documentary

Travels in Sicily, Italy

Last month after attending a conference in Sweden, we flew south to Sicily to celebrate 30 years of marriage. Sicily feels like you are stepping back in time, yet there certainly is modernization all about. Especially wind and solar farms. While there we visited four UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Valley of the Temples near Agrigento, the Greek Theatre and Roman Ampitheatre in the Latomie area of Syracuse, the Roman Villa del Casale (famous tile mosaics) near Piazza Armerina, and Mount Etna (great winery and vineyard at Gambino‘s). We also visited Taormina just a few days before the G7 global conference. As a retired military member, we tapped some of our benefits and stayed in very nice lodging at NATO Village, which is part of Sigonella Naval Air Station. Below are a few samples of some of the historical places visited. More images to come on the food and flora of the area!

Multi-Media Promo Film of Archaeology Field School

My last post showed some still photograph outtakes from my time camping with the Idaho State University archeology students at their field school over in west-central Idaho. Here’s a short movie “trailer” I made, mostly for fun, using a combination of still photographs, panoramic composites, digital video and audio, i.e., multi-media. If you wonder about the film production company in the opening credits, Ancient Light Studio Productions, LLC, that’s my limit-liability company I registered about 15 years ago….it’s legit. Enjoy!

Archaeology and Photography

This past week I was able to spend several days at the Idaho State University Anthropology Department’s archeology field school over in west-central Idaho. Archeology site director, Dr. Andy Speer and his students were very accommodating in letting me poke around shooting stills and videos, along with capturing sound bites. Hopefully a nice documentary will come out of all this and will help future summer archeology field schools.

The field school/archeology dig site was in the Sweet Ola Valley on a private 1700 acre ranch located in the Boise National Forest. What an incredible view! The area is rich in history and more documentaries are there if I just had the time to keep digging!

The first night there, I couldn’t work on my astro-landscape work due to thunderstorms that kept rolling up the valley. Night two was crystal clear but I was too exhausted to stay up! The following night started off favorable, but then clouds kept scudding right though my field of view, but I at least captured one interesting image.

Here’s a few still photos from the documentary project. Enjoy!

Journey to Ancient Cyprus

Recently I had the opportunity to speak at the 3rd International Conference of Photography and Theory, which was held in the ancient city of Nicosia (Lefkosia according to the Greeks), Cyprus. Here’s a gallery of some of my favorite shots from the trip, including a very post-modern Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. Enjoy!

© 2014 Terry Ownby, All Rights Reserved.

Cowboys, Stars, and Prairie Ghosts

Last week was our spring break, so a much needed road trip to the Tallgrass Prairie in Kansas was taken. Wilson, my colleague and shooting partner, joined me for a few days in the Flint Hills, where we made Cottonwood Falls our base of operation. Specifically, we stayed at an eclectic little stone motel called the Millstream Resort Motel, overlooking the Cottonwood River.

Our timing for the trip was great, as we had clear skies and no snow storms until after we returned! I had recently read Jim Hoy’s (director of the Center for Great Plains Studies) book, Flint Hills Cowboys: Tales from the Tallgrass Prairie, so many of the small towns he mentioned became our venues for imaging making. Plus, after talking with a local gravedigger, we found other exciting places to visit, such as living ghost towns, abandoned farmsteads, octogenarian speedsters, and an idle gristmill from the 19th century.

In keeping with Hunter Neal’s classic rendition of the Kansas Food Pyramid (see drawing diagram below), I had to continue my quest of sampling biscuits and gravy at the local cafes. We also were introduced to a new culinary delight known as bierocks, at Dave’s Place on the edge of Strong City.

We managed to photograph star trails two nights at the Chase County State Lake, which is just south of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Clear, crisp nights with a half-moon made for some interesting shots. Wilson did manage to have frost develop on his lens while the temps dropped and we enjoyed a variety of ales. Moose Drool Brown Ale by Big Sky Brewing and Single-Wide IPA by Boulevard proved to be favorites!

