Thursday, December 3, 2009

learn to fly.

          “Blackbird singing in the dead of night. Take these broken wings and learn to fly.” Those are two lines from the song “Blackbird” performed by The Beatles in 1968. The song was written by Paul McCartney but credited as Lennon/McCartney as were most of their songs. However, it was performed entirely by Paul McCartney alone. The song was recorded on June 11 1968 in Abby Road Studio in London. It was featured on The Beatles self titled album otherwise known as The White Album, their only original double album. This album was the first record released on The Beatles record label Apple after the death of their manager Brian Epstein. It was at this time that the band was beginning to fall apart. It has been said that this album was a combination of four individual talents who were often at odds with each other. 1970, just two years after the album’s release, would mark the end of The Beatles.

            The guitar accompaniment for “Blackbird” is an arrangement of Bach’s Bourree in E minor, a piece written for classical guitar.  Paul McCartney has said that when he and George Harrison were in their youth they would use that work as a show off piece as it has a prominent melody throughout. McCartney adapted a segment of it and used it in the introduction of the song and all throughout the piece.
The actual structure and flow of the song is inconsistent and uneven. It is played in the key of G on an acoustic guitar in a sort of finger picking manner. The timing varies from time meters 3/4, 4/4 and 2/4 with a chromatic bass line on the downbeat all throughout. A tapping can he heard all through the song. During recording of the song McCartney played along a miked metronome. In the mixing process the metronome was kept in the recording. The sound of birds chirping was also added to the song.

Paul McCartney has said that his inspiration for the song was the Civil Rights movement happening in America during the 1960’s. The word “bird” is British slang for woman. Thus we can assume that “Blackbird” refers to a black woman. In 2008 McCartney performed this song with an introduction stating how pleased he was with the progress in civil rights today. He also stated that he was glad that America now has a black president, showing just how many issues have been overcome in 40 years.
The lyrics are extremely symbolic, especially when paralleled with the civil rights movement of the time. Black people were suffering a great deal at this time. In this song McCartney writes “Take these broken wings and learn to fly,” which could easily represent the hurt and persecution the black people were going through. They were absolutely broken. McCartney also writes “you were only waiting for this moment to be free.” The civil rights movement was entirely about gaining freedom. These people were righting for their rights and couldn’t wait to “learn to fly.” This song has a very deep and political meaning.

party in 202 today.

For our last class of Humanities 202 we were assigned to perform or present a parody of sorts. Megan, courtney, Mysha and I decided to do a little remix of Miley Cyrus' "Party in The U.S.A." Here are our lyrics. Unless you are one of the 30 some girls in this class, you might not understand exactly what this song is about. But just trust me, it is funny if you know what we're talking about.

I walked up the stairs to Soper’s class
With my culture and values in hand
Just read about some Rococo OH
That Boucher was the man

And the wanderer above the sea fog
Gericault and the Raft of Medusa
This is all Romantic
Everybody seems sublime

Hamlet’s suicidal, Ophelia’s love sick
So much murder and I’m nervous
That’s when the orchestra picks up their instruments
and the Mozart song was on
and the Mozart song was on
and the Mozart song was on
So I raise my hand up,
Soper’s teaching the class
I hope I’m gonna get an A
Taking my notes like yeah,
In my pj’s like yeah.
So I raise my hand up,
Soper’s teaching the class
I know I’m gonna laugh today
Yeah it’s a party in 202 today
Yeah it’s a party in 202 today.

Get to the year 1908
Everybody’s into modern now
We got J. Pollock and A. Warhol
That guy’s painting crazy cows.

So hard with no words in this movie
Charlie Chaplain’s mustache is groovy
I think I failed that quiz.
I guess I never got the email.

Hard Times man I’m lovin all these realists
Too much satire makes me nervous

Like when J. Swift wrote that creepy piece.
And the Beatles song was on
and the Beatles song was on
and the Beatles song was on

So I raise my hand up,
Soper’s teaching the class
I hope I’m gonna get an A
Taking my notes like yeah,
In my pj’s like yeah.
So I raise my hand up,
Soper’s teaching the class
I know I’m gonna laugh today
Yeah it’s a party in 202 today
Yeah it’s a party in 202 today.

