the evening before.

The reflections were so wonderful, blue sky, the trees, shrubs all combine to make a beautiful scene.  

The photo above is my favorite of the reflections.

The fountain is in the center of the garden.

At the far end of the garden is a very pretty gazebo. We were about a week away from seeing the many blooms on the vines that climb up each supporting post.


I had a lot of fun taking these photos of Jan at the gazebo. She wished I had asked her to take off her sunglasses, though. Next time, for sure...

I hope you like the photos. Click on any of them to view enlarged in a slideshow. Next post is the interior of the Castle.

Thanks for stopping by,
Mike Z

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

We attended a wedding at Oheka Castle Part 1

Entrance to Oheka Castle
We were invited by our friends Rosie and Jim to attend the wedding of their daughter Ruth to her soulmate Matt. The wedding took place at the Oheka Castle on Long Island New York. What an amazing place! By wondrous luck the day was bright, clear and even a little chilly.

The Castle was built in 1919 by Otto Kahn, and the name Oheka is an acronym for Otto Hermann Kahn. It is pronounced O-HEE'-ka.

We flew by Southwest Airlines to LaGuardia Airport, which was the closest driving distance to the Castle.

Ornate brace for a very tall chimney - closeup

Our room was very large with tall ceilings and a great view of the Long Island countryside. There is a subdivision of sorts on the grounds around the castle itself, and the homes are lovely. (More about this in a later post.) 

View from the window in the hallway

The morning of the wedding, Jan and I made a tour around the castle itself. I was not able to pack along my Nikon camera, but using Jan's camera we managed to get some good shots of the building and the wedding.  

Outside view of our room - we were on 3rd floor right window

The photo above was taken on the second day we were there. What a contrast from the day of the wedding. The bride and groom were very lucky to have such a perfect day for their celebration!
Closeup of our room on the right

Each time we rounded a corner, we were more amazed at the beauty of this place. It truly was like being in a European castle or a nobleman's home. The Castle is used for weddings a lot now, with famous people occasionally using the grounds for weddings, and is sometimes used as the backdrop for commercials and movies. 

View of the Rear of the Castle from the Reflecting Pools

The Reflecting Pools will be the subject of Part 2 of this "series." The wedding itself was held in the grassy space between the castle and the reflecting pools. A perfect spot! Future posts will include the walk we took around the neighborhood (so many beautiful flowers!), the interior of the castle, and the wedding itself. I hope you enjoy them.

Till next time,
Mike Z

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Our Walk Around the Neighborhood

It's hard to believe I haven't posted a page on this 'blog since Thanksgiving! So many things have happened, new grandchildren, stents in my heart, more pressure at work, that I have let my photography slip. So this weekend I decided to start up again and see if I could get any shots of the birds around the neighborhood on our walk.

I was a little nervous about just going out and getting great artworthy shots on my first outing. Looking at these photos I can tell I have lots of practicing to do! But sometimes it's just about clicking the shutter, I suppose.

I was hoping to see a heron or a crane, as they are starting to appear in the waterways along our walk. But such was not the case. Our neighborhood is crowded with doves, and the dove above sat still long enough for me to get a photo or two.

Mockingbirds are also common. 

Bluejays too.

I liked the second shot of the bluejay so much I included it here. 

I know, you're saying "those aren't birds" right? As we walked along, one of the neighbors had spared these buttercups as they cut the grass. I liked the way the sun highlighted the flowers in the center, so I took a shot to see how it would turn out. 

Hopefully, there will be more photos in the coming weeks. I am glad to be back. I hope you're glad I am, too.

All the best,
Mike Z

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Day 2012, at Slumber Falls again!

Guadalupe River

Well, we had such a good time last Thanksgiving, we decided to do it again! Jan's family rented a space at Slumber Falls Camp in New Braunfels, TX, and we celebrated Turkey Day in fine style!

Interestingly, I noticed that I got 320+ hits to last year's Thanksgiving Day post. So I decided to post some of this year's photos in a new post for 2012. I didn't get as many shots of the landscape as I would have liked because we were getting Christmas Card photos done, and time slipped away from me.

As I said last year, I hope your Thanksgiving Day was the best yet for you! If you don't have Thanksgiving where you are, please try to be thankful for all you have.

Till next time,
Mike Z

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Butchart Gardens, Victoria Canada

Part of the main gardens - Click to see larger

Jan and I had a wonderful opportunity to go on our second cruise to Alaska this summer, and we went on a different cruise line. It was a different experience!

One of the highlights of our trip this time was a night tour of the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. It is an amazing old limestone quarry that was transformed into a series of beautiful gardens by Mr. Butchart's wife Jennie. The photo above is from the first garden we toured, which was the main garden area and the major part of the old quarry. We were told while touring that Mrs. Butchart had rapelled down the steep sides of the quarry, planting ivy as she went. The ivy now covers nearly every wall of the quarry and is quite spectacular.

I hope to get back there someday, as the groundskeepers plant seasonal plants all along the walkways in the Gardens, and it would be a different experience each time you visited, depending on the season.

Hope you enjoy the photo. If you'd like to see it larger, click on the photo and it will load in a new window. 

All the best,
Mike Z

PS: here's a short video (about a minute and a half) showing the seasons of the Butchart Gardens:
5 Seasons of the Butchart Gardens


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Blue Moon Last Night, Austin TX

Blue Moon, August 31st, 2012 Austin TX

A Blue Moon, as most of you probably know by now, is the third full moon in a season with four full moons. Last night, I had to go out and try to get a decent full moon photo for the occasion! Unfortunately, there were thin clouds over the moon, so it was impossible to get a clear shot.

I wrote on someone's Facebook page that I can never hear the words Blue Moon without thinking about the song from the 50's/60's by the Marcels. I hear in my head most clearly "Baw buh buh Baw buh Dangy Dang Dang, buh Dangy Dawg Dig Bluuue Mooooon, You saw me standing alone...." Ah the memories...

Till next time!
Mike Z

Saturday, August 4, 2012

New Mexico Sky, Albuquerque Aug 4, 2012

Clouds and sun over the convention center
Today I'm in Albuquerque, NM at a convention, and at lunch time I just had to get outside for a few minutes. These wispy clouds caught my eye, but alas no camera. Then I remembered my cell phone! So I took this photo. I will say that the sky is not quite as blue out there as in the photo, but it captures the clouds like I wanted.

Another view of clouds over the convention center
 The photos were taken with my Samsung 4G Touch cell phone. I didn't do any cropping/editing to the photos, they are just as they came out of the camera phone.

Hope your day is going well.

Thanks for stopping by,
Mike Z

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Full Moon, Austin TX 10:30pm

Full Moon, Austin TX

I have never really tried to shoot a full moon with my D7000 before, because I was a little intimidated by some of the miserable failures I had experienced with other cameras before. But tonight the moon was so bright and beautiful I just had to try.

After several blown out attempts (the moon is VERY bright tonight) I tried the aperture very small and used the in camera flash. And, I got an almost passable photo. Stumbled on it by sheer luck. No tripod, but I should have used one.

I am pretty proud of this photo even though it won't ever be a contest winner. I might just give it a try next full moon! :-)

All the best,
Mike Z