Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Deos fortioribus adesse."

Roman Forum, Rome, Italy  © Doug Hickok

"The gods are on the side of the stronger," said Publius Cornelius Tacitus (AD 56-117), a senator of Rome and historian of the Roman Empire. This statement was true of the mighty empire, from the 8th century BC to the year AD 476, when one of the world's greatest civilizations rose, thrived, and declined in a span of about 1000 years. At the height of its power, the dominion of Rome spread 2.5 million miles across the Mediterranean region, and into northern Europe and Asia.

Pictured above, the Roman Forum was the heart of the empire and the oldest part of the city of Rome. This photograph of its ruins illustrates both a visual and historical depth, showing more than a millennium of years in one view.

The ruins from front to back are, the Arch of Septimius Severus (AD 203), the Column of Phocas (far right, AD 608), the Via Sacra (cobblestone path near steps, circa 5th century BC), the Basilica of Julia (steps, BC 54), the Temple of Castor and Pollux (3 columns, BC 484), and in the distance the ruins of the Palatine Hill (BC 510 - AD 576).

Quick take: You can buy the newest Hasselblad 200 MP camera for only $45,000! Act now while supplies last.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Misty Monday - To Shoot

Docked Boats, Northeast Harbor, Maine  © Doug Hickok

The question Hamlet asked was, "To be or not to be."
The question a writer asks is, "to write or not to write."
The question a painter asks is, "to paint or not to paint."
And, the question a photographer asks is, "to shoot or not to shoot."
Sometimes a subject is just too photogenic to pass-up and screams for attention. Such was the case for this naturally beautiful setting on the quiet misty waters of
Northeast Harbor, Maine.

I HAD to shoot!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mixed Bag

Yardarms, Tall Ship, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

Sailors tying up sails on the yardarm of a tall ship.

Deck of Tall Ship, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

Ropes on the deck of a Coast Guard tall ship docked in Charleston.

Red Barn, Rural Ohio  © Doug Hickok

An image from my days of roaming around the countryside in Ohio.
(shot on Kodachrome 64 slide film, 1986)

Reflections of Shrimp Boats, Shem Creek, Mt. Pleasant, SC  © Doug Hickok

Homage to Jackson Pollack.

Faded Mural, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok

Answer to the mystery movie star on the mural (from Tuesday's post) -
Ingrid Bergman... painted on the side of the restaurant, Planet Follywood.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Birthday of a Photographer

A young Doug getting his legs in shape for those low POV shots.

I know Doug promised you a "mixed bag day with several promised images" but in honor of Doug's birthday, I, Becky, have made an executive decision to postpone the mixed bag for one day.  I hope you enjoy these images... even though they were not taken by a "real" photographer.
Reflection of a photographer.

Whatever it takes to get the shot.
See, those squats paid off!

Shadow of a photographer... or 2.

Capturing Krakow.

To shoot or not to shoot... that is the question.

Happy Birthday Doug ! ! !

Friday, May 27, 2011

Four Palms Friday

Four Palmetto Trees, Charleston Harbor, Mt. Pleasant, SC  © Doug Hickok

This is a view through four Palmetto palms toward Charleston Harbor on a hazy summer morning. I liked the palm trunks in shadow when I first arrived on the scene. I next used a 300 mm telephoto lens to compress space, giving the image a more graphic appearance. The photo was made on Velvia RVP color slide film a few years ago, back in my pre-digital days. You can see a little grain from the 100 ASA film speed, quite different from the smooth look of the 100 ISO digital speed. Also, I thought I would continue the blue/green color theme from yesterday's post. Hope I didn't make you doze off with all the technical talk.

Tomorrow will be a mixed bag day, with several promised images included.
Hope you have a great weekend.

