Posted by: David Vernon | August 31, 2017

September 2017 Desktop Calendar

September 2017 Desktop Calendar

Much like you’d like to think summer works – the cafes of Paris does work – they just keep going – long past the time they should. So welcome to September.

The Cafe des Beaux Arts sits at the corner of the Rue Bonaparte and the Quai Malaquais, on the Left Bank of the Seine, just west of the Pont des Arts. Right across the river sits the Louvre. Just down the street is the D’Orsay, while Notre Dame sits a wee bit off in the other direction. Where else would you actually want to sit on a lovely summer night in Paris – even around 10:30pm. That is what summer is for, after all.

So enjoy month nine of 12 months of Paris – still all shot in June 2016. So why not click on a link below to find a lovely desktop for the month ahead. Enjoy!

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Posted by: David Vernon | July 31, 2017

August 2017 Desktop Calendar

August 2017 Desktop Calendar

This feels like an August picture.

Standing on the middle level of the Tour Eiffel, looking out to the south, you realize how large greater Paris is. In this direction it just looks packed, but, honestly, it never felt packed. The Parisians have an interesting rule about building heights that just seems to ease the feeling of large city claustrophobia. Each directional view from the Eiffel was a little different. To the west, the Trocadero and Bois de Boulogne; to the north, the Seine, the Arc de Triomphe, and a more memorial Paris. To the east, the long greenway in front of the Eiffel, and the heart of Paris… but this one said summer.

So enjoy month eight (we are 2/3 of the way there!) of 12 months of Paris – still all shot in June 2016. So why not click on a link below to find a lovely desktop for the month ahead. Enjoy!

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Posted by: David Vernon | June 29, 2017

July 2017 Desktop Calendar

July 2017 Desktop Calendar

If you wander to the Arc de Triomphe, centered in the Place Charles de Gaulle between the Avenue de la Grande-Armee and the Avenue de la Champs-Elysees (and ten other roads converging), you should definitely pay to go in… and up – 208′ to the roof where the views of Paris are magnifique. There’s a lovely little museum at the top and plenty to interest – but don’t neglect a walk around the outside – with its equally wonderful statues and carvings. Oh, and the giant French tricolor that almost always flys under the cover of French history… it’s all delightful.

So enjoy month seven of 12 months of Paris – we’re more than halfway home – still all shot in June 2016. So why not click on a link below to find a lovely desktop for the month ahead. Enjoy!

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Posted by: David Vernon | May 31, 2017

June 2017 Desktop Calendar

June 2017 Desktop Calendar

Ahh June in Paris. Nighttime walks on the quais of the Seine, which are filled with life, people walking, bands playing, people dancing. Just about two weeks earlier than this shot, upon our arrival in Paris, the Seine was flooded and the quai sides were under three feet of water. On our last night in Paris however, the walking was splendid and the views spectacular. Here, on La Rive Droite, we are standing just west of the newly reopened Pont des Arts, with the world famous Pont Neuf just behind.

The Pont des Arts, originally built under Napoleon, and finished in 1804, was the first metal bridge across the Seine. It became synonomous however as the bridge with the “Locks of Love” on it. This quaint (the first 2-3 locks) but unoriginal notion (the remaining millions of locks) did serious damage to the bridge. While Parisian authorities were constantly removing locks from the bridge, by 2015, there were over one million padlocks affixed to the bridge, weighing an estimated 45 tons. Some bridge rail panels actually collapsed under the weight. So eventually all the locks came off and the bridge panels were redesigned to prevent the re-adding of locks. Now the bridge hosts art installations (witness the abstract sculptures in this shot) and the locks have moved to a dedicated area on Left Bank side of the Pont Neuf that is well constructed for it… But I’m not cynical…

So enjoy month six of 12 months of Paris – we’re halfway home – still all shot in June 2016. So why not click on a link below to find a lovely desktop for the month ahead. Enjoy!

