Saturday, May 20

Real Alcázar Dome: Depth Rays

At about the time when Christians were recalling how to erect and decorate ambitious church domes: Pedro I in just two years (1364-66 ) built his palace - the Real Alcázar (The Royal Place) in Seville. Here's the ceiling of the (later added) _Salon de Embajdores_. It's where  Sultans met officials and dined formally. And where it's said (much like a similar scene from a Godfather movie), a later Sultan lured a rival's entire family for a banquet... and slaughtered them all. Tasty?

Anyway... This dome is made from interlaced staves of intricately carved and gilded wood. On the right and left: see the capitals atop two of the massive columns which support the massive weight of the dome? Amazingly so much of the Alcázar and Seville's Moorish antiquities have survived the geologically active quakes that shake so much of Spain flat.

Geek Stuff: This is a 17mm, three photo-pano stitched together from images made with my Canon 7D through its EFS 17-85mm f4-5.6 glass, processed in PS/CC employing myriad tools from Topaz, 0N1, and Alien Skin's enticing new Exposure X2. Of course the photos were handheld and shot at 2,000 ISO (1/13th of a sec).. Notice the lack of grain? Well, in fact I did a bunch of tricks to make the shadows and highlights pop while obscuring noise. The 7D has a powerful sensor though and low light noise is just a minor irritant problem.

Y por mi amigos de Espana...

Alrededor de la época en que los cristianos recordaban cómo erigir y decorar ambiciosas cúpulas de iglesias: Pedro I en sólo dos años (1364-66) construyó su palacio - el Real Alcázar de Sevilla. Aquí está el techo del (más tarde agregado) _Salon de Embajdores_. Es donde los sultanes se reunieron con funcionarios y cenaron formalmente. Y donde se dice (al igual que una escena similar de la película de El Padrino), un sultán más tarde atrajo toda la familia de un rival para un banquete ... y los mató a todos. ¿Sabroso?

De todos modos ... Esta cúpula está hecha de bastones entrelazados de madera tallada y dorada intrincadamente. A la derecha ya la izquierda: ver los capiteles sobre dos de las columnas masivas que soportan el peso masivo de la cúpula? Sorprendentemente mucho del Alcázar y las antigüedades árabes de Sevilla han sobrevivido a los terremotos geológicamente activos que sacuden tanto España plana.

Esto es un 17mm, tres foto-pano cosidos juntos de imágenes hechas con mi Canon 7D a través de su EFS 17-85mm f4-5.6 vidrio, procesado en PS / CC que emplea una miríada de herramientas de Topaz, 0N1 y Alien Skin Atrayente nueva Exposición X2. Por supuesto, las fotos fueron de mano y disparó a 2.000 ISO (1/13 de un segundo) .. Nota la falta de grano? Bueno, de hecho hice un montón de trucos para hacer las sombras y resalta pop mientras oscurece el ruido. El 7D tiene un sensor de gran alcance sin embargo y el poco ruido ligero es apenas un problema irritante menor.

Thursday, May 11

Andalusia Between Cordoba & Seville

So sunrise burnt away valley mists that coated a rare non-electric rail track wriggling through orange groves toward Northeastern mountains.
There are 88 bus miles stretching from Cordoba and Seville along the Andalusian plain. Andalusia includes Gibralter (Spain doesn’t recognize Britain’s claim to that rock), This plain is as much Europe’s Eastern entrance as Turkey is in the West.
Consequently beyond the bus windows is a plain that’s been swept in historic times by the native Iberians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Visigoths, Byzantines, Jews, Romani, myriad Africans, and Muslim Moors, along with the Castilian and other Christian North Iberian nationalities who conquered and settled the area in the latter phases of the Reconquista.
This far south, road signs are frequently written in both Spanish and arabic.

Geek Stuff Canon 7D through its EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6). Processed in PS/CC employing tools by Photomatix, Topaz and Alien Skin’s Exposure X2.

Thursday, May 4


Flamenco @ La Palacio Andaluz

Seville: If you can make it there (in flamenco) you can make it anywhere, right? The Palacio is a dinner theater with perhaps the best dance ensemble. Review: Really liked it. Good food, great dance, and since flamenco is theater… Well, there’s the hat trick :-}
Oh:  And La Palacio encourage photography.

Geek Stuff Canon G-10. Processed in PS/CC employing myriad tools by: Photomatix, Topaz and Alien Skin’s new Exposure X2. Stage lighting’s a challenge, so I try to make lemonade – y’know?

Saturday, April 29

OK, It's Worrisome, huh?

And these scholars are protesting fascism! Sigh. What the hell's happening on campus? Look, I'm a registered Democrat, at least through the next primary. After that? Grumble. Sorry, don't mean to be political, but once upon a time colleges seemed to be the place where beer and debate made the word "sophomoric" fun. Do fires, beaten women professors, speakers run off, and "debaters" like this gal seem kind of self indulgent. 

