Oct 21, 2014

The Tunnel of Love

I got inspired today by my father commenting on this picture that we have been visiting the Tunnel of Love as they seem to call this tram line due to the fabulous fall colors and the straight rails full of brown leaves.

Yeah, we have visited it. But, in fact, Camelia and myself, are living in it!

Oct 15, 2014

Love is an Addiction

"That's not love, that's oxytocin" It's a colorful line of a husband catching his wife in bed with another man in Sarah Ruhl's, Stage Kiss, theater play. While I did not made it yet to New York to see this 2014 late success, I found this paragraph in a fascinating book I read in the past months.

Few months ago, when in London, Camelia was training herself into flowers and I was wandering between bookshelves, sunny streets and my own ghosts. In the turmoil of thoughts, shadows and restless search for answers, I got myself attracted on the neuroscience library section, my late interest, by this title: "THE CHEMISTRY BETWEEN US. Love, sex and the science of attraction"

It took me a few plane trips to finish it (lately I get to read only on planes) but I devoured it and read second time the most of it. Half of it is too technical and too much about lab rats experiments, animal studies and testing. Even the former engineer in me got overwhelmed at some point about the data. But the rest it's fabulous.

"Love is an addiction. Not in the poetic, metaphorical way, but a real one. Love it is just chemicals stimulating neural activity on well defined neural circuits, and not meany to elevate us in some kind of a higher spiritual plane, but to lure us unthinkingly into reproduction, thus maximizing our evolutionary fitness. It is all so base"

" ... the brain processes activated during sexual bliss, and during the development of fetishes and partner preferences, have tremendous overlap with the brain circuit that makes drug use fell so good. They both relies on the same structures, the same neuro-chemicals and create the same changes in the brain ..."

Got you interested? The room for debate is huge. With or without scientific arguments everyone has his own views about love and its importance in our lives. We do love. We need to love. We want to love. Or we just LOVE. Deeply, madly, passionately love sometimes. How can this be trivialized and reduced just to some neurons and the juice flowing between them?

Larry Young and Brian Alexander explain that.

"We can know exactly how love, desire and gender work in our brains, yet we'll still invent meaning to go alone with that knowledge. We'll still celebrating the feelings and the thrills, as well as lament the sadness.

Now we have a chance to be more wilful and more conscious of what we are doing. We have the opportunity to end uniformed prejudice, to appreciate the power of the love mechanism and to try to guard against heedlessness. Like those who don’t believe in God, or in a life after death, yet who construct ethical lives and find meaning despite the conviction there is no supreme being waiting for them ..."

Me, I chose love. I chose to believe that love exists. I chose to live and fight for my love. For my wife, for my family, for my life. Yet, I know the guys are right. I know that sometimes drugs and addiction might flow onto the same brain circuits and inhibit any other flows wanting to pass in the same time. Reading this book helped me, once more, to understand that sometimes nature can be defeated, but only by the awakened, informed and self controlled human being.

Write me if interested to read it, I will happily lend it to you. Or try Amazon.

Oct 13, 2014

Quick Detox Report

After traveling in 5 countries last week and with work demanding the most of me these days, I just drop by to tell you that while I am still fat (well, according to my standards), everything else is going great.

Give your life's 100% of your soul and mind and she will smile and embrace you fully.

Life is fabulous. Some pictures from the it's past 10 days.

Sep 22, 2014

Your Detox Fall

I got fat. About 2 kilos. On top of my other extra 3 kilos my belly carried for more than 10 years (just realized that when looking retrospectively to my photo archive).

Five years ago, I had a heart attack. I can't allow myself being fat.

I got toxic. Especially in my brain. I got blinded of my own ghosts. I was on the brink of loosing everything. Which I can't allow.

And then, and only then, I realized I am my own toxin and fat supplier and had to change.

It is very fashionable to do this detox thing especially among ladies right? Vegetables, sport no stress. Simple? Not quite. But try and to do the detox cure when it comes to your brain. To your habits. To your anxieties. To your demons.

