• Solar Eclipse 2017 - Viewed from Irvine, CA +

    Although I am not too much into astro photography, I certainly wanted to watch the Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017, and to take some photos. It wasn't a total eclipse in our area; we live in Southern California. The last Solar Eclipse I watched was a total one, and I was lucky enough to experience it in my birth country, Hungary, in 1999. I spent a relatively short time preparing for today's event. I Read More
  • Budapest Walk on July 19, 2017 +

    Today was a very hot day, I only had a short, one hour walk in the city. This stretch of the city, from Jászai Mari Square to Blaha Lujza Square houses lots of beautiful, old, stylish buildings. They include the Comedy Theater of Budapest, Western Train Station, and a few hotels. There are also many modern restaurants on this streets, one for every taste. Enjoy the tour! (Directions and direct link to the gallery under Read More
  • Budapest Walk on July 15, 2017 +

    This morning I headed out to the district where I lived the year prior to moving to the USA: Óbuda (3. District). I got off the tram at Zsigmond Square (2. District), because I attended a once-a-week English class in that area during that last year. Then I started walking on Bécsi Street, which has been renovated almost completely in the past few years. I soon reached the Amphitheater, which are the ruins of an Read More
  • Budapest Walk on July 2, 2017 +

    When I woke up the skies were rather dark, and I even spotted a double rainbow: I was hesitant if I should head into downtown or not, but I decided to go. I was taking a bus from Deak Square up to the Castle District, when I spotted the breathtaking lights on the castle and its surrounding. I got off the bus, and took about a 10 second walk to reach a good spot for Read More
  • Budapest Walk on July 1, 2017 +

    The day started out rainy, but by the afternoon it cleared up. I started my walk from a main transportation hub, Deák Square, where three subway lines and numerous tram and bus lines intersect. I strolled on a very well known street of Budapest, Andrássy út. This long, wide road houses gorgeous buildings, elegant stores, restaurants, as well as very old, mature trees. It ends at Hero's Square. The biggest surprise for me on this Read More
  • Budapest Walk on June 30, 2017 +

    I traditionally spend a few weeks in Hungary every summer, visiting my family and friends. I like to visit and photograph lots of places, mostly in Budapest, and this year I'd like to invite you to follow along with me on my walking trips. I will take photos on my walks and post them on a map. If you click on a picture circle on the following map, location information will open on the left Read More
  • Snapshots and Photographic Artwork +

    Yesterday I visited a nearby beach, and while I was mostly taking pictures with my DSLR, I also took a quick snapshot of the sunset with my phone. I posted it to Facebook, and many of my friends liked it. Here is the image I posted:

    I wanted to talk a little bit about the differences between snapshots, like the one I took with my phone, and the artwork I can create from the so-called raw images

    Read More
  • An Incredible Night with Harry Benson, Renowned Photographer +

    Since I've learned about the Orange County Canon Experience Center's educational programs about 2 month ago, I've taken a few night classes there. I take every opportunity to educate myself, especially about photography. I signed up for the Harry Benson: Shoot First event at least a couple of weeks ago, and I have to tell you honestly that I didn't read the description well enough. I thought that I was just going to see a Read More
  • Great Blue Heron at San Joaquin Nature Preserve in Irvine, CA +

    This morning I stopped by a place I haven't visited for a few months - the San Joaquin Nature Preserve. The first thing I noticed as soon as I pulled into the parking lot was the completely dried out first pond, full of high vegetation. The last time I was here it was half full of water and had lots of small birds in it. Not this time. But it was still very pretty with the Read More
  • Golden-hour Images Taken from an Irvine Park +

    This morning I hurried over to a nearby park, which is actually a lemon farm. It is open to the public, and you can take a very short hike to the top of the hill and have a pretty nice view of West Irvine and the Santa Ana Mountains. Of course I was hoping for some nice clouds, but instead I had completely clear skies at sunrise. Although it's always nicer with clouds, I truly Read More
  • Kelby Worldwide Photowalk 2016 - Orange, California +

