JAY W PAGE PHOTOGRAPHY: Blog http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) JAY W PAGE PHOTOGRAPHY jaywpage@hotmail.com (JAY W PAGE PHOTOGRAPHY) Sat, 15 Nov 2014 01:13:00 GMT Sat, 15 Nov 2014 01:13:00 GMT http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-5/u223220239-o975296036-50.jpg JAY W PAGE PHOTOGRAPHY: Blog http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog 96 120 Reflections on Venice http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/reflections-of-venice Venice CanalVenice Canal Quiet, peaceful, serene... These are some of the thoughts that come to mind when people think of Venice: a medieval city lost in time, bypassed by the modern world. The reality certainly includes all of this and more, but it also includes mass marketed tourism, modern cruise ships by the dozens and a city living on borrowed time. During the tourist season, there is an immense press of tourists that flood into the city every day, and it's a city that caters to them entirely.

But Venice hasn't always been this way, nor is it like this in every part. It's not hard to escape from the crowds and lose oneself in a medieval world of quiet canals and ochre-coloured architecture. One simply has to "dive" into the city, and in doing so, abandon all sense of direction or time. The anarchy of medieval city planning (or lack thereof) combined with this very foreign concept of using canals for streets defies any modern sense of efficiency.

Venice surprises and astounds the visitor, the mixture of charm, quaintness and historical pretentiousness is constantly in your face. The first impression by many visitors to Venice is of the view from the steps of the St. Lucia Train Station; nowhere is there a more surprising scene. The busy Grand Canal is filled with numerous power boats, vaporettos and gondolas all in one massive melee, churning the water into a froth and creating green waves that would be more at home on the ocean. All of which is presided over by the white marble, green-copper domed church of San Simeone Piccolo. It's truly a surprising sight.

church of San Simeon Piccolo
Neoclassical facade is the San Simeon Piccolo, rebuilt in 1718–38 by Giovanni Scalfarotto (in a vague imitation of Rome's Pantheon) - See more at: http://www.reidsitaly.com/destinations/veneto/venice/sights/s_simeone.html#sthash.3YioOfbE.dpuf
Neoclassical facade is the San Simeon Piccolo, rebuilt in 1718–38 by Giovanni Scalfarotto (in a vague imitation of Rome's Pantheon) - See more at: http://www.reidsitaly.com/destinations/veneto/venice/sights/s_simeone.html#sthash.3YioOfbE.dpuf

Farther along on the Grand Canal, large, ornate marble-faced palaces sit side by side, each one proclaiming the wealth and importance of some long dead patriarch. One cannot help but remember Shelley's Ozymandias when looking at these pretensions from the past. But the future holds an even bigger problem for Venice. The irony of the bands playing at the expensive outdoor cafes in Piazza San Marco while Venice sinks must be apparent to both the musicians and audience. Because just like the titanic, Venice is sinking and world sea levels are rising; not a good combination for a city with the sea quite literally at it's front door. During high tides, the water rises within one step (about 30 cm) of the ground level of many buildings and piazzas, and it floods when ever there is any amount of storm surge. Already the ground floor levels of many buildings are abandoned.

Venice has survived for centuries and it will no doubt endure for years to come. But the question is in what form? Will it be abandoned and turn into a modern Atlantis? Will parts of it be built up to stay above the frequent floods? Will it somehow be protected by dykes? It's hard to say, and really it's for future generations to decide, but the future doesn't look all that good for Venice right now. But it's this those dark clouds on the horizon that are part of the city's charm where one is encouraged to live for today, for tomorrow may never come....

Reflections on Venice is available for sale as a fine art print here.


Technical
Camera & Lens: Sony DSC-RX1 with Zeiss 35 mm f/2
Exposure: 1/160 sec.
Aperture: f/9
ISO: 100
Exposure Comp: -0.3

 

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jaywpage@hotmail.com (JAY W PAGE PHOTOGRAPHY) Reflections The Grand Canal Venice http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/reflections-of-venice Mon, 16 Dec 2013 07:36:57 GMT
Voga alla Veneta in Venice http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/11/voga-alla-veneta-in-venice Voga alla VenetaVoga alla VenetaThe technique of rowing a gondola with one ore while standing and facing forward is called Voga alla Veneta. It is a movement of both grace and efficiency, allowing the gondolier to move the gondola surprisingly quickly and with precision along the narrow and often crowded canals of Venice. The technique of rowing a gondola with one ore while standing and facing forward is called Voga alla Veneta. It is a movement of both grace and efficiency for it allows the gondolier to move the gondola surprisingly quickly and with precision along the narrow and often crowded canals of Venice.

