June 26, 2017

more exploring tinos

Filed under: general — cohn17 @ 3:14 pm

we took a long hike on the second day we were in tinos, using a guide that abby found on the web. the guide incorporated the marked hiking paths on the island, but also included byways that the author had found on his own excursions.

when i remembered to start taking pictures, we had already climbed a great deal.

tinos is dotted with dovecotes, buildings that shelter pigeons. the venetians introduced pigeon-breeding to tinos and other cycladic islands, for the meat. especially during the second world war, pigeon meat was very popular. the majority of them standing today are from the 18th and 19th centuries. some of them are well maintained while others have been left to fall to ruin. inside, they aren’t very interesting and, unsurprisingly, they smell like bird poo.

we went through some dramatic scenery, but we also went through some hellacious weeds. the hillsides were filled with thorny bushes and undergrowth, and at one point, our guide mistranslated the word “right” as “left,” so we ended up plowing through knee-high scrub, taking much of it home with us in our shoes and socks.

obstacle course. weeds as designed by dr. seuss. there’s no real path here.

it was a hot day, and – with the hills – the hike was brutal, but ultimately we were treated to a pretty spectacular view:

next: onward to skopelos.

April 2, 2017

going for the gold day 3, including live at the apollo (part 5)

Filed under: general, greece — Tags: — cohn17 @ 5:12 pm

i woke up in parikia, had an entirely adequate breakfast, and set off on the bike again to look for a local church and some caves. the church was easy to find – it was visible from the main town – but since the road didn’t actually go along the coast, i had an early dose of hill riding/pushing to do. again, the area was pretty empty because tourist season hasn’t started yet.

possibly rental cars that are sitting in a field awaiting delivery. these will figure into the story later.

my first stop was agios fokas, a small church located 6 km from town. the church itself isn’t particularly notable – it’s a typical chapel – but nearby is what appears to be an abandoned naval station of some kind, and a memorial marker for the passenger ferry ms express samina, which struck a reef on september 26, 2000, killing 81 passengers. the story (which you can read by clicking on the link) is pretty awful.

from there, it was off to find the archilochus caves, located (according to the guidebook) only 10 minutes away. there were no signs, but i followed the road back, figuring they were just over the hill. you can guess how that turned out.

after far too much time searching for the caves, i decided to move onto the temple of delian apollo, which was up a different series of hills.

remember the cars? they’re down there.

the temple of delian apollo was built in the 5th century bc. “delian” refers to delos, the island birthplace of the god apollo. the site location was well marked, but you can tell how important a site is by the amount of security around it, and there was nothing more to protect the temple ruins than a rusty open gate. with little exception, it appeared that any stone that had any type of carving on it had been taken down to the archaeological museum.

i returned to parikia to begin my exploration of the town. one of the main attractions is the ekatontapiliani church, built in the 4th century, possibly by constantine the great, the roman emperor for whom constantinople was named. it’s very impressive inside, and perhaps as a result, the building comes with a sinister legend:

according to the popular legend, during the reign of justinian, ekatontapiliani was build by the former assistant of the chief craftsman of agia sofia, ignace. when the pupil finished the temple, he invited the master to admire his work. the chief craftsman felt envy and was afraid that his pupil would overshadow his reputation. pretending that he wanted to show him an architectural fault, he took his pupil on the roof of the church. from there, the chief craftsman pushed his pupil with intent to kill him. the pupil however held on to the teacher and finally they both fell and were killed in front of the church.

for the rest of the day, i strolled the narrow backstreets of parikia, admiring the shapes i found in various doorways, alleys and staircases. and cats.

next: day 4, which comes after day 3.

