Hello and welcome. Hope you enjoy the images I have posted. Please do not reproduce them without my permission. Most are available as note/greeting cards or as prints/enlargements. Thank you for visiting my site and your comments.
Many have asked about the Header image above, which I named 'Eerie Genny'. It was originally shot with film [taken on the shore of the Genesee River near the Univ. of Rochester]. During the darkroom development, I flashed a light above the tray. The process, known as 'solarization', produces eerie, ghostlike effects; some have mistaken this image as an infra-red photo. Some 35+ years later, I scanned and digitized the print, and did a little modern day editing, and, voila.
« I confirm the subscription of this blog to the Paperblog service under the username shattman ».

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Prague 6: Some Culture [Sky Watch Friday]

This posting will complete our tour of wonderful Prague. I must apologize to SWF for not showing any sky today; but, since it is #6 in the series, I am taking the liberty of showing them.
The morning of our last day began with an exploration of the Museum of Modern Art. This mirror-like wall near the entrance is difficult to describe. At first glance, I thought that the shimmering reflections was due to water running down the wall surface. But, actually, if I heard it correctly, huge fans were blowing air behind and against it. Evidently, the wall surface was flexible and fluttered under the powerful air stream. [If you look carefully, you can see me in the upper left quadrant wearing a beret and taking the shot.]

One of the featured exhibits was that of Ai Weiwei, the Chinese dissident artist. It was an homage to refugees. The structure below seems to depict the plight of faceless ‘boat people’ in flight. The scale of the raft is enormous, easily 100 meters long [look at the individual standing below it in the right hand corner].

On our own for the afternoon, we walked to the Mucha Museum. Alfons Mucha was a prominent Art Nouveau artist in the early 20th century. In my post of St. Vitus’s Cathedral [see Prague 2], I showed his  stained glass window. The exhibition contains an overview of the work of Mucha featuring a set of posters made during his ‘Parisian Period’ [188701904],  including those made for the actress, Sarah Bernhardt. They are all in soft pastel colors, as seen in the samples below.

We rode back to the hotel by tram [seniors 70 and over can ride the bus, tram, or metro free of change]. After dinner, we were transported to the National Theater where we were treated to a performance of Antonin Dvorak’s opera, Rusalka. The interior of the theater was beautiful and ornate. My cell phone shots do not do justice to its grandeur.

This concludes our Vienna-Budapest-Prague trip postings. I hope you enjoyed them; I will return in mid-January with images from our Greece trip in 2005.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Prague 5: Along the Vltava [Sky Watch Friday]

We continued on our free time by strolling along the Vltava. This gave us an opportunity to see Prague from a different perspective. For example, we had been up to the Hradcany Prague Castle several days earlier. Now we could see it from across the river. Note the towers of St. Vitus’s cathedral towering above.

Heading in the opposite direction, we saw a line of houses with wonderful Baroque facades. Remember that Prague was spared the WWII bombardment that had, for example, devastated Budapest. So, virtually everything of beauty has remained intact. The lower image shows how close to river these houses are situated.

From the vantage point of a nearby bridge, I shot this image. Note that the bottom one has been edited to remove a number of objects.

The bridge we were on was quite busy with pedestrian and vehicular traffic. In the two images below, I made a color to B&W conversion, as well as edit out a number of distracting details. Which version do you prefer?

Not only the bridge, but also the Vltava was bustling (with small boat traffic). The Charles Bridge is in the background.

That same evening, our group bused to the Charles Bridge for a walk across it [to our restaurant for dinner]. The shots below were with my cell phone.You can see a slight reddening of the sky as the sun is setting.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Prague 4: Old Jewish Quarter [Sky Watch Friday]

Following a lively morning presentation on Czech music, we proceeded to the old Jewish quarter. The history of the Jews in Prague is too complex to describe. Needless to say, they suffered through the centuries as two distinct communities were merged into one ghetto. In 1890 it was razed for supposed health reasons, but the Town Hall, several synagogues and the Old Jewish Cemetery were spared. The tower of the Jewish Town Hall is below.The right to build the tower was granted to the community after they helped defend the Charles bridge against invading Swedes in 1648. Note the presence of a second clock with Hebrew figures. Because Hebrew is read from right to left, this clock turns in the anti-clockwise direction.

Close to the town hall is the Pinkas Synagogue. Founded in 1479, it has been rebuilt many times. The core of the present building is a hall with Gothic vaulting.

