All posts by Gregg

I am an Electrical Engineer, having graduated from The University of Texas in Austin with a B.S.E.E. degree in 1986, while specializing in Computer Engineering. This is my career, and this is how I pay the bills, but hey, this is a web site about my photography, not electrical engineering! I have a deep passion for photography, and have recently registered myself with the state of Texas as a small business doing photography. I am still exploring the many different types of photography, and getting a feeling for which type(s) I want to specialize in after I retire from my engineering career. I love to photograph a wide variety of items, including nature, landscapes, architecture, cityscapes, and large panoramics. Lately I have become excited about making portraits of people, both posed and natural. I have been using using multiple portable Canon Speedlite flash units for quite a while, and find them fun to play with. I have recently purchased a full set of studio lighting equipment, as I believe that I will also really enjoy corporate product and still life photography.

My Favorite Photos of France – Part 2

Walking tour of the Medieval town of Viviers.
Walking tour of the Medieval town of Viviers.

In my previous post, I shared 19 photos of our first 3 days on the French Waterways vacation that we went on last July. This post will show 15 more photos that were taken over the next 2 days.

The opening photo and the next two were all taken after we hiked up from the Rhone River to the small walled city of Viviers.

Jana and Barb at scenic overlook in Viviers.
Jana and Barb at scenic overlook in Viviers.

This small town was built during the Medieval Ages. There were only one or two streets that a car could travel short distances on.

Rooftop of the buildings in the Medieval town of Viviers
Rooftop of the buildings in the Medieval town of Viviers

Reminder: You can always view any photo at a larger size by just clicking on it. You will then need to use your browser’s “Back Button” to return to my story.

Chandellier inside Medieval church in Viviers.
Chandellier inside Medieval church in Viviers.

The chandelier above was in the Viviers Cathedral, which construction was started on in the 11th century.

Nuclear power plants on the Rhone River, north of Viviers.
Nuclear power plants on the Rhone River, north of Viviers.

That afternoon, it drizzled and rained on us as we cruised further north up the Rhone River. About noon the next day we arrived in the city of Vienne.

From our docked river boat in Vienne.
From our docked river boat in Vienne.

While we were waiting to waiting to disembark on our walking tour of Vienne, I went up to the top of our boat. While I was there, this French gentleman cruised past us in his houseboat.

A houseboat passes by our docked river boat in Vienne.
A houseboat passes by our docked river boat in Vienne.

Now here is something that you just don’t see in the very often:

A Medieval house on the left, next to some Roman ruins in Vienne.
A Medieval house on the left, next to some Roman ruins in Vienne.

The house with the criss-cross timbers was built in the Medieval Ages, and they built it right next to the arched wall that the Romans had built!

We hiked up to the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Salette in the drizzle and light rain. It was worth the effort, as we were rewarded with this spectacular view of the Rhone River winding into town from the north.

Scenic view from above Vienne, France.
Scenic view from above Vienne, France.

While standing in the same place, but looking straight down, we had a great view of what remains of an ancient Roman amphitheater.

Roman amphitheatre in Vienne.
Roman amphitheatre in Vienne.

Since we had hiked up the hill to the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Salette, we went inside to get out of the rain.

Chapelle Notre Dame de la Salette, a medieval church above Vienne, France.
Chapelle Notre Dame de la Salette, a medieval church above Vienne, France.

If that looks somewhat odd, it is because it is a composite of two different exposures: one for the inside of the church, and one for the stained glass windows.

Jana and Barb on the walking tour of Vienne, France.
Jana and Barb on the walking tour of Vienne, France.

It was a good thing that my camera and lens are pretty much weatherproof, as I didn’t have an umbrella like Jana and Barb did.

When we got back down to the city, we got to see a still-standing Roman temple; the early Imperial temple of Augustus.

Roman temple in Vienne.
Roman temple in Vienne.

We also went inside of the Cathedral of St. Maurice, which was built over a long period of time; between 1052 and 1533.

Medieval church in Vienne.
Medieval church in Vienne.

I should mention that I only took one camera to France; an Olympus OM-D E-M1. Although I did take 5 lenses with me, I only used two of them, and ALL of the photos that I will share in this 5 Part series were taken with one single lens; the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO.

In addition, every photo that I have shared up to this point was taken while hand-holding the camera. This next photo is different, as I used my travel tripod and the self-timer on the camera.

Group photo of our travel mates on this trip
Group photo of our travel mates on this trip

This photo of our entire group was taken at 9:20 PM, and since it was getting dark pretty fast, I bumped up the ISO to 400, but even with the aperture wide-open at f/2.8, the shutter was open 1/20th of a second. After all of the wine that we had consumed at dinner, it’s amazing that nobody wobbled into a blurred state….

Thank you for visiting my blog.

My Favorite Photos of France – Part 1

Boats on the Rhone River in Avignon, France
Boats on the Rhone River in Avignon, France

Last July Barb, her close friend Jana, and I joined 13 others on a French Waterways vacation. Barb and I also added on the optional 3-day extension to see the city of Paris.

