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
For those that have never seen Trevi Fountain in Rome- this is just a small representation of it’s beauty. Click on the photo itself to purchase a piece of beautiful fine art or download a smaller version for your desktop.
In the great symphony of life, we all have important parts to play, just like these repair workers inside The Vatican. When we do our tasks well, we infuse them with our unique energy, making each act a gift. Each of our personalities and talents are suited to different roles of support. Even leaders and star performers support others in their own way. We can look around us at any moment to see that while we nurture some people with our work, others are supporting us with their gifts. Doing any job from this place within us allows us to do our part with humility and gratitude, while also learning lessons that move us steadily toward our goals.
We happened across this rather unusual scene during a visit to the Vatican in Rome. We were surprised to see this heavy machinery setup with the swing stage suspending a worker who was diligently making repairs to this beautiful edifice. Guess even “The Big Guy” needs a hand sometimes! Quietly sneaking up on the scene, we surprised the gentleman on the right (we assume he was the Boss due to his supervisory posture) and quickly composed and executed the shot. The motion blur was deliberate and lends a sense of life and action to the scene. The image was processed in Nikon Capture NX2 for White Balance correction, exported to Photomatix Pro as a NEFF, then final touch up in NX2. Shooting inside churches (or The Vatican for that matter) is tricky. If one is allowed to use a Tripod, then by all means, do so….these places are dark and slow shutter speeds with small apertures are inevitable unless one begins to push the ISO (or as we used to call it, Film Speed) to higher values (more and more grain). White Balance can also be set to Auto and then later corrected provided your shoot in RAW (NEFF for Nikon) and have the tools to correct in post processing.
It always seems that when you are in a hurry and running late, you hit nothing but stop signs. Although they might be annoying, they are there for our protection. We need stop lights throughout our day as well. Overwork and busy schedules need to be interrupted with time for leisure and reflection. Without this we can become seriously sick with stress induced illness. There are two ways of making it through our busy life. One way is to stop thinking. The second is to stop and think. Many people live the first way. They fill every hour with incessant activity. They dare not be alone. There is no time of quiet reflection in their lives. The second way, to stop and think, is to contemplate what life is for and to what end we are living. Take some time throughout your day to give yourself a “mini-vacation” – get alone, get quiet and rejuvenate your spirits!
This was shot in Rome using a medium length telephoto lens with its aperture wide open. Shooting wide open allows the maximum amount of light to pass through the lens and at the same time decreases the Depth of Field (depth of areas that are in focus in the foreground and background). You may notice that this stop light’s red signal is perfectly in focus and the busy street behind is gorgeously blurred, drawing all attention to the signal and allowing the imagination to create its own version of what is happening in the background. This technique is often used in portrait photography so as to lend a pleasant blurred background to the subject. Sometimes this is also referred to as “Bokeh” – you might recall seeing some images from, say, Christmas, where background Christmas lights were beautiful glowing blobs of color. This is achieved by shooting wide-open, allowing the focus to be only on the subject leaving the background out of focus and non-distracting. Some specialty Prime Lenses (Non-zoom, fixed focal length) have aperture settings down to f1.4 – this is ideal for great Bokeh and also allows shooting with natural light, (large aperture = more light to the sensor), which for portraits can often be very flattering!
Vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must ascend the stairs!
Often there are times when we feel that we are spinning our wheels in terms of our progress. This can be especially true following a period of major growth in which we feel as if we’ve gained a lot of ground. In fact, this is the way growth goes—periods of intense forward movement give way to periods of what seems like stagnation. In those moments when we feel discouraged, it’s helpful to remember that we don’t ever really go backward.
It may be that we are at a standstill because there is a new obstacle in our paths, or a new layer to get through, but the hard work we have done cannot be undone. Every step on the path is meaningful, and even one that seems to take us backward is a forward step in the sense that it is what we must do to move to the next level.
This image is from the Barberini Museum in Rome, Italy. This was shot at night very soon before the gates of the grounds closed for the evening. Using a tripod to stabilize the camera, several exposure were taken to compensate for the hard lighting conditions. Luckily, we did not need to elude the No-Tripod Police of Rome as we were seemingly the only ones there.
Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy and is an underlying force infused in all of us. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the gifts that were bestowed upon us. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source and as we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.
Clean out a corner of your mind, and creativity will instantly fill it! And remember, creativity and inspiration exist, but they have to find you working!
Now a bit about this Basilica which we explored during a trip to the wonderful city of Rome…and imagine the creative inspiration and hard work which took place over the many years to realize this magnificent basilica!
The Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran is the oldest and ranks first among the four Papal Basilicas of Rome. An inscription on the façade, Christo Salvatori, indicates the church’s dedication to “Christ the Saviour”, for the cathedrals of all patriarchs are dedicated to Christ himself. As the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, it ranks above all other churches in the Catholic Church, including St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. For that reason, unlike all other Roman Basilicas, it holds the title of Archbasilica.
(Shot handheld with a Nikon D90, wide-angle lens, three exposures were combined to capture all of the subtle details)
We would like to wish everyone a Blessed Easter and heartfelt thanks to all of the wonderful friends who have supported and encouraged us throughout the years! This is also Erik’s 50th Birthday – he has said that now he is starting to count backwards and is looking forward to his 49th Birthday already! (His goal is to get to -20).
This was shot during a trip to Rome and is The venerable Colosseum. This is where the Emperor of Rome used to watch The Games. It was built with 80 arched entrances allowing free and easy access to the 55,000 spectators. Over the course of The Games, over 700,000 contestants were killed, and countless lions, elephants, hippos, bears, zebras and elk. Crazy. It is just a overwhealming feeling being there – really beyond words, hope this picture captured some of the ancient drama.
During our travels to Rome, we had to pay homage to St. Peter’s Basilica! It is beyond words and capturing its magnificence is really hard, if not impossible. It was curious that there were no restrictions regarding photography and even the use of a flash. Naturally, “NO-Tripods” but that is not really a problem as there multiple places to stabilize a camera. It was a cold and rainy day in December and this deterred all but the heartiest of Tourists and we found the place virtually empty. This was a 3 exposure High Dynamic Range shot as we wanted to grab as much light as we could.
Saint Peter’s Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world. While it is neither the official mother church nor the cathedral of the Pope, Saint Peter’s is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic sites. It has been described as “holding a unique position in the Christian world”and as “the greatest of all churches.
In Roman Catholic tradition, the basilica is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to tradition, the first Bishop of Rome and therefore first in the line of the papal succession. Tradition and some historical evidence hold that Saint Peters tomb is directly below the altar of the basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St. Peter’s since the Early Christian period. Contrary to popular misconception, Saint Peter’s is not a cathedral, as it is not the seat of a bishop. It is properly termed a papal basilica. The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran is the cathedral church of Rome.
Make sure to check out our other pictures of Rome – they are awesome! Just click on the Tag Cloud as a short cut and thanks for the kind visit!
Kathleen and Erik
Kerstenbeck Photographic Art has had an amazing year with many Blessing (and hard work). We have covered Corporate Events and Professional Headshots, had the opportunity to shoot several Family Sessions on location, have refined our Studio Lighting techniques, executed a number of Trash The Dress shoots, Boudoir, Fine Art Landscape, Still Life and have had a tremendous ride learning along the way. The Holiday Season is a time for Family, Reflection and Celebration. We are proud of our work and when our Clients or anyone, for that matter, orders our work for their walls, Offices and Restaurants…. or just says “I like it, keep it up” it is such a huge boost for us! We are in this for the long-term and with your kind support and feedback we can only get better!
Seasons Greetings, Kathleen and Erik
We have been revisiting some older shots to continue our Daily Blog Updates just to keep on track. Over the past week we covered the magnificent event of the Insurance Professionals Council Meeting in San Diego. Both myself and Kathleen have been busy as Beavers sorting and processing hundreds of pictures.
