Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Santa Maria del Fiore

So I mainly photograph architecture because I'm a student of it and it interests me more than other subjects, but the stories about the buildings and the architects give my photographs more meaning. For example this photograph of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence Italy happens to capture a masterpiece of architecture designed and built by genius architect Filippo Brunelleschi. His genius in the field of architecture was well before his time and this became a problem when he was trying to secure commissions. He would have to prove himself time and time again because people of his time simply did not believe that what he proposed could be done. He is credited with the design and construction of the dome that stands on top of this cathedral. Before Brunelleschi came along the church was unfinished because the technology to cover the opening over the transept had not even been invented yet. This did not stop Brunelleschi and after he won the commission he not only designed a magnificent dome, he invented several tools and methods for its construction. Quite an amazing accomplishment.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hole in the Sky

It's back to Italy photos! I just can't get enough (if you have not figured that out by now). This one is of the Pantheon in Rome. I used my wide angle lens and basically laid down in the middle of the floor and took this picture. I was just this far away from getting the entire dome and when I go back to Rome again I will try it again and probably take multiple photos and composite them in order to get the entire dome in one shot. The Pantheon is nothing short of an amazing piece of architecture and art. It is one of the oldest buildings in Rome that is still used regularly, which is no small accomplishment considering that almost everything in Rome is old. Old as in B.C. The use of concrete was so innovative for its time that even by today's standards it would be hard to replicate. The interior dimensions are exactly the same in all directions, so exact in fact that a perfect globe could fit inside the domed space. The center oculus is open to the sky and besides providing the only light source for the entire structure, is actually a planned opening due to structural limitations of the concrete. It's really cool when it rains because it rains right through the center of the building!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


This weekend I went up to ELON University to celebrate the graduation of one of my best friends. The interesting thing is that my sister graduated from ELON just 3 years ago so I had already been through the ELON graduation weekend once before (a fact that helped me get through the weekend). I had a wonderful time visiting the campus again, spending time with my friend's family, and just celebrating her huge accomplishment. She did her family (and friends) proud and we all are looking forward to seeing what she does in the future, because whatever it is, it will be exciting and inspiring. In the mean time enjoy the photos and know that ELON campus is currently ranked #1 as the most beautiful college campus!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Florence at Night

Another night photo, this time in Florence. I did the same thing here that I did in Venice because I was not traveling with a tripod and just placed the camera on the ground. This photo is of the Baptistery of St. John which is part of the main cathedral of Florence, which is called Santa Maria del Fiore (St. Mary of the Flower). The Baptistery is one of the oldest buildings in Florence and one of the most famous. Its purpose was to allow people to be baptized without entering the church because in that time you had to be baptized in order to enter the church but before the invention of the baptistery one could only be baptized in a church. So how could you enter a church to be baptized when you had to first be baptized in order to enter? This building solved that problem. Christians have since relaxed that rule so the concept of a baptistery has faded but this building is proof of their former importance.

St. Mark's at Night

Here is another Venice photo for your enjoyment. The amazing thing about this photo is that the sky was that blue in camera, in other words I did not photo shop that color in. I don't know why it is that blue because I took this close to midnight. My best guess is that the yellow of the artificial lights mixed with the dark of the sky and it became blue somehow. I am not complaining because it is much more dramatic this way. Another funny fact is that I did not have a tripod so I just placed the camera on the ground. You just gotta improvise sometimes. The guy right in front of me is setting up his tripod, I wonder who got the better photo that night...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Travel Bug

So, I've had the travel bug lately. Went home this past weekend and I'm planning on going up to North Carolina this coming weekend. To celebrate the travel bug I thought it would be appropriate to post some more Italy photos! This one is from Venice. There is no other city in the world that is quite like Venice. Its built on a lagoon and was founded by (for the lack of a better term) pirates. Well......lets say traders. Because of this history Venice is a unique amalgamation of different cultures and architectural styles. What makes Venice even more unique is that instead of streets it has canals and instead of cars it has boats. One of the most iconic parts of Venice has to be its gondolas and gondoliers and if you travel to Venice it is almost impossible to go the entire trip without taking a photo of one or riding on one. There are actually a few different types of gondolas, the more famous kind being the one that takes you on that romantic trip down the grand canal at night while the gondolier sings "It's Amore." The other kind is called a traghetti, or ferry, and just takes people across the grand canal for less than a euro. The gondola pictured here is the second kind. A third kind of gondola is a type used for racing among gondoliers. Gondolas used to be the primary form of transportation for people within the city but with modern boats they have become more of a novelty. Yet this novelty is one that will not disappear any time soon.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Another photo from my trip to Harry Potter Land over winter break. This one is of Hogwarts castle. This castle is what they call a "Trompe L'oeil," which is French for "fool the eye" because it is not actually life size. Trompe L'oeil is usually a painting technique but its basic intent is to create an optical illusion, which is what happens with this castle. It is constructed to seem life size when viewed from certain vantage points and they did a great job. The illusion is only broken when you see it from a few close angles which are only accessible if you are waiting in line for the brand new ride housed inside the castle. I think this photo is very interesting for it's lower quality, which makes it more magical looking.

Magical World

So I traveled home this weekend to Jacksonville Florida to get in some time with my folks as well as attend a college graduation party of a good friend. While at the party I got to talking with someone who I graduated high school with and who I had not seen in a couple of years and he had recently gotten married! (Congrats to him!). For the honeymoon they are going down to Orlando and while there they plan to go to the theme parks, because you kinda have too if you're in Orlando. As many of you know the new Harry Potter theme park opened up as part of Islands of Adventure and I went there over winter break with my family and a long time friend. Even though we were going to the park I still had to carry a camera with me so I took one of my knock-around ones and was able to get some interesting, although lower quality photos. But I think the lower quality gives them a certain character. This one was taken while waiting in line for the Flight of the Hippogriff ride. I timed it just right to capture the car between the supports for the ride, which made the car in focus while the rest of the picture has a slight blur to it. It makes the car look like it is still moving. It's one of my favorite photos from the trip and I hope you enjoy.