Cordoba, Spain and the Olive Country

Granada had a wonderful mixed ambiance of the old and the new which is very inviting, but after two days, it was time to move on to Cordoba for a very brief single-day stop. There would be no overnight stay, just a quick day of touring.


Olive orchards on the way to Cordoba
picture snapped through our speeding bus window

On the way, we traveled through Spain’s premier olive-growing region of Andalusia and of course we made a requisite stop at one of the local olive mills. There were plenty of products for sale and we acquired several tins of the famed olive oil as well as some decorative bottle stoppers.

The grounds had interesting artifacts. Whether they were originals or not, I had no way of knowing, but they were engaging just the same. The picture below is of a large urn for storing part of the season’s olive oil bounty. The metal wheels would most likely be parts of the grinding machinery used to crush the olives.


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This is a view of the beautiful plantings. Notice the urn in the distance.


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After our brief stop, we boarded the bus and arrived in Cordoba. We had a brief lunch and then enjoyed a walk through the historic part of the city which is a delight for anyone who enjoys the beautiful contrast of solid colored building facades (mostly white) generously punctuated with colorful flower-filled pots and planters.


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We also spent time wandering through city’s historic Jewish Quarter. Casa Pepe de la Juderia is one of the well-known restaurants in this part of town.


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Markers were embedded among the paving stones to differentiate the Jewish Quarter streets.


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Towering over the center of Cordoba, and visible from many streets, are the towers of the Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba (Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba) which is perhaps the main draw for many tourists and adventurers. The structure is referred to as both a mosque and a cathedral because of its complex history.


he Bell tower of the Mosque of Cordoba
The Bell tower of the Mosque of Cordoba

The Torre del Alminar (Minaret Tower) has been converted to the Bell Tower with steps leading to the top for impressive views of Cordoba.

Even before entering the building, an examination of the beautiful exterior details revealed the uniqueness and the age of this Mosque. The nine entrances are referred to as gates; each with a distinct name. I believe this is the Gate of Holy Spirit Espiritu Santuto.


Gate of Holy Spirit Espiritu Santuto

Our group began the tour by gathering in the main courtyard.


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The Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba – Which has a unique combination of Christian and Moorish architecture and religious cultures. The original structure had, for a time, dual occupancy with different sections being used by the Visigoth Christians and the Muslims, but was later destroyed to make way for a grand Mosque (Mezquita) constructed over a period of more than 200 years.

In the 13th century, the building was taken over by the Christians and converted into a church. **

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There is a huge columnar prayer hall that is astonishingly beautiful because of the colors and the manner in which the light plays off the surrounding walls, ceilings and floors.


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There are reportedly an excess of 800 columns supporting the structure.


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The picture below is particularly interesting because of the golden hue, the ornate carving and the hanging lights.


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The focal point in the prayer hall is the unusual horse-shoe arched prayer niche or mihrab beautifully painted with exquisite detail. Gold-backed glass was used in the construction and provides some of the striking contrast.**


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Wherever one looked, there was magnificence on display. The intricate arches were stunning.


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When the Christian rulers gained control of the structure, they took to the task of constructing the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption inside the mosque. This is the High Altar of the main chapel.


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Not to be outdone by all of the detailed artwork of the mosque, the chapel dome is also very ornate…


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As is this nearby ceiling…


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There is a Museum in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption where this gold and green artifact is on display.


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After our visit to the Mosque/Cathedral, we returned to the quaint streets of Cordoba with the mosque peering through the narrow skyscapes.


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Cordoba is also known for its courtyards and during May, there is a courtyard festival:

Every year in May, the city of Cordoba in Andalusia celebrates its famous Courtyards Festival, a tradition which was declared a part of our Intangible World Heritage by UNESCO in 2012 and during which many of the courtyards or “patios” in the historic quarter are open to visitors for a few days. The festival is a competition to discover the most beautiful courtyards in the city, and fills the streets with colour, the scent of jasmine and orange blossom and the strains of flamenco.**

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While this was not part of the festival when we were in town, it was an interesting, colorful courtyard that we were able to admire.


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There was time for one last stop before we headed for the train station and I wanted to see the Roman Bridge (Puente Romano) and the Roman Arch Gate which is within easy walking distance of the Mosque.


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The afternoon shadows were growing long so we made our way to the train station in Cordoba to take the two-hour (+/-) ride to Madrid.

Members of our group served to create a Norman Rockwell moment.


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The bullet train was very sleek and fast! Next Stop Madrid!


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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)r

Jerez, Spain – Horses and Sherry

Gibraltar – More than the Rock

Marbella Along the Mediterranean

Bridging the Gorge – Amazing Ronda, Spain

Romantic and Fabled Granada, Spain

The Alhambra Palace and Fortress – Granada, Spain

 

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 2014 – 2019 – JBRish.com



Nature’s Color Bounty on Display at Glacier NP

We spent a week hiking at Glacier National Park, Montana which is one of the most remote national parks in the United States. As the glaciers release the waters frozen in their winter larder, the streams and waterfalls flow freely. Although the sun was not dominating the sky on this day, the colors rendered all around us were magnificent.

