Arezzo and "our" Piero della Francesca

The meeting of Salomon and the Queen of Sheba.


Our itinerary led through the province of Arezzo in discovery of the works of Piero della Francesca, one of the greatest Italian Renaissance painters of the XVth century.
In Arezzo we rushed up to
Basilica of San Francesco - Romanesque style church in the center of the old city. In the Bacci di Lorenzo chapel we found what we were so much looking for: Legend of the True Cross series of Piero della Francesca frescoes. It is a collection of 1o big masterpieces made between 1452 and 1466. The most impressive are The adoration of the wood and The Battle of Constantine and Maxentius.

The landscapes resemble the rocky mountains between the Arezzo and Sansepolcro, birthplace of Piero. When you look at the painting what you feel is an aura of serenity and dignity.
The structure of the paintings is clear and well organized. Perfectly used chromatic palette and chiaroscuro transform the paintings into the fantastic 3-dimensional images.

Constantine Dream fresco is one of the first night chiaroscuro paintings of the Renaissance era.

Piero was an artist and a mathematician. The perspectives on the frescoes are geometrically ideal. His treatise "De prospectiva pingendi" ( "On painting perspective" ) was the first ever writen tutorial how to paint a perspective.



Basilica of San Francesco in Arezzo and a fragment of The meeting of Salomon and the Queen of Sheba.


Camera: NIKON D80. ISO 100/2600. Neat Image post-processing.

Maciek. 26.04.2009

Tuscany: rolling meadows or beautiful natural carpets ?




The Tuscany meadows found between villages of San Giovani d´Asso and Buonconvento.
The last sun rays flicker over the rolling early spring fields.

This photo was selected / awarded the front page of plfoto.com web photo gallery. Tnx all.





First early morning light over the Tuscany fields. These absolutely gorgeous views can be found close to Torrenieri village.

Photo 2:
Model: NIKON D80
Date/time: 2009-03-14 07:36:00
F:5,6
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
ISO: 400
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length: 100 mm
Lens: AS-F Nikkor 70.0-300 mm VR


March 2009.

Maciek.

Our "Saudades" of the perfect beach

iMonkey.


Saudade in Portuguese means being sad with the feeling of nostalgia and hope.

Running through my old photos I suddenly found these two old pics. "This place was like a paradise" I thought. A few years ago we encountered vast areas of uninhabited and deserted beaches close to Mexico-Belize border. Now we feel "saudades" and hope one day we will be back there again.






Place: close to Mexico-Belize border, 2004.


Maciek.

Siena and "our" Simone Martini

I am a very selective art book reader. To be honest after many years I prefer to get back to only one but very special book: Waldemar Lysiak "White Man Painting" ( 8 volumes, first published 1997 ). I read and then I travel to see the paintings with my own eyes.


This time we first went to Siena, Tuscany, Italy. Palazzo Pubblico. Two giant Simone Martini frescos: Guidoriccio da Fogliano and Maestà.


Siena - XIVth century. The dusk of Renaissance. First secular ( non-religious ) painting of modern era. Guigoricco was a Condottiere - an Italian soldier of fortune. Rich, bold and beautifully dressed, he marches through the Tuscany landscape after the seize of the city of Montemassi.

The painting has yet still a very primitive, post-Gothic perspective. But the whole beauty of the fresco is hidden in its dynamic but proud pose of Guigoricco on his horse. He really seems to be "Clint Eastwood of the XIVth century" ( W.Lysiak ).



Guidoriccio da Fogliano. c. 1328. Fresco. Palazzo Pubblico, Sala del Mappamondo, Siena, Italy

Maestà means ‘majesty’. It is used to describe a representation of the Virgin and Child enthroned as the Queen of Heaven, surrounded by a court of saints. Maestà by Martini is one of his early paintings. Very much Gothic in style. No perspective, no landscape, all the saints and the altar are painted in Byzantium style. But look at the saints faces: they are so non-Gothic and so much different from the Giotto saints. These faces come from Renaissance: full of human feelings of adornment and compassion.



Maestà. 1317. Fresco. Palazzo Pubblico, Sala del Mappamondo, Siena, Italy.










Camera: NIKON D80. ISO 1200. Neat Image post-processing.
BTW. No photos allowed at Palazzo Pubbilco ;)


Maciek. 24.04.2009

Tuscany, continued...



The windswept, colorful fields between Montepulciano and Pienza with sun and light playing over their surface.

Early spring. View to the south. Late afternoon hour.




Model: NIKON D80

Maciek.

Our garden in early March





Early March 2009.
Clockwise: Glicinia flower, Jasmine strong perfume smelling flowers, Azalia flowers and unknown species ( Thanks to Anna ( her blog is here ) the unknown species is Piersis Japonica
)



Model: NIKON D80
Maciek.

Tuscany, Crete Senese landscapes ( 4 )




Sunset. Rolling fields and a patch of cypress trees close to San Quirico d'Orcia.




Model: NIKON D80
Date/time: 2009-03-14 18:21:00
HDR rendering
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
ISO: 100
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length: 14 mm
Lens: 10.0-20.0 mm
Tripod



Maciek.

Tuscany, Crete Senese landscapes ( 3 )





This is one of the most famous landmarks of "Crete Senense". Rolling fields and a patch of cypress close to San Quirico d'Orcia.



Model: NIKON D80
Date/time: 2009-03-15 18:20:00
Shutter speed: 1/60 sec
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
Skylight filter.
F-stop: f/23

ISO: 100
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length: 20 mm
Lens: 10.0-20.0 mm
Tripod



Maciek.

