Purple Haze

Arctic lupine or Lupinus arcticus, growing along the road in Canada. These beautiful flowers grow up north where the air is crisp and clear; they tend to be light lilac to dark purple.

The first time I saw Arctic Lupine was in Iceland, where the plants were imported to help with erosion and feed the soil, which allows trees to once again grow into a forest. An Iceland guide told me that visitors from Canada and Alaska call it Icelandic Lupine, even though it comes from their countries. They are an invasive species and it shouldn’t surprise history lovers that this imported plant is now causing trouble.

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If you want to see Lupine in its natural habitat then go north to Alaska and Canada, to see these beautiful plants in bloom. I used a photoshop filter to change my photo into a work of art. If you want physical copies of my photos, go to my Zazzle storefront, where you can get the photo as a postcard, photo print, or on canvas. https://jmptraveler.com/product/purple-haze-2/

If you want to learn more about the Lupine debate click on the links below.

Only in America, American Colloquialism

The non-American guide to some of our Colloquiaslism and the reason behind them.

  1. I need your John Hancock. This means I need you to sign your name or signature on a bill or invoice. Why do we use a name for that? There is a myth that John Hancock signed his name on the Declaration of Independence so large that King George III could read it without his glasses. His name is huge in later copies of the Declaration, but the first copies were read out loud and never sent to England. His name is printed on the bottom of the first copy because he served as president of Congress when they came up with the Declaration.
  2. Can I get the check? Would you like the check? The check in this case is the bill. No idea why we use check for the bill.
  3. Benedict Arnold. It means treason, to be a traitor, to turn your back on something or someone. Benedict Arnold was in the American Revolution, he sold out America to the UK, and his name has been synonymous with a turncoat ever since.
  4. Monday-morning quarterback. It’s when people tell you what they would have done in a situation they aren’t in charge of and have no experience or knowledge of the events in question. This refers to a critical position in American Football; the quarterback is the one who throws the football, makes the call, and sets the pace for the team. I’m sure there are similar positions in other sports.
  5. Shotgun! I call Shotgun! This is the front seat next to the driver in a car/vehicle. If you watch a western movie, the driver, the person holding the reins to the team of horses, is on the left. The person sitting next to the driver has a shotgun in case of attack/robbery. So calling Shotgun means I want the other front seat.
  6. Plead the Fifth. It means I’m not saying anything to anyone. It’s referring to the Fifth Amendment in US Constitution, saying we have the right not to answer a question if it screws us over. “nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself”.

It doesn’t have a Red Belly.

Photo of a Red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes Carolinus) that doesn’t have a red-bellied (who names birds?) on the lookout for some bugs to eat. To be fair, there was a bird already named Red-Headed Woodpecker, and it has a tiny orange patch near its feet.

Some of you might be wondering if it’s an orange feathered patch and why it is called the Red-bellied Woodpecker vs. the Orange-Bellied Woodpecker. Here’s a fun fact about the history of the word Orange, the word Orange didn’t exist in the English language until the 13th century. However the name refers to the fruit, Orange; the color Orange didn’t get its own word until the 15th century. It was referred to as red or yellow-red before changing into Orange. This is why robin redbreast is called red vs. orange in England, it was named before there was a word for the color Orange.

The second fun fact is most ancient languages/cultures did not have a word for the color blue, it was lumped into green, or the old language described colors as Light or Dark vs. spectrum.

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Black, White, and Red All Over

Fun with ballet pointe shoes. It’s summertime and the living is easy but also hot and humid. This has led to some still live indoor photos because AC and indoor plumbing is the best!

I should say I’m not a fan of ballet but I am a fan of ballet-related art/photos. This might be due to my love of impressionism and ballet dancers are a frequent subject. Also, the ballet movements or poses are visually interesting, by design. I purchased a black and a white tutu and vivid red pointe shoes. I used the tutus because it goes with ballet shoes and they would add a contrasting texture to the satin shoes. If you are wondering why I used red shoes vs typical ballet pink, then look up the meaning of the color red. There’s a reason so many products and sports teams use the color red.

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For physical photos, you can view my Zazzle Store Front: https://www.zazzle.com/store/jmptravler

An American in France, in an American Crematory technically in France…

When it comes to WWII, America doesn’t celebrate VE Day. This tidbit might surprise Europeans because we always remind people that we won WWII. We don’t celebrate VE day because the war wasn’t over for us. We declared war on Japan a day after the attack at Pearl Harbor, so on December 8, 1941, the US didn’t declare war on Germany until after they declared war on us on December 11, 1941.

Instead, on the last Monday in May, we celebrate Memorial Day, where we remember and honor those who die while serving the Armed Services. Memorial Day started around the American Civil War, but it was called Decoration Day because people decorated service members’ graves with flowers or flags. Congress officially changed the name after WWII to Memorial Day and made it a 3 day weekend in 1971. It’s now the official kickoff for summer; outdoor pools are open, BBQs are held, and day drinking is a must.

