Friday, November 30, 2012

Arrival

I don't do a lot of birds, especially when I'm in the city, which is dominated by pigeons. :-( But get outside the city a bit and the variety of birds increases, although not always the size.

This is definitely the largest species I've seen around Kiev. My wife has often referred to them as Ibis, but the best I can tell, (which might not be all that good), this is a White Stork.

Some other time I'll post the original photo, but for now, here's a version I've played with a bit.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Chair, Pripyat

C H E R N O B Y L - 2 0 1 2

Some have wondered how this chair came to find a home on the street instead of in the hospital. My theory?

Photographers!


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Monday, November 26, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Mighty CCCP

Soviet Era Locomotive on permanent display just down the street from the Kiev Central Railroad Station.

So... what is this CCCP?

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Russian: Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик, tr. Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik) abbreviated to USSR (Russian: СССР, tr. SSSR) or the Soviet Union (Russian: Советский Союз, tr. Sovetsky Soyuz), was a constitutionally socialist state that existed between 1922 and 1991, ruled as a single-party state by the Communist Party with its capital as Moscow. A union of 15 subnational Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralised.

Soviet Union

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And a wonderful Thanksgiving to all!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Zen in Black and White

This is the same art posted under the title "Zen Mountain" but with a black and white treatment.

The mountain pictured is Mt. Tahtali, near Kemer Turkey.


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Monday, November 12, 2012

Lavra Pilgrimage

Not really a pilgrimage; it's more like a tour group. But pilgrimage sound more impressive. The gold domed building in the background is the Cathedral of Sts. Anthony and Theodosius at the Kiev Pechersk Lavra.

Sts. Anthony and Theodosius were sainted founders of Russian and Ukrainian monasticism. They established the Kiev Pechersk Monastery in the mid-11th century.



Oh, and I'm now selling some of my works here.  Feel free to stop by and view and say hi!

My Fine Art America website


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Somewhere on the Sea of Cortez

Baja California, Mexico, somewhere between Loreto and Puerto Aqua Verde, Mexico.

I did post this a while back, but have done quite a bit to this photo since then. This is one of those photos that I really liked, but could never get it to look like it did when I was there. (Believe me, it looked a bit different than this in real life).

There is no easy way to get to a place like this, especially overland. If there is a road anywhere nearby, it is likely unpaved. Worse, it may be a one lane road without guardrails, winding through steep hills. On the rare likelihood you encounter someone else on the road going in the opposite direction, one of you had better be pretty good at driving backwards until you reach an area wide enough for two vehicles.

The group I was with took an easier way. We arrived at this point after about four hours of paddling a kayak. A power boat would have been easier, but that was not the purpose of this trip.

This photo was processed with a painted effect.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Church of Michail, Metropolitan of Kiev

In a city of big, historic, gaudy, churches, this one ranks well below the rest.  Plus it's a bit off the usual tourist routes.


Friday, November 2, 2012

View from the Hotel Polissya

C H E R N O B Y L - 2 0 1 2

Walk the streets of any city, and after a few hours you begin to think you have a feel for that place. But out of curiosity, you seek out a higher view. You find a nice hill to climb, or find a statue or a building with a dominating view, and you get a totally different feel of the place. On the ground, you are like ants, and you get an ant's eye view. On higher ground, you soar like a bird, and then, only then, can you really begin to see and understand what a place is about.

Pripyat is like that.

On the ground, you experience the encroachment of nature, the streets and parks and playgrounds mutating into paths through a wooded forest. In such an environment, there couldn't possible a threat of radiation. But on high, you get a distinctly different view. You see a city and what certainly was a wonderful place to live and to raise a family. And you see a place, that at the height of its grandeur, was abandoned to forces beyond its control. You see what was, and envision what could have been. And you get a firm reminder that no matter how much man likes to think he can control nature and the planet, that it is all transitory. One mistake, one careless moment, and what took decades to build is abandoned to the capricious will of Mother Nature, and left to return to her domain.

Looking at Pripyat from on high, one sees destruction and man's work falling apart. But what actually happened here? Some might think the Chernobyl accident caused the blown out windows and the crumbling facades. But you'd be wrong. And twenty-six years of neglect and weathering only explains a part of the story. The story of Pripyat's destruction is much more basic than that. Most of it was manmade. Here's what happened.

A long time after the initial evacuation, former residents were allowed back to gather furniture and belongings of their former life. As long as it was not overly radioactive and as long as they could transport it themselves, they were allowed to remove it.

Parts of Pripyat were further occupied on and off for an additional 12 years, because clean-up workers needed a place to stay. Clean-up workers took whatever furniture and other goods they needed.

Next were the looters. When the Soviet Union fell, millions were thrown into poverty. And poor people did what poor people have always done. They did whatever they could to survive. The government clamped down hard on looters, because all kinds of radioactive goods started to appear on the black market. But the damage to Pripyat was done.

Later, once radiation levels had dropped substantially, the government awarded contracts to salvagers to remove and recycle anything of value that fell below a certain level of radioactivity. Pipes, radiators, electrical wiring, window frames.

And lastly, for many years, former residents of Pripyat were allowed to return for one day a year, to reminisce about their former homes and lives. Families would bring their teenagers, but teens, being teens, would drink and smash whatever they could find.