Archives for the day of: 29 June 2013

This week’s Travel Theme from Ailsa’s blog – “Where’s my backpack?” is Sculpture. I like this theme in my travels and find myself photographing sculpture a lot. Probably because I know that it is an art form that I have no chance in being able to produce or replicate (unless it is with Lego bricks, then that is a different story). I do like a combination of human scale sculpture and the large scale sculpture that leaves you in awe of its size. The difficulty in selecting the photographs for this theme was more a choice of which ones to cull rather than include. As usual, all the images in this post link through to the larger photos on my Flickr site (which since starting this blog less than a year a go has had over 5,000 views – makes this amateur photographer feel good).

This first shot was taken in Caloundra, which is a beach side town in Queensland, Australia. A lot of these coastal towns look very similar; awesome beach, different buildings, cafes, and surfers. The local council have invested some money in beautifying the boardwalk with sculpture representing water – large pipes, taps, and tubing. This was my favourite shot of the afternoon we spent there with my cousin and her family.

Caloundra - Beach Tap

In Australia we also have a bizarre affinity (translation – cult like obsession) with big sculptures of things. There is a big prawn, big banana, and from what Wikipedia says another 150 or more big things located around the country. In some respects it is putting country towns, that were traditional rest stops but are now being bypassed by high speed freeway construction,  back on the map. This is the “Big Merino” at Goulburn which is about 2 hours drive South of Sydney. We always end up stopping here on the way to Melbourne. BTW it is 15m tall, and requires a compulsory tacky tourist shot (my wife is not in this photo but was in the next).

Goulburn - The Big Merino

Any trip to France would mean that you have taken at least one shot with a work of sculpture in it. Some are unique in their historical context and others are just beautiful. For my 30th birthday my wife and I went on a road trip to the Champagne wine region. Visiting the cathedral of Notre Dame de Reims is an awe-inspiring experience. This cathedral has the same historical significance as Westminster Abbey in London, but of course the royal line of French Monarchy is no longer around. I don’t know whether this sculpture is still on display inside the church, but I found it beautiful in its colour and simplicity.

Reims - Cathedral sculpture

Also in France but more decadent in its purpose is my favourite sculpture in the gardens of Versailles. The gold leaf glistens under water in this sculpture known as “The Encelade” which represents the mythical fall of the Titans being buried under the rocks of Mount Olympus. It is a stunning piece which took two years to build.

Versailles - The Encelade

Maintaining the French connection, how could one not include the majestic Statue of Liberty across the Atlantic Ocean in New York, USA. This was a gift from one freedom loving nation to another. You can find the original still on the Seine and the riders in this year’s Tour de France may ride past it on the final stage.

New York - Statue of Liberty

Still in North America but quite a bit further South in Mexico is a long legacy of sculpture from long disappeared empires. The destruction of the Mayan text and scriptures by the conquering Spaniards now leave a large gap in our historical knowledge of Mayan culture. This small sculpted head was one that took my attention when we visited Chichen Itza. It was one of many located around what is now determined to be the observatory on the site. It was probably the best preserved of all the ones lined up and it is a bit spooky how its gaze looks directly at you.

Chichen Itza - head

In Japan, sculpture is very different from that in the West. These sculptures have a very deep meaning as they represent family members long passed away. They can be found at shrines all over the country, and the care that is provided them is the of the same reverence that pay towards tombs.

Tokyo_2007_0350

Back home in Sydney, I was surprised one day to learn that life-size Lego had descended on Martin Place. I rushed out at lunchtime, camera in hand, to snap the delightful bright colours of the vintage Lego trees and flowers that brought me back to my childhood. You can see I was not the only one.

Lego Play - 0001

Last but not least, and maintaining the Lego theme, was the opportunity for the Pok (AKA my son) and myself to visit Nathan Sawaya’s “Art of the Brick” when it landed in Sydney. The Pok was quite tired when we first got there, so I had the opportunity to pose him next to a life size Lego man. The freaky thing was when the automatic facial recognition system in the camera started recognising the Lego faces. Freaky!

Lego - The Art of the Brick

I have posted about sculpture before when I was working in Melbourne, here is a link to my previous post – Melbourne Urban Sculpture.

Thanks Ailsa for this week’s travel theme. Please take the time to look at some of the other blogger’s posts – there are some gems.

The insomnia of July is about to dawn upon my household. My wife is already complaining that her husband will be lost to cycling on another continent. But let’s face it.

The Tour de France has arrived!

And the Australian television station who has been brought us ‘le grand boucle’ for the last 17 years is primed and ready again to bring us the 100th edition. They have been showing a pretty cool advert to get us all pumped.

Even Google thinks its a great idea to showcase the race with a doodle on its homepage.

Vive Le Tour! Allez Cadel!

On our third stop of our recent trip to Hawaii, we visited the island of Maui for a week. Like all the islands in the Hawaiian chain, Maui had plenty of different things to offer. The large slopes of the dormant and imposing volcano of Haleakala in particular offer you many places to explore and experience. We decided one day to visit one of the many botanical gardens on the slopes and the one we chose was the Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula. It is located about a quarter of the way up to the summit of the volcano, and covers 8 acres. It was quite a change in scenery once you start to climb Haleakala, and the change in altitude brings a change in the climate to one of being more temperate. That shouldn’t have surprised me because we did climb to just over 2,500 feet, but it did and what was the most noticeable change was the amount of greenery in abundance. As the name of the title says this garden was very much focused on flowers. So while my wife, aunt, and son enjoyed (my boy thought that the best part of the trip was jumping on the directional arrows painted on the ground, and then instructing commanding the rest of us which ones were “our” arrows to jump on) the stroll through garden I delighted in the opportunity to capture the natural colour of the blooming flowers and flora. Here are my favourite photos from our walk through the gardens. As usual, all the images will link through to the larger photos on my Flickr site.

This flower is known as a ‘Red Jade’.

Enchanting_Floral_Gardens-01

And this next one is the blue version of the same type of flower – the ‘Blue Jade’

Enchanting_Floral_Gardens-02

Don’t know the name of this flower. I would love it if someone could tell me its name. Google searching “pink flower” gives me the phone book – it is tough reading phone books.

Enchanting_Floral_Gardens-03

This tree was awesome, and I had never seen anything like it. It is known as a ‘Silk Floss Tree’ which is native to South America. It’s spiky trunk reminded me of a rose stem, but this was a full size tree trunk and each of these spikes were the size of a small rose flower.

Enchanting_Floral_Gardens-04

This flower was my favourite of all the flowers in the garden – a ‘Red Ginger Lily’

Enchanting_Floral_Gardens-05

The purple petals contrasted beautifully against the yellow pistils. Again, my gardening ignorance left me wanting for its name.

Enchanting_Floral_Gardens-06

Took me a while to find out the name of this shrub, it is a ‘Coleus’

Enchanting_Floral_Gardens-07

The succulent garden had some pretty big plants on display, but I liked the detail of  the leaves and how they created a cage of green on this plant.

Enchanting_Floral_Gardens-08

There were many different types and colours of ‘Protea’ on display, and they were the hosts of many small insects. Maybe next time a bit of macro photography might be in order.

Enchanting_Floral_Gardens-09

I would recommend a visit to these gardens as we got to see hundreds of different flowers and trees in a brief hour long stroll through the garden. The views over the island of Maui are also a highlight. And from where we were staying in Kihei it was just over 30 minutes of driving to get to.

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