Think this Whalebone is too tight (is too tight)
I need my pink blanket tonight (tonight)
My shrink swears at me all time (all the time)
I hope these Crytal shorts will look alright

So I raise my hand up,
Soper’s teaching the class
I hope I’m gonna get an A
Taking my notes like yeah,
In my pj’s like yeah.
So I raise my hand up,
Soper’s teaching the class
I know I’m gonna laugh today
Yeah it’s a party in 202 today
Yeah it’s a party in 202 today.

So I raise my hand up,
Soper’s teaching the class
I hope I’m gonna get an A
Taking my notes like yeah,
In my pj’s like yeah.
So I raise my hand up,
Soper’s teaching the class
I know I’m gonna laugh today
Yeah it’s a party in 202 today
MEOWWWWWWWW it’s a party in 202 today.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

hill farm and herefordshire.

A few weeks ago we took a two-day trip to Wales and Herefordshire. Our second morning on the trip we once again picked up Peter Fagg to show us around the important church history sites in the area. We headed out to Hill Farm, also referred to as Benbow Farm. During the time of the second apostolic mission a family called Benbow lived in this farm. They had recently become affiliated with the United Brethren Church when Willford Woodruff visited them and began to teach them about the gospel. They were soon baptized in a pond in their farm. Wilford baptized many more members of the church in this pond. At one time he had stones thrown at his as he was baptizing in the pond. Today a lady who is not a member of the church owns the farm. However, the church has purchased the piece of land with the pond on it and it is available to visit.
         After the Benbow’s were baptized many people were also baptized. In the span of five days 32 people were baptized and all but one of the 600 members of the United Brethren Church were eventually baptized.  Just ten months after Wilford first arrived at Hill Farm over 1300 people in the area had been baptized. The Benbows later helped publish the fist Book of Mormons in England. They also donated a great sum of money to the Perpetual Emigration Fund to help saints come to America.
         After the Benbow’s Farm, we ventured out to a small town nearby where we visited a church. In this church a few very important LDS men were christened. William Carter who became the first plowman in Utah, The future owner of ZCMI and the first postman in Utah were all christened in this church. It was very interesting to be there where these men began.
         Next we took a very steep hike to the top of Beacon Hill. This is the place Wilford Woodruff often came to think. It is easy to see why he found it so peaceful and it is so high above the rest of the land. You have a perfect 360 degree view from right there on the hill. It was a great experience to sit there and listen to Peter read some of the poetry Wilford had written. This is also the place where Wilford told Brigham Young he needed to serve a mission up north. This place was definitely an inspired point.

         Lastly we went to Gadfield Elm Church. This church is the oldest LDS Chapel existing on earth today. It began as a meetinghouse for the United Bretheren. However, after Wilford converted almost all of the church it became a place for the Mormon’s to meet. The chapel was later sold to help in the immigration efforts. After that time it was used for an array of purposes. However, in 1994 a group of Latter-Day Saints bought the land and restored the building and gave it back to the church. Today it stands open to visitors. There are missionaries assigned to the building. However they are not able to be there all the time so for people to gain access to this building there is a code set up. On the door is a sheet of paper and a handle with an electronic code. On the paper are clues and questions about the LDS Church. You must answer each one correctly to be able to open the door. I thought this is really awesome and interesting. The questions were pretty simple and most members of the church would be able to answer them. However, they would be quite difficult for a nonmember. Thus the church is kept in good care.

london church history.

One Friday in November we took a little tour of an area just right out of the city. We began at Burnhill. As we were there we were standing on the bones of all those who died in The Plague. They deposited all the bodies in this area because it was out of the city walls. Because it was unconsecrated ground, it soon became the graveyard for the nonconformists. Most of the nonconformist leaders were buried in the graveyard. These numbers included Isaac Watts, a hymn writer for the LDS church, said to be the greatest English hymn writer; Oliver Cromwell, a “republican’’ who started a new form of government and abolished the monarchy for a time; William Blake, a poet who wrote a very famous song about England, John Milton, John Bunion, Daniel Defoe and many others. All of these people suffered a great deal from persecution before they were buried at Burnhill. As we walked through the graveyard we saw the hundreds of headstones and were able to imagine the harsh times that existed back then.
         Next we carried on to the Wesleyan Chapel down the street. In 1738 John Wesley had a religion experience. He felt he had been “warmed” and all his sins forgiven of him. He began to form a church that he felt was an extension of the Church of England. He never left the Church of England however, they did not think very highly of him. He felt that the world was his parish and even went to the United States at one time to preach. As a result of his ministry you either went to a chapel or a church. Which basically means that if you were Baptist or Methodist you were a chapel. If you were Anglican you were a Church. We also learned that Methodists were to act for themselves and not wait for a minister to do it for them.

