Monday, April 21, 2014

WEP - Louvre Antiquities Letter: The April Fool

Who's that in the Mirror? I don't recognize this face, everything is different except my eyes. New nose, cheekbones, lips, and chin. I no longer exist as I was.







 Part 2 - The April Fool

See bottom of post for Part 1, Take Me Away



The Louvre Museum courtyard, Paris, by DG Hudson


I looked at the charcoal grey envelope in my hand held close, as if I might lose it. This was my freedom letter. The last thread of my old life. . . before they kidnapped my sister. The envelope had been exactly where I was told to find it, in a cleverly concealed narrow crevice in the back of the Sekhmet statue. Perhaps the Egyptians had passed missives that way too.

An employee at the Louvre, a friend of my sister's lawyer, placed it there thinking that it was a letter between lovers. The message looks harmless unless you know the code. I'm going to London to validate it, I need the cash. I've got to move fast. Once those two bodies are found, there will be no guarantees. I'll find a surgeon and a new face in Paris. French doctors ask few questions.


Egyptian Antiquities, Louvre Museum, by DG Hudson


As I sit waiting in the private train compartment at the Gare St. Lazare, my thoughts are interrupted by the rumble of the engines, the ringing of the bells and blowing of the whistles, interwoven with the slightly oily smell and the hissing of the air brakes. I  close my eyes to shut out the noise and drift into a short nap, finding myself back in that dimly lit hallway of an older apartment building. . .

. . .I'm walking down the corridor. . .I hear small noises like talking, I'm almost there, get ready, release the safety, secure grip, push door, throw in a smoke device. It lands between them on the bed. This man killed my sister. They turn as one, I aim and fire, intent only on accuracy. Snick! Smoke is filling the room. No witnesses. Aim. Snick! Keep moving fast. . .  Focus. Remove silencer, empty chambers, get out of the building. Into the car and on the road.

I woke with a start, as the train lurched forward. My breathing was shallow, my hands trembling. 

Back in Paris

Yesterday, I went to the old cafe in the Marais. The surgeon said no one would recognize me. On the Right bank, near Pont Louis Philippe, sits the bistro of the same name. I ate here on a regular basis in the past; they held a table for me most days. The cafe owner always stopped by my table, to talk to the lonely American mademoiselle, he said. I sat at a different table the first time after the surgery and they treated me as if a new customer. On the second visit to the Cafe Louis Phillippe, I sat at my old table, but none of the waiters working now had been here five years ago.

Who's the April Fool now?

(To be continued)

***


Take Me Away- Part 1 of the Louvre Antiquities Letter
January 2014 WEP

As I gaze at the Seine River from the Pont D'Iena, I don't regret what I have done. My past life is gone forever. My family, my work, all gone. I wish the river would take me away too, but I have a few things to do first.

In this, my new beginning, I burned the letters which would incriminate others. They were worth a fortune. But there is one more, an important one. The Paris letter is hidden in the lower levels of the Louvre, in one of the statues in Antiquity.

I know which one. . .
(end of Part 1)

***

Please let me know you were here in the comments and thanks for dropping by! Remember to visit the other participants on the WEP list at the Denise Covey Blog.

***


Write. . .Edit. . .Publish - the Monthly Bloghop







Write…Edit…Publish! or WEP welcomes you to submit any of the following – flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction or playscripts to a word count of 1,000 words – artwork and photographs accompanied by your written inspiration in creating your works.

Would you like to challenge yourself?

Next Challenge: Failure or is it? May 2014
Owner/Originator: Denise Covey; details at her website


***
 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Paris - A Flâneur's View and Art Mini-Tour

ART mini tour: 2014 A to Z Blog Challenge:

During the month of April, my Rainforest Writing Blog is presenting a theme on ART: Artists, Art Trivia, and Art Legends. This theme is part of the A to Z Blog Challenge hosted by bloggers for bloggers and readers. Hope you can drop by!

***

Now, back in Paris. . .

At the Carnavalet Museum

A quiet place to sit and listen to the sounds of the city before entering a treasury of historical memories. And no-flash photos may be taken in some areas in the museum. Herein lies a history lesson of the best kind - remember the people.



