Solemn Treasures

I’ve written before about how much I enjoy taking pictures in cemeteries.  But it’s not just the serenity or beautiful lines that I love.  I also like seeing the unusual ways that people choose to honor their dead.

Budapest - Skeleton TombstoneSome people enjoy using unique headstones to mark their loved one’s final resting place.  Like this headstone I found in the New Public Cemetery in Budapest.  I’ve always loved statuary and the light play that can happen with them, so to see this enormous display of a skeleton standing over the deceased  playing a violin, while the woman grieves was a great find for me.  There’s something so sadly entrancing about it, especially after I converted the photo into black and white.

Portland - ScrabbleAnother, more uplifting tombstone was found in a cemetery in Portland.  This one shows all the wonderful things to know about the dearly departed, and it was all done in a very clever manner, using Scrabble, which I assume was Paul’s favorite game.  Normally, I alter any photo I take of graves so that you can’t see the person’s name (I do that out of respect for the dead and their relatives), but this one was so unique and celebratory, that I felt it would be disrespectful not to include his name.

But it’s not just the headstones that I like to take pictures of.  There are so many special things that people put on graves as tokens of their love.  There’s usually flowers of some sort (live or fake), but I’ve also seen hand-made ceramic dolls sitting on the marker, and I think I even once saw a Sesame Street stuffed animal at one place.  It’s these things–things that you wouldn’t normally think “belonged” in a cemetery–that I find interesting and want to capture them with my camera.

Sydney - Huge ShellIn Sydney’s Waverly Cemetery, the ocean is such a beautiful backdrop to the many statues and crypts that are there, but I also found a bit of the ocean inside the cemetery.  One person used this giant shell as an adornment to a grave site.  You can see a bit of wear and tear on the folds of the shell (and I can’t remember if this was an actual shell, or if it was man-made), but it’s such a beautiful piece and accents the nearby sea so well.

New Zealand - GlassStill on that side of the world (but in New Zealand this time), Craig and I found a small cemetery at the side of a road we were driving along.  It took us all of 20 minutes to walk around the entire cemetery (I normally spend a minimum of 3 hours walking through a “regular sized” cemetery), but there were still some interesting things to be found.  Like these hurricane candle holders and the little blue glass beads.  Yes, many people put candles at a grave site, but in a sea of grey and white headstones, the lovely blues and greens of the glass stood out quite nicely.

So the next time you visit a cemetery (and I encourage you to do so), keep your eyes peeled for interesting tokens of affection.  Maybe spend some time reflecting upon why the mourner(s) chose that particular tchotchke to honor the dead.

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Past Vacations – Yosemite National Park

Alyx and I find ourselves with lots of great photos whenever we go on vacation. If we took every picture we love and made prints of them, we’d have thousands, and you would spend days and days sifting through them. So, we need to go through a very painful process of choosing which ones we WON’T post and sell on our website.

So, we decided that this Blog was a prefect venue to post some really great pictures from vacations and trips in our past. Here are some pictures that were taken by me during a trip to Yosemite Valley for Alyx’s birthday some years back.

Yosemite - Cloud-Spotted Valley

Yosemite – Cloud-Spotted Valley

This trip was a single day adventure to the Yosemite Valley. This photo was taken on our way out near the end of the day. I loved the way a few puffy clouds dotted the valley.

Yosemite - Artistic Tree Roots

Yosemite – Artistic Tree Roots

This fallen tree can be found on the south side before you get to the valley. It’s in one of the first hiking trail areas that have some of the tallest redwoods of the Yosemite area (or the world, for that matter). What caught me about this image was the radial patterns made by the combination of the roots and the shadows and light.

Yosemite - Bridalveil Falls Mist

Yosemite – Bridalveil Falls Mist

 

Bridalveil Falls is one of the most popular sights in the Yosemite Valley. We were lucky that this particular spring had a good amount of rain and snow, so there was still a great flow of water in June. We got quite close on this brilliantly sunny day, and the mists made for a wonderfully atmospheric portrait of this majestic waterfall.

 

 

Yosemite Valley - Mountainous Granite

Yosemite Valley – Mountainous Granite

 

For those that have never been to Yosemite National Park, what makes it the awesome spectacle that it is, is just the immensity of the rock formations. Massive boulders of rock, separated by massive amounts of space (air). In this picture I tried to show the comparison between the flat expanse of meadow on the valley floor, and then this massive chunk of granite the size of a mountain (which it is), plopped right in the middle of it. Remember, most of the trees you see at the base are about the size of a 5-story building already.

 

Yosemite Valley Crying Arches

Yosemite Valley Crying Arches

Even within the massive formations are infinitely numerous and wonderful forms of nature. The above picture is of the Royal Arches, but I loved how the vertical stripes of the dripping water cut perpendicular to the lines of the arches.

Yosemite - Half Dome from the Valley Floor

Yosemite – Half Dome from the Valley Floor

Here is your obligatory picture of Half Dome taken from the valley floor.

Ahwahnee Lodge Greenery

Ahwahnee Lodge Greenery

If you’re ever at Yosemite, it’s worth it to visit the Ahwahnee Lodge. It’s a gorgeous lodge that has nice dining, and of course, awesome views. Even if you don’t stay there, or dine there, you can still look around, learn some of it’s history, and stand in their huge walk-in fireplaces. Seriously, the openings are about 5 feet tall. This picture was taken just outside and the perfect leaves and the fabulous green makes this one of my favorite pictures, even though there’s nothing famous about it.

As you leave the valley, and I’ll leave the blog with this, there are mini-falls at the side of the road. Some bigger, some smaller, but all beautiful and dotted here and there as you drive. Sometimes it is hard to find a spot to pull over to take pictures and not stop traffic, but there are still plenty of opportunities to do so. Here is one of my favorite little nooks half way up the valley slope.

Yosemite Valley Slope Mini-Falls

Yosemite Valley Slope Mini-Falls

I hope you had a good time taking this mini vacation with me. If you like the photos, be sure to visit our website for more. www.masartwork.com. And don’t forget to comment below, just for the heck of it.

Thanks,

Craig.