The Unexpected at Hôtel Droog

I found Hôtel Droog (Staalstraat 7b) listed in the “Distinctly Amsterdam” section of the National Geographic book Walking Amsterdam: The Best of the City.

Hotel Droog by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Hôtel Droog, Shirt Hangar Lamp by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

The hotel part is a one bedroom attic apartment on the top floor. The Droog part is a design emporium, designed interior, exhibition space and café. The interiors turn your expectations upside down. In one room blue birds fly across the ceiling of a room with walls of windows as if the outside has come in.

Hotel Droog Courtyard of Blue Birds by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Hôtel Droog Courtyard of Blue Birds by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

In another room, a young man examines you from the safety of his place on the wall.

Hotel Droog Dining Room by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Hôtel Droog Dining Room by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

And in the café, even the aquarium interior is a surprise:

Hotel Droog Cafe, Fish at the Table by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Hôtel Droog Cafe, Fish at the Table by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Tiny gold-fish eat algae off of the dinner table. Definitely not what I expected. Did you?

One of the things I like about travel is that is causes you to re-examine what’s necessary (to pack for example) and to open to new and different ways of doing/seeing/being. And that’s exactly what a visit to Droog will do for you.

Breutiful Calero Reservoir Trail Run 2014

Breutiful. Yes, spell check, exactly that. The Calero Reservoir Trail Run put on by West Coast Trail Runs was breutiful.  The reservoir is nestled in the land of barns and bales in a South San Jose valley. Next to the valley are some impressive mountains. Not the Swiss Alps but still, enough to be breutiful and certainly challenging for my second trail half marathon.

Beautiful:

The View from the Top by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

The View from the Top by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

And brutal with over 4,000 feet of climbing in 13.1 miles.

Up and Up and Up by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Up and Up and Up by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Fortunately, we got to run down this little hill but that was after a few miles of climbing up and up and up on very steep grades. My Newton Boca ATs gripped the ground well and provided great stability.

 

West Coast Trails run support was great. Route markings were very clear. The baked potato pieces at the mile 6ish station were delicious. The 9ish mile station had not one but three helpful people and gold fish, gummy bears, M&Ms etc sorted into a bowl for each participant as well as electrolyte pills and drink. Loved it!

On a breutiful long run like this one, you get to be with your tiredness and chose to be with the beauty right in front of you and all around you. You get to battle the urge to quit. In some ways, you get to shrink down the larger questions to a few hours. Am I going to quit or am I going to keep going?  What am I in this for? to win, to finish, to enjoy, to explore, to meet people? etc.

After long periods spent battling the race clock and my own personal clock (PB – personal best), this year, I decided to make a U-turn in my approach, to run trails where all bets are off, instead of road, and to enjoy the run, rather than goal a time.  As a result, I’ve had a much richer experience.

You Turn to Higher Ground by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

You Turn to Higher Ground by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

I’ve chatted with a lot more people like Kathy from Bend who was running the full marathon (kudos!) and a pair of friends who were running their first trail run (half-marathon) and another pair who were trail speedsters (I met them at the finish).  I’ve attempted much longer distances in much tougher terrain on much less structured training than before.  And I have seen a lot more territory in my world.

This U-turn was a long time unfolding. Many are. But it’s worth thinking about where am I and where are you frustrated with what we’re experiencing? Those areas are ripe for trying out a different approach.  After all, the current one isn’t working for us.

Where do you think a U-Turn might lead you to higher ground?

 

 

Flying Away

A fellow Instagrammer, @randommarcus or Marcus Carlberg, let me know what app he used to shoot one striking photo in his stream. It was Fotor HDR. I tried it out this week on a flight. Here’s the color image as shot but cropped square using the rule of thirds to place the wing tip:

Flying Away by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Flying Away by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

There are a number of HDR filters in the app to apply. The black and white filter in the Fotor HDR app looked pretty fantastic and a little retro:

Flying Away by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Flying Away by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Another app, TangledFX has great capabilities to make a photo fly away in a new direction. I gave 4 filters a whirl just to see what happened:

Swirls:

Flying Away by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Flying Away by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014 using Tangled FX “Swirls” Filter

Brush Strokes:

Flying Away by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Flying Away by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014 using Tangled FX “Brush Strokes” Filter

The Dark Side:

Flying Away by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Flying Away by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014 using Tangled FX “The Dark Side” Filter

Cartoon:

Flying Away by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

I’ll Fly Away by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014 using Tangled FX “Cartoon” Filter

These interpretations reminded me of a verse in a bluegrass hymn called “I’ll Fly Away” sung by Alison Krauss:

Some bright morning when this life is over,

I’ll fly away;

to a home on God’s celestial shore,

I’ll fly away (I’ll fly away).

The day before I took this image one of my 17 year-old cats wandered off to “fly away”.   The day after I took this image, the other 17-year-old cat would “fly away” in her sleep at home. I hope both of them are at home on God’s celestial shore.

