The Dome of St Peter’s Basilica

Highest of the High

There is something both wonderful and awe inspiring about visiting a European Basilica or Cathedral. Each has it’s differences of designation within a religious faith, but the meaning seems clear. First, stuff lots of people in. Check! Second and perhaps more symbolic, the church is meant to represent the house of divinity. Obviously for the infinite, you need an AWE inspiring structure. This view of the very impressive dome of St Peter’s (yes, that St Peter…”Upon this rock…”) is from one of the lower balconies that lead all the way to the top of the dome and perhaps one of the most spectacular views of Rome. Be forewarned, it’s a strenuous climb. An elderly woman collapsed upon reaching the top on my trek up. I believe she was okay in the end, but what a way to go!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 18 January, 2016
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/125s
  • Title: The Dome of St Peter's Basilica

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

The Apotheosis of Washington

All Hail, god Washington?

There are a disproportionate number of odd things in Washington D.C. Just the crisscrossing and frequently round-abouting streets can leave new visitors disorientated, but I was struck most on this trip by a piece of artwork I was already familiar with; The Apotheosis of Washington. The idea of an apotheosis is not exactly commonplace in the U.S. collective conscious, but right there in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda is George Washington, painted in the fresco, becoming a god. He is flanked by many of his new Roman peers (Mercury, Vulcan, Minerva, etc) and the whole scene leads me to wonder what in the world Constantino Brumidi (the painter) was thinking? It was undoubtedly intended as allegory, but really…what the heck?


Despite the strange symbolism emblazoned on one of our most significant Federal Buildings, I can’t recommend the Capitol tour enough. You are very tightly controlled as to what you can see, but it is awesome to be in the very halls where so much of our history has been forged. If you are in D.C., plan on a few hours to see General Washington become a god.