Tag Archives: Corey Sandler

May, 2022: My Interior Monologue

By Corey Sandler

Everyone has one. An interior monologue, that is.

It is sometimes the most interesting conversation of the day, even if it occurs entirely between your ears.

For the past two-plus years, my interior monologue has consisted mostly of annoyed sighs and unspoken outrage.

If all goes according to plan (hah!) that may begin to change soon. Watch this space.

But while we’re speaking of interiors, though, I thought I might share a few of my favorite photos taken inside marvelous places around the world.

Casa Vicens. The great architect Antonio Gaudí is known for his grand structures in Barcelona and elsewhere in Spain. A few years ago a private residence in the Gràcia neighborhood of Barcelona was restored and opened to the public, offering a glimpse into the architect’s amazing interior design, completed in 1885 during Gaudí’s Orientalist phase.
The Mausoleum of Mohammed V. A relatively modern structure, completed in 1961 in Rabat, Morocco, it is also timeless in its design.
The Library of the Rijksmuseum. The collection of books, catalogs, and other materials related to the vast collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is a work of art in itself, completed in 1885.
Council Chambers of Londonderry/Derry. The ornate Guildhall neo-Gothic and Tudor design Guildhall was completed in 1890, paid for by The Honourable The Irish Society as a projection of British financial and political power in what is now Northern Ireland. Just to put an exclamation point on it, its clock tower was modeled on the Elizabeth Tower in London, much better known as Big Ben. It survived a bombing during The Troubles and went on to play an important role in the still-tenuous split personality of today’s town with two names.

All photos copyright Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to obtain or use an image, please contact me.

To see portfolios of some of my travel photos, www.coreysandler.myportfolio.com or www.coreysandler2.myportfolio.com

April, 2022: History in the Making

By Corey Sandler

As Abraham Lincoln said in a message to the U.S. Congress in the days leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation, “We cannot escape history.”

It is interesting to view his words from 1862, in the early days of the Civil War, through the prism of today.

Lincoln continued, “We…will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.”

Ukraine is a place of great culture and beauty and a complex and tumultuous history.

This blog is about travel, not politics. But it is impossible for me to think of Ukraine as it is today without hearing the echoes of inescapable history. We’ve been to Ukraine several times–in its wobbly final years under a corrupt, puppet government and then just after the Maidan Revolution in 2014 as a ghost war erupted in its eastern provinces at the same time as the country renewed efforts toward establishing a European-oriented democracy.

A music conservatory in Odessa, off Deribasovskaya, which was named after José de Ribas, a Spanish naval officer who was employed by Catherine the Great in the the Russo-Turkish War of 1787 to 1792. After the war de Ribas served as governor and oversaw the grand design of what became known as the Pearl of the Black Sea. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. 

Ukraine—the Borderlands—has an ancient and complex story, almost always a pawn in games played by others.

Like much of the Black Sea region, its ports were home to important Greek settlements and then Roman castrum and eventually the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire.

In the Middle Ages came nomadic tribes like the Petchenegs and the Cumans or Polovtsy. Then came the Golden Horde, a confederation of Mongol and Turkic tribes, and then the Tatars. And Old Great Bulgaria in the 7th century.

By the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest state in Europe, occupying parts of what are now Russia, Belarus, Poland, and Ukraine.

Next came the Ottomans, about 1529; they held onto parts of Ukraine until that empire fell in the Russo-Turkish War of 1792.

It was then part of or allied with Russia, except for several years of World War II when Ukraine was occupied and besieged by Germany.

Today, depending on the disputed borderline of the moment, Ukraine is the largest country wholly in Europe, just ahead of France.

(Russia—the biggest country on the planet—and Turkey cover more territory, but each stands with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia.)

Yalta

On the southern coast of Crimea, Yalta is probably best known—by those who remember history—as the site of the 1945 conference which redrew the borderlines of postwar Eastern Europe as World War II neared its end, setting into place the borders that would foster the Cold War.

The Yalta Conference brought together the “Big Three Powers”: the Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill met at Livadia Palace.

Livadia Palace near Yalta. Photo by Corey Sandler
History was made here in 1945, at Livadia Palace. Photo by Corey Sandler

Sevastopol

Sevastopol, also in Crimea, was and once again is a home base for the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which made it a military target in many wars.

West of Sevastopol are the ruins of the ancient Greek port of Chersonesus Taurica, founded in the 5th century BC. The tourist bureau, if one still exists, would have you call Chersonesus the “Ukrainian Pompeii” or the “Russian Troy.”

The Ruins of Chersonesus just outside the naval harbor of Sevastopol. Photos by Corey Sandler

Odessa: The Pearl of the Black Sea

Located on the mainland of Europe, not on the Crimean Peninsula that dangles below it, Odessa is a handsome cosmopolitan city.

Like Saint Petersburg in Russia, Odessa was heavily influenced by Mediterranean culture and architecture: grand Art Nouveau, Renaissance, and Classicist designs.

The great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin lived in Odessa in internal exile between 1823 and 1824. He wrote that Odessa was a city where “the air is filled with all Europe, French is spoken, and there are European papers and magazines to read.”

