Monday, October 29, 2012

St. Paul's United

St. Paul's United Methodist Church with Jesus Statue - HDR - Houston, Texas

St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. It is a clear example of Gothic style architecture.

Originating in 12th century France and lasting into the 16th century, Gothic architecture was known during the period as "French work" (Opus Francigenum), with the term Gothic first appearing during the latter part of the Renaissance. Its characteristic features include the pointed arch, the ribbed vault and the flying buttress. 

Gothic architecture is most familiar as the architecture of many of the great cathedrals, abbeys and churches of Europe. It is also the architecture of many castles, palaces, town halls, guild halls, universities and to a less prominent extent, private dwellings. 

It is in the great churches and cathedrals and in a number of civic buildings that the Gothic style was expressed most powerfully, its characteristics lending themselves to appeal to the emotions. A great number of ecclesiastical buildings remain from this period, of which even the smallest are often structures of architectural distinction while many of the larger churches are considered priceless works of art and are listed with UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. For this reason a study of Gothic architecture is largely a study of cathedrals and churches. 

A series of Gothic revivals began in mid-18th century England, spread through 19th-century Europe and continued, largely for ecclesiastical and university structures, into the 20th century.

Gothic architecture

Friday, October 26, 2012

If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough.

While we were living in north Austin, I came across a local automotive shop that had a Shelby Cobra kit car. The clear coat was starting to peel and the owner left it with shop to be clear coated. The owner of the shop was nice enough to let me take a few photos.

The AC Cobra, sold as the Ford/Shelby AC Cobra in the USA and often known colloquially as the Shelby Cobra in that country, is an American-engined British sports car produced intermittently since 1962.

The car may have been designed by AC but Carroll Shelby made it famous.  Sadly, Carroll Shelby died about six months ago of ongoing heart problems, but he lived a long and for-filling life of 89 years.

Title quote by Mario Andretti.

The AC Cobra on Wikipedia
Carroll Shelby on Wikipedia
Legendary Car Builder Carroll Shelby Dead At 89

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Presidents head and dumpster

I am ashamed to say that after some research, I still can't figure out which president this is. I am leaning towards James Monroe but he doesn't quite match up. Any way, here's another of the giant president busts of artist David Adickes. Ans I liked this dumpster so much that I included it in the photo, I think stuff like this dumpster lends itself to HDR well.

More giant presidents:
Giant Presidents Head Mold
Presidents Heads

Monday, October 22, 2012

Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower

The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (English: Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower) is the main church of Florence, Italy.

The Duomo, as it is ordinarily called, was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style to the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi.

The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

St. Pauls main entrance

St. Paul's United Methodist Church Main Entrance - Houston, Texas - Black and White HDR

St. Paul's United Methodist Church. The architect was Trustee Jesse H. Jones’ protege Alfred C. Finn, who also designed the San Jacinto Monument and the Gulf Building, the latter now part of the Chase Bank complex in downtown Houston.

St. Paul's History

Friday, October 19, 2012

Render unto Caesar...

The colossal head of Imperator Caesar Divi F. Augustus in the Court of the Pigna ( So named for the giant bronze Pine-cone at one end of the yard ) at the Vatican in Rome, Italy. I could not find any background info beyond the name to my dismay.

Born into an old, wealthy equestrian branch of the Plebeian Octavii family, Augustus was adopted posthumously by his maternal great-uncle Gaius Julius Caesar in 44 BC following Caesar's assassination. Together with Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus, he formed the Second Triumvirate to defeat the assassins of Caesar. Following their victory at Phillipi, the Triumvirate divided the Roman Republic between themselves and ruled as military dictators.[note 3] The Triumvirate was eventually torn apart under the competing ambitions of its members: Lepidus was driven into exile and stripped of his position, and Antony committed suicide following his defeat at the Battle of Actium by Augustus in 31 BC.

After the demise of the Second Triumvirate, Augustus restored the outward facade of the free Republic, with governmental power vested in the Roman Senate, the executive magistrates, and the legislative assemblies. In reality, however, he retained his autocratic power over the Republic as a military dictator. By law, Augustus held a collection of powers granted to him for life by the Senate, including supreme military command, and those of tribune and censor. It took several years for Augustus to develop the framework within which a formally republican state could be led under his sole rule. He rejected monarchical titles, and instead called himself Princeps Civitatis ("First Citizen"). The resulting constitutional framework became known as the Principate, the first phase of the Roman Empire.

The reign of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana (The Roman Peace). Despite continuous wars or imperial expansion on the Empire's frontiers and one year-long civil war over the imperial succession, the Mediterranean world remained at peace for more than two centuries. Augustus dramatically enlarged the Empire, annexing Egypt, Dalmatia, Pannonia, Noricum, and Raetia, expanded possessions in Africa, expanded into Germania, and completed the conquest of Hispania. Beyond the frontiers, he secured the Empire with a buffer region of client states, and made peace with the Parthian Empire through diplomacy. He reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed networks of roads with an official courier system, established a standing army, established the Praetorian Guard, created official police and fire-fighting services for Rome, and rebuilt much of the City during his reign.

