Monday, December 30, 2013

The Magicians Monument

There are many theories to explain how Stonehenge came to be. The myth of interest to me is that of Merlin building it. The brother of Uther Pendragon wanted a memorial to some slain English nobles by saxons. Merlin suggested bringing stones from the Giant's Ring at the top of Mount Killaraus in Ireland back to Britain. This idea was approved but no one was capable of transporting these mammoth stones to England except through the magic of Merlin.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Setting Sun and Poppies

This is Bamburgh Castle and a beautiful field of poppies spread across the foreground. This location often has ties to Sir Lancelot and Joyous Garde as referenced by Sir Thomas Malory in Le Morte d'Arthur. Lancelot would have taken refuge here after his troubles with Arthur's Queen.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

St Anthony's Chapel

Sitting on the side of Arthur's Seat and above St Margaret's Loch in Edinburgh are the ruins of St Anthony's Chapel. Couldn't find much about the history but I am amazed that it wasn't rebuilt because the views from here are spectacular.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Dover Lighthouse

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sue's Seafood

One of very few pictures I took on our day excursion out to Dover. I found something quaint about the little lonely restaurant.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Halls of Saint-Sulpice

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

View from Arc de Triomphe

Speaking of stereotypical tourist views with very little room for original composition that I couldn't resist taking…though I did get stopped by a few people when they realized I was not using a digital camera.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Gargoyle of Notre Dame

Locations like this kind of drive me nuts. Its a very compelling view on top of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame but it is so limited in composition choices…or time to do anything. I guess a nice stereotypical vacation picture every now and again never hurt anyone either.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Allégorie de la victoire sur l'Espagne

This statue is found on the edge of the Golden Gates at the entrance to Versailles. It is known as the Allégorie de la victoire sur l'Espagne (or Allegory of the Victory over Spain)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Pillars in Paris

This is also in the Place de la Concorde in Paris. The obelisk once stood at the entrance to the Luxor in Egypt but was given to France in 1829. Its gold hat and the base are new additions but everything else is pushing 3,400 years old. The Eiffel Tower also makes for a pretty distinct inclusion to the history and skyline of Paris. Not much is known about this lamppost. I thought it complemented the other two nicely though.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Les Fontaines

This is the Fountain of River Commerce and Navigation in the Place de la Concorde. This is Paris's largest square and it sits between the Champs-Élysées to the west and the Tuileries Garden to the east. This was the calm before the storm…literally! We got wet.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dead End

I was always taught that walking on someones tomb was highly disrespectful. This was apparently not a British custom. I had heard they recently discovered the body of King Richard III buried under a parking lot in Leicester in Central England. I guess I shouldn't have been that surprised to see others buried under sidewalks. I am fascinated by the importance placed on history evidenced by keeping these markers around despite modern needs and growth. I am sadly getting used to the disposable nature of todays society.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bath Abbey

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Père Lachaise

Père Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris. Resting place of many notable people: Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Félix Nadar and François Arago (for the photo history crowd), Jacques-Louis David, Gertrude Stein, Frédéric Chopin, Georges Seurat and Molier. This is the tomb of none of the above. Not sure who's tomb it is actually. The cross in the lower left is what is left of a broken chair sitting on the floor. The upper right cross is a reverse shadow that at first glance seemed to be left by the chair before it broke. (Though the shapes don't quite match up) Regardless, I found it to be a simple and evocative scene.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Inverse Pyramids

Spoiler Alert!!! If you haven't read Dan Brown's book or seen the Da Vinci Code movie then you may not want to know this is where the Holy Grail (aka Mary Magdalene) is buried. I used to like the idea. How cool of a conspiracy theory to have buried one of the most legendary women of all time in one of the most prestigious museums in the world. Nope! Mr Brown failed to mention that the inverse pyramids happen to be in a shopping mall that is also an entrance to said prestigious museum. There is just something about anything being in a mall that takes the mystique right out of it. That being said, this just may be my favorite picture I have ever taken in a mall.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Photographer Descending a Staircase