Question... by calling her a "gal" have I put my peace and quiet at risk of frazzling? Can you still say "gal"?  Or am I now unspeakably evil? If gal's gone, wuddabout "guy"? You get the feeling that there are flash fads frenzying flash mobs packed with nasty neurotic nut jobs? OOPS... NNNs are probably poised to give anyone a spontaneous dose of psychopathic proctology - which, may be the field of study that's replaced Western Civ? Is this a snarky transcendent moment or what? 

This gal and her pack of NNNs, waft the stink of 1930s Germany or Cultural Revolution China. Maybe both? 

It's worrisome, huh? 

Disclaimer: The basic image here isn't mine. It popped up on some news site without attribution. The processing is mine. I'm sort of glad I wasn't standing in front of this new-age beauty even with a very long lens. If anyone knows the photographer's name, please let me know - I'd like to celebrate her/his gonads. 

Sunday, March 12

Spain Day 3 • Bits of Cordoba • 10/24/16

Of course you can click on any image to see it large...

I've been apologizing to myself for getting sick. OK, that's dumb, but both Rita and I were felled during this trip - she got bronchitis, and since I'm more manly, well I grew it into pneumonia... Cough, Wheez... So this was the worst job of photographing I've done in decades. Sorry... sorry... sorry. Grumble.

In the 10th century, Cordoba was among the world's greatest cities.

The old city's snuggled behind it's massive ancient curtain wall protecting the colossal Mezquita. This Great Mosque embodied the power of the Islam on the Iberian Peninsula. Starting in the late 700s it was constructed by the Moors for over 150 years with lavish additions in the 10th century by Hakam II. The city was the sultan's citadel with a towering minaret high above all. A minaret which was replaced six hundred years later with this Torre del Alminar bell tower when Catholics reclaimed the city. 

The enormous Mezquita, now the Cathedral of Cordoba, is itself wrapped in a thick wall. Can't help looking at it's secluded rear door without imagining how it allowed dignitaries furtive entrance and exit. 

Spain's fabulous wealth allowed first the Muslims then the Catholics cities to compete with increasingly grand mosques, churches and then cathedrals. For example, here in the heart of the Mezquita is the very busy Catholic cathedral's main altar. Overdone? Hmmmm... I'm thinking that if this were music, the best descriptive word could be, um... cacophony. Each succeeding Cardinal must have sought some undecorated niche to stuff still more into this reconsecrated basilica.

This place reminds me most of a freeway at rush hour... clogged with architect and artist traffic. Maybe it was my fever, but the silently elegant remaining fixtures of the caliphs spoke to me more than the frenetic snarl of the cathedral's decoration. 

Wednesday, March 8

Valencia • 10/27/16 • 5:31p • Street Artist

Came across other North African street merchants last time I was in Italy. See the look on the guy's face? Before I could take a second shot, he'd swiveled to face into that doorway. The move seemed casual, graceful as a dancer. But he was hidden.

The work was nicely executed but probably computer stuff that was gone over with brushes. See how similar many of the images are? A man and his wares have probably stood against that ancient wall for centuries. Tough way to make a living from the swirl of passers-by. 

Here's the art business where rubber meets road. 

Tuesday, February 21

Meaning? 10/26/16 • Carthusian Tryptic.

Our brains really don't come empty. Millions of evolutionary years have wired in some instincts - which are sort of neuro-rules. Apparently ancient ancestors who were best able to make sense of a given moment, were more likely to live long enough to pass along an instinctual track in their babies' minds.I'm guessing that it fueled our ability to spot the tiger in the bushes, or the villain unsheathing his knife.

Anyway, what happens when there's really no order in what appears to be a simple moment? Granada's Baroque Carthusian monastery's like that. Its pieces won't fit together without some sort of key. But where is it? How to explain this happy couple, the dead clown and relatively ancient holes poked into walls - and an eye-fooling altar setting that's actually a painting? In fact, while the doorway steps there on the right are 'real', that alcove to the right of the painted altar piece was also, I think, painted to wickedly deceive the mind. 

So is there order among the couple and the tryptic behind them? Can your mind assemble the pattern, the order, the moment's reason and therefore its meaning? Or is this really a surrealist's romp? One thing's certain... Blown up to 7' on the horizontal edge - Here's an image that will ask everyone its questions each and every time they enter the room it dominates. 

Friday, February 17

Seville's 12th Century Gothic Cathedral

After he died a pauper, the monarchy resurrected Columbus as a hero. Cities competed... and still do... over claims to be the explorer's resting place. While the Spanish claimed his body rested here in Seville's magnificent cathedral no one had the courage to test the remains until a few years ago. DNA examination concluded that there were some milligrams of Columbus's corpse in here. Just which of his parts isn't made clear. Where's the rest? Maybe in Central America - who knows? 

