On the Road to Nemrut, Turkey

The Bridge of Severus, or Cendere Köprüsü, was built by the Roman army nearly 20 centuries ago. The Tomb of the Black Bird, or Karakuş Tümülüsü, was built even earlier, by the Commagene rulers; yet its eponymous bird still rests atop one of the ancient columns...

On the Road to Nemrut, Turkey

Wandering in Adıyaman, Turkey

Not far from the timeless glory of Mount Nemrut in southern Turkey is the modern city of Adıyaman. We got to wander for a few hours there through their markets and parks, including stumbling upon a card game. Then it was off to Nemrut....

Wandering in Adıyaman, Turkey

Hasankeyf, Turkey (Before It's Flooded)

One of my favorite stops during my Come See Turkey adventures was Hasankeyf. History hangs in the air (the town is about 12,000 years old), and everywhere you turn you find gorgeous ruins. The town sits beside a breathtaking cliff formation along the Tigris River, topped by a Roman watchtower. The Roman name for the town, by the way, was Cephe, meaning stone...

Hasankeyf, Turkey (Before It's Flooded)

Card Players in Adıyaman, Turkey

In the heart of Adıyaman, Turkey, we came across a lovely old courtyard full of men playing cards. I don't know what they were all playing, but they were very serious about it... yet tolerated having their photos taken...

Card Players in Adıyaman, Turkey

Batman, Turkey

Outside of Batman, Turkey, we stayed at Bato Termal Otel. Everyone was exhausted from our previous day's adventures (in places like the Ishak Pasha Palace), but I woke up early before everyone else and wandered the area outside the hotel alone. The air smelled of sulfur (from the natural hot springs), the hills and trees were a lush green... 

Batman, Turkey

St. George Armenian Church, Mardin, Turkey

Just a short drive outside of wondrous Mardin, Turkey, you can find the St. George Armenian Church. The original church was built around 450 CE, though it was rebuilt a number of times. 

St. George Armenian Church, Mardin, Turkey

Mardin, Turkey

At the northern edge of Turkish Mesopotamia sits the ancient hilltop trading town of Mardin. (In the valley below you can find the modern city.) Something about Mardin speaks to you; it was very hard to leave its beautiful twisting streets, its hardworking vendors, its serene views. I only spent a night there, but I would go back in a heartbeat...

Mardin, Turkey

Aghtamar Island, Lake Van, Turkey

In eastern Turkey there is a great variety of areas, with deserts and mountains and forests and lakes. Take for instance Lake Van, gorgeous and ringed by mountain peaks. I visited there on my 2014 Come See Turkey trip. We took a ferry boat out on the lake to Aghtamar Island, where once lived kings of Armenia and Vaspurakan. Now there's not much remaining beyond the lovely Cathedral of the Holy Cross...

Aghtamar Island, Lake Van, Turkey

Ishak Pasha Palace, Turkey

In eastern Turkey, near mighty Mount Ararat, along the ancient Silk Road sits the 17th century palace of Ishak Pasha. If you want to feel like you are in stories of Scheherazade, this place is for you. Truly storybook in its grandeur...

Ishak Pasha Palace, Turkey

Bardaklı Village, Mount Ağrı

During my 2014 Come See Turkey adventure, we luckily stopped for a quick visit to the village of Bardaklı at the base of Mount Ararat, or as they call it, Ağrı. The villagers are mostly farmers and cattle herders, but we did meet one interesting man whose job was selling leeches. That was a first for me. The views were glorious (quite similar to my Oregon) and the people achingly sweet, though clearly they did not have great riches... 

Bardaklı Village, Mount Ağrı

The Ruins of Ani, Kars

Any list of the must-see spots of northeastern Turkey in my mind has to include the ruins of the city of Ani, which you will find in the Kars region, right along the border with Armenia. There are two parts actually, the former city overlooking a river valley, and a countless cave dwellings below along the river...

The Ruins of Ani, Kars

Uzungöl, Turkish Mountain Retreat

During my 2014 Come See Turkey experience, after visiting Sümela, we traveled from Trabzon to Kars, and we stopped for a bit in the town of Uzungöl, a lovely mountain retreat in the Çaykara district that would be at home in Switzerland...

