WaterDragon Sunday Post: City~ “Siena, Italy”

Siena, Italy,  is the capital of the region called Tuscany.  The Province of Siena consists of 36 comuni (comunes), which we would call municipalities or townships.
Siena is not a large city, compared to Rome or Florence.  However, the city’s population is 54,000.  It remains a walled city since the 12th-15th centuries, when the first Gothic buildings and wall were built.  The Cathedral of Siena was started in 1284 on the lower section, a stunning showpiece with its black and white striped interior and exterior marble walls.

…..

I was able to get this particular shot of Siena’s Basilica, Bell Tower and Duomo, as I was standing on top of the wall of the first cathedral, which was never finished,  The first cathedral was intended to be the largest in the world. Then the plague hit Siena, cutting their population nearly in half.  With fewer people, they could no longer support a cathedral that large, and they began to build the smaller present cathedral. ( Although we think it’s still very large!) The original nave with arched door, 3 walls and stone floor still remain.  The wall above the nave is available as a viewpoint for looking at the rest of the city and the surrounding countryside.

Judy

Advertisements

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign~ “Signs”

Hi everyone!  Today’s weekly photo challenge is “Foreign”.  One of the dictionary’s definitions is: unfamiliar or strange.  That just about describes my post perfectly.
As you know, we returned from beautiful Italy ten days ago, and we had a wonderful time.  I must say…every Italian we met was extremely helpful and kind, they did not make us feel foreign.

We rented a car to drive the autostrada through Tuscany….from Florence to Rome, with visits in San Gimignano, Siena and Assisi along the way.  This was where we had a deep feeling of being foreign!  We were definitely in unfamiliar territory with some strange highway signs.  But we had no trouble arriving at each of our destinations.

The Italians, like other countries, are making more universal signs, appealing to visitors and natives alike.  However, when traveling 70-80 km in the rain….the signs seem to appear out of nowhere and fly past you in a nano-second!   The signs also have many towns listed with arrows going in opposite directions!  The conversation in our car: “Did you see Assisi on that sign?”  “No, did you?”  

I started taking photos of the signs so I could refer to it after we’d passed them by!  I apologize for blurriness…as the rain and speed didn’t help!
I love to take photos of road signs in other countries, anyway…here’s my example of FOREIGN.  Enjoy!

Above….
We start out easy.  Lots of towns listed here.  All are going in the same direction.  Universal signs at the bottom.  Piece of cake.

Above…
A little trickier.  At first sight it can confuse you. Some universal signage combined with foreign words.  Tutte means “ALL”, so everyone needs to veer in the left direction for Parking.  It’s not good to go straight. 😉

EEEEK!   I couldn’t get my camera to snap fast enough!  Some universal signage and several towns…but going in different directions.  If you were driving in the rain..as we were…this was definitely a whopper!  I still can’t figure out the middle two triangles…but we made it to Assisi just fine!  We saw beautiful countryside all along the way…even in the rain!

I recommend the drive to anyone.  (but avoid the cities!) 😉

Judy

Florence’s Magnificent Cathedral~Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

Gallery

This gallery contains 16 photos.

In English, “Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore” translates to “Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower”.  It is a stunning example of Gothic design, which was started in 1296 by Arnolfo di Cambio.  Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore … Continue reading

Florence~Rich in Art and Architecture

Gallery

This gallery contains 21 photos.

Florence is a beautiful city, busy, bustling and full of people, walking, riding bikes, Vespas, motorcycles and driving cars.  The Arno River runs through the city and under several bridges that were built in the 1200-1300”s.  Only the Ponte Vecchio … Continue reading

Gelato, Autostrada, Pasta, Michelangelo, Wine, Bruschetta. Where was I?

If you guessed Italy, you’re right!   We traveled there for two weeks and had a fabulous time.  We had beautiful weather in the 70s-80s F.  The only time it rained was on travel days!

