Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Happenings

The holidays take on a deeper meaning through the customs and traditions families return to...a touchstone of identity. Visiting Wanamaker's for the Christmas Light Show was always one of them for my family. Through the years, even though Wanamaker's gave way to Macy's, this Philadelphia tradition continues and each year provides a moment in time for people to get caught up in the magic of lights and music.

A new tradition to add to family holiday adventures is a trip to the Comcast Center . Visitors are given 3D glasses to view amazingly realistic holiday images on a 2,000 square foot LED screen. Snow scenes, floating dancers and children singing Christmas carols serve to lift everyone's spirit. The show ends on a note of loud applause!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

'Tis The Season' - The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion

Today was both a day of exploration and enjoyment! The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion , the only authentically restored Victorian house museum and garden in Philadelphia, hosted a Dickens Christmas Party. Beautiful Decor was the backdrop for "making merry" in a grand way. In attendance were Louisa May Alcott, Charles Dickens and the Ghosts of Christmas Present!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Will Lee

Grammy award winner, Will Lee, shared his talents and his journey as a musician with students at Sandy Run Middle School this past Friday. This presentation was arranged by a gifted musician and teacher at the school, Sean Kennedy.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"Let There Be Light!"

Dictionary.com gives the following definition of epiphany:
"An appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity." After four weekends of rain, it is easy to understand why ancient cultures paid homage to the sun! I certainly did today when for a brief few hours, the light came streaming through the trees of fall and I just had to capture the ethereal beauty!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ghost Tour of Philadelphia

Looking for an experience to get you into the Halloween mood (in between the World Series games), I highly recommend the Ghost Tour of Philadelphia. History meets intrigue!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Masonic Temple, Philadelphia

I am presently working on a video focusing on the Masonic Temple located at One North Broad Street. Philadelphia is known as the mother city of Freemasonry in America and this architectural marvel is "unlike anything else in the nation or the world, according to architects and artists." The entire temple is a tribute to the Master Builders yet each only provided one mark of identification - a thumb print which when combined add to the entire aesthetic vision. The unique designs of the lodge rooms speak in the language of architecture from Egypt, Greece, Italy, Germany, France, Scotland and England. The library and museum have one of the finest collections of Masonic treasures and artifacts in the world. One can see the Masonic Sash worn by Benjamin Franklin when he was the Worshipful Master and the Masonic Apron
of George Washington. A visitor cannot help but be so struck by the beauty, intricate details, rich historical information and the commitment of this brotherhood to the four cardinal virtues- temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Jun Kaneko and City Hall

On Saturday night, I caught the last part of a news story relating to the new sculptural installation of 12 foot bronze heads in City Hall courtyard. These were so unique, it caught my attention and I just had to go to find out more and thought this was definitely a photographic moment! Jun Kaneko is the Japanese artist who created these "dangos" (Japanese word for rounded form) and is being honored with a city-wide celebration of his artwork.
"On the Wings of Music: Art, Opera & You" includes the sculptural installations at City Hall, the Kimmel Center and the Locks Gallery as well as the debut of his production of the opera, Madama Butterfly in October. Not only did I enjoy photographing these sculptures, but what was even better was seeing how people interacted with them... some felt the need to connect with a huge bear hug while others actually thought that a photographic moment should include a flirtatious kiss! Move over "Rocky", your competition is in town!

PS...When in City Hall, always look up. The architecture is so intricate and fascinating.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shore Days Fading Away

The weather has been so beautiful, so before the crowds descended for the holiday weekend, I decided to make that two hour drive down to Sea Isle City. I arrived about 3 and was able to photograph and then thought I would sit and read but it was one of those days to just do nothing but look out to the ocean and fall asleep! A great and spontaneous day of relaxation!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Operation Smile, Nicaragua

" A smile is felt the world over." Little did I know how profound and true these words would be for me. Two weeks ago in a hospital in Nicaragua, families returned to the place where they first met the very compassionate people of Operation Smile. Seven months prior, these loving parents placed their little ones into the skillful hands of the medical staff hoping severe cleft palate deformities could be transformed. They carried the wish of every parent, that their sons and daughters would be able to finally laugh and smile. Such a simple act that means so very much! For over 25 years, Operation Smile has made a lasting difference in 51 countries. All involved are so committed to changing the world, "one smile at a time."

I had the incredible opportunity of capturing this follow-up with a master photographer, Marc Asher. Marc was able to focus the camera, play with stuffed animals and connect with the families on a heart level all at the same time! Being able to focus on these smiling faces was one of the best experiences I have ever had.