Uzungöl, Turkish Mountain Retreat

Driving in Turkey from Trabzon to Kars

Leaving Trabzon after our adventures there, we in the Come See Turkey group made our way through the Pontic and Kaçkar mountain ranges toward Kars. It was amazing to see the changes in environment, topography, and culture as we traveled through river valleys, snowy alpine passes, and down into steppes... 

Driving in Turkey from Trabzon to Kars

Trabzon, Turkey

After three days in Istanbul for my 2014 Come See Turkey adventure we traveled to Trabzon, a coastal city in northeastern Turkey, founded by the ancient Greeks along the Black Sea in the ninth century BCE. It's a lovely city, but also a gateway to many great spots in the area, like the Sümela Monastery for instance...

Trabzon, Turkey

Swan Island Dahlia Festival, 2017

In Canby, Oregon, a small farm called Swan Island has declared itself the dahlia flower capital of America. Once you visit, and walk through the explosions of color, it's hard to disagree. The only creatures happier there than flower-loving photographers are the bees. They ecstatically buzz like electrons around every flower... 

Swan Island Dahlia Festival, 2017

Hot Air Balloons at Northwest Art & Air Festival in Albany, Oregon

In August 2017, we visited the Northwest Art & Air Festival in Albany, Oregon. The event started at Timber Linn Park with 35 hot air balloons slowly taking to the sky at 6:45am. The colors and the sounds were amazing fun. The sky was a hazy brown due to forest fires in the Cascade Mountains nearby (here's hoping no one gets hurt or loses their home!), but it made for a lovely sunrise at least. 

Hot Air Balloons at Northwest Art & Air Festival in Albany, Oregon

Come See Turkey, Day 4: Sümela Monastery

On the fourth day of my Come See Turkey 2014 adventure, we ventured to Trabzon to see the Sümela Monastery. Built in 386 CE by Roman monks, the monastery is a series of buildings, like a small village, carved right into the side of a huge cliff. A good word for it would be breathtaking. Though many sections were rebuilt a number of times over the centuries, the overall site remains intact. Thankfully many ancient frescoes still cover some areas top to bottom with wild images and colors. A fascinating look back directly into the early Christian era...

Come See Turkey, Day 4: Sümela Monastery

Come See Turkey, Day 3: Grand Bazaar of Istanbul

The Grand Bazaar (Büyük Çarşı or Kapalıçarşı in Turkish) in Istanbul is full of life and sound and wonderful aromas. The sense of history weighs on you everywhere, and more recently it's been the location for a number of fun films, like James Bond Skyfall. The guides from Come See Turkey took us up onto the roof in a few places for some spectacular views of the city...

Come See Turkey, Day 3: Grand Bazaar of Istanbul

Come See Turkey, Day 3: Balat Neighborhood

On the morning of my third day on my Come See Turkey trip, we left the hotel in Karaköy, crossed the Galata Bridge, and explored the Balat neighborhood in Istanbul. I'd say this area is best described as colorful, beautiful decay. Every nook and corner provides another great photo opportunity. I could have stayed there all day, but of course many other adventures awaited...

Come See Turkey, Day 3: Balat Neighborhood

Mari Stenger, More from Willamette Mission State Park, Oregon

Model Mari Stenger and I worked together in July 2017 at Willamette Mission State Park to do a portrait session based around a Lana Del Rey vibe. Mari totally nailed it, as she has that same classic Hollywood look about her, and is a real natural at modeling. 

Mari Stenger, More from Willamette Mission State Park, Oregon

Museum of Glass, Tacoma

I visited the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, in June 2017. It not only has exhibits of gorgeous glass art, but it also has a very large glassblowing studio where you can watch world-class artists in residence...

Museum of Glass, Tacoma

Come See Turkey, Day 3: Topkapİ Palace

In the middle of day three of my Come See Turkey trip, we visited the Topkapi Palace. When the Ottomans conquered the city 500 years ago, they rebuilt the ruined Roman imperial palace and administration complex into what would eventually become called Topkapi. Though renovated over the centuries, much of the original complex remains. And to my delight, they grow many, many tulips...

Come See Turkey, Day 3: Topkapİ Palace