Raise your head, climb the ladder and reach for the light. Do your detox.

My detoxification menu this fall.

Start going to gym. Checked
Pursue dreams. Checked (had the IELTS again)
Build your plans. Checked (will keep posted on progress)
Show more of your love to the family. In progressReduce noise. Checked (dropped the ipad, got the Kindle back)
Follow your passions. In progress
Reduce toxins. Checked (can't tell details)
Work happy. Checked (just got, officially, shareholder in the flower business)
Laugh more. Smile a lot. In progress

Sep 11, 2014

Good about today. And always

Did not had much time to write these days, we were busy traveling to and from but mostly having fun at Legoland where we celebrated Radu's sixth birthday.

No need to write it down to know what makes me happy today. Or any other day.

Just to remember who is kissing & holding me when leaving to work and jumps into my arms when returning home.

Sep 5, 2014

Counting your life blessings

Margitzighet, July 2014
The challenge continues!

The thing about counting the positives in your every day is that when you done it regularly, you just realize they are so many that at some point they become common thing, commodities. Our brain is used to go on the same paths and ignore them just because are there, familiars and safe.

Sometimes you need a big storm in your life to realize that nothing is granted and one needs to fight for the familiar. To fuel it, to maintain it, to constantly bring in his soul, mind, hands, sweat and heart to keep going it.

So, when the storms come, obviously the mind storm, one good thing you can do is to count your blessing in your life.  Depending on your values in life you may count your car, your home, your watches, your social achievements, your professional success stories.

However the real blessings in your life are the ones which stood by you even when the storm came and you just forgot about them.

Coming back of the good things happened in a day, I mention only one: My beloved wife and kids made it to Budapest again. Next stop: Legoland! Adventure starts soon.

Sep 3, 2014

Felling High

Observation Point, Zion National Park, 2010
Challenge day #2

Isn't it amazing how many things can happen in a day? And how many of them are really positive when you are able to pull off your negativism curtain blocking your eyes?

Today was a good day in so many ways. Not only because my family took the night train bringing them to Budapest for our new adventure trip. Not only because I self indulged myself with a double pair of Ecco shoes (heavily reduced:)), not only only because of the surprise evening visit of a dear friend passing through Budapest.

But this was such a good day for some huge news received I would not dare to tell you about today. Because I still have to work, I still have to earn it. 

Wish me luck and ask me again in one month. 

And you, how positive was your day today?

How many times can someone reborn?

Prague 2004

Apparently, every 5 years, at least in my case.

15 years ago I married with Camelia and, God, you wouldn't have wished to know me before :)

10 years ago, I was reborn as a traveler after we started our traditional Oct 24th wedding anniversary yearly trip. It was Prague 2004, USA 2005 (only me :)), Rome 2006, London 2007, USA 2008 (again me alone, Radu was just born), Andalusia 2009, USA 2010, Extremadura 2011, Lisbon 2012, Porto 2013. 2014 is under planning phase :)

5 years ago I had a heart attack, actually two of them. I was 38. Reborn by default.

This year, life and troubles made me reborn again.

Five years from now, my daughter will be 18 and I will be 48. A good moment to enjoy life & maturity.

See you then!

Sep 2, 2014

Good things challenge

Isola Bella, Laggo Magiore, Italy, 2009

I've been challenged yesterday. No, not to the ubiquitous, meaningless ice bucket challenge. But to write here on this blog about good things happened to me in a day.

Hmm, quite simple when you read it. So, after thinking all day about what I should write tonight, here I am, trying to fill in this empty computer window with some positive thoughts about what happened today.

Why it has to be so damn hard? Probably because of my overall negative emotional potential these days but still, objectively, anybody can fill some positives about a day. Any day.

Do you have such moments?

Should I try the method of my old companion? You lay down in the bed, at the end of the day, and you play in your mind the moments of the day, what you did, what you felt, good or bad, without judging yourself.

Judging yourself. The main inhibitor, the biggest saboteur of one self. The little worm inside your brain keeping you being harsh on yourself. You are not good enough, you are not smart, you are not good looking, you are not slim, you are not worthy, you are nothing, you are dirt.