My wife and I spent several days wandering around in Venice last fall enjoying the ambiance of one of the best preserved medieval cities in the world. The complexity of the canals and pedestrian walkways in Venice is so confusing and difficult to navigate that the casual visitor is virtually guaranteed to become quickly lost. 

After countless hours of wandering around with only the vaguest notion of where we were, I was pretty much resigned to the fate of being just another "tourist with a camera". As I walked around, I had in the back of my mind a vague concept of a black and white gondola picture I was hoping to take, but try as I might, I just couldn't seem to find the right light or location to put it together.

Late in the afternoon on our the last day in Venice, we were crossing Piazza San Marco and my wife mentioned that we hadn't seen the nearby "Bridge of Sighs", so we headed over to the Rio de Palazzo to take a look. The Bridge of Sighs is a famous tourist sight, and predictably, there were both crowds of tourists on the bridges and gondolas vying for position in the canal. However, when I saw this canal and the gondolas, the image that had been submerged in my subconscious finally floated to the surface and I knew this was what I was looking for.

With the sun setting, we rushed down through several minor passageways to a small, narrow bridge where I could look out over the gondolas coming down the canal. The light was perfect, reflecting down the canal, back lighting the gondolas and giving a mirror-like quality to the water. I had only a few minutes to get my picture before it was too dark. Luckily, there was a gondola coming through at just the right moment and I squeezed off several shots as it passed below the bridge. I set the shutter speed at 1/250 of a second to freeze the gondolier's movements, while the aperture was set to f/8 to give some depth of field. In an attempt to hold it all together I set the ISO at 1250.

The result: well, initially it was disappointing. In colour this image is rather dull; the flat light from that overcast, slightly foggy day gave a lifeless appearance to everything. Not at all what I had remembered. So after opening the raw file in Camera Raw, I made some basic exposure adjustments, and exported it into Photoshop. There, I reduced the noise with Topaz Labs' DeNoise plugin and converted the image to black & white using Nik Software's Silver Effects Pro. Some further adjustments to brightness and contrast in Photoshop were needed to balance the reflections from the water, but it's those mid grey tones that really bring this image to life. So as it turned out, this was exactly the image I was looking for, but the reality is that it existed as much in my imagination as it did in the real world.

This image is available for sale as a fine art print, see: Voga-alla-Venta.


Technical
Camera & Lens: Sony DSC-RX1 with Zeiss 35 mm f/2
Exposure: 1/250 sec.
Aperture: f/8
ISO: 1250
Exposure Comp: +0.3

 

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jaywpage@hotmail.com (JAY W PAGE PHOTOGRAPHY) Bridge of Sighs Venice gondola reflections http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/11/voga-alla-veneta-in-venice Fri, 29 Nov 2013 19:06:34 GMT
Roman Colosseum http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/11/roman-colosseum The Roman Colosseum is one of those sights in Rome that all tourists plan to see. But the reality for most tourists, is that it probably won't measure up to expectations.

A visit to the Roman Colosseum during the tourist season is likely to be an exercise in frustration; you will be one of thousands in a thick crowd of slow moving tourists.  Also, since the Colosseum is being "cleaned and restored", much of the exterior of the building is obscured by scaffolding, and the interior, which has suffered from the ravages of time, is largely missing. There are far better preserved coliseums in the world, such as those in Arles and Nimes in southern France if you want to see a "working" coliseum.

So the challenge I faced was how could I photograph the Roman Colosseum so that it retained some of it's grandeur and mystery? I knew that it was floodlit at night so that was a possibility worth checking out. The fact that there is a metro station near by makes it even convenient. However, the evening is also a good time to enjoy a glass of wine at a sidewalk cafe and an opportunity to relax from the day, so it was easy to put off. By the time our second-last day in Rome arrived, I knew I would have to give it a try if it was going to happen at all, so we headed down to the Colosseum at dusk.