Augustus died in 14 AD at the age of 75. He may have died from natural causes, though there were unconfirmed rumors that his wife Livia poisoned him. He was succeeded as Emperor by his adopted son (also stepson and former son-in-law) Tiberius

Augustus on Wikipedia

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I put a new engine in my car, but forgot to take the old one out. Now my car goes 500 miles per hour


This is one of those times that you run across something totally unexpected. I was checking out those huge presidents heads and ran across a Mustang in mid tear down; I thought it was a neat scene with the ominous sky in the background.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Light from out of the darkness

I was at at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in the museum district of Houston, just looking around. They're perfectly fine with photography and they let you roam around the main auditorium unattended. When I get a camera capable of long exposures, this is the first place I'm going to hit up. So much potential!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hwy 59 overpass

I just think there is something so beautiful about the freeways and overpasses here in Texas, especially in Houston. I think my wife had something to with making me realize this, being a Texan herself. They just don't put this kind of effort into them in Arkansas where I'm originally from.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Gates of Paradise

The Gates of Paradise, East doors to the Florence Baptistery - Top

The Gates of Paradise, East doors to the Florence Baptistery - BottomThe Gates of Paradise, East doors to the Florence Baptistery - Detail

The east pair of doors to the the Florence Baptistery  or Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistry of St. John), dubbed by Michelangelo as "the Gates of Paradise"

The Baptistry is renowned for its three sets of artistically important bronze doors with relief sculptures. The south doors were done by Andrea Pisano and the north and east doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

The Italian poet Dante Alighieri and many other notable Renaissance figures, including members of the Medici family, were baptized in this baptistery  In fact, until the end of the nineteenth century, all Catholic Florentines were baptized here.

The octagonal Baptistery stands in both the Piazza del Duomo and the Piazza di San Giovanni, across from the Duomo cathedral and the Giotto bell tower (Campanile di Giotto).

These are not HDR by the way.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

With ancient markings etched on weathered stone, Above ruins of the dead and finite dust of hollow bones

Olivewood Cemetery Angel (focus) Head Stone - Houston, Texas

Olivewood Cemetery Headless statue and head stone - Houston, Texas

In 1875, the land, which had previously been used for slave burials, was purchased by Richard Brock, Houston's first black alderman. It opened as a cemetery for black Methodists in 1877. When Olivewood was platted, it was the first African-Americans burial ground within the Houston city limits.

Many 19th century influential African-Americans were buried in the cemetery, including Reverend Elias Dibble, first minister of Trinity United Methodist Church; Reverend Wade H. Logan, also a minister of the church; and James Kyle, a blacksmith; as well as Richard Brock.

The cemetery includes more than 700 family plots around a graceful, elliptical drive that originated at an ornate entry gate. It contains graves of both the well-to-do and those who died in poverty; therefore, the grave markers run the gamut from elaborate Victorian monuments to simple, handmade headstones. Burials at Olivewood Cemetery continued through the 1960s.

In 2003, after decades of neglect and abandonment, the "Descendants of Olivewood," a nonprofit organization, was established to take guardianship of the cemetery, "to provide care and to protect its historical significance."

Olivewood was designated an Historic Texas Cemetery. By 2010 water and vandals threatened to damage graves in a portion of the cemetery.

On a spookier side note:

Over the years, there have been numerous reports of mysterious after-dark sightings and strange movements within the graveyard.
Cathi Bunn, a paranormal investigator, began exploring Olivewood in 1999. One moonlit midnight, Bunn said she videotaped the ghost of Mary White, who was buried in 1888, hovering above her headstone.

Olivewood Cemetery on Wikipedia

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Old weathered train cars


Trains, trains, and more trains. I think I have around thirty photos from that day, so many opportunities at a train yard, and the employees were kind enough to let me roam around on my own. Spent almost two hours there, proablbly would have spent more if not for the heat.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Roof of St. Mark's Basilica

Roof of Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco (St. Mark's Basilica) As Seen from The Campanile
The top of St. Marco's Basilica as seen from the top  of St Marco's Campanile(St, Mark's Bell Tower). Always reminds me of the video game, "Assassin's Creed II", where the main character "Ezio" is running around the roof tops of Venice(among other Italian city's) and doing assassin stuff. 
Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco (St. Mark's Basilica) As Seen from The Campanile

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stairway to heaven

High atop the peak of mount Pilatus. Once at the top after a thirty minute cog railway ride up the side of the mountain, the only way to fully explore is by the scary-steep stairs. And this place will make the most in-shape person have to stop and catch their breath, I had to stop every ten steps or so.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Presidents heads

Presidents Heads of David Adickes SculpturWorx - Houston, Texas - 1
Artist David Adickes is known for his heroic scale sculptures of historic figures. Just south of Huntsville on 45, you can see one of his creations, a 67 foot tall statue of Texas historical figure and founder of Houston; Sam Houston. His series of President heads, between 16 and 20 ft. tall, became the core of two theme parks -- in South Dakota and Virginia. Both have since closed, but travelers can see an array of leaders' heads by peeking over the fence at Adickes' Houston studio.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Inside the Colosseum of Rome

A column top inside the Colosseum - Rome , Italy
Wandering the halls below the the seats of the Colosseum I came upon this beautiful column topper.

Most people assume that the Colosseum is in it's current shape due simply to the passage of time. But when the Roman empire fell, it's society collapsed. There was no government any more and after a while the locals lost any reverence they had for the magnificent structures of the time. Why go all the way to the quarry when all this stone is going unused right here, They began scavenging stone from where ever they could find it. Specifically marble, which included the expensive seats and the columns of the Colosseum.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Now close the windows and hush all the fields...

All alone... North Austin Texas Farm Shed HDR in Black and White

Reminds me of The Wizard of OZ for some reason. Just on the other side of the toll road from our apartment in north Austin, Texas, was a bunch of old, dilapidated farm buildings that were pleading with me to come photograph them.

Once again I am reminded of a quote from Michelangelo I used for another post title: "A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it......".

If you liked this one, check out this older post: Leaving this old farm house to it's loneliness and decay. It's of another structure from the same area.

NOW close the windows and hush all the fields;
  If the trees must, let them silently toss;
No bird is singing now, and if there is,
  Be it my loss.
It will be long ere the marshes resume,       
  It will be long ere the earliest bird:
So close the windows and not hear the wind,
  But see all wind-stirred.

-Robert Frost-