Thursday, June 30, 2011

Throwback Thursday - Pan and His Delicious Cakes

Amish Farm Fields, Holmes County, Ohio  © Doug Hickok

I made this image several decades ago on Kodachrome film, and now, that seems like ages ago. What is curious is that a pastoral scene such as this, in a convoluted way, reminds me of Pan, the mythological god of fields, flocks and hay fever allergies. A little known item of interest about Pan is that he loved to bake. There is a story (which may be apocryphal) that tells of his fondness for baking cakes, cakes of all makes.

One morning, after a long night of faun frolicking, pan piping and cake baking, Pan found some leftover ingredients laying around his country kitchen, some flour, salt, sugar, eggs and goat's milk. Just to see what would happen, he decided to mix these ingredients together, pour in a skillet, and heat over his hearth. Lo and behold, he made a perfectly round, flat, delicious cake, which he topped with a scoop of fresh berries and a dollop of whipped cream. Pan ate his new found concoction with much pleasure, complementing it with a steaming cup of French pressed coffee.

Hence, the discovery of Pan's cake, or what would become known as
pancakes. Yum!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Charleston Walkabout I

Antebellum Mansions, South Battery, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

Corinthian Capital, US Customs House, East Bay Street, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

Ironwork Gate Shadow, Dock Street Theatre, Church Street, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

Rainbow Row Carpet, Market Street, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

Carriage Horse and Tourists, East Bay Street, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

Pirate House Fan Window, Church Street, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

Elliott Street Windows, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

A few sights you might see walking around Charleston.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Horace the Poet

Happy Coin Viewer, Folly Beach Pier, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok

Horace stood on the pier overlooking the sea. He did this everyday, all day, and even into the night. As people dropped their coins into the slot behind his head, and gazed through his eyes, he saw what they saw. But what no one could know about Horace was that he loved poetry, and invented poems in his head about all that he saw by the sea. 

You see, Horace was a poet.

He imagined poems about golden-crowned dawns suffusing the sea with flushes of scintillating color. He composed rhymes about seabirds dancing high in the bright blue sky. He recited sonnets about lovers strolling hand in hand along the ocean's edge. He smiled his peculiar round smile when he described children playing in the sand, molding their mountains or sculpting their castles. Because, for all that Horace saw by the sea, he was enchanted most by the children. "Ah",  he thought,
"what happiness it is to be so young, innocent, and free
 on that simple beach
by the sea...
if only for a little while."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ruins of a Jetty I

Old Jetty and Clouds, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok

The sea is beautiful to behold, but its forces are relentless. This old jetty, which stood here for many years trying to slow beach erosion, will soon be nothing but driftwood. The power of nature persists, but the works of man are as fleeting as clouds scuttling across the sky.

Quick take: Speaking of nature's forces, here's a link to some amazing images of an erupting volcano in Chile.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pantheon Sunday

Oculus and Dome, Pantheon, Rome, Italy  © Doug Hickok

The magnificent dome of Rome's Pantheon is one of the architectural wonders of western civilization. Beyond the fact that it is the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome, it is still intact after nearly 2000 years (and looking as handsome as ever).  The entire space beneath the dome is awe inspiring, a man-made space like no other I've experienced. Perhaps it is the shear size of the rotunda or perhaps something even greater. There is a palpable all-encompassing energy that can be felt during certain clear headed moments. As I recall, the feeling gave me a little shiver of excitement.

The ancient Romans dedicated this temple to all the gods.
In the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV preserved the Pantheon from destruction and had it converted into a Catholic church, dedicated to Mary and all the martyrs.

Needless to say, the Pantheon has deep spiritual gravitas.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Resort Time

Pool by the Sea, Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms, SC  © Doug Hickok

With summer in full swing, it's time to resort to some romantic rest and relaxation. A getaway to a seaside retreat might be just the ideal summer vacation. Perhaps all that you need to replenish your body and soul is a soft moonlit evening, with the sound of waves whispering in the distance, a soft ocean breeze caressing your face, a cool drink in your hand, and no worries. No worries what so ever.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mirror on a Mountain Road

Cades Cove Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee  © Doug Hickok

Following an afternoon cloud burst, the sun shines brightly, and a curving mountain road becomes a shimmering mirror reflecting nearby trees. What was once an ordinary country scene transforms for a brief moment into a rare picture of rural beauty. That is, until the sun evaporates the wet pavement, and the mirror is no more. Such glimpses of exceptional beauty are transient, perhaps duplicated never again in one's lifetime.

Hope you have an exceptional weekend.
And may the hues be with you.