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Posted by: David Vernon | April 30, 2017

May 2017 Desktop Calendar

May 2017 Desktop Calendar

Our 100th calendar. Good lord I’m tired… okay – maybe just a little sleepy.

Month five of A Year in Paris takes you to the top. The top of the Arc de Triomphe that is – which is 162′ above the Place Charles de Gaulle, and one of the most famous monuments in all of Paris. Behind me is the famous Champs-Élysées  (and 12 avenues meet here), but we are instead looking up the Avenue de la Grande Armée, out across the Seine to La Défense, just west of the city limits of Paris. It is Europe’s largest purpose-built business district. However, in spite of that, what we are standing on is more interesting.

The Arc de Triomphe honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Beneath its vault lies France’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. The Arc was commissioned after Napolean’s victory at Austerlitz in 1806, but the building lingered for political reasons, and it wasn’t completed to just before 1840. Ahhh politics.

The climb to the top, on a wonderful circular stairway, takes you first to a museum, and then a few more steps to the roof, where you and hundreds of your closest friends can get lovely 360° views of the entire city. But they’re open late, and Paris is the City of Lights, so what better place to spend an evening…

So enjoy month five of 12 months of Paris – still all shot in June 2016. So why not click on a link below to find a lovely desktop for the month ahead. Enjoy!

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Posted by: David Vernon | March 31, 2017

April 2017 Desktop Calendar

Month four of A Year in Paris takes you to the courtyard of a little museum – called – the Louvre.

And before it was one of the greatest art museums on the planet, it was a palace – for the kings of France. Converted from an earlier fortress on the site (still viewable in the basement), a palace took flight in 1546 under Charles V. It was the home of French kings in Paris until 1793. Some of you older folks might remember 1793 – there was something underway called the French Revolution – and needless to say the building was conceived of for a new purpose: art! But in the courtyard of the grounds sits an interesting statue, with an interesting history. And while I don’t usually digress here – I’m gonna make an exception this month. For this I am going to borrow a history from a writer named Christina who blogged about the history of this statue in 2013. My trimmed down version is here – but read her full article – it’s delightful.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598 – 1680) was an Italian sculptor who was known widely for his busts.  I now copy directly:

“I was surprised to hear the story of a Bernini sculpture that was initially rejected and therefore ultimately saved. As a stipulation in a cease-fire agreement, Bernini was coerced into leaving his beloved Rome to serve 5 months in the court of Louis XIV.  In Paris, Bernini dutifully created a portrait bust of Louis balancing his physical likeness with the grandeur that was “the Sun King”. In another piece of royal propaganda, Bernini prepared an equestrian statue of the King dressed as a Roman General.  At the last minute, Bernini decided to carve the king smiling.  Louis was furious when he saw the final piece and wanted to destroy it.  Thankfully cooler-headed advisers counseled the King against this and had the face of the rider re-carved as a Greek General to “correct” the issue.  Still a somewhat disappointing sculpture for Louis XIV, the altered statue was relegated to a far section of the gardens of Versailles, the King’s palace at the time. About a hundred years later, revolutionaries stormed Versailles destroying images of the kings.  Bernini’s statue was spared because it obviously no longer depicted Louis XIV.  However, because of its placement at a far corner of the gardens, it continued to sit unnoticed for centuries. In the mid-1980’s,  I. M. Pei was selected to re-design the courtyard of the Louvre.  To fit with his modern aesthetic and dramatic plans, he wanted all the statues and monuments removed from the palace courtyard, with one exception.  I. M. Pei loves Bernini’s work and as a tribute, asked for a copy of the altered Louis XIV equestrian statue to be placed in the courtyard.  Thus one of the few works designed by Bernini and executed in France by him could be incorporated into the greatest art museum in the country.  The original stone statue remains at Versailles, although now it is inside and protected. Already in the shadow of the Louvre’s beautiful architecture and massive art collection, many visitors probably don’t notice the Bernini in the courtyard.  Even fewer people probably realize that this beautiful piece survived an angry monarch, a violent mob and potential oblivion to come to a place of honor today.”

