Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque I
Blue Mosque I

 

I visited here on a moody, grey-sky day, as you can see from the shot above.  This spot deserves a lot more acclaim and recognition than it gets, at least in the USA (same goes for Turkey as a whole, and Istanbul in particular).  It is a gorgeous work of architecture, both from the outside and within.

 

Blue Mosque II
Blue Mosque II

 

It’s set at one end of a park, with the Hagia Sophia (built by the Roman Emperor Justinian) at the other end.  The name Blue Mosque isn’t actually the official name – that’s the Sultahnamet mosque – it comes instead from the color of the tiles on the interior ceiling.  We’ll get to that in a moment.

 

Blue Mosque III
Blue Mosque III

 

Here’s the up-close view of the entrance leading to the park.  In this instance the grey sky bothered me, so I fixed in photoshop to the sky I thought this photograph deserved.

 

Blue Mosque IV
Blue Mosque IV

 

See what I meant about blue tiles?  Those come from the area of Iznik, in another part of Turkey.  This is the underside of the central dome, with four mammoth pillars holding it up (called “Elephant Feet” colloquially).

 

Blue Mosque V
Blue Mosque V

 

I got this shot from a nearby alcove where someone had left prayer beads on the rug.  I like the simplicity here.

 

By the way, no shoes allowed inside (they give you a baggie for them, and have shelves to put them on).  But the rug is wonderfully luxurious on your feet, which is especially a wonder given it’s trod upon by thousands of people every day.

 

Blue Mosque VI
Blue Mosque VI

 

This is the central worship area, off limits to bumbling tourists.  At It functions not too differently from a church, except that folks sit on the carpet instead of in uncomfortable pews (the latter, I think was invented as a device of torment in the dark ages – at least carpet is cushioned!).

 

Blue Mosque VII
Blue Mosque VII

 

And finally, here’s one of the Elephant Feet in context, with some people for scale.  The pillars are huge, seriously.

 

A fabulous place, and I’m glad I had a chance to see it.

 

Happy shooting!

 

See more of my work at

Website: http://www.patricklcahalan.co.nf

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Forum

Roman Forum I
Roman Forum I

 

Welcome to the heart of Ancient Rome, the Forum.  Couple thousand years back, you’d have seen a bunch of dudes in togas milling about, buying and selling, arguing about politics and religion, and so on.

 

Yeah, so not much changes, except thankfully for better hygiene.  Not sure whether I’m glad or not that Emperor Vespasian introducing pay-only public toilets (still referred to locally as Vespasiana).

 

Roman Forum II
Roman Forum II

 

Here’s a view in infrared from the entrance from nearer the south end, looking northward.  The remains of the Temple of Vesta are on the left, and the Temple of Caesar on the right.

 

Roman Forum III
Roman Forum III

 

And here’s another of the Temple of Caesar, from the front.

 

Roman Forum IV
Roman Forum IV

 

This is actually outside the forum.  Looking toward the middle, you’ll see a smaller arch (the Arch of Titus, wherein is depicted the sack of Jerusalem in the 1st century).  That’s the southern end of the forum.  The larger arch in the foreground is the more famous Arch of Constantine, and the photos taken from the 3rd level of the colosseum.

 

Roman Forum V
Roman Forum V

 

And some ground level color, from within the forum proper.

 

Roman Forum VI
Roman Forum VI

 

And finally, this is from the top of Palatine Hill (behind the Temple of Vesta), where the likes of Augustus lived.  Not a bad view from pup here, huh?

 

Side note, I was expecting much gnarlier hills in Rome.  Guess that’s what seeing San Francisco as a child gets me.  Palatine’s nothing next to Taylor Street!

 

Happy shooting!