The Odessa National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet was rebuilt after a fire in 1873. Outside the Italian neo-baroque design, stone figures depict scenes from Aristophanes and Euripedes. Within is a riot of rococo and Louis XVI style, including a huge chandelier and ceiling frescoes with scenes from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Photo by Corey Sandler

Another architectural treasure in Odessa is Vorontsov’s Palace, completed in 1830 for Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov.

The design was by the Sardinian architect Francesco Boffo; Vorontsov was so pleased with Boffo’s work that he engaged him to design a grand flight of stairs down to the sea.

Looking down the stairs toward the port you see only the landings, and the steps are invisible; looking up you see only steps.

The Primorsky or Potemkin Steps in Odessa. Photo by Corey Sandler

In 1905, Odessa was the site of an event that would be celebrated by rising revolutionaries.

It was here that the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin­ rose up in mutiny against their Czarist officers, merging with a workers’ uprising.

That mutiny became part of the symbology of the Soviet Union mostly because of Sergei Eisenstein’s great silent film from 1925, “The Battleship Potemkin.”

The film included a scene where hundreds of Odessan citizens were murdered on the great stone staircase, the Primorsky Steps, or as they are now known, the Potemkin Steps.

Eisenstein made the film as revolutionary propaganda, but the techniques of cinematography he employed are still the building blocks of motion pictures.

In the film, the Czar’s soldiers in their white summer tunics march down a seemingly endless flight of steps like a war machine, firing volleys into a crowd.

A separate detachment of mounted Cossacks charges the crowd at the bottom of the stairs.

And its most famous scene: a mother pushing an infant in a baby carriage is shot and falls to the ground, releasing her grip on the carriage which bounces and rolls down the steps amidst the fleeing crowd.

It remains one of the most famous and compelling scenes in motion picture history.

Anytime you see a set of stairs and a baby carriage in a movie, a director is nodding in the direction of Odessa and Sergei Eisenstein. And in doing so, reminding us of the horrors of war.

All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

March, 2022:
Changing the Channel

By Corey Sandler

I’ve not been doing much traveling of late.

For more than two years now, we have been steering between threats that line the shores on each side, metaphorically speaking. We have been like Odysseus, navigating down the center of the channel between Scylla and Charybdis on the opposing banks.

I’ve made that particular passage many times without problem from the supernatural six-headed monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis. Not in the past two years, though.

It’s a natural passage known today as the Strait of Messina, which lies between Italy’s toe and the island of Sicily.

What I’m looking for now is a way to change the channel, either backwards or forwards to a time of safe passage. Fair winds, a following sea, and healthy air.

So speaking of channels, I’ve been thinking of canals, which are by definition are not natural or supernatural, but human-made passageways dug to provide safe passage.

I love most everything about sailing, including the open ocean beyond sight of land as well as travel along the coastlines and amidst islands. But there is something very special about traveling within the tight confines of an artificial canal. Every one of the major canals on our planet has a backstory of human triumph and failure and resurgence.

As we look forward to eventually returning to near-normalcy, I’m looking back at some of the passages I have made.

The Corinth Canal

The Corinth Canal between the Ionian Sea and the Saronic Gulf in Greece. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

The Corinth Canal is perhaps the most supernatural-looking artificial waterway in the world, a frighteningly narrow rock-lined passage separating the Greek mainland from Peloponnesia, saving a 430 mile or 700 kilometer voyage down and around.

It is only 4 miles or 6.4 kilometers in length, but I have been up on the bridge with captains and pilots as we have made the passage and I don’t believe any of us drew a breath in the hour-long transit.

The canal’s original concept dates back two thousand years, but the V-shaped cut was not completed until 1893. There have been landslides and wartime damage since then, and today only a small number of cruise ships are narrow enough to get through.

It’s only 70 feet wide at its base and several ship’s masters I know hang large rubber bumpers from the sides of the ship as a precaution; on one trip through, we left one of the bumpers behind, impaled on a rock.

The Suez Canal

The Suez Canal between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea in Egypt. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

I knew the photo I wanted to take at the Suez Canal before I arrived in Egypt. The 120-mile or 193-kilometer waterway is just a ditch in the desert, but that is what makes it so astounding to see. There are places where you can stand on the land and see what seem to be massive ships plowing through the sand.

The canal was completed in 1869, spearheaded by the Frenchman, Ferdinand de Lesseps who was not an engineer or a builder. He was a promoter, mostly of himself. Sound familiar?

The massive undertaking was completed more or less on schedule and under budget, which is easier to do when your workforce includes tens of thousands of forced laborers conscripted by the Khedive of Egypt at the time.

The Panama Canal

The Panama Canal, between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Ferdinand de Lessups’ next project was the path between the seas, across the isthmus of Panama. He thought he could replicate the ditch through the sand at Suez but the topography could not have been more different. Not only was there a wet, thick jungle teeming with disease-carrying insects but there was also the rocky ridge of the Continental Divide.

de Lessups’ project collapsed in financial, engineering, and medical failure in 1889. American President Teddy Roosevelt threw the resources of his surging nation at the project–along with some sketchy diplomatic and military maneuvers in the region–and completed the job in 1914.

What I love about the Panama Canal is that all of its machinery–the laws of physics–are out in the open to be seen at the three locks up and three locks down at each end of the 50-mile or 82-kilometer passageway.

