Archive for June, 2017

Honored to be Among the 2017 iPhone Photography Awards Winners

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1st Place Travel Category

I was thrilled to learn this morning that my image Snow + Fishing Cottages = Win won 1st Place the Travel category of the 2017 iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAs). I took this image in February in Norway and it is one of my personal favorites, so I am excited it may find a new audience. After perusing the gallery of winning images I am humbled and honored have my photograph included in this mix of truly amazing shots.

In addition, three more of images were named as Honorable Mentions in the Trees, Sunset, and Nature categories. I am particularly pleased that a photo I shot on my iPhone 7 plus while experimenting with photographing the Northern Lights in Norway was named among the Honorable Mentions in the Nature category.

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Honorable Mention: Trees

This sunrise shot from Joshua Tree National Park during the last supermoon of 2016. Joshua Tree is one of my favorite places in California and the skies were so gorgeous that morning it was worth losing a good night’s sleep.

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Honorable Mention: Sunset

An image I took on safari in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania garnered an Honorable Mention in the 2017 Sunset category of the IPPAs. This shot was taken during the end of the Great Migration of wildebeest. It was truly an epic view!

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Honorable Mention: Nature

While photography contests are arguably a matter of taste, I’m perhaps most excited about this image I took using the Northern Lights Photo Taker app receiving an Honorable Mention. For me it’s the intersection of technology and creativity that keeps iPhone photography exciting and this image pretty much summarizes that.

I am grateful I didn’t have to judge these awards! There are so many amazing images, including many by friends. I was thrilled to learn my friend and fellow Shot on iPhone/Apple World Gallery photographer Brendan Ó Sé won the 1st Place Photographer of the Year for an amazing image he shot in Jakarta.

The gallery of winning images is gorgeous and inspiring and well worth looking through if you have a few minutes. Congratulations to all the photographers mentioned!

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Exploring Turkey: Lycian, Greek and Roman cities of Anatolia

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Sundown on the main street of Phaselis

Editor’s Note: Anastasia Chernykh is the social media manager for My Life’s a Trip. She recently traveled to Anatolia, Turkey and agreed to do this guest post for the blog. I learned a lot about the fascinating history of Turkey’s southern coast and now I’m really curious to visit Anatolia. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did. – Jen Pollack Bianco

I used to think of Turkey as a larger version of Istanbul. With its wonderful mix of European and Asian cultures, an overwhelming Grand Bazaar, high minarets, strong coffee and wonderful Turkish delights being sold at every corner. But there are some places in this huge country that were inhabited long before Ottoman, Byzantine, or even Roman Empire existed.

The south coast of Turkey was once a home to Lycia, an ancient federation of city-states that existed at the same time as ancient Egypt.

Sunken City 

The best part of visiting was getting there is by the sea. Many boats run trips from Kas and Cayagzi, the harbor of Demre.

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Sailing to Kekova

The sea-trading city of Simena located on Kekova Island was once a part of Lycia. Simena was destroyed by an earthquake during the 2nd century and partially sank beneath the waves.

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Clear waters in Protected area near Sunken city

It is still possible to see the city ruins above the shoreline and below the clear waters of the Mediterranean. The island, where the ruins are located, is now uninhabited. In 1990 the Turkish government declared it to be a Protected Area, and all kinds of water activities (diving, swimming, snorkeling) are now forbidden without a special permit in the area around the sunken city.

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The ruins of Simena with staircase leading underwater

Limyra

From Antalya take the main road 400 in the direction of Kumluca and further to Demre/Kale. Near Finike the ruins can be easily spotted on both sides of the road.

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Lycian Cliff Tombs

Limyra was one of the oldest cities in Lycia and even once was proclaimed a capital of the lycian league. The city was conquered by Cyrus the Great and would stay under Persian control until the very end of its days, when it was conquered by Alexander the Great, in the second century BC it eventually became a part of Roman Empire.

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A theatre from the Roman age, with seating capacity for 8,000 spectators

Among the ruins of Limyra the most impressive are those of Roman amphitheatre and distinctive rock-cut Lycian tombs Lycia in the sides of cliffs. Lycians believed that their dead will be transported to the afterworld by a siren-like creature, so often placed their tombs along the coast or in the cliffs for an easier access from the air.

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A part of bath system built near theatre

Phaselis

About 12 km from Kemer, north of town Tekirova. The site is located within National Park, entrance fee is $6(20TRY).

