This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for October, 2014

Dancing House, Prague

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 20, 2014

Dancing House, Prague

[Oct. 8, 2013] Obligatory HDR photo of one of the Dancing House, Prague’s weirdest building. It was originally named Fred and Ginger, after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I think it looks like a Dalek trying to camouflage itself as an apartment building. Lots of people have done far better HDR images of this building, but I thought I’d give it a try. Handheld, processed with Adobe Photoshop CS6.

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Fairy Glen near Betws-y-Coed

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 20, 2014


[May 16, 2014] Fairy Glen is a local beauty spot near Betys-Y-Coed. Admission is half a pound. A lot of people complain about the charge on TripAdvisor, but when you consider the size of the park and the cost of maintaining the paths and fences, you understand why it’s not free. Wear good hiking boots. The stones are wet and slippery and you have some steep steps to descent to reach the glen itself. When we were coming out of the gorge, we met a couple older English tourists waiting on a bench for a younger couple, who were climbing down. They were very grateful when I showed them my photos.




The paths in the park lead to a confluence of two rivers, with a lot of fishing cottages.



I love the chocolate sheep!


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“Light Spaces” at the Israel Museum

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 14, 2014

James Turrell, "Raemar Pink White"

James Turrell’s “Light Spaces” exhibit is in the Modern and Contemporary Art wing of the Israel Museum until the end of this month. His light installations at first seem not too remarkable–even migraine-inducing–but if you take the time to sit and study them, you become aware of changes in your perception. Walls and corners project and recede, colours change, and dimensions shift.

The “Raemar Pink White” installation (above), first shown in 1967, is part of the Shallow Spaces series, which uses light in a partitioned space to manipulate the eye’s perception of depth. By the way, when you leave the room, the world looks green.

“Afrum” (below) appears to be a white cube floating in space. This clever illusion is created by a strong light projected onto a corner of the room.

James Turrell, "Afrum"

“Key Lime” appears to be a translucent wall, suggested by the red borders. It’s created by coloured lights around the corner. You are allowed to walk into this installation.

James Turrell, "Key Lime"

A guard is telling two boys not to go too far. When you stand at the red “boundary” and twirl around, it likes your arm is disappearing into a wall.  These photographs were quite challenging because of the very dim light. Officially, photography is not allowed in this exhibit, but most rooms didn’t have guards (can you imagine having to sit in front of the pink rectangle for an hour?) and the guard in “Key Lime” didn’t object to my photographing the installation with my DSLR. He wasn’t too thrilled when one of the boys pulled out a cellphone and photographed it with a flash.

James Turrell, "Key Lime"

This installation is not part of “Light Spaces.” I photographed it because I’m interested in art that uses recycled objects. Ghanaian artist El Anatsui’s “Many Moons” is created entirely of flattened bottle caps that have been sewn together with copper wire in a pattern reminiscent of African Kente cloth. I don’t think the strips are bottle caps; the shape is different and they appear to be plastic. Perhaps they’re the wrappers that cover the tops of the bottles. The labour involved in creating this enormous sculpture is staggering. This piece drapes like cloth, although it’s entirely metal and plastic.

El Anatsui, "Many Moons"

Detail of circular strips flattened into triangles and sewn together.

El Anatsui, "Many Moons"

Bottle caps flattened into squares and sewn together.

El Anatsui, "Many Moons"

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10km Race with the Blind

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 13, 2014

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Mon. Oct. 13. We got a bright and early start (well, not too bright–I was waiting for my ride in the dark at 5:45 a.m.). We ran Ro’im Rahok, a 10-kilometer race in which blind runners with escorts compete against sighted runners. It’s held at Beit Oved near Tel Aviv, at the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind (see article about last year’s race for more info; if you read Hebrew and you want to participate next year, the race is sponsored by Sportweb). I took these photos with my iPod. I don’t have any photos of the race itself, because I’m not good at photographing and racing at the same time, but it was a great event. They closed one side of route 42 for the race.

We had to drive through the starting line to get to the parking lot around 7 a.m.

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The running race starts at the same time as the tandem cycling race for the blind, with sighted volunteers.

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After the race we spent some time in the kennels with the dogs. The Guide Dog Center is open for visitors and offers tours. If you haven’t been there, it’s a nice activity for kids. There are small picnic and park areas, dog areas, a fish pond, puppies, and, of course, lots and lots of golden retrievers.

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Obstacle course. These dogs must undergo an incredible amount of training!

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Metal maze for dogs.

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Drum circle after the awards ceremony.


Two of my teammates (Cisco League) in the kennel.

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Wandering around Conwy

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 12, 2014


More photos from Conwy, Wales.


The Aberconwy house is a 14th century merchant’s house that has been restored and is part of the National Trust. We didn’t go into the house itself, although I did check out the bookstore in the basement.




The Smallest House in Great Britain is not on my list of things you must do in Wales, but it’s amusing if you are traveling with kids. It was actually inhabited until 1900. Now it’s a tourist trap.


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Conwy Castle in the Rain

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 12, 2014


Conwy Castle, in Conwy, Wales, was built by Edward I between 1283 and 1289. It is considered one of the best preserved and finest examples of military architecture of this period. Unfortunately, I don’t have any good photos of the castle from the outside, because it was raining heavily that morning (we were lucky that during our 10 days in the UK, we had only a half hour of heavy rain). Many of the towers have been strengthened and you can climb to the top.




Conwy Castle was an integral part of the city walls and fortifications.



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Mount Snowdon: “Miner Down”

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 12, 2014


As the Welshmen in the bar said to my husband, “Pyg up, Miner down!,” so our descent from Mount Snowdon was along the Miners Track. It was a good choice. Even though both the Pyg and Miners tracks begin and end at Pen-y-Pass, they are very different. It’s much easier to do the more difficult stretch of climbing at the beginning of the day than at the end. These photos were taken last May. I got a bit behind because of all the events in Jerusalem, the Gaza war during the summer, the holidays….

In the first picture, above, you can see how lucky we were with the timing of our climb. The first half of the day was mainly sunny, with good visibility from the summit. By the time we reached the Llyn Llydaw (Brittany Lake) on the descent, the summit was covered with cloud. The weather in Snowdonia is very changeable and the extremes of wind and temperature make this mountain a challenge, although it’s not terribly high, as mountains go. An easy climb in good weather can be dangerous in high wind and fog. As the guidebooks say, it’s the weather and not the map that determines how difficult a climb is.

The descent from the summit to the lake was quite steep. I was very glad to have good hiking boots.


The side of the mountain has abandoned mines snaking across the rock.


This ruined building was the Britannia Copper Mine crushing mill.


A view of the same building, from beyond the curve of Llyn Llydaw. The sun broke through the clouds briefly.



Park services helicopters carry huge canvas bags of rocks for repairing the paths. You hear them constantly and see them more often than rescue helicopters, which are yellow. The park has miles of trails to maintain.


These ruins were the foundations of miners’ barracks by the lake. It’s difficult to imagine living in such harsh conditions, in the middle of nowhere, with only horses and mules for transportation.


Cool rock formations!


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