Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I think I may have posted this one before... In honor of the upcoming Halloween festivities, I thought it might be appropriate to show off one of my previous carving attempts from a few years ago.  This is one of Gene Simmons from the band KISS that I took from his solo album cover.  I got the idea for this from those pumpkin carving kits you can buy in any grocery store.  The technique really works!  I just made my own template and this is the result!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tiffany Mosaic

Not too far from Independence Hall in Philadelphia lies the Curtis Publishing Building, just off of Washington Square.  It houses a huge atrium that I have shot in a previous post.  One portion of the building holds what is known as the Dream Garden produced by Tiffany Studios.  It's quite a site to see.  Here's more about it from

"Dream Garden is an enormous glass mosaic designed by artist Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966), and executed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany Studios, for the lobby of the Curtis Publishing Building in Philadelphia — home of the successful magazines The Ladies' Home Journal and The Saturday Evening Post. The work was commissioned by Edward Bok, Senior Editor of the Curtis Publishing Company. Over a one-month period, prior to being installed in the Curtis Building, the work was exhibited at Tiffany Studios in New York City, attracting more than 7,000 admirers and garnering widespread critical acclaim. The Dream Garden took six months to install into its home in Philadelphia.

Multi-talented Maxfield Parrish was known as a "master of make-believe," charming readers with illustrations for children's books and magazine covers. Parrish's method of alternating transparent oil paints with varnish added the illusion of light to his landscapes.

Measuring 15 by 49 feet, Dream Garden was produced by the Tiffany Studios in 1916, using over 100,000 pieces of favrile glass, each hand-fired to achieve perfection in each of the 260 colors. The partnership of Tiffany and Parrish had been called "one of the major artistic collaborations in early 20th Century America."
In truth, the relationship between Maxfield Parrish and Louis Comfort Tiffany was tumultuous, based on a rueful assessment of each other's artistic merit. While Parrish complained that Tiffany's translation of his design lacked subtlety and "painterliness," Tiffany countered that the design sketches were technically vague.
In June of 1998, Dream Garden was sold to casino owner Steve Wynn, who planned to move it to Las Vegas. Philadelphia historians, artists, activitists (notably the Arts Defense League), and press protested the proposed move — and the Pew Charitable Trusts agreed to provide $3.5 million to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in order to purchase the important work. The work is now owned by the Pennsylvania Academy, and is permanently installed in its rightful home in the Curtis Center lobby."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another "Big Dig" Bridge Shot

This is another shot I took of the bridge made famous by Boston's "Big Dig" project.  I'm too lazy to find out what the actual name of it is, so if anyone knows, please let me know in the comments.  Anyway, the "Big Dig" is pretty infamous for it's massive size as well as the massive amount of money it went over-budget.  It is a project Boston took on to make a series of underground tunnels and above ground bridges to help ease traffic congestion in downtown Boston.  Apparently, according to one of our tour guides, the contractor used for the concrete on the project knowingly used bad concrete during the initial build.  Then, it was "discovered" that the contractor got bad concrete and tried to bring in proper concrete, thus making more money for the concrete company.  Well, the authorities got wind of this and apparently the head of that company as well as others associated with this plot are now in jail and the taxpayers are out millions.  I guess the mob is still alive and well.

Hope you like the picture and thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I took this shot on the way back to Hyannis on the ferry from Nantucket Island.  I like looking at sailboats and catamarans.  Maybe it's because my Uncle Bill used to sail them competitively and my Dad also liked them.  Plus, there a lot of them at Nantucket.  Unfortunately when we were there, the season was pretty much over.

