About W Brian Duncan

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

Swarovski Window Display in Vienna Austria

BEHOLD! She is Singing to Bring Down the Chandelier!

On Monday I said I was working on something a bit more colorful from my stop in Vienna, Austria and I hope this doesn’t disappoint. When I saw the color in the window of the Swarovski shop, I was working out a photo immediately…and that was before it occurred to me WHAT was going on in this wonderful window display! We are told, Ladies and Gentlemen, this IS the very Chandelier which figures in the famous….disaster!

Phantom of the Opera

Seriously, one of my favorite broadway hits of all time is Phantom of the Opera. I haven’t seen it as many times as Cats (don’t ask), but it has remained tops all these years for me. Oddly I keep referring to the mannequin as Carlotta, but everyone knows Carlotta was stricken by a mysterious bout of laryngitis and Christine had taken over the principal role in Il Muto during the fall of the Chandelier!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 21 March, 2014
  • Focal length: 25mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/6s
  • Title: Swarovski Window Display in Vienna Austria

Dark Visage of Poseidon on the Streets of Vienna, Austria

Noir Europe

It’s funny…all of the photos of my overnight stay in Vienna are in black and white! I never intend it and I am purposefully working on a very colorful and fun photo for Thursday to show a different side of the city. This photo Poseidon on the streets of Vienna, however, HAD to be noir. Vienna and night, black and white, it all seems to flow perfectly in my mind.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 21 March, 2014
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/3s
  • Title: Dark Visage of Poseidon on the Streets of Vienna, Austria

Early Morning View of the Bridge of Sighs, Venice, Italy

Sighs at the Bridge in Venice

One of the most recognizable symbols of Venice, Italy is the Bridge of Sighs. We have a black and white poster framed on our wall of this monument, and I have wanted to replace it with my own photo since I bought it. There is something about the light in that other artists rendition that is too harsh. Perhaps the severity is appropriate given that this “bridge” connects the Doge’s Palace to the prison across the canal. Lord Byron allegedly gave the passage its name suggesting, “that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells.” (wikipedia).

To me the architectural beauty of the bridge needs to be highlighted rather than its function. I’m not sure if this one will be “the one” to end up on my wall, but I really love the romantic morning view. Morning is also about the only time you can see the Bridge of Sighs without a mass of tourists in your shot!

Photo Technical Info

Lonely Contemplation on an Oahu Hawaii Cliff

Diverse Landscape

One of the main reasons I love Hawaii is the diverse landscape. This location is actually very dangerous and there are many places you could easily fall into the ocean! It an extremely wealthy part of Oahu and I couldn’t help but think the whole time if you wanted an ocean fortress that was not susceptible to normal beach problems…this would be an ideal location. I was struck by this woman sitting all by her self, it seemed someone else thought this a good place to be alone with your thoughts.

Photo Technical Info

Sunrise on Ponte dell’Accademia, Venice, Italy

Venice

To encapsulate my feelings of Venice would be impossible. Perhaps this discription from one of the must read books before any trip to Venice, Watermark (by Joseph Brodsky), helps in one sense:

A reflection cannot possibly care for a reflection. The city is narcissistc enough to turn your mind into an amalgam, unburdening it of its depths. With their similar effect on your purse, hotels and pensiones therefore feel very congenial. After a two-week stay—even at off-season rates—you become both broke and selfless, like a Buddhist monk.

This quote from the same text, however, gives another glimpse of the more wonderful feel of the city:

You fling the window open and the room is instantly flooded with this outer, pearl-laden haze, which is part damp oxygen, part coffee and prayers.

Despite its flaws, Venice in two quick days became one of my favorite destinations in the world. There is something wonderfully artistic, dark and oppressive all at the same time. It is though you stand at a precipice to another world in Venice, one that perhaps you don’t want to enter, but it exciting just to be there.

Photo Technical Info

A History of Fighter Planes at Pearl Harbor

Fighter Planes at Pearl Harbor

It’s no secret I love planes. I have always known I was not cut out for a military life, but many of the men in my family have served. My father in particular was in the U.S. Air Force and might be much of the genesis of my love of flying machine. For me planes are all about transportation. Hop aboard and as if by magic you are transported half the world away. There is of course another line of work these machines are employed by and during my visit to Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii, I visited the Pacific Aviation Museum. They have a wonderfully and lovingly restored collection of military flying machines through the ages. This particularly awesome specimen is an F-111.

Photo Technical Info

Fire Cauldron in The Forbidden City, Beijing, China

Form and Function

Beauty has its place. Function is evident all around us. Perhaps that is why I so enjoy the ideas of Pop Art (sometimes the execution was lacking). Finding beauty in the form and function of every day items. Perhaps this giant cauldron in the Forbidden City of Beijing, China isn’t exactly an every day item (they are gold guided after all) but they are an expression of both ideals.

This process is an experimental combination of things. The idea isn’t original, but then all art is derivative right? The execution is all my own. Enjoy the beauty in the world, it is all around, just waiting to be explored! Perhaps if you but look, you too can find a whimsical joy in the world.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/3.5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 21 September, 2014
  • Focal length: 28mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Location: 39° 54.941′ 0″ N 116° 23.4213′ 0″ E
  • Shutter speed: 1/200s
  • Title: Fire Cauldron in The Forbidden City, Beijing, China

Sunset on a Lava Rock Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

After Glow

After the sun sets with its magical rays and the light starts to fade, some photographers pack it in. The sunset watching crowd, all the time complaining that the people and their electronics don’t really SEE the sunset behind those gadgets, start to wander home. I tend to stay around and see what’s left very often there is a surprising calm or a last burst of light that makes your trip. Maybe that’s another of those good life mottos, stick around you never know what you will find.

Photo Technical Info

Awe in a Fur Coat, St Marks, Venice Italy

Characters

I don’t focus enough in my travel work on people. I always think I will offend, even though someone is lounging in the sun in public. There are, occasionally, characters who’s draw is too powerful for even me to resist. This woman was one of them. She seemed like she belonged in Venice, and was decked in an outfit most queer. It was not her attire that drew my attention, but the way in which she viewed her world.

She walked hurriedly as if unaware of anything or anyone, then suddenly would stop, and stare intently at some part of the Basilica di San Marco. She would stand for an eternity staring at one tiny facet of the ocean of art that IS the Basilica as if drinking in only one mosaic at a time was all her soul could stand. Today she would KNOW another piece of one of the most beautiful churches in the entire world world and perhaps in a lifetime, she would be able to piece together in her heart one of our greatest human triumphs.

I don’t know if this story is true, I never spoke to her, but I felt it when I saw her and I admire her awe.

Photo Technical Info

Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii

A Grand Canyon

Waimea Canyon in Kauai, Hawaii has been called by some (people say Mark Twain, but he never actually visited the island of Kauai) The Grand Canyon of Hawaii. I always hate it when that happens because to me it seems to insinuate this is a lesser version of something better. I have never seen The Grand Canyon (possibly next year), but it I have never seen color like Waimea in a similar landscape. It was, like all of Kauai, impossibly lush, even in its barrenness. This place is special and unlike anything I have ever seen and deserves to be know by its own merits.

Photo Technical Info