Lens-Artists #82: Capitals & Capitols

The Lens–Artists photo challenge this week has a guest host, Viveka, whose topic is capitals.

On our road trips around the United States, we try to visit as many capitals as possible – not just the capital cities, but also their capitol buildings. I have a series of posts featuring some of the capitols we’ve visited lately. (Check them out in my archives – that’s why I’ve put the dates in below.) These are the ones that we have seen in the last 3 years.

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA (May 2017)
Capitol exterior and its dome from inside

Some of the memorials and statues on the capitol grounds

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA (May 2017)
Capitol building exterior (no, it doesn’t have a dome) and view of grounds from the top floor viewing area

Some famous North Dakotans

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA (May 2018)
Capitol exterior (the dome is at the top of this multistoried building), floor of the rotunda, visiting school group

Artwork viewed from the rotunda, including a colorful door

DENVER, COLORADO (June 2018)
Exterior and view from the dome

Stained glass portraits

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (June 2018)
Exterior and staircase

Slideshow of some of the sights inside

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO (June 2018)
The capitol building in Santa Fe is shaped like the Zuni sun symbol, which is also depicted in the rotunda and on the state flag. The first two photos are a partial view of the exterior and one of the curved hallways.

The New Mexico capitol building has a lot of artwork by New Mexican artists. The slideshow shows some of them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA (June 2018)
The Oklahoma state capitol has the distinction of being the only capitol in the U.S. that has an oil rig visible at every cardinal direction. Two of these can be seen below. The middle photo is the dome from the rotunda, and the photo at right is a commemoration of Oklahoma’s native tribes, each of which has its own flag.

Sculpture, artwork, and artifacts in the capitol

DES MOINES, IOWA (Sept. 2018)
Capitol exterior and chamber of the legislature

Iowa’s capitol has colorful designs and patterns on its floors.

On the capitol grounds, there is a Holocaust memorial.

Interestingly, this post does not contain photos from my home state capital (Springfield, IL – I was last there in 2012) nor the capital of the state north of here, the state where I was born and I grew up (Madison, WI – I can’t remember the last time I visited the capitol).

I have also visited several foreign capitals in recent years (2017-2019), but not their government buildings – can you figure out which cities these are? One is a provincial capital, the others are national capitals.

 

 

 

Thursday Doors: Walking Tour of Bamberg, Germany

Day 7 (July 1, 2019) of our Viking Grand European Tour river cruise was spent in the beautiful city of Bamberg, Germany.  We arrived at the picturesque harbor in the early afternoon.
20190701_141234.jpg
Bamberg was founded in 902 and is famous for its symphony orchestra and rauchbier, smoked beer. The city marks the northern end of the Main-Danube Canal. Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

20190701_141850d.jpg

This is the first interesting door we saw, somewhere along one of the narrow streets of the old town.

We walked through the market square on this hot afternoon and headed for Bamberg Cathedral (official name Bamberger Dom St. Peter und St. Georg), a large structure built in Romanesque architectural style.
20190701_143606 Bamberg Cathedral
It is the burial place for Pope Clement II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry II, among others.

 

 

20190701_145515-bamberg-cathedral-1.jpg

We entered through this door, flanked with statues.

DSC01464 Bamberg Cathedral

A main entrance to the cathedral

DSC01468
DSC01482DSC01483

20190701_145420 Bamberg Cathedral

Interior door

Inside the cathedral

 

Cathedral clock tower
DSC01469 Bamberg Cathedral tower

We then walked to the Neue Residenz (New Residence) of the prince-bishops on cathedral square, which is L shaped because it was never finished. However, its opulence was immediately evident! The palace was begun in 1604 and the two wings built by Johann Leonhard Dientzenhofer in 1697-1703.
20190701_145545 Neue residenzThe palace has more than 40 state rooms with stuccoed ceilings, in which, as in Wurzburg, we were not allowed to take photos. So I took these photos of doorways outside the building.
DSC01472
DSC01473DSC01475
DSC01476
We wandered the expansive, manicured rose garden behind it, the hedges and flowers surrounding statues scattered throughout, presumably of former prince-bishops who had governed Bamberg and lived in the palace.
20190701_152021 Rose garden of Neue residenz.jpg
20190701_152034d.jpgOver the walls of the rose garden is a view looking down over the old town center of Bamberg.
20190701_152111 Bamberg rooftops from the Rose Garden
20190701_152114 View from Rose GardenHowever, I thought the old palace, or Old Court, was a prettier building. It had been built in the 11th century. Today it houses a history museum.

 

20190701_151031

The Neue Residenz is visible through this arch.

I got a close-up shot of one of its doors, with some beautiful ironwork decoration.20190701_150407
The walking tour continued through the old town center.
20190701_153229
Most impressive was the old Town Hall, which dates back to around 1467. Gothic in style, it received some Baroque and Rococo touches in 1756. The murals on the sides of the building were painted by Anwar Johann.
20190701_153159 The old town hall

 

DSC01493
DSC01499 Town Hall
This building is wedged between two bridges over the Regnitz River. The photo below, which shows this, is not mine. I downloaded it from a Wikipedia website about Bamberg. Credit goes to:
By Qole at English Wikipedia, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2323883
Bamberg-altes-rathaus.jpg
The story goes that the town hall was built on an artificial island because the bishop didn’t want to give up any land. An armed (!) conflict between the mayor and the bishop ended with an agreement that the citizens couldn’t build their burned-down town hall on land. The bridges connect the building with the city center.

Kayakers paddle under the bridges.

 

We of course saw much more of the old city center and some members of our tour found a brewery to sample Bamberg’s famous smoked beer.

DSC01435 Schlenkerla Brewery.JPG

Sign above the entrance to Schlenkerla Brewery

20190701_154737
20190701_160921
20190701_16100720190701_163504

20190701_163822

Stumble stones in front of a house denote where Jewish residents of Bamberg lived, who later were killed during the Holocaust. Both of these people died in Auschwitz.

20190701_16383220190701_164030DSC01411DSC01421

DSC01425

The resident of this house needs to collect their newspapers!

DSC01427DSC01429
DSC01432DSC01484DSC01485DSC01486
DSC01488

DSC01490

Small entrance to a crowded shop

Picturesque buildings lined up along the river – this area is known as “Little Venice.”
DSC01495 Little Venice
DSC01408 Little Venice
The spires of Michaelsberg Abbey rise above the riverfront.
DSC01404 Michaelsberg Abbey
DSC01494
After free time, our tour group meeting place was in front of this building, with a bull over the doorway.
DSC01506 (2)
I hope you enjoyed a “walk through Bamberg” with me! This post is also for Norm’s Thursday Doors photo challenge. Check out the posts by other door fans!

 

Lens-Artists’ #65: A Place With Special Memories…Sedona

I have been to so many places, in the U.S. and abroad. Every place has been memorable and I thought of the places that were most meaningful to me for this photo challenge: Lens-Artists’ #65 – Pick a Special Place. Scotland – my mother took us on an ancestors’ tour there in 1999 and visited the actual homestead where my 3-greats-grandmother lived. That was very special, but I have no digital photos of it. A couple of other very special places we traveled to came to mind: Tanzania – our safari there was the most amazing trip I’ve ever taken, and Egypt – I fell in love with the ancient ruins of a civilization over 3,500 years old. But I have blogged extensively about both of those trips. So I return to my childhood: I was privileged to attend high school in one of the most beautiful places in the United States and today a major tourist attraction – Sedona, Arizona. At the time I attended high school there, Sedona was just a small town in a beautiful setting where movies were sometimes filmed – it was not well-known then; just a sleepy artists’ colony of sorts. So here are some photos of Sedona, or more specifically, the high school that changed my life and my world view, Verde Valley School.

I start with some photos I took when I was at school there. In my senior year, I was learning photography and developing my own black & white photos in the campus darkroom.

I attended reunions in 2005 and 2006, and then didn’t return until December of 2015, when we were passing through on our way to the Grand Canyon. Here are a few from 2006.

DSCF2996

View from inside the chapel – Cathedral Rock

DSCF3078.JPG

“Brenda” the bus with Napoleon Rock in the distance. We used to take field trips in green buses like this one, which had been repurposed  as a store for VVS memorabilia.

DSCF3090.JPG

This is a much older me in front of Rollie’s Camera Shop in Sedona, a place I spent considerable time and money during my high school days.

In June of 2018, Dale and I attended a 3-day anniversary reunion, celebrating the school’s 70th year. Unlike other reunions, there were people from all different classes and it was fun to get to know some of those I had never met and reconnect with those who had been there at the same time I was.

20180608_170102

We were greeted with this sign painted on the side of a truck we had also used for transportation way back when. It was positioned along the dirt road leading to the campus.

20180609_121124

My dorm room my sophomore year was the one at the top of the stairs.

20180609_134020_001

The school “farm” – a new addition on campus. They grow a variety of vegetables and spices which are used by the cooks to feed the multitudes. One of the projects that weekend was making “seed balls” to add to the garden – but only the gardener and I showed up! It was fun getting our hands muddy with the wet red sandstone dirt.

20180608_192536

Cathedral Rock in early evening in June

20180610_105625

Looking through a window from the buffet table to where people are gathering for our last brunch on campus before returning to our ordinary lives.

