My Absolute Favorite Castle, Alnwick

After touring Edinburgh Castle, Bamburgh Castle, Lindisfarne Castle, Durham Castle and Alnwick Castle in North England and Southern Scotland, my favorite one (hands down) was Alnwick Castle in England. All of them are interesting and worth a visit, and there are even more to see in the region — Stirling, Duane and more. I’ll tell you why I enjoyed Alnwick Castle the best.

#alnwick, #castle, #england, #besttour, #bestone, #uk, #northumberland, #downtonabby, #harrypotter
In addition to architectural beauty, Alnwick Castle offers multiple fascinating tours, which bring the castle to life.

Upon arrival on the castle grounds, I quickly joined the film tour where I heard fascinating details of the filming of Downton Abbey (Christmas scenes) and Harry Potter. Those are the recent ones, but other films include Mary Queen of Scots with Vanessa Redgrave, Elizabeth I, Robin Hood with Kevin Costner, and Hollowed Crown.

Soon after, I joined the History Tour where the guide explained which parts of the castle were built at what time, and the purpose of each. After the Norman Invasion of 1066, the English built huge stone castles. A substantial stone castle was built here in 1133. This castle was never taken by force.

#castle, #alnwick, #tour, #travel, #fascinating, #history, #films, #england. #northumbria
A restored section of the outer castle wall at Alnwick Castle. The grassy area is called the Bailey, and it would have had buildings on it in medieval times.

Next, I joined the tour of the castle interior where the Percy family has lived for the past 700 years. The interior was updated in 1750 and again in 1850.  Current residents are the 12th Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, who life here five months of the year, starting in October.  The public may only tour Alnwick when the Duke and Duchess are not in residence, in the summer months. (No photos allowed of the inside). I took copious notes throughout each tour, just so I could remember the information.

About 5 pm, I was still feeling curious and walked down to the gardens, just in time to join the last tour of the day, the Poison Garden.  The fenced in section contains numerous poison plants, and the guide shared even more fascinating stories.

With no break for lunch, I was hungry, and luckily was able to buy fish and chips near the garden around 6pm. What a full day!

Bamburgh Castle Interior

Lord Armstrong did an amazing job restoring Bamburgh Castle and furnishing it with armor, paintings and antique furnishings. The Sony a7rII camera did an amazing job of photographing it in natural light too! (settings ISO 3200, 25mm lens at f/4 and 1/125 and 1/200 second, handheld)

#bamburgh, #castle, #lordarmstrong, #restored, #sony, #sonya7rII, #england
Magnificent wood ceiling of the Great Hall, Bamburgh Castle, July 2018.
#bamburgh, #castle, #northumberland, #northumbria, #england, #armstrong, #lordarmstrong, #interior, #art, #sony
Delicious detail in the sunlit interior of Bamburgh Castle, in Northumbria, England.

I would just like to say “thank you” for allowing photography in this beautiful castle.

Art for the Illiterate

In the Middle Ages, stained glass windows taught the Scriptures to the illiterate, but today the educated admire them for their beauty and artistry. Saint Giles Cathedral in the heart of Edinburgh features some stunning stained glass as well as a beautiful architecture.

In St. Giles Cathedral, the leader of the Scottish reformation John Knox preached and converted the church from a Catholic to a Presbyterian place of worship in the 16 century. Knox had the stained glass removed, as he opposed anything that separated one from God, according to travel writer Rick Steves. Nineteenth century Victorians installed the stained glass we admire today.

#architecture, #church, #cathedral, #scotland, #stainedglass, #presbyterian
Looking across the nave from one side aisle to the other, you can see the pointed arches and the small stained glass windows in the aisles.
#church, #scotland, #stainedglass, #art, #window, #religion, #edinburgh
At the end of the side aisle, find this large window that depicts the crucifixion and ascension of Jesus.
#stgiles, #edinburgh, #scotland, #church, #cathedral, #art, #stainedglass, #scripture, #window
Modern style window crowns the center aisle. The colors and boat scenes are dramatic.

I photographed these windows by propping the camera on the pew, and setting my Sony a7rII camera on ISO 2000. The images were lightly processed in Adobe Lightroom. I found the Sony performed quite well in dimly lit church interiors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pittsburgh Gallery Crawl

Friday July 7 is a great evening for a one-time photography show in Pittsburgh. The ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) photographers will be exhibiting their recent personal work in the Cultural Trust Building, 4th floor: 807 Liberty Avenue. We have an annual tradition of putting on this one-night exhibit. Each year the art is diverse and fascinating, and most of the artists are there to talk to. We start at 5:30 pm. Please come meet us and enjoy dinner in the neighborhood.

