Jerez, Spain – Horses and Sherry

Departing Seville, Spain with a population of 700,000 we boarded our Motor Coach and headed for Jerez de la Frontera with a population of 213,000 (estimates via the Internet). This was an interesting change as we travled through the smaller Spanish towns and saw more of the countryside.

Our first adventure in Jerez was a stop at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. We were greeted by a guide who explained the history and goals of the academy. This is a very exclusive school and gaining acceptance is quite competitive. Our group was taken inside a display area where horse carriages were stored and available for inspection.

One horse was tethered nearby for us to admire. Unfortunately, photography was restricted in many areas which proved disappointing. I was hoping to gather a couple of snapshots of horses being trained in the indoor stadium, but this was not permitted.

The guide begrudgingly allowed a few quick photographs of the tack room.



Pictures of the rein training outdoors were allowed.



The saving grace of this stop were the beautiful buildings and grounds. As we were waiting to walk toward the arena, an upward glance revealed an interesting and somewhat surprising sight.



Storks nest in many of the high towers, ridges and chimneys afforded them in and around town. As a matter of fact, we found that storks are an object of pride in Spain (and Portugal) and are encouraged to nest. At one time most of the birds migrated to Africa during the winter months and returned for the warmer seasons, but nowadays less and less of the birds migrate.



It appears that the availability of higher quality water in the wetlands combined with availability of “junk food” has become attractive to the White Storks that now become year-round residents.

You can find more information about the storks in Spain and Portugal HERE and HERE.

I must say that the exhibition hall and arena at the school was quite attractive.







The administration building and headquarters was equally impressive with its old-style elegance.



The area outside the administration building had a very picturesque fountain that added to the splendor of the estate.



After our stop at the Equestrian School, we walked to The House of Sandeman Jerez – producers of fine sherries and port. The traditional Andalusian garb includes a cape and large-brimmed black hat ala Zoro.



I wasn’t too interested in the distillation and preparation of sherry since red wines are about as much as I have on occasion. Our guide, however, did an excellent job of explaining the processes involved and the nuances between the various sherries produced. Of more interest to me was the history and building itself.



Yes indeed, there were barrels upon barrels of sherry being aged as we walked through the distillery (if that is the correct term).



I didn’t understand it all, but the markings on the outside of the the wooden barrels contained important production codes. Naturally, there was a “tasting” with chips and small sandwiches.



These stops did not make my top ten list although I found them somewhat interesting primarily for the few photographic opportunities available.

The Sandeman Sherry Bodega has an excellent website with amusing videos and information. If you enjoy sherry, I think you will appreciate this LINK – click on “OUR STORIES.”

 
Next stop…Gibraltar!


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Read previous posts about our adventures traveling in Portugal and Spain:

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 1

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 2

Portugal – Lisbon Streets & Garden

Lisbon Portugal – The Belem and Tejo River District

Sintra Portugal – National Palace and Quaint Streets

Portugal – Seaside Resort of Cascais

Portugal – Lisbon’s Edward VII Park

Lisbon, Portugal – Walking the Avenue to the Rossio District

Lisbon, Portugal – Unique Gift Shop

Portugal – Evora’s Capela dos Ossos

Portugal – Historic Evora

Merida, Spain – Ancient Roman Ruins

Seville, Spain – First Impressions

Seville, Spain – The Alcazar

Seville, Spain – Around Town (Sights along the streets)

Seville, Spain – The Old and the New

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2019 – JBRish.com



Photography: My Shot — Pine Cones in the Mist

When we plan our hiking and photography trips, we understand that we are most likely going to have some days when the weather is not ideal. Even if it rains, as long as it isn’t a deluge, we carry out our plans to hike. We may elect to alter the selection of trails, but hike we will.

During our adventures in Sequoia National Park, California, we wanted to see a stand of the giant sequoias that were located in the Muir Grove near the end of the Muir Grove Trail. The day was a dreary, drizzly one. To add a bit of drama, we had a map that accessed the trailhead through one of the campgrounds that was unfortunately closed for renovations. Cars were not allowed, but we were told we could walk in.

The construction turned the campground into ghost town and the cloudy, misty, rainy day created an eerie spectacle. Undeterred however, and with most of the landmarks altered or removed, we finally located the trailhead.

