Monday, June 26, 2017

Liberty and the Branches

Right below the rotunda, one can find four beautiful mosaics. Made by Kenyon Cox, Liberty and the branches of government are represented. Each measures about 28x20' and contains about 10,000 pieces of glass. The tiny hand-cut pieces are made from many different types of glass, including opaque, colored, shiny, and matte, with backings of aluminum and copper.  Considered some of the finest glass mosaics in the world, the varied glass types create a strong dimensional effect.

Liberty mosaic

Justice mosaic

Justice mosaic (detail)

Legislation mosaic

Government mosaic

Friday, June 23, 2017

Madison State Capitol Dome interior through Different Lenses

As part of a photowalk with a featured guest photographer, we spent most of our time in the Madison State Capitol. It was the first time for Olympus Trailblazer photographer Frank T Smith to visit the city and its magnificent landmark. Like others who come to visit, Smith was impressed by its beauty and attention to detail. For the next few hours, we  explored the interior and observation deck, seeking photographic inspiration.
Photographed with my 12-50mm lens (24-100mm equivalent)

The ornamental frame surrounding the central dome glimmered in the sunlight, setting off the swirling 34 foot mural. Painted in 1912 by Edwin Blashfield, "Resources of Wisconsin" features twelve women holding products of Wisconsin such as tobacco, wheat, and lead.

8mm fish-eye lens
As it was an event sponsored by Olympus, the company provided a camera body and lens for people to test out. I had a chance to try out a wide angle lens (7-14mm). I also got a chance to take a few shots with Frank's fisheye 8mm lens. It was fun to try the lens out, but not something I'd go right out and buy.

7-14mm lens
It was fun seeing how different lenses could render different views of the same subject. 

See more photos of the State Capitol on my Flickr page.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Block Printing of India

A video shared by my friend reminded me of why I love the textiles of India so much. Each step reveals the artistry and intricacy that is so lovingly performed.                                                                    

The textile lover that I am, the Anokhi Museum in Jaipur was a perfect place to visit when in the Pink City. Along with informative displays on the history of block printing in India, they had a few craftsmen doing demonstrations.
I especially enjoyed watching the man carving the wood block. It amazed me how such intricate, narrow lines could be formed by such simple tools. Each stroke was made with confident precision. Definitely not a beginner piece!

Holding up a finished block
Floral block detail with chisels
Three blocks that are needed to form one print. Precision is needed for both the carving and in alignment of the inked blocks.
Printing on a small handkerchief cloth

Stamping on a resist (in Gujarat, India)

In addition to printing with multiple blocks, a resist might be added, the cloth immersed in a dye bath, and the cloth washed, dried, and re-printed multiple times. So next time you see a hand-printed piece of fabric, you'll appreciate the artistry and understand why it is more expensive than that commercial knock-off.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Thuburbo Majus - Ancient Roman Site

While living in Tunisia, one of the sites I visited was Thuburbo Majus. Located about 60 km southwest from Carthage on a major thoroughfare connecting Carthage to the Sahara, it is a significant Roman site. Originally a Punic town, it was founded around 27 AD by the Romans as a place where army retirees could settle. Much of the trading town was built around 150-200 AD and prospered as a center for growing grain, olives, and fruit. 

Excavations began around 1916 and again around 1925 and the 1950's. Like many Roman sites in Tunisia, there likely is much still that remains below the surface. Now, visitors to this very rural site will find sheep grazing nearby, perhaps even walking over the large mosaics still in situ. Most of the significant mosaics and baths, along with a massive head of Jupiter are now in the Bardo Museum. Despite it not being as well known as Carthage, many of the impressive pieces in the museum were from Thuburbo Majus. I visited the site several times, but found it most beautiful when the fields were green and yellow flowers abounded. 

One of the more prominent structures at Thuburbo Majus is the Capitolium. Here, a fairly intact olive press can be found. At the center of the town was the forum. Many of its columns still stand. Near the forum can be found remnants of a market, shops, and a basilica.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

A little Spring in Downtown Madison


One sunny day, I headed downtown to check out its spring clothes. Although it wasn't as pretty as Yonsei University's (in Seoul, Korea) campus, the UW Madison campus had some pretty spots as well. 

I then walked towards the capitol. Some of the trees were beginning to bloom as well.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Change is in the Air

In the last two weeks, I've visited Olbrich Gardens three times. After a rainy spell these past several days, a slight break (at least for a few hours) enable me to check the local botanical gardens yet again.  Last week's warm weather and blue skies brought out lots of people; today, the overcast skies, brisk wind, and cool temps meant a smaller crowd. A week ago today, the cherry blossoms were singing. Today, few petals remained; Their tune was over. I walked away from the area from the area where I had photographed the cherry blossoms and magnolias last week, searching for new subjects.
The wooden bridge crossing the Starkweather Creek was my spot of choice for today. Here, the redbuds provided a colorful contrast against the overcast sky. 
Next to the bridge, three painted turtles vied for a spot on the grassy section of a log. 

What changes are you observing in your area?

Olbrich Gardens in Spring #melissaenderle, #olbrichgardens, #spring, #madison


Olbrich Gardens in Spring #melissaenderle, #olbrichgardens, #spring, #madison


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

melissaenderle


Spring Awakens at Olbrich Gardens


Having photographed (at least according to my sister) all the flowers in Korea, it was high time that I began to document those spring beauties in Wisconsin. Spring in Wisconsin is a few weeks behind that of Korea, so I had to be a bit more patient. Finally (as my eyes and sinuses also revealed), the warmer temperatures have awakened spring in the area. After completing my online teaching, I took advantage of the pleasant temperatures and non-rainy late morning to walk to the Olbrich Gardens. It was the first time that I had visited Olbrich in spring, so I was eager to see what it would look like.


Other people, young and old, seemed to have had the same idea, strolling around the grounds (free admission) to see what firstfruits of spring were present. While many areas still looked rather dormant, sections were sprinkled with color. Blue Stars carpeted the ground, interspersed with daffodils. Magnolias and cherry blossoms added to the color palette, offering variation in size and color. I crouched low to the ground to get some shots, immediately getting dirt on my freshly laundered jeans. Oh, the price that a photographer must pay! 

Needless to say, it wasn't difficult to quickly rack up quite a few shots. I'll have to return in a week or less to see what further changes there will be. The folks (including many volunteers) were busy with spring cleaning and preparing many areas. I can't wait to see the fruits of their labors!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

On our way to Antelope Canyon, we stopped for a short visit to Horseshoe Bend.  Although it is located only five miles from the beginning of the Grand Canyon National Park, the weather was remarkably different from our visit to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon just a day earlier. 
To reach the famed spot, we walked about 3/4 a mile off of Highway 89. The soil here was very sandy, its red-orange color contrasting sharply with the blue skies above. Not a tree in sight.
In a few places, people had created sculptures with the rocks.


The sandstone rocks were quite weathered, sculpted by wind and rain.
A boat makes its way around the bend
Once at the lookout point, we were afforded a breathtaking view of the Colorado River 1,000 feet (305 meters) below, curving its way around the Navajo sandstone. In addition to taking the classic shot of the bend, I took some alternative views. 


A bridal couple posed for some photos. A drone (even though signs explicitly stated that drones were forbidden) buzzed overhead, taking additional shots. 

If you are visiting the Grand Canyon or Antelope Canyon, this stop is worth your time! 

Arizona, Horseshoebend, melissaenderle