Buried in lava

Parícutin is a volcano located in the Mexican state of Michoacán that emerged suddenly from a cornfield in 1943. The volcano was active over the following 9 years and the lava from the volcano buried the nearby town of Parícutin, once home to 733 people. All that remains of the town today is the San Juan Parangaricutiro Church, the tower of which can be seen rising above the volcanic rock in the photo below. The volcano, now dormant, and the ruins of the church, have become a tourist attraction which offers guided tours or the option to visit independently and climb the volcano.

Remains of the San Juan Parangaricutiro Church, surrounded by the volcanic rock from Parícutin.

Bed races in Cedarburg

I imagine the first thought most people would have when looking at this photo would be something like “what on earth is going on here?” If so, I guess that means I captured the moment pretty accurately because that was pretty much my thought in the moment. This photo was taken in Cedarburg, WI, which may be the small town festival capital of the world. Lots of towns have small festivals, but Cedarburg takes it to another level and it is reflected in the insane amount of people that flock to this small town a few times a year. This photo was taken during the Winter Festival at the annual bed races. Teams build parade-like floats around a bed frame, dress up in costumes that fit with their bed, throw on their skates, then take to the frozen water just north of the dam to participate in down and back races pitting two teams against each other. A mix of serious competition and absolute hilarity ensues.

Bed races on the ice in Cedarburg, WI

Disney castle at night

I have previously posted photos of the castle at Disney World during the day and at sunset, so why not go for the triple threat and add a photo at night? While I’m not a big fan of how massive of a company Disney has become, they do know how to put a little magic in their theme parks. This photo was taken during the week between Christmas and New Years. The holiday decorations in the park were nicely done and even though it was very busy, we had a wonderful day. The FastPass app made a huge different with that, even with the crowds we managed to go on quite a few rides with very little waiting in line.

Disney castle at night

Fireworks over Milwaukee

Taking decent fireworks photos is a challenge. It’s dark, so it requires slow shutter speeds and preferable the camera being on a tripod; you never know exactly where, when, or how large the fireworks are going to appear in the sky, so composing the photo is a challenge; and it’s usually a very high contrast situation, so getting a photo with anything other than the fireworks themselves properly exposed is a challenge. Fortunately everything is digital nowadays, so the fact that I delete 99% of the fireworks photos I take (because they were a complete failure) is not a problem. This photo is from a couple years ago, taken on July 3rd because for some reason the city of Milwaukee does their fireworks a day early. With the long days, the sky wasn’t completely black when the fireworks started, the small clouds captured the light of the fireworks nicely, and I guessed at a shutter speed that made the fireworks look quite nice.

Fireworks over the city of Milwaukee

Phoenix of China Lights

China Lights is an event that has been held in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area each of the past three years. The event features a large display of handmade traditional Chinese lanterns. This lantern features the Phoenix, a mythical creature which could regenerate or be reborn from the ashes of its predecessor. The lantern was massive with vibrant color and intricate detail for such a large display.

Phoenix traditional Chinese lantern

Castle reflections

I took this photo a couple years ago at Disney World. The reflection in the pond was perfect and the lighting was great. My only regret is that this was before I owned a wide angle lens and I couldn’t quite fit the entire castle and its reflection in the photo. Disney may be a little expensive and a little busy at times but it is a pretty magical place.

Photo of the castle at Disney World in Orlando, Florida with the reflection of the castle in the water.

Like A Storm

Taste of Madison is an event held each year on Labor Day weekend in the city of Madison, Wisconsin. The streets surrounding the state capitol are closed and the area is overtaken by a combination of local food vendors and music. There are three stages featuring a wide range of music, from rock to country to hip-hop. Admission is free, the food is reasonably priced, and they usually manage to put together a pretty impressive music lineup. This photo is of Matt Brooks, the guitar player/vocalist from the band Like A Storm.h They are a rock band from New Zealand that incorporates the didgeridoo into some of their songs, which is rather unique.

Matt Brooks, guitar player and vocalist for the band Like A Storm

Fontainebleau from the garden

Château de Fontainebleau is a large, opulent palace located approximately 30 miles south of Paris, France. The inside of the palace is filled with room upon room filled with over-the-top furnishings unlike anything I have ever seen. The palace is a popular tourist site, though not as popular as nearby Versailles, so the crowds are manageable. The gardens of the palace are massive. While the gardens are not as impressive as the inside of palace, these trees served as a nice frame for a photo of the palace from across the gardens.

Photo of the Château de Fontainebleau from the gardens.

The truth about the Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is an extremely well known painting. What most people don’t know is that it is a relatively small painting that would probably receive very little attention from visitors of the Louvre if it weren’t the Mona Lisa. I’m not an art expert by any means but it seems to me that there are dozens of more impressive pieces of artwork in the Louvre than the Mona Lisa. The most interesting thing about the Mona Lisa to me is watching the non-stop flow of people crowding around the painting with their cameras and phones out, trying to get a picture. I would say how silly it is to do that, but I did the same thing during my first visit to the Louvre, so I’m not one to judge.

Crowd of people around the Mona Lisa