Sunday, July 31, 2011

Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday, Colorado Springs! How does it feel to be 140 years old? It must feel good to find yourself repeatedly placed on lists of America's best cities.  Then, again, would anyone expect less of the city that hosts the Garden of the Gods? I expect your people are "never gonna stop going round and round." [2005]

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Athens, Greece

Want to try time travel?  Leave the modernity of Omonoia Square behind, descend into the Athens Metro, and re-emerge one stop away, at Monastiraki.  That short underground tube ride will teleport you back 2500 years. There are few cities around the world where such magic is possible, but this is one of them.  [2006]

Friday, July 29, 2011

Freiburg, Germany

Public space surrounds the Freiburg Cathedral, right in the center of town.  From the minster's spire, cafe umbrellas make the street look like a garden in bloom.  Perhaps, it is not surprising that the Green Party has been more popular here than in any other German city.  [1984]

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Stratford, Virginia, USA

The Lees were one of the "first families of Virginia," and this was the house they built in the 1730s to affirm their status in society. It became the command-and-control center of the tobacco business that dominated the plantation. The most famous American born here was....   I don't have to tell you, do I? [2010]

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Helsinki, Finland

Have you admired the graceful beauty of the main terminal at Dulles International Airport?  It was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen.  His father, Eliel, designed this building to serve as the central railway station in Helsinki half a century earlier.  The style is called national romanticism.  [2005]

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Paphos, Cyprus

Paphos is one of the premier places of Cyprus, so important it was, at one time, the island's capital. The town is built around a harbor, and the harbor is dominated by the castle. Actually, today it is dominated by Mediterranean yacht culture. [2004]

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dublin, Ireland

Temple Bar is a lingering little bit of medieval Dublin that has survived into the 21st century (with some government help). This whole elongated stretch along the River Liffey is known as Temple Bar: 'Temple' after a land-owning family, and 'bar' after the sand bar that was used as a pathway along the river. [2004]

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Midsland, Netherlands

Midsland anchors the settlement geography of Terschelling, one of the Frisian Islands. You can see at least four Heineken medallions (libational nationalism?), something selling for 15 Dutch guilders (remember?), a street banner trying to stimulate interest in swimming (House of Orange?), and one coat hanger creatively shaped and draped. [1984]

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jerusalem, Israel

These are Ethiopian monks, but they are not in Ethiopia.  They sit outside their dwellings on the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at the very epicenter of Christianity.  The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is one of six sects that share rites here; all of them are among the earliest Christian churches in existence.  Their sandals?  Palestinian.  [2010]

Friday, July 22, 2011

Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

In Whistler, summer biking complements winter skiing.  Thanks in part to the pedal, what started as a winter resort now attracts rugged recreationalists year round.  Just think:  Whistler moved from a logging village to become the 'Host Mountain Resort' of the 2010 Winter Olympics in little more than half a century.  [2001]

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Koper, Slovenia

Koper's problem: the city is on the water but has no beaches. Close to the marina, however, pedestrian causeways with stairs at the end will drop you into the deep. It does look inviting, doesn't it? [2008]

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, USA

The 'Pennsylvania Barn' is a disappearing element of the American landscape.  Forebay barns like this (with a second floor overhanging the first) developed as the settlement frontier pushed west from Philadelphia.  They punctuated the farmland that became America's breadbasket before the Midwest took over that role.  [2007]

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ka'ena Point, Hawaii, USA

Eighty days around the world have come to an end. It's time to dive back into reality. Perhaps this cob should be a model for us all. Be active, have fun, revel in spectacle, and jump off a cliff once in a while. May the 'breath of life' be with you: Aloha! [2011]

Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA

In the horizontal dimension:  earth, sea, and sky.  In the vertical dimension:  sail, palm, and woman.  All landscapes have a woof and a warp woven into a complete fabric, but in this North Shore photograph they are so easily identifiable.  [2011]

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

He sings to no one but himself. He seeks no audience, no contributions, no conversations, and no shade.Maybe he's proof that in Hawaii, you can be alone and be yourself. Or maybe he's an accomplished musician practicing for an evening gig. The storyline is yours. [2011]

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

A zebra dove (see the stripes?) poses for a picture while resting under the vincas. In Hawaii, they are an introduced species that has found a niche in the urban ecosystem. They love to clean up after anyone eating outside, but please don't call him a pigeon! [2011]

