Scenes of Quito, Ecuador

Even during a short visit to Quito, the capital city of Ecuador,  there is plenty to see and photograph.  Here are a few more selections from a two-day visit.

Ecuador 08 Traffic Ramp

Like any major city traffic congestion can be a problem during rush hour, but as our bus slowly worked its way up this access ramp the presence of a delightful water sculpture provided some major visual interest.  Quite a difference from the storm water pits we have in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Ecuador 09 Think Big

An evocation to “Think Big” by a small mercado

Small businesses were everywhere, most often falling into the categories of eateries or convenience stores.


Ecuador 19 Cevicheria

Abigail & Michael’s Restaurante Cevcheria

(The origins of ceviche, raw fish cured in citrus juices, dates back some 2,000 years in the Andean region, with recipes likely updated with the arrival of the Spanish.)

Ecuador 10 Toy Store

Slow Business at the Toy Store

(The flashy red cycle belongs to Tevcol, a large private security firm with operations all over Ecuador.  The rider was apparently making his rounds while I took this picture.)

Churches are also found everywhere and some of the major cathedrals boast opulent interiors lavishly decorated with gold leaf, gilded plaster, and wood carvings.  Unfortunately, photographs of the interior were not allowed in any of those we visited.

Ecuador 12 Church TowersDome of La Compania de Jesus

(A Jesuit Church, one of the best known in Quito, dating back to 1605)

General elections (President and National Assembly) were to be held in a few days and the campaign was reaching its climax. There were about 8 candidates running for President and if the winner did not exceed 40% with 10% or higher gap over the total of the person finishing second there would be a run-off in early April. There was also a referendum on whether office holders or public servants should be restricted from having assets held in tax havens.

Ecuador 15 Political Rally

Political Rally for the Alianza Pais

 All eligible voters are required to cast a ballot; Those who do not must pay a fine.  As it turned out, the leading candidate of the incumbent party (Alianza Pais) did not quite secure the necessary totals so there will be a runoff.  The Alianza also suffered a loss of seats in the National Assembly but still holds a dominant position.  The referendum passed easily.

Ecuador 14 Political Activist

Rally Participant Strikes a Pose

The Parque del Ejido, one of the largest parks in the city, is a popular gathering place for artisans, food vendors, street performers, and sporting activities.  The Volleyball court was surrounded by spectators but a gentle persistence allowed me to squeeze through about three rows of the SRO crowd to get a good look.  There were 3 players on a side and their net is about 2 feet higher.  So there is no spiking; instead the net player executes what is much closer to a catch and throw, a maneuver that would bring an immediate whistle everywhere else I have seen the game played.

Ecuador 21 Food CartFood Vendor, Ejido Park

Ecuador 16 Volleyball

Volleyball Match, Ejido Park

Ecuador 20 Street Art

Street Art in Quito

And, of course, Examples of Street Art, tagging, and Graffiti could be seen everywhere.

Coming up…Ecuador’s famed Galapagos Islands

Paris Countdown!

In two weeks, I will be heading back to Paris and I am beside myself with excitement.  I have been carefully planning possible locations and times to capture photographic images, but let’s get real.  There are other reasons to be there.  And it is entirely likely that my blog postings will cease entirely during the 15-day trip as we use the too-short time available to concentrate fully on whatever experiences we may encounter.  But, at the moment, this begins the final count-down, a retrospective of past trips to help set the mood.


The Louvre Pyramid at Twilight

I like to learn a little bit about subjects that I photograph and there is a lot to know about this place.  In 1981 President François Mitterrand launched a major expansion of the Louvre, a project headed by I.M. Pei and including Yann Weymouth as Chief of Design.  The project was completed in 1989, featuring glass manufactured with Fontainbleau white sand to attain a perfectly clear white color supported by a metal structure designed by Navtec, a U.S. firm known for its rigging on America’s Cup sailboats.    (Technical Data: Nikon D200 with 18-20 0mm f/3.5 lens set at 18 mm; exposure: 1/40th sec. @ f/3.5, EV at -1.0 at ISO 400)


The Eiffel Tower at Night

And no trip to Paris can be complete without a photo of the Eiffel Tower.  Named for its designer Gustave Eiffel, it was completed in 1889 to mark the centennial of the French Revolution and served as the entrance arch for the 1889 World’s Fair. Its completion also ended the short reign of the Washington Monument as the tallest building in the world. The unusual blue lighting and circle of 12 illuminated stars in this image were a temporary celebration of France assuming the Presidency of the European Union in the summer of 2008 for a six-month term.

I didn’t have a tripod, but there is a wide ledge on the balcony of the Place du Trocadero that is perfect for a platform.  (Technical Data: Photographed from the Place du Trocadero with a Nikon D200 with 18-20 0mm f/3.5 lens set at 29mm; exposure 4 sec. @f/4.0, ISO 500)


Inside the Musee d’Orsay

The Musee d’Orsay originally was a railway station built in 1900 for the Universal Exposition.  It served this function for 39 years and was used for other purposes until 1970 when it was about to be destroyed.  The Ministry of Culture blocked the plan, directing that it be preserved and transformed into an art museum to bridge the gap between the Louvre and contemporary art of the Georges Pompidou Centre.  It was opened in 1986.

I found an upper balcony overlooking what must have been the original train shed and made three handheld exposures. It was one of my first attempts at Photomerge.  (Technical Data: Nikon D700 with 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens set at 24 mm; exposure: 1/80th sec. @ f/4.5, at ISO 400)


Phone Call, Paris 2008

“Street Photography” is not my strong suit but sometimes one gets lucky.  In this case, I noticed the coincidence of the color of the young woman’s purse and the display in the store window.  She very kindly remained engrossed in a lengthy cell phone conversation giving me plenty of time to get my act together. (Technical Data: Nikon D-200 with 18-20 0mm f/3.5 lens set at 80mm; exposure 1/125th @f/5.6, ISO 400)

If anyone has a favorite photo location in Paris, please let me know.  You might see it in a future post.