Our emotions color our lives with varying palettes. Sometimes we feel a strong emotion in reaction to something that has happened or a flood from what has happened, but emotions also visit us seemingly out of the blue, flooding us unexpectedly with joy or grief or melancholy. Like the weather, they come and go, influencing our mental state with their particular vibration. Sometimes a difficult emotion hangs around longer than we would like, and we begin to wonder when it will release its hold on us. This is often true of grief stemming from loss, lingering anger over a past event or difficulties in relationships.
If we allow ourselves to feel our emotions fully when they come up, they recede naturally, giving way to another and another. When an emotion haunts us, it is often because we are afraid of really feeling it. Emotions like despair and sadness and are powerful, and it is natural to want to hold them at bay. When we are facing this kind of situation, it can be helpful to ask the spirit, “How long do I need to sit with these emotions, how long do I need to feel these emotions before they can pass?” If you ask sincerely and wait, an answer will come. Sit down and make yourself available to the emotion that has been nagging you and just feel it. Avoid getting attached to it or rejecting it. Simply let it ebb and flow within you. Emotions are by their nature cyclical, so you can trust that just as one reaches its apex it will pass. Each time you sit with its presence without either repressing or acting out, you will find that difficult emotion was the catalyst for much-needed emotional healing.
This was shot during a trip to Paris and seemed appropriate for a somber Monday of personal reflection.
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This was shot during a blustery December afternoon while exploring Rome. It is difficult to convey the size and scope of these structures with a camera. If you look closely, you can see some people in the distant archways – this gives you an idea how immense all of this truly is!
The Arch of Titus is a 1st-century honorific arch located on the Via Sacra, Rome, just to the south-east of the Roman Forum. It was constructed in 82 AD by the Roman Emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus to commemorate Titus’ victories, including the Siege of Jerusalem in 70AD. The Arch of Titus has provided the general model for many of the triumphal arches erected since the 16th century. Perhaps most famously it is the inspiration for the 1806 Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, completed in 1836.
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During our adventures in Rome, surprisingly we had a hard time finding the famous Trevi Fountain. It seemed like there was a fountain on every corner to which we exclaimed – this MUST be it! Well, it wasn’t! Finally, we stumbled across the Real Thing and as you can imagine it is hard to miss! Here is a bit of history behind this gorgeous behemoth:
In 1629 Pope Urban VIII, finding the earlier fountain insufficiently dramatic, asked Gian Lorenzo Bernini to sketch possible renovations, but when the Pope died, the project was abandoned. Though Bernini’s project was never constructed, there are many Bernini touches in the fountain as it exists today. An early, striking and influential model by Pietro da Cortona, preserved in the Albertina, Vienna, also exists, as do various early 18th century sketches, most unsigned, as well as a project attributed to Nicola Michetti one attributed to Ferdinando Fuga and a French design by Edme Bouchardon.
Competitions had become the rage during the Baroque era to design buildings, fountains, and even the Spanish Steps. In 1730 Pope Clement XII organized a contest in which Nicola Salvi initially lost to Alessandro Galilei – but due to the outcry in Rome over the fact that a Florentine won, Salvi was awarded the commission anyway. Work began in 1732, and the fountain was completed in 1762, long after Clement’s death, when Pietro Bracci‘s Oceanus (god of all water) was set in the central niche. Salvi died in 1751, with his work half-finished, but before he went he made sure a stubborn barber’s unsightly sign would not spoil the ensemble, hiding it behind a sculpted vase, called by Romans the asso di coppe, the “Ace of Cups“.
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Here we have some cool details of The Fountain of the Bees at the corner of Piazza Barberini in Rome. These bees don’t seem to mind working in wet conditions! And, of course, there are Barberini bees everywhere on and in Palazzo Barberini and many other Roman monuments and buildings made or modified by the Barberini family.
Rome’s best Barberini bees, are those rising up to heaven in Pietro da Cortona‘s “Triumph of Divine Providence“, the painting that covers the ceiling of the grand salon in the Palazzo Barberini. And what was the “triumph” that was so providential? Why, it was nothing less than the elevation of the Barberini family to the Papacy in the person of Urban VIII!
Urban’s three crowns, the Laurel of the Poet, the starry Ring of Providence, and the Papal Crown are all clearly shown. Significantly, Urban VIII himself is not portrayed….Hmmm! It’s the golden Barberini bees — representing the whole family — that are flying up to heaven.
So what about these bees? How did the Barberini latch on to that particular symbol? It’s not that their name simply begins with the letter “B”. Bees represent teamwork and industriousness, two well-known Barberini characteristics, but that interpretation was added later. No, the bees represent iconographic social climbing.
The Barberini family originally were the Tafani da Barberino, sprung from the village of Barberino in the Elsa Valley near Florence. As they moved up the social ladder and transferred first to Florence and eventually to Rome, they quickly dropped the Tafani family name, which had rather unpleasant connotations, and adopted the Barberini name of their village, a common enough practice. The family crest had to be upgraded too. And so three golden bees replaced the three golden horseflies which had themselves replaced the three common black horseflies (=Tafani) that had original graced the family coat of arms. Who’d want to be called Pope Urban VIII Horsefly anyway?
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This was taken during a brisk afternoon just outside of The Pantheon in Rome. We have discovered that traveling to popular locations during off season has many advantages such as cheaper airfare, abundant accommodations and for a Photographer, fewer Tourists! Some locations are more suitable for this strategy than others – we wouldn’t recommend Greenland in the winter, but I do bet that it is cool (literally).
During the peak summer days, this fountain would not only have its share of the”regular” avian friends but throngs of people hanging out and enjoying the magnificence which is Rome! Here we set up a small inconspicuous tripod called a Gorilla Pod from Joby and shot three exposures to grab as much light as possible during this flat light day. As a bonus, we caught two frames of a pigeon and its shadow coming home after a long day at work!
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Another of the series from Rome and this shot was taken in a rather tricky spot with the wife helping me dodge the crazy cars, motorbikes, and tourists. For tips on how to do this same shot- check out the tutorial section on our website- just click on the photo itself and you will magically go to the site! Thank you again, Kathleen & Erik