Banff National Park

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© RicardMN Photography

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© RicardMN Photography

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Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest national park, established in 1885 in the Rocky Mountains.

The park, located 110–180 kilometres (68–112 mi) west of Calgary in the province of Alberta, encompasses 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 sq mi) of mountainous terrain, with numerous glaciers and ice fields, dense coniferous forest, and alpine landscapes. The Icefields Parkway extends from Lake Louise, connecting to Jasper National Park in the north. Provincial forests and Yoho National Park are neighbours to the west, while Kootenay National Park is located to the south and Kananaskis Country to the southeast.

Over the past few million years, glaciers have at times covered most of the park, but today are found only on the mountain slopes though they include the Columbia Icefield, the largest uninterrupted glacial mass in the Rockies. Erosion from water and ice have carved the mountains into their current shapes.

Johnston Creek is a tributary of the Bow River in Canada’s Rocky Mountains. The creek is located in Banff National Park.

Johnston Creek originates north of Castle Mountain in a glacial valley southwest of Badger Pass and south of Pulsatilla Pass, at an elevation of 2,500 meters (8,200 ft). The creek flows southeast between Helena Ridge and the Sawback Range, and then south through a gorge known as Johnston Canyon. The stream empties into the Bow River, south of Castle Mountain, between Banff and Lake Louise, at an elevation of 1,440 meters (4,720 ft).

As Johnston Creek approaches the Bow River, it flows through a large canyon formed by erosion over thousands of years. The creek has cut through the limestone rock to form sheer canyon walls, as well as waterfalls, tunnels, and pools.

A popular hiking trail follows the canyon and leads to a meadow within the Johnston Valley above the canyon. The first part of the trail consists of a constructed walkway with safety rails and bridges, while the last part of the trail is natural and more rugged. Within the meadow are the Ink Pots, which are six blue-green spring-fed pools.

Ice climbing is a popular activity on the frozen waterfalls in winter. (Description from Wikipedia).

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Our Lady Chapel detail in the Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder Amsterdan BW

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© RicardMN Photography

Our Lady chapel detail in the Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic), a 17th-century canal house in the city center of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The canal house on the 14th century canal Oudezijds Voorburgwal, currently on number 40, was built in 1630. Between 1661 and 1663 the top three floors of the house were changed into a house church. The building was renovated in the 18th and 19th century.

The Catholic Church was built on the top three floors of the canal house during the 1660s. It is an important example of a “schuilkerk”, or “clandestine church” in which Catholics and other religious dissenters from the seventeenth century Dutch Reformed Church, unable to worship in public, held services.

Since there is no room for an altar to Mary in the Attic Church, the area behind the main altar has been set up as a chapel to Our Lady. Immediately alongside the altar, there is a multi-coloured limewood statue of Maria (circa 1690) thought to originate from the Attic Church. She carries Jesus under her arm and is standing on the crescent moon. She has a snake caught under her feet, a symbol of all evil.

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An empty cell in Old Cork City Gaol BW

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© RicardMN Photography

Cork City Gaol is a former prison located in Cork City, Ireland.

In 1806 an Act of Parliament was passed to allow the building of a new Cork City Gaol to replace the old Gaol at the Northgate Bridge (the old Gaol which was nearly 100 years was on a confined site and was overcrowded & unhygienic).

A site on Sunday’s Well was eventually chosen, its altitude being seen as an advantage for containing “Gaol fever” (typhus). The site, its approach roads and perimeters was commenced in 1816 and the building of the prison proper started in 1818. The building was designed by William Robertson of Kilkenny and built by the Deane family.

The new Cork City Gaol opened in 1824 & was reported as being “the finest in 3 kingdoms”. In 1870 the west wing was remodelled into a double sided cell wing.

When the prison opened in the 1820s it housed both male and female prisoners, whose crimes were committed within the city boundary. Anyone committing a crime outside that boundary were committed to the County Gaol, across the river from the City Gaol near University College Cork. The Fenian Brian Dillon was remanded at Cork City Gaol when he was arrested in September 1865.