Related Posts:

Sticky Notes & Quotes, Positive

Explored on Flickr 2

Out of the 1.42 million photos uploaded a day on average to Flickr, the “Explore” algorithm along with some human intervention, pick 500 images to highlight as the most interesting. The first one of my “Explored” images is in an earlier post called Explored on Flickr. This last week, another one of my images earned the Explore designation!  I was beside myself with excitement and gratitude. Here’s the second Explored image below and on Flickr:

White Iris in Full Bloom by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

White Iris in Full Bloom by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

This image is a new version from the one that I shared in an earlier post Does Your Contrast Show.

White Iris in Full Bloom by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

White Iris in Full Bloom by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

I made the first image in Camera+, converted it from color and edited it in black and white in   Snapseed.  I took the second image in John Hornbeck’s app Contrast. There’s no comparison on the reception of the second image because I did not post it to Flickr.

I am thankful for all the support I received from the Flickr community.

 

Does Your Contrast Show

I found  a great app through Geri Centonze’s Art of Mob. In mid-February she profiled John Hornbeck’s app called Contrast. I really liked the look of the images so decided to experiment with it. Here are a few images.

The Lines of our Lives by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

The Lines of our Lives by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

One of the things I love about this app is the richness and certainty of the blacks. There’s no mistaking it for navy or a shade of gray. Likewise, there are some clear lines that definitively guide our lives and choices.

Where Above and Below Collide by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Where Above and Below Collide by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Again, the rich blacks countered by the shiny white of the reflection of sky in water.  Above and below seem to collide on the surface of the water.

Growth by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Growth by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

This last photo has an eerie spider web quality around the sun and sharp focus on the new growth coming from the tree trunk.

Messing with this app made me think about the contrast that Christian behavior is to be.  The I Corinthians 13 love passage is a good example:

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Today we talk a lot about “brand”. This kind of love and other characteristics are supposed to be the Christian’s brand. When Jesus was asked

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

This is the contrast we are to offer. Anyone who’s tried knows that apart from Him we can do nothing. We are the surface of the water upon which the above and below collide.

White Iris in Full Bloom by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

White Iris in Full Bloom by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

The Power of Perspective

It’s a question that doesn’t get asked and answered once. It’s one that pops up as many times as people ask a pregnant woman when she’s due but instead of for a few months, it’s for a lifetime.

How am I going to look at this? This circumstance.

What are some circumstances? (all hypothetical):

  • I lost my job
  • My wife / husband died
  • My tax bill is more than I can pay

How am I going to look at this?

For some reason, two pictures I took while experimenting with different apps cast this question in sharp relief. The subject is the same in both photos but the results are very different. 

The first, a Hipstamatic shot using Ray Mark II and Irom 2000, is bright, airy, with strong black, and reminds me of the sea side:

Joy and Beauty at Noon by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Joy and Beauty at Noon by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

The second, taken with the app Contrast by John Hornbeck, is dark, dramatic and reminds me of film noir:

Dark and Dramatic Day by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Dark and Dramatic Day by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Two very different approaches yielded two very different results. When I looked at them to edit, I realized they spoke to me about the choice of perspective. How am I and how are we going to view this circumstance, whatever it is for us?

  • Am I abandoned or will He reach down from on high and take hold of me and draw me out of deep waters? (Psalm 18:16)
  • Am I alone in this fight or does He rescue me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me, like He did for King David? (Psalm 18:17)
  • Am I a victim in these circumstances or is He a God who arms me with strength? (Psalm 18:32)
  • Am I without skill in this fight or is He training my hands for battle so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze? (Psalm 18:34)

These are just a few examples but the list goes on.  What’s on either side of the “or” may look different for us. The question for us remains, “Which perspective will I chose?”

 

 

 

 

From Drab to Dynamic

Drab looking days don’t have to result in drab photos.  Often those drab days still have an energy and aliveness that doesn’t show up in our photos.  Fortunately, we don’t have to stop there.

Here’s an original drab day photo that I took with my iPhone 5 on a muddy trail run in San Francisco:

Original Photo: Golden Gate Bridge

Original Photo: Golden Gate Bridge

It doesn’t do justice to the excitement I felt for this scene. Time to edit. My first stop is Snapseed which has lots of editing functionality to “set the base”.  The below image has global adjustments to contrast, ambience and brightness.

Snapseed Edits: Golden Gate Bridge

Snapseed Edits: Golden Gate Bridge

The scene is brighter but the image is still blurry. ShockMyPic does a great job of adding definition to images like this one without adding noise.

ShockMyPic Edit: Golden Gate Bridge

ShockMyPic Edit: Golden Gate Bridge

Much better but still not as clear and sharp as what I felt. So I added texture and warmth in DistressedFX:

DistressedFX Edit: Golden Gate Bridge

DistressedFX Edit: Golden Gate Bridge (+Snapseed edit to add Vignette)

I kept playing in DistressedFX adding an HDR filter and a Pourpre texture.

DistressedFX Edit: Golden Gate Bridge

DistressedFX Edit: Golden Gate Bridge

This step gave a great mood to the image but made it too dark and the texture at the top, despite moderation to 50%, flattens the image by bringing the background to the foreground.  I backed off to the earlier version and posted it to Instagram