         After the chapel we went down to Tabernacle Square. Here lies the third most famous religious site in the UK. Around 1839, Joseph Smith had inspiration to send missionaries to London. As they got there and searched for a place to preach they didn’t have much luck and due to lack of preaching license they were sent out of the city. With the help of Henry Connor they decided to preach in Tabernacle Square. They were able to get away with this without a preaching license because it was outside the city walls. Four hundred people took in the square and listened to the men preach. After about 20 minutes a preacher from another church took over the stage and would not let the missionaries schedule another meeting. Despite his efforts the missionaries made an appointment for later that day and hundreds of people came to witness the event. Henry Connor was baptized three days later and he invited the missionaries to his home on Iron Monger Row. This house soon became the center of the church in London for a few months.
         Iron Monger Road is important for more than just being the center of the church in London; it is also the site of another satanic intervention. In the middle of October that same year Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith were visited by spirit from the underworld. The prince of darkness had come to kill them. So Wilford said a prayer and the spirit of Christ overcame the devil. Three white spirits entered the room and prayed with the men and the evil power was broken. This is yet another example of the devil trying with all this might to prevent the succession of the church in England.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Paysages de Paris.

Paris, A Photo Essay. 
Gardens and Cityscapes

Paris is one gorgeous city. But most of the beauty doesn't come from nature. It is more about the architecture, the buildings and the streets. However as we wandered a bit out of Paris we we able to see the splendor of the gardens of Versailles. That Marie Antoinette was one luck lady because this was a backyard like none other. Here is a little taste of what I saw with my admiring eyes.

Although it was a very cold day the sun was shining through the clouds and casting a dark shadow on the trees. I loved the silhouette of the line of trees just in front of the trees. It almost seemed like the sun was setting even though it was the middle of the day. I wanted to capture the texture of the clouds and the deep blue of the sky with the sun just blaring through. 

The sky was a gorgeous shade of bright blue while we were in the gardens. Contrasted with the sharp white of the clouds I found myself looking up quite a bit. Being so, I wanted to capture the sky. I thought i would get a shot of the tops of the trees. Most of the trees were bare and their leaves had fallen off. However, there were a few still waiting to fall. I appreciated the orange colors adding a little bit more light to the shot. 

There were paths surrounded by trees all along the garden. Unfortunately, these lines of trees were fenced in. I felt like this distracted from the trueness of nature. So as I poked my head through the fence I saw a gorgeous area of trees. However, every time I tried to get a shot this branch was right in my way. So instead of trying to push it aside I decided to experiment with it. I played with the settings on my camera and eventually I was able to get two different shots. In the one on the left, the background with the vast area of trees is in focus. We see the fall trees with the browns and the crisp yellows of the still living leaves. The picture on the right shows the branch in focus with the background blurry. I wanted to capture the texture of this branch and appreciate it more even though at first I had thought it took away from the scene. Unfortunately since it was a very sunny day the shadows detracted from my idea. But I still enjoyed experimenting and getting different shots of the scene before me. 

Further down in the garden were long rows of very tall trees. I enjoyed the way these trees were so intricately placed in row after row of straight lines. Even though each tree was planted in a specific place to form unity, each of these trees has gown in its own shape and form. It is very interesting and beautiful that even though things are placed in such an organized manner they can still grow to be so random and unique. I enjoyed seeing this in the fall. Without all the leaves and the bright blue sky in the background it is easy to see each little branch and stem. 