January 19, 2017

new websites

Filed under: general — cohn17 @ 6:33 pm

I’ve started a website for my non-profit-oriented work,, and redesigned

November 21, 2016

street photography in chengdu, sort of

Filed under: general — cohn17 @ 9:41 pm

as i was running around the streets, taking photos, i was struck forcefully by how many people were using their phones to take photos. more generally, i noticed how many younger people in particular had their eyes fixed on their screens, even when they were in groups. at the risk of sounding like an old fogey (and a hypocrite), this struck me as a serious problem. if steve jobs had wanted to enslave the population by turning them into appendages of technological devices, he succeeded.

20160911_china_045 20160911_china_043 20160911_china_038 20160924_china_001
20160925_china_002 20160929_china_005 20160925_china_028

as something refreshingly not telephonic, here is a photo of two girls and their dad playing with a parakeet at the song xian qiao antique market:

November 6, 2016

playing outside

Filed under: general — Tags: , , , — cohn17 @ 4:08 pm

does it look like there’s a haze in the air? there is.

after a week, i returned to chengdu, to begin work.

the state department measures the quantity of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and suspended particulate matter in the air at its china missions and publishes an air quality index daily.  for most of the time i was in chengdu, the air was rated “unhealthy,” with index values over 150 and particulate matter concentrations of 50 μg/m3. (as of the date that i’m writing this, the aqi in chengdu is 186; by comparison, the new york city region’s aqi is 38.) i was warned off exercising outside, but even just walking to work each day, i felt a slight burning in the back of my throat. i got used to the sensation fairly quickly and forgot about it, which was a good thing, or it wasn’t, depending on how you look at it.

of course, when you live with this kind of air day to day, you get used to it and don’t let it hold you back. i saw lots of people enjoying the outdoors, particularly at night.

20160915_china_077 20160915_china_085 20160911_china_033 20160911_china_036
mahjong under the 2nd ring road overpass public personal grooming
20160916_china_008 20160916_china_025 20160925_china_053 20160929_china_025
swing dancing in front of the mall picnicking and ballet further up the street

next: something about food

February 25, 2016

migrants and refugees (1)

Filed under: general — cohn17 @ 4:58 pm

earlier this month, i went to the port of piraeus with volunteers from caritas, a catholic charity that provides a variety of services to the refugees coming into athens. the volunteers were there to advertise caritas’ offerings (clothing distribution, a soup kitchen, english and greek lessons, psycho-social counseling, etc.) to the people coming off the ferry from lesvos, and i was there to photograph the scene. i used my leica m6 and ilford hp5 film because i enjoy the challenge of shooting with a fully manual rangefinder.

ironically, i also took some photos with my fujifilm x100s, which is a rangefinder-like digital camera with auto-focus and auto-exposure, and i left the lens cap on for half the shots.

we start at the train station:


refugees wait at the piraeus metro station for their handler to take them into athens.


a group of refugees makes its way through the ticket validation machines.

some of the refugees left behind the sleeping bags that they got from the u.n. high commission on refugees. presumably, they didn’t think they’d need them any longer. i expect they’ll regret that decision later …


new arrivals mix with long-time residents.

out to the port itself. this was the first day after a multi-day ferry workers’ strike, so there were a lot of people on board.


photographers await the new arrivals.


travel agency touts (many of them recent immigrants themselves) advertise onward transportation. the majority of immigrants and refugees don’t want to stay in greece, but to head northward through macedonia to germany.


proof that they’ve made it to the mainland.


no suitcase – no problem.


a woman looks through donated goods. many ngo’s and charities offer clothing and household goods at the port to incoming migrants to help them replace what they’ve lost.


“you hold the baby while i shop.”

February 2, 2016

final havana post: havana, part 8

Filed under: general — cohn17 @ 9:35 pm

as promised, some black-and-white photos.

