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I was walking through Washington, DC Northwest one day and noticed a school, still in use, with separate doors for boys and girls. Interesting. Girls

I had walked by this building several times before I noticed this detail.  That fact prompted me to be more attentive and I began to be more aware of other details that I had previously taken for granted.  For example, I’ve walked by the Law School on the campus of the University of Notre Dame for years.  Most of the buildings on the campus have interesting details – fancy doors and Gothic windows .

ND Law School wide shot

There are many more famous structures on the campus that tend to draw the eye.  Those structures and the general beauty of the architecture can easily fill my vision.  But this time I also noticed this detail:

Moses on ND Law School Building

This sculpture of Moses is 5 stories up, easy to miss, but a true work of art.

And another example; the ironwork on this New Orleans balcony is eye-catching.

NOLA Balcony

As I looked a second time, I also noticed the interesting casement around the widows, the angles of the roof as it bends around the corner and the gleaming glass, candle shaped bulbs and other details of the pendant lights, and the reflection of the fretwork in the window. I nearly missed the flowers in the white boxes the balcony but they provide an lovely pop of color among all of the gray and silver. These details help create the overall sense of beauty I feel when I look at this building.  I glad I didn’t miss them.

1cropped balcony Friday 2-20-15 NOLA 043_1

Where have you seen details that others may have missed?




A City on the Rise


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I wasn’t born there, but South Bend, Indiana is my hometown.  After nearly 50 years in the shadows of the closure of the Studebaker Automobile factory, South Bend is beginning to shine again.  In 2015, in honor of the city’s 150th birthday, a form of public art made its debut.  City Lights.   The feature photo on this post is of the St. Joseph River, facing the Jefferson Blvd. Bridge.    The lights are constantly changing.

pink water and lights reflect on water at Island Park

This view is facing Island Park at the Century Center (the city convention center).  The colored lights seem to create a feeling of excitement downtown that mirrors a new level of energy in the city.

Studebaker Plaza at Christmas (2)

Studebaker Plaza wasn’t constructed for the sesquicentennial celebrations but it is also a newer addition to the city.  Named to honor the heritage of one of the founding families of South Bend, the plaza replaced a little used park with a comfortable gathering place.  The life-size chess set in the center makes chess look like fun.

Downtown South Bend Morris Civic Tree Dusk

This photo was taken in early December, 2015.  It is facing northeast from the roof of a parking garage on the north end of Downtown South Bend.  Visible in this photo are some of the new residential units and a new high school that were recently constructed in the center of the city.  Every time I visit, I see more new housing starting downtown.

I’ve Seen the Clouds From Both Sides, Now


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With respect and admiration for Joni Mitchell…

sunrise - interesting cloud - layers of texture

Joni Mitchell looked at the clouds and saw angel hair and ice cream castles.  During the Christmas holidays, while on the ground at the airport,  I saw gray rain clouds and my vision was delays and irritation.  But our pilot took off that early morning and found a layer of clear sky between the clouds. I was struck by the beauty of the colors of the sunrise and the shapes and textures of the clouds.  My attitude brightened along with the sky.

sky becoming bluer-still pink-layers of fluffy clouds

The science of these pictures is that the color of the clouds is a reflection of sunlight on water vapor.  The light is both direct and filtered by other water vapor in the atmosphere. The filtering of the light by the cloud layers above casts shadows.  But the beauty of the clouds, to me, is a reflection of the gifts we are given by our God.  As a child, I used to look up at the clouds and imagine that heaven was on the top side of them.  Now, when I look a photo of the top side of the clouds and the rising sun, I feel like if I look far enough into the horizon, that image of heaven might come into focus.

shaddows light and texture - clouds and blue sky - color intensity

As the sun rose higher in the sky (or as science tells us, the earth rotation continued), the difference in the cloud type and texture at different layers become more striking.  I also noticed the differences in sky color at different altitudes as the sunlight is filtered through the atmosphere.  Not heaven, perhaps, but now I imagine hints of the gateway to space in the upper, darker part of the sky.

What imaginings do these pictures evoke for you?



Sunset At New Smyrna Beach

I was shopping, just before Christmas, on Flagler Avenue in New Smyrna Beach Florida.  I had intended to stop for dinner but this sunset beckoned.  The only camera I had with me was the one on my phone.  I love the colors of the sky.  The palm trees and beach structures are typical parts of the view from the beach.  The low clouds are part of what gave the sky its brilliant colors.