#FriFotos: Urban Immediately Makes Me Think City Skyline.

This weeks #FriFotos theme on Twitter is Urban. When I think urban, I immediately think big city. When I think big city, the first thing that comes to mind is the skyline. From up the hills, across the water, straight on from across town or up in the air I’m always looking to capture a tall cluster of buildings. Some of my favorites are below.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Toronto, Canada

The Toronto Skyline standing tall from Centre Island at dusk.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Toledo, Ohio

The Toledo, Ohio skyline sits across the Maumee River at dusk.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Tampa, Florida

Heading towards the Tampa skyline during a helicopter tour.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Sydney, Australia

Capturing the Sydney, Australia skyline from along Sydney Cove.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Seattle

On a tour bus approaching the Seattle skyline.

Frifotos, urban skyline, San Francisco

San Francisco skyline from up-top Coit Tower.

Frifotos, urban skyline, San Diego

San Diego skyline from across the way on Coronado Island.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh skyline from up-top the Duquesne Incline.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona skyline from up in the friendly skies.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Niagara Falls

The Niagara River flowing towards the Niagara Falls skyline.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Detroit, Windsor

Two skylines in one. Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Canada from Belle Isle.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Detroit, Michigan

Detroit skyline from across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio skyline from the Rich Street Bridge.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Cleveland

The Cleveland skyline and Lake Erie from Edgewater Park.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Cincinnati

Cincinnati skyline from Devou Park in Covington, Kentucky.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Chicago

Chicago skyline from up-top Willis Tower.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand skyline from up-top Mount Eden.

Frifotos, urban skyline, Atlanta

The Midtown Atlanta skyline sits straight ahead from Sun Dial.

What has been your favorite city skyline to capture so far in your travels?

The Blue Shoes and I Finding Solitude Out on the Open Road.

When out on the open road the blue shoes and I make sure to soak in all the scenery. While staring at all the beauty this world has to offer, lots of solitude has been enjoyed in summer and winter, in big cities and small-towns, inside a coffee shop and outside in nature and in the desert, on the lake and more. Who knows where and when that next minute of alone time to reflect will occur when traveling?

The inspiration for this post is #FriFotos on Twitter whose theme this week is “Solitude”.

Frifotos - Solitude - BleakHouse Coffee in Toledo, Ohio

BleakHouse Coffee in Toledo, Ohio

Frifotos - Solitude - Rowster Coffee in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Rowster Coffee in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Buon Giorno Coffee in Grapevine, Texas

Buon Giorno Coffee in Grapevine, Texas

Frifotos - Solitude - South Haven Lighthouse in Michigan

South Haven Lighthouse in Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Ren Cen and Downtown Detroit

Ren Cen and Downtown Detroit straight ahead

Frifotos - Solitude - The wintry Findlay, Ohio country open road

The wintry Findlay, Ohio country open road

Frifotos - Solitude - Solitude in a Kalamazoo, Michigan blizzard

Solitude in a Kalamazoo, Michigan blizzard

Frifotos - Solitude - The Findlay Reservoir in Ohio

The Findlay Reservoir in Ohio

Frifotos - Solitude - Pere Marquette Park Beach in Muskegon, Michigan

Pere Marquette Park Beach in Muskegon, Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Appleton Lake near Brighton, Michigan

Appleton Lake near Brighton, Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Runyan Lake in Fenton, Michigan

Runyan Lake in Fenton, Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Seven Lakes State Park, Michigan

Seven Lakes State Park in Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Hanging alongside Jiffy Mix in Chelsea, Michigan

Hanging alongside Jiffy Mix in Chelsea, Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Wawatam Lighthouse in St. Ignace, Michigan

Wawatam Lighthouse in St. Ignace, Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Nickels Arcade in Ann Arbor, Michigan

The first ever blue shoe shot at Nickels Arcade in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - San Dieguito River Park in San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park in San Diego, California

Frifotos - Solitude - Lake Hodges in San Diego, California

Lake Hodges in San Diego, California

Frifotos - Solitude - Lake Mead Recreation Area in the Nevada desert

Lake Mead Recreation Area in the Nevada desert

Frifotos - Solitude - Hanging amongst the Georgia flowers

Hanging amongst the Georgia flowers

Frifotos - Solitude - Midtown Atlanta Skyline from Piedmont Park

Midtown Atlanta Skyline from Piedmont Park

Frifotos - Solitude - Cleveland skyline, Lake Erie from Edgewater Park

Cleveland skyline, Lake Erie from Edgewater Park

Frifotos - Solitude - Beachside along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago

Beachside along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago

Frifotos - Solitude - Up-top Vertigo Sky Lounge In Chicago

Up-top Vertigo Sky Lounge in Chicago

What kinds of places do you usually find solitude in when traveling?

A New Zealand Drive Along the Firth of Thames.