20151006_cuba_185 20151007_cuba_534 20151006_cuba_274 20151007_cuba_508
20151008_cuba_250 20151008_cuba_099 20151015_Daily_089 20151010_cuba_050
20151012_cuba_516 20151010_cuba_177 20151009_cuba_028 20151015_Daily_240
20151013_Daily_196 20151013_Daily_129

next: an entirely new topic

November 2, 2015

girls and boys: havana, part 4

Filed under: general — Tags: , , , , — cohn17 @ 5:17 pm

20151010_cuba_243if you want to see glamorous girls and stylish boys, you have to visit the tropicana club in havana. the tropicana, opened in 1939, was flashiest cabaret and casino of its day, seating 1,700 patrons and featuring the “sequin and feather” shows that were subsequently copied in paris and las vegas. josephine baker, paul robeson and carmen miranda all played there, and stars like sammie davis, jr., maurice chevalier, and marlon brandon were frequent visitors. the tropicana also was the haunt of famous wiseguys santo trafficante, jr. and meyer lansky, if you know what i mean.

alas, all good things come to an end, at least somewhat: after the revolution, the government closed down the casino and nationalized the property. still, the tropicana continues to operate, and today it caters primarily to tourists.

20151010_cuba_239 20151010_cuba_253 20151010_cuba_308
20151010_cuba_316 20151010_cuba_297 20151010_cuba_332
20151010_cuba_371 20151010_cuba_338 20151010_cuba_404

what if you want to see glamorous girls in colorful costumes, but you can’t make it to the tropicana? in that case, you can always catch a local drag show. which we did. we couldn’t photograph the performers on stage, but we were allowed into the dressing rooms, and we shot the goings-on beforehand.

20151008_cuba_353 20151008_cuba_325 20151009_cuba_401
20151009_cuba_446 20151009_cuba_485 20151009_cuba_531

next: how we ended up at a cuban drag show.

October 28, 2015

work and play: havana, part 3

Filed under: general — Tags: , , , — cohn17 @ 4:10 pm

since raul castro began to liberalize the cuban economy, many people have opened small businesses that they run out of their apartments and the stairwells of their buildings. manicures, bicycle repair, tattoos – all are home businesses in the truest sense.

20151015_Daily_106 20151015_Daily_143 20151014_Daily_058

of course, the traditional occupations are still well-represented.

20151006_cuba_2-65 20151015_Daily_211 20151006_cuba_208
20151007_cuba_008 20151015_Daily_107 20151013_Daily_034

there aren’t many parks in the inner neighborhoods, so sports and games are also very much a localized affair.

20151015_Daily_129 20151009_cuba_041 20151015_Daily_049
20151015_Daily_238 20151015_Daily_218 20151007_cuba_471


October 22, 2015

up on the roof, down in the street: havana, part 2

Filed under: general — Tags: , — cohn17 @ 9:39 am

diptych 2there is something to be said for seeing a city from above. not only are the views great, but you get to see some action that you don’t see at street level. a photographer i met before i went to cuba told me that the views from the rooftops in havana was great, and that many of the buildings were open to the casual wanderer, so i tried to go up to the top of every building that looked like it had a decent view. most of the time, i couldn’t reach the roof because there was a grill across the staircase leading to the top floor, but a few times i was able to ascend all the way.

in truth, whether i accessed the roof or not, apartment-dwellers generally didn’t seem bothered to have strangers walk into their buildings, climb the stairs, and ask the way to the roof. one woman, in fact, sent her daughter to show us the way up. on the other hand, another woman, whose apartment had the sole access to the roof, charged me 5 cuc (cuban convertible pesos) to go out onto her balcony, but she also had the best view in the city. i considered offering to bring the rest of my group up in exchange for a 10 percent commission, but i never got around to it.

20151007_cuba_503 20151007_cuba_508 20151007_cuba_522
20151009_Daily_083 20151009_Daily_085 20151014_Daily_018

of course, life at street level is pretty interesting, too, day and night. games, sports, shopping, car repair, and socializing.  the occasional solicitation, too, of course, but that’s not something i caught on pixels.

20151007_cuba_457 20151015_Daily_249 20151007_cuba_117
20151010_Daily_179 20151006_cuba_185 20151009_Daily_117

more to come.

Older Posts »

Blog at