I spent some time in England last summer as faculty for the UVU study abroad program. For one excursion we went to Greenwich. (where our measurement of time is based from) After finishing lunch we started to walk down an old circular staircase to pay. I stopped while waiting for others and then all of a sudden I was on the floor. Not sure what happened but this much I am sure of, I had fallen straight down the stairs. The macho thing to do, which of course I did, was to stand up very quickly and convince everyone I was ok. The next thing I knew I was being woken up by a student. I had passed out and collapsed backwards right onto the hard floor. Luckily I'm hard headed or have a hard head depending on who you ask. I was ok and enjoyed the rest of the trip with no side effects. Upon developing my film I was treated to this little memory. The back of the camera popped open a pinch from my fall. So here is my post-modern tribute to Marcel Duchamp's modernist masterpiece…Photographer Descending a Staircase.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Big Ben

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Castle Wall

This is about all that is left of Cadbury Castle. It is a hill with very steep sides that lead up to what was once a castle. Now it is a pasture. The defensive advantage of this place was obvious. It would have been a formidable fortress. You could see for miles in any direction and if any enemy made it to the base of the hill they would be faced with a quarter mile hike up a steep incline right to the outer walls. It makes sense that legend ties this site to the mythical Camelot. It would have been an awe inspiring center of power in its glory.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Temple Knight

I found this lovely women sitting in the nave of the Temple Church in London making sketches from the effigies of the Knights Templar found there. The Temple Church is one of the oldest building in London. Some parts dating back as far as 1160-1180. It is one of only five round churches in London, borrowing its design in honor and as a reminder of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (sorry Dan Brown fans).

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Obstructed View

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Poodle Bush

There is nothing like a quick walk through the gardens of Versailles to forever doubt your gardening abilities.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fountains of Versailles

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The London Stone

The London Stone was a well known landmark in medieval England. The first known recorded mention of the Stone occurred around 1100. You will find it prominently mentioned other times as a destination or a prominent reference point in giving directions. Now…it is buried behind a crate in the front window of a store on Canon St. Nobody knows for certain what the significance of the stone is and why it rose to fame or how exactly it has succumbed to its current state. A relatively recent theory postulates that this is in fact the stone that Arthur pulled Excalibur from. Some traditions hold that if someone where to challenge the monarchy they would strike their swords against the stone. This act could be a symbolic nod to the notion of this stone once playing the primary role in defining the rightful king.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Excalibur's Pasture

Another view of the stone at Mitchell's Fold that legend ties to young Arthur Pendragon pulling Excalibur from a stone to prove his divine right to the throne…along with the royal calf.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Stone

The other half of the Sword in the Stone legend. We often hear of Excalibur but not of the stone from which it was pulled. I found a number of traditionally held locations for the Stone of the legend. This one was found in a stone circle known as Mitchell's Fold. The break in the rock makes it a logical source for the legend. From a potential site of proving the ordained and rightful king to a contemporary use as a scratching post for the local herd of cattle.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Solitude in Trent

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lady of Shalott

Here is the John William Waterhouse painting of The Lady of Shalott as it hangs in the Tate Gallery in London. The Lady of Shalott is a victorian ballad written by none other than Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson. It is the story of a Lady who lives alone in a castle looking out upon the world through the aid of a mirror. Simply watching and then weaving what she sees into a tapestry. Upon seeing the reflection of Sir Lancelot, though forbidden, she leaves her castle. Then finds a boat upon which she writes her name and then sets adrift towards Camelot. Singing her death song.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Loch Lomond

As mentioned in the previous post, one potential location for the 2nd through 5th battles of King Arthur was by Loch Lomond at the outlet of the River Douglas. This is a view of Loch Lomond right by that outlet.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Welcome to Inverbeg, Scotland. A very, very small pitstop on the edge of Loch Lomond. This is a beautiful place for a vacation. This area is also a possible candidate for the site of the second through fifth battles (out of 12) of King Arthur based on the writings of Nennius. It was a battle based on a promise of Arthurs to rid England of the Saxon menace. Arthur marched north and met the Saxon forces at the river Douglas. Some suppose that the spot of the bottle would have taken place where the river drained into the lake. If legend and speculation hold true, then one of the locations for the battles would be just out of sight, right around the bend ahead.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Another photograph from Lacock Abbey. This is the room used in the first Harry Potter movie where Harry would go and stare into the Mirror of Erised. That is all…enjoy.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Latticed Window