BUT. Self judgment left aside, it was a good day.

I woke up by smiling on my wife on messenger, I enjoyed my cereals like any given Hungarian morning, I had a very productive morning at work, I got an strawberry and chocolate ice cream, I had lunch (wow), I skyped with my little kids home, I completed three IELTS tests on reading and had excellent results, I had a warm bath in the hotel's spa and I will probably finish the evening talking to my wife again while deciding upon our next vacation.

Not bad, I would say, for a day in which you feel low and depressed about it. 

Did I mentioned something about saboteurs? Well, forget about them. They are only bad chemicals in your brain circuits. You are better than that, much better

You don't believe it? Take this challenge then. 

A demain!

Aug 12, 2014

The day when relevance was lost

It doesn't really matter what is perfect and what is not. It doesn't really matter if it is not perfect. It doesn't have to be perfect and the search for perfection might be just your alibi in order not to face yourself. 

It is just beautiful. It always has been.

Aug 7, 2014

Wasted time

So much wasted time trying to understand the clearest things, so much wasted time trying to explain the simplest thing, some much wasted time trying to win futile fights. And so much pain. Sometimes life looks like this. You just have to look through the right eye.

Jul 28, 2014

7 UP[LOAD]. Week 30

Budapest 2014
Why I like it best? Because I worked a lot for it and it was no accident, I got exactly what I was looking for when planning this evening out for photos.

It was a gloomy day with a lot of showers. Towards the afternoon the sky was turning into an interesting mixture of clouds with some promising set up for sunset. After 4 months in Budapest I got to understand the light of the evening about 4 PM afternoon :) So I left work, run for the hotel, took my bike, mount my photo bag on it and ride for the Pest side of the city towards the Chain Bridge. I snapped  some interesting images taking advantage of the evening light coming in and out from the clouds and then I run (literally) towards the Parliament shore where people are ussually walking at leisure pace.

If found his piece of water gathered from the rain before and notice the sunset reflections. It was in a narrow place in which you had two options. Either you climb a step right before the water, either you go around it on a small path in between the water puddle and the Danube shore. I strategiccally sat myself on the grass occuping the small step so the only possible way was in between me, the water puddle and the sunset. 

I set up the camera with some self portraits, used my photo bag as I tripod, focused manually, left the camera next to my foot and then I rest as any other tourist watching the sunset. Some dozens of people passed before me, some of them annoyed as the road I left was a bit uncomfortable. I clicked and clicked my shutter like 30 times. When this young girl passed before me, I knew I had my picture.

They say Budapest has fabulous nightlife you know? I think I got a piece of it :)

Canon 5D Mark III, 24/1.4, F16, S125, ISO 800, under exposed 1 stop, post processed in Gooogle Snapseed 

Jul 26, 2014

Stay high not low. A drink on top of Vienna

Yesterday I traveled to Vienna back and forth from Budapest. I traveled 6 hours back and forth to attend the welcoming home party for a friend returning home from one year of study in USA. She held this very relaxed event in an amazing place, a small vineyard on the hills on the north part of Vienna. 

The place was amazing. Remote, but still in the city, obviously in one of the most affluent part of it, hills, nice houses, some vineyards, with small terraces serving wines and snacks. And the view from the top.

But what I liked most was the company and the people I met. While I was very glad to meet my former colleagues and meet their family, I found myself in the middle of Vienna finest people, relaxed, smiling, welcoming, cosmopolitan and very interesting to talk to.

I was the only non-Austrian at the table but they were most welcoming and open to hear about me, being a Romanian, working in Budapest, passing through adventure of working in Epamedia, same as Ulli and Beate.

Every one at the table was mesmerized by the view on top of the city in the warm summer afternoon light. A very funny and witty elder man joked with me about how nice is to be up there and see everything and everybody from top. Catching his idea I continued this parabola saying the everybody from down there looks up and wants to come here.