20180610_111035

Painting this geometric mural was the beginning of someone’s project, which was never finished – we were all supposed to write our names or whatever we wanted to say in black paint, but that part never got done.

SONY DSC

Pathway near the art studio

SONY DSC

Another photo of the girls’ dorm, which looks pretty much the same except that in that center circular area there used to be a huge cottonwood tree.

SONY DSC

Someone painted one dorm room door this beautiful shade of blue and I like the contrast with the turquoise blue of the swing in front.

SONY DSC

A student in recent years created this sign “MOTEL” which was the nickname given to the boys’ dorm behind it.

DSCF2983

This awesome mural was painted by a class in the early 2000s, but was whitewashed over shortly after this picture was taken in 2006, which made a lot of people angry! These graduates were happy to learn that I had this photo because no one else had ever thought to take a picture of it.

And here are a couple of iconic Sedona landmarks: Bell Rock and Cathedral (taken from Oak Creek – the side facing the school is to the right). Elvis Presley once made a movie with Bell Rock as a backdrop. We students got to see him one day (in 1967) when we were in town, when he was filming a scene on a motorcycle emerging from behind a bank. This view of Bell Rock was the scenery from our back window at a resort/condo we rented with friends for 2006 reunion weekend.

Verde Valley School is today one of the most prestigious private high schools in the United States. This school of about 120 students is known for its location, small teacher-student ratio, and its innovative and inclusive curriculum, with an emphasis on environmental and international studies. Many students, especially foreign students, are attracted by the IB (International Baccalaureate) program that was initiated sometime in the late 1990s. The IB is a rigorous, internationally recognized curriculum. VVS graduates are accepted at all major colleges and universities, well-equipped for the demands of college life. Students at Verde Valley School continue to go on one major field trip each school year, as has always been the case since the school was started, as well as shorter trips at various times a year, and also complete a two-week “project period.” If you think your son or daughter or grandchild would be interested in VVS’s progressive and inclusive program, you can browse the school’s web site www.vvsaz.org.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Creativity

Lens-Artists’ Photo Challenge #42 is the topic Creativity.

I love to visit cities where I get a surprise free art show! In Lincoln, Nebraska last May, after visiting tourist attractions such as the Capitol and the Sunken Gardens, I Googled restaurants and found Lazlos, in the old part of downtown. After lunch, we walked around and across from the restaurant was an alley that local artists had decorated with murals, whimsical sculptures, and more. It reminded me of Black Cat Alley in Milwaukee, which we had visited the previous November. There were a variety of styles and media.
20180529_131445
The face sculptures were done by Mary Kolar and the stars by Ann S.
20180529_131542
This family was created by Julie McCullough out of discarded miscellaneous objects.
20180529_131550d

Andy Peters created a sculpture (at right) using the theme of the painting at left.

20180529_131630d
I think these are boats?
20180529_131649
This 1960s-style mural took up a large section of wall.
20180529_131721d
I like the way this artist used the contours of the windows when painting this mural.
20180529_131757d
Jen Gay was the creator of this piece.
20180529_131855
And here’s a warning!
20180529_131737
A few days later, we spent 3 nights at an Airbnb in Denver hosted by artist Marlene Feinholz. Most of her paintings have local themes, but there are some unusual pieces too.
20180530_175905
20180530_180540
This space, essentially a “garden apartment” below her residence, used to be her studio, but she decided to move her studio upstairs and rent out the apartment to visitors to Denver. Most of the artwork (with the exception of a couple of Picassos she apparently picked up in Spain) was her own.
20180602_085608

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #36: Around the Neighborhood in Des Plaines, Illinois

Lens-Artists’ weekly photo challenge this week is Around the Neighborhood. I selected some photos from my photo archive of the last few years that are “typical” of Des Plaines, Illinois, the Chicago suburb where I live.