Tuscany, Crete Senese landscapes ( 2 )



Early morning. Sunrise over the Pienza valley, Tuscany.



Model: NIKON D80
Date/time: 2009-03-14 06:13:58
Shutter speed: 1/180 sec
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
F-stop: f/4,5

ISO: 400
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length: 70 mm
Lens: 18.0-70.0 mm


Maciek.

Tuscany, Crete Senese landscapes ( 1 )


Rolling hills of Tuscany. Photo made at 07:50 a.m. here.

South and south-east of city of Siena, there is the hilly area known as the "Crete Senense". It is full of rolling fields and curvy, scenic roads. It the most beautiful and picturesque part of Tuscany.

Hills are dotted with cypress, olive and pine trees. There are thousand and one green color tones and shadings. There are also thousand and one gray color tones derived from color of clay soil.

We spend four beautiful days staying in San Quirico d'Orcia, in hotel Relais Palazzo del Capitano.



Model: NIKON D80
Date/time: 2009-03-15 07:50:12
Shutter speed: 1/320 sec
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
Skylight filter.
F-stop: f/13

ISO: 400
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length: 20 mm
Lens: 18.0-70.0 mm


Maciek.

H2O hotel again: spa, ski and flowering almond trees

Aquadome is the spa at H2O hotel.


H2O hotel again. Mid-week empty spa and Aquadome is really pleasing. Hamman ( ritual ancient bath easy to be found in almost every city of Northern Africa ) is the best place in spa to be. Steam-filled round chamber with nice cold water fountain in the center, ambiental music, small changing lights imitating the stars in the ceiling - that all makes this place very relaxing.

Earlier that day we started at Zezere river valley with thousands of flowering almond trees at the slopes of Serra Estrela mountains. The temperatures got around mid-twenties. Blue sky, few clouds. The spring has certainly started.

Within half an hour we climbed the Torre of 2000 meters and got the last chance to ski this season on the patches of snow.


Flowering almond trees. Skiing at Serra da Estrela mountains. Aquadome is the spa at H2O hotel.




Model: NIKON D80



Maciek. Wednesday and Thursday of 11 and 12 March.2009

Amphibolite



Amphibolite - beautiful red rock at the Portuguese west coast, made 500 million years ago covering most part of the Porto beach.



Model: NIKON D80
Date/time: 2007-12-28T 18:42:08.10Z
Shutter speed: 0.5 sec / 2.0 sec / 6.0 sec
Exposure Program: Shutter priority
F-stop: f/4.5
ISO: 100
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length: 62 mm
Lens: 18.0-70.0 mm
HDR rendering


Maciek.

A View from my Window

The Arrabida bridge was inaugurated on June, 22, 1963. Concrete open spandrels deck arch bridge. Total length is 493 m. Beautiful modern practical construction.

This is the view from my window. The sunset over the Douro river, Atlantic ocean and Arrabida bridge.



The Arrábida bridge held, for quite some time, the world record for the "Longest Concrete Single Arch Bridge". It is still the 9th world's longest concrete arch bridge in the world.



Camera: Nikon D80, 4 sec, F 22, Fl 20 mm, Nikkor 18-70, ISO 100, no flash, tripod.

Maciek.

Antelope Canyon

Wednesday, 04th of March 2009. After 1 hour of Les Milles Body Pump and a nice dinner ( Turkey herb Escalopes with Pumpkin and potatoes sage pure ) accompanied by astonishingly good Roquevale 2003 ( red wine from Alentejo ), I went through some folders in our PC looking for nice photo. Suddenly a picture of a ray of sunlight piercing Upper Antelope Canyon poped up.


Antelope Canyon is located in Northern Arizona near small city of Page. The entrance is located in the narrow fissure of the rock. Reds, violets and pinks are dominating. There is an extraordinary light that changes every minute. Rock waves form fantastic structures. The best is the morning light. Don´t use the flash. You definitely need a tripod and lot of patience because your photos are frequently damaged by many tourists that peek around. Do not include sun or sunny sky on your photo because of overexposure.

We love traveling to America. It is such a beautiful country with friendly people around. Hope we go there agian in August this year.

The Antelope Canyons ( lower and upper ) are number 1 on our "Best in the world" list.








Camera: Nikon D80, 1 sec, F 20, Fl 20 mm, Nikkor 18-70, ISO 100, no flash, tripod. November 2007. Impossible to change any lens in the canyon since dust is everywhere.

Maciek.

The mogul field





These freestyle moguls ski field I found at the end of the day close to Col de Crevoux ( 2530 m above sea level ) in Vars ski resort.
Photographed from distance I loved the "light and shadow game" that afternoon sun played on the bumps.
There are lots of techniques of skiing the moguls: zipper, through, blue and green line. Deciding which of these techniques is right for you depends on your age, speed and physical condition.


PS. My picture was awarded a front page of http://onephoto.net/ website. Thx all !



Camera: Nikon D80, 1/320 sec, F 14, Fl 120 mm, Nikkor 70-300, ISO 100, no flash, polarizing filter, 19.02.2009, 15.20 h . Site: Vars Les Claux, France.

Maciek.

Snow forms ( part 1 )




We are back home from our winter skiing holidays. Lots of sun, some of the best snowfall levels recorded in the Alps, excellent skiing conditions. The reports of global warming seem to be extremely overblown.

This is a picture I took at Col de Vars, High Provence, France, with my Nikon and 280 cm of snow.




Camera: Nikon D80, 1/30 sec, F 10, Fl 18mm, Nikkor 18-70, ISO 100, no flash, polarizing filter, 16.02.2009, 16.53. Site: Col de Vars, France.

Maciek.