Carnavalet Museum Garden, Paris, by Green Eye
 

*****

An Arc with a View


The Arc de Triomphe, Paris, from ground level by DG Hudson


The architectural interest in The Arc de Triomphe and the history represented make it a worthwhile visit. If you can make it to the top, the view will give you a good idea of how the inner city of Paris is designed. Monuments make us feel small in the grand plan, but they also illustrate the ingenuity of man. Save some Euros for the bookstore.



****


Eiffel Graffiti or a Signing Wall?


The Signing Wall at the Eiffel Tower, by DG Hudson


In a city as important as Paris, a person wants to leave his mark, but in a non-destructive way. 'Love locks' on a gate , 'I was here' signings, reviews, and photographs. Some may have left a kiss on the Wilde monument in Pere Lachaise, but that's been changed. Details play a part in our memory of a place.

***

Enjoyed this Paris mini-tour? Are you participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge?

Please let me know you were here in the comments and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by! Good luck if you're in the A to Z!

***

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Bridge in Disassembly - Vancouver, BC

The Port Mann Bridge that connects the Lower Mainland of Vancouver with the Fraser Valley is getting the slow demolition treatment.




Port Mann Bridge #1 in bright orange, March 2014, by DG Hudson


The old bridge on the right is being disassembled. The exposed concrete support now shows under the orange and yellow equipment in the image, since one large section has been removed. Construction on the original Port Mann Bridge began in 1957, was completed in 1964, and closed in 2012. The new bridge has greater capacity, and a more efficient design including an HOV lane. Tolls for most cars are $3 each way. Free old bridge to tolled new bridge, we will go from six lanes to ten when all are completed. There are still  bridge construction 'holdups' at various times, a part of life in the big city.


Pt Mann Bridge #1 (Orange girders) 2014, and cabled Pt. Mann Bridge #2, DG Hudson
  

***
 
The upright supports on the right of the image are loosely strung with cables and form part of the equipment used in stripping the road surface and removing the orange girders. Not sure if any of the bridge pieces are being recycled for another use. Perhaps that explains the slow demo, aside from the reality of those guys working over deep water, the Fraser River.
 
 

Bridge Cables overlap the old Port Mann bridge and the supports by DG Hudson
 

***

Shown below is a section of the old bridge with the supports which are assisting in the dismantling or disassembly of the roadway and the arching orange girders. Orange made the bridge more visible on those gray wet days that we get in Vancouver, aka rainforest country.



Port Mann Bridge Disassembly Closeup 2014, Vancouver, by DG Hudson


It's interesting to watch the process when something is being dismantled, as opposed to being demolished. Bridges spanning large rivers or small water sources are one of the things I like about both Vancouver and Paris.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, if you indulge. And watch out for the greenies. . .

***

Are you a fan of bridges? Have you ever seen a bridge disassembled?
Please share in the comments and thanks for dropping by!
Are you in the A to Z Challenge yet? If you are, I'll see you there.

***

This post is an update of previous posts. Links to those are:

Port Mann Bridge - 1st Update
http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/2013/02/pt-mann-bridge-update-vancouver-views.html

Bridge Across Fraser River and Crepes
http://dghudson.blogspot.ca/2012/06/bridge-across-fraser-river-and-crepes.html

History of the Port Mann Bridge.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Mann_Bridge 

****

Monday, March 3, 2014

Crowd Scenes in France

How many people equal a 'crowd'?  At least, these are all benign.


At Versailles. . .
The tours have arrived.




Palace of Versailles Gilded Front Gate, France by DG Hudson
 
Sometimes you can't get away from the crowds, as seen here on tour at Versailles. This is the front walkway, intended to slow traffic to a respectable pace. Imagine horse-drawn carriages clopping over those square cobblestones to be greeted and assessed by the guards at the entry gate. The gilding on the gates had been recently applied when this photo was taken. In Louis XIV's day,  the crowds would have been courtiers, suppliers, and foreign visitors to the court but now, the crowd is composed of tourists and their tour leaders.

***


At the Louvre

A battle weary crowd can be dangerous or humble. Napoleon is centred in the scene as the primary figure in the painting below. It's impressive when you see it up close. Painting famous battles was one way of commemorating the event in history.