Quick take: May I leave you with an absolute ooh aah image to start your weekend? 
How about this stunner from Frans Lanting!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Diamond in the Rough

Blue Restaurant Door, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok

"In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject" 
Henri Cartier-Bressen

Folly Beach, a 30 minute drive from downtown Charleston 
(just 5 minutes as the Laughing Gull flies), is a great place to find color, color with character that is. This image shows a detail of a rough-looking door. It is the entrance to a popular restaurant in the island town. The weathered door is a gem in the making, having been chiseled over time into a precious specimen with dazzling blue and green hues. Add a bit of red and you have a little treasure.

And now, if you will please excuse me, I must clean my house.

Quick take: Here is a link to an extraordinary video called "The Decisive Moment", narrated by Henri Cartier-Bresson. In it the master photographer displays and discusses a selection of his most famous images. Priceless.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

No Laughing Matter

Laughing Gull, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok

There is not a dull gull on Folly Beach these days. Laughing gulls in particular are riotously noisy and seemingly ubiquitous. They frequent the pier, the beach, the parking lots, the areas behind restaurants, and of course, the skies. They are especially eager for handouts, as this handsome bird was. Although I had nothing to give, I tried making-up for my lack of charity by encouraging the gull to laugh at some of my jokes. I tried knock-knock jokes, rim shot one-liners, puns, and even tried my best blue-footed boobie imitation. Not surprisingly, all my attempts at jokes fell flat. The only response I got from the gull was a quiet, curious look, as if to say, "This guy is a looney bird".

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Faded Glory

Faded Mural, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok

On the side of a restaurant on Folly Beach is a fading mural of famous Hollywood stars from yesteryear. This image is a detail of its weathered wood surface showing the collar and shoulders of one of these famous stars. Who could this be? This weekend I'll reveal the whole picture of this person in case your curiosity has been piqued.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Castle Hill Secret Garden

Castle Hill, Budapest, Hungary  © Doug Hickok

When walking around Castle Hill of Budapest one morning, I was initially attracted to this scene by the warm yellow color of the old stone walls. But then I became intrigued with the open door, which allowed a glimpse through the dark corridor into a courtyard garden. It reminded me of Charleston and secret gardens hidden behind the facades of historic houses. And that made me think, you never know what's behind outward appearances.

Quick take: Here's a link to a short article about shooting street photography with a rangefinder camera. The article opens up an interesting commentary/discussion on the pros and cons of film vs digital photography.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saint Philip's Sunday a la Pirates

Saint Philip's Church, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

Saint Philip's Church steeple rises above the streets of the French Quarter in this starry night image from Charleston. The red lantern is part of the Pirate House, which dates from 1740, and is said to have lodged the visiting sea rover Blackbeard when it was an inn and gaming establishment (we had tourists even back then). A tunnel led from the Battery to the Pirate House and was used by buccaneers entering the city, apparently to keep a low profile. Pirates were not a welcome sight in those days, except in places they spent their hard fought booty.

Speaking of pirates, Captain Jack Sparrow makes his appearance in theaters this weekend in another entertaining installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. We are big fans of Johnny Depp and look forward to any fun new films of his.

( f5.6, 13 secs, ISO 400, tripod)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lantern Shadow

Ironwork Scrolls and Lantern Shadow, South Carolina Society Hall,
Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

Late afternoon sunlight casts the shadow of an ornate lantern onto a white stucco wall. Shown in the foreground are the ironwork scrolls of the lantern stand. The setting here is the South Carolina Society Hall (1804) which is a popular venue for weddings, cotillion, and other events. I'm sure over the years many debutantes have had their pictures taken next to this fancy lantern.

Quick take: In the course of all your thoughts and ruminations, have you ever wondered what a camera lens cut in half looks like?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sam is More Than Abell

View of Cannon Beach from Ecola State Park, Oregon  © Doug Hickok

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved paging through National Geographic magazines. I was captivated by the pictures and maps of far away places that I found fascinating, places I wanted to learn about and visit one day. I was completely moved by the premise behind their motto, "Inspiring people to care about the planet." But it wasn't until I became interested in photography in my early 20's that I gained a true appreciation for just how amazing the photographers behind the photographs were. They worked unceasingly to find the most revealing vantage point, the most beautiful light, the most dramatic mood, the most telling human gesture or expression, or the most exciting wildlife behavior. They often worked in the most challenging and dangerous environments. Approaching their photography in a journalistic though artful manner, the emphasis was always on getting the image right in-camera. Over time I came to admire the work of many of these photographers.

So my pick for today's Favorite Photographer Friday is Sam Abell, one of many great NGS photographers whom I find inspiring. Quite unlike Ernst Haas and Pete Turner (previous FPF photographers), Sam Abell's color images are often quiet, understated, and sometimes almost monochromatic. His book The Photographic Life offers fascinating insight into what it was like to be a NGS photographer and even illustrates the processes he used to create some of his most iconic photographs. If you ever see his book in a library or used book store, scoop it up. You'll be fascinated. You can see some of his images here, and his website here.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Throwback Thursday - Homage to Rothko

Weathered Window, Old House, near Chillicothe, Ohio  © Doug Hickok

I made this image on Kodachrome 64 slide film in 1986. Back then, I roamed the Ohio countryside in search of interesting subjects, and often discovered them in abandoned houses or barns. I recently found this transparency, 
in a sleeve of old Kodachromes, 
of a rustic window with squares of pealing yellow paint. It reminds me of a painting in the mode of Mark Rothko. He was a Russian-born American painter known for his colorful abstracts, influenced by among others, the Cubists and their simple geometric designs. He was at the peak of his career in the 1930's through the 1950's, as was this old house, it seems.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Many Faces of Europa

The Tall Ship Europa, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

Every few years, several tall ships from around the world sail into Charleston Harbor for the Maritime Festival. This beauty is the barque Europa, which hails from the Netherlands, and will be 100 years old this summer.

Europa is also the woman in Greek mythology after whom Europe was named.

Europa is the name of a princess from Tyre, who later became a girlfriend of Zeus.

Europa is one of the moons of Jupiter (aka Zeus).

Europa is a large asteroid in the asteroid belt.

Europa is the web portal for the EU.

And perhaps most importantly, Europa is a classic rock song by Santana, and one of the sweetest instrumentals ever!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Hidden Gem of Acadia

Thuya Garden, Northeast Harbor, Mount Desert Island, Maine  © Doug Hickok

Amid the dramatic coastal and mountain scenery of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island is the small, off-the-beaten-path gem called Thuya Garden. In the early morning, when golden sunlight begins to peak through the trees, and there is no sound but the soft calling of birds, this secluded garden is transformed into a magical haven from the notorious summer crowds of the island.
Like an enchanted scene from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, this garden experience is one not to be forgotten. Look there! You can see Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth and Mustardseed. And look there, it's Robin Goodfellow! Ah, and there's that donkey-headed Bottom. He's such a silly fellow.
 "You there, Bottom, remove thyself, you're ruining the view!!!"

Quick take: Though I'm actually a quiet, low key person, some people think I'm a little quirky. Some have even called me eccentric. But apparently there are reasons for the things we do. Here is a short article on why creative people tend to be eccentric.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Misty Monday - Balsam Nature Trail

Balsam Nature Trail, Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina  © Doug Hickok

Looping around a ridge just below the peak of Mount Mitchell, the Balsam Nature Trail guides you through a dense, dark subalpine forest of spruce and fir. The mountain is the highest in the eastern US at a modest elevation of 6,684 feet, but its prominent location above the surrounding Appalachian topography causes it to attract heavy weather. Cool even in summer months, this trail is often enveloped by clouds and mists. On this occasion, the mists began to clear just as the sun came out.
There is something about the atmosphere of this primeval forest that always reminds us of elves and dwarves and Tolkien tales. As a matter of fact, we once found Gandolf's wallet and car keys laying beside the trail. He must have dropped them on his way to saving Middle Earth.