( This is another of my images made on slide film many years ago, pulled from my files and set free.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sea Moods

Waves 1, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok

Waves 2, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok

Waves 3, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok

These three images were made 
at dawn using long exposures between 2.5 and 4 seconds. 
They remind me of Popsicle flavors (artificial colors added, but no sugars, preservatives or peanuts added).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

For Eszter - A Little Taste of Home

Fisherman's Bastion, Castle Hill, Budapest, Hungary  © Doug Hickok

The Fisherman's Bastion (Halaszbastya) of Budapest displays a stone carved lion and an ornate column. The steeple of Saint Matthias Church rises above in the background.

Red and Yellow Houses, Castle Hill, Budapest, Hungary  © Doug Hickok

A pair of colorfully painted houses on Castle Hill, with their characteristic tile roofs, near Vienna Gate Square.

Dome, Saint Stephen's Cathedral, Budapest, Hungary  © Doug Hickok

The interior of Saint Stephen's Basilica shows the splendor of its architecture. It was named after the first king of Hungary.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Lighthouse and the Cool Blue Sea

Prospect Harbor Lighthouse, Schoodic Peninsula, Maine  © Doug Hickok

"We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - they just shine."
- Dwight L. Moody -

Prospect Harbor Lighthouse stands near the Schoodic Peninsula Scenic Byway in Maine. It was established in 1850 and is still in use today, though it is operated automatically. The keeper's house is called Gull Cottage. It looks like a place I'd love to stay, even if only for a day. 

Our summer temperatures here in Charleston are over 100 degrees these days. Remembering the cool blue sea in this picture helps me feel less broiled.

Quick take: Speaking of beautiful settings by the sea, here is a link to images of Italy's top beaches. You will simply love this one!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mysterious Monday - Varieties of Perception

Farmyard Cat, Village of Lewisburg, Ohio  © Doug Hickok

Mystery of the day... What is this a picture of ?

Cute, cuddly kitten or
Napoleon's hat.

Clint Eastwood's poncho from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly or
Inspector Clouseau's trench coat.

Misplaced hubcap from an old jaguar or
Prairie schooner overpacked with beaver pelts.

Ronaldo's retired soccer shoes or
Denizen of Katmandu.

Snoozing Yeti or
Napping Yak.

Mozart's wig or
Tolstoy's beard.

Triple layer Lemon Bourbon cake or
Insidious alien from top secret Area 51.

Hypotenuse of a Euclidian triangle or
Cheerleader's pompoms.

Lady Gaga's eye-patch or
Blackbeard the Pirate's manbag.

Garfield's stand-in Chester A. Arthur or
Coney Island hot dog.

Pippi Longstocking's pony tails or
Fannie Mae's empty purse.

Wombat disguised as a chicken or

Java Chip Frappuccino with extra whipped cream and chocolate drizzle on top.

Vision from the mind of Hieronymus Bosch or

Salvador Dali's handlebar mustache.

Great Pyramid of Giza or
Fearsome feline predator, bane to all barnyard mice.

It is curious that what appears obvious to one person can be so completely different to another (i.e. religion, politics, art, sports, etc.).

Although today's post seems utterly absurd, it poses the question, does perception depend more on objective observation or subjective frame of mind?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Primaries I

Brick Wall and Paint, King Street, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok


Running Boy Street Sign, Mt. Pleasant, SC  © Doug Hickok


Wail, Whale, Wale Wall, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Water & Earth

Gate Ironwork and Brick, Dock Street Theatre, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

 Ironwork rolls in aqua circles, like sea waves over the terra cotta bricks of a theatre wall.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Outdoor Weekend

Runners, Waterfront Park, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok
(Canon 5D Mark II camera, 24-105mm f/4 lens at 97mm, 1/80 sec, f/8, ISO 100)

Charleston is in the running for best outdoor city in the U.S. So far it is ranked in the top 10 at number five. Boulder, Colorado is in the lead, with Portland, Oregon second. This is a contest held by Outdoor Magazine and participants vote through Facebook.

If the weather is nice where you are this weekend, I hope you enjoy the great outdoors of early summer.

And LasT but not LeasT... Happy Birthday, LT!

Don't forget to wear your sparkLing Tiara!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Road Taken in New Brunswick

Birch Forest Road, Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada  © Doug Hickok

There is a familiar poem by Robert Frost that discusses roads taken and not taken. It's true life offers an endless array of choices. We make them practically every moment of the day. Sometimes choices are easy, sometimes not. Regardless, they usually come with expectations of a particular outcome.

