Sunday, September 30, 2012

The winged lion of Venice

Winged Lion of Venice, Italy in the court yard of the doge's Palace

I took this one while we were at the Doge's palace in Venice, Italy. It is located at the top of the "Scala dei Giganti", latin for "The scale of the Giants". For another view, check out a past post: Standing in the presence of giants...

The Lion of Saint Mark, representing the evangelist St Mark, pictured in the form of a winged lion, is the symbol of the city of Venice and formerly of the Republic of Venice. It appears also in both merchant and military naval flags of the Italian Republic. The Lion of Saint Mark is also the symbol of the award of the Venice Film Festival, the "Golden Lion", and of the insurance company Assicurazioni Generali. Also the open book is a symbol of the state's sovereignty. 

The lion of Venice is usually depicted with its paw on an open book that contains the text:
Pax tibi, Marce, Evangelista meus. 
This is Latin, and means "Peace be upon you, O Mark, my Evangelist." Venetian legend has it that, while visiting the region of Italy that would later become Veneto, Mark was approached by an angel, greeted with those words, and told that the Venetian lagoon would be his ultimate resting place. The actual story is most likely as described above, with the Venetians taking it upon themselves to fulfill the angel's prophecy (which they probably wrote themselves, too).

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chisholm Trail Crossing in the rain

Train Bridge at Chisholm Trail Crossing Park - Round Rock, Texas

Back a few months ago in another world called Austin, well actually Round Rock, Texas. This was the first really hard rain we had in a while there, gully washer some might have called it. This is a train bridge of Brushy Creek in west Round Rock next to Chisholm Trail Crossing, the place of Round Rock's naming. It's named after a large round rock (what else) that is mostly above the water not far to the left of this scene.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The ever watchful eyes of the Piazza San Marco

Head Statue - Zeus? - The ever watchful eyes of the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) in Venice, Italy

I cannot find any information on the internet as to who's head this is. Maybe Zeus? The orb below him is one of the many lights that line the Piazza, at Night it is quite a remarkable sight to see all those lights lit up. Anyway, this is in the back end of the Piazza San Marco or Saint Mark's square, opposite of Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco (St. Mark's Basilica) in Venezia, Italia (Venice, Italy). This photo is one of the many situations I have found myself in while processing. Before I processed this image, I did not expect much of a dramatic result, but boy was I pleasantly surprised. Its experiences like these that keep me coming back to HDR, taking a boring pic and making something remarkable out of it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Brunelleschi's lantern at the top of the Duomo

Top of the Duomo in Florence Italy

And here we have Brunelleschi's lantern at the top of the dome of the The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Firenze, Italia (Florence, Italy) or just the Duomo, as it is more widely known.
To get to the top, requires the purchase of a ticket and then 414 back breaking steps (no elevator).

   Like a tree where lovers carve their initials as show of affection for viewers to come, hundreds of couples have written their names or initials on the lantern. 

  After the miraculous construction of the dome by Brunelleschi, his ability to crown the dome with a lantern was questioned and he had to undergo another competition. He was declared the winner over his competitors Lorenzo Ghiberti and Antonio Ciaccheri. His design was for an octagonal lantern with eight radiating buttresses and eight high arched windows (now on display in the Museum Opera del Duomo). Construction of the lantern was begun a few months before his death in 1446. Then, for 15 years, little progress was possible, due to alterations by several architects. The lantern was finally completed by Brunelleschi's friend Michelozzo in 1461. The conical roof was crowned with a gilt copper ball and cross, containing holy relics, by Verrocchio in 1469. This brings the total height of the dome and lantern to 114.5 metres (375 ft). This copper ball was struck by lightning on 17 July 1600 and fell down. It was replaced by an even larger one two years later.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Old Booth Texas School house and auditorium

Old Booth Texas School auditorium
I was in the area of Booth, Texas looking for something else entirely and I stumbled upon this little gem, the old Booth Texas school house and attached auditorium - 