My image belongs on a museum wall, y'think? 

Saturday, January 14

Spain 2016: 10/23: Page 1: Madrid & Toledo

For a larger view... Click on any image, OK?

España Day 1: Saturday 10/22/16 • Tour de España con La Cámara de Lancaster de Comercio (How's my Spanish lingo?)  - Produced by the TravelTime Agency - and led by Lori Heathcote & Courtney Bailey. Enjoy… And leave your wonderings to mix with mine... After all, art without wonder is merely craft, right?

"He who starts a journey of a thousand miles, best have plane tickets." - anon.

España Day 2: Sunday 10/23/16 • Madrid & Toledo

Okay, here come a bunch of my images (not photos… images - which are more impressions than photographs… feelings really - a sense of wondering space). 

A couple of thoughts here… For those of you who weren’t along, there were about 35 of us, mostly from Lititz!? Maybe because it’s America’s coolest town? Dunno, but I’ve plucked these things from my impressions and they’re as factual as, well - novels, poems, plays, or even melodies are when compared to reality… hence: ImageFictionBut then again, everything that’s photographically based is at least processed through a photographer’s point of view, as well as cropping, lens choice, camera processor, and spontaneous eye for detail… I just dig farther into conceptual stuff. 

Have you noticed that when you peer into memory compartments that things look more or less vivid, more or less to scale, and more or less meaningful? So our memory snippets skip their traces, like puppies who’ve lost their collars. ENOUGH RAMBLING… 

It rained… Poured off and on for the first third of out trip. And sadly both Rita and I incubated some sort of lung viruses which grew into bronchitis for her and pneumonia for me…. Infections that took us almost three weeks apré trip to finally slough off. So we actually had maybe 60 hours between deluge and plague to enjoy the trip. Worse yet  from day 2 on I got evicted from the  front seat so the interminable hours of bussing left me with few opportunities to spot oncoming scenes and to capture them.  Meaning most of the Spanish countryside went too blurry into my camera to produce usable material. Oh well… Enough whining… 

Here’s some of what I got…. starting with Day Two (10/23) between the raindrops first in Madrid, then Toledo. More days will follow here on Image Fiction... I'd of course, appreciate your feelings either as comments here or to

Oh, BTW, the sun rises MUCH later in Spain than in Lancaster County so virtually everything before 9am seems glimpsed through dim first light, mostly before actual dawn. Add the storm clouds and... Here’s my forever impression of Madrid. 

The Prado is Spain’s national art museum. It opens at 10 AM on Sundays. So we stopped to visit this memorial to Spain’s greatest writer. Perhaps it is a lovely park. Not sure since the weather gave the city a kind of feeling of Metropolis. One expects the Bat Signal to flash from the roof of that 1940s skyscraper… Home of Bruce Wayne Enterprises maybe? Dunno, but maybe Meg Lince… the real photographer with our party... grabbed a happier shot here from her perch on the ground before Don Quixote and Sancho? I’m looking forward to seeing Meg's work, maybe on her website

Anyway, our bus was first to the Prado at around 9:40 where this smoking fat guy kept us in the storm until exactly 10. Odd, since ther's a large, warm and comfortable waiting area just beyond those doors to the left which eventually accommodated scores of people. Well, maybe not odd since bureaucrats world-wide treasure their power, right? The rain in Spain was was a steady pain. Ooops, I’m whining again…. Sorry… :-)

And inside the Prado - what's there to see? Well as far as cameras are concerned… This capture below is all one can photograph. Looks a lot like the Rape of the Sabines in Florence’s square in Italy. At least I thought so but I haven’t asked Mangesh yet. It was good to have a doctor along though, especially a guy with his sense of humor. Rita and I needed both his skill and bedside manner later in the week. Yep, this is the sole Prado image. I really should travel with a tiny spy camera... Sigh....  😏

Sad about the rain, Madrid’s Spain’s capitol city and consequently - even under relentless showers - boasts stunning architecture from the nation’s many epochs of greatness. 

Ooops… this is a wrong-dated capture of the old walled city of Toledo about 90 minute from Madrid where we spent Sunday afternoon. We climbed  into the city on a series of escalators rising through  tunnels that are a triumph of sophisticated Spanish engineering design. As you know, Spain is Europe’s fourth largest economy (following Germany, England, and France), with cityscapes that routinely match or exceed downtowns in Manhattan, Rome, Paris, London, and Berlin. 

I’ve got scores of still untouched Toledo pictures like this one up above that I’ll work on during the winter… Well after we return from Florida of course :-)

Coming Soon Day 3… Cordoba & Seville crammed full with  Moor and Catholic cultural droppings.