I have recently moved to the University of Kentucky. The entire region has been rubber banding back and forth between spring and snow. (As I write this in early April we are due for another 1-3″ of snow Friday night.) It is nothing on the scale of central PA, but then again, they aren’t used to having much of any snow. A few weeks ago, walking in to my office, the snow was beautiful and I had, as always, my iPhone X on hand. These are a few snaps.
Today, in an effort to escape the 100º heat in Freiburg we drove up to Schluchsee, a beautiful lake in the Schwarzwald. What I did not expect was the Pfarrkirche St. Nikolaus. From the outside it appears a fairly traditional looking church, with a large wooden structure. The first hint of something different is the sculpture out front, “Kinderreigen.” It is four children holding hands going around a mitre and staff. The sanctuary itself is a gorgeous work of modern sacred art.
Now while I love modern architecture and like a lot of modern art and I have seen some of the most amazing modern sacred art rarely have I ever seen it work in a church or worship space. Usually it is too brutal and chilling, rather than inviting and affirming as I believe a place of worship should be. This church was very different. So far as I could tell almost all (if not all?) the work was done by Helmut Lutz, a native Freiburger, who did der Kreuzweg, the “Stations of the Cross.” I was only able to capture a few of them with anything like the power and energy of the originals. He clearly also did the altar pieces and even the chairs for the ministers.
While there I also lit a candle for Mack.
It was a beautiful, quiet and reflective space, made all the more meaningful due to the unique Kruezweg. If we had a car longer I would go back again.
The Normandie Hotel was clearly a gorgeous hotel in its heyday. Built in 1945 it has been closed for years. The toothless-man working the parking lot told me that it was being renovated. A quick look on the internet told me that this has been the case since it closed.
I love art deco and it there is a special kind of beauty to it in decay. B&W seems to bring that it in certain frames.
We spent a lovely week in Vienna (Austria, not Virginia, although we left from Dulles). It is quite literally a monumental city. Statues and sculptures are everywhere. The weather was nice, but not great, often with solid, but bright, clouds. Great for portrait photography, not so great for landscape and architectural shots (depending upon what you are looking for in the later, of course). With all the white marble it occurred to me that B&W might just be the trick. From then on I looked for shots that I thought would benefit from this treatment.
I shot in RAW, did some tweaking in color before using Ponzanelli’s B&W Aperture presets.
Our son Mack is buried in this beautiful and historic cemetery. Many of the graves go back to the 18th century and is concerned by many to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. (The picture of the “three widows” commemorates that original, impromptu Civil War remembrance.) We chose this cemetery because on one side of it are soccer fields where he would play and on the other is the Military Museum where we would often go to see the visiting soldiers and their military vehicles.
Word came to us this afternoon that some person(s) desecrated over 50 graves last night, topping over and breaking headstones and markers. We went out to check on Mack’s grave (it was fine, albeit with a fair helping of bird poo) and while there I wanted to document some of the damage. This is, as a friend of mine would say, evidence of the depravity of humans. Such actions are despicable and deplorable. All this creation is holy, but when some portion is given over to the internment and memorial of those who have died it is to be referred, honored, and respected regardless of religion, tradition, or community.
I had the great good fortune to travel to Moscow for a few days. I wasn’t really sure about safety and I wanted to travel relatively light so I took my “travel kit,” a Nikon D3100 and Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3. This is a small a light combo with decent range and aperture.
The city center turned out to be far safer than my wife expected, but she had last been there in 1992. The early 90s were not a great time. It was an interesting time to be there, however, since Russia has recently “acquired” Crimea and I was actually in the room with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that he believed the US and the EU were trying to bring about another “color revolution.”
I have had the good fortune of being able to spend this month with my family in Freiburg, Germany to do research and write. Of course I have my camera with me as well. We have done and will do a bit of travel as well. So here are a first few just from Freiburg. (I have posted images from this beautiful town a few times before.)
This past week I was in Europe, in Germany and the Netherlands. Thursday I was stuck inside all day due to rain, but after dinner the rain let up and I went out with my camera and the very nice (and relatively inexpensive) Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX II Lens. This is about half the price ($495) of the Nikon equivalent and is a solid, great performing lens. The challenge I set for myself was to just use this lens, no switching, forcing me to think in wide angle terms. The f4 setting let in a fair amount of light and the D7000 range resulted in (I think) decent photos.