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The small Baths

One of the most impressive archeological sites we visited was the remains of ancient Phaselis. The city was founded by Greek colonists, that most likely came from Rhodes. The unique location of the city, with it’s tree natural harbours, made it a prosperous port and important trading center. One of the harbours (called “Sun Harbour”) if still being used today, mostly for tourist boats.

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The Roman aqueduct is the first and most obvious landmark of the site.

In the 6th century BC, Phaselis was captured by the Persians, then it fell to Alexander The Great. It is said sometimes that he’s golden sarcophagus could be buried somewhere in the city, after it was brought from Alexandria to avoid its demolition.

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The ruins of Hadrianus Arch

The years of Roman rule were the year of constant growth and prosperity for the city. The city was even visited by an Emperor Hadrianus. A monumental arch at the beginning of the main street was built i his name. It’s remains can still be seen near South Harbour of the city.

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Ancient walls

Once again the city was great during Byzantine period, but then pirates and Arab invasions, along with earthquakes and growth of port activity in Alanya and Antalya, Phaselis ceased to exist.

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The Roman theater dates from the second century and could hold around 3000 people.

The most of the ruins are from Roman and Byzantine times. The Aqueduct and the theatre are well preserved. There were two temples in the area, one dedicated to Afina and the other one to Hermes and Hestia, but they are basically non-existant. A colonnaded paved ancient street is still leading from the central harbor to the remains of Hadrian Gate. You can see the ruins of bathhouse and some other public building along it. The necropolis is located to the north of the site.

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The closest airport for getting to know Lycian heritage is Antalya International Airport (AYT), numerous scheduled and charter flights go here from all over the Europe.

You can rent a car (from $25/day) for a self-drive trip, or book a tour to the main sites(group tours prices start at $10) in Antalya.

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Exploring Los Angeles, California: The Museum of Ice Cream

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Obligatory selfie at the Museum of Ice Cream

One of my favorite things about Los Angeles is how many interesting and quirky events there are to check out. Last week I got a chance to visit the highly instagramable Museum of Ice Cream in the downtown LA Arts District.

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Great people watching at the Museum of Ice Cream

Part pop-up art gallery, part interactive ice cream experience (featuring artisanal frozen goodness from L.A. faves Salt & Straw and Coolhaus) the Museum of Ice Cream is an offbeat place to explore and get a sugar high while learning some interesting ice cream facts and history.

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Popsicle art 

25 year old Laguna Beach native Maryellis Bunn came up with the idea for the MoIC was recently profiled in Forbes magazine. The Los Angeles version of the MoIC opened in late April and is currently sold out for it’s extended run through August. It may be extended, so sign up here for updates.

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Pink telephone room at the Museum of Ice Cream

Ms. Bunn hopes to open Museum of Ice Cream locations in San Francisco and Miami by the end of the year, and is rumored to be thinking about a permanent location in New York City.

The banana swing room was my favorite installation 

My friend, photographer Rebecca Adler joined me at the museum of ice cream and shot this video in the banana swing room.

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Sweet decor details at the Museum of Ice Cream

The whole experience was fun and everyone from kids to hipsters to tourists were enjoying the MoIC. Workers were rocking pink denim Canadian tuxedos and entertained guests with fun factoids about ice cream. The employee who seemed to be having the least good time was the sprinkle sweep, in charge of explaining the rules to visitors before they are allowed to play in the four foot deep pit full of plastic “sprinkles.”

Slow motion sprinkles = good times

Be warned— those sprinkles get EVERYWHERE!

Visitors exit through the gift shop where they can buy ice-cream related items ranging from $10 Unicorn Snot body glitter to a $10,500 limited edition MoIC x Elevate tennis table.

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Cute museum of Ice Cream goers

I really enjoyed my interactive Museum of Ice Cream experience and think it’s a perfect opportunity for summer fun. The people watching was really great as well.

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Getting cozy with a giant gummy bear at the Museum of Ice Cream

Ticket holders should arrive ahead of time, as they are strict about entry times.

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Charcoal cookie dough”ice cream” in front of an installation by artist Abel Benton

The Museum of Ice Cream is yet another fun draw to Los Angeles’ Downtown Arts District, which gets more impressive every time I visit.

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Left: the sprinkle pit Right: Bon-Bon Jovi’s star at the MoIC’s walk of fame

Workers were checking IDs (one per group) against the names on tickets, so be warned if you are planning on attempting to buy a ticket on the re-sale market.