I hope you enjoy this shot and thanks for dropping by. (click on the picture for a larger view)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Birth of a Government

While in Philadelphia, we visited Independence Hall.  It served as the US capitol for a few years when the US first formed and it's where our constitution was born.  One side of Independence Hall was the supreme courtroom.  On the other side sat the room where our founding fathers got together and hashed out the US Constitution.  The room you see here is the actual room, but almost everything in it is a replica of the furniture that was there.  There are a couple of things that are authentic and used during the time.  Two of those things were walking sticks that were used by a couple of the representatives and I wish I could remember who they were, but I'm not sure.  I think one of them was from Thomas Jefferson.  However, the thing that I DO remember is that the chair in the center of the room in the very back was the actual one used by George Washington during the Continental Congress and the drafting of the Constitution.  Pretty cool, eh?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wampanoag Long House

I wanted to save this shot for Thanksgiving, but I just couldn't wait.  In Plymouth, MA, there's a recreation of the Pilgrims initial settlement as well as a depiction of how the Native Americans of the Wampanoag tribe that the Pilgrims befriended back in the early 1620s.  This is all shown at the Plimouth Plantation.  Why the spelling is different from the town's name of "Plymouth" is beyond me, but that's a discussion for another day.  In both the Wampanoag and Pilgrim areas of the plantation, there are people actually depicting how they dressed and acted back then.  Of course it was little more pronounced on the Pilgrim side because the language was the King's English.  It would be a little hard for the Wampanoag to explain things in their native tongue to us.  So they spoke normally, but dressed in authentic attire.  Unfortunately, the man here in the wheelchair was unable to get too dressed up, but that did not diminish his explanations or his authenticity in my eyes.

This picture shows the inside of what the Wampanoags call a "long house". It was made exactly how the Wampanoags of the 1600s made them. It's made of cedar posts to hold the structure up and elm bark for the walls and siding.  It's sealed using a combination of pine tar and ash.  That would help keep the rain out.  These structures are so strong that they can withstand a small hurricane.  As a matter of fact, this very structure survived the recent Hurricane Irene with no damage.

The gentleman in the wheelchair in this shot told us all about that.  He also said that these long houses are basically the winter homes of the Wampanoag.  One set of families will build several of them, up to nine, that are approximately a football field long lining up next to each other.  Then families would occupy their own little portions of these.  It was very fun to listen to him speak.

The plantation is a fascinating place and if you ever get to visit, please do.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

I hope you enjoy the shot and thanks for dropping in!

Moon Over Philadelphia

Whenever we travel somewhere, I like to get a shot of the view from where we are staying if there something interesting to see.  When we went to Philadelphia, we stayed at the Embassy Suites on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  It's a very nice hotel and the room was a good size.  Plus its location was good as we were only a few blocks from City Hall.  Unfortunately, the lobby was under renovation, so that wasn't so good.  Anyway, I thought the view was nice and luckily the night we stayed there, we had a full moon.  I guess I should've tried to get a tighter shot with the moon, but I don't have a good enough lens for that.  I took a few other shots from our balcony, but I think this was the best of the bunch.  Is that saying much?  I don't know, but It sems to be OK.

Also, the funny thing was when we got there, I had a deja vu moment.  I had stayed in this same exact hotel back in the late '80s when I was in the military while on business to the city.  I had no idea when we booked it.  So that made it even that much cooler!  Brought back some memories.

Anyway, I hope you like the shot and thanks for dropping by. (Click on the picture to see a larger version)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Nantucket Galleries

Along the docks in one of the harbors in Nantucket, MA are all of these cool little art galleries.  I just love how they all flew these maritime flags as well as the US flags.  I also love that Cape Cod style architecture they have there.  According to one of the tour guides we had, you can't build a place on Nantucket that does not have this look with the cedar siding and the white trim.  Lots of hoops to jump through if you want to build and apparently it ain't cheap.  But it's a very pretty place, as you can see...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Curtis Publishing Building Atrium

While we were in Philadelphia, we were told about this building that held a mosaic by the Tiffany people.  I'm guessing that's the same Tiffany people as the jewelers, but I wouldn't swear to it.  Anyway, the mosaic is located in a building not too far from Washington Square Park and Independence Hall in a building named after the Curtis Publishing Company.  This is the atrium inside that building.  I thought it lent itself to a good HDR shot.  It's beautiful building and I am jealous of the people who get to work there everyday.  If every office building could be this nice, the world would be a better place.  The mosaic is a pretty nice thing to see as well and I will post a shot of that sometime soon.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reading Terminal Market Blooms

