Saturday, November 19, 2011

Photo Club -- Istanbul

I have joined the Photography Club here in Istanbul.  I have really enjoyed these ladies and all they have taught me.  

Each month we have a couple of "Challenges" -- for the first couple of weeks of November, we were to look for "framing".  

While Terry and I were walking around SultanAhmet he noticed this couple sitting in the garden next to the Blue Mosque.  Before I could get into position for the shot -- they stopped.  I was disappointed, then I caught the young man's eye and motioned for him to kiss her again.  He was more than willing to accommodate me . . . 
 Sometime later, I saw this couple walking under the tracks . . . arm in arm.
The next day. . . after breakfast in the Nisantasi, Terry and I walked down the hill.  We were heading for the palace of the Last Sultan -- Dolmabachce Palace.  I was thinking that it would be something that Terry would enjoy.  When we got there, the line was wrapped around the corner.  As we walked toward Ortakoy, I was looking for opportunities to frame a shot.  This was at the Imperial Gate.
 Thanks for stopping by . . . Sheryl

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Basilica Cistern -- Istanbul

Over the last Turkish holiday, Terry actually DIDN'T WORK!  I know, it was shocking to me too!  We were going to try and head out of the city, like most do.   I made the suggestion that we do some touring around, just spending time walking in this fascinating place.  Terry really hasn't had the opportunity to just "be" in this city, so he agreed.

On Monday, we went to SultanAhmet.  This is the oldest part of the city.  Originally Byzantium, then Constantinople and finally Ottoman Istanbul.  It is suggested that this area was settled as early as the 6th millennium BC.  

Our first stop was the Basilica Cistern.  This is a very interesting site.  The cistern still actually holds water.  Huge fish swim under the walkways and make the water move and shimmer under the lighting.  Originally the cistern held 18 million gallons of water.  There are 336 pillars, 26 feet in height.  These seem to have been brought here from other structures that had either fallen or were dismantled.  In the far back area, are two carved pedestals of Medusa Heads.  One is upside down and the other on it's side.  
 Shooting in low light is difficult without a tripod.  In the cistern, I had the added obstacle of water dripping from the ceiling.  I changed the settings on my camera and braced it against the hand rail.  This is the best of quite a few shots.  I was trying to hold the camera still while shielding it from the droplets crashing onto my back.
 This is another view into the lighted darkness.  
This is one of the Medusa heads used as a pedestal for rear columns.  According to the placard in the cistern, the original location in which these carvings came from is unknown.  They are pretty sure they were scrapped from another location.

We had a great time together.  I loved showing Terry around.  He actually said that he wanted to go and see some more.  Thanks for stopping by -- Sheryl

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Christmas Ornaments

Today I have had a great time working on Christmas ornaments for the IWI Christmas Bazaar. I am a member of the American Women of Istanbul and we have a table for this event. Christmas music playing (loud), I'm singing' away . . . just love doing this stuff!

Thanks for stopping by -- Sheryl

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Big Orange Cat

I don't usually take pictures of the animals here.  There are so many of really sweet dogs and cats on the street.  Yes, street dogs and cats are everywhere.   The municipality picks up the dogs and sterilizes them, gives them injections and returns them to the street.  This accomplishes two things -- one: it keeps the street clean from food tossed away.  two: it keeps the cat population in check.  

The cats are everywhere.  People actually drive around in their cars feeding these poor little animals.  They are wild and many of them are very sick.   Once in awhile you find a sweet one that has been adopted by a restaurant or other type of business.  On Thursday, some of my friends and I went to a restaurant near the shore.  This cat was a favorite and frankly, the biggest cat I have ever seen in Istanbul!  

She was pretty laid back while sitting there with me on the sofa -- she is pretty territorial in her little area.  She even got her back up at the dog that came to visit.  

Thanks for stopping by . . . Sheryl

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fresh Fish

Today was market day -- going to the fresh produce bazaar is an experience. In each area of Istanbul a Pazaar (local) Market is set up once a week. This produce is grown locally and brought into the city to sell. Today, however, I didn't eat before I left -- we were heading to an area of the bazaar where they sell food and we walked past by this fish stand. (I don't care for the smell of fish! Especially on an empty stomach!)

Even thought I am not a big fan of fish, this is a very big part of the daily life here in Istanbul and Turkey in general. This fish is fresh and I would even bet caught this morning. I love how they take great care to make sure they all look like they are smiling at you . . .

I always think of mom and how much she would have loved this type of market when she was a young housewife. Really, along with fruits and vegetables, you can get anything from underwear to winter coats here. On my trip today I bought a scarf, some embroidery scissors, mandarin oranges, nuts, onions, seedless grapes, small juice glasses and a celery root. I am going to try and make some lentil soup -- Turkish style!