The 1878 General Prisons Act reorganised the prisons in Cork. The Cork City Gaol became a Women’s Gaol (for Cork City and Cork County) and the Cork County Gaol near UCC became the men’s gaol (for Cork City and Cork County). On the day the change came into effect male prisoners were marched out of the Sunday’s Well Prison and over to the Western Road Gaol, while the women were marched in the opposite direction.

Nineteenth Century.
Many of the prisoners in the late 19th Century were repeat offenders locked up for what would not today be imprisonable offences; for example, a woman named Mary Tucker from Rathmore in County Cork was imprisoned at least three times between 1849 and 1908, sometimes for offences such as ‘Obscene Language’ or ‘Drunkenness’.

Twentieth Century.
During the Irish War of Independence Republican women prisoners were imprisoned in the Gaol. In October 1919, Constance Markievicz, the first woman to be elected to the British Parliament, was imprisoned at Cork Gaol for making a seditious speech. In January 1919, another member of Cumann na mBan, Mary Bowles, was imprisoned for arms offences. Later that month a Republican prisoner named Dolly Burke escaped from the prison.

In 1922 and 1923, the prison was opened to male and female Republican (anti-treaty) prisoners of the Irish Civil War. One of those imprisoned at the time was the writer Frank O’Connor.

A spectacular escape was made from the Gaol in November 1923. The escapees were high-value prisoners who had been sent to the Gaol as it was “the safest place to hold them”.

The Gaol closed in August 1923 with all remaining prisoners either released or transferred to other prisons.

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Under the scaffolding of The Palace of Justice – Brussels

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© RicardMN Photography

The Palace of Justice (French: Palais de Justice, Dutch: Justitiepaleis) or Law Courts of Brussels is the most important court building in Belgium and the largest courthouse in the world.

It was built between 1866 and 1883 in the eclectic style by the celebrated architect Joseph Poelaert. The total cost of the construction, land and furnishings was somewhere in the region of 45 million Belgian francs. It is reputed to be the largest building constructed in the 19th century. It is a notable landmark of Brussels.

In 1860, during the reign of Leopold I, a Royal decree announced the building of the Palace of Justice and an international architecture contest was organised for its design. The designs entered in the contest were found to be unacceptable and were thus rejected. The then minister of justice Tesch appointed Joseph Poelaert to design the building in 1861. The first stone was laid on October 31, 1866, and the building was inaugurated on October 15, 1883, four years after Poelaert’s death in 1879.

For the building of the Palace of Justice, a section of the Marollen neighbourhood was demolished, while most of the park belonging to the House of Merode was also expropriated. The 75 landlord owners of the houses, many of whom lived in their homes, received large indemnities, while the other inhabitants, about a hundred, were also forced to move by the Belgian government, though they were compensated with houses in the garden city “Tillens-Roosendael” in the municipality of Uccle, in the Quartier du Chat.

Poelaert himself lived in the Marollen neighbourhood in a house only a few hundred metres from the building, a house adjoining his vast offices and workshops. It is thus unlikely he saw himself as ruining the neighbourhood.

As a result of the forced relocation of so many people, the word architect became one of the most serious insults in Brussels.

The Palace’s location is on the Galgenberg hill, where in the Middle Ages convicted criminals were hanged.

The building includes huge interior statues of Demosthenes and Lycurgus, by sculptor Pierre Armand Cattier, and figures of Roman jurists Cicero and Ulpian, by Antoine-Felix Bourr. Although the construction took place during the reign of Leopold II, he showed little interest in the building, and it’s not considered part of his extensive architectural program in Brussels or his legacy as the “Builder-King”.

The Brussels Palace of Justice is bigger than St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The building is currently 160 by 150 meters, and has a total built ground surface of 26,000 m2. The 104 meter high dome weighs 24,000 tons. The building has 8 courtyards with a surface of 6000 m2, 27 large court rooms and 245 smaller court rooms and other rooms. (Description form Wikipedia)

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A tombstone in Sligo Abbey

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© RicardMN Photography

A tombstone with inscription in Sligo Abbey, Ireland.

The inscription says:

“IHS
The prayers of the Fairhfull are
Requested for the reposo of the
Soul of Elenor Murphy alias
O Connor who departed his life the 16
of Janry 1827 aged 69 years.
This tomb was Erected by her
Husband John Murphy of Sligo”.