As we made our way along the designated path, we came across the beautiful branch pictured below. The two elongated pine cones were dangling in the air. They were posed in such near perfect juxtaposition against the misty background, that I was inspired to take this photograph and I am glad that I did.



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Metadata

File Name: 000031_sequoia_1619.NEF
Capture time: 12:10 PM
Capture date: June 10, 2018
Exposure: 1/60 sec @ f/16
Focal Length: 35mm
ISO: 1250
Camera: Nikon D3300
Lens: 18.0 – 55.0mm f/3.5-5.6
Edited in Lightroom

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BTW – Here is a picture of me by the unbelievably huge sequoia’s near the end of the trail. To give some perspective to the scene, I am nearly six feet tall and I am standing at the base of a single tree.

Click HERE for more information about the Grove Muir Trail.



See more photography posts HERE and visit Jeff’s Instagram site HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2018 – JBRish.com



Photography: My Shot — White Peacock Butterfly (Anartia jatrophae)



As readers of JBRish might recall, I volunteer at the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG) in Phoenix, AZ. It is the second most visited tourist attraction in the state after the Grand Canyon. After all, what can compete with the Grand Canyon?

The DBG recently constructed a new and much improved butterfly pavilion which houses two different butterfly exhibits each year. One focuses on the Monarch butterfly while the other shows a variety of butterflies.

The picture above was taken during a recent visit to the DBG and the butterfly exhibit. These are beautiful and dainty creatures. It is always breathtaking to see so many of them up close among a captivating floral setting.

 

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Metadata

File Name: XT2A1876_r.tif
Capture time: 11:18 AM
Capture date: Oct. 6, 2018
Exposure: 1/320 sec @ f/5.6
Focal Length: 55mm
ISO: 200
Camera: Fuji X-T2
Lens: XF18-55mm, F2.8-4 R LM OIS
Edited in Lightroom & Photoshop

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See more photography posts HERE and visit Jeff’s Instagram site HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2018 – JBRish.com



Video: Hummingbirds in Slow Motion (Amazing)

I found the video below quite mesmerizing and I think you will as well. I have to admit up front that I am a bird person. I enjoy casual birdwatching and photographing the wide variety of avian creatures nature has gifted to us.

What makes this video so interesting, in my opinion, is not only the exotic variety of intriguing, colorful, tropical hummingbirds, but also the slow motion style that reveals their elegant movements.

ALSO…please read my note below.

NOTE: The video above is an advertisement for a particular product. I have not used this product and I am not endorsing it.

 

More Vide – Ohs

To See additional Interesting Videos, click HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Tianjin, China Has A WOW! Library

There is an amazing library in Tianjin, China that has well over one million books. That would be unique enough for many, but what separates this library from all others is the unique design.

Look at the pictures below to gain an appreciation for this architectural wonder.




Via




Via



Via



Via

 
Read more about the Tianjin Library, click on the Via links above.

Read more miscellaneous stories on JBRish HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Photography: My Shot at Puente Nuevo – Ronda, Spain


Puento Nuevo - Ronda Spain

It was an unusual decision for us, but we decided to take a trip to Portugal and Spain this spring. Usually we enjoy hiking the national parks and beautiful areas of the United States while our knees and joints can still take to the hills and dales America the beautiful has to offer.

One of our favorite stops on the tour was Puento Nuevo in the town of Ronda Spain. My wife and I often remark at the historic nature of towns in Europe which are very old compared to those in the United States. We tend to think of something as being old if it was founded two hundred years ago, but in Europe we are often talking about multiples of that or even thousands of years.

Ronda was first settled in the sixth century B.C. That is old! The photograph above is one of my favorite shots from our trip. It was taken from the Puente Nuevo bridge which is the largest of a number of bridges spanning the gorge of the Guadalevín River that meanders through Ronda. I was hoping to capture the beauty and uniqueness of this spot and I think I managed to do so fairly well.

