Helsinki Cathedral

Helsinki Cathedral

Helsinki’s skyline is dominated by the Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral.  It rests on a hilltop overlooking the harbor, city centre and state government buildings.

Completed in 1852, it was named the Church of St. Nicholas, but after Finland’s independence from Russia in 1917 it was known as the Great Church.  When the Lutheran Diocese of Helsinki was established in 1959, the name was changed to Helsinki Cathedral.  Over 70% of Finns belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

I was amazed at the simplicity of the vast interior.  The seating of 1300 worshipers have a clear view of the conservatively decorated altar.  Absent are gaudy gold and silver statues, candle holders and ancient relics.   It was calming and peaceful.

Thought for the DayOur life is frittered away by detail … simplify, simplify.                                                                                                                         Henry David Thoreau


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Roche Harbor

Roche Harbor

On the northwest side of San Juan Island, off the coast of Washington State, is Roche Harbor.  The harbor is sheltered on three sides making it ideal for small pleasure craft.  Fishing, whale watching, artists and craftsman provide a resort-like atmosphere.

Thought for the Day:  Where is there dignity unless there is honesty.           Cicer0                                                                                                                                                 106 BC  –  43 BC

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Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls – Washington State

One of Washington State’s most popular scenic attractions is Snoqualmie Falls.  Height of the falls is 270′.  Maybe it’s popular because it has easy access … and free.

It was overcast, cold and drizzling the day I visited, but still spectacular.

Thought for the Day:  Do what you can with what you have where you are.                                                                                                                                     Theodore Roosevelt


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Sunken Garden

Butchart Gardens – Victoria, BC

Robert Buchart, pioneer in the growing cement industry, opened a limestone quarry in 1904.  As the limestone deposits depleted, Robert’s wife, Jennie, hauled in tons of topsoil from their nearby farm to plant flowers.  She was determined to turn the giant eyesore into something of beauty.

Exotic plants from all over the world were imported.  The exhausted limestone quarry blossomed into the Sunken Garden.  By the 1920’s over 50,000 people visited the garden annually.  Today, other attractions at Butchart Gardens include the Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, Italian Garden and Children’s Pavilion.

In 2004 it was named a National Historic Site of Canada.   Quite a sight!

Thought for the Day: Where flowers bloom so does hope.               Lady Bird Johnson

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Little Blue Heron

Waterfowl are plentiful on Sanibel Island off the Gulf coast of Florida.  I caught this Little Blue Heron near the shore of one of the many walking trails on the island.

It was early morning but the sun was high enough to allow a fast shutter speed: 1/5000 at f8 and ISO 2000.  The bird was close, most of its body was lit, and light reflected in the bug’s wings.  All the planets must have been properly aligned to get this shot.

I thought about buying a lottery ticket.

Thought for the Day:  Fortune knocks on every man’s door once in a life, but for a good many cases the man is in a saloon and does not hear her.                         Mark Twain

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Bull Whip Kelp

I’ve heard of kelp.  I know it grows in the ocean, commonly called seaweed, and is often used in Asian cuisine.  That’s about all I knew about kelp until I found this specimen on a rocky beach of San Juan Island.

The bright yellow “blades” draped over the driftwood and rocks are 4-6″ wide and 10-12′ long.  As many as 60 blades can sprout out of a single “stipe”, which is the long cylindrical stem of the plant.  In the photo, that is the brownish-orange tube that looks like aged plastic tubing used in garden irrigation.  Stipes can be over 100′ long.

Kelp thrives in nutrient rich water, which is also essential for marine animals.

Thought for the Day:  Learn as if you were to live forever.                Mahatma Gandhi


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San Juan Sunset

Sunset – San Juan Island

Happy Thanksgiving!  A scene like this makes me truly thankful for Mother Nature.

This is actually a sunrise, but the moon implies a sunset.  It’s difficult for me to think of the moon in the early morning — a week from now I won’t remember the difference anyway, so I’m just trying to keep it simple.

Thought for the Day:  I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.  

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