Yet, along the road taken, you're sure to find the unexpected as well. And occasionally you'll find the unexpected to be surprisingly pleasant. This was so when my wife and I chose to drive down this quiet forest road in New Brunswick, where we were soon rewarded with a beautiful sylvan scene. Some folks call this kind of discovery serendipity. I call it looking closely at the road map... and as photographers often do, imagining the possibilities.

Quick take: This short article poses the question, "What kind of picture taker are you?"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bridge Wednesday - Padua

Prato della Valle, Padua, Italy  © Doug Hickok

The picturesque city of Padua is the oldest city of northern Italy. Tradition says it was founded by the Trojan prince Antenor in the year 1183 BC.

Pictured above is the canal of the Prato della Valle (Il Prato), the elliptical public square built over the remains of an ancient Roman theater. This canal is lined with statues of town luminaries and surrounded by beautiful palazzi dating from the 14th century.

Padua's famous university (1222 AD) had among its professors Copernicus and Galileo. The school also boasts the world's oldest botanical garden (1545 AD). Artists such as Giotto, Donatello, Mantegna and Canova have contributed to the city's cultural legacy. The great architect Palladio was born here... and so on and so forth.

The neighborhood I live in (a suburb of Charleston) was developed only about 40 years ago (circa 1970 AD). Before that it was primarily woodlands and wetlands. The only known luminary was the Swamp Thing (see this post for details).
Hmm, no wonder America is called the New World.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Big Red

Porcher-Simonds House, East Battery, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

One of Charleston's most popular sights is the row antebellum mansions that perch above East Battery Street, overlooking Charleston harbor. Many of these houses display tall multi-story columns that are visible from several miles away.

The Porcher-Simonds House (1856), pictured above, was designed in an 
architectural style reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance, complete with Ionic capitals and an ornately decorated pediment.

The red palmetto tree flag, called "Big Red", is a variant of the blue South Carolina state flag. It was flown by Charlestonians, just after the Declaration of Succession of 1860, as a symbol of state's rights and resistance to encroachments of the federal government.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Misty Monday - Change

Near Newfound Gap, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee  © Doug Hickok

Change is constant and inevitable. But change is often difficult to accept when it's unwanted. The once beautiful Carolina Hemlock forests that graced the mountains of the Southern Appalachians are disappearing. The beautiful lacy branched conifers are dying from the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive sap-sucking insect. As you can see on closer inspection, some of the trees are only skeletons now.

Yet, as the hemlocks perish, nature adapts and evolves. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, a different ecosystem of flora and fauna will take the place of the hemlock forest and thrive. Change will continue, and a new forest will emerge, one with a beauty of its own.

In this way, nature's example gives the human race hope. As our planet and our lives constantly change, we'll both adapt, and thrive in a new and, I hope, beautiful way. Unless of course we're unable or unwilling to change. Then it's a different story. Then, we'll become the next hemlock tree.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gas & Bass Harbor

A Bass Harbor Church, Bass Harbor, Maine  © Doug Hickok

The small Tremont Congregational Church, in Bass Harbor Maine, has a food pantry program where they ask for donations of non-perishable goods to help local families stressed by the escalating costs of fuel. The difficult economy has hit the fishing industry particularly hard in this area, with the rising costs of gasoline to power their lobster boats being a major reason for struggling marine businesses.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tall and Skinny - A Metaphor for Life

Narrow Passage to a Secret Garden, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

This view through a tall skinny opening, down a narrow passageway, reveals a beautiful garden. The passage is a piazza that belongs to one of Charleston's old antebellum mansions which opens along Meeting Street. Normally the doors to this mansion are closed, keeping the garden hidden from view.

You may be wondering what the rest of the mansion looks like. But if that bit of knowledge is withheld or unknown, then this narrow view becomes a kind of metaphor for human knowledge. Or more precisely, the lack of it. Because, so often our knowledge of life is limited to what we can see, what we think we know. We make decisions everyday based on our "view down the passageway." As Hamlet famously said, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
Verily I say. Verily.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dock Street Theatre and Spoleto

Balcony, Dock Street Theatre, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

Pictured above is the Dock Street Theatre bathed by the warm light of early morning. This weekend is the last weekend of Charleston's Spoleto Festival USA, and this historic theatre is a featured venue of the famous international arts festival. Events this weekend include a presentation by Ireland's Druid Theatre of their play "The Cripple of Inishmaan", an opera by Spoleto founder Gian Carlo Menotti called "The Medium" and several Chamber Music concerts. These concerts are favorites of festival goers, and will include works by Beethoven, Schubert, Paganini, and Farrenc.

Today's Favorite Photographer Friday selection is another fabulous National Geographic photographer, Michael Yamashita.   Mr. Yamashita has an uncanny ability to capture exceptional light and atmosphere in his travel images, mostly from Asia. You can see samples of his images on his official website. He has a fascinating photo blog as well.

