Thursday, January 9, 2014

Atop The Acropolis

While in Athens, we of course had to visit the Parthenon.

People often confuse the names Acropolis and Parthenon as the same thing but in fact the Acropolis is the large hill that the Parthenon(the temple) sits atop. An acropolis (GreekΑκρόπολιςakros, akron, highest, topmost, outermost + polis, city; plural: acropoleisor acropolises) is a settlement, especially a citadel, built upon an area of elevated ground—frequently a hill with precipitous sides, chosen for purposes of defense. In many parts of the world, acropoleis became the nuclei of large cities of classical antiquity, such as ancient Rome, which in more recent times grew up on the surrounding lower ground, such as modern Rome

The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the maiden goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron deity. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy, western civilization and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments. The Greek Ministry of Culture is currently carrying out a program of selective restoration and reconstruction to ensure the stability of the partially ruined structure. 
The Parthenon itself replaced an older temple of Athena, which historians call the Pre-Parthenon or Older Parthenon, that was destroyed in the Persian invasion of 480 BC. The temple is archaeoastronomically aligned to the Hyades. Like most Greek temples, the Parthenon was used as a treasury. For a time, it also served as the treasury of the Delian League, which later became the Athenian Empire. In the 5th century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. 
After the Ottoman conquest, it was turned into a mosque in the early 1460s. On 26 September 1687, an Ottoman ammunition dump inside the building was ignited by Venetian bombardment. The resulting explosion severely damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures. In 1806, Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin removed some of the surviving sculptures, with the permission of the Ottoman Empire. These sculptures, now known as the Elgin Marbles or the Parthenon Marbles, were sold in 1816 to the British Museum in London, where they are now displayed. Since 1983 (on the initiative of Culture Minister Melina Mercouri), the Greek government has been committed to the return of the sculptures to Greece. 


The origin of the Parthenon's name is from the Greek word (parthenon), which referred to the "unmarried women's apartments" in a house and in the Parthenon's case seems to have been used at first only for a particular room of the temple; it is debated which room this is and how the room acquired its name. The Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon states that this room was the western cella of the Parthenon. Jamauri D. Green holds that the parthenon was the room in which the peplos presented to Athena at the Panathenaic Festival was woven by the arrephoroi, a group of four young girls chosen to serve Athena each year. Christopher Pelling asserts that Athena Parthenos may have constituted a discrete cult of Athena, intimately connected with, but not identical to, that of Athena Polias. According to this theory, the name of Parthenon means the "temple of the virgin goddess" and refers to the cult of Athena Parthenos that was associated with the temple. The epithet parthénos, whose origin is also unclear, meant "maiden, girl", but also "virgin, unmarried woman" and was especially used for Artemis, the goddess of wild animals, the hunt, and vegetation, and for Athena, the goddess of strategy and tactics, handicraft, and practical reason. It has also been suggested that the name of the temple alludes to the maidens (parthenoi), whose supreme sacrifice guaranteed the safety of the city.
The first instance in which Parthenon definitely refers to the entire building is found in the 4th-century BC orator Demosthenes. In 5th-century building accounts, the structure is simply called ho naos ("the temple"). The architects Mnesikles and Callicrates are said to have called the building Hekatompodos ("the hundred footer") in their lost treatise on Athenian architecture, and, in the 4th century and later, the building was referred to as the Hekatompedos or the Hekatompedon as well as the Parthenon; the 1st-century AD writer Plutarch referred to the building as the Hekatompedon Parthenon.
Because the Parthenon was dedicated to Greek goddess Athena, it has sometimes been referred to as the Temple of Minerva, the Roman name for Athena, particularly during the 19th century.

greek canvas prints
black and white prints
ruins prints
greece canvas prints

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

In The Altis Of Olympia

On our trip in Greece we stoped in Olympia for a few days. The circular structure pictured is the Philippeion.

The Philippeion in the Altis of Olympia was an Ionic circular memorial of ivory and gold, which contained statues of Philip's family, Alexander the Great, Olympias, Amyntas III and Eurydice I. It was made by the Athenian sculptor Leochares in celebration of Philip's victory at the battle of Chaeronea (338 BC). It was the only structure inside the Altis dedicated to a human. The temple consisted of an outer colonnade of Ionic order with 18 columns. Inside, it had nine engaged columns of the lavishly- designed Corinthian order.It had a diameter of 15 metres. The Tholos was made out of limestone.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Charioteer, Of the patient year

Ruins of Apollo's temple at Delphi

Back from a long hiatus while focusing on school and work.