The Erie Canal

The Erie Canal across upstate New York. Photo by Corey Sandler

The launch of the modern era of artificial waterways can be seen in the Erie Canal, which runs 363 miles or 584 kilometers west to east across upstate New York. When it opened in 1825 it established a watery passage from the Great Lakes in the midsection of the United States and Canada across to the Hudson River and from there out to the Atlantic Ocean.

It remains today the second-longest canal in the world, after the Grand Canal–the one in China, not Venice.

The huge amount of trade that moved along its hand-dug path with 34 locks and an elevation of 565 feet, established New York City as one of the great financial and trade centers of the world.

Today the canal is too narrow and shallow for large ships; it is paralleled for nearly its entire length by railroad tracks and the New York State Thruway. But I have sailed the Erie on small cruise ships and private vessels and it remains one of the wonders of the world.

The Kiel Canal

The Kiel Canal between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Sailing the Kiel Canal in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein always reminds me of taking a long train trip; for much of the 61-mile or 98-kilometer trip you are looking the backyards and back pastures of homes and farms.

Not as well known as the others I have written about earlier, the Kiel Canal is by some measures the busiest artificial waterway in the world with about 90 ships making the transit per day.

It opened in 1895, saving about 250 miles of 460 kilometers of sometimes bumpy seas in and around the Danish straits. The canal was widened in 1914 to allow huge battleships to pass through, and when you exit into the Baltic near the city of Kiel, over your shoulder you can see the shipyards where Germany built most of its dreaded fleet of U-boats for both both World Wars.

The Cape Cod Canal

The Cape Cod Canal, safe passage to avoid a ship graveyard. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Perhaps the least-known of the six canals I’m writing about today, the Cape Cod Canal is a testament to the search for safe passage.

The hook built into the arm of Cape Cod has caused hundreds of shipwrecks over the years. To avoid that, sailing vessels and more modern ships have had to head due east out to sea and then down and around the bottom of Cape Cod. But there is a problem there, as well: shoals and rocks that lie between the cape and the island of Nantucket to the south.

The Cape Cod Canal was begun as a private enterprise in 1909 by August Belmont Jr., who had enhanced his inherited banking fortune with major construction projects like the New York City subway system.

The 7-mile or 11-kilometer canal managed to beat the Panama Canal to completion by a month, but it was never a financial success.

And although it is arguably safer than sailing out to sea and below Nantucket, the Cape Cod Canal has its own challenges: a swift current and a dogleg bend at the middle. That combination makes for difficult navigation, and if you see me aboard ship and buy me a drink I’ll tell you a tale of a master who came very close to losing his stripes–and his cruise ship–at the dogleg. I was there and lived to tell the tale of what in the end was a safe passage.

All photos copyright 2022, by Corey Sandler. If you would like a copy of one of my photos or would like to use one in a project of your own please contact me.

To see portfolios of some of my travel photos, www.coreysandler.myportfolio.com or www.coreysandler2.myportfolio.com

February, 2022:
Snow Job

By Corey Sandler

So if all had gone according to plan, we would be in Norway today, chasing the Northern Lights.

That’s one of my favorite things to do in one of my favorite places.

As in:

The Northern Lights in Tromsø in March of 2019. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

I’ve chased the lights many times, and you can see some of my favorite photos in early entries of this blog. Search for March of 2019 for a series of posts, including my personal jackpot. You can jump to that page by clicking on the link that follows; why don’t you read the rest of today’s blog first? http://blog.sandlerbooks.com/2019/03/08/7-8-march-2019-tromso-by-night-the-northern-lights-found/

Because of the morphing threat of the virus which must not be named, we are instead still home in New England.

Interesting fact: it is colder in Boston today than in Tromsø, Norway. And this morning we have more snow on the ground than the city at the top of Norway, too.

A massive blizzard passed through the Northeast United States over the weekend; on Saturday the snow blew sideways for nearly 12 hours here in Boston. We rode out the storm in our aerie over the harbor, 200 feet above the snow plows and the shovels down below.

Sunday morning I went out on a photo expedition.

When Winter Comes to New England

Sunrise Colors the Snowbanks. In the background is the old Custom House in Boston, a handsome structure which once was one of the most important structures in the port city. Originally built in 1849, its distinctive tower was added in 1915 and that made it the tallest building in New England until the Prudential Tower was completed in Boston in 1964. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved

Downtown Digs Out

Quincy Market at Dawn. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved
Cold Comfort. The old taverns along what used to be Boston’s waterfront have seen many storms in their history. The Union Oyster House exists in a building that dates from 1714; it has operated as a restaurant since 1826 and claims to be the oldest eatery in continuous operation in the United States. When I passed by just after 7 in the morning, the barkeep was shoveling out and asked me if “Dunkin'” was open down the street with supplies of donuts and coffee. Still snowed in, I told him.

The Statehouse Glows

The Golden Dome. The handsome Massachusetts Statehouse catches the sunrise. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved

Boston Uncommon

Boston Public Garden with a new white carpet from a storm last year. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Still Life with Cigar

A remembrance of celebrated Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach occupies a cold bench at Faneuil Hall. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Dreaming of Norway

In My Mind’s Eye. One of the handsomest settings for a small town in Norway is that of Narvik, in this picture from before the pandemic. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved

All photos and text copyright Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to obtain or use an image please contact me.

January 2022:
How Many Letters in the Greek Alphabet?