Napoleon on the Battlefield at Eylau, by Antoine-Jean Gros, photo LM-DGH



Napoleon on the Battlefield at Eylau, February 9, 1807

Painted by Baron Antoine-Jean GROS; The scene is intended to show the compassion of Napoleon the day after a battle at Eylau, in eastern Prussia. The smoke in the background and the pile of corpses in the foreground are both indicators of what came before this scene. The Louvre allows no-flash photography, so I took advantage of that to capture this painting and a few more. . .

***


A Parade in Paris
On the Champs-Élysées


Paris, French Parade on the Champs-Élysées, by DG Hudson

 
On the famed Champs-Élysées, we saw a parade in progress, but not in the streets. On the wide sidewalks of the Champs, there was ample room for the parade and the onlookers. Traffic was still king in the streets. This parade was well-ordered and nattily dressed.

***

Do you like parades? Do you feel safe in a crowd at public events? Do you think parades are done much less often now than in the past?

***

Thanks for dropping by! Please leave a comment to let me know you were here.

***

Friday, February 21, 2014

Photography Tips - Composition, Light, and A Louvre Peek

Photographs are a personal interpretation of an object, event or person. The same subject captured by one or more photographers will usually focus on what each person wanted to highlight.


Monochromatic images
Enhances detail


Eiffel Tower, from Pont D'Iena, Paris, DG Hudson



The image of the Eiffel shown above is taken from the Pont D'Iena, when rain was threatening. In this photo,the detail of the ironwork was the object of my intent. Compose your photograph with a few points in mind: purpose of collecting the image, amount of light present, placement or composition of the main focal point or centre of interest.




Natural Light and Shadow

In this photo of an urn caught in the natural light of a window, the shape of the item takes on prominence. The amount of light and shadow softens the detail of the carvings on the exterior of the jar. More contrast could change that, but will darken the overall image. The effect of natural light on objects will continue to change as the sun travels from horizon to horizon.



Urn in Antiquities at the Louvre, by DG Hudson




Repetition of Pattern

Point of view matters. In the two photos following, you see two different angles of the same subject. In the first image, repetition is emphasized by shooting the photo from one side. Framing or composing the shot, which only takes a couple of seconds with digital cameras, allows you to focus on what you want to emphasize.





Antiquities on Guard, Louvre Museum, Paris, by DG Hudson





In this second image below, the photo has been taken facing the sculpture, which emphasizes the details of the hands and feet and shows a group, forever encased in stone. A direct view reveals details of the sculpture not visible from the side angle.





Antiquities at the Louvre Museum, Paris, by DG Hudson



Framing tips: Decide on position or viewpoint, take two or three shots at different angles or exposures, and try to get a clean shot (without people) if you want to use the images for other than family memories. What you choose to include or omit is part of deciding your purpose (travel family photos, or use for blogs, books, or articles, etc.)

***


A peek into a workshop at The Louvre Museum

In this monochromatic image of neutrals, we get a peek at the 'behind the scenes work' at one of the world's most famous museums.


Interior Louvre Museum Workshop, Paris by DG Hudson


The framing of the workshop image is provided by the round arched opening and the railing. Inside we see interesting objects, many packed items and artifacts to be listed or displayed. The opening also shows the thickness of the interior castle walls of the Louvre.

Hope you enjoyed the images and the photo tips!

***

Do you take photos with your phone, tablet or a separate camera? Do you notice light, pattern or shadow when you take photos?

Please leave a comment and let me know you were here. Thanks for dropping by!

****

For more statuary at the Louvre, see:
http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/2012/03/statuary-at-louvre-study-in-stone.html

For more photography, see The Lens (tab at top of page)
http://dghudson.blogspot.ca/p/camera-lens.html

OR a post on the Louvre Museum:
http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/2012/04/l-louvre-museum-to-z-blog-challenge.html

***

Sunday, February 9, 2014

PARIS OutTakes - The City


Savoring a walk through Paris. . . 



Rue Caulaincourt, Montmartre, Paris, by Green Eye



Walking the streets of a city brings you to the local level. For a moment, you assume the feeling of living where you are visiting. You want to see what's behind that store window. Look at those tiny retail shops. . . OutTakes is an opportunity to see places that a Flâneur, the ever present stroller, would find interesting.  It's also where my roving camera likes to play.


***

Under the Eiffel. . .



