Monday, July 12, 2010

Photos from France

For your enjoyment (I hope), here are a few of my photos from our recent trip to France. Cliff still has my camera on his research trip so I don't have access to all my shots and I am switching to a new computer so I cannot try out some new Photoshop stuff I just learned about and cannot wait to try. These are unretouched (not that I retouch much but I have just seen some new effects to use with Photoshop that blew me away - I have it on my PC but am not savvy and want to learn more). My laptop having lost an unfortunate battle with a palmetto bug in Florida this spring, I am capitalizing on the opportunity to switch back to Mac after many years and am very excited about the Macbook Pro making its way toward me now. To start using the Photoshop effects I have been eyeing I will need to buy the Mac version of Photoshop too! I find taking these pictures so relaxing and am ready to step it up and invest in a nice digital SLR camera (Nikon D90 maybe?) We have great old Nikon film cameras and oodles of excellent Nikkor lenses (hoping some of the lenses can be used). My current digital camera has some manual functions but I would like more flexibility. Next step, a Miksang (contemplative photography) course at the Shambhala Center in NYC - hopefully they will offer another soon that I can join!

Vive la France

Embracing Wellness recently returned from 2.5 weeks in France - most of it spent in Provence, near Avignon, with a few days in Paris at the end. We had a great time even if was hot-hot-hot for several days. . . lots of swimming, biking (esp. for Henry) and yummy food, and even a little bit of sightseeing (like the Pont du Gard - that's where the boys are on the left). We saw friends who now live in Avignon (and their brand new baby - a gorgeous little girl who joins her three bothers and two sisters) and friends who have been living in Paris came down to spend several days with us. Henry even had the three Avignon-based boys over for a sleepover - it was fun and lively with four boys playing in the house and pool. Henry told us before we left NYC that the thing he was most looking forward to on the trip was meeting the new baby - she was just 5 weeks old - he LOVES babies. She exceeded his expectations and he was thrilled to be able to hold her. He is so gentle, sweet and protective with babies, it just tugs my heartstrings.

While he was sad to leave the house and go to Paris, once there Henry had a good time. We did lots of walking, took a bateau mouche ride on the Seine, visited Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle, climbed on and ran through the columns of the art installation Les Deux Plateaux in the courtyard of the Palais Royal (see Henry and Grandmere), and visited the iconic (even though it is only 20 yrs old or so) IM Pei pyramid entrance to the Louvre. In le Jardin des Tuileries, we took a ride on a giant ferris wheel - much to my height-fearing chagrin - where we were treated to incredible aerial views of the city. Henry also spent a quiet half hour gently steering a big sailboat around one of the man-made ponds in the garden. We almost missed our flight back from Paris (in a scheduling snafu, we were on a different plane than my mother-in-law, and ours left three hours earlier), but on the way home were treated to a cloudless view of Greenland from 37,000 feet - incredible views of mountains, snow, glaciers and icebergs - truly majestic and the stark vastness of it was awe-inspiring. Henry had the window seat and drew my attention to it (along with another plane flying off in the distance!). What a jarring contrast that chilly view of Greenland presented to the heat, hustle and bustle of home once we landed!