As I continue my creative research in the Flint Hills, this trip allowed me to pursue my multimedia interests with digital still photography. Here, I’m exploring the visual dimensions coupled with ambient or natural audio. New photographic toys under investigation were my new Lensbaby Composer Pro with Sweet 35 (35mm modern-day scioptic lens), Tascam DR-07MKII digital audio recorder, and a new lightweight carbon-fiber tripod by Induro (CT-214).

Here’s some images from the trip…enjoy!

Windmill near Chase County State Lake, Cottonwood, Kansas. © Terry Ownby.

Windmill near Chase County State Lake, Cottonwood, Kansas. © Terry Ownby.

Forgotten swings at the Lower Fox Creek Schoolhouse near Spring Hill Ranch in the Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve, sway in during strong prairie winds on our recent visit. © Terry Ownby.

Forgotten swings at the Lower Fox Creek Schoolhouse near Spring Hill Ranch in the Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve, sway in during strong prairie winds on our recent visit.To see animation, click on image. © Terry Ownby.

Breakfast at Emma Chase Cafe in Cottonwood Falls, KS. © Terry Ownby

Breakfast at Emma Chase Cafe in Cottonwood Falls, KS. © Terry Ownby

The only church in Bazaar, Kansas, heart of cattle grazing country in the Flint Hills. © Terry Ownby

The only church in Bazaar, Kansas, heart of cattle grazing country in the Flint Hills. © Terry Ownby

Star trails at the Chase County Fishing Lake, just west from Cottonwood Fall, Kansas. © Terry Ownby

Star trails at the Chase County Fishing Lake, just west from Cottonwood Fall, Kansas. © Terry Ownby

Doctor William B. Jones build this farmstead in 1878. © Terry Ownby

Doctor William B. Jones build this farmstead in 1878. © Terry Ownby

Sycamore trees along Cedar Creek, near Cedar Point, Kansas. © Terry Ownby

Sycamore trees along Cedar Creek, near Cedar Point, Kansas. © Terry Ownby

Strong City Rodeo champions from the past. Blonde-haired Marge Roberts was a trick rider at the rodeo known for her standing upright "Dive" on a speeding horse, during the 1950s. © Terry Ownby

Strong City Rodeo champions from the past. Blonde-haired Marge Roberts was a trick rider at the rodeo known for her standing upright “Dive” on a speeding horse, during the 1950s. © Terry Ownby

Abandoned grist mill along side the Cottonwood River in a living ghost town called Cedar Point, Kansas. © Terry Ownby

Abandoned grist mill along side the Cottonwood River in a living ghost town called Cedar Point, Kansas. © Terry Ownby

Hunter Neal's version of the food pyramid, after his photo expedition to the Kansas prairie. © Hunter Neal

Hunter Neal’s version of the food pyramid, after his photo expedition to the Kansas prairie. © Hunter Neal

New Topographics in West Kansas

For some time I’ve noted what appeared to be very banal photos of landscapes, especially the urban or suburban. What I had been viewing was a genre as “New Topographics”, which has its roots in the 1975 landscape exhibit curated by William Jenkins at the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House. Specifically, that show was titled “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape“. It featured work by artists such as Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Frank Gohlke, and Stephen Shore.

When I attended the 2008 annual conference for the SPE, I was re-introduced to Robert Adams’ seemingly straightforward B&W work during one of the many lectures. Afterwards, on reviewing my personal archive, I realized over many years I too had been shooting in a similar vein. Thus, during my recent sojourn to west Kansas, I paid homage to this genre once again and created the short “topographic” study illustrated below.

Gas Station #1, Oakley, Kansas. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Gas Station #2, Oakley, Kansas. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Quonset Hut, Russell Springs, Kansas. © 2012 Terry Ownby,

Municipal Shed, Russell Springs, Kansas. © 2012 Terry Ownby,

Independence in Black and White

Earlier this summer I went on a photo shooting trip to Independence, Missouri with Dr. Tom Mitchell’s editorial photo class. Every time I visit the town square, I feel as though I’m in time warp back to the 1950s. And, it always feels like Black and White! Here’s a few B&Ws from that outing that visually express the nostalgia I feel for that locale.