Under the Eiffel Tower, Everyday Paris, by DG Hudson




The Eiffel provides a landmark that can be seen for quite a distance, it provides cover for pedestrians beneath its four staunch supports, and it remains proof of French engineering skills. Created for a world class exhibition, the Eiffel Tower represents Paris to the world. This is one of the best spots for strolling or walking across the street to the Trocadero Plaza. Down below by the Seine River, you can catch a tour boat and buy paintings from the artists who set up their street sales there. Think of Gene Kelly, American in Paris, 1951.


***

The Eternal Flame, Place de l'Alma, Paris



The Eternal Flame, shaded by the Eiffel Tower, by DG Hudson



Situated over the tunnel where Princess Diana was killed in the deadly 1997 crash, the Eternal Flame became her unofficial memorial to many of her admirers. The gilded flame can be seen over the dark vehicle in the center of the image above. 

The flame was dedicated in May 1989, as part of a centennial of the International Herald Tribune, Paris 1887-1987. An exact replica of the Statue of Liberty flame, it was offered to France by a group composed of donors throughout the world. The flame represents the friendship between the USA and France. 

Perhaps it's not that unlikely a pairing, when you consider that Diana was always in the news from the moment she became engaged to be a princess. A monument can serve two purposes very well.


***

At the Police Prefect. . .



French Gendarmes, Paris, by DG Hudson



Couldn't resist taking a photo of these guys in uniform. French gendarmes in training? Not sure, but my interest was stirred. . . In principle, gendarmes are a military force charged with police duties among civilian populations. This system of military organized police departments is in use in several countries in Europe today, and in France dates back to the Napoleonic era.

***

What do you think of those images above? Do any of them stir your imagination? Have you got your own special memories of a place where you have explored at street level and on your own or in a tour group? 

Please share your thoughts in the comments. I'm always listening. Thanks for stopping by!

***
References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gendarmerie Wiki on Gendarmes and Gendarmerie.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fl%C3%A2neur Definition and wiki on Flâneur

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flame_of_Liberty Flame of Liberty

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Great Bear Rainforest Reprieve / BC Museum's New Vision

Resources
A step forward

Conservation groups and forest companies have announced an agreement regarding old growth protection and heritage sites in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia. 



Islands off the south coast of British Columbia, by DG Hudson

After 14 years of negotiations which included bitter fights in the 1990's, a balance was found. First Nations of BC and the B.C. provincial government will have the final say on the agreement. Will it be the last chapter in achieving protection for old growth and other protected heritage sites? 

Saving the forests, in particular the Great Bear Rainforest, is the first step

Saving food sources is the second step.(On land, in the waters)

Preventing pollution in advance is the third step. Watchdogs are required.


A Spirit Bear or Kermode, a resident of the Great Bear Rainforest, is shown below.



Spirit Bear, or Kermode Bear, BC, Wiki photo

Reference: Vancouver Sun Article,:Westcoast News, Preservation, Collaboration wins rainforest 'final chapter', by Gordon Hoekstra. Jan. 2014. Update on environmental issues in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Related posts:
Oil and Dirty Water - A Bear Dilemma 

The Spirit Bear and the Great Bear Rainforest


***


Our Royal British Columbia Museum is changing. . .






A new CEO for the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, Jack Lohman, has already started assessing the treasures in his care. He's revived museums in England, South Africa, Poland, and Norway. He calls it re-scripting, which in BC, will include taking collections around the province and loaning certain exhibitions to other institutions. Lohman has also written a book about his vision, Museums at the Crossroads, which is about some of the choices that institutions make.

I'm hoping these changes will include making art and history exhibitions more accessible to all, and by that I mean no high ticket prices. Learning about our culture is important. Why don't we have a free day once a month for British Columbia's museums and galleries? 

Paris, France does this, an excellent idea that gives something back to the people. It would also benefit school groups, and help offset high ferry rates that deter many from visiting Vancouver Island as much as we would like. Thank you, Mr. Lohman, I'm looking forward to your revitalizing of our venerable museum; a fresh eye can work wonders.


Reference: Vancouver Sun, Westcoast News-Weekend Edition, Jan.25/14, B.C.'s Museum at the Crossroads, by John Mackie.


***

Do you scan your newspapers for issues that are important to you? Are you interested in current events in your own city or local area? How do you get your news? (via a device, a newspaper, or secondhand?)

Please share in the comments and thanks for dropping by. I'm always listening.

***