Hidden Treasures

Hidden Things

Sometimes the most wonderful things are hidden in plain sight. While I was walking around the grounds of the Louvre in Paris, I happened to (as I often do) look up. I was greeted by this wonderful piece of artistry attached to the ceiling. I am sure it serves some purpose. I am sure it has wonderful meaning. I am sure the artisans who created it put great effort and love into its birth. I am however not sure why it was there or quite why I enjoyed its company so, but what can tell you is all around us, there are things of beauty. We only have to look for them, and see.

Winged Victory

Dangerous Waters

The Louvre is a sea of people.

I was thinking this as I stood on the platform of the staircase that displays one of the most famous sculptures in the world, Winged Victory. Along with the Venus De Milo, Winged Victory is one of the must see sculptures at the Louvre. It is impossible to see all the the Louvre’s treasures in a day (you actually would need a week or more), but there are highlights your first time through which you don’t want to miss. It’s best to have a plan, and my plan that day was to capture a bracket of Winged Victory with no extra people in shot. This brings me full circle to my ocean of fellow gawkers. In an odd way this struggle made me appreciate the photo more, and the victory of battle at sea.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah Everyone!

Smithsonian Castle

America’s Castle

There is a certain something about The Smithsonian Castle that never fails to impress me. Its not the biggest for most luxurious castle I have ever visited. In fact, it tends to be a bit plain inside. If you happen by, this view is of the gardens behind The Castle, it is by far the most picturesque. The Castle serves as the visitors center for the Smithsonian Institution, and houses several exhibits. Still there is something about it that lures me in every time I venture past. Maybe it’s because I think of it as America’s Castle, sure there are grander palaces in the world, but this one is ours.

Evening at The Louvre

Comic Experiments

In a continuation of my processing experiments I made a little something that ended up making me think of graphic novels. I usually try my best to not have any preconceived set of parameters for my photos, rather I try to let them lead me where they want to go. I have been working on this photo for some time honestly. The coloring really was giving me trouble. This is actually shot at sunset and the sky is a nice blue and purple, but the lights of the palace grounds are in full blaze making a heavy hue of tungsten. I processed the photo twice for each color temperature, but still couldn’t get things feeling right. I ended up trying black and white which I really liked but then started playing with selective color, something I generally dislike. In this particular instance I think it came out very fun!

Glass Pyramid and the Sky


There is quite a bit riding on the weather…photographically speaking. You generally have only a limited time at a location, and if you have a completely blue sky or a really dull grey one, you tend to get boring pictures. Sure there are ways to fake interesting clouds, but I don’t do that. I take what mother nature gives me and try to work on it from that vantage point. Not every shot will be great, but hopefully you always come away with something you find helps you learn. Other days, as in life, you get a bounty of great clouds. When that happen…collect as much as you can and be thankful!

Futuristic Transport

Art as Function

There two things I absolutely love in this world…art (this needs less explanation) and moving sidewalks (this probably needs slightly more justification). Let’s start with the latter. Perhaps it’s the kid in me who had The Flash underoos, but I love the idea of effortlessly traveling at faster than human speeds. I get a great joy out of walking down a moving sidewalk, because, if only for a short moment I have a superpower!

Art as Form

Art is much easier…for those of us who are called to create, there is perhaps no greater comfort in the world to be surrounded by the labors of those creators who came before us. They saw the world differently, the didn’t simply shrug and go on about their day, rather they were driven by the need to express what they believed to be intrinsic. Perhaps we can only achieve crude renderings of what we see, believe or feel, but these artists did; there was no option not to do, and in doing so brought the world something new. The greatest achievements of humanity are found in creativity, perhaps in no purer form then in art and literature. The walkway tunnel in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. brings both form and function together in one display.

Musée d’Orsay

Secret Cameras

I have shared my love of train stations in the past. This one is perhaps one of the oldest and coolest of the bunch I have photographed so far. It was built for the 1900 Exposition, over the years, the station because unsuitable for modern trains. It went through a number of lives, then in 1970 it was slated for demolition. WHAT!

Luckily for everyone a very smart person in the government ruled against demolition and it was decided the old train station would make a wonderful museum. I can’t image the wonderful architectural treasures we have lost…Orsay is a testament to what can happen to these treasures when they are given modern jobs.

Crystal Bridges on the Trail

Out Back

One of the fantastic parts of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville Arkansas is the hiking trails around the buildings. Perhaps the greatest treasure of Arkansas is in fact the outdoors. It is also fitting that one of the nations premiere American Art museums should devote such a grand “space” to nature itself. You can’t help but feel like perhaps the greatest exhibit is outside the confines of the walls of Crystal Bridges and rather out in the open air of the Natural State. One early morning Pamela and I hit the trails and took some photos. You can also see my last color shot of the Crystal Bridges Museum here.

Two Pyramids


I went crazy photographing at the Louvre courtyard…I just couldn’t seem to get enough photos of those I.M. Pei pyramids. Most of the french consider them to be a blight on the beauty of the Louvre Palace, and to tell you the truth I have never understood what a modern sculpture is doing on precipice of an old art museum. It seems like these would be better suited for Centre Pompidou, but what do I know.


This is a three shot bracket (-2, 0, +2) combined in Photomatix. All other adjustments were done in Lightroom 4.

The Natural History Museum of Paris

Crazy Cool Style

If you happen to get to Paris (which I highly recommend) give the Muséum National D’Histoire Naturelle some time on your schedule. In particular visit the Grande Galerie de l’Evloution. It is perhaps one of the craziest and coolest places in Paris. It sort of has this built in steampunk appeal that sort of goes with the theme of the museum somehow. I don’t know how the aesthetic even works in this setting, but it really does.

Stuffed Animals

The museum is host to a very large taxidermy collection (which I find weird in and of itself) as well as what I am sure is a lengthy description of Darwin’s theory. One of the most prominent displays is of a Noah’s Arc like procession, which is interesting considering the American religious discord with respect to Darwinism. Perhaps it’s a statement how the French don’t seem to find that much conflict between science and religion (France is largely Catholic). Some English reading materials are available, but that seemed to be an exception rather than a rule.