© 2012 Terry Ownby

© 2012 Terry Ownby

© 2012 Terry Ownby

© 2012 Terry Ownby

Additional views of Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque

Situated in the beautiful Sultanahmet Square (Sultanahmet Meydani) about 300 meters apart the Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque face each other. Both structures are historical-cultural gems within Istanbul. The Blue Mosque dates back to the 17th century, while the Haghia Sophia has its first construction date during the 5th century. Adjacent to these architectural  wonders is the remnants of the Hippodrome, which was once a huge stadium in the heart of the Constantinople. This was originally built during the 3rd century and after Emperor Constantine enlarged it, the stadium was reported to hold up 100,000 spectators.

Here are a few more photos depicting various views of the Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

Interior view of the nave looking up towards central dome. Included are mosaics of seraphims and Islamic calligraphic roundels. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Looking up at the central dome of the Haghia Sophia (Church of Divine Wisdom). In addition to beautiful tile-work, frescoes of the “seraphim” angels can be seen along with gold Islamic calligraphy in dome center after conversion by Ottomans during 15th century. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Mosaic of the Virgin and Child with gold gilting in dome above the mihrab ( a niche that faces Mecca). © 2012 Terry Ownby.

This is a detailed view of the dome above the mihrab, which has the image of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child. This is either a fresco or a mosaic (it appears to be made of small tiles, suggesting a mosaic). © 2012 Terry Ownby.

This view was taken from the first upper level and shows intricate tile-work in the domes, along with a mosaic of an angel in the distance. © 2012 Terry Ownby

Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahment Camii) with Turkish pennants in Istanbul, Turkey. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Blue Mosque courtyard with visitors qued for tour, Istanbul, Turkey. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Interior view of Blue Mosque showing Iznik Turkish tilework, Istanbul, Turkey. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Blue Mosque interior view with chandelier and Iznik blue tiles. Istanbul, Turkey. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Istanbul, Turkey

Recently I had the opportunity to present a paper on my photographic research at an international academic conference in Istanbul, Turkey. With limited amounts of free time during my short stay in this exotic and historic city, I made sure to avail myself of photographic opportunities at this ancient seaport. Formerly known as Constantinople, modern Istanbul still remains a mix of contemporary and ancient cultures. Once a major intersection of the world’s three major religious faiths (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity), Istanbul today is home to about 14 million inhabitants that mostly practice Islam. Istanbul is a cacophony of honking car horns, strange tongues, and roasting chestnuts at every street corner.

Frontal view of the Blue Mosque (also known as the Sultan Ahmet Camii), located in the Sultanahmet Square, opposite from the Haghia Sophia. This mosque was built between 1609 to 1616 CE. © 2012 Terry Ownby

Frontal view of the Haghia Sophia, also known as the Church of St. Sophia. Presently called the Kariye Museum (Kariye is the Turkish version of the Greek word “khora”, which meant “rural area” or “country”. Located in the Sultanahmet Square, adjacent to the old city market area of istanbul, Turkey. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Olives, cheese, and sausage being sold at a small shop in the famous Spice Bazaar near the sea port of Eminonu, Istanbul, Turkey. This is located next to the New Mosque. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Dried fruit and nuts being sold at a small shop in one of the back alley’s of the Spice Bazaar. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Typical street vendor in Istanbul selling roasted chestnuts (kestane). At other times, his cart is used to sell the popular snack of steamed or roasted corn-on-the-cob (misir). In background is another vendor selling the ubiqutous simit (bagel) coated in roasted sesame seeds. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

At the crowed seaport of Eminonu, passenger ferry boats arrive to disembark their human cargo, only to repeat the process across the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Straights. On the distant hillside are the rooftops of the Topkapi Palace. Light rail trains can be seen in the background. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Panoramic view of the lower half of the famous Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) in the Old City section of Istanbul, Turkey. The reference to “blue” comes from the use of the blue Iznik tilework throughout the mosque’s interior. This mosque, or camii, was built between 1609 and 1616 by Sultan Ahmet I. © 2012 Terry Ownby.