By Corey Sandler

Some of us yearn for the simple days, way back when Delta was the variant of concern. Delta is the fourth letter in the ancient Greek alphabet, the one used by virologists earlier in 2021 to give a name to the latest twist and turn.

If only certain people and certain governments were more willing to use all of the tools available to us in our modern medical armamentarium we might not have to consider Omicron–the 15th letter out of 24 for the Greeks–as we enter into the third year of the pandemic.

Here’s hoping we run out of variants before we run out of letters of the alphabet. Hoping 2022 turns out better than 2021 ended.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Athens, Greece. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Ring Them Bells. Paleokstritsa. Corfu, Greece. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
The Path. Monemvasia, Greece. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

SEPTEMBER 2021:
Busy Making Plans

By Corey Sandler

So, as John Lennon once cribbed: Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.

First came Covid and disease, then came vaccines.

Earlier this year, for those of us with common sense, came cautious steps toward a resumption of Life Before the Pandemic.

And now with a fourth more invasive wave, something wicked this way comes.

So while we were busy making plans, life happened.

For reasons more personal than I care to share on the internet, we’re going to wait a few more months before we head out to sea. Watch this space for details.

Details…

Window in the Pope’s Palace in Avignon, France. Corey Sandler, 2013

Helsingin päärautatieasema, Helsinki Central Station. Corey Sandler, 2010

Palazzo Interior, Venice. Corey Sandler 2010
Waiting, La Rochelle, France. Corey Sandler, 2018

All text and photos copyright 2021 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

July 2021:
So, Where Were We?

By Corey Sandler

A journey of a thousand miles (or more…) begins with a single step.

So says an ancient Chinese proverb, perhaps uttered by Laozi in the 6th century B.C.E.

I imagine Laozi or Lao-tzu was preparing for a long walk, or perhaps a ride by water buffalo from one part of the vast lands of the Qin Dynasty to another.

I’m pretty sure it did not involve taking a taxi to the airport, boarding a jumbo jet, landing at a far distant airport, and then being handed a flute of champagne at the gangway of a sleek luxury cruise ship. And I’m certain it did not include more than a year in near-quarantine, two jabs of a preventative vaccine, and infrared temperature monitors at the borders.

But listen, I’m not complaining. We’re starting to get ready to begin to initiate new travels.

With thanks to the doctors and scientists and certain politicians, we’re grateful. We have begun moving about in our own country, and we look forward–fingers crossed–to heading out to sea In August. soon.

You can check on our intended schedule in the section of this blog called, “Where in the World is Corey Sandler?” I check it often whenever I lose track of where I am.

So I’ve been thinking:

What is This? I’ve passed in front of this hatch on the wall of an old building near the Saint Lawrence River in Montreal many times over the years and I still don’t know exactly what the Bright New Idea was. A coal chute? An ash cleanout? I will be forever grateful to the provider of the answer. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
In Fact, I’ll Buy You a Drink. Meet me at the bar, here in Mariehamn, in the Åland Islands, which–just for confusion’s sake–is a mostly Swedish-speaking exclave of Finland with a port (Maria’s Harbor) named after German-born Russian Empress Maria Alexandrovna. Make that two drinks. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Followed by Dinner. I know where to get the tools, here in the Quebec City banlieue of Saint-Saveur. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

I’ll Be at the Bar. Looking forward to seeing you soon, with hopes you’ll be more lively than my friends here on Washington Street in Boston who have been waiting to be served since the place was shut down in March of 2020. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

And In Other News

Meanwhile, although Boston’s Black Falcon cruise terminal has not welcomed a passenger ship since the fall of 2019, there was a notable arrival just recently.

On June 22, the massive special purpose heavy haul cargo ship Zhen Hua 15 eased her way into the Reserved Channel in Boston’s seaport, carrying three gigantic cranes that will be installed across the water from the cruise terminal to allow loading and unloading of some of the largest container ships in use today.

Zhen Hua 15 took a 10-week trip from Shanghai, down and around the Cape of Good Hope in Africa and then across the Atlantic to Boston to deliver a pair of 205-foot-tall heavy lift cranes and a third crane of merely 145 feet in height. (Why the relatively smaller one? As anyone who has ever sailed into Boston knows, the cruise and cargo terminals are very close to one of the main runways of Logan Airport and all construction has to harmonize with overhead airplanes. In addition, when certain very large cruise or cargo ships come in to port, the air traffic controllers at Logan temporarily shut down the north-south runway for safety.)

I made a visit to see the cranes, still mounted on the ship while final preparations were underway to install them ashore.

Big News in Boston. All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

June 2021:
This is Getting Old

By Corey Sandler

Sometimes it feels like a murky haze, a fever dream.

From sketchy news reports in December of 2019 to a warning at the start of 2020 to a full-blown global pandemic.

Here we are a year-and-a-half later, and in some parts of the globe we can see the edge of the woods. The problem remains: those billions of people who are not yet able to get a vaccine, and those millions of people who deny science and fact.

I’ll step down from my soapbox with one sigh of exasperation: This is getting old.

