Der Kreuzweg in Pfarrkirche St. Nikolaus Schluchsee

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, San Juan PR

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.

Puerto Rico 2015

This spring break we took 72(!) students to Puerto Rico as part of our Leadership Academy. Of course it was also an excellent opportunity for photography. I took along my D810, 28-70, 80-200, and 50mm, along with a Nikon J1 with the underwater housing (which, sadly, was lost in a waterfall; I don’t want to talk about it). A few of the images are below.

Red Rocks Canyon

I am traveling through the west coast, starting with Las Vegas. In at least 6 visits I have never so much as pulled the arm of a slot machine. But I have snuck out twice to take pictures at sunrise in the Red Rocks Canyon National Park. Yesterday I had a few hours so I was able to amble among the rocks themselves around Calico 1. Just beautiful and breathtaking. And still not enough time.

I am working from an iPad so these images have no or very little edits to them. Shot with D810 and Nikkor 28-70 f2.8 or Tokina 20-35 f2.8.

Candle Light Service

December 14th was the Worldwide Candle Lighting commemorating children who have died. Since there was not one within close proximity of our location in central PA my wife decided to organize an event on campus. It also happened to coincide with the second anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy; a student of mine shared a few words and read the names of all those whose lives were taken. Since I am in a few of the shots you can tell that I did not take most of these images. My good friend and the father of our son’s best friend took them. Thank you JC3.

Below is a portion of what I shared that evening. In the two short weeks that have elapsed since that night all too many have also left us. We remember each and every one.


When the tragedy of loss of life comes we feel powerless, overcome and overwhelmed. But we still have choices that we can make. And we have all made one, important choice tonight. We have gathered together in love to remember those who have left us too soon. It makes us sad, yes, but let us also find joy in remembering the joy that they brought into our lives. To do any less would be to allow death the final victory. Instead we allow their light to shine in our lives always, not just tonight, but forever. Zichronu livracha. May their memories be for a blessing.

Lam 3:19        The thought of my affliction [is bitter]!
20       My soul continually thinks of it
and is bowed down within me.
21       But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22          The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
23       they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24       “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

We give thanks for having shared in these lives, we pray that we may be good stewards of their memories, and we ask for blessing and peace, comfort and mercy.

May light perpetual shine upon them.

Amen.

 

 

Christmas Ornaments

Every year I take a few shots of our ornaments, trying different things. This year I decided to be very mundane, I simply set up the tripod and tweaked aperture, ISO, and speed. This is the best way to learn, after all. I am still learning, in fact, my way around the D810 and I have to say, its ability to capture so much data, allowing one to pull out almost endless shadows in post, is simply amazing. Here a very few images. When I have time I may set a holiday task of taking a picture of all our favorite ornaments.

The College Cup – The Blue and the Orange

As many know, we are avid supporters of Penn State Men’s Soccer. The goalkeeping program is the recipient of the Mack Brady Fund in memory of our son and I am the “faculty partner.” All of that means I attend most of the games with camera in hand. As of a few weeks ago that camera is now a Nikon D810.

I was in the stands for the second round of NCAA playoffs called the “College Cup” in soccer,  versus Syracuse and I was armed with my Nikkor 300mm f4 (the older version, not the newer version). Even so, I had a fairly good angle. Our lads lost but our keeper Andrew Wolverton had an incredible game, blocking 8 difficult shots. Connor Maloney scored on a PK and for a time quieted the 1500+ strong Orange crowd. Our Bhoys in Blue ended up losing 2-1, but it was a hard fought match and I could not be more proud of this great group of young men. Watch for some of these men to be playing in the MLS! Especially our Mack Brady Keeper, Wolvey.

Penn State Football v. U Md

I was invited by Athletics to be “Guest Coach” for a game and chose Maryland. It was a cold and blustery day, gray with occasional sunshine. An interesting experience for me, to be sure, sitting in on team meetings and meals over Friday and Saturday. Photographically, I borrowed a friend’s D300 with grip in order to get the greater frames per second. The sensor is not as good as the D7000, but I hoped the FPS would outweigh that. And I think it would have if I had been more comfortable with the set up. These shots aren’t too bad, but I lost focus on many, just simple user error. It is great to have that frame rate though!

Fenway Park

Home of the Red Sox. We had the good fortune of a trip to Boston last week and a tour of the Park. Here are a few select shots.

Vienna in Black and White

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.

 

The 77’s in Concert

Every now and then a group that I really care about goes on tour. It is rare, but it happens. Even more rarely I am able to go and see them. Such was the case last Tuesday. I had a chance to take my kit along as well, so I have quite a few shots to share. This was my first time really shooting a concert so I tried a few things. The intimate venue made that easy.

The gallery is below, but to provide some context, below are some notes about the group and my history of following their music.

The 77’s, a group I have followed since the 80s, will be in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and I will be joining them! There is an interview/piece about the (related?) 1989 album 7&7is available here and Tour Dates here. To promote their tour they are releasing a free collection. “77s: The Late Greats ~ 2014 Summer Tour Mix.” You can download it here: http://noisetrade.com/77s/the-late-greats-2014-summer-tour

Their music has remained powerful over the years, both the older albums and their more recent works. I am no good at describing music so I will just tell you that it features great guitar work by Mike Roe, powerful rhythms, and passionate lyrics. The album is free, so just download, ok?

Ever since I first heard it back in 1990, I have considered their song “Don’t This Way” (YouTube, the album version is cleaner) one of the most compelling I have ever heard. Once you listen or read the lyrics below, you will understand why it has been running through my head ever since New Year’s Eve 2012. Mike’s guitar work on this piece is haunting, adding to the grief of the truth to which the words allude.

Imagine
All those years together
As a blackbird with no song to sing
Imagine
Throwing it to the air
But it falls from broken wings

Don’t leave this way, so many words unsaid
Don’t lie this way, stretched straight from
Feet to head

Imagine
The sky is pouring down
On the back of all those years
Imagine
That bird helpless on the ground
Shot down by all those tears

Don’t leave this way, so many words unsaid
Don’t lie this way, stretched straight from
Feet to head
Don’t look this way, closed eyes, unmoving lips
Don’t feel this way, cold hands and fingertips

 

A Belated Happy Camera Day to You!

SnapKnot
Courtesy of: SnapKnot

Translating my thoughts into images.

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