More and more of these signs have popped up in people’s yards since the beginning of the Trump administration. This is becoming an increasingly diverse and open-minded city.  Des Plaines had been a predominantly Republican town, but as younger and more diverse people have moved in, this is changing. Republican or not, people want to show that we are welcoming.
20180516_143137.jpg
Des Plaines is known for traffic delays due to trains passing through. We have 37 street-level railroad crossings within the city limits! Both freight and commuter trains rumble through several times a day. This railroad track is a block from our house. Nearby, it meets up with two other sets of railroad tracks. It must be a nightmare to coordinate all this train traffic!
20180628_205628.jpg
Our neighborhood has a variety of wildlife, mostly birds, squirrels, rabbits, skunks, insects and an occasional deer. A fox has been spotted in the neighborhood from time to time. Lately, people have become aware of the decline in the monarch butterfly population due to urban development which has drastically reduced the plants they feed on. Now we are seeing a return of the monarchs as people make their gardens monarch-friendly!
20180830_162142.jpg
My husband and I often take walks around our neighborhood at any time of year when the weather cooperates. There are many forest preserves and walking/biking trails in our area. Here I am on the Des Plaines River Walk. The Des Plaines River gave the name to the city and we have historically had annual flooding problems. Heavy rains and snow melt cause the river to rise enough to overflow its banks in low lying areas.
20180901_155159d
Besides wildlife, we have many pet lovers and usually we see people walking their dogs when we are out. There are also many outdoor cats. This one belongs to a friend and his name is Pal.
20180911_103605 Pal Helmer
People around here take great pride in their gardens and decorating their lawns. Some have kitschy lawn statues. This is a tasteful and pretty fall display.
20181022_171840.jpg
Autumn is the most beautiful season here. A few years ago, we had the most glorious fall colors. This is a typical neighborhood fall scene.20151021_151033.jpg
Because there is a Metra station in downtown Des Plaines, many people have moved in and rented or bought condos in the downtown area. But now there are condos going up everywhere – soon Des Plaines will be known more for its plethora of condo complexes  than its trains! (Planes, Trains and Automobiles really applies here – we are also near O’Hare airport.) Here is a typical condo/townhouse complex. And they keep building and building on whatever land is available. In downtown Des Plaines they are demolishing a whole block of stores and restaurants (including our local camera store) in order to put up a big apartment building!
20151021_151451.jpg
One more fall scene in the ‘hood!
20161018_160258
I forgot to list above one of our most often forgotten wildlife species – snakes! We don’t see them often and they are harmless. Three years ago, it was warm enough in February for a pair of garden snakes to make their appearance and lie sunning on a rock next to our house.
20160219_144443.jpg
It’s not common to see deer right in our neighborhood, but in nearby forest preserves it’s normal to see a buck, or a doe or two. I took this photo while on a walk in the Des Plaines River Forest Preserve (part of the complex of trails that includes the River Walk).
20171103_141241_001.jpg
Canada geese migrate and make their home here during the warmer months. It’s only March and we are already seeing signs of them. Hearing their honking as they fly above in V formation is a sure sign of spring! They come in flocks of vast numbers and occupy our lakes, ponds and fields.  At Prairie Lakes Park, they share space on the ponds with ducks.
20151025_171354
One of the best things about Des Plaines is our public library. It offers many services and programs, including concerts, solo performers, lectures, book groups, computer and photography classes, activities for kids of all ages and more.

This is a mural that was recently painted in a hallway.
20181002_112233
On the first floor, you check out books by scanning your library card and the bar code on the book or DVD.
20180322_142915
There are flyers of the current activities that you can help yourself to.
20180322_143052_001
When you can’t get to the library, or when you are out with your kids, you can borrow a book and leave a book in these “little libraries” that are scattered around town.
20180314_112536
I hope you enjoyed this tour of my neighborhood!

 

CB&WPC: Murals

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week is Murals.

The word mural comes from the Latin word for wall.  It is defined by Bing as: a painting or other work of art executed directly on a wall. Wikipedia goes into further detail: A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.

We usually think of murals as paintings on a wall, especially when it covers a large space. At our public library, I was surprised to encounter some new murals that had been painted in a hallway:
20181002_112233 (2)
I am posting it here in black & white because that’s what this challenge is all about, but the artist used very vivid colors. The wall across from this one has another mural; here are two close-ups of part of it:

Here is a mural advertising Coco-Cola in Lexington, Illinois.

DSC_0895 (2).JPG

If mural art can be any type of artwork, certainly ancient Egyptian carvings on walls qualify. They built temples to kings and gods, creating friezes and carvings on a grandiose scale which exalted the king’s victory in battle, his offerings to the gods, or the gods’ protection of him. This is an especially beautiful example from Karnak, which after 3500 years is still clearly visible, of the gods Thoth (left – with the head of an ibis) and Horus (right – with a falcon’s head) pouring water over the king from two jars. The king stands in the middle, with several symbols above his head signifying protection and long life. 20181226_151651 (2)
In the ancient past, these carvings would have been painted but the color has been lost to millenia of exposure of exterior walls.

In Israel, which we toured after Egypt, I particularly liked this mural painted on a curved wall in Magdala, the home town of Mary Magdalene. In the Bible it describes how she felt Jesus’ spirit enter her when she touched his robe at their first meeting. The mural shows the bottom of Jesus’ robe and Mary Magdalene’s outstretched hand, with her finger reaching out to touch the hem of his robe.
20190109_161850 (2)