That’s what I was thinking on my morning constitutional as I experimented with a new art tool I have added to my state-of-the-art digital camera; a digital filter that all but travels back in time a century or so. All of these pictures are new versions with an old electronic eye:

Union Oyster House in downtown Boston. Photo art 2021 by Corey Sandler
The Northern Avenue Railroad Bridge in Boston. Photo art 2021 by Corey Sandler
Boston Hahbah. Photo art 2021 by Corey Sandler
Faneuil Hall, Boston. Photo art 2021 by Corey Sandler
Quincy Market. Photo art 2021 by Corey Sandler
The Old State House, Boston. Photo art 2021 by Corey Sandler

And this just in: fingers crossed, we expect to return to something close to normal cruising soon. It’s still a moving target, as we hope that the virus is driven into obscurity by vaccines, science, and good manners.

See the page on this website, “Where in the World is Corey Sandler?” for my upcoming schedule which is beginning to fill out for this year and beyond.

Here’s wishing us all fair winds, following seas, and perfect health.

All photos and text copyright 2021 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to obtain or use a copy of any photo, please contact me.

April 2021:
Tomorrow Never Comes

By Corey Sandler

If you think about it, tomorrow never comes.

At midnight we arrive not at tomorrow but instead at a new version of today.

Deep thinking, I know. It’s been a full year in the Year of Living for Today, with plenty of time for at-home philosophical discourse.

Website security

Like the first green shoots of spring, there are signs of hope. Vaccines have arrived and are making their way into arms left and right, although there is still a vast gap between first world countries and the rest of the planet.

Which raises the issue: once those of us lucky enough to obtain protection are ready to travel, where do we go?

Cruise lines are making plans once again; let us hope.

I know we’re ready.

So, on the subject of new beginnings, here are some sunrises.

Sunrise over Boston Harbor, March 2021. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Looking East from the Boston Seaport toward Portugal, March 2021. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Boston Public Garden at dawn, March 2021. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Downtown Boston near dawn, March 2021. Photo by Corey Sandler
Sunrise on Monument Street in Charlestown north of Boston, March 2021. Photo by Corey Sandler

March 2021:
Ship Shapes, Part 2

By Corey Sandler

We have arrived at the one-year mark in our global slowdown/lockdown/just-plain-down Covid-19 era.

Groundhog Day was funny. Covid Year not so much.

There are some reasons for cautious optimism. Vaccines are here, and slowly making their way into waiting arms. We still need to have safe places to visit.

I hate it when the recorded voice on the telephone says, “Thank you for your patience.” What makes them think I am patient?

While we wait, here’s Part 2 of Ship Shapes from my archive of voyages past.

Website security
High-tech Sails, Nevis. Photo by Corey Sandler, copyright 2004, all rights reserved.
Ship-spotting along the Amazon River in Brazil. Photo by Corey Sandler, copyright 2006, all rights reserved.
Life is a Beach. Photo by Corey Sandler, copyright 2003, all rights reserved.
Old and New in Stavanger, Norway. Photo by Corey Sandler, copyright 2019, all rights reserved.
Through the Fog, Dimly. Tórshavn, Faroe Islands. Photo by Corey Sandler, copyright 2018, all rights reserved.
The Circus Comes to Town, Marseille, France. Photo by Corey Sandler, copyright 2018, all rights reserved.
Reflections of Stavanger, Norway. Photo by Corey Sandler, copyright 2018, all rights reserved.
Ghost Ship. Boston’s Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, February 27, 2021. Photo by Corey Sandler, copyright 2021, all rights reserved.

All photos copyright by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. Contact me to obtain rights to use any image.

November 2020:
Waiting to Inhale

By Corey Sandler

We are still adrift in the age of wisdom and the age of foolishness, the epoch of belief and the epoch of incredulity.

As we move from a dismal spring and summer into a winter of foreboding, we can hope that relief lies before us.

My words derive from the famous opening lines of Charles Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities”, published in 1859.

About the same time, in 1853, Unitarian minister Theodore Parker declared, “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe. The arc is a long one. My eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by experience of sight. I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. rephrased those words poetically: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Last night, the arc of the moral universe bent toward justice, and that is a transcendent good.

That other arc, the awful accounting of sickness and death in this dreadful year, is bending as well, and still not in a good way.

It will be a while before we can inhale freely. And it will be a while before we can resume something close to our way of life as it existed in January 2020, before the worst of times took hold.

I generally take my constitutionals in the early morning, and today I found myself drawn east to the Black Falcon Terminal, the cruise port of Boston.

Not a single cruise ship has made a scheduled call at the port in all of 2020.

Sunrise at Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, November 8, 2020. Photo by Corey Sandler

Here in my office, I bide my time doing some writing and revisiting my collection of tens of thousands of travel photos I have taken on our various journeys. I continue to uncover hidden gems, and I also have shifted my focus slightly in the direction of artistic reinterpretations of reality.

Bending another arc, you might say.

Here are a few recent works.

Bryggen in Bergen, Norway. March 2019. Photo Art by Corey Sandler
Antwerp, Belgium. June 2013. Photo Art by Corey Sandler
Bilbao, Spain. September 2015. Photo Art by Corey Sandler
Sunrise over Boston Harbor. October 2020. Photo by Corey Sandler
Baobob at Sunset. Photo Art by Corey Sandler

All photos copyright 2020 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. Contact me to obtain rights to use any image.