Obviously – I noticed. But there you go.

So enjoy month four of 12 months of Paris – still all shot in June 2016. So why not click on a link below to find a lovely desktop for the month ahead. Enjoy!

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Posted by: David Vernon | March 1, 2017

March 2017 Desktop Calendar

March 2017 Desktop Calendar

Month three of A Year in Paris takes you to a train station. An old train station.

Take a turn of the (19th) century train station, remove the trains, and fill it with some of the greatest art in the world. Do it just across the Seine from that other little French museum – what’s it called? – oh yeah – the Louvre. And presto – you’ve got one of the greatest concentrations of the greatest art ever in one small place. Relatively speaking. Relatively because the d’Orsay is gigantic as well and it is breathtaking.

But – in spite of all that – it still has a few of the touches of a train station, including two giant clocks on north side, facing the river. Behind this very clock, in the northwest corner of the building, is a very upscale cafe. We were there early in the morning and it was not yet open – which made taking pictures of the clock and the snazy artistic stuff around it – easy peasy.

So enjoy month three of 12 months of Paris – still all shot in June 2016. So why not click on a link below to find a lovely desktop for the month ahead. Enjoy!

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Posted by: David Vernon | January 31, 2017

February 2017 Desktop Calendar

February 2017 Desktop Calendar

Month two of A Year in Paris stays iconic – in a big way. And by big I mean Notre Dame Cathedral big. Actually – the famed Cathedral, that took like 175 years to build, is so big – it’s going to make the said year in Paris TWICE. It’s too big. So we will start small = instead of shooting down the almost infinite length of the church, we have our February view from the south side of the Nave to the north side. But it’s so big, you lose track of the top rather quickly… The scope of this building – while so often talked about – is just even more amazing in real life than it is in pictures. But if you’re stuck in the US like I am right now – we can all suck it up together, and look at an image, and just BELIEVE how big the place is.

So enjoy month two of 12 months of Paris – still all shot in June 2016. So why not click on a link below to find a lovely desktop for the month ahead. Enjoy!

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Posted by: David Vernon | December 31, 2016

January 2017 Desktop Calendar

January 2017 Desktop Calendar

With our 96th calendar, completing EIGHT freakn’ years of these things, we’ve decided to follow a theme for 2017. And unless you’re currently living under a rock (and my apologies for those of you currently living under a rock), the theme for 2017 will be obvious. Sunsets. No wait, City scapes. Ummm no. Sacré bleu! Could it be??? Cities named Paris??? YES – it could be. But don’t hold your breath for Paris, TX. Instead (and don’t hold your breath in general – you will pass out), it’s going to be 12 months of the other Paris – in France. With the Eiffel Tower thing in it. The City of Lights. Paris in the Springtime. Et cetera.

So we’ll start off with a sunset skyline of Paris, giving scant hope to the other two theme ideas for one month. There are few more interesting places to make a Paris skyline sunset picture than the top of Montparnasse Tower – 59 stories above Paris – and – as most Parisians suggest – it also keeps this architectural monstrosity out of the picture…

So here we go – 12 months of Paris – all shot in June 2016. I will work on getting some winter pics of Paris some day. Perhaps Paris, TX, as the other place is probably cold and snowy. So why not click on a link below to find a lovely desktop for the month ahead. Enjoy!

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Posted by: David Vernon | November 29, 2016

December 2016 Desktop Calendar

December 2016 Desktop Calendar

Probably the most famous spot in Canyonlands National Park in Utah – except most people don’t see it at this time of day.