    On October 1st I once again participated in a Worldwide Photowalk. This time, instead of doing a sunset walk, I signed up for a morning one. I get up at 4:30am every morning, so this fit into my regular schedule much better. This walk was superbly organized by Mike Knudsen. He had done a lot of research in the area prior to the walk, came prepared with printed maps and interesting historical facts and stories. Read More
  • Budapest Viewed from a Tuk Tuk +

    A few weeks prior to our summer Hungary trip we always browse the Hungarian deal sites (like Groupon or Livingsocial) for any unusual offers. Something caught our eyes and we decided to get the deal: a 2.5 hour long tour of Budapest with a tour guide, riding in a mini 3-wheel motor vehicle called Tuk Tuk. The deal also came with a free 1-hour boat ride on the Danube River. Amongst all the rainy days Read More
  • "Make Good Art" - Commencement Speech by Neil Gaiman from 2002 +

    This morning I was listening to Chase Jarvis' podcast with Tim Ferriss. It was a great podcast episode, you can also watch it on Creative Live . Tim Ferriss mentioned Neil Gaiman's 2012 commencement speech to the University of the Arts (Philadelphia) graduating class of 2012. I watched it, and decided to share it with you. If you have 20 minutes you can spare, listen to this video. His message is valuable not only to artistic Read More
  • Morning Walk in Budapest +

    I'd like to give a pictorial walking tour recommendation for a few Budapest locations. I walked and photographed in the area in early July of 2016. I really like beating the tourist rush in these locations, therefore I usually take my walks early in the morning, not long after sunrise. If you'd rather sleep in a bit, expect to see a lot more people at the photographed locations. Some enjoy the crowds, I prefer to Read More
  • A Day Tour of Budapest - Without a Tour Bus +

    At the end of May I attended a photo summit organized by the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. During lunch time, as I walked by a group of people I overheard, that someone in the group was going to visit Hungary in the summer. I introduced myself and told him that I was from Hungary, and if I could help in any way to him, he could email me. After a few emails back Read More
  • Want to Try Night Photography and Light-Painting? +

    Light-painted Horses
    Ricardo Breceda's Steel Horses in Borrego Springs, CA. Image by Gizella Nyquist
    Let’s change topics from my previous posts, which I intend to continue soon. But for now, I’d like to talk about my photography, and something new I’ve tried. Last weekend I attended a photography workshop organized by the California Center for Digital Arts. The main goal of the workshop was discovering the remains of a once very popular recreational area, the Salton Sea Read More
  • Cultural Revelations – Part 2 +

    Competition by Gizella Nyquist There are various ways plants and animals compete with each other in nature. In the rainforest the plants' competition is for the sunlight. The taller you grow, the more sunlight will reach you.
      This is the second part of my contemplation on cultural value orientations, and how they relate to me. This is where you can read the first part . After talking about identity and authority, we will look at Read More
  • Cultural Revelations - Part 1 +

    Authority by Gizella Nyquist
      In the second half of my life, during my residency in the US, I constantly wondered: why do I feel like an outsider both in this country and in Hungary? Why does it feel like that I am hovering between the two cultures? In the past weeks I started understanding a lot more about myself, about this duality - or rather non-belonging - feeling, and even about my relationship with my American Read More
  • Visiting the California Desert with Kids +

    View of the Salton Sea from Sneaker Beach
    View of the Salton Sea from Sneaker Beach
    During the Easter weekend (April 4-6, 2015) our family took a vacation in California’s low- and high desert areas, near Palm Springs. My daughter is 10.5 years old, so we tried to plan activities that would entertain her as well. We left quite early on Saturday morning and arrived to our first destination by 9am. Salton Sea , California’s largest lake is a place you’ll never forget. It Read More
  • My Picture Editing Workflow +

    Image corrected in Photoshop and finished in Perfect Effects 8 You all know, that my images are created, not just taken. I use my digital camera to capture the pixels (data, more precisely), but the magic only happens after I download the RAW file into my computer. I shoot in RAW, because I want to be able to make changes to the image to my liking, and I don't want the camera to decide on those changes for me as it creates a JPG file. Read More
  • Earthworms, Rocks and Ground Roses +

