About Me

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Welcome to the online blog for traveler/writer/photographer Steven Barber. Come in. Relax. Take off your shoes and socks -- or any other article of clothing, this is the internet. Have a look around. I hope to intrigue, amuse, entertain, and maybe provoke you just a little. I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


I have mentioned a few times that California's Napa Valley 
is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. 

I don't believe there are many better things than a short repast with the valley floor at your feet.

And a glass of wine, of course.

Terrace seating at Silverado Vineyards.

Monday, May 30, 2016


Today is an American holiday, Memorial Day. We honor those who have sacrificed their lives on behalf of our great nation.

I come from a Navy family, a badge of honor I wear with pride. Part of that identification is knowing people who yet have never come back from what they accepted as their duty.

If you are an American, please give a moment's thought to our fallen soldiers between your bites of barbecue and sports. Look around at your family and realize if it were not for the Fallen, our lives would be very different.

If you are not American, perhaps give a pause for your own nation's heroes. They, too, deserve a moment.

Sunday, May 29, 2016


What looks like nothing more than a monstrous rock jutting up above the calm Mediterranean is actually the Italian paradise island of Capri as seen from the east side and just off the Amalfi coast at dawn. Our day's plans took us elsewhere, but the early morning encounter with the legendary sialdn was fun.

As I was sitting on board the ship, looking out at Capri as I sipped my first cup of coffee, I recalled a book I'd read in college in which a subplot dealt with a woman - slightly deluded -- hosting a Beverly Hills fundraiser because she'd heard Capri was sinking into the sea. (Something tells me it might have been a Judith Krantz novel, which a friend of mine in college insisted I read.)

In any case, may I present the Isle of Capri as seen from afar.

Friday, May 27, 2016


This technicolor concoction could only come from one place: 


(To be fair to the Peppermill, it looks like they've redesigned and redecorated in the couple of years since I was there to get this shot.)

Pinnacle vodka.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Faulty memory this morning. 

Not sure where this was, save it was somewhere along I-40 in Oklahoma, Texas or New Mexico.

A sad photo, to be sure, but what caught my eye was the name of the restaurant in question: 

Flamekist Steaks. 


Yes, they are.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


"Old age and the passage of time teach all things." -  Sophocles

My first image of the barn, circa 1995-ish?
It doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things, but there are those landmarks we have come to know and expect when we go to a particular destination. It could be as profound as the Empire State Building or as humble as a little red barn alongside the road in the country.

In the country-ish but growing town of Davidsonville, twenty minutes outside Annapolis, Maryland, is a road called Mount Airy. The countryside in this area is lush and green, dotted with private estates and a few remaining farms which are giving way to larger and grander housing developments.

At the corner of Davidsonville Road and Mount Airy sits the U-Pick Farm, where members can harvest their own fruits and vegetables by hand before taking them home for supper.

Just across the street and around the bend from the U Pick sat a wonderful little red-roofed barn, a favorite landmark for my family since my parents moved into the area some 30+ years ago. It was like an old friend welcoming you home, or the last to say goodbye when you left.

I have no idea of the background or even ownership of the barn, save its location along Mt Airy. But it has always been there, always said, to me,  "Country".

And now it is gone. As a result of my posting the image of the barn just a few days ago as a Daily Picture, I have word from my sisters than the wonderful little barn has succumbed to this last winter's intense weather and the general drift of time -- and is now coming down. Safely, it is hoped.

I will miss it, and yet the last time I left my parents' house in Davidsonville I looked at the barn and wondered if, indeed, this would be the last time I would see it. 

So even though it's not the Empire State Building, or the Eiffel Tower, or the Sydney Opera House, the world has lost a tiny little landmark out in the Maryland farmland.

Close-up of the damage
And a sad little bit of me goes with it.

For comparison with two decades of wear

Wear and tear
Back of the barn

As I will always remember it


Four or five times a year I go through the archives and rediscover a bunch of images or settings I'd forgotten. Mostly because my..ahem...focus was on a different element of the shoot. But there are plenty of the "in-between" shots which are worthy of attention, and someday...someday...I will get around to them.

This image -- obviously the Moulin Rouge in Paris -- was one I captured solely on one of my walkabouts. Taken at roughly the same time as Baz Luhrmann's film of the same name was released, this simply caught my eye as I was traipsing around Montmartre.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN, Part 2 - A Photo Essay

In a previous blog post some four years ago I talked about the shooting locations for the movie UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN, a favorite of mine for the way the film uses the location to extraordinary effect: essentially creating a stage against which characters change and the story unfolds, but also as very much a character in and of itself.

Tuscany plays a role in the changes of the central characters, all but a handful of them outsiders in search of a new life and lifestyle. Gentle and caring locals, each of them a character in their own right, introduce their new friends to the Tuscan lifestyle -- an alluring and wonderful way to live which we, as the viewers, can only aspire.

It's a beautiful film, and strongly recommended for anyone who has the Raman blood, the wandering spirit, and the desire to find an oasis in which you could simply discover yourself.

Below are shots from the towns of Cortona and Montepulciano, two settings for the movie.

(If you're a wine aficionado, particularly of reds, Montepulciano d"Abruzzo is one of my favorite wine varietals in the world.)


View from Cortona
Fresh fruit
Gelato on a hot day

The Garlic Bread! Oh, God, the Garlic Bread!!!

Wonderful pastas

Excellent cheese stores




Montepulciano wines


Williamsburg, Virginia

The Governor's "Palace",  from the northern side. in the garden. 

It was a different time...

Monday, May 23, 2016


This old barn has stood alongside a bend in Mount Airy Road for the last thirty-plus years I've been visiting the Annapolis, Maryland area. The tiny town of Davidsonville, to be precise. Regular readers of this column might remember the YOU PICK IT FARM picture I posted a while back -- this is just up the road from that picturesque strawberry patch.

Over those years of visiting family in this region I've photographically documented the ongoing decay of this barn, and hopefully the raw charm of the structure as well.

It now looks likely I will not drive this particular stretch of road again. 

I will miss seeing it...somehow it resonates with my sensibilities.