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

Istanbul, Part III: Grab Bag

blue-moqsue-3
Blue Mosque, Interior IR

Here’s a couple other random shots from my trip to Istanbul.  Above is from the Blue Mosque, in infrared.  I like how this one came out.

The next two are of the Basilica Cistern, and yes, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the mines of Moria.  Plus, humid much!

cistern-1

Basilica Cistern, Istanbul
Basilica Cistern, Istanbul

And finally, a view of the Bosphorus.  As I mentioned to a friend, unlike Sarah Palin, I really COULD see Asia from my window.

bosphorus-01

Happy Shooting!

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

tags: Istanbul,Turkey,bazaar,spices,Spice Bazaar,Egyptian Bazaar,photography,food photography,saffron,Turkish delight,tea,apple tea

Istanbul, Part I

I recently had the chance / was privileged enough to spend a few days in Istanbul last month, and it was incredible!  We ended up there sort of by accident, after finding cheap airline tickets to Rome and Athens that went via Istanbul.  And at that point, so the thinking went, why not stay a few days?  After all, it’s not like we’re in that part of the world on the regular, 13 hour flight and whatnot.

 

My only regret is that we didn’t stay longer!  It is truly an amazing city, in so many ways.  From millennia of history and culture to a vibrant society to such warm, welcoming people you’d be hard-pressed to find a more remarkable spot.

 

I’ll start with 2 of the biggest sights that the city has – the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia.  These are practically on top of each other in the Sultahnamet area, only separated by a small park; maybe 100 yards, tops.

 

The mosque is gorgeous, inside and out, and given that I’ve never been in a mosque previously, I think I started in the right place.  Note that the name comes from the blue tiles inside, see 2nd photo in the ceiling.

 

The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque, Interior
The Blue Mosque, Interior

 

The Hagia Sophia, on the other hand, is a Roman cathedral, which was converted into a mosque, and then converted yet again into a museum.  It’s got a mix of Christian and Muslim iconography throughout, and is truly stunning.

 

Here is the centerpiece (altar area, plus a nihrab pointing toward Mecca).  The only place on earth you’ll find Jesus, Mary, and Gabriel depicted, plus the names of Allah and Mohammed.  Fun fact: the original basilica pointed to Jerusalem, and the Muslim version to Mecca that’s off-center is only different by 3 degrees.

 

Hagia Sophia Altar Area
Hagia Sophia Altar Area

 

And here, a recovered mosaic of Jesus.  This is a little unnerving in person – the eyes will follow you as you move around in front of the mosaic.

 

Byzantine Mosaic of Christ
Byzantine Mosaic of Christ

 

Lots more to come from Istanbul’s photo trip!

 

BTW, I have decided the Turks are dessert hobbits – there always seem to be 2 desserts with any meal, and probably chocolate besides.  It’s a miracle they aren’t all diabetic … maybe the ever-present and delicious Turkish coffee is what offsets that?

 

Happy Shooting!

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

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

Water Temple

Pulgas Water Temple
Pulgas Water Temple

Looks like ancient Greece, right?

 

This is actually the Pulgas Water Temple, near Crystal Springs reservoir in California.  Built at the final terminus of the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct, it is where the waters of the Tuolumne River finally settle before heading north to their destination in San Francisco.

 

Water Temple, Side IR View
Water Temple, Side IR View

 

I’d only recently heard of it, and it’s a nuisance to get to as it’s only open on weekdays.  But bizarrely enough, that includes Labor Day, so I got lucky on this one.

 

Fortunately for me, it was still and sunny, and not too busy, so it made for great photos that required almost zero post-processing.

 

IR, Center View
IR, Center View

 

It’s one of those old (looking) structures that looks great both in color and infrared.  And if I’m this happy with Pulgas, I’m positively salivating about what I’ll see soon when I’m in Greece.

 

Side View, Color
Side View, Color

 

Happy Shooting!

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

Fairy Ring

Fairy Ring
Fairy Ring

came across this fascinating scene a few weeks ago while on a camping trip.  You can choose as you like whether this was the work of industrious and bored children, hippies and new agers, or the little folk.

Entryway
Entryway

Either way, someone spent a good bit of time selecting rocks out from the nearby river, hauling them over a small berm, and setting them all in place.

Angle View
Angle View

It makes me wonder – once it was set up, what did they do with it?  It’s not for a campfire, that’s for sure.  Nor is there evidence of substances being smoked, or blood sacrifices, etc. etc.

Fairy Ring in IR
Fairy Ring in IR

Regardless, I loved the angles and lines and different compositions I was able to get from this scene.  I had a fair amount of time around it (always a bonus) and was able to play around a bit.  And I a

 

Happy Shooting!

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

 

 

Seashore

 

Monterey Shoreline
Monterey Shoreline

The one thing that seems to work best for me when I’m working with waves or a seashore is to have a decent foreground.  Without that, things often fall flat, as in the following shot.

Waves
Waves

But if I can find something that’ll pull my eye through the scene, I usually like the result a lot better, as here.

Big Sur
Big Sur

Even something simple can work!  Like just these rocks.

Overlook
Overlook

Without that all I ever get is lackluster shots, which honestly work better as abstract white and blue combinations.

Big Sur in IR
Big Sur in IR

Happy Shooting!

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

 

 

Sutro Baths

Checkpoint
Checkpoint

Today it’s another local shoot (yeah, being born close to San Francisco is stupidly fortunate): the Sutro Baths and surrounding military batteries.

And once again, I don’t mean AA or D cell.  I mean places to mount nasty artillery that will pincushion any idjit dumb enough to try and pass the Golden Gate unwanted.

This Kurosawa-esque shot is of Battery Chester, near the Sutro Baths, a popular spa spot in the early part of the 20th century.

Mount
Mount

This is an actual battery mount.  Imagine 70 years ago, no trees in the way, and a clear shot (pun alert!) at the Pacific Ocean.

Crime Scene
Crime Scene

God knows why this was present.  Not a good reason, I’m sure.  Nice image, but rather disturbing.

But there are happier vistas afoot!

Watcher
Watcher

And here is the walk up the hill,  with the spas at the bottom left, in the dark.  The light trail was a classmate making her way up the hill during my exposure.

The Sutro Baths
The Sutro Baths

Happy Shooting!

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