I don’t want to tell any long, detailed stories about this fantastic vacation, but I do want to share some of my favorite photos that I took. I would say that I have 500 “favorites”. I obviously cannot, and do not want to post 500 photos into a web site formatted for blog posting! I have about 90 that I intend to post here over the next few weeks.

The photo above was taken from the opened window of our cabin on our first morning of the river cruise. We were on the Rhône River, on the western edge of Avignon, France.

The City Wall of Avignon
The City Wall of Avignon

The city wall around Avignon was built during the Medieval Ages.

Reminder: You can always view any photo at a larger size by just clicking on it. You will then need to use your browser’s “Back Button” to return to my story.

Before going through the entrance to that city wall, I turned around to take this photo of the giant Ferris Wheel.

Avignon Ferris Wheel
Avignon Ferris Wheel

Inside the city wall, the church on the left is Notre Dame des Doms, while the building on the right is the Palais des Papes (the Pope’s Palace).

Notre Dame des Doms behind the Pope's Palace in Avignon, France
Notre Dame des Doms behind the Pope’s Palace in Avignon, France

After our official guided tour of Avignon, Barb, Jana, and I went out again on our own to explore some of the other sites in Avignon.

We walked north from our boat upstream of the Rhône about ½ mile to see what is left of the Pont Saint-Bénézet (aka Pont d’Avignon).

Pont Saint-Bénézet (aka Pont d'Avignon)
Pont Saint-Bénézet (aka Pont d’Avignon)

We also went on a self-guided tour within the Pope’s Palace.

Inside the Pope's Palace in Avignon, France
Inside the Pope’s Palace in Avignon, France

The next day, we left the city of Avignon by bus, in order to visit a few other tourist attractions in the area. In the morning, we went to the Pont du Gard.

Pont du Gard aquaduct built by The Romans
Pont du Gard aquaduct built by The Romans

The Pont du Gard (literally: Gard Bridge) is an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge, built in the 1st century, that crosses the Gardon River, from which it takes its name.

Pont du Gard aquaduct built by The Romans
Pont du Gard aquaduct built by The Romans

In the afternoon we drove to the Medieval town of Les Baux-de-Provence, which sits high upon a very rocky hill.

View from Les Baux-de-Provence Medieval City
View from Les Baux-de-Provence Medieval City

In this ancient town, I found it visually ironic to find this guy engaged in a thoroughly modern activity….

Modern smartphone user in the Medieval town of Les Baux-de-Provence
Modern smartphone user in the Medieval town of Les Baux-de-Provence

On our third morning of our cruise, our boat left its dock in Avignon.

View of Avignon from the Rhone River
View of Avignon from the Rhone River

The boat, the ms River Discovery II, slowly passed the Pont Saint-Bénézet (aka Pont d’Avignon).

View of Pont Saint-Bénézet (aka Pont d'Avignon)
View of Pont Saint-Bénézet (aka Pont d’Avignon)

The boat then turned around and headed back towards Avignon, so that we could take the deeper fork of the Rhone River to the west.

View of Pont Saint-Bénézet (aka Pont d'Avignon)
View of Pont Saint-Bénézet (aka Pont d’Avignon)

Cruising relatively long distances on a river usually includes going through a system of locks. We came our first one, the Ecluse d’Avignon, just a few miles north of Avignon.

Rising with the water in the Ecluse d'Avignon lock on the Rhone River.
Rising with the water in the Ecluse d’Avignon lock on the Rhone River.

We were headed to the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region.

Grapes in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region.
Grapes in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region.

We rode along on very modern, air conditioned buses through some very rocky terrain for vineyards.

Tour of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region.
Tour of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region.

From very near the remnants of The Pope’s New Castle (Châteauneuf-du-Pape), we were presented with this very nice scenic overlook above the town also named Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

View over Châteauneuf-du-Pape, looking back down the Rhone River towards Avignon
View over Châteauneuf-du-Pape, looking back down the Rhone River towards Avignon

We walked down into the small, medieval town and spent about an hour investigating this charming little village.

Downtown Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Downtown Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The last photo that I want to show you from that 3rd day of our cruise was taken hand-held from our moving boat while our group was partying and drinking.

Sunset from the Rhone River north of Bollène.
Sunset from the Rhone River north of Bollène.

Besides just being another sunset photo, it does show 4 sources of electricity that we saw the French use: nuclear, wind, solar, and hydro.

I think that photo is a very fitting one to end part 1 of what I expect will be 5 part series to show my favorite 90 or so photos from this year’s vacation to France.

Thank you for visiting my (infrequent) blog.

The Wheel of Time

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The Wheel of Time keeps rolling along. It’s been nearly 5 months since my last blog post. I’m not sure why I have lost interest in keeping this blog updated. Maybe that desire will rekindle itself someday. I certainly have not lost any interest in photography! I still get out and shoot just as much as  I used to. I even like the improvements that I believe that I am achieving.

I do spend far less time on the internet now, and I am much happier because of it. Oh I still get on the internet, it’s just that I don’t use it much as a source of entertainment any more (but that could change at any time).

Anyway, I don’t really have anything meaningful to say, but I did want to update my blog, just to see if I remember how to do it. And I’m sure that you are sick and tired of seeing Marcia Ball as my most recent blog post photo!