October 2020:
When Fall Comes to New England

By Corey Sandler

Singer-songwriter Cheryl Wheeler’s beautiful song, “When Fall Comes to New England” says of this season:

The nights are sharp with starlight
And the days are cool and clean


And in the blue sky overhead
The northern geese fly south instead


And leaves are Irish Setter red


The nights and the days and the skies are indeed sharp and cool and blue.

And her description of the leaves is poetry of the highest form.

Of course, there’s a “but” coming; you knew that. But in this annus horribulus, this horrible year, everything is socially distant.

We’re hoping for fresh air and a return to something close to normalcy in coming months. Each night we raise a toast to health, happiness, sensibility, and hope. We can hope.

My terrace garden, 200 feet in the air above Boston harbor, felt the first nip of frost the other night.

There is no official place called New England, but it is usually meant to include the northeast American states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Some of us are willing to grant admission to the eastern part of what was once British North America in Canada including Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador.

In my office, I have spent much of the viral confinement harvesting previously unripened photos of autumns in New England, from New York east and north to Atlantic Canada.

The Hudson River near Bear Mountain in New York State. Photo by Corey Sandler.
Portland, Maine. Photo by Corey Sandler, 2010.
Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. Photo by Corey Sandler, 2010.
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Photo by Corey Sandler, 2010.
Bar Harbor, Maine. Photo by Corey Sandler, 2010.
Stanhope Beach, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Photo by Corey Sandler, 2010.
St. John, New Brunswick. Photo by Corey Sandler, 2010.
Lady Liberty’s Original Torch, from within the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. Photo art by Corey Sandler
Somes Harbor near Bar Harbor, Maine. Photo art by Corey Sandler. 2003
Afternoon sun in Casco Bay, Maine. Photo by Corey Sandler, 2010.
Midnight in Moose Factory, Ontario on James Bay. Photo by Corey Sandler

All photos copyright 2020 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. Contact me to obtain rights to use any image.

September 2020:
Imagination Out of Focus

Website security

By Corey Sandler

Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality. So said Nikos Kazantzakis, author of Zorba the Greek.

We’re working (some of us, to be precise) to change our present reality to something close to our past reality. I am hopeful we will eventually get beyond the know-nothings and the do-nothings.

But as of the moment, we’re not yet out of the woods.

Or to be more precise, in our case, seven or so months into this pandemic we’re not yet into the city or out on the open ocean.

We live along the water and Boston is still something close to a ghost town; the morning after a zombie apocalypse with just a handful of (mostly) masked people scurrying about. On my early-morning power walks there are days when I am the only one crossing the street in Downtown Crossing and Boston Common is rarely shared.

The Black Falcon cruise terminal in Boston has not had a cruise ship make a call since late in 2019 and probably will go this entire year without a visit. Across the harbor Logan International Airport is open but nearly empty, with a nearly total stoppage to international flights and a minimal amount of domestic traffic.

I am sure there are still places worthy of a photograph and I am always ready, but I have mostly been working on developing my editing skills and thinking about new ways to see old places.

One more quote, from the visionary cynic Mark Twain: You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.

In that spirit, here are some photos from my collection that I have revisited with new eyes and a refocused imagination.

A Martian Sky over Valencia, Spain. Photo art by Corey Sandler. Copyright 2020, all rights reserved.
Old South Meeting House, Boston. Photo art by Corey Sandler. Copyright 2020, all rights reserved.
A Wall to the Sky. Alanya, Turkey. Photo art by Corey Sandler. Copyright 2020, all rights reserved.
Painting with Light. Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine, U.S. Photo art by Corey Sandler. Copyright 2020, all rights reserved.
Pepper Shack. Avery Island, Louisiana, U.S. Photo art by Corey Sandler. Copyright 2020, all rights reserved.
Vamping. Acapulco, Mexico. Photo art by Corey Sandler. Copyright 2009, all rights reserved.

August 2020:
It’s Getting Sketchy Out There

By Corey Sandler

The great Bard Jimmy Buffett wrote, “Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes. Nothing remains quite the same.”

This past December we flew to Valparaiso, Chile at 33⁰ South Latitude, about 2,285 miles below the Equator, to begin a cruise.

When we stepped off the ship in Los Angeles, California in January we had no idea our aqueous journeys were headed for suspension.

We spent mid-January to mid-February on an extended winter holiday in glorious Montreal, 5,435 miles away at 45⁰ North Latitude.

For the past two decades or so, we have been spending about six months of each year aboard ship. By this time–as I write these words in August–we had been scheduled to sail the west coast of South America, then from Iceland over to circle the United Kingdom and on to Norway and next the Baltic Sea. The fall was going to take us to the Greek Isles and Israel.

Instead, 2020 has become The Year on Dry Land, with no certain change in sight.

Cruising will resume, in some form, sometime and we intend to be on board, somewhere.

NEW PHOTOS BY COREY SANDLER. CLICK HERE

Seeing Old Things with New Eyes

As an author, I can write anywhere. As a photographer, I see the world through my lenses.

But without changes in in latitude, I’ve been making some changes in creative attitude.

Firmly ensconced on the penultimate floor of a condo tower in Boston’s Seaport, I’ve embarked on a project documenting the changing light of the big city and the harbor.

With my travel circumscribed by the invisible fence of the microscopic virus, I’m exploring artistic enhancements to photos: drawing with light, which is the literal meaning of the word photograph.