Here we have a shot from our recent trip to Greece. This is the ruins of Apollo's temple at the site of ancient Delphi, Greece. 

The ruins of the Temple of Delphi visible today date from the 4th century BC are of a peripteral Doric building. It was erected on the remains of an earlier temple, dated to the 6th century BC which itself was erected on the site of a 7th-century BC construction attributed to the architects Trophonios and Agamedes. The 6th-century BC temple was named the "Temple of Alcmonidae" in tribute to the Athenian family who funded its reconstruction following a fire, which had destroyed the original structure. The new building was a Doric hexastyle temple of 6 by 15 columns. This temple was destroyed in 373 BC by an earthquake. The pediment sculptures are a tribute to Praxias and Androsthenes of Athens. Of a similar proportion to the second temple it retained the 6 by 15 column pattern around the stylobate. Inside was the adyton, the centre of the Delphic oracle and seat of Pythia. The temple had the statement "Know thyself", one of the Delphic maxims, carved into it (and some modern Greek writers say the rest were carved into it), and the maxims were attributed to Apollo and given through the oracle and/or the Seven Sages of Greece ("know thyself" perhaps also being attributed to other famous philosophers). The monument was partly restored during 1938(?)–1300. The temple survived until 390 AD, when the Christian emperor Theodosius I silenced the oracle by destroying the temple and most of the statues and works of art in the name of Christianity.The site was completely destroyed by zealous Christians in an attempt to remove all traces of Paganism.

The title is from "Hymn To Apollo" by John Keats.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bevo sniff

Bevo, red point siamese cat sniffing the camera - HDR

This here is Bevo, our other cat. He is a curious red point Siamese.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Who, through long days of labor, And nights devoid of ease, Still heard in his soul the music Of wonderful melodies

Sunset at White lake in Cullinan Park near Houston and Sugar Land Texas - HDR Panoramic

Went back to White lake a few weeks ago to attempt a sunset time lapse but I forgot my intervalometer. So I decided to just take some of the usual shots. I got this pano in while I was there and it turned out better then I thought it would. This pano is roughly 100 degrees.

Did you know that...

   The colors of the sunset result from a phenomenon called scattering, molecules and small particles in the atmosphere change the direction of light rays, causing them to scatter. Scattering affects the color of light coming from the sky, but the details are determined by the wavelength of the light and the size of the particle. The short-wavelength blue and violet are scattered by molecules in the air much more than other colors of the spectrum. This is why blue and violet light reaches our eyes from all directions on a clear day. But because we can’t see violet very well, the sky appears blue.
   Scattering also explains the colors of the sunrise and sunset. Because the sun is low on the horizon, sunlight passes through more air at sunset and sunrise than during the day, when the sun is higher in the sky. More atmosphere means more molecules to scatter the violet and blue light away from your eyes. If the path is long enough, all of the blue and violet light scatters out of your line of sight. The other colors continue on their way to your eyes. This is why sunsets are often yellow, orange, and red. And because red has the longest wavelength of any visible light, the sun is red when it’s on the horizon, where its extremely long path through the atmosphere blocks all other colors.

Now you know...

The title quote is from "The Day is Done" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.

HDR photo of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir - Houston at sunset- in Stafford, Texas

This beautiful place is conveniently located just down the road from my home. I wanted to photograph it for some time but I thought they didn't allow photography on the premises. Turns out they're fine with it out side of the temple its self. 

This is the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a mandir, or Hindu temple, in Stafford, Texas. It was the first traditional mandir of stone and marble to be constructed in the United States.

The mandir was created entirely according to ancient Hindu architectural manuscripts known as the Shilpa Shastras, but also meets all modern regulations. Opened on July 25, 2004, by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the present spiritual guru of Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), it was constructed in 16 months starting from the day its first stone was laid.

The 25,620 sq ft mandir is constructed entirely of marble from Italy and limestone from Turkey. There is no iron or steel anywhere in the structure. The stone that makes up the temple was shipped to India where it was hand-carved with traditional Vedic deities and motifs. Approximately 33,000 individually marked pieces were then shipped to Houston and assembled like a giant three-dimensional jigsaw.

The mandir was created by BAPS, an international Hindu organisation belonging to the Swaminarayan faith of Hinduism.

Title quote from The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, vol. x, p. 360, on the Bhagavat Geeta

Monday, May 20, 2013


Took this one a few weeks ago with  the G15. I like using the G15 for indoor shots because its lens goes up to f/1.8, which is much faster then my current 5D lenses.

This is Tink, taking a nap under the coffee table. If she's not up and about, you can usually find here here.