Pompeii, Walking on Sacred Ground

Paths of Pompeii

Pompeii Muted Colors

Remaining Artifacts from Pompeii

Person of Pompeii

Pompeii Unearthing

Years ago, I can remember being totally mesmerized when I heard the story of molten volcanic ash enveloping an entire city and its inhabitants. Approximately 2000 people living life were now preserved in their final moments for the ages. Mothers and fathers sitting at a table, little ones sleeping…these acts became their last on August 24, 79 A.D. EyeWitness To History.com relates an ancient voice from the past that reaches through time to relate these horrific events. The ash grew to be 16 feet and a once flourishing resort for the rich and famous of Rome with marketplaces, brothels, taverns, bathhouses and a 20,000 seat arena was totally silenced until 1748. The archaeologists found buildings intact, skeletons frozen in time, art and artifacts of every day life. Today, Pompeii draws thousands of tourists. One must past through about 15-20 vendors lining the entrance selling bottles of lemoncello, cameos carved from shells which may or may not be authentic and of course row after row of the famous winged penis which was the city symbol (who knew)! There was no McDonald’s in site though!! Despite all of the tourist trappings, every time I walk through Pompeii, it is truly one of those “pinch me now” moments. I wander through the homes, seeing mosaics and frescoes which are erotic and beautiful still visible after thousands of years. It is a bit surreal to come upon the few frozen remains still on display… the people who were so compelling to me years before. Many of the artifacts have been moved to the National Archaeological Museum in Naples and is so deserving of a visit. It is said that a third of the city still remains covered. In just a span of 4 years, I saw graves carved into stone that had just been unearthed. It continually gives me a reason to return so the story I heard sitting in a classroom may take on new layers of richness and intrigue.

Travel Gear Blog: LOOXCIE

About two months ago, I was going to have a business consult regarding the efficacy of my website. I was all set ready to go, excited about this opportunity when the man I was working with said, “What exactly do you do again?”(couldn’t be good!) I told him I was a photographer and he then said in all sincerity, “Well, don’t you think you should have some pics on the site?” Long story short, either an update did not work or I was hacked again….so after hours and hours pouring through photographs, a new website exists (thank you Dan Creighton) and hopefully, this one will have a long life! With this new format, I decided to feature very interesting travel gear as well as other sites which inspire, educate and entertain.
I will be heading out to Honduras to photograph an NGO. At the NYTimes travel show, I was intrigued by the LOOXCIE. One could wear it unobtrusively behind the ear, capture and stream video through a smart phone. I thought this would be perfect to use while away and the many contributors could see first hand all that is going on at the orphanage. I will write a review when I return, but until then, here are several sites providing information and my mind is now racing with all the ways I can incorporate this…check it out, it may intrigue you also.

Here is the official site: looxcie.com

Here is a review from Chris Burns on Slashgear.com

and if you are interested, of course Amazon.com will make your life very easy!

Fuji X-Pro 1

I admit it, after traveling with cameras, flashes, tripods etc. hanging from my waist and neck, I was so anxious to get this new small wonder into my hands. Would the images live up to all the hype? Would this be my new travel everywhere camera? Would this be blessedly lightweight but dependable? I am so glad to say that the answer to all of the above questions so far has been yes! I have been taking it with me and putting it to the test in a variety of situations. The first was an event being held on the top floor of a high rise in Philadelphia. I was thrilled with the clarity of all the buildings below. The statues in the fountains could even be made out. Then onto a night out at an Irish pub and an experiment with depth of field in low light. I was with a great friend who is a photographer too and we spent the night passing it back and forth, trying different shots and settings. My kind of learning! Onto Ellis Island with a dust covered piano and a statue in the hospital ward…both with little contrast and it performed well focusing on the entire scene and picking up the subtle differences in hue. This past weekend, I attended a wedding and a First Holy Communion. I have to say that the only time I was disappointed was at the wedding reception with low lighting. I wasn’t able to get any clear shots during the father/daughter dance no matter how I changed the settings. Lastly, I was very happy with the photographs of the sweetest little one on her very special day.

All the shots were taken with the 35mm f/1.4 lens which was not at all intrusive, making it perfect for street photography. It was not my intent to repeat the technical advances this camera encompasses, that is all over the web. I just wanted to share some of the photographs I was able to take over the past two weeks and my excitement with being able to stand up straight! Now to save up for the 18mm lens!

Copyright 2012 Frances Schwabenland. Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without express written permission of Frances Schwabenland.

IPhone Photography

IPhone Photography to convey the sense of place.

There are times when we come upon a place that we find ourselves drawn in so many different directions trying to take it all in. This sense of place can be very overwhelming. Visiting the 9/11 Memorial as well as St. Paul’s Chapel, was so profound and multi-faceted…death, destruction, hope, courage, rising from the ashes and love to last through eternity…I searched for a way to bring together the images which were so striking to me.
This creative need found its form.

In order to convey a sense of place, I started using the photo collage app. Rather than sending many separate photographs, the merging captures the layers of the experience.

“There’s an app for that!” is repeated time and time again. Appadvice.com provides information on many other collage apps to enhance creativity!