The Synagogue now serves as a memorial to all the Czech Jews who were imprisoned in Terezin (Theresienstadt) and died there or in one of the concentration camps to which they were subsequently deported. The names of the 77,297 who did not return are inscribed on the Synagogue walls. If you look through the grill work, you will see a small sample of the inscriptions. The panels of names are arranged according to geographical regions from which the victims were taken, and they include their dates of birth and deportation/presumed death. The building also houses an exhibition of drawings made by children in Terezin these are too depressing to show here.

Adjacent to the Synagogue is the Old Jewish Cemetery, which for over 300 years was the only permitted burial ground. Founded in 1478, it was slightly enlarged over the years, but remains essentially unchanged.Because of its small size, people had to be buried on top of one another, up to 12 layers deep. Some 12,000 gravestones are crammed into this space; but the actual number of those buried here must exceed that number. Below is a sampling of headstones. The last image is the stone of the most famous personage in the cemetery, Rabbi Löw, buried in 1609. The reddish color is characteristic of sandstone weathering over time. 

There are actually several additional synagogues in Prague, but I will discus just one more, the Spanish Synagogue. The current building, which dates from the second half of the 19th century, was built on the spot of an 11th century synagogue (the first in Prague). What makes the Spanish Synagogue of architectural interest is its Moorish appearance. The walls and vaults are richly decorated, reminiscent of the Alhambra in Spain, hence its name.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Prague 3: Prague Castle Area [Sky Watch Friday]

In addition to the magnificent St. Vitus’s Cathedral, there were other sites of interest around the Castle. We made our way to nearby gardens from which we could enjoy superb vistas of Prague, such as the 14th century Charles Bridge [with the Old Town Bridge Tower at one end], a plethora of church spires, and bridges spanning the Vltava River. [We will see the towers at the other end of the Charles Bridge in a later posting.]

Our last exploration of the area was in Golden Lane, a short, narrow and picturesque street dating back to the late 16th century. The tiny houses originally were built into the arches of the Castle wall for the castle's guards and gunners. Over the years there were several transformations, but by the 19th century the area, unfortunately, had degenerated into a slum. In the 1950s, all the residents were moved out and the houses restored. They are now small shops selling books, glass, and souvenirs to the tourists who flock there. Nonetheless, they are quaint and photogenic. Golden Lane has been the home to some well-known artists and writers, including Franz Kafka, who stayed several months in 1917-18 in No. 22  [top image below].

I’ve been remiss in not pointing out that our tour leader in Prague was Micha, who was our assistant leader in Budapest. She is a gem! Below is an unusual shot I caught of her through the glasses of a fellow member of the tour, as well as a conventional image.

Next week we will wander through the Old Jewish Quarter.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Prague 2: St. Vitus’s Cathedral/Prague Castle [Sky Watch Friday]

The next morning we bused to the Prague Castle, founded in the 9th century high above the Vltava River [the Moldau]. The buildings enclosed included three churches, a palace, and a monastery. The Castle has been rebuilt many times, especially in 1541 after a fire badly damaged the buildings. The rebuilt Castle was in the Renaissance style, and since 1918 it has been the seat of the president of the republic.
Perhaps the most striking building is that of St. Vitus’s Cathedral. Started as a rotunda in the 10th century, additions were made over the next 1,000 years: it was a Basilica in the 11th century, expanded to a Gothic Cathedral in the 14th century and finally completed by 19th and 20th century architects and artists]. The west entrance [Neo-Gothic style] features twin spires and a Rose Window.

                                   Beneath the Rose window is a detail of the tympanum.

Entering the cathedral and heading down the nave, one is struck by the soaring height of the walls and ceiling.

                                                  Turning to look back at the Rose Window.

Among the modern additions is the stained glass window designed by the famous Czech Art Nouveau artist, Alfons Mucha. Installed in 1931, the window portrays the boy St. Wenceslas with his grandmother St. Ludmila in the center, surrounded by episodes from the lives of Saints Cyril and Methodius [who spread Christianity among the Slavs[. The image of Slavia is also included below Christ, and as an emblem of Slavia Bank who funded the stained glass window. The bottom image is a detail from the lower right panel.

Leaving the cathedral, we proceeded along the southern side. It, too, offered some splendid views.

Finally, some additional exterior images toward the apse, where the rather delicate flying buttresses are nicely visible.

                               Next week, I will continue to explore the area around Prague Castle.