Old stone

Some brick and stone work around South Wales.  Some of it is old, some of it is newer but made to look old.

Talking to Britons, one of the things that came up is architecture and how they feel so tired of everything being made to match Victorian architecture, and wished for more modern-looking buildings.  And of course, being American, I’m sick to death of modern architecture and love seeing buildings, houses, churches, that might only be 200 years old (or younger), but look like they’ve been there for a millennium.

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle stands in the middle of the city of Cardiff, just North of the city centre (I’ll use British spelling), quite easy to get to if you’re out on the town, just remember that they close at 6 and stop letting people in at 5.  Definitely go see it if you’re traveling in the area.

From what I remember from watching Secrets of Great British Castles, Cardiff Castle stands on the ruins of an old Roman fort, and was originally constructed during the reign of Edward I.  Talking with an Englishman at the bar one night, evidently castles of this sort are called “war castles,” built during either the Norman Invasion or the English conquest of Wales under Edward Longshanks.  As you can see, it’s a motte-and-bailey style, but of course the original structure would have been made of wood.

Cardiff Castle is sort of looked down upon by locals specifically because it isn’t all original, though I don’t know why, if they were already building it in stone by the 1200s.  The main problem is that the Marquesses of Bute started their own “restorations” in the 1800s cashing in on the gothic revival fad of the time (many wealthy noblemen of the time tore down castles built in the 14th and 15th centuries to make something more in keeping with what was considered a castle at the time).  I believe there was rather a large stink raised about the demolition of the medieval inner bailey wall along with other buildings dating from at least the 1300s.  The grounds of the bailey would have held extensive gardens, but now are just lawn.

There was a rather impressive collection of buildings on the outer bailey wall built (or restored) during the 1800s and containing rather impressive living quarters, said to be kept as close as possible to medieval dwelling conditions.  Unfortunately I did not have enough time to take the tour, preferring to wander the castle grounds by myself and only leaving right when they closed.  I’m still impressed with what I saw, and coming from a country where something built in the 1850s is considered old, Cardiff Castle is still properly ancient.

Bittersweet

I already started posting pics from Wales, but before delving into more of those rather bigger posts, I’ll share a few miscellaneous pictures with you.

I grew up watching British television, and though it wasn’t my goal while I was in Wales, I did get to catch a few episodes of Father Ted actually being broadcast on Channel 4 reruns (RIP Dermot Morgan, and now Frank Kelly).  On my walk around Cardiff I went past the Doctor Who Experience, but was unfortunately too late to take the tour.  I snapped a few pics of the exhibitions in the lobby, and of course you have to get one of the daleks!  John Hurt was one of my favorite actors and I was looking forward to see him star in Terry Gilliam’s newest film before he was diagnosed with cancer.  I always thought he’d make a good regular Doctor, but sadly that dream, like so many others, will never come about now.  Since coming back from Wales I’ve learned that the Doctor Who Experience will be closing at the end of the summer, so I’m really disappointed that I wasn’t able to get further than the lobby.

Scoring Session: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Aka “Too Many Hats!”  I wouldn’t consider these the absolute best pictures ever, but it’s hard to be the composer, conductor, and music producer, and also try to take a few pics on the side.  This is the recording session for a new ballet film based on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.  As a ballet, I had to compose the music and have it recorded by a certain date, without having seen any footage.  Now that it’s recorded, I’m hard at work mixing, mastering, and polishing, while my director Felicity works on the choreography.  While I’d like to say that I drew a great amount of inspiration from Wilde’s novel, reading it would have taken much time away from actually composing the music; I watched Albert Lewin’s 1945 film adaptation instead.

This marks the first time I have used the Canon 7 since Fall of last year, and I’m out of practice: there are one or two rather glaring focus errors, and while I think I would have been better suited with an SLR, I’d say that I really focused on the music first (pun intended), and only snapped a few here shots here and there when not actively recording.  The camera was lying around in a few different places and not all of the pictures were taken by me, as evidenced by the fact that I’m in some of them.  The main visual component was shot by the film director as a “making-of” documentary, so at some point there will be a video of the recording session floating around the internet.

The pictures are almost current, as the recording session took place just a week and a half ago, and a few days later I was on my way to the Durango Independent Film Festival.