 

See more of my work at

Website: http://www.patricklcahalan.co.nf

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/patricklcahalan

Instagram: patrickcahalanphotography

Facebook: Patrick Cahalan

Pinterest: @cahalan007

Cemeteries

Golden Gate National Cemetery
Golden Gate National Cemetery

 

As I mentioned last time around, I recently had the chance to spend a day wandering the cemeteries just south of San Francisco.  This particular shot is from the Golden Gate National Cemetery, which if it isn’t obvious, is a military cemetery.  I’d also point out, this is not the same as the San Francisco National Cemetery, located in the Presidio (which is also 100% worth a visit, though it is much smaller).  Among others, the GGNC is the final resting place of Adm. Chester Nimitz.

 

Betrayal
Betrayal

 

This impressive frieze is at the tomb of a San Francisco Catholic priest.  I loved how the sculptor got so much detail to come out of the marble; in particular, you get a great view of Judas with a knife hidden out of everyone’s sight.  Even if the main credit for this goes to Da Vinci, whoever executed the sculpture did a brilliant job.

 

DiMaggio Closeup
DiMaggio Closeup

 

And this is a closer view of some of the offerings left at Joe DiMaggio’s grave.  I liked the arrangement.

 

Marble Fountain
Marble Fountain

 

This fountain is actually a giant rolling ball (marble, I’m assuming) atop a water spout shaped like a lotus.  As you might guess, this part of the cemetery in question is heavily Asian, both in design and residents.  It’s an impressive sight to see this massive piece of stone rolling along like it’s the easiest thing in the world; certainly, a testament to the power of water.

 

Stained Glass Lamp
Stained Glass Lamp

 

And in a place where every image is seemingly of religion, this was a nice counterpoint (not to mention beautiful).  It is an absolutely lovely piece of stained glass.

 

No post for a few weeks – I’ll be out shooting.  But rest assured there will be TONS of material when  I get back!

 

Happy Shooting!

See more of my work at http://www.patricklcahalan.co.nf  and http://www.flickr.com/photos/patricklcahalan

Observation

One of the Greats
One of the Greats

 

My lesson to myself for the day is: be observant.  Namely, don’t just look, really see.

 

This is one case where it worked out well for me.  As I was driving through the cemetery looking for photo subjects, I spotted some stuff left near a large marker.

 

If I hadn’t been paying attention, or had been going too fast, I’d have missed it completely.  But because I was being mindful of the opportunities around me, I got this great shot of the final resting place of the late Joe DiMaggio.

 

For you non-baseball fans out there, you’d probably best know him as Marilyn Monroe’s ex-husband, but he was a great deal more than that.  Given he’s been gone so many decades and people are still leaving tributes, that ought to tell you something.

 

Happy Shooting!

See more of my work at http://www.patricklcahalan.co.nf  and http://www.flickr.com/photos/patricklcahalan

What’s Left

Old Chair
Old Chair

Today I’m going to do a little more exploration of the past in Infrared.

Starting with the image above, consider what is left after people leave things behind.  It can be for mundane reasons (moving and don’t want to schlep the stuff), or more dramatic ones (think Pompeii!).

In this case a simple chair, but when composed like this with the broken mattress next to it, in this type of image, I think it has a voice and speaks.

Leftovers
Leftovers

More things left behind and discarded.  Rubbish strewn about.  The snow on the ground I think adds here , by giving you a sense that this has been here for a while.

Last Call
Last Call

This one’s a bit more Pompeii, or for the younger crowd, “Zombie Apocalypse.”  As though everyone left in a real hurry and didn’t even finish their drinks.  Although I would think that if the Apocalypse DID come, there would be more than a few people who would finish the drink, and probably take a bottle or two for the road.

Last Soul
Last Soul

No, that caption is not a typo – find the human here!

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I think IR, treated properly, can be a great way to open a window into the past.  Memories, past objects, and days or yore.

Coming soon … but not sure when because I have to learn to use a new tool: images that can be refocused after shooting, even while in-camera.  And yes you read that right.  See Lytro.com for more.  Methinks I will be having much fun using this new toy for art!

Happy shooting!