Sligo Abbey (Irish: Mainistir Shligigh), a ruined abbey in Sligo, Ireland, (officially called the Dominican Friary of Sligo) was originally built in 1253 by the order of Maurice Fitzgerald, Baron of Offaly. It was destroyed in 1414 by a fire, ravaged during the Nine Years’ War in 1595 and once more in 1641 during the Ulster Uprising. The friars moved out in the 18th century, but Lord Palmerston restored the Abbey in the 1850s.

Known locally as the Abbey, the site contains a great wealth of carvings including Gothic and Renaissance tomb sculpture, well preserved cloister and the only sculptured 15th century high altar to survive in any Irish monastic church.

It appears in two short stories by William Butler Yeats: “The Crucifixion of the Outcast”, set in the Middle Ages, and “The Curse of the Fires and of the Shadows” describing its destruction in 1641.

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Sligo Abbey interior

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Sligo Abbey (Irish: Mainistir Shligigh), a ruined abbey in Sligo, Ireland, (officially called the Dominican Friary of Sligo) was originally built in 1253 by the order of Maurice Fitzgerald, Baron of Offaly. It was destroyed in 1414 by a fire, ravaged during the Nine Years’ War in 1595 and once more in 1641 during the Ulster Uprising. The friars moved out in the 18th century, but Lord Palmerston restored the Abbey in the 1850s.

Known locally as the Abbey, the site contains a great wealth of carvings including Gothic and Renaissance tomb sculpture, well preserved cloister and the only sculptured 15th century high altar to survive in any Irish monastic church.

It appears in two short stories by William Butler Yeats: “The Crucifixion of the Outcast”, set in the Middle Ages, and “The Curse of the Fires and of the Shadows” describing its destruction in 1641.

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The Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam

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© RicardMN Photography

The Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, Netherlands, from the port.

The Erasmus Bridge (Dutch: Erasmusbrug) is a combined cable-stayed and bascule bridge in the centre of Rotterdam, connecting the north and south parts of this city, second largest in the Netherlands. The bridge was named after Desiderius Erasmus also known as Erasmus of Rotterdam, a prominent Christian renaissance humanist.

The 802-metre-long (2,631 ft) bridge across the New Meuse was designed by Ben van Berkel and completed in 1996. The cable-stayed bridge section has a single 139-metre-high (456 ft) asymmetrical pale blue pylon with a prominent horizontal base, earning the bridge its nickname “The Swan”.

The southernmost span of the bridge has an 89-metre-long (292 ft) bascule bridge for ships that cannot pass under the bridge. The bascule bridge is the largest and heaviest in Western Europe and has the largest panel of its type in the world.

After costing more than 165 million Euros to construct, the bridge was officially opened by Queen Beatrix on September 6, 1996. Shortly after the bridge opened to traffic in October 1996, it was discovered the bridge would swing under particularly strong wind conditions. To reduce the trembling, stronger shock dampers were installed.

The bridge featured in the 1998 Jackie Chan film “Who Am I?”. In 2005, several planes flew underneath the bridge as part of the “Red Bull Air Race”. The bridge is also part of The World Port Days in Rotterdam.

In 2005, the bridge served as the backdrop for a performance by DJ Tiesto titled “Tiesto @ The Bridge, Rotterdam”. The performance featured fire-fighting ships spraying jets of water into the air in front of the bridge, a fireworks barge launching fireworks beside the bridge, and multi colored spot/search lights attached to the bridge itself.

The bridge was crossed during the prologue and the opening stage of the 2010 Tour de France.

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Rioseco abandoned Abbey

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© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Rioseco Abbey (Spanish: Monasterio cisterciense de Santa María de Rioseco) is a former Cistercian abbey situated in Rioseco in the Valle de Manzanedo, in the present province of Burgos, near the River Ebro.