This post is about the most sincere Memorial Day I have experienced that wasn’t on Memorial Day and took place in France. When you think about WWII, the D-Day invasion of Normandy is high on the list, which is why a visit to the Normandy region of France is a must for all Americans to get a true sense of the cost of war. The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France is located in Colleville-sur-Mer; it is the resting place of 9,386 American soldiers who died during the Normandy Invasion. Please note that is not the total number that died during the invasion.

There are 1,557 names on the wall of the missing whose bodies were never recovered. It didn’t end there because around 10,000 service members were sent home after the war. The remaining graves are for those who had no home to return to, or the family couldn’t bear to bury their child for the 2nd time. I wonder if some thought it was best to let them rest with their brothers in arms overlooking the ocean. Those numbers account for Americans; remember, the UK, Canada, and France lost people. If you don’t include German soldiers, around 57,200 people lost their lives just during the Normandy Invasion from June 6 to September 14, 1944.

What caused my eyes to water was realizing I was older than just about everyone buried here, and I was in my early 30s. My life was longer than theirs because they lost their lives for all of us. It was a beautiful summer day in France during my visit; we went to the actual beaches where the battles took place. Families were having a fun day out to the beach, working on their tan, with kids running around laughing and splashing in the ocean water. It was picturesque, bright, cheery, and full of life; it’s what they fought and died for.

Retro Technicolor

A childhood throwback, a brightly colored carousel. Walking around Tours while on vacation in France, and saw this technicolor memory. I then used PhotoShop filters to create artwork. The scenes around the top of the carousel reminded me of the 1st Marry Poppins movie when Bert is drawing on the sidewalk. The title comes from watching “old” movies that proudly stated they were filmed in Glorious Technicolor. I don’t know why but I’ve always loved that word, Technicolor.

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Row, Row, Row, Your Boat

An early photo of mine that I still love. I was walking around the harbor of Thessaloniki, Greece, in the morning and I saw this small rowboat anchored in the water. Usually, the rowboats I see are plain white or brown, so the colors really popped when I saw the boat. The early morning light also helped to create warm colors.

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Ch Ch Ch Ch Cheetah!

Applying those Neural Filters to my 10-year-old Cheetah photo, I’ve been having fun! The following photos are of the 80s-created animals.

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They’re Great

I’ve started fooling around with Photoshop’s art style filters. Below is my starting photo, an old shot of a tiger in the Zoo.

The art style filters are “Neural Filters” in the Filter drop-down box. Then select “Style Transfer, and select the different styles in the Presets.

The last step is to play around with the dials and look at the “Strength and Style Opacity” values for the following two photos.

Below are my results.

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This last photo might be my favorite one, and it might be due to growing up in the 80s…Neon Colors.

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I Don’t Think You’re Ready For This Jelly!

I love watching jellyfish, they are graceful and ethereal creatures but they do sting. Best to view it from afar, or in an aquarium. The below photos are from an aquarium but they have been edited to capture the full effect. The jellyfish were in a blue-lit tank, blue light keeps the algae away and mimics natural lighting for the fish. Remember full spectrum of sunlight doesn’t pierce very deep into a large body of water. That’s why reefs look so blue in person, as the blue light are the only light waves that can make it past a few feet.

Flying Shark!

I visited the Virginia Beach Aquarium in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA. Above is one of their sharks in the giant saltwater tank; this is a Sand Tiger Shark, which isn’t the same as a Tiger Shark. For this shot, I used some new camera gear, a rubber/flexible Lens Hood that removes reflections from glass, like windows or an aquarium. Below is an example, the lens hood blocks the light hitting the window, so no glare or reflections. It needs to be flexible because some aquariums are curved.

Rubber Lens hood,

Below is the photo I started with, was no glare or reflection, just a lot of blue light.

The first step in the editing process was to crop out the other fish, and find a way to remove the blue light. Below is the detail section from Photoshop; I decreased the blues and purples to the negative value. Removing blues made the photo black and white or grayscale.

The next step was to make the photo clearer by increasing the dehaze, texture, and clarity values.

That’s how I arrived at the below photo, which I think looks like a flying shark.

Do I like Monet because he painted water lilies, or do I like water lilies because Monet painted them?

I watched a live-action non-Disney version of Cinderella many years ago, all I remember was the song Prince Charming sang. Do I love you because you’re beautiful or are you beautiful because I love you? Hence the title is about my love for Water Lillies and Monet, and yes I’ve been to his house in France and saw the water lilies.

The below Water lilies from Wilhelma Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Stuttgart Germany, which I turned into artwork with…Fotor Photo Editor. The weird part is the Monet water lily filter didn’t work, I think it’s was too many lilies to handle.

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