Interview With Photographer/ Guest Blogger Cindy Knoke

Cindy Knoke has traveled the world, to the most unusual off the beaten path places you can imagine. Her photography is a window to the world. I ask Cindy a few questions to learn her photography background and how she plans for her extraordinary trips.

At what age did you pick up your first camera? Did the world look different thru the lens?

My first camera was a silly Swinger Polaroid camera which I got at around age 6. It had a jingle associated with it which I loved and remember verbatim today, “Meet the Swinger. Polaroid Swinger. Only 19 dollars and 95! Swing it up. It says Yes! Take the shot. Rip it off.” This was the essence of my photographic knowledge!! Laughing……. Here’s the jingle starring Ali McGraw:

I had family members growing up who were talented photographers but I never even thought to be one of them and never had any cameras. In adulthood, my husband, Jim, was our photographer and had good cameras. I used to buy those throw away cheap plastic cameras at drugstores for trips since I liked taking different photos than he did.

When we retired, we started dedicated chunks of travel time. Jim looked at my photos from the cheap camera, compared them to his, said, that I had something “special,” and gave me his camera a Canon, and showed me the basics on how to work it. That was my introduction to photography and it has been a serious joy in my life ever since. Jim is the person who encouraged and guided me to it for which I remain very grateful. He still encourages me to this day. I am not a trained photographer by any means, definitely self-taught and a hobbyist, not a professional.

What type of camera and software do you use now? 

I use two cameras a Sony HX400 and a Sony RX10 V. I use the 400 the most due to its variable zoom up to 1200mm equivalent. I also have a Sony underwater camera which I hope will have a chance to use during our upcoming trip to the Cook Islands.

What software package do you use for editing?

I use Sony Play Memories Home and Windows Photos.

You travel extensively, how do you plan for each trip?
Jim and I discuss, propose, and agree on where we want to go. We use the internet to do all the research and planning.I propose an itinerary and Jim tweaks it.  We devise the modes of transport together although Jim takes the principle role here. I book the accommodations and Jim books the transport. Half of the fun we have in traveling is in the planning. When we are not traveling, we are planning!

How do you get access to the amazing Cathedral’s and the intricacies of others visited? 

We use the internet extensively. We research online before we go, and while we are traveling. Whilst traveling research for each specific locale is key to finding unusual places.  Blogs are excellent travel resources leading us to interesting out of the way places.  Travel is so much more fun when you plan a trip according to your particular interests, and internet resources allow everyone to do this!

Thank you, bloggers!! Your posts improve my travel, and my life too, of course! Bloggers Rock!



You can’t miss Cindy’s blog  You won’t forget the great places she’s been.

Have a great day,


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Gallery Travels Art Institute Chicago

Right on Michigan Avenue a short walk from the water you will find a small but mighty museum in the Art Institute Chicago. I had the privilege of spending a day taking in the museum at a lazy pace.

Here are some of the highlights of the museum’s history along with some of my favorites pieces of work. 

Located in downtown Chicago, the Art Institute is one of the world’s great art museums, housing a collection that spans centuries and the globe.

The Art Institute of Chicago collects, preserves, and interprets works of art of the highest quality, representing the world’s diverse artistic traditions, for the inspiration and education of the public and in accordance with our profession’s highest ethical standards and practices.

The Art Institute of Chicago was founded as both a museum and school for the fine arts in 1879, a critical era in the history of Chicago as civic energies were devoted to rebuilding the metropolis that had been destroyed by the Great Fire of 1871. The Art Institute found its permanent home in 1893, when it moved into a building constructed on what is recognized today as the traditional homelands of the Council of Three Fires—the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi peoples. Built jointly with the city of Chicago for the World’s Columbian Exposition at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Adams Street, that building—its entry flanked by the two famous bronze lions—remains the “front door” of the museum even today.

In keeping with the academic origins of the institution, a research library was constructed in 1901; eight major expansions for gallery and administrative space have followed, with the latest being the Modern Wing, which opened in 2009. The permanent collection has grown from plaster casts to nearly 300,000 works of art in fields ranging from Chinese bronzes to contemporary design and from textiles to installation art. Together, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the museum of the Art Institute of Chicago are now internationally recognized as two of the leading fine-arts institutions in the United States.



There so many masterpieces here it’s hard to narrow down my favorites but here are a few.

Painting of a pond seen up close spotted with thickly painted pink and white water lilies and a shadow across the top third of the picture.Water Lilies, 1906Claude Monet

Painting of woman in a striped dress seated on the bank of a river, beneath a full, leafy tree, a boat at the shore and a village visible across the river.On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt, 1868Claude Monet

A crashing wave looms over two small ships, Mount Fuji in the background.Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura), also known as The Great Wave, from the series “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjurokkei)”, 1830/33Katsushika Hokusai

White Shell with Red, 1938Georgia O’Keeffe

Painting of the Virgin Mary ascending to heaven amongst multitude of angels.The Assumption of the Virgin, 1577–79Domenico Theotokópoulos, called El Greco


The photos of the artwork weren’t working well so please click on the links to view these great pieces. 

I would highly recommend a trip to Chicago to see the museum, take in all the great food, architecture, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum. There are also some beautiful cathedrals to attend.

Happy Travels