This is another photograph I made at Lacock Abbey as part of my photo history nerd pilgrimage. This is known as the Latticed Window. Many believe that the very first photographic negative ever made was of this window in August of 1835 using what his wife Constance referred to as a Mousetrap Camera. (A copy of the negative with Talbot's notes are posted below) Here is a quote from Talbot describing the images he made in 1835. (He didn't reveal his process until 1839 after he heard about the announcement of the daguerreotype process in Paris)

"In the summer of 1835 I made in this way a great number of representations of my house in the country, which is well suited to the purpose. And this building I believe to be the first that was ever yet known to have drawn its own picture." William Henry Fox Talbot

I love the poetic notion of the house drawing its own picture. (The notion is admittedly better than this particular photograph. This is my geek moment, don't judge)

Monday, November 18, 2013

St Mary Abbots

Interior picture of the St Mary Abbots Anglican church on High Street Kensington in London. Neo-Gothic Early English style construction if you were wondering. (Don't worry, I had to look that fact up) This church also has the tallest spire in London. Tallest spire in England is the Salisbury Cathedral. Pictures from there to come shortly.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ode to Talbot

Many of the first photographs ever taken were taken at Lacock Abbey in England. It was the home of William Henry Fox Talbot who is considered one of the inventors of photography. Before the Daguerreotype had been released in France, Talbot had independently and without knowledge of the other process, been developing his own photographic process. The process was fundamentally different in many ways. Talbot continued to refine his process and it eventually became known as the Calotype process. (His mother insisted on calling them Talbotypes) The Calotype was a paper negative process (the first positive/negative process) that could be reprinted and had a beautiful textural quality due to printing through the paper fibers. I took a group of students to Lacock Abbey last summer and being the photo history nerd that I am it felt akin to a religious pilgrimage. I took this image simply as a tribute to one of Talbots early photographs that I have included below. (With a touch of Atgét thrown in as well) Those early experiments of Talbot have led to such a beautiful legacy. I truly adore the art and craft of photography.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Halls of Higher Learning

Another image from the cloisters at Lacock Abbey. Birthplace of the positive/negative process in photography and a location that was used prominently in the first two Harry Potter movies.

"The third floor corridor on the right hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death." Albus Dumbeldore

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tangled Dungeon

This photograph is of the interior and ceiling of a room in Lacock Abbey. This room was used as Severus Snape's dungeon classroom in the first two Harry Potter Movies…also seems to be an inspiration for Disney's Tangled. Little flower star designs painted all over the ceiling.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Roman Round Table

These are the ruins of a Roman ampitheater found in Caerleon. For centuries it has been referred to as the round table of King Arthur. I find it curious how the round table is always portrayed as a literal table in contemporary retellings but in the U.K. I found several large earthen work structures filling the legendary role. A location with ties to legendary warriors, a large meeting place, an easy way for a leader to speak to his followers. It makes sense to have a large place such as this for kings of old to gather their ranks. Its funny how things sometimes become "truth" without our knowing what inspired them.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tennyson's Window

Caerleon in Wales is often tied to the legend of King Arthur with literary connection clear back to Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniæ written around 1136. Granted most locations tied to the legend have very little probability of being correct but one locations claims are factual…at least in the literary world. In 1856, Alfred Lord Tennyson stayed at the Hanbury Arms where he began writing his famous Morte d'Arthur which was later incorporated into his Idylls of the King. This window inside the pub of Hanbury Arms is known as Tennyson's Window. This is were Tennyson would sit while looking over the River Usk and working on his masterpiece. They were gracious enough to let me photograph before they opened and then I had a meat pie for lunch at this very table.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pendragon Castle

