Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dawn on the Charles River

Usually, it's at sunset when I find myself riding my bike home from work along the Charles River in Boston. (See these other posts: Sunset on the Charles, Part 1 and Part 2, and the Twisted Willow at Sunset).

But a week ago, during a spurt when my cat decided that breakfast must be served at 4:45 am, I used the time to go out and enjoy the cool, quiet of dawn. I just loved it. Almost no one around, so quiet and peaceful. Especially along the banks of the Charles River here in Cambridge, the temperature was pleasantly cool at this early hour. So, here I am (at right) looking barely awake just before 6 am after sunrise. Below are some of the scenes of the peaceful dawn on Sunday, July 18th.

Below: The newly risen sun, about to be obscured by cloud cover, is reflected in this view downstream right at the famous "head of the Charles."

Below: the sun peaking through the canopy of a sprawling willow.

Below: The view downstream after the clouds had fully obscured the sun.

Below: Looking upstream at the graceful triple arch Eliot Bridge. Charles Eliot was a famous landscape architect who was instrumental in the creation of Boston's Metropolitan Parks System, which included the linear parks lining the banks of the Charles River Basin.

Below: Early morning sunshine reflects off the boathouse next to the Eliot Bridge.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sunset at the Beach

Sunday, July 4th, we spent the evening walking Revere Beach (north of Boston) and stayed to enjoy the sunset. We were treated to the visual effect of an ever shifting palate of colors, both in the sky and clouds over the water (in the east) and over the marsh (to the west). We call this the "pink moment," inspirted by a friend from Ojai, CA, who introduced us to that term.

Above right: A rainbow in the sky points to a couple walking along the ocean's edge.

Below: The clouds above appeared like a giant watercolor, maybe by someone influenced by Monet.

Below: Dramatic steaks of light and shaddow across the cloudy sky to the west.

Below: Two views to the west. I love the dramatic contrast of light and shadow.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Churches of Santa Fe

In the end of May I found myself in Santa Fe, New Mexico, attending a family wedding. Santa Fe has an interesting history that weaves Native American and Spanish cultures into the ethnic stew of the present-day southwest in the US. Perhaps most unexpected was that Santa Fe was settled by Europeans before my hometown of Boston. The City of Santa Fe was founded in 1610 while Boston dates from 1630.

The architecture of the churches particularly caught my eye. Typical of the southwest, the palate of the facades consists of earth tones, reflecting Spanish architecture and local materials. The results are a very appealing simplicity in these sacred spaces. Following are samples of these churches.

Above right: Simple interior of the Santuario Diocesano de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe).

Below: Exterior of the Santuario Diocesano de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

Below: San Miguel Mission Church, recognized as the Oldest Church in the United States San Miguel Mission, dates from the early 1600s.

Below: The St. Francis Cathedral Basilica

Right: The famous spiral staircase in the Loretto Chapel. It was constructed in the 1870s. As the taped recording in the chapel tells the story, the chapel was built without a stairs to the choir loft, and this required climbing ladders. This was ok for men, but this chapel was used by nuns. As the referenced web site states, "many carpenters were consulted for a solution, but all of them felt that a traditional stairway would take up too much room." What to do? "The Sisters sought divine guidance, and on the ninth and final day of their Novena, a mysterious carpenter appeared who designed and constructed a circular stairway to the loft. His 'miraculous stairway' contains 33 steps in two full 360-degree turns, with no center support, nor is it held from the sides. Upon completing the stairway, the carpenter disappeared without receiving payment for his work." It still is a mystery to architects and structural engineers as to how it is self-supporting. In recent times, they added braces so it does not collapse with the vibrations on traffic on the street outside.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunset on the Charles, Part 2

A few more views from my bike ride home along the Charles River in Boston. Always seems I'm heading home just around sunset. These views are from June 17, 2010.