Mesa Arch is famous for sunrises. In fact a good part of the year, the sun rises as seen through the arch. It’s very dramatic. Go ahead and Google it and take a look. Famous. We, on the other hand, elected to go elsewhere for sunrise that morning. After all, we were staying in Moab, UT, so Arches NP was a few minutes up the road. And one of the most wonderful state parks in Utah, Dead Horse Point, is also close, so Canyonlands and its famed arch were conveniently left for late morning. The plus – no one was there on what was actually a warmish February day. At sunrise the place can be packed with photographers. Who knew the lovely LaSal Mountains were through that arch? No one ever sees them when the sun is rising just over them. So bonus. Alas – this is how it works out some times. So no drama. No brilliant orange. Just a quiet arch on a quiet morning, in a very quiet national park. I’ll take it.

And since you’ve come this far, why not click on a link below to find a lovely desktop for the month ahead. Here we go:

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Posted by: David Vernon | November 1, 2016

November 2016 Desktop Calendar

November 2016 Desktop Calendar

What can you say about #94 in a series, posted now 94 months in a row? Well, you can say, by my math, that I was 12 years old when this started. You could say it, but you would be wrong… You can also suggest that one not write these blurbs when one is tired.

Okay – it’s Michigan – taken about 370 days ago up just above the waters of Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. A place to go back to some day – but gorgeous on this rainy empty fall day where once again I barely saw a soul. And that is how I like my National Lakeshores…

And since you’ve come this far, why not click on a link below to find a lovely desktop for the month ahead. Here we go:

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Posted by: David Vernon | October 1, 2016

October 2016 Desktop Calendar

October 2016 Desktop Calendar

Somewhere between Mono Lake in the Eastern Sierras, and Death Valley, further to the east, sits the Alabama Hills – on the edge of the Owens Valley, outside the town of Lone Pine. And if you stand with your back to Mt. Whitney, at sunrise in late January or early February some year, this is what it will look like. Well, except for the little calendar in the corner – we add that for your benefit. You can’t say we aren’t looking out for you.

And since you’ve come this far, why not click on a link below to find a lovely desktop for the month ahead. Here we go:

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Posted by: David Vernon | September 1, 2016

September 2016 Desktop Calendar

September 2016 Desktop Calendar

Now somewhere in the Black Mountain Hills of Dakota, there lived a young boy named Rocky Raccoon. That Beatles lyric would be more interesting if this were South Dakota. It is not. Now if Rocky Raccoon took a trip to Death Valley in California… THEN we’d have had something. This is why that band didn’t make it.

The Road to Wildrose – as in Wildrose – the town/camping area in Death Valley, California, was about 18 miles long and we were hoping we could get out the other end but – get this – flooding damage had closed the road down near Wildrose. Flooding damage – in Death Valley. Climate change FTW. So we enjoyed the sunset views in the foothills of the mountains that make the valley that is famous for heat and emptiness… and you can do with your free exciting desktop calendar.

Now that you’ve come this far, why not get yours while they last. Which will be for a long time… And whistle a little Rocky Raccoon. Here we go:

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Posted by: David Vernon | July 31, 2016

August 2016 Desktop Calendar

August 2016 Desktop Calendar

I know – you were probably expecting a Paris desktop calendar this month. Well, there’s an order and hierarchy to this thing – so you’re gonna have to suck it up and live with Zion – at Canyon Junction under a lovely sunset. Which – in a word or two – ain’t bad.

So thing spring in Utah instead of hot summer in Paris. Here we go:

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Posted by: David Vernon | June 30, 2016

July 2016 Desktop Calendar

July 2016 Desktop Calendar

Continuing on a California theme, we move from last month’s Death Valley, just a few hundred miles up the Sierras to little Mono Lake, just east of Yosemite, near Lee Vining, CA. We visited there in cool January, quite the opposite of summer in Death Valley, where the temp hit 129 degrees in June. Yeah – good timing.

Mono is a very salty, mineral lake, and over the millennia, tufa have formed. These are large calcium deposits in the water that look very otherworldly. The lake, with water diverted 250 miles to Los Angeles, sunk quite a bit over the years, revealing a lot of tufa that had been at least partially submerged. The lake water no longer goes south, but the lake level is still very low.

Enjoy that July heat with remembrances of January cool mornings – California-style. Here we go:

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