Architectural Detail

Each year, when we go for a photo walk through historic Roswell, the group selects a few themes for the day.

This year, we picked:

  1. The color red
  2. Flowers and nature
  3. Abstracts
  4. Architectural detail

I walked past this one home on Canton Street where the leaded-glass window caught my eye and then, I noticed all the patterns of the shingles along the roof around it.  The repeating pattern and detail are very interesting but, it may be the irregularity of the pieces that I found most appealing.  While the shapes all follow the pattern, you can also see how the lines are not all perfectly straight.  Some of the shingles are a little crooked or slightly different sizes.  The window does not sit perfectly in the casing but everything seems to be as it should be.  I think this just shows the age and reminds me of how much work it must have taken to hand cut and position each piece of this house.

2017 Annual RPS Photo Walk
Canton Street
Roswell, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
58mm @ f/8 – 1/6 sec – ISO 800

#RoswellPhotographicSociety #RPSPhotoWalk #Roswell #Georgia #WithMyTamron #patterns #architecture #window #shingles #historicroswell  #cantonstreet  #roswellga

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Remnant of the Past

Thimble-shaped structures like this dot the island of Jamaica and most people probably see them but don’t notice or don’t know what they are.  This is the base of a windmill that was used in the production of sugar.  These mills were all over the island when Sugar Plantations fueled the growth of the British colony that thrived here.  The mills were used to grind the sugar cane to produce granulated sugar and molasses.  Molasses is what Rum is produced from and this is the other big product of the colonial era.

At one time, Jamaica was the top producer of sugar in the world.  Today, it is still a major producer of sugar and rum but tourism is the biggest source of income.  It was very neat to learn a little of the island’s history when we were on our tour going from Falmouth to Montego Bay.

Jamaican Sugar Mill ruins

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
44mm @ f/14 – 1/50 sec – ISO 200

Kukulcán the Feathered Serpent

On the great Plaza, between El Castillo the main pyramid, and the Great Ball Court, are several smaller structures. The Platform of the Eagles and Jaguars and the Temple of Venus are two very similar structures with steps on each of the four sides and a flat platform at the top. The top of each staircase is flanked by images of the winged serpent, the God Kukulcán.

Chichen Itza-082
The walls of the Eagles and Jaguars platform are carved with Eagles and Jaguars gruesomely grasping human hearts.  The story here is that there were two groups of Toltec warriors responsible for capturing sacrificial victims. Eagle Knights, who attacked the enemy using bows and arrows and Jaguar Knights fought using clubs fitted with obsidian knives.

 

The platform was likely used for religious and ceremonial purposes and may have been a sacrificial site.

The Platform of Eagles and Jaguars
Chichén Itzá, Yucatan, Mexico

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
44mm @ f/16 – 1/250 sec – ISO 200

#CentralAmerica #ChichenItza #ChichenItzaArcheologicalZone #LatinAmerica #Maya #MayaCivilization #Mayan #MayanRiviera #Mexican #Mexico #Yucatan #YucatanPeninsula #ancient #archaeology #archeological #ruins #tourism #travel

Ancient Observatory

It is amazing to realize how advanced the science of the Maya culture was centuries before our modern calendar even started.  One of the chief areas of scientific study was astronomy, which linked into their most famous creation – the Mayan calendar.

In order to study the stars, there was a need for a place that would be elevated above the canopy of the forest that covers the Yucatan plain where Chichen Itza is located. The observatory is built on a multi-level plateau with a cylindrical tower atop it.  The building is known as “El Caracol” (the Snail – in Spanish) which is a reference to the circular stairs that lead from the lower tower to the upper observation tower.  The upper tower has slit windows that are specially aligned to observe the planet Venus and the summer and winter solstice of the Sun.

Looking at the partially ruined tower with its domed roof, makes you think of a modern observatory with a high-powered telescope poking out.  Though the Maya did not have telescopes, they had a fantastic knowledge of the movements within the heavens and were able to calculate astronomical events with great accuracy.  Seeing these sites and thinking back on what this civilization was capable of is truly awe inspiring!

El Caracol (The Observatory)
Chichen Itza
Yucatan, Mexico

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
10mm @ f/10 – 1/2000 sec – ISO 400

Lucky number 13

In Mayan culture, the number 13 was considered to be of special significance and many of the structures at Chichen Itza feature repetitions of images in this number.  This building, the largest of the Classical Period (600 – 950 AD) architecture is known as “The Nunnery”.  The early Spanish explorers gave it this name (Las Monjas) because the building has many doorways that reminded them of monastery cells.

This structure is actually not believed to be a temple but a royal palace.  The face of the building is covered with intricate carvings with a focus on the Rain God “Chac”.  The side entrance shown in this image  includes 13 images of Chac, 8 on the bottom level, 4 on the top and the whole side is a huge face with the door representing the mouth.

Las Monjas (The Nunnery)
Chichen Itza
Yucatan, Mexico

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
11mm @ f/16 – 1/500 sec – ISO 200

Predicting the Weather

This column is believed to represent the four seasons of the year – one on each side. The images on the closest side show a representation of the rain god – Chac shown with the nose of an elephant.  Chac is one of the most frequent images that we saw throughout Chichen Itza.

Obviously, rain was extremely important to the Maya culture.  I assume this was primarily because the Yucatan peninsula is very hot and they would have been highly dependent on rain for drinking water and agricultural irrigation.  On our visit, we have been more concerned with the over-abundance of rain related to hurricane Irma.  Either way, it is obvious that predicting the weather has been a chief concern of people for a very long time and we still don’t quite have it figured out.

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
10mm @ f/10 – 1/800 sec – ISO 400

Morgan County Courthouse

For some reason, my visit to Morgan county, where my daughter and son-in-law have just moved, had me focusing on the local architecture.  The most prominent building in downtown Madison, Georgia is the Morgan County Courthouse.  The  neoclassical revival structure was built in 1905 and is believed to be the third county courthouse that has been constructed.

It was nice to get this image just a few days before Independence Day since the town square, including the courthouse was decorated with American flags all around.

Morgan County Court House
Madison, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
26mm @ f/8 – 1/1250 sec – ISO 800