Thanks for stopping by -- Sheryl

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:4 Lavent Bazaar

Monday, October 3, 2011

Christmas craft

My sister and I used to start listening to Christmas music in August. It was a great day for us when VHS was available and we could watch the movie "White Christmas" -- I know! Those old habits die hard for me --

I wanted to do a Christmas project for our home here in Turkey. So, I selected a embroidery pattern from my sisters collection. Jana Davidson is a gifted artist who has designed award winning quilt patterns. is where you can find this pattern and many more. I didn't want to make a table runner but a long pillow cover for our couch. The "Santa with his Reindeer" pattern was perfect. Using Christmas fabric for a ruffle, I think it will add a festive touch.

I have used some new style floss (new to me) that is hand dyed so it makes a nice variegated look. Almost like adding a shadow as you go.

For me, this has proven to be a very mobile project that I have stitched while on plane, train and bus. I just love the conversations it has started with both ex-pat and Turkish women. Everyone loves hand made items!

Thanks for stopping by -- love, love Sheryl

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Istanbul Turkey

Friday, September 30, 2011

Patmos Island, Greece

Patmos Island, Greece

I had been wanting to go to Patmos since I moved to Turkey.  A while back, I talked to Joy about going with me.  We made our plans (which she is exceptionally good at!) set the date and went.  It really is no easy task.  Taking a plane to Izmir and a transfer to Kusidasi, we stayed the night to begin our trip into Greece the next morning.  Boarding our first ferry was interesting because it seemed small to both of us.  Our first leg was about an hour long and when we arrived at Samos we were very hungry.  After eating at the Samos Hotel we heading for the bus to transfer us to other side of the island. We waited about 3 hours to get on a larger boat that made several stops along the way.  We were very excited to be taking the ferries but when we got on this boat, this was the upper deck seating.  

 After making a couple of stops for passengers, supply delivery and large vehicle transport we pulled into the cove that was the port at Patmos.  I took this picture (1 of 3 before the sunset) as we pulled in.
We went to our hotel were we had a wonderful dinner.  The owners of the hotel met us upon arrival and we could feel they were genuinely glad we were there.  The next morning we had a large breakfast, in the morning sun, looking out over the mourned boats in the small cove on the south side of the island.  ( I am sorry to say that I didn't get a picture of our hotel, huh?)  
We left after breakfast to head to the monastery built in honor of St. John the Revelator (1100AD).  He was exiled to this island at around 100AD from Ephesus.  
These are the courtyard bells from the balcony.
The monks are there and moving around the monastery.  We were in the presence of one giving some kind of sermon (In Greek).  The small chapel was ornate with gold leaf and frescoes that really were impressive.  The above picture is of one the many entrances to rooms off the courtyard.   We were in their home.  
When we began our descent down the hill we stopped for coffee at a place that was really right on the edge of the hill (mountain?) The view, as you can see, is amazing!  I only wish I could have captured the scope of it.  The water was so blue and in the deeper areas (while on the ferry) it looked navy.  Unlike anything I have seen in any other water I have been on.  After our snack, we walked down to find the entrance to the "Grotto of St. John" -- well, we missed it!  We did find a nice lady at the health clinic who was very nice to us after she told us it was closed for the day.  She called us a taxi and we went back to the hotel to lay by the pool and read.  (One of my most favorite things to do!) 
After it began to cool down a bit -- we grabbed our cameras and went for a walk along the beach.  I really can't remember being in place that was so peaceful and quiet.  When you would hear an occasional vehicle it would be a surprise.  Our walk was along a road to the beach which as small pebbles.  As we walked, the size of the pebbles became rocks.  Small boats were tied up at this jetty and no one in sight.  We walked around to the other side and as were standing there suddenly we were hearing bells.  Looking across the water to another little island was a herd of goats.  They were being herded by the dog around the the end of the island.  It really was cool!  As we walked around to the other side, we found a great place for dinner.  
We did go to the "Grotto of St John" the next next morning before we left.  I was amazed at how it had been filled up with "stuff" -- the Greek Orthodox Church has ceremonies here.  You could see the basic  cave and how rustic it was to have lived there.  A small Chapel has been built onto the side.  The view from here was beautiful.  There really wasn't anything I didn't like about this island or our trip. 

