Happy New Year – And The Winner Is…

Special thanks to all who participated in our 2015 Photoremedy Image of the Year Poll. As always, we had a lot of fun with it and we recorded the second highest number of votes in the five year history of the contest. As the contest rolled on, two images jumped out to an early lead and frequently jockeyed for the lead.

In the end, the Fall City fall foliage image pulled away from Houmas House plantation and recorded the win. In a Facebook comment, one of my Arizona friends may have best explained why Fall City eventually recorded over 35-percent of the vote. Matt said, “These are both outstanding! The bottom one (Fall City) is prettier to me but the top one (Houmas) is more mysterious.”

Fall City, WA - 2015 Image of the Year

Fall City, WA – 2015 Image of the Year

I’d like to give the incredibly humble photographer all of the credit for this image, but the truth of the matter is I happened to be in Fall City on the perfect fall day. I guess this proves, once again, how important timing and the recognition of beauty are in stimulating the process of taking (and making) great images.

Here’s to making 2016 the best year of our lives. May all of us recognize what is beautiful in our lives and may we make the most of what our good and gracious Lord provides. Cheers!

Photoremedy is primarily based on the role that photography has played in helping me combat ongoing chronic pain issues that stem from my degenerative cervical and lumbar spine challenges and severe psoriatic arthritis. It is designed to encourage others fighting chronic pain (and other illnesses) to consider pursuing the benefits associated with moving their minds from the pain in their lives to the beauty that surrounds them. It’s important to note that many of the photos I take and develop frequently blur the lines between traditional art and contemporary photography, much as art therapy often blurs the lines between traditional and alternative forms of medicine.

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Farewell Seattle?

Lake Union - Seattle, Washington

Lake Union – Seattle, Washington

Over the past couple of years, Mary and I fell in love with the Seattle area. Our youngest son, Will, was there to complete his studies at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE). We were fortunate enough to visit him several times, and always took advantage of the opportunity while in the Seattle area to squeeze in ample amounts of photoremedy.

Will has now graduated and is back in Arizona and scheduled to open the doors to his new career in January.GarageDoors1jFeatured below are some of the Seattle area–photography and digital art–I’ve played around with this year.

Lake Union Area

Volunteer Park

Seattle Flowers (most are from the spectacular Volunteer Park Conservatory)

St. James Cathedral

Seattle Dining (photos from one of our favorites – Pasta Freska)

Fall City, Washington

Rural Washington

We don’t have any Seattle or Washington trips planned for the near future. I have a feeling, however, that it won’t be long before the seductive landscape, cerulean waters, unique dining, and magical fall forests call us back. And–yes–I’ll bring my camera!

Seattle Neighborhood

Seattle Neighborhood

Great Tavern Food

Last June, we featured the rapidly growing, cool-country vacation and retirement centers of Pine and Strawberry in north-central Arizona. Mary and I enjoyed the heat-beating benefits of the historic region so much that we’ve already found our way back there this year for a little more photoremedy and food.

Pine, Arizona

Pine, Arizona

Our recent visit provided us with the added benefit of allowing us to catch up with our old friend, Maher Hazine.

Maher Hazine

Maher Hazine

We’ve known Maher, and his wife Kim, since we all began attending the same Anthem-area church many years ago. Both Maher and Kim were tireless volunteers, with Maher frequently seen flipping burgers or dogs at many church festivals and feasts. At the time, we did not know just how much he loved feeding people good food in a friendly environment. Today, the Hazines are the proprietors of Sidewinders Tavern and Grill in Pine.

Sidewinders - Pine, Arizona

Sidewinders – Pine, Arizona

It’s an awesome fit. Great food and friends is just another reason for us to keep returning to Pine, Arizona.

Sidewinders - Pine, Arizona

Sidewinders – Pine, Arizona

Sidewinders - Pine, Arizona

Sidewinders – Pine, Arizona

Hippies – Now and Then

Last summer, Mary and I stumbled upon a “Hippie Vehicle” that stimulated a lot of response here on Photoremedy.

Two Hippies Beach House - 501 East Camelback Rd., Phoenix

Two Hippies Beach House – 501 East Camelback Rd., Phoenix

I’m happy to report that, courtesy of Main Street in Camp Verde, Arizona, this year we have found what appears to be the four wheeled forefather of the great American Hippie Bus.

Main Street - Camp Verde, AZ

Main Street – Camp Verde, AZ

This should dispel the notion that any one decade or generation has a corner on producing colorful, unforgettable times. What can you do to make other people smile or to ensure your generation is memorable? Let’s commit to making this the best, most momentous summer of our lives – one that history will never forget!

Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation - Vacherie, Louisiana

Oak Alley Plantation – Vacherie, Louisiana

Known as the “Grande Dame of the Great River Road,” the Oak Alley Plantation is one of the most iconic representations of its type in the American South. Famous for a memorable Antebellum Mansion and a canopied path created by a more than 800 meter long double row of live oak trees, Oak Alley has been featured in movies and television shows ranging from Knight Rider and Primary Colors to the Young and the Restless and Django Unchained. Mary went on the OA guided indoor tour, while I grabbed my camera and enjoyed the beautiful outdoor weather and blissful photoremedy on the grounds of this spectacular National Historic Landmark. Highlights included:

Spectacular Mansion ViewsOak Alley 1j

Somber Slave Quarter Shots (also featured in our February 8, 2015 post)

 Unique Trees and Vegetation

Hometown Cajun  Food (B & C Seafood)

Riverside Market and Cajun Seafood - Vacherie, Louisiana

Riverside Market and Cajun Seafood – Vacherie, Louisiana

I later learned that Oak Alley is known for its famous mint juleps. I’m not sure how we missed that, but it’s good to know we now have another reason to return to Louisiana!

New Orleans French Quarter: The Incomplete Edition

This promises to be one of the most incomplete New Orleans French Quarter–also known as the Vieux Carré–photo essays ever constructed.French Quarter Guitar 1j

There’s nothing here about Bourbon Street at night. Because Mary and I didn’t walk around with eyes glued to a map or with ears focused on a live tourist guide, I have no idea if the photos below are officially from the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, Royal Street, the French Market, or Downtown New Orleans.

Despite all of the deficiencies mentioned above, I adore visiting New Orleans and I loved working on this post. New Orleans is, after all, more than just one of the most unique North American Cities. It’s one of the world’s most intriguing, diverse destinations. From spicy and spiritual to Cajun and Creole, New Orleans is both historic and contemporary.St. Peter 1j

Masquerade mask b&w j

Lithuanian-American writer Ruta Sepetys offers one of the best short explanations of what makes the Big Easy so interesting. “Its cultural diversity is woven into the food, the music, the architecture – even the local superstitions, Sepetys has been quoted as saying. “It’s a sensory experience on all levels and there’s a story lurking around every corner.”

Mary and I stopped long enough to capture images of each other while near the French Market. It is important to note that the photo of Mary did not need much “touch up.” The picture of me, however, took a long time to develop. We snapped the photos just after having the famous chicory coffee and powdered sugar covered beignets at Café du Monde. To no surprise to those who know me, it took a very long time to electronically remove the “more than significant’ amount of powdered sugar that covered my black jacket. Yes, the beignets were wonderful; we were in such a hurry to devour them that I forgot to take any Café du Monde photos.

I guess that means we will have to go back!

🙂