Quick take: If you like dramatic landscape photography, take a moment to view California photographer Mitch Dobrowner's work.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Duomo Sunday

Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, Italy  © Doug Hickok

Many travelers are probably familiar with the famous Cathedral (Duomo) of Florence, either having seen photographs of Brunelleschi's red brick dome towering above the city, or having visited the church when in Florence. Needless to say, the church is an impressive work of art, either from a distance, or up close. This view of the decorative exterior shows the intricate design work of the marble masonry. Whereas the dome took only 16 years to build, the facade took about five centuries to finish, being started in the 14th century and being completed finally in 1887. Talk about a titanic project, the construction of the Duomo is indeed a model of patience and persistence (not unlike the church of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona). These concepts are often difficult to fathom in the immediate gratification society we live in today.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cinderella Night

Main Market Square, Old Town of Krakow, Poland  © Doug Hickok

Like a scene in a fairy tale, these ornate carriages in the Main Market Square of Krakow seem poised to rescue Cinderella from a ball, and rush her away into the cover of night. But, as of yet, there is no hint of the glass slipper.
This plaza (Rynek Glowny) dates from the 13th century, and is Europe's largest medieval town square. Surrounding it are historic churches, palaces, and townhouses, which help create the charming atmosphere of an era long past. Shown above are the illuminated Gothic towers of Saint Mary's Basilica.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Lost Time

18th Century Mansion, King Street, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

My original post for today was going to be a Favorite Photographer Friday post. But since our Blogger network went down Thursday and most of today, we seemed to have lost time. My Thursday post was bumped back into Wednesday, but is missing most of its comments. Thursday is missing altogether (where did it go?). And today's substitute post is very late and getting short changed. I'll try getting back on schedule tomorrow.
Thank you very much for all your visits.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Twilight on East Bay Street

Ornate Lantern, East Bay Street, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

As the sun goes down and the twilight settles in, a glowing lantern lights the way along East Bay Street. In the background is the Old Exchange Building, the last structure built in Charleston by the British before the start of the Revolutionary War. Years later, President George Washington was lavishly entertained here by Charleston high society who regarded the war hero as a celebrity.

Today, Eye See Red

Poster Detail, King Street, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

There was a time, some years ago, when one could walk down King Street and see large colorful poster art plastered on the sides of buildings, especially dilapidated buildings. But in recent years, the King Street shopping district has been extended, and these neglected areas have become gentrified. Most of the old run down places have upscale designer shops and restaurants in them today. This is terrific for business and ambiance, but I miss the random creativity that used to be on display.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fruit of the Day

Blooming Shadberry Trees, Graveyard Fields, Blue Ridge Parkway,
 North Carolina  © Doug Hickok

A hillside blooms with shadberry trees in early Spring along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Also known as serviceberry, Indian pear, or sugar pear, its purplish fruit has been used by people for centuries in sauces and pies, or eaten raw for its sweet flavor. Wildlife love the berries as well... songbirds, wild turkeys, ruffed grouse, bobwhites, skunks, foxes, raccoons, black bear, squirrels, and chipmunks feast on the abundant fruit. (Not to mention being highly prized by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore).

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Mime

Street Performer, Cameraman of Gold, Rome, Italy  © Doug Hickok

"Brother, can you spare a mime?"

"It's a gold mime!"

Photo note: 1/60 second mime exposure.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Remains of Sunday

Biggin Church Ruins, Moncks Corner, SC  © Doug Hickok

These ruins are all that survive of a colonial parish church built here at Biggin Hill in 1761. During the American Revolution, the British used it as an ammunition depot and burned the church when they fled. It was rebuilt, but damaged again during the Civil War after which it was abandoned. For many years it was used as a salvage yard for bricks. The cemetery is still used today, although it is difficult to tell from this angle. These headstones are quite old, and the inscriptions on them are heavily weathered.
The church was built in fairly sophisticated style for a outlying country church. It was constructed in English bond, with quoins, a Gibbs surround, a water table, and voussoirs (wedge-shaped bricks), which you can see over the arched windows.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Impression of a Sunrise V

Sunrise, Charleston Harbor, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

If Monet had a Canon...

(Happy B-day to Chris... we wish you a Gold Star kind of day!)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Doorway to the Weekend - Unfinished?