“Traveling is the ruin of all happiness!  There’s no looking at a building after seeing Italy.”
~Fanny Burney

Our first stop was Florence, with a great hotel on the Arno River.  I spent a lot of time taking photos from the room’s window!  After four days in Florence our plan was to travel through Tuscany and finish in Rome.  Our stops included:  San Gimignano, Siena, Assisi and Rome.  San Gimignano was just a half-day trip on the way to Siena.  My husband offered to drive through Tuscany and drop the car at the Rome airport.   Our plan was to avoid driving in any major cities!  Barring a few wrong turns, we succeeded!

Since we got home very late Monday night…I’m just now starting to edit photos.
I’ll post as soon as I can, beginning with Florence!  Here’s one to start~

The photo was taken in front of our hotel, looking west down the Arno River.  You’ll see the Ponte Alle Grazie bridge.  This was the second bridge built over the Arno, the first being the famous Ponte Vecchio.  Ponte Alle Grazie bridge was first built in 1237 and over the years had a home for nuns; then shops and homes, as the Ponte Vecchio does now.  A fierce flood destroyed the bridge and it was rebuilt.  During WWll it was destroyed by bombs.  It was rebuilt in 1957 and remains unchanged.

Looking west along the Arno River. The Ponte Alle Grazie bridge can be seen in the photo.

 

Don’t change this channel!  Stay tuned for more updates from Italy!
Thanks for hanging in there while I was away….I appreciate my blogger friends!

Judy

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary~Sculpture of Rose McClendon

Solitary: definition~ “occurring singly and not as part of a group or cluster”.  
Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  

Solitary, singular, alone, lone, special, sole, unique.

This sculpture of Rose McClendon stands alone proudly on the grounds of Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural commission for the Edgar Kaufmann family.  She graces the garden near the walkway that joins the main house and guest house at Fallingwater.

Standing in a prayerful pose, she is startlingly beautiful, serene and reverent, as she tilts her head back toward Heaven.

Rose indeed was special and unique.  She was ‘one of the most renowned African-American stage performers of her time’. *  She starred in eleven Broadway productions.
Ethel Barrymore once said: “She can teach them all distinction.”  Aside from stage work, Rose directed and produced, and was co-founder of the Negro People’s Theatre in Harlem, and supervised the Federal Negro Theatre. *

When we visited Fallingwater, I was mesmerized by Rose.  It was raining lightly, so she had droplets cascading down her face. She looked as if she was crying in prayer, becoming more realistic than just a cast-stone sculpture.  I was very moved by this lovely piece.
I hope you can also feel the emotion as you look at the photo.

Sculpture of Rose McClendon (1884-1936) by Richmond Barthe

*Taken from: Website about Fallingwater click here.

Thanks for coming to visit!  I really appreciate it!

Judy

Weekly Image of Life: Seasons and Changes~ Red Leaves?

“The one red leaf, the last of its clan, 
That dances as often as dance it can,  
Hanging so light, and hanging so high, 
On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.”
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772-1834

Our Japanese Maple tree is green for most seasons in bloom~ from spring through summer.  In fall the leaves usually turn a bright, beautiful shade of red.
It truly lights up the garden with its seasonal change.

The Japanese Maple contrasts nicely with the strap-like green and white leaves of the Yucca below it.

Last year’s Japanese Maple in fall…

Last year…

But this year there were changes, even before we got to September.
Our normally green Japanese Maple leaves began turning a bronze-green color in July.
They’ve remained that color for the rest of the summer.  I believe it has to to with our extremely hot, dry weather this summer.  All of our plants have suffered in some way or another, even with watering.

Just this week I began to see a tinge of red around the leaf edges.
Perhaps we’ll get some red after all!  Changes!

This year…

“Change in all things is sweet.” ~Aristotle

The Weekly Image of Life post: Seasons & Changes, is brought to you by Island Traveler’s blog: “This Man’s Journey”.  Check out his post on Seasons & Changes, here, and join the rest of us…by sharing photos or stories of Seasons and Changes.  Each Wednesday, Island Traveler will post a new challenge.  Come join the fun!

Judy

COPYRIGHT

All text and images are copyright © 2002-2012 and are the exclusive property of Judy Johnson (unless otherwise indicated). All Rights Reserved. All Images are protected under United States and International copyright laws. None of the images on this site are in the Public Domain.

 

My First Attempt with Textures!