All of the images in today’s post are photographs I have taken. When I first took up a camera, we would retreat to the darkroom to dodge, burn, filter, and perform other techniques to find new ways to view the image. Today, digital photography gives us amazing tools to make new versions.

Someone out there is sure to be thinking, “These images are not real.” That is correct.

But I would point out that no photograph is real. The photographer chooses what to include and exclude before the shutter button is pressed. Settings on a lens select short or deep fields of sharpness. The shutter speed determines whether a dancer’s foot is frozen as if not moving, or blurred in action. And today’s advanced digital cameras can literally see in the dark, capturing details not discernible to the human eye.

Here are some of my interpretations of recent photos and a few older images from my back pages.

Impressions of Sunset in Boston, July 2020. Photo art by Corey Sandler, 2020. All rights reserved
A View of Our Perch in the Sky in Boston’s Seaport. Photo art by Corey Sandler, 2020. All rights reserved
An enhanced view of International Place along the water in Boston. Photo art by Corey Sandler, 2020. All rights reserved.
A Photo Turned Magazine-cover Water Color: Boston from the Seaport. Photo art by Corey Sandler, 2020. All rights reserved.
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, Bermuda 2015. Photo art by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Boi Bumba Dancer, Parintins, Brazil 2015. Photo art by Corey Sandler

All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to obtain a print or otherwise make use of an image, please contact me.

July 2020:
The Summer of Our Discontent

By Corey Sandler

When Shakespeare wrote of the “winter of our discontent” in Richard III, he was alluding to a hope for the end of unhappiness.

Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke with less sanguinity in 1963 referencing a “summer of legitimate discontent.”

Shakespeare lived through two outbreaks of the plague. And Dr. King dreamed hewing out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.

Does it sound like I have been spending too much time in quarantine?

Without a doubt.

By this time in 2020 we had been scheduled to be in South America, then Iceland and a circle of the British Isles, and then off to the Baltic.

Instead, we make early morning masked forays into nearly deserted Boston, and I conduct late-night photo sessions from our veranda–not on a ship but 200 feet up in the air in a waterfront tower.

We’re waiting for the best of times to return.

Here are some recent photos:

Fort Point Pop Art. Photo art by Corey Sandler, 2020. All rights reserved
Starry Night. Photo art by Corey Sandler, 2020. All rights reserved

3-4 January 2020:
Los Angeles, California USA:
Heading Home

By Corey Sandler

We have arrived at the Port of Los Angeles; San Pedro, to be specific, about 20 miles away from L.A. but most importantly on an inlet of the Pacific Ocean.

It’s been a grand voyage, a 28-day segment of the record-setting World Cruise of the Viking Sun.

The tour began in London, crossed the pond to Atlantic Canada, headed south into the Caribbean and then down and around the bottom of South America and then up the West Coast of South America, Central America, and on to California.

We joined the ship in Valparaiso, Chile and we leave her now as she and her guests prepare to sail to Asia and then Europe and eventually back to London.

On a beautiful southern California day we crossed over the bridge from San Pedro to Long Beach and spent the morning at the spectacular Aquarium of the Pacific in the company of sharks, jellyfish, clownfish, sea turtles, penguins, and so much more.

For the past four weeks we have sailed along with the denizens of the deep. Today we got up close. Here are some photos from our visit.

Aquarium of the Pacific

Up in the Air

Upcoming is our least favorite part of the trip: airports and airplanes and lugging luggage. But we won’t put our suitcases too far from reach: more journeys await.

To new friends we met aboard, we wish safe travels until we meet again. I hope to meet you again aboard ship or in these pages.

The American part of the World Cruise of Viking Sun. We joined the ship 28 days ago in Valparaiso, and head for home now from the Port of Los Angeles.

All content by Corey Sandler, copyright 2020. All rights reserved. To contact me, please use the links on this blog.

2 January 2020:
San Diego, California USA:
The Deep South of the Far West

By Corey Sandler

San Diego is a beautiful setting, a great year-round climate, a natural deepwater harbor, great beaches, and an economy based to a great extent on the U.S. Navy and tourism.

But San Diego has a bit of a second-city complex. It is, in fact, the second most populous city in California after Los Angeles. In my opinion, L-A gets all the attention but San Diego—and San Francisco—deserve some more of the praise.

Today was bright and sunny. Not much of a surprise there; San Diego is almost always thus. But it was–by local standards–a wintry day, barely reaching into the low 60s.

When this cruise ends in two days, my wife and I are headed for a northeast winter which generally is much, much different.

Here are some photos from today:

A streetscape in the Gaslamp District, developed about 1888
The retired aircraft carrier Midway, now a museum and moored nearby to Viking Sun

One of my favorite things about one of my favorite cities is the wonderful mix between old Spanish style structures and new buildings. Although San Diego certainly is booming, at least thus far they have not destroyed their past.

The lovely Santa Fe railway station, between the docks and the heart of the modern city

The exposition was held in San Diego’s large urban Balboa Park. At a time when many architects (including at a simultaneous fair in San Francisco) embraced the over-the-top Beaux-Arts style, in San Diego they chose Spanish Baroque, which includes some Moorish Revival elements, and a bit of Spanish Colonial design.

The fair was decorated with more than two million plants of 1,200 different types. Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell made a three-day appearance in November 1915.