Founded by freeman Irby Booth (1866 - 1931) about 1890, shortly after he bought
the surrounding property. In the early 1890s, Booth went to South Carolina and brought
back 30 families to settle his land. Early crops of cotton, corn, and rice were shipped
to market via the Brazos River. The post office opened March 21, 1894. By the early 1900s,
the town of Booth had a syrup mill, sawmill, and was serviced by the Gulf, Colorado &
Santa Fe Railroad, by which sugar cane, alfalfa, and truck vegetables were shipped.
Booth Public school opened in 1908 and operated until 1947.
(from the Historical Marker) 

Old Booth Texas School house and auditorium


The information I found on this school house and the settlement of Booth in general was taken from :
which I found via:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

So at a knock, I emptied my cage, To hide in the world, And alter with age

Door 3 on the canals of Venice, Italy

These doors were a big hit with every one so here's a couple more I took. It's weird how my processing tastes have changed so much since I started this obsession with HDR, these were some of my first attempts and I still think they're great but I think if I were to process them today I would desaturate them a bit.

Like these? More here: The doors on the canals of Venice

Door 4 on the canals of Venice, Italy

Monday, September 24, 2012

A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it

Statue Makers - Dry Fountains and small statues - Houston, Texas

Friday and time to kill again. I found this couple that sells statues and fountains for the garden or yard, and they make most of the statues in house. They have a huge collection on display through out their yard.

Statue Makers - Sun beams arbors and heads - Houston, Texas

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kapellbrücke in Lucerne, Switzerland

Here we have the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a foot bridge that crosses the Reuss river in Lucerne, Switzerland. Named after the nearby St. Peter's Chapel, the bridge is unique since it contains a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century, although many of them were destroyed along with most of the centuries old bridge in a 1993 fire. Subsequently restored, the Kapellbrücke is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, as well as the world's oldest surviving truss bridge. It serves as the city's symbol and as one of Switzerland's main tourist attractions.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Scars of the Bastrop, Texas brush fire

Brush Fire damaged trees along 71 - 1 -  east of Bastrop, Texas
About one year and a half ago, during the worst drought Texas has seen in a century, there erupted a brush fire that spread across most of the area east of Austin. It came upon Bastrop before too long and destroyed many of its citizens homes. One day shortly before we moved to Houston, I stopped to take a closer look at some of the destruction it wreak across the forest along 71 just east of Bastrop. Keep in mind, this is over a year after that fateful brush fire.

Brush Fire damaged trees along 71 - 2 -  east of Bastrop, Texas

Friday, September 21, 2012

The doors on the canals of Venice

Door 1 on the canals of Venice, Italy
While in venice we took a gondola ride along some of the canals. Along the way I was busy snapping photos of what ever caught my eye while my wife snapped at me to stop and enjoy the ride, lol. One thing in particular  that drew my attention was the many doors that we passed, they were all so interesting and each one unique. While I was in Venice I tried to capture any sign of the rising water levels and these doors show it more then anything else.

Like these, more here: So at a knock, I emptied my cage, To hide in the world, And alter with age

Door 2 on the canals of Venice, Italy

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What does a mirror look at?

Memorial Plaza - hermann memorial hospital reflection - Houston, Texas

I had some free time between work and class so I hopped over to the south side of I 10 and beltway 8 here in Houston and snapped a few of the Memorial Plaza buildings. Beautiful, highly reflective buildings they are, basically mirrors. There were some great clouds in the sky, just like I like it. In the first photo you can see the reflection of Herman Memorial Hospital, another beautiful building.

Memorial Plaza - Sun peaking around - Houston, Texas

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Standing in the presence of giants...