In order to honor the confidential nature involved, I am only sharing a short video from the marketplace and two pictures I took while traveling about which conveyed the strength and beauty of the Nicaraguan people.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Keep Holy the Sabbath" - The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul

According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, the Sabbath is defined as," A time of rest or repose; the intermission of pain, effort, sorrow or the like." "One day in seven appointed for worship."

Religious freedom was the basis for William Penn's "Holy Experiment". As an ardent believer in this human right, Penn asked for and received a charter to establish the colony of Pennsylvania. It would serve as a sanctuary for those of many faiths and beliefs. In France, the observant philosopher Voltaire stated, "William Penn might with reason, boast of having brought down upon earth the Golden Age, which in all probability, never had any real existence but in his dominions."( http://www.quaker.org/wmpenn.html )

As an on-going project, I will be photographing the many churches, cathedrals and temples located in and around Philadelphia in order to showcase both beautiful art and the diversity of spiritual beliefs.

The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul is not only the largest Catholic church in PA., but it is also the largest brownstone structure in Philadelphia. Built in 1864, Bishop Kenrick called upon the designer of the Philadelphia Academy of Music, Napoleon Eugene Henry Charles Le Brun. With its majestic façade, vaulted dome, ornate main altar, eight side chapels and main sanctuary that comfortably holds 2,000 worshipers, the Cathedral-Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul is one of the most architecturally eminent structures in the city of Philadelphia. It was designed in the Roman-Corinthian style of architecture and is modeled after the Lombard Church of St. Charles in Rome. Its Palladian façade and aqua oxidized-copper dome draws from the Italian Renaissance and the interior is spacious with an oversize apse of stained glass and red antique marble in magnificent proportions reminiscent of Roman churches. It was largely decorated by Constantino Brumidi, who also painted the dome of the Capitol in Washington. In order to protect the stained glass windows, the builders would throw stones into the air to determine the height of where the windows should be placed. Under the main altar, is the compact 'Crypt of the Bishops'. The Cathedral is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Philadelphia.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Maine in July

Last week, I was very fortunate to travel to Maine with a friend who is an excellent writer. Coming from different perspectives, our conversations were very engaging throughout long hours in a car and pelting rain 5 out of the 7 days! Our goal was to explore this vast state by sea, land and air. We took cruises showing us whales and puffins. Pete Salmansohn and Stephen Kress are with the National Audubon Society, working very hard to support seabird conservation and research. Members live on Eastern Egg Rock, a very isolated island off the coast of Maine, with no "comforts of home". By day, they spend their time in small observation boxes monitoring the wildlife. Sleeping in tents at night can be difficult to say the least with the rainy weather and the ceaseless cacophony from the birds. I was so impressed with their dedication. Visit www.projectpuffin.org in order to learn more.

Our next venture took us to Acadia National Park where the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast can be found. From the top of Cadillac Mountain we looked out onto amazing vistas (even in the rain) and there is easy access by car. There are over 120 miles of hiking trails and a car loop for those who would rather travel with more protection from the rain! Here you can see the quintessential views of Maine...the rugged coastline with the crashing waves. It was truly awesome. http://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm.
Fall would be such an amazing time to be there. Ed Heaton, an excellent photographer and friend, is running a Creative Composition Workshop here from October 8th - 12th. To learn more, visit www.edheaton.com

Last but not least, be sure to go up in a piper airplane with the guys at the Maine Coastal Flight Center, www.mainecoastalflight.com . They will take you over Cadillac Mountain or show you the famous lighthouses of Maine. They have several trips to engage you above the clouds and will provide you with the "inside information" of the sights!

Rain or shine, Maine was a wonderful spot to visit!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Longwood Gardens - Engagement Photographs

While photographing the newly engaged Julia and Jason (see previous blog), I could not leave before visiting the colorful water lily gardens of Longwood Gardens. This is one spot I can easily loose track of time while I photograph away!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Longwood Gardens - Engagement Photographs

It was such a pleasure to do the engagement photographs for Julia and Jason. Both love the outdoors and Longwood Gardens was the perfect spot. Photographing in the Conservatory was as good as having a huge soft box.

They were great fun to be around and just radiated happiness. In fact, while we were photographing, a gentleman watching the interactions, couldn't resist commenting about how much we were enjoying ourselves. He was so right!

Best wishes Julia and Jason!