    I love getting my hands dirty with soil
    I love getting my hands dirty with soil. Don't worry, my pointing finger is not swollen, it's just the camera. 🙂
    I probably should have chosen a different day for gardening, because we reached 90 degrees today. I visited Home Depot yesterday and I filled the back of our car with new plants. They needed to be planted as soon as possible. All except for four found their permanent home in our flower garden. There were Read More
  • Check Out My Print Store! +

    Please check out my photo print store.
    Please check out my photo print store.
    Hello Friends. It has been a VERY long time since my last post. I know that I should have told you what I was working on, but to be honest, I just didn't make time for blogging. In the past few weeks I've continued volunteering at my daughter's school. I helped out with event organization, trained parents on how to create year book pages, and I've taken hundreds Read More
  • Remembering of a Dear Friend +

    Shaw's Cove Sunset - Dedicated to a friend, who passed away a week ago
    Shaw's Cove Sunset - Dedicated to a friend, who passed away a week ago (click to enlarge)

    I have not kept up with my 1000 Words image posting for the past two weeks. During the Thanksgiving holidays we visited our family and friends in Colorado, where we resided for 15 years prior to moving to California. It was great catching up with people we hadn't seen for a long time, and also visiting places we used

    Read More
  • Budapest Whale +

    The Budapest Whale in 2012 "We are waiting for more than two billions"
    The Budapest Whale in 2012
    "We are waiting for more than two billions (Hun Forints)."
    One of the newest buildings in Budapest lies on the Danube bank between Petőfi Bridge and Liberty Bridge on the Pest side. This shopping, cultural and entertainment centre opened exactly a year ago (2013), although the original opening date was set to summer of 2011 (legal issues delayed the opening). The building encompasses the modern, glass structure and two reconstructed Read More
  • Ocean Liners Titanic and the Queen Mary +

    Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA
    Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA
    In the past two weeks our family got better acquainted with two of history's grandest ocean liners. The previous weekend we visited a traveling exhibit in Buena Park, CA entitled Titanic, the Artifact Exhibition . It started by handing out boarding passes of passengers who boarded the ship on April 10, 1912. From these passes our family learned about three people in detail: who they were, why they were traveling, Read More
  • Hungarian National Gallery +

    Hungarian National Gallery
    Hungarian National Gallery
    I have another famous Hungarian building to show you today. This is the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest, located in the Buda Castle. This picture was taken in the early morning of a 2014 July day. Whenever I plan photo trips to the Castle District, I try to go very early in the day, just after sunrise. The city is quiet at this time, and the Castle is not full of tourists Read More
  • St. Stephen's Basilica, Budapest +

    One of the most visited buildings in Budapest (by tourists) is the St. Stephen's Basilica. This catholic church, which is dedicated to Hungary's first king, St. Stephen, was built between 1851 and 1890 (when the structure of the building was completed), but the actual dedication of the building only took place in 1905. It was designed by József Hild, but after his death the building was completed under the guidance of Miklós Ybl. The final Read More
  • Overcast January Morning at Aliso Beach, CA +

    Aliso Beach was the first beach my husband and I visited in Southern California, when we came here to decide if we wanted to move from Colorado to SoCal. The beach mesmerized me on that April morning in 2012, and it is still one of my most favorite beaches. What I like the most about it is that this beach is a perfect destination for my whole family: my husband and my daughter have fun Read More
  • Reflections - A PTA Organized Art Competiton +

    I started a new project a few days ago, which I am calling 1000 Words . My goal is to post an image or an article at least 3 times a week, but preferably more often. The images in my 1000 Words project (and gallery page ) should give you an insight into my life: my likes and dislikes, my travel destinations, and generally into my everyday life. Some will be newly taken, others come from my Read More
  • Farmers Markets – Old World and New World +

    Today is Sunday, which means Farmers Market day in Irvine, at the Orange County Great Park. This gave me the idea to tell you a bit about Hungarian Farmers Markets. There are a lot of differences between markets in Hungary and the US. When we visit the one in Irvine or in nearby towns, they give me the feeling more of a festival than a market. Only part of the market stands offer fruits and Read More
  • All Saints’ Day and the Day of the Dead +