One of the places we went to during our recent trip out east was to Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market.  Basically it's a giant indoor warehouse-looking place that is filled with all sorts of little walk-up food stands where you can buy seafood, pastries and food-stuffs from other countries.  I'm not sure my description does it justice, but if you can imagine it, it's probably sold there.  They even sell flowers as you can see in the shot here.  I thought this made a nice shot and would be something a little bit different than what I normally post here.  I don't have too many flower pictures, I don't think.  OK, maybe it looks like everything else I post here, but it's still slightly different, isn't it?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Old North Church Interior Panorama

The last couple of days we spent in Boston were rather rainy so I decided to leave the monstrous D300s at the room and just wander with our little Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V. I didn't want to get that big ole Nikon wet.  Plus it can get pretty heavy lugging that DSLR around all day.

Anyway, one of our stops while sight-seeing was The Old North Church of the "One if by land, two if by sea" fame.  It's pretty cool to see the place where the signal was sent to Paul Revere when he made his famous ride!  This is the inside of the church here.  I think it is still pretty much the same as it was back in the revolutionary war days.   Plus, I think it is still a working church that has regular services.  Wouldn't be cool to say you attend that church if you are of that persuasion?

Anyway, this shot was a little tricky to put together.  It is six sets of 3 brackets set at -1, 0 and +1 EVs, merged and tonemapped in Photomatix and then merged as a panorama in Photoshop.  I did all of this hand-held as well because I didn't want to lug the tripod along this day either.  So there are flaws in this shot, but I still kind of like it.  It might have been better had we been there when the interior lights were on, but you can't have everything!

Also, I don't remember the chandeliers being so low! :-)

I hope you enjoy the shot and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Nantucket Lighthouse

Another stop during our trip to the east coast was Nantucket Island just off Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It's a beautiful place with all of the Cape Cod-style architecture and little shops to visit. From what we understand, the Whaling Museum is definitely worth checking out. Unfortunately we didn't have time to see it. However, we did take a guided tour around the island which is how we ended up at this lighthouse. It's located just near the golf course on the island and very close to one of Jack Welch's homes. From what our tour guide said, he wanted to become a member of this particular golf club, but you had to own property near the course. So, he built what appeared to be a compound to us right on the course and naturally he's now a member. It's good to have money! Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the picture and thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

TD Gahden, Big Dig Bridge and Locks

Another stop on trip to the East Coast was Boston. We saw lots of cool stuff and got to visit with friends Earl and Caroline Evans! It was great seeing them again. Earl and I were stationed together in England 24 years ago or so while serving in the Air Force. He and Caroline have not changed a bit!

We stayed in a condominium in Charlestown on the north side of town, just above the Charlestown River. And, from the Charlestown River bridge, you can see the river locks, the new bridge that's part of "The Big Dig" and TD Garden, home of the Bruins and the Celtics.

That's what you see here. I took this during a quick little self-imposed photowalk after we got back to the condo from a long day of sight-seeing. Lots of stuff to do there and I'll post more in the days to come. Thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Plymouth Harbor

A few weeks ago, Eileen and I took a trip out east to see some places we've never been before and some friends we haven't seen in a long time. We also got to experience some weather we haven't experienced in a long time...such as highs in the 60s! It was wonderful! Our first stop on the trip was Plymouth, Massachusetts, home of Plymouth Rock! The rock wasn't too impressive, but it was fun to see. Plymouth is also home to a replica of the Mayflower ship called the "Mayflower II". Some day I'll post photos of it, which brings me to this shot... This is of Plymouth Harbor. There are mostly fishing boats here. I took this picture the first night we were there on our way to finding something to eat. That was an adventure in itself. The place we wanted to eat at had an hour and a half wait. So we ended up at a sports bar that was nice, but unfortunately we were seated next to some wild women who had a little too much to drink and thought they had to scream at the top of their lungs in order to have a conversation. Not the most pleasant experience, but an experience nonetheless. Anyway, hope you like the shot and thanks for dropping by.

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