August 2010 Archives

London - British Museum

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(click to enlarge) Ramses II continues to lord benignly over mere mortals.

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(click to enlarge) Impressed

Minnesota North Shore - Cascade River State Park

Yesterday evening I posted a couple of photos from England on the general theme of complexity. Here are a couple more, from Cascade River State Park on the north shore of Lake Superior.

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(click to enlarge) A couple of dominant lines, formed by the fallen trees, with a colorful cross-hatching of fine detail from the surrounding vegetation. This reminds me of a Jackson Pollock painting.

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(click to enlarge) The tree roots are close to the surface in the stony, sparse soil. In a few places along the path, the root patterns merge.

England - Complexity

Complexity can take many forms.


(click to enlarge) Elegant - The Gothic ceiling of King's College Chapel in Cambridge

Complexity-2.jpg Functional - Scaffolding at King's Cross St Pancras Station in London

Minnesota North Shore - Magnetic Rock Trail Colors

Eliot Porter is my favorite photographer. I like to think that these are in his spirit.

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England - Covent Garden People-Watching

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(click to enlarge) Confident

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(click to enlarge) Not so much

Minnesota North Shore - Magnetic Rock Trail

A couple of scenes along Magnetic Rock Trail. This is a very attractive trail, near the end of the Gunflint Trail and the Canadian border.

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England - Reflections

A couple of shots of shop windows in Covent Garden:


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Minnesota North Shore - Magnetic Rock

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(click to enlarge) The strange monolith, Magnetic Rock, in the Gunflint. For scale, it's about 30 feet high.

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(click to enlarge) Aftermath of blowdown and fire along Magnetic Rock Trail.

England - More Looking at Pictures in London

A couple more "looking at pictures" pictures:

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(click to enlarge) Victoria & Albert photography gallery

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(click to enlarge) Andy Warhol room at Tate Modern

Minnesota North Shore - Two State Park Closeups

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(click to enlarge) Judge C.R. Magney State Park

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(click to enlarge) Temperance River State Park

England - Looking at Pictures in London

I'm working on a project tentatively entitled "Looking at Pictures", which will consist of photos of people in museums interacting with the art in some interesting or intriguing ways. Here are two examples from today's visits to London museums.


(click to enlarge) Woman, in one of the two wonderful Cast Court rooms at the Victoria and Albert Museum, looking sad among all the effigies of the deceased.

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(click to enlarge) Woman at the Tate Modern, in front of a painting by Cy Twombly whose color matches her sweater almost perfectly.

Minnesota North Shore - Gunflint Lake

At the beginning of August we spent nine days exploring the state parks along the north shore of Lake Superior. My best photos were generally small details of rocks, trees, ferns, and lichens. Here are two from a portage trail along Gunflint Lake, near the Canadian border.

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England - London Frameworks


(click to enlarge) Paddington Railway Station

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(click to enlarge) Great Hall of the British Museum

Peru - Eyes of Lima

Two final photos from Peru, seen on the street in Lima.

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England - Oxford Images

Today we took the train to Oxford, where we enjoyed a lively guided tour of a few of the historic colleges, and well as some self-guided wandering. The history and ancient architecture of Oxford University is remarkable. Almost as remarkable was the weather, switching from rain to sunshine and back again within minutes.

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(click to enlarge) Gothic towers of Oxford colleges silhouetted against a looming sky.

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(click to enlarge) One of the twelve busts of philosophers (or Roman emperors) surrounding the Sheldonian Theater at the University of Oxford.

Peru - Lima Urban Scenes

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(click to enlarge) Trying to sell silver to the tourists - but there aren't many of us.

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(click to enlarge) Posting an ad. I like the echo of the arms.

England - London Scenes

For the next week or two I'll plan to post two blogs a day: One to finish up Peru and begin on Minnesota's North Shore, the other to show scenes of London, Oxford, and Cambridge, where we'll be this week. We just arrived in London this afternoon, and are struck with the throngs of visitors (English almost seems to be a minority language) and the vivid color of the street scenes.

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(click to enlarge) Sidewalk restaurant near Covent Garden

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(click to enlarge) Crowd watching street performer in Covent Garden market

Peru - Lima Cliffside

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(click to enlarge) A long pier, with casino midway, juts out into the ocean from beneath the cliff.

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(click to enlarge) A pleasant, colorful park along the Malecon, with decor emulating a park in Barcelona. Spain still retains a lot of influence in Peru.

Peru - Lima in the Fog

Lima, on the Pacific Ocean, spends about half the year in a fog, as the cold Humboldt current meets the warm summer air. Much of the Lima coast is on a cliff overlooking the sea, so the general effect is looking out into nothingness.

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(click to enlarge) At Larcomar, an upscale shopping center on the cliff.

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Lima - Huaca Pucllana

Right in the middle of Lima is this massive pyramid of adobe bricks, covering several blocks and rising about 100 feet. According to LimaEasy:

"The Archaeological Complex Huaca Pucllana was an Administrative and Ceremonial Center of the Lima Culture, a society that developed at the Peruvian Central Coast between 200 AD and 700 AD. Located in today's district of Miraflores the Huaca Pucllana was built around 500 AD. Pucllana is one of the most important ancient monuments in Lima. Located right in the middle of a modern residential area it is resisting the urban growth and reminding the Limeños every day about their archaeological patrimony. The complex consists of the archaeological ruins itself, a small site museum, an area for workshops, a small souvenir shop and a restaurant."

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(click to enlarge) I estimate that there are on the order of a billion bricks in the pyramid.

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(click to enlarge) Restoring the pyramid seems an almost Sysiphusean task.

