Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Dogs


They’re cute and they’re furry and they’ve got wet noses. They’re renowned for being man’s (and women’s) best friends and they have an amazing ability to lift your spirits when you’re feeling down. They’re loyal and trusting and they love you totally and without question. All they ask in return is a pat on the head and perhaps a nice tummy rub. It’s no wonder former French president Charles DeGaulle once said, “The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.” Ladies and gentlemen, dogs!

Check out Ailsa’s Travel Theme for more canine encounters.

Posted in Ailsa’s Travel Theme, Animals, Photo Gallery, Stephen Kelly Creative, Stephen Kelly Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Every Angle #2: The Golden Gate Bridge


I rarely post two responses for one photo challenge, but I was so torn by my choices for this week’s WordPress “From Every AnglePhoto Challenge that I felt compelled to break my rule and post another response. And in this post I’d like to focus on what is perhaps the penultimate SF site, because few sites say San Francisco more than the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge.

IMG_0783In fact, the Golden Gate Bridge joins the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore and the Lincoln Memorial as total visual symbols of the United States. One of the perks of living in San Francisco is being able to easily visit and photography the bridge, and I feel lucky to have that opportunity. I often think to myself that people come from around the world to visit the bridge and it’s in my own backyard. I always appreciate that fact, and I try to take advantage of it, because it’s really an amazing site. It always makes me sad and a little perplexed that many people who live in San Francisco never indulge in all of the great things this city has to offer. But that’s my own particular thing, a rant perhaps better left for another post.

Some fun facts about the Golden Gate Bridge: The bridge officially opened with much fanfare on April 19, 1938. It took four years to complete, with work starting on January 5, 1933. The bridge celebrated its 75th birthday in 2013. It is 4200 feet long, and until 1964 it was the world’s longest suspension bridge. It handles 110,00 cars a day, who pay its whopping $7.00 per car toll. The Golden Gate Bridge cost $35 million to build, and 11 died to building it. Nineteen others fell but landed in the safety nets; they’re known as the ‘Halfway to Hell Club.’

IMG_6958And for those who wonder or debate about the bridge’s color, it is officially known as “International Orange” and its a variation on the color used now for many astronaut jumpsuits. In fact, it is a color commonly used by the aerospace industry to set objects apart from their surroundings. The tone of international orange used to paint the Golden Gate Bridge is slightly lighter than the standard International orange used by military contractors and in engineering in order to increase its visibility to ships.

For those graphic designers who want to emulate that Golden Gate Bridge color, it is most closely matched by Pantone color 180. Pantone color 180C is equivalent to the hex code #C0362C.

I guess the bottom line is that I’ve had many chances to photograph this iconic piece of architecture from many, but not all angles. Here’s a few samples of my many visits to San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

Posted in Photo Essay, Photography, San Francisco, Stephen Kelly Photography, Travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Every Angle #1: Cupid’s Span


Stroll along San Francisco’s waterfront at the Embarcadero and you’re liable to see any number of interesting sites. One of the more striking is “Cupid’s Span,” a 60-foot, fiberglass-and-steel sculpture of an arrow at Rincon Park.

Erected in 2002, it is the creation of noted American sculpture artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, who have said that the bow and arrow of Cupid design was inspired by San Francisco’s reputation as the home port of Eros, the Greek god of love and reputed son of Aphrodite.

When in San Francisco, be sure to check out this arresting piece of public art, as well as the other cool things to be found along the Embarcadero. Until then, here’s Cupid’s Span, from every angle.

For more angles, check out this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

Posted in Art, Photo Essay, Photo Gallery, Photography, San Francisco, Stephen Kelly Creative, Stephen Kelly Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Feet


This week’s Ailsa’s Travel Theme is all about the feet … and the shadows that are always connected to them!

Posted in Ailsa’s Travel Theme, Photography, Stephen Kelly Creative, Stephen Kelly Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Tokyo On The Go: Akihabara, aka “Electric Town”


So far in these posts I’ve taken you to some of Tokyo’s quieter, off-the-tourist-paths, but if you’re looking for the full-on, in your face, big city Tokyo experience, then you need to visit Akihabara, otherwise known as “Electric Town.”

A popular district in the Tokyo’s Chiyoda ward, it is indeed electric, in its many electronics and gaming stores and in its busy, space-age pace. And typical of a place that’s internationally known as the otaku (geek culture) anime and manga epicenter, Akihabara is fast, colorful, noisy, quirky, and really exciting; in short, everything you expect from Tokyo’s bigger districts.


I’ve been to Akihabara in previous trips, and for many reasons, it’s one of my favorites parts of Tokyo. I really love the bustling excitement of this intensely colorful place. I also love its tall, soaring, gleaming glass buildings that, like most things in Tokyo, are often plastered with clever, colorful advertisements …


… in Akihabara, it’s not unusual to see a five-story advertising banner hanging from a ten-story building. Continue reading

Posted in Japan, Photo Essay, Photo Gallery, Photography, Stephen Kelly Creative, Stephen Kelly Photography, Tokyo, Tokyo On The Go, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Tokyo Dine & Dash: When In Ginza: Appartement 301

IMG_2033One truism of traveling around Tokyo is if you see an interesting alleyway, explore it, because you never know what you might find. Such was the case one drizzly afternoon in Ginza when we discovered Appartement 301, a gem of a cafe just steps from one of the most luxurious shopping districts in the world. Continue reading

Posted in Japan, Photo Essay, Photo Gallery, Photography, Stephen Kelly Photography, Tokyo, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Tokyo On The Go: Maximum Relaxation Near Mt. Fuji

IMG_2437One of the highlights of this trip (or any of the other Japanese trips I’ve taken) was an overnight stay at an amazing onsen near Mount Fuji called Kozantei Ubuya, some 80 miles southwest of Tokyo. This was another pre-trip research find, and online I saw a beautiful, classically-designed ryokan (inn) on the shores of a beautiful lake. Best, Mount Fuji loomed majestically in the background … SOLD!

For those of you not familiar with the concept of an onsen, it’s a term for natural hot springs, though it is often used to describe the bathing facilities and ryokans around the hot springs. Onsens are very popular in Japan for their rejuvenating effects and natural hot springs are numerous. Every region of the country has its share of hot springs and resort towns.

IMG_2531From a well-being perspective, the different minerals from the natural hot springs provide many health benefits, and all hot springs have the obvious relaxing effect on your body and mind. Believe me, your first dip in a perfectly hot, mineral spring bath and you instantly feel the outside world melt away. And from the moment you enter Kozantei Ubuya everything from the classic Japanese ambience to the soothing baths all help to deliver not only an intensely relaxing experience, but a uniquely Japanese one as well.
Continue reading

Posted in Japan, Photo Essay, Photo Gallery, Photography, Stephen Kelly Creative, Stephen Kelly Photography, Tokyo, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments