Grand Canyon at twilight.

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Grand Canyon at twilight.

Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the United States in the state of Arizona.
The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,000 feet / 1,800 metres) Nearly two billion years of the Earth’s geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While the specific geologic processes and timing that formed the Grand Canyon are the subject of debate by geologists, recent evidence suggests the Colorado River established its course through the canyon at least 17 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River continued to erode and form the canyon to its present-day configuration.

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Albi Cathedral Nave

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Cecilia (French: Basilique Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile d’Albi), also known as Albi Cathedral, is the most important Catholic building in Albi, France, and the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Albi (in full, Albi-Castres-Lavaur). First built as a fortress in the aftermath of the Albigensian Crusade; begun in 1282 and under construction for 200 years, it is claimed to be the largest brick building in the world. In 2010 the cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The present cathedral was preceded by other buildings. The first dated from the fourth century and in 666 was destroyed by fire. The second is recorded in 920 by the name of Saint Cecilia, the present-day patroness of musicians. It was replaced in the thirteenth century by a Romanesque cathedral in stone.

The Brick Gothic cathedral was constructed in brick between 1287 and 1480 in the wake of the Cathar Church, a Christian non-trinitarian dualist movement with an episcopal see at Albi around 1165 AD. Pope Innocent III initiated a brutal crusade (“Cathar Crusade”, 1209–1229) to extinguish Catharism in southern France, with great loss of life to area residents. In the aftermath of the bloodshed, the cathedral’s dominant presence and fortress-like exterior were intended to convey the power and authority of the trinitarian Roman Catholic Church. The instigator of the cathedral’s construction was Bernard de Castanet, Roman Catholic Bishop of Albi and Inquisitor of Languedoc. Work on the nave was completed about 1330.

The cathedral is built in the Southern Gothic Style. As suitable building stone is not found locally, the structure is built almost entirely of brick. Notable architectural features include the bell-tower (added in 1492), which stands 78 metres (256 ft) tall, and the doorway by Dominique de Florence (added circa 1392). The nave is the widest Gothic example in France at 60 feet (18 m). The interior lacks aisles which are replaced by rows of small chapels between brick internal buttresses, making Albi a hall church. Compared with regular Gothic, the buttreses are almost entirely submerged in the mass of the church. The principal entry is on the south side through an elaborate porch entered by a fortified stair, rather than through the west front, as is traditional in France.

The side chapels in the nave received overhead galleries in the 15th century, diminishing their impact.

The elaborate interior stands in stark contrast to the cathedral’s military exterior. The central chœur, reserved for members of the religious order, is surrounded by a roodscreen with detailed filigree stone work and a group of polychrome statues.

Below the organ, a fresco of the Last Judgement, attributed to unknown Flemish painters, originally covered nearly 200 m² (the central area was later removed).

In the middle register of the painting, angels blow trumpets announcing the resurrection and the judgement. The dead rise up from their tombs.

The composition marks the rupture between Christ and the condemned, separated by a gloomy, greenish sky. The dead all carry around their necks the book of their good and bad actions, indicating that each shall be judged by their deeds on earth and that holy mercy alone does not suffice to assure salvation.

Hell appears as an underground world of despair, far from God. Disorder and chaos constitute its fundamental structure: swarming promiscuous masses, pandemonium, foetid, nauseating odours and an infernal din. Monsters proliferate; hideous clawed, flabby skinned demons arouse fear and loathing. Some have the heads of goats; putrid, diabolical creatures, symbolising lust.

An immense garden of torment, hell is represented as a furnace. Streaks of colour show the omnipresence of the fire burning, but not consuming, the damned. Other tortures are represented, the breaking wheel, forced feeding, boiling in giant cauldrons and impalement.

In this terrible world physical suffering (we see mouths pathetically screaming in horror) is accompanied by moral suffering which goes with the eternal separation from God.

Hell is organised into seven sectors, the same as the number of deadly sins. The first, at the left, corresponds to pride, which led Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge and to fall into lust, which, with its accompanying punishment, features at the far right.

Between the two we see successively the punishments meted out to the envious, the wrathful, the slothful and the greedy. The lazy and their punishment were lost in the 17th century.

The frescoes on the enormous vaulted ceiling comprise the largest and oldest ensemble of Italian Renaissance painting in France.

The origin of the classic organ whose actual case remains, is attributed to Christophe Moucherel (1736). This gigantic organ (width : 16.2 m) has been restored by Francois & Jean-Francois Lepine (1747), Joseph Isnard (1779), Antoine Peyroulous (1824).

It was then transformed into a romantic organ by Claude brothers (1840), Thibault Maucourt (1865), Puget Co. (1904).

After the study of the Historic Organ Committee in 1960s, they confirmed a restauration to a classic instrument by Schwenkedel in 1971 and by Bartholomeo Formentelli in 1977 who restored it in 1981.
(Description from Wikipedia and mypipeorganhobby.blogspot).

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Alcatraz Hospital Stairs

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Alcatraz prison in Alcatraz Island. This stairway leads up to the prison hospital, which was the place where several prisoners died over the years.
Al Capone was admitted into the prison hospital and released a few days later with a minor wound. Capone eventually became symptomatic from syphilis, a disease he had evidently been carrying for years.

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One World Trade Center

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© RicardMN Photography

One World Trade Center (also known as 1 World Trade Center, One WTC and 1 WTC; the current building was dubbed the “Freedom Tower” during initial basework) refers to the main building of the new World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City. It is the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, and the fourth-tallest in the world. The 104-story supertall structure shares a numeric name with the northern Twin Tower of the original World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The new skyscraper stands on the northwest corner of the 16-acre (6.5 ha) World Trade Center site, on the site of the original 6 World Trade Center. The building is bordered by West Street to the west, Vesey Street to the north, Fulton Street to the south, and Washington Street to the east.

Construction of below-ground utility relocations, footings, and foundations for the new building began on April 27, 2006. On March 30, 2009, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey confirmed that the building would be officially known by its legal name of “One World Trade Center”, rather than its colloquial name of “Freedom Tower”. The building is 104 standard floors high, but the tower has only 94 actual stories.

One World Trade Center became the tallest structure in New York City on April 30, 2012, when it surpassed the height of the Empire State Building. The tower’s steel structure was topped out on August 30, 2012. On May 10, 2013, the final component of the skyscraper’s spire was installed, making the building, including its spire, reach a total height of 1,776 feet (541 m). Its height in feet is a deliberate reference to the year when the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. The building opened on November 3, 2014. The new World Trade Center complex will initially include three other high-rise office buildings, which will be built along Greenwich Street, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, located just south of One World Trade Center, where the original Twin Towers stood. The construction of the new building is part of an effort to memorialize and rebuild following the destruction of the original World Trade Center complex.

The top floor of One World Trade Center is 1,368 feet (417 m) above ground level, along with a 33 ft 4 in (10.16 m) parapet; this is identical to the roof height of the original One World Trade Center. The tower’s antenna/spire brings it to a pinnacle height of 1,776 feet (541 m), a figure intended to symbolize the year 1776, when the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. If the antenna is included in the building’s height, as stated by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), One World Trade Center surpasses the height of Taipei 101 (1,671-foot (509 m)), is the world’s tallest all-office building, and the fourth-tallest skyscraper in the world, behind the Burj Khalifa, Abraj Al Bait, and Shanghai Tower.

One World Trade Center is the second-tallest freestanding structure in the Western Hemisphere, as the CN Tower in Toronto exceeds 1 WTC’s pinnacle height by approximately 12 m (39.4 ft). The Chicago Spire, with a planned height of 2,000 feet (610 m), was expected to exceed the height of One World Trade Center, but its construction was canceled due to financial difficulties in 2009. (Description from Wikipedia)

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Golden Gate Bridge Looking South

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate strait, the mile-wide, three-mile-long channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The structure links the U.S. city of San Francisco, on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, to Marin County, bridging both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1 across the strait. The bridge is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco, California, and the United States. It has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The Frommers travel guide considers the Golden Gate Bridge “possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world”. It opened in 1937 and was, until 1964, the longest suspension bridge main span in the world, at 4,200 feet (1,300 m).

Before the bridge was built, the only practical short route between San Francisco and what is now Marin County was by boat across a section of San Francisco Bay. Ferry service began as early as 1820, with regularly scheduled service beginning in the 1840s for purposes of transporting water to San Francisco.

The weight of the roadway is hung from two cables that pass through the two main towers and are fixed in concrete at each end. Each cable is made of 27,572 strands of wire. There are 80,000 miles (130,000 km) of wire in the main cables. The bridge has approximately 1,200,000 total rivets.

As a prominent American landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge has been used in numerous media which includes books, films and video games.

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Cliffs Of Moher From The Sea

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The Cliffs of Moher. Looking from the sea.
Love the green reflect on the blue water.

The Cliffs of Moher (Irish: Aillte an Mhothair) are located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland. They rise 120 metres (390 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag’s Head, and reach their maximum height of 214 metres (702 ft) just north of O’Brien’s Tower, eight kilometres to the north. The tower is a round stone tower near the midpoint of the cliffs built in 1835 by Sir Cornelius O’Brien. From the cliffs and from atop the tower, visitors can see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, the Maumturks and Twelve Pins mountain ranges to the north in County Galway, and Loop Head to the south.

The cliffs take their name from an old fort called Moher that once stood on Hag’s Head, the southernmost point of the cliffs. The writer Thomas Johnson Westropp referred to it in 1905 as Moher Ui Ruis or Moher Ui Ruidhin. The fort still stood in 1780 and is mentioned in an account from John Lloyd’s a Short Tour Of Clare (1780). It was demolished in 1808 to provide material for a new telegraph tower. The present tower near the site of the old Moher Ui Ruidhin was built as a lookout tower during the Napoleonic wars.

The Cliffs of Moher have appeared in numerous media. In cinema, the cliffs have appeared in several films, including The Princess Bride (1987) (as the filming location for “The Cliffs of Insanity”), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), and Leap Year (2010). The cliffs are mentioned in the Martin Scorsese film Bringing Out the Dead (1999), and are noted in the 2008 documentary Waveriders as the location of a large surfing wave known as “Aileens”.

In music, the cliffs have appeared in music videos, including Maroon 5’s “Runaway” video, Westlife’s “My Love”, and Rich Mullins’ “The Color Green”. Most of singer Dusty Springfield’s ashes were scattered at the cliffs by her brother, Tom.

In television, the cliffs appear in the episodes of Father Ted called “Tentacles of Doom” and “Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading” (1996).

In literature, the cliffs are an important location in Eoin Colfer’s The Wish List, as one of Lowrie’s wishes is spitting off the Cliffs of Moher.

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Cliffs Of Moher

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The Cliffs of Moher. Looking north towards O’Brien’s Tower

The Cliffs of Moher (Irish: Aillte an Mhothair) are located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland. They rise 120 metres (390 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag’s Head, and reach their maximum height of 214 metres (702 ft) just north of O’Brien’s Tower, eight kilometres to the north. The tower is a round stone tower near the midpoint of the cliffs built in 1835 by Sir Cornelius O’Brien. From the cliffs and from atop the tower, visitors can see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, the Maumturks and Twelve Pins mountain ranges to the north in County Galway, and Loop Head to the south.

The cliffs take their name from an old fort called Moher that once stood on Hag’s Head, the southernmost point of the cliffs. The writer Thomas Johnson Westropp referred to it in 1905 as Moher Ui Ruis or Moher Ui Ruidhin. The fort still stood in 1780 and is mentioned in an account from John Lloyd’s a Short Tour Of Clare (1780). It was demolished in 1808 to provide material for a new telegraph tower. The present tower near the site of the old Moher Ui Ruidhin was built as a lookout tower during the Napoleonic wars.

The Cliffs of Moher have appeared in numerous media. In cinema, the cliffs have appeared in several films, including The Princess Bride (1987) (as the filming location for “The Cliffs of Insanity”), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), and Leap Year (2010). The cliffs are mentioned in the Martin Scorsese film Bringing Out the Dead (1999), and are noted in the 2008 documentary Waveriders as the location of a large surfing wave known as “Aileens”.

In music, the cliffs have appeared in music videos, including Maroon 5’s “Runaway” video, Westlife’s “My Love”, and Rich Mullins’ “The Color Green”. Most of singer Dusty Springfield’s ashes were scattered at the cliffs by her brother, Tom.

In television, the cliffs appear in the episodes of Father Ted called “Tentacles of Doom” and “Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading” (1996).

In literature, the cliffs are an important location in Eoin Colfer’s The Wish List, as one of Lowrie’s wishes is spitting off the Cliffs of Moher.

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