See more of my work at http://www.patricklcahalan.co.nf  and http://www.flickr.com/photos/patricklcahalan

 

Silence Afterward

Abandoned-Watch
Window From Past to Future

A photograph to provoke thought.  This is, of course, the skyline of San Francisco.  But it is seen from inside Fort Point, the old military base at the southern foot of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Prior to the advent of air-based military power, Fort Point, along with several other forts and artillery batteries, held watch over the entrance to the bay.  You’re actually looking out over some of the gun emplacements.

And I would not have wanted to be a hostile vessel!

The fort alone was basically an acre-sized machinegun, with probably close to a hundred cannons firing 10-16 inch shells (essentially 90% of what look like windows were really cannon ports).  Never you mind the probably 2 dozen plus other artillery emplacements outside the straight, plus Alcatraz (a military installation before it was a prison), Yerba Buena Island (still home to the Coast Guard Admiral), and Rincon Point waiting should anyone manage to survive the initial gauntlet.  Suffice to say the many military bases inside the bay were deemed VERY important.  For the record that includes the above, plus Moffet Field, Mare Island, Alameda shipyards, Hunters’ Point shipyards, Angel Island (once home to ballistic missiles), Mt. Umunhum radar station, Onizuka AFB (a.k.a. the “Blue Cube”), and probably a few others I can’t remember off the top of my head.  Forgive me if I fuddle the dates on what installations dated to before or after the forts were taken offline.

All the Bay’s initial defenses are now gone, long since scrapped and deemed obsolete in the face of air power.  And most of those that remain are under the aegis of the National Park Service.

Which to me begs the question – what happens when the world moves on?  Does it, let alone its inhabitants,  remember what came before?  Or are those echoes only left for someone dedicated enough to sleuth for them?

And does that reflect upon the value of the contribution?  If what you did is now obsolete, and has little bearing on either the here-and-now, or on where things go from this point, of what value is it?  This is of particular relevance in the shadow of Silicon Valley, where anything or anyone deemed “old” might as well be caveman Grog, good only for an exhibit in the Smithsonian or Louvre.

What does it mean to continue to exist after your time of immediate relevance has passed?  Will future generations value or understand what has come before, or be wrapped up in their day-to-day?

Things to ponder after the guns fall silent.  Who will remember, what will they remember or forget, and what will they value?

How long is a lifespan, and how long again is the memory of it?

Happy shooting.

See more of my work at http://www.patricklcahalan.co.nf  and http://www.flickr.com/photos/patricklcahalan

 

 

Cemeteries

SF Presidio
SF Presidio

Cemeteries have always held a fascination for me.  Beyond the obvious of being a reminder of our own mortality, I’ve found them to often be quite beautiful as well.  I’ve long held that I’d rather be sick and getting better in a cemetery than in a hospital (after all, it’s the hospital where the dying happens, not the graveyard!)

But cemeteries, particularly older ones, are fascinating to me.  More modern ones tend to be somewhat dull, with flat markers and not much style.

But the older, ornate stuff can be VERY impressive in both size –

Mausoleum at Mtn View Cemetery, Oakland CA
Mausoleum at Mtn View Cemetery, Oakland CA

– and in detail

Broken Eyed Statue
Broken Eyed Statue

As usual, the real fun is in the high-rent district of the memorials, and often the ones of atypical ethnic background are the most striking, as in these 2 cases.

Italian Family Crypt
Italian Family Crypt
Buddha Marker
Buddha Marker

War memorials and veteran sections can also be photographed well, given their symmetry and regularity

Civil  War Dead
Civil War Dead

And some stuff that would NEVER make it on a marker today!

Racist Much?
Racist Much?

Mausoleums can be fun as well, seeing these two examples

Mausoleum
Mausoleum
Mausoleum Rotunda
Mausoleum Rotunda

And statuary

Michaelangelo
Michaelangelo

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a fan of using infrared for cemeteries.  The aged, haunted look – in my opinion – lends itself to the subject matter nicely.

Celtic Cross, Colma CA
Celtic Cross, Colma CA

But color can be great too!  Which is hence my next post, about photographing stained glass windows.

Now if I could just get to Paris, New Orleans, etc. etc. etc. …

See more of my work at http://www.patricklcahalan.co.nf