Friday, July 15, 2011

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Where does reality end and illusion begin? Somewhere over the rainbow, of course. In Hawaii, rainbows appear in the sky daily, and their beauty is mimicked on the cultural landscape. Here, the rainbow arcs over Kona, the leeward coast of the 'Big Island,' famous for its coffee. [2011]

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

The surfboard is one of Hawaii's contributions to world culture, and this surfer's shortboard is one of many variations on an ancient Polynesian innovation. In the background is Honolulu's yacht harbor and skyline, either of which could be anywhere in the world. Need proof that this is really Hawaii? Just find Diamond Head on the distant horizon. [2011]

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Auckland, New Zealand

Ponsonby Road has gone through the full neighborhood life cycle.  Located on a ridge with beautiful views, it originally attracted the mansion-building wealty; then came the street car and the working class; new suburbs developed farther out and Ponsonby was turned over to society's more 'colorful' elements; now gentrification has taken over.  [2011]

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Auckland, New Zealand

Even coffee has become part of the designed world. Baristas have learned to manage foam as if it were acrylic. Is that a koru on the left and a fern on the right? Who cares? Let's destroy both works of art by sending them down the hatch. [2011]

Monday, July 11, 2011

Auckland, New Zealand

What is the koru?  It is the new uncurling frond of the silver fern. Of course, koru is a Maori term. By using it symbolically, 21st-century New Zealand calls attention both to its Maori roots and its green heritage.  It is already on the tail fin of Air New Zealand jets and should probably be on the country's flag.[2011]

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Auckland, New Zealand

Let me introduce you the the koru, here in the form of public art at the edge of Auckland's Western Park.  You see it everywhere throughout the country in its natural and symbolic form.  It is an emblem of new life and hope, hence often associated with feminine subjects.  [2011]

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Whangarei, New Zealand

Judging from the volume of flow on the Hatea River, the Northland is experiencing no drought this year.  You can approach Whangarei Falls by following the river upstream through a thick rainforest, a long walk from the harbor.  Or, you can drive to the hamlet of Tikipunga and find the parking lot at the top of the falls. [2011]

Friday, July 8, 2011

Whangarei, New Zealand

Whangarei is the Northland's cardinal place, the market town for the region, and a yachting mecca.  The Town Basin couples the city to the water, the Hatea River, with the harbor downstream and a magnificent waterfall upstream.  In the shadow of the town clock is the National Clock Museum.  [2011]

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Manly Beach, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

The energies of motion combine to make the Corso a place of action in the drama of life.  Under foot are dancing fountains; overhead are flapping banners; in between are human actors making the week-end theirs.  And, all of this without a choreographer.  [2011]

Manly Beach, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Members of the Manly Life Saving Club row to shore after an exercise at sea.  In the background is Shelly Beach on Manly Beach's neighboring cove.  Along with Bondi Beach, Manly is an icon of the good life that Sydneysiders enjoy.  Even in the middle of winter, it's a popular week-end destination.[2011]

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

It's a 'two fer':  the Sydney Opera House with the shadow of the the Sydney Harbour Bridge cast by the setting sun.  You can see the road bed, the steel arch, and one of the pylons.  These icons carry the essence of Australia to the world.  [2011]

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Here's the analogy that will help Virginians understand this lighthouse: The Cape Henry Light marks the southern entrance to the Chesapeake Bay; beyond is the Atlantic Ocean. The Hornby Light marks the southern entrance to Port Jackson; beyond is the Pacific Ocean. How's that for a connection to America on July 4? [2011]

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

The aboriginal aesthetic really does set Australia apart from every other continent on earth.  Gradually, both the Australian government and the first Australians themselves are taking more pride in the the beauty of Aboriginal visual and acoustical arts.  The wind instrument is called the didgeridoo. [2011]

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

What Americans think of as potted plants will turn into trees given the right geography.  Do you even recognize the poinsettia?  During Adelaide's mid-winter chill, its red leaves bring a warm glow to this residential lane, where the only other hues are provided by color-coded trash cans.  [2011]

Friday, July 1, 2011

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

A boy and his book bask in the warm glow of the afternoon sun on the campus of Adelaide University.  Never let a plinth go unoccupied!  Given the tidal wave of new instructional technologies, I wonder how long scenes like this will be a part of academic landscapes around the world.  [2011]