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(click to enlarge) The pyramid with fog-shrouded downtown Lima in the background.

Peru - Ornaments

These silver and gold ornaments are in the Museo Larco in Lima. I'm not sure whether they're Inca or pre-Inca, but they certainly are stunning. As is the display.

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Peru - Museo Larco in Lima

The Museo Larco in Lima has wonderful collections. We were especially struck by the exquisite craft of these lifelike Mochican (pre-Inca) portrait heads.

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From the web site of the museum:

"Founded in 1926, the Larco Museum showcases remarkable chronological galleries providing an excellent overview on 3000 years of development of Peruvian pre-Columbian history.

Located in a unique vice-royal mansion of the 18th century built over a 7th century pre-Columbian pyramid, is surrounded by beautiful gardens.


Its masterpieces are considered worldwide icons of Pre-Columbian art, after being exhibited in the world's leading museums. "

Peru - Lima Civic Architecture

A few scenes of Lima near the government center.

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(click to enlarge) Huge balconies, fashionable in Spain, were glued onto relatively modest buildings.

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Peru - Lima Cathedral

We finished our Peruvian trip with a couple of days in Lima. It's a big city - about 9 million population - with a lot of modern features, good and bad. However, its historic center is well preserved, and we had a good guided tour. One of the key attractions is the ornate baroque cathedral, built in 1564 and remodeled many times thereafter. It was designed by the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, whose tomb is in one of the chapels.

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(click to enlarge) One of the chapels, featuring incredibly ornate baroque carving.

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(click to enlarge) The choir stalls are exquisitely carved.

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(click to enlarge) Our very competent and personable guide, Sheila.

Peru - Leaving Sillustani

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(click to enlarge) Sillustani tower from a distance

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(click to enlarge) Farmstead near Sillustani. Alpacas substitute for cows and horses.

Peru - Sillustani

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On our way from Puno to the airport for our return to Lima, we stopped at the ancient burial site Sillustani, with striking stone towers about 30 feet high. According to Wikipedia:

"Sillustani is a pre-Incan burial ground on the shores of Lake Umayo near Puno in Peru. The tombs, which are built above ground in tower-like structures called chullpas, are the vestiges of the Colla people, Aymara who were conquered by the Inca in the 1400s. The structures housed the remains of complete family groups, although they were probably limited to nobility. Many of the tombs have been dynamited by grave robbers, while others were left unfinished....

"The architecture of the site is often considered more complex than typical Incan architecture. In contrast with the Inca, who used stones of varying shapes, the Colla used even rectangular edges. While chullpas are not unique to Sillustani and are found across the Altiplano, this site is considered the best and most preserved example of them."

Peru - Puno Old and New

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(click to enlarge) Couple out for a Sunday stroll

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(click to enlarge) We wondered whether the man on the right knew the significance of the Confederate flag on his cap.

Peru - Puno Images

Even though much of Puno looks fairly modern, one still encounters scenes from long ago.

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Peru - Puno Street Scenes with Cell Phones

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Peru - Marching in Puno

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On our return to Puno from Lake Titicaca, we found the central square (next to our hotel) filled with various groups of marchers and onlookers. Even the kids and other civilians marched in military fashion - goosesteps and all. The militaristic atmosphere, in such an apparently peaceful country (though one with a difficult past), was somewhat unnerving.

Peru - Dusk on Taquile Island

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Peru - Taquile Island Street Scenes

The village at the top of Taquile Island in Lake Titicaca has basically one street running through it. But it has a lot of atmosphere.

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Peru - Taquile Island Women

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(Click to enlarge) Spinning wool

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(Click to enlarge) Carrying eggs -- many dozens

Peru - Taquile Island Scenes

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(Click to enlarge) Daughters of the family with which we were staying, at play.

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(Click to enlarge) Rubber tires become sandals which then become gate hinges. Nothing is wasted.

Peru - Views of Lake Titicaca from Taquile Island

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(Click to enlarge) The views of Lake Titicaca from Taquile Island rival the best in the world.

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(Click to enlarge) I tried to imitate a "Gourmet" photo of good food served in a beautiful setting. In this case the food was trout, available throughout Peru but served at its best here, simply grilled.

Peru - Taquile Island

"Taquile is an island on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca 45 km offshore from the city of Puno. About 1,700 people live on the island, which is 5.5 by 1.6 km in size (maximum measurements), with an area of 5.72 km². The highest point of the island is 4050 meters above sea level and the main village is at 3950 m. The inhabitants, known as Taquileños, are southern Quechua speakers.

Taquile, whose Quechua name some believe was Intika, was part of the Inca Empire and has a number of Inca ruins. The island was one of the last locations in Peru to capitulate to Spanish domination during the Spanish conquest of Peru. It was captured for Carlos V and eventually passed to Count Rodrigo of Taquila, after whom the island was named by colonists. As the Spanish forbade traditional dress, the islanders adopted the Spanish peasant clothing. They are known for maintaining that as traditional dress today. They combine this with finely made Andean-style garments and accessories (ponchos, belts, mantles, coca-leaf purses, and others)." (Wikipedia).

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Peru - Taquile Island in Lake Titicaca

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(Click to enlarge) The boat that took us from Puno to Taquile Island (with a stop at a floating island). The old man on the left owns the home/resort and the boat.

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(Click to enlarge) Arriving at Taquile Island, we saw women washing clothes on the rocks near the harbor.

Peru - Reed Boats on Lake Titicaca

The Uros people make virtually everything - even their boats - out of the reeds that grow in Lake Titicaca. The boats are large, heavy, sturdy, and impressive.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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