If you are curious about Event Photos, they are all here! http://kerstenbeck.zenfolio.com/p943306237
In the mean time, this shot from Rome, just outside The Pantheon is so strikingly sweet! A Monument to Italian Architecture is 100 Meters from these Folks who obviously love their Football and MTV. Coaxial cables run from one apartment to the other like a Spider’s Web! Being an Electrical Engineer (Oh, and Photographer), I am amazed by the creativity of people who desire and relish their Media! I have seen very creative electrical distribution systems in Mexico, China, Korea and even in Canada! Funny, eh?
This image was shot inside the Vatican Museum. The Vatican Museums originated as a group of sculptures collected by Pope Julius II (1503-1513) and placed in what today is the “Cortile Ottagono” within the museum complex. The popes were among the first sovereigns who opened the art collections of their palaces to the public thus promoting knowledge of art history and culture.
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Dedicated to John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, the Basilica of St. John Lateran (Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano) is the first among the four major basilicas of Rome. Built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century, San Giovanni in Laterano was the first church to be built in Rome. It contains several important relics, a lovely 13th-century cloister and an ancient baptistery (San Giovanni in Fonte).
An earlier post details the spectacular interior!
More Rome updates on www.kerstenbeck.com
Piazza della Repubblica is a semi-circular Piazza in Rome, next to the Termini Station and is close to the Teatro dell’ Opera. The long exposure emphasizes the speed at which the drivers zipped along this traffic circle which is around the Fountain of the Acqua Pia. What is funny is that, this being our first night in Rome, we convinced ourselves that this must be Fountain Trevi, and then the next fountain we discovered must be the Trevi…until we found the real deal and were stunned by its scale and beauty (Silly Tourists).
PS Many new additions to www.kerstenbeck.com today – check out all our Rome images!
The streets of Rome during rush hour are awash with local pedestrians, curious tourists, uncountable numbers of scooters, and the occasional car driving at breakneck speeds. Surprisingly, nobody seems to get run over.
The shot of this traffic signal is somewhat contradictory. The light in the foreground indicates Stop, whereas the light across the road facing the same direction indicates Go. The net result (I presume) is that they cancel and everything just moves along at its own natural pace.
This triumphal arch was erected by the Senate in honor of the Emperor Constantine, “Liberator of the city and bringer of peace”, after his victory over Maxentius in the battle of the Milvian Bridge A.D. 312. It is the largest (21m/69ft high, 25.7m/84ft wide, 7.4m/24ft deep) and best preserved of Roman triumphal arches.
The arch, with three openings, is decorated with reliefs taken from earlier structures, which the sculptors of the early fourth century were unable to equal.
Plaza Della Rotonda in Rome is the square in which the Pantheon stands. The plaza also contains a majestic fountain with a Obelisk at the center. As the Pantheon is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome, the square is very busy almost all the time. In the evening it is a fantastic place to come and have a meal in one of the many restaurants that line the square.
The fountain is frequented by scores of Pigeons (And Tourists). I can hear these figures yelling, “Hey, get off my Nose” and “Pigeon, off of my head!”
This is another view of a previous post which “The Green Door” was highlighted. This shot gives some perspective to this amazing Temple. I can somehow hear Faustina mentioning to Antoninus, “Honey, I’m sick of this Castle, can you build me a Temple?”
The building stands on a high platform of large peperino blocks. The later of two dedicatory inscriptions says, “Divo Antonino et Divae Faustinae Ex S.C.” meaning, “To the divine Antoninus and to the divine Faustina by decree of the Senate.”
The ten monolithic Corinthian columns of its pronaos are 17 m. tall. The rich bas-reliefs of the frieze under the cornice, of garlanded griffons and candelabri, were often copied from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries.
In the past, Castel Sant’Angelo (Hadrian’s Mausoleum) was sadly notorious for functions of a much more grave nature. Its courtyards were the scene of executions by decapitation and the heads of the condemned were then hung for days along the bridge as a terrible warning. In the small, damp and dark cells, the prisoners died of hunger and thirst or due to terrible tortures. It was here that Benvenuto Cellini, Cagliostro and Giordano Bruno were imprisoned before being burnt on the stake in Campo dei Fiori square.
This shot is one of the upper passageways which leads to the courtyards and other grim places… www.kerstenbeck.com