I’ve been interested in trying textures with a few photos for some time now.  I’ve been inspired by my blogger friend, Jocelyne.  She creates lovely textured photographs, vignette’s, and still life images.  She also takes the most beautiful photos of flowers and gardens. Check out Jocelyne’s blog here.

I finally did a free texture tutorial with Kim Klassen online.  Then I tried her lesson in Photoshop Elements 9.

It didn’t work for me at first.  I don’t think I was importing the texture “image” correctly.  So I tried three more times.  And the last time it worked!  So tonight I’m sharing my very first attempt at adding a texture to my original photo with all of you!

I love vintage things….and vintage photos are at the top of my list.

If you are interested in learning about adding and blending textures with your photos,  click here for Kim Klassen’s free “Textures in Ten” Tutorial (ten minutes).   Kim is an upbeat person who does a great job explaining each step in two short videos.  She also includes two textures to download and try.

The original photo:

***

The photo with texture added:

Thanks for visiting!

Judy

Whimsical Architectural Reflections

Architecture is the very mirror of life.You only have to cast your eyes on buildings to feel the presence of the past, the spirit of a place; they are the reflection of society”.  ~I. M. Pei  Les Grands desseins du Louvre (with E J Biasini)

I love architecture from all periods and cultures in the history of the world.  I’m also fond of reflections, whether it’s in a mirror, window, water, or a glass building.  I have a series of tall buildings from a recent trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.  These structures show reflections of buildings adjacent to them.  You will note many different styles of architecture, but the reflections are whimsical.

The glass in which they are reflected throws off their balance and perfect structure; their straight steel beams and their arched windows now appear to be broken, twisted, wavy or curvy.

Come enjoy my Whimsical Architectural Reflections, and be glad that they are only reflections.

This building (above) was the hotel we stayed in.

This one looks like a topsy-turvy sand castle to me!

Grand Rapids is the second largest city in Michigan, following Detroit in population and size.  It’s a great city to visit. Click here to find out more about Grand Rapids.

Judy

Weekly Image of Life: Discovery~Dahlias

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”  ~Claude Monet

I have to wonder if Claude Monet had observed Dahlias when he made that remark!  Dahlias are my new discovery!   I’d always known they existed, but it was just recently that I became obsessive about them!

A blogger friend, Cee, has been a big influence for me in my “Dahlia Discovery”!  Cee loves Dahlias and takes gorgeous photos of these lovely flowers.  Here’s a link to a post on her blog with amazingly beautiful dahlia photography. Click here to see it.  Cee knows the names of the flowers and has been a dahlia fan for a long time.  Check out her blog!  Thanks, Cee!

Dahlias range from 2″ in diameter to over 10″ in diameter!

Beautiful multiple-petaled flowers smile in the sunshine.

Did you know that Dahlias were introduced in Europe at the end of the 18th century?

A bright and cheery yellow dahlia.

The dahlia is the Official Flower of Mexico, Seattle and San Francisco.

There are two pink dahlias in this photo. One is hiding behind the dahlia in the foreground.

Dahlias are in the same family as Chrysanthemums, and often are hard to tell apart.

Dahlia or Chrysanthemum? 😉

There are approximately 50,000 named varieties of Dahlias.

Without the use of my tripod or macro lens, besides taking photos in the middle of the day….I knew I was in for some iffy shots! But I was tickled Pink with this one. 😉

 “The Queen” ~in the middle of a garden, being “guarded” by other flowers!  I could not get close enough to take a clear photo.  However, I thought this dahlia was a stunning example of the species.

“The Queen”~so named by me~ 😉

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”  ~Luther Burbank

The Weekly Image of Life post: Discovery, is brought to you by Island Traveler’s blog: “This Man’s Journey”.  Check out his post on Discovery, here, and join the rest of us…by telling us what you’ve discovered in your life.  Each Wednesday, Island Traveler will post a new challenge.  Come join the fun!

Thanks for visiting!

Judy

All text and images are copyright © 2002-2012 and are the exclusive property of Judy Johnson (unless otherwise indicated). All Rights Reserved. All Images are protected under United States and International copyright laws. None of the images on this site are in the Public Domain