As we went through the day and evening approached we discussed inevitable about Romania's situation, our struggles and issues with lack of confidence in its future. About the fact that people like me are not feeling fit anymore in the sea of mud we navigate sometimes and the lack of perspectives for changing this in a better medium to raise the kids.

Later on, the light turned mild so I went with my camera and took some pictures of the charming surroundings and we had some more talk. At some point the elder man had to leave and as he was shaking my hand he pointed his finger towards the city below us and said to me while making a funny face: "Stay up here, don't go down there"

I wish, but how?

Jul 21, 2014

7 UP[LOAD]. Week 29

Bucharest 2014
Last week best image comes from Parcul Copilului, a place we see in average 10-20 times per year. Why I like it best? Firstly because it was made by Radu! Secondly because it picture what Camelia and me came to love and do that much over the years. Running after light and playing with it in postures without inhbition, enjoying life and each other as well as playing with our kids. And last but not least,  I just love that meter from the park minutes before 8:00 PM. I know what light will bring and how to play with it.

Canon 5D Mark III, 135/2, F2, S 400, underexposed 2 stops

Jul 18, 2014


Rest in Peace to all lost souls of MH 17. 

I think this world is sick and nobody is safe anymore. 


The Daily Magic Light. July 18

Mariposa Grove, California, 2011

Jul 17, 2014

The Daily Magic Light. July 17

Lower Yosemite Falls, California, 2013

Last year, Cami and I we had a marvelous photo trip in Califormia for 10 days, wandering from Los Angeles to Yosemite and shooting in some great places like Moro Bay, Moonstone Beach, or Julia Pffeifer Beach. The last 3 days we spend in Yosemite next to Dave Wyman, a great photo tour guide and a great person I have met one year before in my unforgettable trip to Yellowstone.

It was my second time in Yosemite after my trip with Runa in 2011, but Dave managed to show it to us differently. For example this magical rainbow forming on the lower part of Yosemite Falls but only if you reach there before 9:00 AM :) I was so excited about the light, that I did anything to get closer, climbing some slippery rocks, totally unprepared and without securing my cameras in the rush of finding the perfect angle. So, I slipped from a rock and my camera fell from my shoulder hitting a rock with my bloody expensive 24-70 / 2.8 L lens. To my luck, it was still functioning in manual so I was able to catch this image and fix it when back in Bucharest.

Canon 5D Mark III, 24-70/2.8, F11, S 200, ISO 200

Hating to Love (me on) Facebook

Tarsago Budapest office, 2014
The title was not my idea, I recently read an article in NY Times when traveling from Antalya to Budapest (how cool is that for a globalization example :)). Hating to Love Facebook was presenting the situation of Europeans which are constantly and publicly rioting against big American tech firms like Facebook and Google while being among the most active and loyal users with a usage share much higher than Americans.

It is very fashionable to write against Facebook these days and about how (negatively) affected and transformed our lives. Some of them are very right and I fully agree. However, as for many other things in life, there is the matter of free will. If I don't like it while am I still using it?

Hence the title of this post, it is not about hating or loving Facebook, it is about hating or loving the effect is has on me. While Facebook is a global wave which changed our media, social and individual behavior in a terrible way within a short period, it's up to any of us to understand how it affects us and adapt.

This is why I love me using Facebook:

1. Because it gives me access to a wide audience when I have something to say
2. Because I have retrieved old friends and colleges and I am keep doing it
3. Because I save money on phone communications
4. Because I can talk to people around the world easy
5. Because I can follow photographic work and news easy
6. Because I can't ignore it in my work and profession
7. Because I can get the news faster but not the whole news portal mess
8. Because I can rely on some people to feed me with interesting stuff
9. Because I understand or find out things about people otherwise impossible
10. Because it makes me look sometimes different than I feel :D

This is why I hate me using Facebook:

1. Because I spend too much time on it
2. Because my wife spends too much time on it
3. Because we show point 1 and 2 above to our kids constantly
4. Because I take the likes as appreciation for my photo work. Since I started posting my images in my blog, the number of "likes" decreased 10 times!  It makes me lazy and sufficient in exhibiting my photo work
5. Because I read less :(
6. Because it makes me superficial in reading
7. Because  it is the least secure and safe communication method
8. Because I accepted everybody on my wall
9. Because it provokes me to exhibit myself in an unnecessary degree
10. Because it kills my human communication skills. Try and meet a FB friend in person and speak the in the same FB-ish style with him.