Trump

Please don’t take this as an endorsement.  I’ve been waiting to post for a while, but thought it might be more relevant around election time.  Donald Trump held a rally at UCCS back in July.

We all found out about the rally two days before he was here; it happened to be my day off so I went down.  I can remember a lot of outrage almost at once, mostly individual outbursts on Facebook, but it does remind that while Americans talk a lot about valuing free speech, it’s usually only when it’s speech we agree with.  Word got out of a petition signed by 114 UCCS faculty (many of whom I know) which, as far as I can tell by reading the wording of the text, doesn’t condemn his appearance on campus as much as just declaring disapproval of Mr. Trump in general.  What that petition was supposed to accomplish besides putting on the record those professors who are likely voting for Hillary Clinton, I don’t really know.  Personally, I was excited that UCCS should gain the exposure brought by the rally and was happy to attend.

One could get a maximum of two tickets for the event, free on Mr. Trump’s website, and I saw a lot of suggestions on Facebook discussions that people sign up for tickets and then not show up.  Well, this didn’t accomplish anything at all because room was given on a first come, first serve basis; they didn’t even check tickets, but I did get junk mail from the Trump campaign for weeks after that.  I got on campus around 10:00 (Trump was scheduled to come on at 2:00), walked from a free parking spot, and got in line around 11, with the line already stretching East from the University Center, past Dwire Hall, down the hill and halfway around Centennial Hall.  It took 90min to get inside the building (great organization there) by which time I wished that I’d had some food on me–of course there would be no food served inside, but thank God there was water!

I learned later that only about 1500 people were allowed inside Gallogly Events Center (it’s where we have basketball games) and I must have been among the last few hundred let in.  Most of the bleachers were full already, I hung around on top for a minute before being told off by a security guard, and did manage to spot a friend of mine standing near the stage, so I went and hung out with him.  Trump was late by more than 45min, and I remarked at one point that it was no longer fashionable.

I’ve done my best to stay out of this most recent rat race, and hadn’t heard Mr. Trump speak before.  I have to say, he was quite entertaining, even if he didn’t have much to say.  I think he spent the first 20min or so cracking jokes about the DNC.  People would yell to him to talk about a particular issue, and he’d pause on that briefly before going off on some wild tangent.  He did have some strange fixation on our fire marshal doing his job, I hear he went back to that several times after I left.  I stuck around for about 45min (perhaps an hour), but my back was killing me and I was hungry.  I had heard that perhaps as many as 10,000 people had shown up looking to get in to the rally, and that the protesters had finally decided to roll out of bed and come down, so I went to take pictures outside.

I’ll admit, one of the main draws for me was the possibility of seeing some “excitement” break out among the protesters, but it didn’t happen.  Talking to a few of the photographers and newsmen outside, evidently there were many more protesters that left before I got out, but when I was there they were only 50-75 strong, talking loudly to about the same number of people on the other side of the campus road.  Nothing happened and with not a whole lot of people out there, I went to the on-campus pub and got some lunch, then played pool with a friend of mine.  Well, the day fizzled out so I then decided to go home.

I’ll admit, I feel a little bit like Les Blank on Burden of Dreams here, missing the best parts of an event by being in the wrong place and at the wrong time.  I missed more gigantic crowds outside, and also found out after the fact (from friends’ Facebook posts) that Mr. Trump walked the floor after his speech, so I missed out on getting up close and personal with my camera.  Oh well.  Here are a few links pertaining to the event:

http://www.kktv.com/content/news/Fire-marshal-responds-after-being-called-out-by-Trump-at-UCCS-rally-388720102.html

http://www.uccs.edu/trumpevent2016/index.html#july28

http://www.coloradoindependent.com/160419/donald-trump-colorado-springs-protest

http://www.csindy.com/IndyBlog/archives/2016/07/28/trump-event-at-uccs-stirs-controversy?showFullText=true

Final project: portrait outtakes – Intro to Photography

Fall 2013.  A continuation of this post.  Here are images that for one reason or another didn’t make the cut.  Some I printed along the way for critiques, some I didn’t look at until after I had scanned everything.

Minolta SRT-MCII Outtakes:

Canon AE-1 Outtakes:

Pentax Spotmatic SPII outtake:

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