Some of the Exposition’s buildings are still standing, including the Botanical Building, with a changing display of rare and notable plants, the 200-foot-tall California Bell Tower, shaped like a Spanish ship, the Chapel of St. Francis of Assisi, and the Fine Arts Building , now part of the Museum of Man.

And the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. In 2015, the organ was expanded to 80 ranks and 5,017 pipes, once again making it the world’s largest pipe organ in a fully outdoor venue.

All content Copyright 2020 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

30 December 2019:
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico:
Life is a Beach…and a Bar…and a Golf Course

By Corey Sandler

We are back in Cabo San Lucas, the Cape of Saint Luke, at the bottom of the peninsula of Baja California, lower California in Mexico. Twice in one year: at the start of 2019 and now on the penultimate day of the year. Life is a beach.

We arrived this morning and put down our anchor just offshore of the famous arches, Los Arcos. It is a beautiful place…even with three other much larger cruise ships floating into our line of sight.

Cabo San Lucas was a relatively prosperous fishing and agricultural port, with a few interludes of piracy, for the first few centuries of its existence.

And then in 1973, the Transpeninsular Highway (Mexico Route 1) was completed, linking Cabo to Tijuana and from there to that big country to the north, the United States.

With the road and an airport, Cabo became an accessible destination.

It is now home to about 81,000 people, most of whom work in the tourism industry: hotels, restaurants, shops, tour guides.

It is a beautiful bay, with lovely beaches and lots and lots of tourists…and fishermen angling to catch dollars and euros and pounds from the pockets of visitors.

Los Arcos, the arches at the outside of the harbor at Cabo San Lucas

In a Reflective Mood

As this cruise comes near its end, I found myself in a reflective mood. It helped to have calm seas and a bright sun. Here are some photos from this morning in Cabo:

After today, we have ahead of us entrance into the United States at the glorious city of San Diego in California, and a last call at Los Angeles (San Pedro, to be precise.)

The end is near:

Sunset Interrupted

At day’s end, we hauled anchor just as the sun set behind Los Arcos, the arches at the outside of town. It was a beautiful sight, even with those other–much larger–cruise ships between us and the final rays.

All photos copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

26 December 2019:
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala:
Very Old, Very New, Ever Hopeful for a Rebirth

By Corey Sandler

Guatemala is a place of resplendent beauty, terrible poverty, great history, tragic bloodshed, vibrant culture, and a rebirth with a still uncertain future.

It has balanced on a knife’s edge for centuries.

Viking Sun at the dock in Puerto Quetzal this morning
Nearby, a banana boat loads its cargo. Until the 20th century, bananas were a rare and mysterious commodity known only to adventurers and explorers

Inland from the port of Puerto Quetzal lies the huge metropolis of Guatemala City, which would not qualify as one of the more attractive places on this planet. It is a place of grinding poverty, made worse by growling volcanoes all around.

But beyond The City, up in the hills, is the ancient city of Antigua Guatemala, which is a mostly intact Spanish Colonial city bookended by a pair of active volcanoes.

In fact, the Spanish governed most of Central America from Mexico to Peru from here.

Up in the central highlands is the impressive former Spanish colonial headquarters of Antigua Guatemala, since replaced by the less-impressive Guatemala City. Antigua has been damaged over the centuries by earthquakes and volcanoes. But somehow it has managed to maintain an air of dignity and quiet.

Here are some photos I have taken over the years on various visits to Antigua:

All content by Corey Sandler, copyright 2019. ll rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a copy of a photo or one of my books, please contact me.

24 December 2019:
Puntarenas, Costa Rica:
Up Into the Cloud Forest

By Corey Sandler

Costa Rica is one of the most amazing places on the planet, a green nation with one-quarter-of-a-percent of Earth’s landmass and 5 percent of its biodiversity of species of flora and fauna.

And it also extends from sea to shining sea, with the port of Puntarenas on the Pacific where Viking Sun docked this morning and the port of Limón over on the Atlantic side. In between is the cordillera, the mountain range that is an extension of the Canadian and American Rockies to the North and the Andes to the South.

I went with guests up into that spine in the middle, to the Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve. We left hot and sunny Puntarenas and spent the day in a cool and drizzly rainforest.

Here is some of what we saw:

The beach at Puntarenas in the morning
The fog and mist descending on a garden in the hills above
Butterflies in the cloud forest
And hummingbirds at a sugar trough

Costa Rica, like Panama–and Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, the United States, and Canada–has ports on both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

There is only one canal, though.

The other countries have done the best they can with roads and railways to transfer products from one ocean to another.

Puntarenas here in Costa Rica was once the country’s principal port, but it was on the wrong side when it came to trade with the east coast of the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe. Over the past century, a railroad and then highways were built to climb up and over the Continental Divide to bring bananas, other agriculture, minerals, and more from one side to the other.

Modern Costa Rica has devoted much of its economy to sustainable and green industries and ecotourism. And the country–not quite perfect in its government and social services, but far ahead of nearly all of its neighbors–is doing well,

In fact, they have their own all-purpose expression of contentment: Pura Vida. Think of it as “all is well” or hakuna matata. It is impossible to use it wrong: Pura Vida!

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. The contents of this blog is entirely mine and not endorsed by or affliated by any of the companies mentioned.

See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)