Thank you very much for all your visits and kind comments!
Hope you have a nice weekend!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Exit Stage Right

Walking Shadows, Savannah, Georgia  © Doug Hickok

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

-William Shakespeare-

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Storm Broods on Mount Hood

Mount Hood in Summer, Oregon  © Doug Hickok

Mount Hood is a remarkable landmark. It is Oregon's tallest mountain (11,239 ft), visible up to one hundred miles away. It is covered by 12 glaciers or permanent snow fields and is the only mountain in North America with year round snow. The ancient cone-shaped volcano is estimated to be the one most likely to erupt in Oregon.

When we visited Mount Hood a few years ago, I made this image using a 300 mm lens mounted on a Nikon F3HP camera, with Velvia RVP 100 slide film, pushed one stop.

We also searched high and low for a view of Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch), but found only foot prints. We weren't 100% sure of who or what left them. For all we knew, they could have been my foot prints, since I normally wear big, ape-sized hiking boots with hairy toes. I know it sounds far fetched, but it's true.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Today, Eye See Red II

Red Canopy, Taco Boy Restaurant, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok
(Canon 5D Mark II camera, 24-105mm f/4L lens, at 105mm, 3.2 secs., f11, ISO 100, tripod)

There are certain hues that catch the eye no matter where you are.
 One of those hues is red.
The seam of a canvas canopy on a Folly Beach restaurant offered an opportunity for a simple color abstract, one which couldn't be ignored.

Quick take: What's it like to parachute off a mountain? Take a look at this 2 min. video and leap into your day with a thrill! 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Morning Sunrise II

Docks on Folly River, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok
(Canon 5D Mark II camera, 24-105mm f/4 lens, at 100mm, 1.3 sec at f/11, ISO 100, tripod)

A sunrise along the Folly River at low tide - boat docks and fishing platforms line the edge of the tidal marsh, leading toward the glowing light in the east.

The cycles of our lives, like the cycles of nature, often have a pattern, an order,
an up and down rhythm like the tides of the sea. Mondays are Mondays. But Tuesdays
are sure to arrive on time. And so the rhythm of the week continues unabated.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

San Vitale Sunday

Ceiling, Church of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy  © Doug Hickok

Dating from the year 548, this early Christian church is one of 8 buildings in Ravenna that are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Although begun under the rule of the Ostrogoths, it was completed during the reign of the Byzantines, and is one of the few churches to survive undamaged from the period of Emperor Justinian I.

I was traveling with the choir of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist (Charleston) when we stopped in San Vitale to admire the beauty of the church. Shortly after, the choir director assembled the singers for an impromptu piece (Morten Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium) at the alter. I'll never forget that moment, because I've never heard such magnificent music! The combination of the talented singers and the acoustics of the church made the voices sound etherial. For a moment I thought I was in heaven.

This image of the interior shows the ornate dome from below. The light being quite low, and not having a tripod, I set my camera in the middle of the floor with a wide angle lens pointing upward, and made a long exposure of about 30 seconds. The photograph was made on slide film which rendered the mostly ambient incandescent lighting a glowing warm color.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Useful Phrases for the Day

Two Busts in Two Windows, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

Two heads are better than one.
(Nevertheless, she's still always right.)

Walking Man Sign, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok

Yo! Surf's up!
(But first I need a doughnut!)

Curbside Sign, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

"Here you must not!"
 (Scoop your poop!)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Geometry Lesson

Shapes, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok

A study of shapes on aqua.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Blue Hour

Shrimp Boats at Dawn, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok 
(Canon 5D Mark II camera, 24-105mm f4 lens, at 32mm, 3.2 sec, f8, ISO 100, tripod)

Dawn or dusk. The blue hour of twilight is my favorite time of day to photograph. Whether you're shooting film or digital, the cool tones of the light spectrum are easily recorded. This image shows a pair of shrimp boats at dawn reflected in a tidal creek near Folly Beach.

I'm often fascinated by the psychology of color and its emotional impact on the mind.  Blue is traditionally a color of calm and tranquility, but can also be a color of sadness.  Like so much in our world, color is subjective. Its emotional impact is relative to the surroundings.

Quick take: If you're interested in really retro photography, National Geographic has a cool feature article about Abelardo Morell's camera obscura photographs.
Maybe you can try this at home. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Mountain Stream in Late Spring

Mountain Stream, Tanawha Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina  © Doug Hickok

To dip your toes in the refreshing waters of a mountain stream
 is to experience a touch of heaven.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...