Beautiful, Interesting and Ooo Shiny! Images From Various Places

Posts tagged “buildings

Escape From the Camp


Location: Poland
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350 D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 100 • f 4 • 1/100 sec

I’m going all serious on you again.

Earlier this week, I watched part of a documentary on how a North Korean man escaped from the concentration camp he had grown up in. He had watched his own mother and brother executed there for trying to escape, but eventually the desire to be free got to him as well. He and another man worked together to get out, and the other man was killed in the process. This type of stuff is still happening in North Korea.

I can assume that North Korea’s camps are very similar to Auschwitz, the Nazi camp we visited in Poland. Security there was extremely tight. In my photo, you can see a sign reading “Stop!” on a standard electric fence. Behind that, there is another barbed-wire fence with the top curved inward. It was also electrified. A third fence, the same design as the second, is next. Finally, there is a brick wall. Just by looking at it, I would guess it around eight feet high. If you look down the fence to the end, there is a small building with four windows. That is one of guard shacks, which were spaced along the perimeter of the camp. Guards would wait there for potential escapees, and try to shoot them before they reached the fence. In fact, our guide told us, prisoners would sometimes use the fence as a form of suicide, since the electricity was such a high voltage it would kill them. The guards tried to shoot the prisoners first, however, since they “did not like to clean up the mess” of someone being electrified.

Looking at all this, I did wonder how some people managed to successfully escape, as it seemed nearly impossible. According to our guide, some 802 attempted, but only 144 made it out alive (not counting all those liberated at the end of the war). I heard some found favor with dissenters who worked in the “hospital” and were snuck out. Some also escaped during work outings, but at high cost: for each successful escapee, ten others from their work team would be shot as a deterrent. Others were freed by SS guards who changed their minds about the Nazi agenda. As we walked around, I kept wondering to myself: If I was put in their place, what would I do? Would I try to escape or stay to protect those around me? If I did make an attempt, what would I try to do?

Put yourself in the prisoner’s shoes for a moment. How do you think you would handle this situation? Remember to pray for those still in camps today.

Welcome to Poland!

Location: Poland
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens EF 70-200mm f/2.8L
ISO 200  f 2.8  1/1600 sec
(Note: This panoramic was created by digitally stitching 9 photos together)

Hey folks! I’m back from my last great adventure with more tales of shock & awe and of course, more photos! My travels took me to Poland to do a series of concerts in several cities, so we got to see a lot of the country. This week’s photo was taken in Warsaw, the capital city.

The Republic of Poland is the sixth largest country in Europe (about the size of New Mexico in the US), and has a population of about 38 million. It is a country rich in history, but the Polish people themselves are more known for their practical jokes (and yes, we had a few played on us!). It is a highly-educated place, with 90% of residents having at least completed a secondary education, and 17 have won Nobel Prizes. Yet, Poland has the highest unemployment level in the EU (12.6% in 2006).

Most Poles are Catholic (around 90%), and I enjoyed getting to see cathedrals everywhere and statues of saints and Pope John Paul II (the only Polish pope). The culture also seemed very focused on the arts. I guess this is why our group could start singing in the town square and we would fit right in. 🙂 We enjoyed their food, mostly based around pork, chicken, and vegetables. They also had great roads compared to most countries I’ve been in outside the West. Now the drivers, that’s another story. 😉

Do you enjoy short country overviews like this? I can cover some of the other countries on this blog as well. Let me know in the comments!

Setting Up the Perfect Scene: Composition 1

Location: Indonesia
Camera info: Fuji Finepix A303 / Automatic Point & Shoot
ISO 100 • f 7 • 1/340 sec

For all the other aspiring photographers out there, here’s one you don’t want to miss! Previously, I talked about the use of aperture and timing. This week’s photo lesson covers a few points of composition, something you can practice with anything from a DSLR to a cell phone camera. There are lots of rules to composition, yet rules were made to be broken! My suggestion is to learn the rules and practice them until you know when you can break them. Since there are so many, I’ll give a few here and plan to add more in future posts.

The most well-known composition rule is the “Rule of Thirds.” Take any scene, and divide it up into three pieces, both horozontally and vertically. Now place your subject at any point where those lines meet (which normally seems just off-center). Here is an example (this can also be applied vertically). One time to break this rule: when your scene is symmetrical.

The second rule: framing. My photo above is the example for this one. Putting elements on the edges of the picture can help draw the viewer’s eye to your subject of the photo. In this case, I took this photo of a dock in Indonesia from inside the outhouse next door (and yes, it’s kinda freaky that the holes in the boards were that big!). Trees also make good frames.

So start practicing with these two rules and there will be more to come!

What is your favorite photo? Share a link and we can discuss how it was composed.

Dirt, Band-Aids, Paint & Prayer

Location: Mexico
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 200 • f 5.6 • 1/320 sec

The cliche says “A picture is worth 1000 words,” but sometimes a few extra are helpful. 🙂 This was one of my favorite pictures from the Mexico building trip, because I think it summed everything up perfectly. (If you missed the earlier story, I wrote about it here and here.) In the picture are four things that remind me of the trip: dirt, band-aids, paint, and prayer.

The dirt is probably self-explanatory. We were in Mexico, and it was everywhere!!! When the team first arrived, some had a difficult time adjusting to the mess after leaving the comfort of America. All that was forgotten, however, when we caught one of the local kids trying to drink out of one of the construction wash barrels because that was the cleanest water they had. Ick. A large tank of clean water was quickly added to the project.

My friend had a very good reason why her fingers were covered in band-aids. She had been working on stucco all day. The mixture we used included sand, cement, water, and lime. The last ingredient is hard on skin, so we usually wore cloves to work with it. However, my friend noticed there were gaps in the stucco near the roof, where the angle was too small for gloves to fit. After several failed attempts with a trowel, she gave up and took off the gloves to fix it with her fingertips. We didn’t want gaps that would let in breezes in the winter. The mixture chewed up her fingers quite a bit after several hours of work, but she was happy that the kids would stay warm and dry.

Paint was the finishing touch on the houses, along with a numbered plaque. It was our pay of personalizing each building and making it look more cozy. The inside walls were unfinished, but outside, we went crazy! My team’s building had blue window and door frames. The large building used wood and chicken wire under the stucco to create an embossed cross on the outside wall.

Finally, but most importantly, we prayed for the kids, the families, and the other work teams. It was the faith of the host family that led them to care for all the homeless children, and it was faith that led the three work teams to help build the orphanage. God brought us all together at one time to make a miracle for those kids, and we needed to take time and thank Him.

Do you have a picture that tells a story you love to share? Let us know… and don’t forget to include a link!

Crazy & Crooked Buildings!

Location: London
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens EF 70-200mm f/2.8L
ISO 200 • f 2.8 • 1/2500 sec

It’s a double photo week! While I was touring London, I was amazed at the interesting architecture, including the Gherkin (above) and the City Hall (below). The Gherkin, officially known as 30 St Mary Axe is an office building constructed out of 34,000 m² (approx. 366,000 ft²) of glass panes arranged to look somewhat like a Fabergé egg. City Hall, which houses the Greater London Authority (Mayor & the Assembly), is build like a lopsided dome and includes an open-air amphitheater in the back.

Location: London
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens EF 70-200mm f/2.8L
ISO 200 • f 2.8 • 1/2000 sec

So that got me thinking, what other cool weirdshaped buildings are there in the world? Here’s just a sampling of what I found. Follow the links to see more pictures & articles:

Ok, there’s a sampling of some cool things to see on your next trip to… wherever. But what have you already seen?

What is the strangest piece of real estate you’ve come across?