How about you, do you love or hate yourself using it?

Click on Bullshit

I have included in all my posts this rating buttons. Obviously, I am very glad when someone takes the time and click on it. You might like it or dislike it it is important for me to know. Therefore, when someone it's clicking the bullshit button, I would really love to understand. I got 3 bullshit rating in the last days on this, this and this images. 

Dear bullshit button clicker, I am not unhappy or mad, I would just love to understand why. Can you you explain it to me in a comment? Anonymously if you want. Thank you

Jul 16, 2014

The Daily Magic Light. July 16

Porto, 2013
We took a 4 days holiday in Porto last fall a destination we long time dreamed to see in Portugal, our beloved country. Our first day turned to be a cloudy and then rainy one and we had to stay indoor. However, towards the end of the day the rain stopped and we went out to see the Atlantic ocean, we were just missing it. So we went out and stayed late, late than almost everybody, taking pictures of the rushed water onto the concrete pier. And then, just when we lost hope to see the light again, the whole sky turn red and God, once again, awarded us with a magic light. The wet pier reflected this light and all the atmosphere became surreal.

Canon 5D Mark III, 24/1.4, F8, S100, ISO 400

Jul 15, 2014

Happy Birthday, Fellow Photographer. Bogdan Comanescu

Rosia Montana, 2014
In the beginning of this year I went to Rosia Montana, joining one of Sorin's workshops in Marea Hoinareala. "The Great Wandering" is a photo tour business going everywhere in Romania exploring its unspoiled villages, traditions, inhabitants and nature wanders. I knew about Sorin work but I had the surprise to discover Bogdan.  He is both a great photographer and a wonderful companion with an unique ability to approach villagers, unknown people, open their hearts and souls and get them interested in being photographed. He is also a great organizer and providing valuable advice to all level of photography expertise. You might find out more about his work here and here. Happy Birthday Bogdan, my fellow photographer.

Image taken together with Bogdan above the hills of Rosia Montana after one hell of attempt to climb the hill on ice and snow.

Canon 5D Mark III, 24/1.4, F22, S200, ISO 800

The Daily Magic Light. July 15

Mihailesti, 2013

One year ago, we took a balloon flight for the first time in our life. Camelia has awarded this ride as a birthday present for my brother, his wife and for me. We took off just before sunset from 30 km from Bucharest and we flew for 20 min around 800-1000 m altitude, just to land pretty bumpy on a corn field after we avoided some high voltage lines. It was a magic experience, full of adrenaline and enchantment. I made a lot of pictures but this one is my dearest. As I was looking mainly in the direction were the air was pushing us, I turned my head into the sun just to see a glimpse of it's reflection in the river down below. I managed to set up my camera within two seconds and shot this before our balloon position to change.

Canon 5D Mark III, 24-70/2.8, F 22, S125, ISO 200, underexposed 2 stops for the star to come out, post processed in Camera Raw to darken the sky

7 UP[LOAD]. Week 28

IOR Park, 2014

The best of the past week comes from Bucharest, IOR Park in our mid day visit together with Radu and Mara.

Why I like it best? In a city rather cluttered and chaotic, I managed to find, in fact my kids did, this geometric regulated pattern, empty in a sunny day and captured the joy and the energy of my boy running along its lines.

Canon 5D Mark III, 135 / 2, F5.6, S 200, ISO 200

Jul 12, 2014

The Daily Magic Light. July 12. Short Evening Story

Mara's evening ride in our neighborhood

About how packing your luggage might get you a high IELTS score

Budapest, any given Friday morning

I am learning for my IELTS examination next week. Did I tell you, we are thinking of Australia? No, some other time maybe.

