Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

As a child growing up in the country, I don’t remember being particularly bothered by the heat of summer but that was a long time ago now.  Here in Richmond, the summers tend to be sultry – awash in a stultifying mix of humidity, still air, and high temperatures. This year, however, we have had some spells of divine weather lasting for few days here and there in between the heat waves.  It makes me once again love summer, a long-forgotten but immensely pleasant feeling.

So what is there to love about summer?

Summer Reading

Being able to sit outside and read a good book.  Or just be.

Sycamore - Version 2

Taking a walk down the lane where I grew up; the breeze soughing through the sycamores my grandfather planted almost 100 years ago.

Sparklers

Sparklers at the family picnic on the 4th of July.

Up, up and away

The “wheeee! ” of flying through the air at a small-town fireman’s carnival.

The Zipper

Day turns into evening and the carnival lights glow against the sky.

Pink Blossoms

Lushness in the garden, crape myrtles blowsy with blooms.

Silent Conversation

Chairs on a dock by the water waiting for quiet readers, wet swimmers, or warm conversation amongst friends.A toast to summer

A toast in gratitude for another lovely summer’s day.

Starfish Dreaming

Feet in the sand at waters’ edge, a starfish winking at me.

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Peace at the end of day.

To see what others love about summer be click here.

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Next time, I’ll be back to Vintage Christmas.  I’m back in the workshop making new things!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Container

This week’s challenge is to show a container: something that contains something else.  Since I am still going through my 4,000 images that I took in Europe this past spring, I thought immediately of the grand churches and cathedrals I visited.  If ever there was a magnificent container, this would be it.

Churches contain many things, both concrete and ephemeral; the centuries-old buildings that I entered are repositories of some of the world’s greatest art.  But the container itself – the edifices erected to “the glory of God” – are also some of the world’s greatest art, created by some of the world’s largest egos, no doubt.  In this post, I wanted to consider the inside of the container instead of the exterior.

As always, if you click on the image to see it full size, it is so much better.

Perhaps the simplest of the churches in this group, Paris' lovely Saint Sulpice.

Perhaps the simplest of the churches in this group, Paris’ lovely Saint Sulpice.

A side altar in a serene  church in Passau, Germany.

A side altar in a serene church in Passau, Germany.

The beautiful, soaring Gothic cathedral of St. Stephen's in Prague

The beautiful, soaring Gothic cathedral of St. Stephen’s in Prague

Stained glass window in St. Stephen's, Prague

Stained glass window in St. Stephen’s, Prague

A glorious ceiling in a Salzburg church

A glorious ceiling in a Salzburg church

Over-the-top decoration in the Loreto Church in Prague

Over-the-top decoration in the Loreto Church in Prague

The serene St. Stephen's in Vienna

The serene St. Stephen’s in Vienna

The incredibly ostentatious - dare I say it? - gaudy interior of the monks' church at Melk Abbey

The incredibly ostentatious – dare I say it? – gaudy interior of the monks’ church at Melk Abbey

A moment of peace inside St. Stephen's Cathedral in Budapest, on Easter Sunday

A moment of peace inside St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Budapest, on Easter Sunday

As an aside, did you notice how many St. Stephen’s churches I visited?  I think I saw one in every city.  I never did learn why St. Stephen was quite so important to the Europeans as compared to some of the other saints.  Do you know?

Please click here to see what others thoughts on this week’s challenge are.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Study in Contrasts

This week’s challenge is “Contrasts.”  Contrast is one of the most important components of any photograph; changing the level of contrast totally changes the image.  But for this week’s challenge, I decided against employing contrast in the strictly photographic sense but, rather, to show a startling contrast between two images.

In this  case, the two images represent buildings that are directly across the street from each other in Bratislava, Slovakia.  Please click on all the pictures to see them full size, which is so much better.

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This is part of the front of the charming “Blue Church” in Bratislava.  The entire church and its surrounding buildings are blue – completely and totally blue and white.  So is the church’s interior. It is an amazing, captivating bit of decorative architecture.

Yet, if you were to stand on the front steps of this lovely church, this is what you will see right across the narrow street:

DSC_0637 - Version 2A blown out, burned out remnant of the communist era, this is what is left of a housing block.  I can hardly imagine a more stark contrast.

It is remarkable to me that so much beautiful architecture actually survived both the world wars and the communist oppression.  Thank goodness that it did.

The Blue Church was an absolute jewel as was much of Bratislava itself.  Here are some more images of the church for you to enjoy.

Click on this link to see others’ vision of “contrasts.”