Roadtripping around New Zealand is beautiful no matter where you are at. Driving along the southern and southeastern shores of the Firth of Thames is no exception.

Firth of Thames, North Island, New Zealand

firth-of-thames-nz-002

The North Island stretch of road just south and west of the town of Thames, along State Route 25, features picturesque views of the rocky shoreline, mountains sitting off in the distance across the Firth and more.

Firth of Thames, North Island, New Zealand

firth-of-thames-nz-005

Firth of Thames, North Island, New Zealand

Firth of Thames, North Island, New Zealand

Firth of Thames, North Island, New Zealand
You will want to get out of your vehicle often to enjoy the water views, just like the sheep do.

Firth of Thames, North Island, New Zealand

Also a part of New Zealand’s Pacific Coast Highway, this part of the country is easily accessible from Auckland. It is about a ninety minute drive, making it great day trip option. As you approach Thames you will be entering the Coromandel Peninsula.

Tip: Continue on along State Route 25 past Thames and you will embark on a 150 km drive around the hilly and forest-covered peninsula, winding up along the Pacific Ocean.

Coromandel Peninsula, North Island, New Zealand

What other New Zealand day trip options would you recommend from Auckland?

A Fountains of Bellagio, Las Vegas Performance.

Any trip to The Strip in Las Vegas should include checking out the Fountains of Bellagio at night. The fountain sits in-front of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino within an 8.5-acre lake. It contains more than 1,200 jets, shooting the water up to 460 feet into the air.

The fountain is lit after dark and is choreographed to the rhythm of the songs which play every fifteen minutes. The music playlist remains consistent from week-to-week. On Thursday at 10:15 p.m., when were there, the song happened to be One (Singular Sensation) from the musical A Chorus Line. We grabbed a spot from one of the many vantage points along Las Vegas Boulevard and watched the water art that unfolded for the next five minutes. Caesars Palace is visible off to the right, with the Bellagio beyond.

As you can hear me in that background at the beginning, I liked the song, knew the song, but didn’t quite know from where until some of the way through. A Chorus Line was a favorite of the family growing up, so it was ironic that song was playing at that time. :) It was a great show to experience.

What memorable fountains have you come across in your travels?

A Nevada Roadtrip: Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

When vacationing in Las Vegas, many people make the short trek over to Hoover Dam, one of the national wonders of the world. Instead of taking the popular route and the one that Google Maps recommends, get off the main highway to see another wonder, the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Whether heading east on Interstate 515 or 215 as you head out-of-town, get off on Lake Mead Parkway (Nevada State Route 147) in Henderson. It will soon turn into Lakeshore Road as you come up to the park entrance.

Note: You will have to pay a fee of $10 to enter if you don’t have a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Upon entering you will have 10+ miles out on the Nevada open road amongst the desert basin. Lakeshore Road runs through the southern end of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the first such place to get the national recreation area distinction back in 1964.

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Every mile or so will present a scenic overlook opportunity. Each will showcase panoramic views and the colors of the desert from various bluffs, overlooks and plateaus. Lots of rugged mountains off in the distance will be serving as a backdrop. The 33 Hole Scenic Overlook is a favorite.

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

You will find walking paths, bathrooms, picnic tables and grilling options at each stop. Grilling restrictions will be in place most likely in the summer months due to the over one-hundred degree temperatures.

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

As you are plotting along Las Vegas Bay, the Colorado River and Lake Mead will start to come into view. Looking out towards the water and beyond will present views from the state of Arizona. The approximate one-and-a-half-million acres of the park sits amongst the two states.

I’ll let the pictures that my wife and I took tell some of the story. :)

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Right before exiting the park, make sure to stop at the Alan Bible Visitor Center, maybe to get some tips for the drive back. Lakeshore Road and the park exit will put you on U.S. Route 93 just a few miles from Hoover Dam.

Heading east of Las Vegas, visiting the Lake Mead National Recreation Area is worth the Nevada road trip all by itself. If you are ever planning to visit Hoover Dam whether from Las Vegas or not, take this short side trip to get a taste of what this park has to offer.

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Besides views the park offers beach and water fun, fishing, swimming, hiking and camping opportunities. For more information checkout the parks section on the National Park Service website.

What National Recreation Area(s) in the United States have you visited that you would recommend?

An Ann Arbor Photo Shoot, Coffee Style.

I’m at babo: A Market By Sava in Ann Arbor, Michigan enjoying and taking a few pictures of my morning coffee and doing a photo shoot came into my head. A photo shoot, coffee style that is.

So live in the moment I start writing this post, while the coffee(s) and coffee cup(s) were working the camera. First a mocha, than a Spanish Latte. Some shots indoors, than outdoors.