Mars and Neptune flanking the Scala dei Giganti (Giants Stair Case) With Winged Lion- Court Yard of the Doge's Palace - Venice, Italy
Here a couple of the statues in the court yard of the Doge's palace in Venice, Italy. These two men are the gods Mars(left) and Neptune(right). They are flanking the "Scala dei Giganti", latin for "The scale of the Giants" or in other words "the Giants Stair Case". In the first photo you can see the statue of the Winged Lion, which is the symbol of Venice. Speaking of Venice, all the world is spelling it wrong along with all the other Italian cities, the proper Italian spelling is "Venezia" (Veh-neh-zee-ah), which I think sounds much cooler. Also the Venetian people spell it "Venexia" (same pronunciation as the Italians), and in latin; "Venetia". The first photo has a more realistic look while for the second I boosted the colors quite a bit. Personally I like them both but I am curious as to what others might think, leave a comment and tell which you prefer...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I have loved long since and lost awhile

Glenwood cemetery Downtown Houston - Beloved Immortals - Angel
 I was in downtown Houston the other morning and I had some time to kill so I stopped by Glenwood cemetery. It has got to be the biggest cemetery in the Houston metropolitan area, for sure the biggest I've ever seen in person. I spent about two hours just walking around and marveling at the place. It has a large staff of grounds keepers that keep it looking immaculate. And quite a few of Houston's historical figures are buried here, including the business magnate, investor, aviator, aerospace engineer, film maker and philanthropist; Howard Hughes. There is a plethora of amazing monuments there, including many statues of angels. I particularly like the angels because they remind me of a certain Doctor Who monster; the Weeping Angels, very creepy...

Glenwood cemetery Downtown Houston - Bronze girl - NW
The blog title quote is by John Henry Newman;

Saturday, September 15, 2012


1940s Ford Super Deluxe - Full - North
The outside of that 1940s Ford Super Deluxe. When it comes to photographing vehicles I prefer them to be either freshly waxed or falling apart, the in-between is just boring to look at, And I absolutely love to photograph rust.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

1940s Ford Super Deluxe 8

1940s Ford Super Deluxe 8 - cool - Richmond, Texas
 I'm back, after a little hiatus while getting acclimated to school again. Last weekend I was at this country store heading out of the Houston metropolitan area, after getting what I needed, I decided to take a little trip down the old farm-road-market road it was situated on. And as luck would have it, I came upon this old 40s Ford rusting away on the side of the road. Naturally I stopped to take some photos. It was position perfectly perpendicular to the road and the grass was mowed around it so I guess the land owner thought it would make a good lawn ornament and I heartily agree. These are a couple of the inside of the cab. They may look identical but they are two lightly different angles and on the second one I cranked up the temperature in processing to give it an older feel. It gave the windows a nice sepia look to them and it reminds me of some scene out of one of my favorite video game series; "Fallout".

1940s Ford Super Deluxe 8 - warm - Richmond, Texas

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Reclining Buddha

The Reclining Buddha - Straight On - Vietnamese Buddhist center Sugar Land Texas
I was on my way to my new/old job when I saw a massive statue rising up over the trees to the left and thought that I absolutely must check that out after work. And I did despite being utterly exhausted from getting back on a regular schedule. It is the Vietnamese Buddhist Center of Sugar Land, Texas, fascinating place. The picture seen here is not of that statue but a statue of the reclining Buddha. I did a bit of searching trying to figure out why he is reclining to no avail. I did learn that THE temple of the reclining Buddha, the "Wat Pho" in Bangkok, Thailand is the birthplace of traditional Thai Massage...

Vietnamese Buddhist Center of Sugar Land, Texas:

Wat Pho - Wiki:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Old Train Cars

Old Pealing Red Train Car - Angle Shot - Austin Steam Train - Cedar Park, Texas
 Once again, just down the road from my place of work in Cedar Park, Texas was a train station back behind a shopping center. It took me almost a year of driving by that place to notice it. But once I did I had to go take some pictures. I probably spent an hour and a half there and left with over thirty bracketed sets. These are two of my favorites. In these photos I really started to make use of the selection tool in Photomatix. After processing the photos I replaced the processed sky with the best looking sky from one of the source images. The processing tends to make the sky grainy and with no clouds in the sky to bring detail out of, there really is no reason not to take this action. In the lack of clouds situation, it makes for much nicer looking skies. These cars are a little worse for wear I know. They are not a a good example of the cars at their yard. These are the two worst ones I saw, which makes them much cooler then the rest in my opinion. Their main train was in prefect shape. The second car was up on blocks over to the side, parts maybe? I got excited when I found the old red car of the first pic, the plywood boards and all that peeling paint...