Thanks for stopping by -- Love, Sheryl

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Perfect Day

A Perfect Day

Today I went on a photo walk with the ladies in photography group of the IWI (International Women of Istanbul)  Touring Arnavutkoy was so many things including historical, comical and a work-out.  When you drive along the seaside road, you really don't realize the steepness of the hill that is involved in creating this beautiful area.  From early in the 1400's, this area was established by a largely Greek population.  Wooden houses that are present today were mostly abandoned during the 1950's as result of a cultural impasse and many Greeks returned to Greece.  This left many properties unattended and unkept.  A big fire in the area did destroy many of the wooden structures -- the ones that remain are highly prized and very regulated in the restoration process.  
 A great door!
 This house has a lot of character.
 A close-up of some of the wood and a Turtle Dove.
 The old mixed with the restored -- restoration in this area is really booming.
This is a wall that is left from the Jewish settlement in the Arnavutkoy area -- not much left of the synagogue.  

We also went to the Tuesday Market there --

The peaches were so perfect they looked fake!

This is a different view of the cove that my apartment overlooks -- I loved seeing it from this vantage point!  It really was a great day!  Meeting new people and taking pictures.  I do believe that I burned 95 -- such fun!

Thanks for stopping by -- Sheryl

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Splash of Color in Your Black and White

 Splash of Color in a Black & White Photo

I am no Photoshop expert but I have been working in it for a long time!  I started with Elements years ago.  This technique will work in all levels of Photoshop.  I first learned how to do this when I did a project for an art club in a rural Oklahoma.  They were needing to raise funds for repairs to the building that had been donated to them.  Along with the donation of the building came a random amount of orange folding chairs.  The chairs were sold to participants for $5.00 each.  It really was amazing how the community supported this project.  Artist from all over purchased and decorated these chairs for auction.  
I was given one of these chairs by a member of this group -- So I began photographing it everywhere -- like the "flat-Stanley" thing that was very popular at the time.  This one is actually taken at my house by our pond.  I thought the reflection made it interesting.  The "Orange Event" was a great success and raised the funds needed for the roof repair.  
This was one of a collection of 13 pictures that were sold that evening.  The plain chair was also auctioned and was purchased by a man who bought 3 photos to display in his office.  We sold every photo we had there that night and even took orders.  

Here is how:

1    Open your image.

2    Click on the background layer to duplicate layer.

3    Turn the background layer off (as a teacher I had used to say:  "Punch the eye out!")

4    Go to IMAGE > ADJUSTMENTS > GRADIENT MAP, choose the black to negative option.

5    Your background layer copy should be black and white now.   I like to go to IMAGE >        ADJUSTMENTS > LEVELS, move the sliders to adjust the contrast (use the handles on the levels gram) of your black and white image.  (Take a minute to slide them around and see what they will do -- if you get lost, hit CANCEL and reopen the dialog box.)

6    Now that you have your black and white image the way you want it -- turn back on your background layer.  (Using the "eye")

7    Now, this is the important part -- highlight the background layer copy (black and white image) in the layers palette.  (It should be blue/active)

8    Select the eraser tool from the tools palette and begin erasing only what you want to have color.  Remember that you can change the size of your brush to fit the area you are working.  I usually choose a small brush to go around the edges (My dress) and then select a larger brush to fill-in the rest.  For the orange chair, the legs I selected a brush that fit almost exactly the width of the leg while outlining and filling in the larger areas.  

9     Be sure and SAVE your image.

This is the photo I posting for Project 64 September 9, 2011.

I hope you will try this simple but effective technique -- keep adding to your Photoshop experience -- you won't ever regret it!

Thanks for stopping by -- Sheryl

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Great Article (Photography)

I found this great article called  Delete Ruthlessly -- I loved the advise, it may have just inspired me to get free from holding onto so many bad images!  I am forever keeping something because I might want it one day.  Recently, I had an external hard drive start making "the noise".  I began looking at everything I had stored on there and I was embarrassed to see what I thought I ought to keep.   In the process of switching the data, I did delete quite a bit.  Actually, it felt good, kind of like cleaning out a closet that had been neglected for years.  

I have been traveling and will get photos up as soon as I can.  Thanks for stopping by -- I won't stay away so long, again!  Sheryl

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July (Photography)

Happy 4th of July!
I hope everyone has a fun filled, wonderful
and safe day!  
These are flowers on my balcony -- Thanks for stopping by -- Sheryl

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Paste Paper ( PaperArts )

This last weekend, Terry was gone for 3 whole days.  I have had a ankle giving me some problems -- so I stayed in, giving it time to rest.  I have had some trouble finding art supplies.  While my friend Joan was here we found a place that had some gouache in little jars.  We tried using it for paste paper and really had a good time.  However, I tried to letter with it yesterday and it was horrible!  