Old Double Doors, Savannah, Georgia  © Doug Hickok

Like Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, these old doors have much to admire, and even though they are incomplete, they stand alone as a composition. Perhaps a little neglected behind the rhythm of the balustrade, they have survived the test of time, and conduct themselves like a true classic.  D.C. al fine.

Hope you have a classic weekend as well.

(Image shot on Fujichrome Velvia RVP 100 color slide film, using a Nikon F3HP camera, and a Nikkor 105 mm f/2.5 lens while wearing elf ears

and a kookaburra feather in my pork pie hat.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Request Day

Some of our fellow bloggers have asked me to show some alternative views of previous posts, and although I don't have exactly everything asked for, I will try to approximate their requests. So here goes...

Mulholland Point Lighthouse, Campobello Island,
New Brunswick, Canada  ©  Doug Hickok

Here is a near whole view of the Mulholland Point Lighthouse. It was undergoing renovation at the time of our visit, and you can see the missing clapboard 
at its base. It was from a window in this lighthouse we had a misty view of the Bay of Fundy. 

Common Eiders and View of Lubec, Maine  © Doug Hickok

A vista from near the lighthouse as the fog began to lift, looking back over toward the 

U. S. from Campobello island.

Ravenel Bridge, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

 A look at the Ravenel Bridge tower and cables without lamp posts.

Pineapple Fountain, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

Yes, more pineapples, this time the Pineapple Fountain at night.

View of Krakow from the Divine Mercy Tower, Krakow, Poland  © Doug Hickok

Another view from the tower at the Basilica of Divine Mercy, showing the outskirts of Krakow, Poland. Below, center, is the Pastoral Lodge and to the right is the Convent.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Theatre Courtyard at Twilight

Dock Street Theatre Courtyard, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

This is the courtyard to the newly renovated Dock Street Theatre in the French Quarter of Charleston. It is a place patrons gather during the intermissions of plays, concerts and other performances, and is perfect for a bit of fresh air, a cool drink and light conversation.
Not far from the theatre is Magnolia's restaurant, where Becky and I went for our anniversary dinner last evening. A loud shout out to our friend Edward, our favorite waiter, who entertained us with a fabulous feast never to be forgotten.
Take a bow Edward. Bravo!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

25 Years!

Wedding Reception, Forest Park, Ohio  1986

Lucky me! On this day, a quarter century ago, I married my one and only love. She is the soul who makes me whole, and brings out the best of my being. To me, we make a tuneful tandem, a strumming lute and melodious voice blending together as one.

We spent our honeymoon in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hiking, taking pictures, eating pancakes and pizza, taking pictures, etc.

Smoking Ridges, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee  © Doug Hickok

In our marriage we have journeyed together, through highs and lows,
balancing along ridges, venturing into valleys, and facing the fog of parenting.

Ridge Trail to Mt Craig, Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina  © Doug Hickok

Marriage is a thrilling hike through a wonderful but unpredictable wilderness...

Trail Marker, Tanawha Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina  © Doug Hickok

... on a path which we will continue to travel together
 for the next 25 years... or more.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Rocky Outcropping, Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park, Maine  ©  Doug Hickok

Like a boxer standing firm after repeated whompings, this rocky outcropping of granite weathers the impact of incessant winds and waves along the rigged coast of Maine. Fractures along the joints give this eroding rock the visage of an old pugilist, veteran of countless bouts with the elements.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Divine Mercy Sunday

Amphitheater Steps, Lagiewniki Sanctuary of Divine Mercy,
Krakow, Poland  © Doug Hickok

In the Roman Catholic Church, today, the Second Sunday of Easter, is designated as Divine Mercy Sunday. My family had the opportunity to visit the Basilica of Divine Mercy in 2007 when we chaperoned for the Cathedral Girls Chorus of which our daughter was a member. While the girls were rehearsing, I had the chance to climb to the top of the tower to see what my eyes could spy...
and what I spied were the amazing patterns of the amphitheater and the yellow hues of the flora and flooring!
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