As many city dwellers know, the character of a city often changes when the sun sets and Rome is no different. In the Colosseum area, most of the tourists were gone, to be replaced by groups of Romans out for a stroll, kids playing, and many others just hanging around chilling out. We walked around looking for a good vantage point to shoot from, a place without trees or something blocking the view. A near-by grassy hill in a park looked like it had potential, but when I started to set up my photography gear we noticed a number of sketchy-looking people had started to drift in around us in the dark. I quickly shot off a few images and we moved to a better lit and more friendly area.

I shot several sets of panoramas, each 3 to 6 shots. These were existing light images of course, so I was shooting at fairly high ISO values, between ISO 2500 and ISO 6400. In an attempt to freeze the distant pedestrians I set the shutter speed at 1/50 of a second while the aperture was set at f/4 to reduce fringing on my Sony RX1. I used a monopod to support the camera.

Back at home I merged the pictures using Photoshop, adjusted for distortion, converted the image to black & white using Nik Software's Silver Effects Pro, opened up the shadows with a curve adjustment, and added some contrast and sharpening to create the image above.

The Colosseum is much more interesting at night than in the daytime, and I think this image captures some of the night-time atmosphere. This image is now available for sale as a fine art print here.

 

Technical
Camera & Lens: Sony DSC-RX1 with Zeiss 35 mm f/2
Exposure: 1/50 sec.
Aperture: f/4
ISO: 6400
Exposure Comp: +0.3 stops

 

 

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jaywpage@hotmail.com (JAY W PAGE PHOTOGRAPHY) Roman Colosseum http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/11/roman-colosseum Sun, 24 Nov 2013 19:26:00 GMT
Europe 2013 http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/10/europe-2013 My wife Sharon and I have just recently returned from eight enjoyable weeks spent in France & Italy. We began our trip in Paris where we rented an apartment for 2 weeks and then we headed south through Burgundy to Provence, and then on to Tuscany, Venice and Rome. We had an amazing trip, we saw some of the world's best art, we enjoyed many, very good meals and we walked ourselves into a happy state of exhaustion almost every day.

We also did a lot of photography. I came back with over 3,600 images on my laptop and it'll take months to go through them all. But already I know I have some "keepers". For those of you who were following our trip, you have already seen some of the images that I posted on my website every few days, internet permitting.

What city did we enjoy the most? Well, I think Paris is at the top of our list of places to return to. The range and quality of art available there is hard to match, even when compared to Florence or Rome. The food in Paris is very good, as is the general ambiance, but it's the people who make Paris a great city.

Venice is also a very interesting place to visit, especially since it's the best preserved medieval city in the world, but the immense pressure of global tourism makes it hard to enjoy even Venice for more than a few days. Unfortunately, the reality in a crowded world is that many interesting places worth visiting are now almost always busy.

This was quite in contrast to our last trip to Europe 25 years ago, or the winter I spent hitchhiking around Europe as a student 40 years ago. A lot has changed, both in Europe and in me, and it's hard to say which has changed more. But never the less, Europe has changed beyond recognition during my lifetime.

Our best memories? Well, it might be enjoying the impressionistic paintings in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, or viewing Michelangelo's David in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence, or wine tasting and driving through the medieval stone villages of Burgundy, or hiking along the coastal trails in Cinque Terre, Italy, or enjoying some of the great meals we had in France or Italy? It's impossible to say which was best, they were all good.

There will be many images posted here over the upcoming year as I work through these happy memories.

 

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jaywpage@hotmail.com (JAY W PAGE PHOTOGRAPHY) Europe France Italy http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/10/europe-2013 Wed, 30 Oct 2013 17:52:00 GMT
Receding Glaciers Project http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/9/receding-glaciers-project Illecillewaet Glacier The Receding Glaciers photographic project is an attempt to inform and educate people about the dramatic glacial recession that is taking place in the world's alpine regions.

The vast majority of all scientists now agree that global climate change is caused by human activity and that the increase in average global temperatures is due to man-made green-house gasses. It is also very likely that the increase climate variability and in extreme weather events is another manifestation of global warming.

However, it's difficult for most people to make a lot of sense out of the global warming debate, the statistics are difficult to interpret and understand, and there is little evidence in our day to day existence to support it. We don't have a gauge on the wall like a barometer that tells us what is happening. Even where I live, all we have seen locally is the occasional unusual bird or insect during the summer.