    In Hungary the first two days of November commemorate our deceased loved ones. The 1st, which is today, is called All Saints’ Day. This day remembers all the saints whose names are not represented in the Hungarian calendar. It has been a holiday since the 9th century. According to the Catholic Church, the living and the dead meet on this day in a mystical communion or fellowship. November 2nd is the Day of the Dead. Read More
  • Reflections© 101 - Submission Time +

    Reflections submissions The time has finally arrived. After weeks of advertising the program, it is now time to collect the art works. I'll tell you how we do it at our school, but it doesn't mean that this is the only way of getting it done. We set up certain days for the submission. Last Wednesday was the early-bird deadline, and we are collecting the works this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning before school. We set up Read More
  • PhotoPlace Gallery Competition - Good News +

    Casa del Prado
    Casa del Prado, San Diego
    After the end-of-summer announcement of one of my images being chosen into the Irvine Fine Arts Center exhibit, I once again received an email with the Congratulation subject line. Let me share part of the letter with you:


    Thank you for submitting your work for PhotoPlace Gallery’s juried exhibition, THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT. From over 1,000 photographs submitted, juror Brian Vanden Brink chose 40 photographs for the gallery exhibition, and

    Read More
  • Reflections© 101 - Back to School Activities +

    BackToSchoolMorning Note: If you haven't read my two previous Reflections posts, you can find them here: What is Reflections? and Raising Awareness and Advertising . (They open in a new window.) Our school held its New Family Welcome gathering last night (August 28th). A few representatives from our PTA set up tables with important PTA related information. I was also present to welcome the new parents and children, and to let them know about the Reflections program. Read More
  • Working on a New Thematic +

    Streetview_Buda_Castle Even though I started this project last summer, I still haven't settled on the title yet. I have a few ideas floating around, but a decision has not been made. What is this project about? Something, that stands very close to my heart for two main reasons: it involves my birth-country, Hungary, as well as historical beauty and craftsmanship. One of my most favorite summer destinations for photography in Budapest is the Buda Castle. This Read More
  • My Artwork Will Be at the Irvine Fine Arts Center All Media 2014 Exhibit +

    On one of the last days of my Hungary vacation I received an email that made me jump up and down. This is how it started: "Dear Gizella,

    CONGRATULATIONS! Your Entry Little Corona del Mar, has been selected to exhibit in the Irvine Fine Arts Center's All Media 2014 juried exhibition."

    Little Corona del Mar ready for exhibit

    I am so excited to be part of a local gallery exhibition! I have the printed and framed artwork ready to be delivered to

    Read More
  • My Image is Featured in a Hungarian Newspaper +

    One of my images I took during my Hungary vacation in the summer is featured in the Kőszeg és vidéke (City of Koszeg and its surroundings) monthly periodical's August issue. The picture is of the newly renovated Jurisics Square in Koszeg.
    Jurisics Square in Koszeg, Hungary image featured in town's newspaper
    Jurisics Square in Koszeg, Hungary image featured in town's newspaper
    Read More
  • The Legacy Project Workshops Series 2014 +

    Raider Country Hangar at the former El Toro Air Base
    Raider Country Hangar at the former El Toro Air Base
    In the spring of 2013 I heard about a photography workshop series lead by the The Legacy Project team at the OC Great Parks. I was able to attend two of the 5 classes, and a couple of my images were included in the gallery exhibit entitled A Different Point of View . ( Post about last year's event .) A few weeks ago I found out that Read More
  • Reflections© 101 - Raising Awareness, Advertising +

    Summer flyer 2014-15 In the first Reflections© 101 post I talked about the suggested steps for a successful program. I am in the process of completing the first two steps I mentioned there:
    • Organize a team of volunteers
    • Advertise, promote the program at your school – start before the school year ends, so that the children can think about the theme, or even start working on their art work during the summer break.
    Having had done the programs once Read More
  • What's Going on in our Backyard? +

        Flowergarden May 14 As we are approaching the end of May, eight months after establishing our backyard I am having a lot of fun watching and smelling the wonderful flowers blooming in the flower garden. After the first winter 🙂 mostly everything is doing well. The only part that failed miserably is the raised box vegetable garden. Since nothing grew well in it I suspect, that there was a big problem with the soil. We still harvested Read More
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