Across the world, refugees are streaming across borders from war-torn, crime-laden, and economic-deprived conditions. They are just looking for somewhere to live where they can earn a simple living free from fear and oppression.
Walking through St. Peter’s Basilica square in the Vatican, I gazed at this new (2019) monument created by Timothy P. Schmalz. The sad staring eyes of this one woman captured my attention. I couldn’t break away. I felt like she was seeking my help.
We live in an area that is dependent on migrant workers to harvest our valley’s crops. Without them, our local economy would not survive. We need them as much as they need us. Over time, they have integrated into our communities. We are all better for it!
A beam of light brushed across the head and hand of this unassuming sculpture in St. Peter’s Basilica. The image created by the light jumped out at me. For a short moment, this simple sculpture was the most prominent piece of art in the glorious Basilica.
I’ve looked through hundreds of St. Peter’s Basilica images on-line and haven’t been able to find this sculpture. It just has not captured a photographer’s eye. Be what it may, it is my favorite photograph of our visit to Rome.
It was extremely hard for me to walk through the Vatican Museum. Glorious art surrounded me from all angles; ceilings, wall, floors. I kept stumbling around and running into other touring visitors. “Mi scusi” was my most common phrase. I was glad that I was tall, so I could look over the other tourists. At times when I stopped to create a photo, I felt like I was a lone tower in the middle of a stream of wandering people.
“The David” Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence, Italy
I thought the copy of ‘The David’ standing outside the Uffizi museums was a breath taking sculpture. But then I saw the original at the Accademia. I stood and just stared. I walked up close and stared some more. I walked around the sculpture, stopping every few steps. I looked from every angle. I walked around to the front and stared more. I stepped back and just admired the great piece of art. I then raised my camera and realized that there was no way that I could create an image that represented the feeling that ‘The David’ invoked upon me. The above image is the closest that I came. I wish I could better describe what I felt.
“Tindaro Screpolato by sculptor Igor Mitoraj” Boboli Gardens, Florence, Italy
Commonly known as the ‘Giant Head’ the Tinder Screpolato was a huge contrast to the other Renaissance sculptures in the Medici’s Boboli Gardens in Florence. After a long morning walk through residential Florence we ended up at the Medeci Palace and the attached Boboli Gardens. It was hot, 90 degrees plus, and our water bottles were empty. We walked up the garden hill to a large grass lawn and saw this giant head. We stopped looked at the sculpture and decided it was a good time to walk back to our hotel and take a nap.
My mind is back in Florence, reminiscing on our recent trip to Italy. Standing near the main stairs leading inside the Duomo, my knees and whole body felt weak under the grandeur of the awe inspiring cathedral facade. It was difficult for me to stand still enough to create a steady image.
Being a small town country boy, I stand back and wonder. It is hard for me to comprehend what it took to create such a wonderful piece of architecture and art: the patrons, the designers, the political battles, the financial resources, the workers, the time it took to build, the people for whom it was built. I imagine and dream, then pause and enjoy the wonderful gift of what was created centuries ago.
This mask was displayed on a window along the street between our hotel and the Rialto bridge. We walked past the window multiple times a day as we set out on our explorations of Venice. Each time, I paused to take a look. It captured my interest each time I walked by.
“Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi Mural by Eduardo Korbra” New York City
I was walking along the Highline in New York on a quiet drizzly morning admiring the wonderful landscape design on the old railroad tracks. I looked up and was stopped dead in my tracks when I saw this huge mural painted on the side of a nearby building. I stood frozen for minutes, just gazing, admiring the art, and contemplating how much these two people have given to the world. In our troubled world today, why can’t we all take a lesson from these two and make it a better place to live.
I have been in the Capitol several times. Each time I enter is a new experience. I don’t know how to explain the feeling that engulfs me. It’s a combination of wonder, awe, respect, excitement, humility, pride, and much more. The above two images were taken looking directly up from near the center of the Capitol Rotunda. I was shivering with awe when I took these images and had a very difficult time trying to be steady enough to get a decent shot.
The Apotheosis of Washington was painted by Constantino Brumidi in 1865. It depicts George Washington rising to the heavens in glory. The fresco is 180 feet above the Rotunda floor.
‘Washington, Liberty, and Victory/Fame’
George Washington is flanked by two female figures representing Liberty and Victory/Fame. Thirteen maidens, symbolizing the 13 original states, surround the three main figures. Six groups of figures are painted around Washington, Liberty, Victory/Fame, and the thirteen maidens. These represent war, science, marine, commerce, mechanics, and agriculture.
‘War’ is depicted by Armed Freedom and Eagle defeating Tyranny and Kingly Power.
“Astronomy Grotesque” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
Astronomy is a topic that I have always been interested. During my years at the University as an engineering student, I did not have much of an opportunity to take elective classes outside of engineering-related disciplines if I wanted to graduate in 4 years.
I had to wait until I graduated to take a couple of astronomy classes at the University of Washington “Experimental College”. Subsequently I have taken on-line classes through the “Great Courses” to satisfy my curiosity. There is always opportunity to learn something new. Now, I need to learn how to apply a little creative photography to it.
And we are now laying the foundation to a manned landing on Mars!