While hiking along the Johns Lake Loop, we came across a number of vistas similar to the one below which was remarkable in the natural beauty rendered.



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Metadata

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Capture time: 11:59:32 AM
Capture date: July 12, 2019
Exposure: 1/45 sec @ f/20
Focal Length: 18mm
ISO: 400
Camera: Fuji X-T2
Lens: XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM Ois
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 2014 – 2019 – JBRish.com



Bridging the Gorge – Amazing Ronda, Spain

Ronda is one of the most visited destinations in Spain. The main characteristic and defining geographic attribute is the El Tajo gorge that separates the new and the old parts of Ronda.


El Tajo gorge

Well, if there is a ravine dividing a city,there is a need to connect them somehow and that is the function of impressive Puente Nuevo (New Bridge).


Puente Nuevo / New Bridge

The first time I looked over the top of the bridge and saw this view, I was stunned at how beautiful it was in the the early morning light!


El Tajo gorge

The bridge is an essential part of Ronda’s culture, allowing the newer parts of the city to easily mix with the old. It took more than forty years to build and should be seen as a marvel from many of the nearby vantage points.


The New Bridge Connecting old and new Ronda

We did not have time to walk down to the bottom of the gorge, but that too is another spectacular view of the Puente Nuevo (see the other photographs HERE)

Once across the bridge, we stopped to view an old city map created in the azulejo style of tin-glazed ceramics mounted on a building wall. The title, Viajeros Romanticos translates to Romantic Travelers.


City map made of tiles


Close up view of a city map made of tiles

We next visited the John Bosco house which was considered palatial in its day. It was bequeathed to the Order of Salesian Priests founded by Saint John Bosco and served as a retreat for that religious order. The picture below is of an interior courtyard.


Courtyard at the John Bosco House

What adds to the allure of this estate are the beautiful gardens…


Bosco house gardens

and vantage points of both east toward the mountains


The mountains from the Bosco house

and west toward the New Bridge.


The gorge from the Bosco house

The house is built on the edge of the ravine and looking straight down also provides a wonderful view of the old retaining wall.


The old retaining wall from the Bosco house

A short walk from the John Bosco house is a small park-like area with additional mountain views.


A Park in Ronda

Like most other old cities and older sections of cities, Ronda had a number of interesting streets to wander and admire. The handles on this old wooden door and metal accents give testimony to the pride Spaniards take in maintaining their heritage. Notice how the right-hand handle is broken and not replaced.


Aged wooden door with metal accents

And one of our favorite features to explore are the side streets and small plazas of these wonderful old-world cities. This is picturesque Plaza Mondragon.


old world plaza withe balconies and flowers


picturesque Plaza Mondragon

As we walked through Ronda, we visited one of the more unique churches, the Church of Our Lady of Peace.


Church of Our Lady of Peace

The most important feature is the altar of the Virgen de la Paz, the patron Saint of Ronda.


 altar of the Virgen de la Paz


 altar of the Virgen de la Paz - close up

We admired other buildings and churches as part of our walking tour including the clock tower of the Church of Santa Maria la Mayor.


clock tower of the Church of Santa Maria la Mayor.

Wildflowers growing from the walls of another church added to the historic beauty of the building.

Old wall with wildflowers growing

One of the most noteworthy historical assignations for Ronda is the birthplace of modern bullfighting sometimes referred to as the “Ronda school.” The historic context of bullfighting is lost to the ages, but it is suggested that perhaps it was a right of passage for adolescent boys before transitioning to manhood. The absolute derivation will never be known.

Pedro Romero, a Ronda native, hailed from a line of innovative bullfighters, but he was the one matador who raised the ritual to an artistic form and thus is given the distinction of the Father of Modern Bullfighting. Read more about it HERE


Statue of a Bull outside the Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda is a world famous bullfighting ring which is not in regular use anymore. It is a beautiful structure to behold.


the Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Standing in the middle of the arena, one gathers a sense of the scope and popularity of this Spanish tradition.


the Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Some youngsters could not resist reenacting the contest between man and beast.


Youngsters acting out a bullfight

This was our last stop in Ronda this morning before having lunch and heading to our next destination. It surely is a town that deserves more time and perhaps one day we shall return to explore further.

One last look back at the El Tajo gorge of Ronda!


One last photo of Ronda's beautiful gorge


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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)r

Jerez, Spain – Horses and Sherry

Gibraltar – More than the Rock

Marbella Along the Mediterranean

 

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 2014 – 2019 – JBRish.com



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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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 – 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




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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