The trains belong to the Austin Steam Train Association, they offer year round train rides/tours through central Texas.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Roman Forum - The Remains of the Temple of Castor and Pollux

Rome, Italy - Roman Forum - Temple of Castor and Pollux - Full

Here are some photos I took at the ruins of the Roman forum not to far from the Colosseum. These pillars are apprently the remains of the Temple of Castor and Pollux. The Temple of Castor and Pollux (Italian: Tempio dei Dioscuri) is an ancient edifice in the Roman Forum, Rome, central Italy. It was originally built in gratitude for victory at the Battle of Lake Regillus (495 BC). Castor and Pollux (Greek Polydeuces) were the Dioscuri, the "twins" of Gemini, the twin sons of Zeus (Jupiter) and Leda. Their cult came to Rome from Greece via Magna Graecia and the Greek culture of Southern Italy.

Notice the little bird taking in the view from atop the closer pillars...

Texas Capitol Building

 One night my wife and I decided to take a tour of the Texas capitol. We had been living in Austin for some time but we hadn't made the trip. The grounds of the capitol building are quite impressive, the interior is so-so. Although the underground extension is pretty neat...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

leaving this old farm house to it's loneliness and decay

Old Farm House / Cow Shelter - North Austin, Texas - NE

Across the toll road from where we used to live in North Austin there was a bunch of old barns and storage sheds that had the look of abandonment. You almost don't notice them as your about to enter the tool road. I'm always focusing on the scary toll booths you have to drive through at speed or slow everybody down behind you. But one day I thought of them and I had some time to kill so I drove over there, hopped the fence and what a find. There was about six buildings falling into disuse over there, some big some small. And thanks to the local cattle that claim that land it was not over grown. It was like walking on a freshly cut lawn. Of all the photos from that day this is my favorite, the detail and the colors and the sky looked it's best in this picture. I don't think this paticular farmhouse is exactly abandoned, there was no doors and inside I noticed the frorund was littered with hoof prints. I supposed it now shelters the local farm animals...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Into the sand, her frame was adjustin’ Long hard years had taken their toll...

Rusty Abandoned tore down 1940's truck - Cedar Park, Texas
 One day after work I noticed this old rusty tore down truck from the '40s I believe. I immediately went back and shot some photos. It was in the front yard of an old property off a main road hidden behind some commercial property. It was at sunset, perfect timing. I think of this sort of scene is a work of art started by man and then handed over to nature. The old green paint and all the rust, gorgeous...

For the second pic I reprocessed the photo, cranked the color all the way down. And then using the selection tool I replaced all of the windshield with the previous pic. Resulting in what you see here.

Rusty Abandoned tore down 1940's truck - Cedar Park, Texas - Black and White with color windshield

The old pickup truck stood rustin’
In a wash below the knoll,

Into the sand, her frame was adjustin’;
Long hard years had taken their toll.
Grass now grew from her floor boards.
Rust had cankered this old ride.
Mice had nested in her seat in hordes;
An’ she had gone an’ lost her pride.
She was robbed of any useful part…
The paint that was once bright an’ red,
Had made her look sassy an’ smart,
Was pink; showin’ of rust instead.
She had lost her tires an’ her wheels.
Her drive shaft…it was also gone
The engine was plagued with ills
She was done an’ wouldn’t be movin’ on.
Once was; the best money could buy;
A truck that was her owner’s pride;
Now she was left in a wash to lie…

Abandoned on the day she died.