 

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Metadata

File Name: ronda_spain_PuentoNuevo_DSC_3082.jpg
Capture time: 9:36 AM
Capture date: May 16, 2018
Exposure: 1/320 sec @ f/9.0
Focal Length: 22mm
ISO: 100
Camera: Nikon D3300
Lens: 18.0 – 55.12mm f/3.5-5.6
Edited in Lightroom

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See more photography posts HERE and visit Jeff’s Instagram site HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Hiking: Yellow-Throated Gilia, Sequoia National Park, CA

One of the reasons I enjoy hiking is that it offers opportunities for interesting discoveries; some anticipated and others serendipitous. We were hiking along the Crescent Meadow Loop Trail in Sequoia National Park nearly a year ago when we came across a patch of wildflowers tucked away in a wooded area…


Yellow-Throated Gilia wildflower

It was hard to believe that these were real. The colors were so vibrant and unusual in combination. It was an amazing sight. The next day we were on the Sunset Point Trail and there was a large swath of these wildflowers covering the entire hillside.


Yellow-Throated Gilia wildflower
Love those standouts adding their all white accents in the middle of the patch!

 
Nature is the art of God.” – Dante Alighieri

Read more about Yellow-Throated Gilia HERE

 

Read more JBRish.com posts:

Hiking/Exploring HERE, Nature HERE, Photography HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Hiking: Brins Mesa – Sedona, AZ


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

Years ago we tried to hike the Brins Mesa trail with some visiting friends, but they weren’t hikers and soon decided that they weren’t prepared for the adventure so we returned to the car to visit other nearby and easily accessible vistas.

The Brins Mesa trail is probably best described as moderate to a bit more than moderate (at times). The trail is relatively well marked, but it is primarily uphill if you are starting from the main trailhead at the outskirts of town.

Soon after starting the climb, this is one of the scenes you will see.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

One of the reasons for undertaking this hike is to admire the beautiful scenery and red rock vistas encountered along the entire trail.

There are what has been referred to as “natural stairs,” but the operative word there is natural. Creating steps from a rock face formed by nature is no easy task and as you might imagine, the spacing is not always ideal. Hiking sticks may be helpful for those who are less sure-footed.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

In almost every direction, the red and sand-colored rocks rise above the trees to the wonder and appreciation of trailblazers.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

You don’t see the mesa itself for a while, but persevere and you will come to a shelf-like geological feature that is the Brins Mesa (pictured below).


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

It is unfortunate that years ago there was a fire that destroyed many of the trees and the carcasses of those sentinels can be seen along the mesa’s trail.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

For those who enjoy photography, there are numerous opportunities to capture memorable landscapes.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

As we were hiking along the trail, we noticed what looked like a ledge (drop off) and a valley. We also spotted an outcropping or rather a small hill and we decided to explore. There is a trail leading in that general direction.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

The picture below was taken while I was standing at the ledge. Notice the darker, reddish dirt in the valley.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

I took a couple of panoramas (linked below) as the red rock mountains were spread out before me. It was too wide and too beautiful for me to capture in just one or two pictures. After some exploration and appreciatiion, we decided to return to the trailhead. Although it was mid-October, the day was quite warm and we had a long day. This is the scene looking back toward the ridge and surrounding mountains.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

One rule of photography is to look behind you as you travel because sometimes, the best view is not in front, but in back. When returning along the same trail, this maxim becomes self-fulfilling. These are a few of the pretty formations we captured during the return to the trailhead.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

Famous Bell Rock can be seen in the center of the photo below where the sky seems to meet the low-lying structure. It is hard to pick out, but look for the little nub on top.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

Red rock spires and hoodoos (column of rock) are abundant.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

Here are the two panoramas…


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

To see a larger photo of the scene, make your browser window larger and click HERE


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

To see a larger photo of the scene, make our browser window larger and click HERE

More information about the Brins Mesa trail can be found at the following links:

Brins Mesa Trail No. 119 – Forest Service (USDA)

Brins Mesa Trail – AZ Highways

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Streets of Gold in the Phoenix Desert (Gardening)

Palo Verde Tree in flower

As you can see from the photograph above, the desert is decked in gold this time of year. The Palo Verdes (along with some other flowering trees snd shrubs) produce an abundance of yellow blooms. There are streets that are lined with these trees and they build a seasonal hallway of gold.

Streets of gold

The ground is carpeted with spent yellow flower petals adding even more color to the street. While the neighborhoods aren’t paved with gold, they are covered with pretty yellow hues.

Below is a picture of the branches of the Palo Verde tree laden with its delightful burden of yellow flowers.

Palo Verde Tree flowers


JBRish.com originally published this post
All photographs are Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved

 
See more JBRish gardening and desert gardening posts here HERE