Tucson Stadtrundfahrt

Although I arrived in Tucson back in August and had been pretty busy before then experimenting with my photography, I haven’t taken my camera much around the city. So earlier yesterday morning when I was faced with the decision to continue working on Saturday or do something else, I decided that it was finally time to try and capture some of life out here and pass it along to my friends. The full album of pictures is available over at Flickr.

Tucson Stadtrundfahrt-001

My tour started just outside our door. It’s hard to believe sometimes that it’s the middle of January. I’ve never experienced weather like this in the winter. Granted, it is chilly, but a very tolerable type of cold, all things considered.Tucson Stadtrundfahrt-003

My friend Lance pointed out that the white spots on the cacti pictured here are the source of a saturated red dye. The cottony white substance coats the red Cochineal insect pods.

My bike-ride into town and through the university passes some beautiful neighborhoods. The houses are all varied in their architecture: adobe, brick, concrete block walls; flat, slanted, and multi-tiered roofs; gravel, grass, and stone yards. Shade trees are few and far between, but there’s a surprising diversity in plant life with fruit and cacti and tall palms and others. The closer one gets to the university, the more impressive the houses become where some have exquisite yards and artistic installations.

Tucson Stadtrundfahrt-006

Lots of activities on campus meet outside. A long green stretches from one side to the other and the grass is curated perfectly. Over near the dorm area I found a group of guys playing voleyball while throngs of students were walking towards another game in the stadium up the street. It’s common to see musicians, athletes, dance troupes, and groups of cyclists gathering here. The campus is a beatiful place to be.

Tucson Stadtrundfahrt-045

Further westward I came to 4th Avenue full of ethnic restaurants, bars, creative shops, marijuana social clubs, a Goodwill, an arcade, and more. 4th Avenue is where most of the festivals and parades in town take place – right around the open-air stage in the middle. One of my favorite coffee shops – Cafe Passé – is just down the street across from the Food Conspiracy cooperative. Actually, there are several good ones along this stretch of road: Epic Cafe, Revolutionary Grounds, Cafe Passé, and Cartel Coffee somewhat sits at the terminus downtown on the other side of the tracks. Had I been on my way downtown I would have continued down 4th to cross underneath the Union Pacific tracks. Instead, I turned around to meet Mandi and head to church a couple of blocks over.

Tucson Stadtrundfahrt-059

That’s it for this journey. It usually takes me about twenty to twenty-five minutes to cycle into town from home. These are some of the common sights I see each day. Of course, this is prettier than the more direct Broadway route, and I prefer to ride through where all the people are, so it would be somewhat uninteresting for me to have taken my camera there: Safeway, Del Taco, the FedEx store, etc… My last picture came from the end of my favorite time of day: a window approximately twenty minutes long where the sun is at such a point that the sky fades from blue to orange all the way to black. If you watch at the right time, you can see the most gorgeous sunsets every day.

Tucson Stadtrundfahrt-076

See more from this album at Flickr.


Since Mandi is gone having a girls’ weekend in London, I decided that my schedule really isn’t important, so I awakened my nocturnal side and explored the city.

The evening started with a visit to the Marktkirche (the market Church) for an Organ concert – the most pleasant part of the night. I asked myself why someone would want to come all the way to an old brick church to hear the music when they could get it from their iPod instead, but as soon as I felt the resonating tones in my ears and in my feet I remembered how silly of a question that is.

Hannover is small enough that you can walk through just about every street downtown in a single night, quite a contrast to the likes of Tokyo. There was a surprising amount of activity on the streets that lasted from the time the lights went out up until the bakers turned them back on. Despite the darkness (businesses and buildings turn their lights off at night, unlike in the United States) it felt incredibly safe.

My journey ended back at the main train station. The youth of the city and region around Hannover have taken over this block with lights and music and partying, which was actually quite a bit of fun.

I love taking these walks and getting some great pictures, and it’s something that’s hard to share with someone who isn’t also there with their camera. During the daytime I’m always on the lookout for a place that might look good at night for a photo so I can be efficient, but it still involves lots and lots of standing around waiting for the camera to do its thing, making small adjustments when it’s not exactly right.

iPhone Camera FTW

Because I didn’t want the burden of carrying around my big camera and its lenses, I went without in my journeys around Hong Kong. The iPhone did backup duty and did a fine job, though some of the pictures below are from my Canon. The smog around Hong Kong was actually prohibitive for better photography of the skylines – too bad.

By the way, here was my hotel room!

Sleep on top of a crumbling high-rise in Hong Kong? Shady? Yes. Interested? Absolutely!
Sleep on top of a crumbling high-rise in Hong Kong? Shady? Yes. Interested? Absolutely!

Leaving Singapore

Dennis and Joseph sharing time together before the Clampitt-Loh weddingMy time here in Singapore is ending – I’m sitting in the airport terminal waiting to board my flight to Hong Kong. Joseph’s wedding was a special event that I’m thankful I could attend. He is a dear friend of mine from my days at Purdue and we were roommates for the semester after Drew left for Japan and before I left for Germany. Joseph does post-doctoral research on the structure of the universe at University of Pennsylvania and Serena, now his wife, works at a hospital down the street from their new home.

There are no pictures yet of the wedding because I didn’t want to drown him out with cameras. Turns out that I needn’t have worried, because the guests already handled that part! There were so many pictures being taken! There is, however, a plan to distribute the official batch at some later point.

After the wedding it was me hanging out with Joseph’s parents, which was fun. We explored the city, walking first to Ion Sky, an observation deck 218 m above ground at the top of a residential complex on Orchard Road, where even.more.malls can be found in Singapore (I think they like to shop). As we neared the Singapore River and Marina Bay, Joseph’s parents retired to their hotel while I continued along. I think they had a good time in this big town, just slightly bigger than their home community in the vicinity of Bedford, Indiana. The nation of Singapore is about as big geographically as my home, Johnson County, Indiana, but holds just as many people as the entire state.

Clampitt Folk atop Ion Sky

Earlier this year when I was in Tokyo, I took a ten mile hike through the city on one of my last nights. Something prompted me to start walking and I kept on going until I reached my hotel. It was probably a combination of me wanting to have a few more hours to explore the city and the fact that I love exploring at night so much – the colors of the city come to life and there’s a peaceful sense on empty streets which earlier hosted should-to-shoulder crowds.

Last night I did this again in Singapore. I hadn’t planned on it being so long, but shorty after midnight I discovered that the transit system shut down, so I ended up walking home (and running for a couple of km). All in all, my tracker counted 35,000 steps, covering around 25 km (15 mi), and I lost practically none all of my sleep. Now it’s time to get some Zzzs, take a day trip of Hong Kong, then get back to work in Japan.