Just by the row of trees in the previous picture was another long row of the same trees. As the trees are much, much taller than i am I see them mostly from the bottom. However, as i angled my camera more towards the sky I was able to capture the tops of trees. With this angle the trees looked magnificently tall reaching far up into the sky. Again, because of the lack of leaves and the contrast with the blue and white we are able to see each little stem of the trees. Even though the trees essentially blend together we are able to see each little stem and its own unique shape. 

Fall is my favorite season. I love sweaters, scarves, boots, and gloves. I love the colors, the oranges, the browns, the fading greens and browns and the barely warm crisp feeling of the air. But mostly I love the crunchy leaves, fallen off the tree and crunching under my feet. In the middle of all the gardens is vast green space of grass. And to much pleasure on my part, it was covered in orange crunchy leaves. As I got down close to the grass and leaves I captured this shot. The leaves were my main focus and I appreciate the way they catch the viewers eye right in the front of the shot.

Although I captured many great shots in the gardens of Versailles, I wanted to include one image from the city of Paris. Although, like I said before, the city of Paris is not mainly beautiful because of landscapes, there are still many beautiful pieces of nature poked in all through the city.

This shot was taken just on the edge of the River Seine. I loved the way the sun cast a dark shadow on the tree in the foreground making it stand out from the background. I think the barrenness of this tree is what makes it so beautiful. In retrospect, I wish I would have moved the frame just a bit more to the left so that the tree was situated further in the right side. Even though pieces of asphalt, architecture and other industrial items, I still find this to be a beautiful shot. Maybe just with a touch of ruggedness from the tears of every day Parisian life. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

a two part photo essay

Part One:

The countryside of Kent

This picture was taken towards the beginning of our walk through the countryside. I found myself drawn to the beaten path surrounded by green. I felt that the large trees to the left offset the emptiness to the right quite well. I also appreciated the fact that you could see each individual tree’s personal color. Each tree although mostly seen as a mass seems to have a different hue of green. I also thought the three empty trees in the upper right corner were an interesting contrast as they are mostly bare. Also, the path seems to pull the viewer forward to see what lurks further than what we can see. It is introducing it to what is yet to come.

I have found a fascination with bridges in myself. The way they blend into nature as if they have always belonged in that place is amazing. I loved the arches in this bridge. I appreciated that there were three so we did not see an even number. Each arch is also slightly different whether in color, shape or size.  The trees on each side of the shot somewhat frame the bridge. One downside is the few people on the bridge. With landscape photos you tend to stay away from human life. However these humans almost blend into the background.

On the country walk, one of my main focuses was to play with the horizon line in my pictures. In this particular shot I decided to push the horizon line down a bit and snot more of the sky.  It was a very dim and almost dreary day and the sky did not have many colors to it except gray. I did like the small line of red trees on the right side. This was the main object in my shot. Although the trees are on the edge of the shot they are leaning in towards the center. I also found myself enjoying the way my pictures looks when they weren’t so symmetrical.

In this shot I wanted to use two sets of trees to frame my picture. Although I wish they had been a bit more full I think they serve their purpose. I also played with the horizon line and pulled it down a bit again. I thought the slash of red in the left corner made the photo more interesting and vibrant. I also found that the lines in the grass, although simple gave more texture and depth to the photo. Fitted in the back of the shot is a large section of trees. These trees almost resemble clouds. And although it is difficult to see in this shot the clouds behind the trees were slightly rolling in the same pattern as the trees in the center of the frame.

This next photo is another shot of a bridge. I continuously am attracted to their man made yet nature like structures. I thought this bridge was interesting because it is much taller and further in the distance. I thought that the cluster of trees on the right weighted the rolling hills on the left. I also decided to push the horizon line on this shot up a bit. To me it seemed more difficult to shift the line up because then I often had unwanted paths and unattractive scenery in my shot. This bridge carries the railroad. I thought it was interesting how to seemed to disappear into its surrounds and you only see a section of it. You know it must go on a ways because the train is carried on it but you do not see it. It seems to be a slight element of illusion.

