French Formal Gardens, outside France.

The French may have designed the first formal gardens in the 17 century, but many garden designers around the world emulate the style today. Visit the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh for the Spring Flower Show to enjoy the symmetry of the flower beds, bursting with colorful tulips.

Order, rationality, grandeur and symmetry of the 17 century French garden: find it at Phipps, 2019.
Circular tulip bed at Phipps Conservatory, seen through a fish-eye lens, 2017.

Who started this trend? Andre Le Notre designed the formal gardens at the Palace of Versailles from 1662 to 1700. I’m sure you have visited many beautiful formal gardens in your home town or in your world travels. I would love to hear about your favorites.

Vivid Sainte-Chapelle

After the iconic Eiffel Tower,  Sainte-Chapelle with its amazing stained glass windows is my favorite place to visit in Paris. The height and vivid color of the windows create a stunning effect. As you look at them, you wonder how they stand, as the stone supports are quite tall and thin and the walls appear to be “all window.” The chapel’s architecture and windows date to the early 13th century. It’s hard to image the construction taking place 800 years ago. 

#stainedglass, #saintchapelle, #Paris, #thingstodo, #iconic, #architecture, #history, #Louisix, #13century, #chapel, #church, #art
Admire the stained glass of Saint-Chapelle in this wide angle photograph taken with the Sony a7rII.

This royal chapel, commissioned by Louis IX on Ile de la Cite in Paris, is located near Notre Dame Cathedral. If you buy the Musee Pass to pay admission to numerous museums and monuments for a 3-5 days, this beautiful church is included. I recommend going on a sunny day!

What do you see in the Hall of Mirrors?

It’s impossible to visit the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles without feeling a sense of awe toward the history that was made here. First of all, it is visually dazzling with 17 floor to ceiling arched mirrors reflecting the light of 17 windows of equal size. The gold leaf and the baroque paintings that decorate the walls and ceiling date to 1678 and the reign of Louis XIV, before the French Revolution.

#versailles, #france, #louisxiv, #mansart, #architecture, #travel, #chandelier, #mirror, #hallofmirrors, #treaty, #goldleaf, #baroque
A glimpse of the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles, France, witness to history.

Beyond the architecture and the stunning visual effect of the space, one must reflect on the history made here through the centuries. “Within the hall, the German Empire was declared in 1871 (Deutsche Reichsgründung)[1] and the Treaty of Versailles signed by the victorious powers of World War I in 1919.”  (Source: Wikipedia).

 

The White Place in Abiquiu NM

If you visit Abiquiu, New Mexico to tour Georgia O’Keeffe’s home, which I highly recommend, you may wish to find the White Place (Plaza Blanca) before you drive back to Santa Fe. You just need to make a 30 minute detour off route US-84 onto a dirt road. You can get a map and directions when you have lunch at the Abiquiu Inn, which I also recommend.

#whiteplace, #plazablanca, #rocks, #newmexico, #abiquiu, #georgiaokeeffe, #nature, #landscape, #sony
Enjoy the grand scale of the rock formations at Plaza Blanca and the peaceful atmosphere of the quiet setting.

You can’t beat the clear, dry air in New Mexico as well as the wide open spaces. Santa Fe and its environs are a wonderful destination for scenic beauty, art and delicious food.

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

Next week, I’ll be back in the Big Apple, and I’m looking forward to seeing New York’s iconic sights again. Looking back at the images I have made in past years, I came across this 2013 black and white photograph that celebrates the geometry of the Brooklyn Bridge.

#brooklynbridge, #newyorkcity, #thingstodo, #visitNYC, #newyork, #flag, #bridge, #NYC, #nikon, #blackandwhite, #bw
While walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, I looked up and noticed the patterns made by the cables.

This style is a departure from the vibrant sunsets and colorful birds I have been shooting in Florida, but this subject begs for black-and-white interpretation with its emphasis on pattern.

Next week, I’ll wander no farther than Central Park with my young grandchildren, newborn and not yet 2. But Central Park in the Spring is something special. Stay tuned!

 

Point Lobos Cove

The arid landscape that you often find in California is raised up in both beauty and comfort by the Pacific Coast. While you hike, it is hot and dry and sometimes dusty. But here in Point Lobos State Reserve, you feel the ocean breezes and your eyes feast upon the soothing sight of crashing waves. The coast line, pleasingly irregular, hides a new view behind every incline and bend in the path. Just keep walking.

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The hiking path in Point Lobos gives the hiker an ocean breeze and a constantly changing view of the Pacific coastline.