This is why the alpine glaciers are so important because they are tangible proof to everyone who looks at them that something is going on with the weather. Glaciers themselves are the result of complex interactions between various aspects of our climate: annual temperatures, snowfall accumulation, albedo (sunlight reflectance and absorption), topography, etc. But something has changed to upset the balance that previously existed and we can see ourselves that something is going on because the glaciers are melting.

Glaciers and the annual snow pack that accumulates every winter in the mountains are important sources of water during the driest parts of the summer in many different parts of the world. These rivers supply water for agriculture and human consumption in places that may be thousands of kilometers away from the mountains. What we have developing is  a bad combination: a climate that is getting hotter and fewer natural reserves of ice and snow to supply water when it is most needed.

A good discussion of global warming and of how it is affecting our world is on the NASA Earth Observatory webpage.

We all contribute to the problem of global warming and everyone has an obligation to try to reduce the impact that our actions have on the environment. Even small actions by individuals can make a difference over time if enough people contribute.

The images on the Receding Glacier Project's webpage are available for download without charge for non-profit use to help promote public information and education about glacial recession and the perils of global warming.

Over time, many more images will be added to this site. I wish that I had "some before and after" type of pictures but I have combed my slides from 30-40 years ago without much luck. If anyone has old pictures of some of the areas displayed here, I would be happy to display them.

Visit the Receding Glaciers Project.

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jaywpage@hotmail.com (JAY W PAGE PHOTOGRAPHY) Global Warming Receding Glaciers http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/9/receding-glaciers-project Mon, 02 Sep 2013 00:22:00 GMT
Glacier National Park http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/8/glacier-national-park Mount Sir DonaldMount Sir DonaldMount Sir Donald as seen from the Great Glacier trail in Glacier National Park, British Columbia.

This is a 5.7 MB JPEG file.

This image and others may be downloaded after first signing in with your email address here.
Glacier National Park is truly one of the overlooked gems of the Canadian National Park system. This park covers a portion of the Selkirk Range, including the Roger's Pass area which is traversed by the Trans-Canada Highway. Most people zoom by on Highway One intent only on making it over the pass in one piece, barely noticing the turn-offs to some of the most scenic hiking in Canada.

We spent several days camped in the Illecillewaet Campground this past summer, hiking and exploring the natural and cultural history of the park. Did you know that this is where mountaineering first began in North America? That's right! The Canadian Pacific Railway brought in Swiss guides to take guests at the railway-owned Glacier Hotel up onto the glaciers for excursions and for mountaineering. This was years before Banff National Park even existed.

Unfortunately since then, the glaciers have receded an astonishing distance and this is readily apparent to any visitors who hike up to the glaciers. I have posted images illustrating the glacial recession taking place in Glacier National Park in a new webpage titled the Receding Glaciers Project.

There is however, an abundance of natural beauty in the park which can be enjoyed by any visitor with a minimum of effort. And for those who are fit and ambitious, exploring Glacier National Park can be be very rewarding!

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jaywpage@hotmail.com (JAY W PAGE PHOTOGRAPHY) Glacier national Park Glaciers Receding Glaciers http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/8/glacier-national-park Thu, 01 Aug 2013 17:10:00 GMT
NUMBER SIX http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/7/number-six There are simply too many people. Over geological time there have been five mass extinctions of life on earth, evidence for which is preserved in the fossil record.

These mass extinctions, such as the end of dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous Period, or the very large, marine extinction that occurred at the end of the Permian Period, help identify major boundaries in the geological time scale.

When the fossil record of these events is considered within the context of the associated sedimentary rocks, there is evidence that wide spread changes in environmental conditions at those points in time caused the destruction and/or redistribution of species habitat.

We are presently entering into a period of wide spread environmental change and species habitat destruction on earth, largely through the actions of man.

There are a large number of issues facing our society that need to be addressed if man himself is to ultimately avoid being included in the list of species lost. These issues include but are certainly not limited to: population growth, climate change, widespread pollution, declining soil fertility, availability of arable land and water supplies, the thawing of the arctic permafrost and release of stored CO2 and methane gasses, the increasing acidification of the oceans and declining natural food stocks.

This is the setting for mass extinction NUMBER SIX which could be the ultimate challenge facing our species.

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jaywpage@hotmail.com (JAY W PAGE PHOTOGRAPHY) Environment Number Six http://jaywpage.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/7/number-six Mon, 01 Jul 2013 16:36:00 GMT