Legend ties this ruined castle to Uther Pendragon. Also believed to be the location of his death by poisoning of the well by saxon dogs and is also known for a failed attempt to divert the River Eden to create a moat for his castle. History of course lists off a number of other owners. All powerful and important in their day but none of their names recognizable to me. More evidence that fame and power are usually reduced to nothing more than rubble and pasture. Legend transcends history.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Its Not The Destination

Sometimes embarking on a quest will lead you down a beautiful path.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cliff Walls

This is another image from Tintagel Castle taken from the Upper Mainland Courtyard section. You can see the southern cliffs of the Island portion of Tintagel Castle in the background. I loved how beautifully the two elements mirrored each other in texture and even subtly in shape. I love architecture that blends and becomes a part with its surroundings. I always have a wish when I visit places like this that I could somehow see these ruins as they were at the height of their existence. Much like art, ruins allude to what else they are or were and demand the viewers imagination and participation for them to be able to get anything from them.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Merlin's Cave

To be fair, I don't think this is actually Merlin's Cave but no one was there to ask since I arrived after closing time. Thats what you get when you try to fit to many things into too small of a time frame. To give context, Tintagel Castle is straight above on the top of the cliff. A very beautiful and quite spot that I wish I could have spent much more time at. Kind of reminded me of the cave from Harry Potter on a quiet day.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Tintagel Castle is located in Cornwall and is the location most steeped in King Arthur lore in probably all of England. In fact, It was one of the few English Heritage sites that actively promoted its King Arthur connections. It is the purported birthplace of King Arthur, the location of Merlin's cave and also has associations with Tristan and Isolde. The castle is mostly in ruins but can be found (not in this particular picture) both on the island in the background and on the mainland. (Yes I know England is island too but work with me here) This is a landscape that I regret spending too little time at. If I ever make it back to England, Tintagel will definitely get an extended stay.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bamburgh Castle

As with most of the locations I visited while in England I wanted to know the alternate, highly improbable histories more than the official ones. So here you go, Thomas Malory declared Bamburgh Castle on the eastern coast of the United Kingdom as the summer home, if you will, to be the location known as Joyous Guard of Sir Lancelot. Makes it a little more magical to imagine it to be a place inspiring myth and legend rather than just another of many spectacular castles dotting the U.K. Landscape.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tower in Trees

I warned of the potential for many pictures of the Eiffel Tower…Here is yet another of the forewarned views.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cadbury Castle

This is the path to the top of Cadbury Castle...aka...ancient hill fort from late bronze to early iron age of some historical importance (John Leland in 1542 contends that this castle was King Arthurs Camelot) but now it is simply a pretty place to hike and a pasture for farm animals. Just to be clear there is no castle here. Simply a hill with an incredible view with obvious modifications that would have provided a very good defense to anyone residing on top. Just a reminder that no matter how powerful you think you have made something it may eventually end up as nothing more than a pitstop for animals. How the mighty can fall.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Church and State

Here is another view of the Château de Pierrefonds just outside of Paris. We paddled a giant swan around this lake (Actually Rick and Mac paddled and me and Chelsie sat in the back taking pictures and cracking jokes) and then enjoyed eating some wonderful crepes as we sat on a patio at the edge of the water. All this with relatively few tourists (besides us) to destroy the experience. Sorry Paris, I think I enjoyed the ambience of Pierrefonds better.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Avebury Lawn Crew

Avebury is a large stone circle very close to its very famous neighbor Stonehenge. In many ways I preferred Avebury over Stonehenge. First, its huge. So big that there is actually a village that was built in the middle of the stone circle. Second, you can walk right up to the stones unlike at Stonehenge. Third, you can be there whenever you want and you don't have to worry about getting kicked out at closing. (though my rental car almost got locked in a parking lot over night but instead they left a nice note asking me to close the gate on my way out) Finally they hired this wonderful landscaping crew that mows all the grounds for free which helps keep entrance fees way down. Just watch your step as you explore. (Pictures of the actual stones forthcoming)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Parliamentary Gloom

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