About W Brian Duncan

HDR Photographer, techie, vegetarian, fitness enthusiast, dreamer, creative and all around nice guy. Lover of wine.

Broken Chair

Survivors

The sculpture sits in front of the Place des Nations (United Nations) in Geneva, Switzerland. It was one of my favorite pieces of art I saw on this trip. It is a dozen meters tall (39 feet) and is quite a sobering welcome to the U.N. It serves as a reminder to all the diplomats and politicians who visit United Nations headquarters of the atrocities of landmines and cluster bombs, not only to soldiers but to the common people, who will stay around far after the conflict is won, lost or abandoned.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 21 January, 2013
  • Focal length: 23mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/13s
  • Title: Broken Chair

Lanterns on Display for Sakura

Cherry Trees!

I have wanted to visit Japan in late March or early April some time for the Sakura. There are numerous places in the world that have flowering trees. Our own state is gorgeous with dogwood, redbud and apricot trees, but getting to experience Hanami (flower viewing) in person is something a bit otherworldly. This location is in Ueno Park, a part of Tokyo I had not yet visited. Lanterns had been strung to keep the viewing going even after dark and there are hundreds of people and groups having a picnic under the falling petals.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 9 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 23mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/200s
  • Title: Lanterns on Display for Sakura

The Seat of Knowledge

Travels Through Time

I don’t mean like H.G. Wells, but often my travels involve investigations of antiquity. Looking back near and far, my investigation is not only of other cultures, but other times. This 18th Century medical theater in Barcelona is an great example. Sala Gimbernat made me think, how there are aspect of medicine and science I probably understand better than these experts of their time. Of course our today knowledge is owed to these explorers. I think too of how much we “think” we know of science and the universe in which we live. In 200 years, our crude “contentedness” will seem positively prehistoric in the wake of the Singularity. In many ways our knowledge is perhaps entwined too closely with our vanity, which may only cloud our perception and lead to stagnation. Our hope is to keep on exploring, moving, learning and one day pass on our knowledge to future generations so that we may, in a way, gain immortality.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 19 February, 2013
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 30s
  • Title: The Seat of Knowledge

Kyoto Temple

Not All Who Wander are Lost

I went on a walk searching for a temple. I got lost and it started to rain…hard.

It often happens to me during my travels. I tend to get lost, I even TRY to get lost. Sure I have my phone, so I am never TRULY lost, but believe me…I get lost. I also like to walk places. I feel like I get to see more and see the color of places if I walk. Sometimes I am detrimentally stubborn about it, but the wander is hard to satisfy.

This day, my wandering soul found this beautiful place at the top of a small hill. I am not entirely sure where in Kyoto it is, but this entry was very beautiful and nestled quietly away allowing for reflection. I generally don’t care for people in my photos, but this couple seemed to fit.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 15 November, 2015
  • Focal length: 17mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s
  • Title: Kyoto Temple

Domed Ceiling in the Vatican Museum

Up with Ceilings

A quick photo for today, another ceiling. Perhaps not as overwhelming as Monday’s photo of La Sagrada Familia, but beautiful. I very much enjoy the idea of finding beauty that is often missed. All around us are items that seem unimportant, but someone spent thought and time to design something that is not only practical (function) but also beautiful (form). What in your life, a thing you use every day…was made to make your day filled with a small bit of beauty?

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 18 January, 2016
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/250s
  • Title: Domed Ceiling in the Vatican Museum

I am also fond of hidden elements.

The Nave Ceiling of La Sagrada Familia

The Madness of Genius

It’s likely hard to conceptualize what you see in today’s photo. Even when I tell you it’s a ceiling. Even when I tell you it’s the Nave of La Sagrada Familia. Honestly, its difficult standing in the place (or around it). It makes everything in and out see insignificant, puerile even. The brain (soul) that conceived this was far beyond most of our mortal-ness, and must have existed on another plane…perhaps, Gaudi was functionally mad.

The completely overwhelming thing is this is but one SMALL part of an overwhelming creation that will take nearly 144 years to build (even with modern techniques like cranes)…IF they complete on the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death as they currently expect. The minor basilica is not my favorite of Gaudi’s works, but no one can deny it’s one of the most significant of his creations and succeeds (and fails) in ways that we might never fully comprehend. It is the manifestation of a truly divine dream, one I am grateful Barcelona has supported and that I have been honored to witness.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 19 February, 2013
  • Focal length: 27mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter speed: 1/250s
  • Title: The Nave Ceiling of La Sagrada Familia

Come Fly With Me!

Wing Truck

While I don’t eat wings (I’ve been a vegetarian for over 15 years), I couldn’t help but be impressed by the food scene in Peru. I was immediately drawn to this vendor serving hot wings. The truck was painted like something from WWII completely with their own Pin-Up Girl. While I have mixed feelings about the messages, I love the glamour these ladies exude. Sadly I wasn’t able to take away a veggie version of hot wings, but I did come away with a fun photo!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/3.2
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 7 September, 2015
  • Focal length: 27mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s
  • Title: Come Fly With Me!

Minor Treasures of the Vatican Museum

All About Light

Photography really is all about light (and sometimes its absence). Once you start exploring this, you find photos in the most unlikely of places. Ok…in fairness, the Vatican Museum is a bad example of a place where you might be unlikely to take a photo. True you might become overwhelmed so that you simply forget to even try to make a picture. This hall is enormous (hundreds or thousands of sculptures), and the time I visited the Vatican Museum (morning) it was a gloomy, unlit place…except this single pool of glorious light.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 18 January, 2016
  • Focal length: 27mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s
  • Title: Minor Treasures of the Vatican Museum

The Most Impressive Room in the Chicago Cultural Center

On Seeing

An interesting thing happened the last two weeks that I didn’t entirely intend. Perhaps you can see it too, but the last two Monday’s photos were my more modern post processing technique. The last two Thursday’s were a mismatch of old and new. Today’s photo and In the Garden of St Elizabeth’s were photos I had processed long ago and felt were unfinished, something was missing. I found these years later like little gifts in a Lightroom folder marked Needs More Work. Combining the old and the new made for something that felt more complete. Maybe that is what I am always doing here. Exploring, learning, testing my limits.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 12 October, 2012
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter speed: 1/160s
  • Title: The Most Impressive Room in the Chicago Cultural Center

A Glimpse of the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore

Italian Splendor

There is something about Italy, that speaks to my soul in some old way. Perhaps it’s simply European sensibility, but where other cultures in Europe lean too much one way of the other, Italy always seem to have the right mix of carefree, culture and humanity.

My previous day in Florence (I only had two) was grey and rainy, but the second day was ablaze with sun in the crisp winter air. I spent most of my previous day cold and wet shivering in the vast spaces of Santa Maria del Fiore. The last hike was up Giotto’s Campanile and I saved it for perhaps a perfect day. This view was one of the first I saw and perhaps one of my favorite. It hints at the majesty of the church without going overboard. Much of the view, is of the city, of the people without who, the grand church has no purpose.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 15 January, 2016
  • Focal length: 26mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/60s
  • Title: A Glimpse of the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore