Spots and Dots is the creative topic for Leya’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.
flowers (2 orchids at Chicago Botanic Gardens, sunflower at Cantigny Park-Robert McCormick estate, Wheaton, Illinois)
art: sculpture (dalmations in Sao Paulo, Brazil; abstract sculpture in St. Charles, Illinois; giant pumpkin somewhere in Japan – this photo was a screenshot; Chinese lion at Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois)
museum art (tapestry, light display)
Lightscape light show installations for the holiday season, (Chicago Botanic Gardens, Dec. 2019 and Dec. 2020)
Playing catch up again with Paula’s February Love Me challenge. I have just begun to realize that I should not make my categories too broad, or I will run out of topics!
Feb. 11: I love trees. Winter, spring, summer, and fall. I love trees during them all!
Feb. 12: is Lincoln’s birthday, which makes me think of another thing I love: history! One of the things I most like to do when traveling is to see historical places. I stood next to the Great Pyramid on the Giza plateau in Egypt and felt awed – that structure was built around 2500 BCE! It’s about 5000 years old and it is still standing! Until the Eiffel Tower was built, it was the tallest manmade structure in the world. I imagine the labor it took, moving huge blocks of stone to the site and placing them in exactly the right spot so the pyramid would not collapse. (Click on photos to see closer up.)
In Israel, visiting the places where Jesus himself had walked gave me goosebumps! (Click on photos to see full size)
In Normandy, France, we visited the city of Bayeux where we visited the museum that displays the original Tapestry of Bayeux, which tells the story of William the Conqueror and the conquest of England. This tapestry was made by hand by many artisans in circa 1100 CE. This embroidered tapestry is 70 meters long! We could not photograph the original tapestry, which was very fragile, but I did take a few shots of replicas they had on display in the lobby.
More recent history is also interesting to me. In Normandy, we visited the D-Day beaches and Overlord Museum. At Omaha beach, we saw the vast American Cemetery where 9,387 soldiers who participated in the D-Day invasion and subsequent battle were buried.
Feb. 13: I love writing. I have always enjoyed writing, and when I was a kid, I wanted to be an author or a journalist someday. Alas, life takes many twists and turns and there is always the road not taken. Then I was going to write a novel and I did research to find out how to get an agent, sell a book to a publisher, etc., etc. and it was just too stressful for me! So now it’s just a hobby. I’ve been in and out of writing groups and I do keep a journal, which is not really a diary – it’s more my musings on whatever I’m thinking about or reading about. Sometimes these journal entries turn into stories or essays or even poems. I’ve written letters to my local newspaper, which generally get published within a week. And then, of course, there is this – my blog. I’m not as regular at it as I wish I were, but on the other hand, I have a lot of other interests that keep me busy too.
Actually, I am slowly working on a book, which I intend to self-publish through a POS. It’s about the ancestors on my dad’s mother’s side. I’ve written six chapters, which has been really interesting, because I come across things I wanted to know – I have questions about how things happened, so I do research and find out all kinds of things I never would have known about. I have great admiration for my ancestors, who emigrated to America in the early 1800s. Their journey was quite an adventure! I have laid this project aside for far too long, and should get back to it soon. And it even ties in with my love of history!!
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is Anything to do with boats. All the photos in this photo essay are from my travels near and far.
26th Century BCE – 1st century BCE: Ancient Egypt
Modern Egypt: Today the Nile teems with cruise ships alongside fellucas (open air sailing boats with no cabins), fishing vessels and freighters.
1st Century CE: Palestine/Israel
Modern Israel: This is one of the vessels used today to take pilgrims across the Sea of Galilee. We sang hymns, watched a demonstration of casting a fishing net, and watched the flocks of gulls who followed our boat.
Middle Ages: Norman Conquest, 1066 CE
17th-19th Centuries CE: A failed ship, flat boats, and art
In Stockholm, Sweden, 1628, a ship became famous because it sank, 23 minutes after its maiden voyage! The Vasa was not pulled out of the canal until the 1950s, when the technology to do this had been developed, then it was reconstructed and the museum housing it opened in the 1990s. Why? Because it was top heavy! The photos above were taken at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, where the actual boat is on display (photo far right). The other photos are decorative mastheads and other items on the outside of the ship.
19th Century Flatboats:
1880s-Early 1900s: Impressionist Art
Native American Canoes: (L) in Maine (Oceanarium, Acadia); (R) in Alaska – this tribe still makes its canoes the traditional way.
1904-1914: The Panama Canal was completed in 1914, and received updates in the late 20th century to accommodate larger cruise ships and ocean freighters. These are some of the ships we saw passing through the canal.
20th Century: Steamships
2019: Amsterdam, a City of Canals, Ships and Boats
Nancy Merrill’s weekly A Photo a Week challenge has the topic of Work.
On our trip last year to Egypt and Israel, we had the opportunity to photograph and meet many people at work.
In Egypt, we witnessed several craftsmen working at their craft:
Crate maker on the island of Fares – he is the only person left in Lower Egypt who makes these mango crates by hand, which are greatly in demand. Here he works with one of the women in our group in making a crate.
A weaver in Aswan – many of our group members bought one of his beautiful scarves!
A snake charmer in Fares! I captured this scene with my zoom lens from a bus window – I didn’t get anywhere near those cobras!
We also encountered agricultural workers and fishermen on the Nile.
A young farmworker on his donkey on Besaw Island.
In Israel, we encountered more cosmopolitan workers.
Our guide, Hani, explains the architectural features of ancient arches in Jerusalem.
A bartender and restaurant worker in Tel Aviv
A jewelry maker at the Israel Diamond Center in Tel Aviv
The city of Bayeux, in the province of Normandy, France, has three main tourist attractions. The first is a famous tapestry that tells the events surrounding the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy’s successful campaign to invade and take over England. William became king of England, later passing the throne to his son Henry. This tapestry is about 68.3 m/224 ft long and no photography of the actual tapestry is allowed. I was able to take photos of reproductions of sections of the embroidery in the gift shop.
A more accurate description is that the Bayeux Tapestry is “narrative embroidery” – it was hand embroidered on linen by various embroiderers in the late 11th century. It contains 9 panels of linen cloth joined together, containing text as well as pictures. It was commissioned by the Bishop of Bayeux (and William’s half-brother) for display in the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Bayeux, consecrated in 1077. (More information about the Bayeux Tapestry can be found at The Bayeux Tapestry: the epic adventure of William the Conqueror in 1066.)
The cathedral is the second main attraction in Bayeux, with its beautiful stained glass windows, a variety of interesting embellishments and details, and its variety of doors. Below are photos of the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Bayeux, featuring the doors for Norm’s Thursday Doors.
The cathedral was built in the 11th-12th centuries in the Gothic style, and was dedicated in the presence of William the Conqueror in 1077. It was the first home of the Bayeux tapestry.
Approach to the front entrance:
William and his beloved wife, Mathilde, are carved on the cathedral’s main doorway. The main entrance from the inside:
One of the smaller doorways that flank the main entrance:
Spectacular stained glass windows:
Interior gate leading to the gift shop
There are many carvings and interesting Norman-era embellishments in the nave. These were completed at the beginning of the 12th century.
Across from the cathedral is a small square.
More doors and a gateway that we discovered on our walk back to our car.
We passed this old-fashioned water mill.
We parked on the edge of Bayeux’s beautiful botanic gardens, and it is possible to reach the city’s center via walking trails through the gardens, but we were unable to spend the time to admire them, because we were on our way to Mont St.-Michel.
This WWII tank was on display near the parking lot.