Fine art photography and education.

Kathy and I visited the Azores last week on a Conway tour. Here is a lovely volcanic archipelago out in the middle of the Atlantic, the place many people have never heard of but where so many folks from New Bedford and Fall River still call home. Below are just a few of the many photographs we made there. Although I often prefer black and white, color seemed right for the Azores. Just 5 hrs from Boston, Ponta Delgada is the wonderful little capital city on the island of San Miguel. Islanders refer to Portugal as their “mainland”, their mother country. The city is walkable and friendly, with many photographic opportunities. The narrow sidewalks say much about the people. These cobblestones are clean, precise and decorative, with imaginative limestone patterns woven within the dark granite paver stones. I just couldn’t stop taking picture after picture, including legs and colorful shoes. The Portuguese do indeed like color. And they are not in a hurry, like us. I watched a stone mason methodically tap tap tap the white limestone pavers in place in a town square. This work requires patience and precision as well as creativity. I could never do such work. The Portuguese of San Miguel are a gentle people, tolerant of the plane loads of tourists who drop from the sky or spill from the cruise ships. Only a few people we met spoke English, and I plead guilty to  never making much of an effort to speak the native language when we travel. (I learned to say "good day" and "thank you." Big deal.) Catholic churches dominate the cities and towns, with many crosses against the sky. The stone buildings are outlined in a dark lava architectural style. The island is a fiery place;  the smoking earth and lava is everywhere. Although we skipped bathing in the hot springs, some brave travelers took the plunge and swore they were rejuvenated. Not sure about that! There is street art wherever you look and the sea is always within view. So are the beautiful clouds, and with them the wind and the rain, a part of every day. The island is clean, and green. Good roads were everywhere we went with spectacular landscape photographs around every curve. We saw pastures and planted fields on each square inch of the rolling hills. Pineapples like San Miguel. We visited a plantation. The fruit is more acidic, not as sweet as that from Hawaii. Pineapple was on our plates pretty much three times a day, in salads, in ice cream, fried, for desert, even with blood pudding. We managed many coffee breaks along the way. I usually ordered us a “small one”, as they say, ”which is in a tiny cup filled with coffee so strong it makes your hair stand on end. Still, it goes quite nicely with the delicious Portuguese pastry we could never resist. For us the trip was an opportunity to capture the feel of the Azores with our cameras but in the short time we stay in a spot it was of course impossible. The people always interest me the most when I travel. I try to capture those fleeing moments of life on the street, maybe a real portrait of a willing native. The Azores is a very good place to do pictures, but as usual this visit, like all of our visits, came to an end way too soon. Click to enlarge the pictures.   By the way, I will be teaching "Better Travel Photos" at OLLI starting November 3rd. And of course you can see way more of my work than you might ever want to at Armorphoto.com. Especially notice my work with the homeless, and if you can help please let me know. Finally, for my talented wife's sculpture check out Armorsculpture.com Jan Armor