Part Two:

A Stroll Through Regents Park

Due to the poor weather on the country walk I was not about to take as many landscape pictures as I had hoped. Being so, I decided to take advantage of one of the many beautiful parks in London. For this particular essay I chose Regents Park. Upon entering the park we began to walk down a long lane. The road we were talking on was almost completely covered in shade with a few light patches of sun poking though. I found that the colors were beautiful and would make for nice pictures. I came upon this bench along the lane and I wanted to include it somehow in my shot. Keeping it in the bottom corner meant I would be able to show a great deal of the surrounding landscape without showing much of the road in front of it. I was interested in the way you can see various tree trunks and leaves through the background. Also the contrasts between the burnt orange colors of the fallen leaves and the bright green color of the living leaves along with the lighting make this shot very engaging. 

I wanted to include as many trees as I could in this shot. I thought the various tree stumps though the shot gave it texture and showed distance. I also tilted the camera slightly upwards for a number of reasons. First, I wanted to include the leaves of the trees that are barely showing the first signs of fall. Second, I wanted the brightness of the sun and blue of the sky to shine through to the front of the frame. And third, I wanted my horizon line to be right at the base of most of the trees. I enjoy the almost silhouette of the foremost tree on the left with its stems and branches as well as orange coloring, I also enjoy the lush and deep green tree to the left. I feel like both these trees not only compliment each other but frame the shot.

The lighting and shadows on the day of this photo shoot were gorgeous. I was very attracted to the way the sun hit this tree and cast its shadow straight into the dark green trees in the distance. Although because of the lighting the large tree seems to be to focus, the shadow leads the eye towards the back cluster of trees and encourages the viewer to see the numerous trunk’s different hues, varying shapes, and also the bright blue of the sky just above. Although the shape in the foreground has the most stress upon it, those in the background are most interesting and therefore the tree does a fine job leading the eye towards them.

This last shot was somewhat of a personal experiment. As I was walking down that same lane mentioned before I saw a Royal Rubbish Bin. I was drawn to the fact that on the side of this bin were two geometrical openings where you could see through one to the other side. I decided to use this rubbish bin as my own special claude class. The shape of the trash can framed the area so that I could focus on what was directly in front of me and not the entire park. Doing this gave me a whole new view of the scene and made it seem like it was already a photograph laid out before me. I do however wish I could have turned the bin a bit to include less of the path but I still enjoyed the technique.

summary of winter's tale analysis article.

Summary: In this article, Susan Snyder writes about the importance of the character Mamillius in the Winter’s Tale. Mamillius is Leontes and Hermione’s son present only in the beginning of the play. Mamillius is only seen in two scenes but is a prominent figure throughout the play and a very important key to the plot. When it comes to his age there are some questions. He is usually played by a older actor but there are several clues leadings us to believe he is closer to fiver years old. At the time we get to know Mamillius he is still living in the nursery and therefore has a very strong connection to his mother. This explains why Mamillius suffered in such a great way when his mother was going through accusations. Although Leontes assumes Mamillius’ sickness is due to the fact that he knows his mothers has been an adulterer, it is more so because of his strong connection with his mother, the poor state she is in and the fact that he has been taken away from her.

Comments: This article helped me understand Mamillius death a great deal better. As I was reading and watching the play I wasn’t sure why he died so quickly, why his demise was immediate. However, as I think of small children and the way they depend on their mothers, I can see why his health would deteriorate so rapidly. The grief of his mother and their separation from each other because of his father led to this young boys decline. It was not his acceptance of his mothers supposed adultery, like his father assumed.

ulysses deriding polyphemus.

