Istanbul in Black and White

Chess lessons in the apartment next door.

Süleymaniye Mosque from Galata Bridge.

My analog friend, taking notes about Istanbul the old-fashioned way.

Mustafa Kemal Cataturk, ruler of our neighborhood.

Chora Church.


Morning Tram Cram.



iPalouse–Shooting and Tweaking with iPhone and iPad

 Ancient winds blew glacial silt into rolling dunes in eastern Washington and western Idaho.  In this agriculturally fertile area known as the Palouse, the hills are plowed into intricate contours for planting wheat and beans. Abstract patterns and colors stretch as far as the eye can see–a perfect venue for a workshop on iPhoneography.

More and more, I travel sans computer, relying on my iPhone and iPad for storing and tweaking travel photos. I still take most photos with my Canon Powershot SX20is camera, but the iPhone increasingly serves as a second camera. Many of these Palouse photos were taken on the iPhone, and all the photos were processed in various apps on the iPad.

Sunrise Palette (Two photos taken with Canon, merged in True HDR app, fine tuned in Snapseed app)

Self-portrait (iPhone, Hipstamatic)

Lone Tree and Steptoe Butte, iPhone photo

Same photo, with effect added in Moku Hanga app

After Moku Hanga effect, converted to black and white in Snapseed, then added Drama filter in Snapseed

Started with two plain photos, converted one to a sketch in Photo Artista Sketch app, then merged/blended the sketch with the barn photo in Filterstorm

Greens and blacks

Started with iPhone Hipstamatic photo, converted to sepia in OldPhotoPro app

Morning in the Palouse

Palouse in Black & White

The moose are loose in Palouse

Strangers in Good Company

An iPhoneography workshop in the rolling Palouse Hills of Eastern Washington with Teri Lou Dantzler and Harry Sandler offered up incredible photo ops and 4 days of learning about taking and processing photos with the iPhone and iPad. But the trip gave the added wonderful bonus of the people in the class. We braved 4 a.m. wake-ups for sunrise shoots, scorching heat in the high 90s, and dust everywhere. No whiners here–only a bunch of photo and iPhone fanatics who made the time an unforgettably fun experience.

And when they hunkered down in a patch of posies seeking the perfect shot, they looked like a bunch of lovely flowers themselves.
































Cuba: Russians and the Tropicana

A trip to Havana would not be complete without an evening at the fabled Tropicana. Opened in 1939, it survived the Mob and the Revolution to continue offering up voluptuous showgirls and muscled showboys in sequins and feathers, accompanied by the hot beat of Cuban music.

Diane and I were squired by two handsome guys from our group who managed to land us stage-side seats for the extravaganza. Just before the house lights dimmed, a minor commotion attracted our notice: Two house staff members were escorting a couple to join our table.

Our new companions were clearly completely blind, as signaled by their white canes and dark glasses. We said hello and soon learned that our neighbors were André and Tatania from Russia. Sharing our limited common words in English and Spanish, we managed to exchange a few pleasantries. Then the show began, and thinking we had done our bit for Glasnost, we turned our attention back to the stage.

But then I heard André’s deep, guttural voice saying, “Debora, Debora.”  “Yes, André?”  “Debora–you must dance with me.”  Of course, the aisle by our table was completely dark, but André didn’t know that. Not another soul was dancing, but André didn’t know that. And, well, how do you refuse an invitation like that from a blind Russian? So, we danced for a bit, then returned to our seats.

We were not, however, yet finished with our Russian encounter. Apparently, André had brought along some good Russian vodka and was well along into consuming it. He began talking to his vodka bottle in a very loud voice, seemingly providing an emotional non-stop account of something–sort of like a Tourette’s onslaught in Russian.

We nevertheless managed to enjoy the sights and the sounds of the dancers and music, accompanied by André’s constant commentary.

Then, another commotion at our table.  Two staff members arrived to lift André’s head from the table where it had fallen and carry him from the room.  They said something to Tatania  (who had yet to say a word, break a smile, or tap a foot)–perhaps asking if she wanted to go with André. Whatever they asked, her answer was a definitive “Nyet.”

A bit later, the staff members returned and poured Andre back into his seat, where he spent the rest of the evening with his head and white cane resting on the table.

Tatania never smiled.

And that was our evening at the Tropicana.

In honor of Andre and Tatania, a new cocktail called Two Blind Russians. It’s a variation of the classic Three Miller (aka Between the Sheets), substituting vodka for the rum and lime juice for the lemon juice:

  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. cognac

Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with two maraschino cherries. After a couple of these, you’ll be as blind as the Russians.