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You can buy this custom tennis table in the gift shop

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Neon sweetness at the Museum of Ice Cream

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Unicorn snot for sale in the gift store

Museum of Ice Cream

2018 E 7th Place Los Angeles, CA 90021

Adult ( age 13 +) $29

Child (age 3-12) Senior (age 60+) $18

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Exploring Minneapolis: Celebrating the Legacy of Prince on The Official Paisley Park VIP Tour

 

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Prince art decorating the Performer Suite at the Loews Minneapolis Hotel

Last week I spent a few days in Minneapolis, Minnesota and used the opportunity to take the Official Paisley Park VIP Tour. I have always been a music fan and Prince has been an essential part of the soundtrack of my life. My brother and nephews live in Minneapolis and were game to join me on our trip to the suburb of Chanhassen where rock icon and musician Prince built his multipurpose estate and production compound in 1987.

Note: Paisley Park has a strict “no photos” policy, and asks guests to power off their phones when on the grounds. There is a photo opportunity available for purchase, where guests can have their picture taken next to a 10 foot high mural of Prince and get the image files on a Paisley Park flash drive. I bought this opportunity but my flash drive does not work, and I am attempting to get the image files from the staff at Paisley Park.

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The dining room in the Performer Suite of the Loews Minneapolis

Prince died without a will, but while taking the tour it seems clear that he had thought about his legacy and had always had plans for Paisley Park to ultimately become a museum. The other guests on the VIP Paisley Park tour enhanced our experience immensely. They were all die hard Prince fans, most wearing purple clothing. All came from out of town and one said the ticket price to her first Prince show cost $7.99. The tour of the creative bubble universe Prince created at Paisley Park was fascinating, moving and at times surprising.

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The living room of the Performer Suite 

Prince was very private and his living quarters at Paisley Park are not among the spaces guests are allowed to explore. Some of the highlights of the tour included seeing Prince’s office, complete with coffee table books and personal photos and listening to unreleased jazz tracks Prince was working on in Studio A, where they were recorded.

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The bedroom of the Performer Suite at the Loews Minneapolis

Even those only slightly familiar with Prince’s music will be impressed by the collection of gold and platinum records on display. The Academy Award Prince for Purple Rain was front and center in the Purple Rain room, as well as several Grammys (a few of which could use a polish).

The tone and seriousness our tour guide used was respectful and very human. It’s clear that Paisley Park staffers were Prince’s de facto family and those working there seemed reverential without coming off as fanboys. Several guests were moved to tears when they found themselves in front of Prince’s urn, a replica of Paisley Park that is kept in the atrium of the complex, near where a trio of doves live in decorative cages.

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Waiting for the elevator at the Loews Minneapolis Hotel

Exploring the various rooms of Paisley Park many of Prince’s costumes and shoes are on display and they do not disappoint. I felt like the tour fee was easily justified when the other guests on our tour spontaneously broke into song and dance in the Graffiti Bridge room. Even my high school and college age nephews understood how deeply Prince’s work affected his fans.

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The baby grand piano in the Performer Suite at the Loews

Paisley Park’s colorful Prince-centric murals and on-site night club further show how the musician created his own pocket universe. We even got a chance to paddle away on Prince’s in-studio ping pong table. Video and audio clips are presented in the same spaces they where they were created. Many of Prince’s musical instruments including multiple cloud guitars and custom pianos are sprinkled throughout the tour.

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Prince art in the Performer Suite at the Loews Minneapolis Hotel

There is gift shop on the tour, complete with a cafe where guests can order the pancakes Prince was so fond of that have been immortalized in this David Chapelle skit.

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Fan Tributes at Paisley Park after Prince died in 2016

If you’re visiting Minneapolis and want to further pay homage to Prince, I suggest staying at the Loews Minneapolis Hotel, where I stayed in the Performer Suite, which is decorated in muted grays and purples, complete with Prince art and and a baby grand piano.
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Prince Tributes put up at Paisley Park after the artist’s death in 2016

The Loews Minneapolis also close to First Avenue, the legendary club that Prince performed at since 1981 and where several scenes of Purple Rain were filmed.

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A purple symbol created by a fan at Paisley Park in 2016

LOEWS MINNEAPOLIS HOTEL
601 1st Avenue North Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55403
Phone: 612-677-1100
Reservations: 1-877-880-8918

Paisley Park

Address: 7801 Audubon Rd, Chanhassen, MN 55317, USA

Paisley Park hours operation are as follows:

Monday and Tuesdays: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Friday : 9:00 am – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Paisley Park is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.

General Admission $38.50 (Additional $7.50 (service fee plus facility fee) per GA ticket )

VIP Tour $100.00 (Additional $11.75 (service fee plus facility fee) per ticket)

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