            At the National Gallery, I chose the painting Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus by Joseph Mallord William Turner to view and analyze. This painting was from 1829 done on canvas with oil. The idea of this painting came from Homer’s Odyssey. In that book there is the tale of Ulysses and his troupe who attempt to destruct the one eye giant Polyphemus.  This painting depicts that scene.
            In the foreground of the painting we see a ship full of men. On board the ship, Ulysses is standing, defending himself from the giant who is now blind. In the background, you see the faint figure of a giant hidden in the clouds. Turner may have used this effect to show the defeat of the giant, as he isn’t fully visible. Or perhaps, reiterating the fact that the giant is now blind.
            Because this painting is so large and has a great deal of things going on, Turner doesn’t focus on the small details of the piece. The men on the boat are see more as a mass and not as individuals, as they all look the same. His lines aren’t exact or sharp but more blunt and relaxed. This could be because the individuals are not as important as the story itself. The largeness of the painting shows the importance of the battle as well as engages the viewer into the scene.
            Turner uses the vanishing effect often in this painting. Like with the giant just barely visible in the distance, he uses the same effect with horses in the sunset. In the corner of the painting we see a very bright sunset full of yellows and vibrant color. Slightly showing through the light we see horses, the horses of the sun God Apollo. The way the horses are fading out could show us their distance as well as the fact that they are heading away from us, and in the natural eye would be difficult to see. Just in front of the ship we also see slightly invisible sea nymphs. This adds to the fairytale aspect of the picture. The story of Ulysses is after all a tale and the sea nymphs help us keep that in perspective. This painting took a lot of skill especially in finding the balance to make the slightly invisible or faded parts of the painting still visible to the viewer’s eye.
            The warmth of the sun set also gives the viewer a sense of direction. We also feel warmth and accomplishment. The brightness of the sunset shines while the rest of the scene is dim. It somewhat lets us know that the sailors come out of this fight successful. Overall Turner’s piece was engaging and told the story of Ulysses and Polythemus quite well.  

william gilpin.

William Gilpin was an experienced landscape artist living in 16th century England. He focused his work on the British isles and preferred overgrown scenery rather than a well groomed garden. He felt that overgrowth true beauty had many different textures and appreciated, roots and other twisted elements of nature. He felt that many artists capture the stereotypical view of nature in a perfect state. And although he did often find these views beautiful, he personally felt that nature should be viewed its natural state. He worked with the idea that the elements in a painting should work together to create a picturesque scene. He often used surrounding architecture to highlight the land around it. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

the north...a photo essay.

Fountains Abbey was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. As we were entering the site, the sky was overcast and the scenery was dark. I found this lone tree and it attracted my attention. I thought it looked very bare and dry in a place there everything was so green and lush. With the contrast of the clouds in the background it seems almost eerie but with the definition of the full trees in the background, it sort of give the eye a break.

This next shot was also taken at Fountains Abbey. I composed it with the bushes in the foreground and a line of trees in the distance. I liked how the shrubs in front give the shot texture and depth. I also appreciated how each tree has a different shade to it giving it definition from the others around it. The bright green with hints of fall changes give it a beautiful overall color.

As I hiked up to a place called Anne Boleyn’s secret view I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I got there I was pleased. I found the abbey poking out through a mass of green grass and trees. A larger green tree was directly in my view and it gave my photo depth and showed distance. The old ruins of the abbey show in the background giving the pictures that element of a picturesque design. I also thought it was interesting how the stream leads the eye straight to the abbey. Perhaps highlighting the importance of the building. Or ensuring that he viewer realizes it is there, hidden in the emerald.

The view from our hostel in Windermere was a great sight. The uneven stonewalls lining the grassy pastures helped in the picturesque design. I also was drawn to the various textures. I could capture pastures, rolling hills, the lake and a lot of texture all in one shot. I also liked the way the fence in the front of the frame broke up the grass and gave it more depth.

When we took the ferry across the lake I had a gorgeous view. In this shot I wanted to capture the way the shadows cast upon the hills and trees. I also wanted to be able to show the reflections in the water. I thought it was interesting how in the distance you could notice the hills that faded in color the further away you were. This is exactly the concept we learned in our sketching lesson in class.

Align Right

While in the Lake District, particularly at a town called Ambleside, I decided to experiment a little with my camera to see what sort of shot would look better. I took the same subject and area and angled my camera in two different directions. I got two very different shots. In one shot, I kept the tree close to the bottom of the frame. This makes the shot look short, and somewhat uninteresting as the cloudy sky fills half the frame. The other shot has the tree closer to the top of the frame. This gives the picture a more elongated look and much more interesting to look at.

This next shot was taken in Preston as we were taking our church history tour. We went to a lovely Japanese garden in a park. I came across this great green hill with a small brown bridge tucked right into the middle of it. I wanted to capture the bridge but not make it the center focus of the piece. I positioned the bridge so that it wasn’t in the center and used other browns from the trees and dirt to draw attention away from the varying color.

