Graphic Arts and Celtic DNA

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Rule of Thirds.”

I usually keep the rule of thirds in mind when I design a watercolor painting, but haven’t much thought of it for photography.  Mostly because of the limited aperature control in my camera, or perhaps I should go back to the manual to check more about the aperature mode that I do have.  I may not be doing all the camera is capable of.

Anyhow, I chose a lightweight cement mortar sculpture that I had done some years ago, and used it as my subject.  The lightweight mortar is composed of portland cement and vermiculite.  The latter is a mineral much, much lighter weight than sand, and if you cast a block of this mortar and wait some 4 or 5 hours for it to stiffen to semi-rigid, you can then carve it with a knife and smooth the surfaces with woodworking rasps.  After it hardens in about 24 hours it is smooth and hard as regular mortar, but easier to move about.

Sculpture of Mermaid

Sculpture of Mermaid Warming in the Sun

I set the aperture to an F of 3.3, but didn’t seem to get much of a reduction in field of view focus.  However, I used an Edge Blur effect in iPhoto, and that gave a good result, I think.


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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Symmetry.”

In sorting through my photo album to find material for last weeks challenge, I came across photos I’d taken while working at a dam in Egypt, sometime in mid-eighties.  The ones that intrigued me I had taken at Rameses tomb, south of the Aswan Dam, at its UNESCO-sponsored transport to a new location to escape inundation by the new, deep reservoir being formed behind the dam.  I still marvel at the engineering accomplishment of successfully moving this giant structure, block by block, and hardly being able to detect any of the resulting joint-work today.

The quiet majesty of the tomb impressed me very much.  The pictures I’ll show today were taken inside the tomb and its interior temple.


Wall carvings depicting Rameses conquest of Nubian warriors. Notice the simple symmetry of the depiction of Rameses.

The long corridor leading to the inner temple at the rear of the tomb

The long corridor leading to the inner temple at the rear of the tomb. Again, a simple symmetry of form.

The inner temple as it is lit by the long shaft of sunlight reaching in from the entrance of the tomb.

The inner temple as it is lit by the long shaft of sunlight reaching in from the entrance of the tomb.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale


Scaling Grandma McCabe Redwood–Largest in Mendocino County, CA

13 members of the California Native Plants Society join hands to encircle the largest first-growth redwood tree in our county, near the Gualala River.  We roughly triangulated (using hand-levels and tape) the height, and it clocked in at about 350 ft. high.


Rameses Tomb, along Nile River in Egypt


Rameses Tomb sculpture

Rameses Tomb was relocated to this new site before filling the new, Aswan High Dam on the Nile River in early fifties, to prevent its being inundated by the reservoir waters.  Each piece of the tomb and sculptures was mapped, numbered, sawn into manageable pieces, and transported, to be reassembled at its new location above the reservoir.

I was a geotechnical engineer assigned during the eighties to do a performance evaluation of the instruments installed in the dam during construction.  It  was wonderful to be able to tour the site while I was there, and note the magnificent scale and grandeur of the tomb structure.

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Tide Pool creatures live in a world defined by a changing depth of perhaps fifteen or twenty feet, and may have only the dimmest sort of consciousness–that the mother tide shall return with a sustenance and embryonic fluid needed for protection and propagation.  We humans live with what is thought to be the highest sense of consciousness, and in a somewhat deeper layer of sustaining gases and nutrients–perhaps reaching to twenty thousand feet.  How infinitesimally small both layers are when thinking of a universe that continues to expand in depths measured in billions of light years.

Tidepool Urchins--waiting for tide to come in.

Uncovered Sea Anemones in rock pockets–waiting for the tide to hurry back.