These five of my prints will be on display and for sale. Hope to see you!

#white, #flowers, #may, #spring, #bluesky, #icm, #unique, #art, #nature
White dogwood in bloom on a perfect Spring day.
#pinkandgreen, #abstract, #design, #mosaic, #murano, #photography, #inspired, #VIDA, #shopvida
Murano mosaic, my new silk scarf design. Will these colors work with your summer fashion?
#newborn, #portrait, #blackandwhite, #motherandchild, #borntoday, #joy, #pride
Just a few hours after giving birth, my daughter admires her newborn baby girl. (Not for sale.)
#pittsburgh, #skyline, #mountwashington, #circular, #art, #print, #sunnyday, #photograpy
My own artistic interpretation of the Pittsburgh skyline, as seen from Mount Washington. Want a print?
#icm, #nikon, #flower, #blueandgreen, #composite
Creative shooting and processing are behind this unique image that features a peach colored flower.

Chihuly’s Organic Towers

Chihuly glass sculptures, installed in many prominent American botanical gardens, ostensibly aim to imitate nature. How do you compare these sublime towers of glass at the New York Botanical Gardens to a nearby stalk of blooms?

#NYBG, #chihuly, #tower, #yellow, #red, #tower, #nature, #art
Chihuly’s yellow and red spire of glass spokes stand in stark contrast to the round pavilion at the New York Botanical Garden.

Inside the neoclassical pavilion, I found this simple and elegant stalk of blossoms. It is rather understated, you might say, but similar to the sculpture in its overall shape and repetition of blossoms up the stalk. Here the colors are more muted, not bold, primary colors the sculpture has.

#NYBG, #newyork, #nature, #closeup, #macro, #symmetry, #pole, #flower, #simple, #elegant, #delicate, #sony
Close up of delicate blossoms emerging symmetrically around the plant’s stalk at New York Botanical Garden.

Inside the pavilion shown in the first photo is a more fanciful Chihuly tower sculpture that reminds me of a Dr. Seuss illustration. It is white with pink polka dots, and its spokes curl like snakes. Symmetry is no longer the operative word. We might say this piece shows more personality.

#NYBG, #newyork, #chihuly, #glass, #sculpture, #art, #pink, #pinkandwhite, #drseuss, #personality
Polka dots and irregular curls give this Chihuly sculpture a different personality. New York Botanical Garden, inside the pavilion.

 

Foggy Newport

Fog is hard to predict, but it can help you make some unique photographs. On Sunday, fog was literally rolling in off the ocean like smoke pluming from a major wildfire. You could see fog billowing past buildings, but you could not see the ocean. God giveth and He taketh away.

In this photo of the entrance to the Breakers, the Cornelius Vanderbilt mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, fog worked hand-in-hand with depth of field to enshroud the background — the monumental building and allow me to feature the color and detail of the foreground lamp, to illustrate the artisanship of the late 19 century.

There is so much detail to take note of as soon as you enter the Breakers: colored and carved marble, ruby red drapes and a three-story great hall, enormous and elaborate chandeliers, and more. Perhaps that is why I enjoy this very simple image just before entering.

#fog, #mansion, #breakers, #newport, #gildedage, #rhodeisland, #art, #architecture, #fog
Welcome to the Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island. Fog helped direct the eye to the lovely 19c. lamp outside the entrance to the mansion.

Do you love Pittsburgh?

Pittsburghers are crazy in love with their sports teams, but we are pumped about the vitality of our city as a whole too. On a sunny summer day, you will find boats in the three rivers, families enjoying Point State Park near the fountain, and restaurants buzzing with activity. You can take in an aerial view without a drone from the lookout on Mount Washington, where I shot this photo.

#pittsburgh, #skyline, #mountwashington, #circular, #art, #print, #sunnyday, #photograpy
My own artistic interpretation of the Pittsburgh skyline, as seen from Mount Washington.

If you would like a print of this image, leave me a message in the comment section, and be sure to include your email address. The Sheraton Station Square might like to see themselves at the center of the universe!

Be sure to tune in tonight to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins battle for Stanley Cup: Game 6!

This work has been registered with the U. S. Copyright Office. No reproduction unless by the author/creator of the image.