Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour

I’m a big fan of the “Golden Hour”- but the hour near sunset more so than sunrise. The light can be magical and create an almost live painting. If the light is really good, no need to worry at all about the shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

The picture below was taken without camera adjustments in Amsterdam. It was less than an hour before sunset with great light and colour.

Amsterdam Canal by marktravel

Just to prove that it really is about the light, here’s a couple of more pictures, both taken with an iPhone 4s, (Niagara Falls and Jamaica at sunset). Simple pictures with great, natural light taken during the “golden hour”.

Niagara Falls Canada at twilight by marktravel

Jamaica at sunset by marktravel

Calling All Foodies, Get to Chicago!

Thanks to Aaron Cruz – http://www.elatlboy.com – for this guest post. Among other things, Aaron is a lover of shorelines and was on a recent trip to Chicago.

Chicago has Lake Michigan and Lake Shore Drive, the Cubs and Wrigley, great parks and skyline views everywhere you look, I could go on-and-on. In my time there, I’ve also come to know that they have their thriving food scene as well.

Chicago- by Aaron

Nightwood Restaurant, located in the Pilsen neighborhood, offers fine dining inside and out, with an open kitchen. You never know what deliciousness you’ll have to choose from as their menu is hand-written daily after hitting the markets and coming up with new ideas. The wood-grilled chicken with potatoes in a chili sauce and topped with greek yogurt is a good choice, as well as any pasta they have to offer.

Chicago- Food

If you’re looking more for the sports bar scene, head right to the heart of the city and make a stop at Public House. Try their burgers and mac ‘n cheese. More specifically the kobe beef brisket sliders and caramelized onion mac ‘n cheese will leave you wanting for more.

Chicago- Burger

You can’t have a Chicago foodie post without the legendary Chicago-style deep dish pizza mentioned. Lou Malnati’s, founded by the son of the originator of this style of pizza, is a place to get to. They have many locations throughout Chicago-land. The Malnati Chicago Classic was the choice on my recent stop, adding in extra onions and garlic for good measure.

Chicago- Deep Dish Pizza

If you are looking for a deep-dish pizza joint off the grid, checkout Exchequer Restaurant & Pub within the Downtown Loop. It’s a cozy and fun place to hang out and the cheese on their pizza is reason enough to stop in.

Chicago- Deep Dish Pizza 3

After you’ve grabbed some food, head on over to the rooftop of ZED 451 and enjoy one of their fruity mojitos. Beautiful city views and great drinks make for a fun nightcap.

Chicago- Drink

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. To get a better feel for the Chicago food scene head to the Windy City in the summer to the biggest food festival in the world, The Taste of Chicago. I experienced it many years ago and remember, just one food vendor after another, with lots of entertainment options available.

Aaron, the elATLboy or “The Hispanic Atlanta Boy”, fell in love with travel and road trips at a young age, always having maps and an atlas in hand on one family trip after another. Aaron’s Blog, the Adventures of elATLboy, features his love of ATL, road trips, city skylines, COFFEE and shorelines –http://elatlboy.com. He will be trying to visit 100 non-chain coffeehouses in Georgia, Michigan, Chicago, Toronto and more in 2013: #ElCafeDe2013. You can also follow the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to see all the delicious coffee Aaron consumes.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

Solitary has several meanings but generally is the state of being alone. I often travel alone. It gives you time to think about life and other important things. I took this picture near a golf course in Jamaica. I have no idea what the man in the picture was doing. He didn’t say anything to me nor I to him but he seemed quite happy just to be standing there. Pretty much in the middle of nowhere. All alone.

Golf- Jammin’ in Jamaica

My Article – Reprinted from Golf Scene Magazine Summer 2011 Edition

When Canadians think of a beach vacation, the popular choices are Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Jamaica. All four destinations have golf, but only Jamaica combines a real laid back Caribbean holiday with some of the most spectacular golf courses you will find anywhere in the world.

Jamaica travel choices are plentiful. Air Canada has daily non-stop flights to Montego Bay from Toronto and seasonal non-stop services from other Canadian gateways. The list of Jamaican resorts could fill this entire article but a few of the better choices are Half Moon Resort, Ritz Carlton Resort and the Rose Hall Hilton Resort. There are also seven Sandals Resorts with access to Sandals Golf Club but you’ll need to stay at either the Sandals Royal Plantation or Sandals Grande Riviera to be anywhere near the Sandals Golf Club.

Caddies are mandatory on all courses in Jamaica. If you’ve never played with a caddy a word to the wise – ask the distance to the hole (instead of them telling you which club to play) and follow their putting suggestions – they are always right!

I have had the good fortune to play five of the following top courses in Jamaica:

White Witch This is definitely the most challenging course in Jamaica. Tom Fazio designed this course, which is 6,859 yards. The course was carved out of Rose Hall Plantation and features Caribbean Sea views on 16 of the 18 holes – some of the most spectacular golf course views in the world. Stay and play packages are available if you stay at the Ritz Carlton Resort.

Cinnamon Hill The course, which was designed by Robert vonHagge and is 6,637 yards, features several holes along the ocean coastline, and one can spot plantation relics and great views. It is also located in Rose Hall close to White Witch. The Rose Hall Hilton Resort is right beside the course, and offers golf packages.

Half Moon This course 7,119 yard course is classic Trent Jones, and is situated directly across the street from the Half Moon Resort. Half Moon makes a great vacation.

Tryall This classic old Jamaica course is about 30 minutes west of Montego Bay. Ralph Plummer designed, this course which is 6,772 yards, lush and well groomed but very much a “country club”. Be on your best behaviour – members rule.

Sandals Golf Club Formerly the Upton GC, Sandals purchased the club in 6,502 yards, 1992. Golf Digest four star rating for courses to play while on vacation. A nice course consisting of 6,502 yards and located in Ocho Rios … Green fees are included with your stay at Sandals Resort.

With its unique and laid back culture, great scenery, tropical climate, and world-class golf, Jamaica really has it all if you are a golf enthusiast or want to hit a ball alongside the ocean and just enjoy the views!