Paper is my next issue.  I have found Canson MiTiens (?) and some acrylic paint.  When I was home in October, Barbara Close helped me pack a lot of Arches Text Wove.  She kept saying, "Sheryl, that's a lot of paper!" Thank goodness I brought so much!  So, long story short -- while Terry was gone, I cooked the best batch of paste I have ever made!  Spent Friday evening playing.  Saturday, I drafted a couple of templates for project ideas I have had for a while -- so, hopefully I will have some of those to show you soon.
I know, I know my designs are a little redundant -- my next project is to go shopping for tools.  

Thanks for stopping by -- Sheryl

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Photo Walk -- Nisantasi (photography)

Today, I met a friend in Besiktas to walk around.  This is her part of the city and I hadn't been there at all.  I was excited for her to show me around.   We walked around and she showed me were the weekend market is located.  I am still amazed at how each part of the city has a different feeling;  a flare of it's own.  After lunch we were walking up toward the Nisantasi area (Yes, this is when the fateful deed happened!  Forever it will be known as "spit street"!) to see what we could find.  We walked through a nice little park and looked at the bronzes of local writers.  As we walked out I saw a man laying in the grass taking a nap in the shade.  I guess he was alive, thinking back on it, I do think it was strange that he was on his stomach.  This street is where the high-end stores are located.  Gucci, Rolex, etc, they are all there!  And of course, it is up-hill.  I mean UP-HILL!  I really haven't decided if it's easier to walk down or up a street.

We get to the next big intersection and we see a really neat old looking entrance. To something!  So we walked up and it was an old cemetery.   Cats were laying around (waiting to scare us!) and on some of the concrete thingys, people had put bee hives.   The weeds had been chopped down and many of the graves had been disturbed.  As we walked we could see bone pieces.  Joy was just sure they were from cows, I'm not so sure.  We found dates from 1924 to 1933 as burial dates.  I am sure when this was first established it was a beautiful, park like place with a nice entrance.  
Very different from what we are accustomed to in the US.  When they bury a loved one, the body is washed then wrapped in some kind of shroud.  A coffin is used for the ceremony but the body (without coffin) is then lowered into the ground by the male members of the family.  It is my understanding that the same plot can be used for multiple family members.   It seems that this cemetery has been abandoned for whatever reason.  I was curious that I didn't see and "evil eyes" here.  

Thanks for stopping by -- Sheryl

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

SHOES - Quote of the day!

Creativity often consists of
merely tuning up what is already there.

Did you know that the right and
left shoes were thought up a little 
over a century ago?
Bernice Fitz-Gibbon

I thought these shoes deserved some kind of accolade -- Shot through the window of a very expensive shoe store --  

Thanks for stopping by -- Sheryl

Monday, June 27, 2011

Storks in the City (travel)

S t o r k s

I can't believe these birds!  Right in the heart of Selcuk the storks were nesting on the top of high line poles.   While we were in Pammukale some people checked into our hotel who had just come from here.  After visiting Ephesus, we drove to this place for a look ourselves.  We went to the hotel (we are always looking for a great place to stay) and went upstairs to the rooftop deck.  It was really shocking to see how close they were. . .

. . . the funniest thing was, when the little ones would poop, they would stand up and it would fire out straight.  I mean like someone had squeezed a mayonnaise bottle.  Not only was it visual but you could hear if it hit the street or someones car.  These were pretty big birds!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ephesus -- the city that keeps on giving! (Travel)


I was here with some friends last October 2010 and I can not believe how much it has changed.  I thought it was spectacular then but the new excavations are fantastic!  I can't even explain how much reconstruction has taken place.   
This excavation is huge!  So much that is new and so much more information.  I wonder what they have found that would contribute to our knowledge of the people who lived here.  Actually, within this frame, somewhere, is a stone which commemorates the death of Cleopatra's sister.  
I am actually standing on the seats of the public latrine.  (Across from the house reconstruction site) looking towards the stadium which is just out of the frame on the right side.  This was not here before.  Where the columns are standing, is called  "Marble Street".  I wish I had made notes because I don't have the date it was constructed. Terry rented us the audio tour guide sets.  It was really interesting to hear about the site and the excavation.  
 Here are some Greek letters that I found to be pretty interesting.  I loved the large "T" right in the middle.  Most of the stones with letters, that I had seen the last time, were locked away in a portion of the ruin.  I hope for them to be on display the next time I go --
This is an actual sample of a "Mile Stone" used on the Roman highways.  These actually became status symbols among the rulers of the time.  Some of them would have the likeness of the current magistrate.  It seems that on certain roads the miles stones were more extravagant.  Sometimes, the stones would be turned upside down and re-carved to save on material.  Usually the numbers were painted red for better visibility in the grass.  

I hope you are enjoying seeing these places -- 

Thanks for stopping by -- Sheryl