Babo is a local market with fresh produce, a hot and cold bar and groceries. It caters its products to the Ann Arbor area, supporting lots of local producers. They also have a coffee shop with a seating area, to spend some time and soak in the market and community. I was doing just that as the camera was clicking.

Babo Ann Arbor Market, cafe mocha, coffee

Babo Ann Arbor Market, cafe mocha, coffee

Babo Ann Arbor Market, cafe mocha, coffee

Babo Ann Arbor Market, cafe mocha, coffee

Babo Ann Arbor Market, cafe mocha, coffee

Babo Ann Arbor Market, Spanish Latte, coffee

Babo Ann Arbor Market, Spanish Latte, coffee

Babo Ann Arbor Market, Spanish Latte, coffee

Babo Ann Arbor Market, Spanish Latte, coffee

Babo Ann Arbor Market, Spanish Latte, coffee

Babo Ann Arbor Market, Spanish Latte, coffee

Babo Ann Arbor Market, Spanish Latte, coffee

Babo Ann Arbor Market, Spanish Latte, coffee

Babo Ann Arbor Market, Spanish Latte, coffee

Babo Ann Arbor Market, Spanish Latte, coffee

Definitely got a better feel for the market as a whole through the coffee photo madness. No worries, I actually drank each coffee too before they got cold. Too coffee photo shoots! I’m now highly caffeinated. :)

#FriFotos: Some Entrances to Coffee Shops.

Today’s #FriFotos theme on Twitter is “Entrances”. It got me thinking about the many, many, many coffee shops I have entered over time. The entrance can play a factor in whether I go into the coffee shop or not, especially if it’s a random find. Below are some of my favorites starting with the most colorful.

Frifotos - Entrances, Garden View Coffee Mill, Oscoda, Michigan

Garden View Coffee Mill, Oscoda, Michigan

Frifotos - Entrances, Zingerman's Next Door, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Zingerman’s Next Door, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Frifotos - Entrances, Astro Coffee, Corktown, Detroit, Michigan

Astro Coffee, Corktown, Detroit, Michigan

Frifotos - Entrances, We Serve. Coffee, Findlay, Ohio

We Serve. Coffee, Findlay, Ohio

Frifotos - Entrances, Third Street Stuff, Lexington, Kentucky

Third Street Stuff, Lexington, Kentucky

Nothing like walking into a coffee shop that sits right on the corner in a city neighborhood.

Frifotos - Entrances, Julius Meinl, Lincoln Square, Chicago

Julius Meinl, Lincoln Square, Chicago

Basic frontage, yet easy on the eyes and that backdrop! The Alaskan mountains in the background make it a very inviting place to enter.

Frifotos - Entrances, Glacial Smoothies & Espresso, Skagway, Alaska

Glacial Smoothies & Espresso, Skagway, Alaska

The original Starbucks within Pike Place Market in Seattle. Of course seeing this shops entrance is going to give me goosebumps.

Frifotos - Entrances, The Original Starbucks in Seattle

The Original Starbucks in Seattle

Some coffee shops are carved into historical buildings, which are usually very colorful and architecturally friendly.

Frifotos - Entrances, MadCap Coffee Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan

MadCap Coffee Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Frifotos - Entrances, The Sparrows, Grand Rapids, Michigan

The Sparrows, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Frifotos - Entrances, Rising Star Coffee Roasters, Cleveland, Ohio

Rising Star Coffee Roasters, Cleveland, Ohio

Frifotos - Entrances, Common Grounds Coffee, Flowery Branch, Georgia

Common Grounds Coffee, Flowery Branch, Georgia

Others are completely open to the outside. You don’t need to enter, you’re already within the coffee shop!

Frifotos - Entrances, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, La Jolla, San Diego

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, La Jolla, San Diego

Frifotos - Entrances, Good Coffee Company, Ketchikan, Alaska

Good Coffee Company, Ketchikan, Alaska

Frifotos - Entrances, Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk, San Francisco, California

Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk, San Francisco, California

Frifotos - Entrances, Ritual Coffee Roasters, San Francisco, California

Ritual Coffee Roasters, San Francisco, California

Bike racks, especially if supplied by the coffee shop, out in the front make it a very inviting place to enter.

Frifotos - Entrances, Four Barrel Coffee, San Francisco, California

Four Barrel Coffee, San Francisco, California

Frifotos - Entrances, Ipsento Coffee, Bucktown, Chicago

Ipsento Coffee, Bucktown, Chicago

At it’s most basic, if the entrance to a coffee shop has the word “COFFEE” in big letters, that will get me to go in haha! :)

Frifotos - Entrances, Star Provisions, Westside, Atlanta, Georgia

Star Provisions, Westside, Atlanta, Georgia

Frifotos - Entrances, Yeah, Me Too coffee, Columbus, Ohio

Yeah, Me Too coffee, Columbus, Ohio