Sunday, May 29, 2022

Cloud Gate Revisited


"Cloud Gate" is Anish Kapoor's wonderful sculpture that dominates Chicago's Millennium Park.  Locals have nicknamed it "the bean" because of its shape.  I did a post about Millennium Park three years ago.  Today I want to concentrate on just this sculpture.  

I recently discovered this photo that I took back in 2005.  I had completely forgotten that on a visit to Chicago in early 2005, I got to see this sculpture for the first time.  Millennium Park was dedicated in 2004 and this sculpture wasn't quite done yet.  It was uncovered for the dedication ceremonies and covered again so that it could be completed.  It wasn't completely done until May of 2006. The sculpture is made up of 168 stainless steel plates that have been welded together and then highly polished so that none of the seams are visible.  If you look closely at this photo you will see what looks like smudges on the left side.  It appears that I caught this photo while the polishing was still in process.

The mirror like finish makes this sculpture a perfect place to catch reflections of the Chicago skyline.

Depending on how you position yourself when taking the photos, you can bend the skyline image in many directions.

On the underside of the sculpture is the "omphalos" which is Greek for "navel".  It's described as a concave chamber that warps and multiplies the reflections. 

On a more recent trip to Chicago, I joined a fellow photographer to take photos of this wonderful sculpture at dawn.  I'm facing west and you see the glow of the sunrise in the reflection.  

Kapoor's sculpture is a much loved addition to the Chicago art scene.  It is loved by residents and visitors alike.  

The Phoenix Art Museum has another work by Anish Kapoor. Ours is called "Upside Down/Inside Out" and it is made of resin.  You can see it here.  

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Wandering Around Milan


Milan is one city in Italy that wasn't on my list of places to visit but since it is close to the Lake Como area, that is where I landed on my last trip to Italy.  I am certainly glad that I took the time to explore this city before heading further north.  The Milan Duomo is a must see.  You can see more about this spectacular church here.  I even took the opportunity to explore the view from the roof top.  You can see a post about that here.

Here are two photos I took from the roof of the Duomo. Above is an Italian flag flying over the rooftops.  

To the right, a very odd looking building on the horizon above those rooftops.

I stood and listened to this group play for a little while.  They found a good spot to perform right next to the Duomo and they were wonderful to listen to.

To the left is a view from the courtyard garden at the Monastery of Santa Maria Delle Grazie, where the Last Supper is housed.  

Above is a street scene where you can see a modern skyscraper looming over the much older buildings.  

Leonardo da Vinci spent a lot of time in Milan and made great contributions to the city.  It's appropriate that there should be a monument honoring him.

I had lunch one day at a very nice sidewalk cafe that was facing this green space between two streets.  In the center was this spectacular sculpture by Amado Pomodoro called Grande Disco.  I love Pomodoro's sculptures so it was a pleasure to have this view while enjoying lunch.  

You can see the Pomodoro sculpture at The Vatican here.  And, you can see the one we have in Phoenix here.  

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Wild Animals of California


Back in 2015, I did a post about a visit to Safari Park in Escondido California.  It's an extension of the San Diego Zoo but it spans 1800 acres so it gives the large African animals a lot more space to roam and explore.

In the lion compound I got some great photos of both the male and female lions lounging about in the grass.  I've featured another photo of the fellow above in other posts.  I have an enlargement of him hanging over my desk.

I remember taking a tram ride out into the areas where these extra large animals live.  Many of the animals roam around in the same enclosures.  

In the aviary I got to meet the colorful lorikeets.  They must be the most colorful bird on the planet.

I would rally like to visit this place again.  

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Signs of Chicago


Looking through my folder of photos from Chicago, I noticed I had a few photos of signs I've spotted around the city.  Some are very iconic like the sign in front of the Chicago Theatre to the left or the historic "Marshall Field and Company" on the side of that huge store.  

I'm so glad that when I was working in Chicago, Marshall Fields was still...well...Marshall Fields.  It is now a huge Macy's store.  Not as elegant as I always thought Marshall Fields was.

Some signs just give you directions like this sign inside a local deli.  

Some signs I photographed are just humorous.  Like this sign for a dry cleaners.  I'm guessing that English wasn't the first language of the sign maker who painted this sign.  "Alternations" anyone?  If you need to get your 'tapper' shortened, this is the place to go.

The signs on the side of van for a "canine catering" company caught my eye.  Cookies and ice cream for your dog are available but "Please don't lick the truck".  

I hope you enjoyed this assortment of signs from the great city of Chicago.  

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Tourist Town


Williams Arizona is what I'd call a true tourist town.  Everything about the town is molded around attracting visitors from all over.  

It uses its position on the historic Route 66 as a guide along with its proximity to the Grand Canyon.

You will find all kinds of kitschy places and signs along its Main Street.  Who would guess that Elvis would be working as a greeter for this spot?

The town has lots of gas station themed businesses and they all sport vintage gas pumps as well as vintage cars.  Most have the obligatory Route 66 sign hanging somewhere.  

Williams is also a railroad town so the sight of old fashioned train engines on display is not unusual.  Busy rail traffic passes through Williams to this day.  In fact, this is where you catch the tourist train that goes into the Grand Canyon.  I wrote about taking that trip here.  

Horse carriage rides through town are available for those interested.

There are plenty of places for dining and shopping.  At night the town lights up with a multitude of neon signs and many of them reference Route 66.  

I've posted more about Williams Arizona here and here.