In 1148 the Cistercian Valbuena Abbey, of the filiation of Morimond, founded a daughter house in a small former hermitage in Quintanajuar, in the Páramo de Masa. In 1171 this new community received as a gift from the heirs of the nobleman Martino Martini de Uizozes the ancient monastery of Rioseco, the previous history of which is unrecorded. After a temporary relocation in the late 12th century to San Cipriano de Montes de Oca (La Rioja), the Cistercians moved to the Valle de Manzanedo at the beginning of the 13th century, and probably in 1204, to occupy the old monastery of Rioseco.

The site of the old monastery can still be seen by the ruins of the old conventual church. It seems that after a serious flood the new community had definitely established itself by 1236 at the latest on a new site a little to the north, on higher ground. After the move the former conventual church was put to use as the parish church of Nuestra Señora de Parrales.

By the 14th century Rioseco had become one of the most powerful economies among the Castilian Cistercians. From the middle of the 15th century however, in common in fact with most other monasteries, it experienced years of penury and crisis, before once again entering upon a period of further growth and prosperity in the 17th century.

During the Peninsular War, from 1808 to 1809 the French troops stationed in Medina de Pomar appropriated a large part of the monastery’s stores and from 1809 until 29 June 1814 the monks were dispossessed. Nor after their return did they stay very long, for on 29 October 1820, during the Trienio Liberal, the commissars of the revolutionary government took possession of the monastery. At a public auction held in Villarcayo, most of the community’s goods were sold. The monastery itself however found no buyer, and thereafter stood abandoned. The local populace continued to make some use of the premises as store-houses, parish church and cemetery.

In the 1850s the surviving buildings, especially the extremely well preserved church, still magnificently equipped and furnished, were deliberately and systematically stripped by the Arquiaga family of everything of any value that survived, and reduced to ruins.

The monastery is in the Herreriano style. An impressive spiral staircase is still preserved, the stone walls of the church still stand, and the bóvedas retain some traces of polychromy. The cartulary is now in the Archivo Histórico Nacional (codex 91B).

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Santa Maria de Retortillo Romanesque Church

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Romanesque church of Santa Maria de Retortillo, in the municipality of Campoo de Enmedio, autonomous community of Cantabria, Spain.

This beautiful temple Romanesque is dated in the last years of the 12th century, stands on a necropolis early medieval and the ancient city of Juliobriga, the most important Roman centre of Cantabria. Retortillo is nowadays a small village of about 60 inhabitants in the municipality of Campoo de Enmedio in the High Ebro.

Apparently the name of Retortillo comes from “Rivo Tortillo” as they discussed the documents relating to the CARTULARY of Santillana in which news first appear in this village.

Photography offers a view of the Church from its southwest corner. From here we look at the belfry and the south wall. At the bottom of the image is the tombs of lajas belonging to a medieval necropolis.

The temple has a single nave covered by a barrel vault that is divided into three sections by transverse arches. The ship is topped in an elegant semicircular apse . It preserves practically its original appearance but lost a tower cylindrical, possibly similar to the Church of San Martin of a portico that was in the southern wall and Elines and that it protected the home. This gallery was unfortunately deleted in a restoration of the year 1989. The cover presents an interesting ear drum with two angels, a tap and a lion.

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A backstreet with cats and bicycle in Marken. BW.

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© RicardMN Photography

A backstreet with cats and bicycle in Marken. BW.

Marken is a village with a population in the municipality of Waterland in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands. Marken forms a peninsula in the Markermeer and was formerly an island in the Zuiderzee. Marken has characteristic wooden houses.

Marken was an island in the Zuiderzee.

For some time during the later 19th and early 20th centuries, Marken and its inhabitants were the focus of considerable attention by folklorists, ethnographers and physical anthropologists, who regarded the small fishing town as a relic of the traditional native culture that was destined to disappear as the modernization of the Netherlands gained pace. Among them was Johann Friedrich Blumenbach who examined a skull from the island of humans which he called Batavus genuinus; and was the Belgian painter Xavier Mellery who stayed in Marken at the request of Decoster. Mellery was asked to perform illustrative work and delivered several intimist works.

The projects of Cornelis Lely was to incorporated the island into the markerwaard. The dike, built in 1941 in the north, is the first phase of that project which was stopped by the war.

In 1983, the Marker Museum about the history of the island was opened.

Marken was a separate municipality until 1991, when it was merged into Waterland.

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