In another area of the same park we came across the River Ribble. I chose to capture this image because of its significance to the Mormon religion. The first concert baptisms in Britain took place in this river near to where the picture was taken. To me, this river, bridge and landforms mean so much. This is a beginning for the church. The gospel was carried out all over the world after these baptisms, much like the river carries things all over. The bridge also can show the connection between Mormonism in America and Britain at the time. I thought that the bridge just showing behind the trees was a nice view.

I enjoyed taking this next image because of the colors. In Northern England, the grass and trees are so green it almost looks fake. This picture only has a tiny enhancement dealing with the light and is otherwise true to color. I am so impressed with the different shades and hues in the shot. The brown of the shores and the blue water break up the mass of green to give the viewers eye a slight rest.

This last photo was taken at Chatsworth. Please ignore the slight glare in the corner; this was taken though a window. I would have thrown it out but I really appreciate this view. The old bridge give this shot a rugged yet elegant feeling, as it is an old bridge for a large manor. I also liked the trees spaced out through the shot. You can once again see how the fading of colors shows distance.

the tower of london.

Last week we took a trip over to the Tower of London or Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress. The tower first began in 1078 as The White Tower; built by William the Conquerer. Through the centuries it has expanded and now has two rings of many buildings and towers and is surrounded by a moat. Although the moat is now dry it was once a fully functioning defense for the fortress. The tower was has fulfilled many purposes. It was at one time used as a prison, a palace, a fortress, a zoo, a mint, and has housed the Crown Jewels since the 14th century.

We started out our time at the Tower by taking a look at the crown jewels. As we entered the building, we viewed a small clip of the Queen and her coronation. I have to say that since moving to London, I appreciate the Queen more and more each day. As we continued we saw more clips of some of the most beautiful and grand pieces of metal, rock and minerals in the world. Finally we entered a room where we saw the coronation robes worn by Queen Elizabeth II over 50 years ago. I was very interested to learn that these weighed 20 pounds. Can you imagine wearing that on your back for an extended amount of time? I also found it interesting that they use consecrated oil during coronations.We then we able to view a selection of the Crown Jewels. We saw The First Star of Africa embedded in The Sovereigns Scepter. This is the biggest diamond in the world at 530 carats. The scepter represents power over the kingdom and it seems fitting that the First Star of Africa be a part of it.
We learned that since Charles II there have been very strict rules dealing with crowns made for the heir of the crown. For one, there is a single arch above the crown distinguishing it from the monarch's crown. Another interesting fact is that is a king is married before his coronation, his wife is usually crowned with him as Queen consort. She is even given her own crown and scepter. One of the most interesting things I learned with the crown jewels was that when Prince Albert passed away, Queen Victoria spent the rest of her life in mourning by wearing a small crown with a widows veil attatched. I found this very touching and sad.

We viewed many great jewels and left thoroughly impressed with the wealth and power of England. Afterwards, we took a tour with one of the Yeoman Warder's stationed at the tower.
We walked though the grounds as we were told stories. Although the British don't technically consider the tower as a prison, it was definitely a place of torture, imprisonment and death. Guy Fawkes was questioned here after he was found to be one of the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot. He was also then killed and cut into quarters and hung around London as a reminder to the people of what happens when you try to revolt. Anne Boelyn is also a important figure connected with the tower. After a great deal of drama she was taken to the tower where she was tried for adultery, incest and high treason. She was found guilty and hung on a scaffold in the middle of the courtyard. This sculpture stands in the spot where the scaffold hung.
The tower is also the site of the legendary Princes in the Tower. Young Edward V of England and his brother Richard were the only sons of Edward IV and lived in the Bloody Tower. Unfortunately these two princes disappeared without so much as a sign and their death remains a mystery to this day. Two centuries later, the bones of two children were found in the White Tower. These bones are believed to be the bones of the boys but no one can know for sure.
The tower was a very interesting place to visit and I learned a lot being there. It is amazing how much more there is to learn that what is listed in your text books. I enjoyed the Yeoman Warder's filling in a few gaps for me.