Anyway, subject is simple, in the Speaking band: "Talk a bout a daily routine". Time 5-6 minutes

Oh, really? OK, Let's take Thursdays evening.

"So, it is Thursday evening again and next day I am leaving home for the weekend to see my family. This is because I work in Budapest during the week, starting April 1st and in the weekends I go home, back to Bucharest. Sometimes, I work a week from Bucharest office also. I live in a hotel, life is easier and solution cheaper. I have also my own car with me in Budapest. So I have to pack my luggage as next day I check out from my room, go to the office, work half a day, take a taxi or my car, reach the airport and fly home. Stay for the weekend, have fun, Sunday evening pack again and fly back to Budapest Monday morning, going to the office straight from the work"

Simple, isn't it? But

"I have my suits, usually 2. And use about 6-7 shirts a week. Which needs to be transported and ironed. So, I use 3-4 suits plastic bags. And wire hangers. So making a decision every week about which suit to you take home, wearing it on the airplane, which one you leave here, which one goes to the cleaning. Same for the shirts. So, again, one plastic bag for the shirts leaving here. Here where? Right. Can I leave them in the car? Yeah, why not. Oh boy, I forgot, I have this event I need to attend when coming back so the car should be clean and empty waiting me at the airport. Or this is next week? OK, So one plastic bag for here, one for taking home. I have 3 shirts which looks decent, I will have to iron them anyway again, so it can stay here. Another plastic bag goes to the cleaning so I need to remember to take it out of the car when I arrive the garage and take it up into the office. Where should I put this one, all 3 are looking the same, God these shirts are heavy and the wire hangers hurt. OK, suits ready. What clothes do I have to take home? I have this backpack with roller, I don't want to carry too much. And I have to take back the mountain sport shoes, are futile now in the summer. And the bottle of wine. And the big bottle with sulfurous water Runa wants for her skin. What is this pack? Oh, God, I forgot, I have 8 boxes of powder child milk I carry for a friend every month. OK, let's leave back the mountain shoes here, some other time maybe. So what's staying here? I have the red suitcase it should be enough space. OK, throw everything else there. Tshirts, jeans, sport clothes, books, medicines, toiletries . Oh no, I can't put there my tooth shower, it is sensitive. So find a paper bag and leave toiletries out. Shoes, I have to many of those, slippers, pool slippers., remaining underwear and socks for next week. Good point how many do I have left? Open up, count, note, put it back. Computer, yeah, I have my own I keep with me in the hotel, to avoid carrying the office one. All other gear goes in the office bag. So, another computer to carry if I work from Bucharest next week. Power cables. Where should I put the computer's bulky power cable? Back pack. OK, what else? Oh no, the photo camera. Separate bag :( I am reaaaady! One last glance. Oh God, the pillows. Did I mentioned I bought 2 pillows from Ikea this week? 3 months fro my start  I decided I had enough struggle trying to sleep on the hotel's ones. How should I pack the pillows? Ah, the hotel has one spare pillow with a big plastic bag so I take that one :D. Now I am ready. I can go to sleep. But were is my pajama? Packed, of course. I open the suitcase take the pajama go to sleep. Next morning calling the bellboy. he's looking at me awkwardly. Justified I guess. I have: 3 suits plastic bag with approx 10 hangers, one reg big heavy suitcase, one absolutely packed heavy back pack on rolls. It is trolley though. One brown paper back with toiletries , One leather office back, heavy as hell carrying the computer, one photo bag with one heavy DSLR and two lenses. And one transparent plastic bag with 2 pillows. He carries everything down and I pull the car in front. Open the trunk. Only then the bellboy snaps ...."

Did I mention I have a bicycle permanently in my car?

I have written this in approx 30 min, you might have read it in 5. I don't know if this is a good enough response for a IELTS test, but we will see soon.

Am I complaining? Not really because in reality, after 3 months, my brain has developed its neural pathways, and I am not really thinking too much of it. I am just doing it