CEILING OVER NAVE, AMIENS CATHEDRAL, FRANCE: Amiens’ Cathedral of Notre Dame sits atop a gently rising hill above the peaceful River Somme in northern France. While the actual date of completion is somewhat disputed, most historians agree the church was completed around 1270. It took approximately 50 years to build— in an era of no motors, cranes nor any electrical or gas powered tools. It was built with brains, brawn and stone using clever hoists, ramps, levers and fulcrums. Amazing, really. Although Amiens is not the tallest Gothic cathedral in France (that’s Beauvais, although it remains incomplete), it is the largest. The nave ceiling rises 139 feet above the floor, roughly the same height as a modern fourteen storey building.
In the First World War, the town of Amiens sustained heavy damage during the “Kaiser’s Battle,” the last major offensive of the German Army. The battle raged within miles of the cathedral. It sustained some heavy bombardment and several chapels were damaged. The main structure remained sound. I like this photo for its geometric patterns and the various gradients of pink and yellow colour cast by the sunlight beaming in through the upper windows.
Shot handheld and braced with a Nikon D300, 16-85 DX zoom lens at 16mm, ISO 3200, 1/80 sec., f11. Copyright photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
OLD AND NEW TALL BUILDINGS, CHICAGO: Chicago is one of my favourite American cities. I particularly like the careful mix of old and newer architecture and the pride Chicagoans have in their built heritage. There is lots of information on-line that is worth checking out to learn more about the architectural beauty of America’s “Second City.” Chicago Architecture Foundation is a great site and has excellent information about architectural tours. Chicago Architecture Info is another great source of information about Chicago buildings. A View on Cities is a website that features very good basic information about architecture in the great cities of the world. The site contains lots of information about Chicago’s buildings, including photos, year of construction, height, etc. Good for identifying buildings.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D3100 with a Nikkor 18-200mm lens at 130mm, f5.6, 1/1250 sec., ISO 800. Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
WASHINGTON MONUMENT, WASHINGTON, D.C. This monument is easily one of the most instantly recognizable landmarks in the world. It stands as a tribute to one of America’s greatest presidents. The idea to recognize Washington emerged in the 1780s. The 1791 plan for the new federal city made the monument the center of the action. The obelisk plan was approved in 1836. In 1848 the cornerstone to be laid. Along came the Civil War, further delaying completion. To speed things along, the Army Corps of Engineers took over and completed the project in 1884. The monument was officially dedicated on February 21, 1885.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 10-24mm lens at 15mm, f13, 1/1250 sec., ISO 640. Photograph by John Ecker |
WASHINGTON MONUMENT, WASHINGTON, D.C. The Washington Monument Society selected Robert Mills’ design of this obelisk in 1836. I would take several decades before the monument was finally dedicated on dedicated on February 21, 1885. The monument weights over 80,000 tons. It stands just over 555 feet tall. Walls at the base are 15 feet thick. At the top, they narrow to just 18 inches. The Society ran out of money in 1854 when the monument was just 150 feet tall. Construction stalled for about 25 years. A different quarry supplied the stone. While the two types seemed to match at the time, wind, rain, and erosion have caused the marble sections to weather differently, producing the now pronounced difference in colour. It’s 896 steps to the top of the obelisk. Visitors take an elevator to the observation deck where they can survey the city from the monument’s great height.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 10-24mm lens at 15mm, f13, 1/1250 sec., ISO 640. Image by John Ecker | pantheon photography