Tag Archives: Architecture

The best posts about architecture and architecture photography will be included in this section.

Endangered Animals Light Up NYC

Cecil the lion and other endangered animals are projected on to Empire State Building in an impressive light display

Images of endangered animals were crawling and swimming across the facade of New York’s Empire State Building, as part of the first light show of its kind in ESB history. It was such an awesome display!   It was also a timely reminder of the impact and devastation caused by incidents like the hunting of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe.

I captured photos and put them all into a few animated gif images below:

Empire State Building - endangered animals - 2
Endangered species grace the south side of the Empire State Building
Empire State Tribute To Endangered Animals

How: It was all done with 40 light cannons projecting images of endangered animals upon the Empire State Building. Design firm Obscura Digital put it together, with a cost of around $1 million, according to the NY Times.

Endangered Animals Empire State Building projection
The eyes of the world were on the Empire State Building

Who put it together?  It was organized by the Oceanic Preservation Society and the filmmakers of the new Discovery Channel documentary, Racing Extinction, (#RacingExtinction), an upcoming documentary about humans’ impact on threatened species. Racing Extinction is set to air in December 2015.  Director Louie Psihoyos was also the director of The Cove.

Bayon Temples Cambodia -216 smiling faces

Bayon temples – 216 gigantic faces

Welcome to the Bayon temples, built end of the 12th Century. The Bayon temples feature 216 faces, a nearly surreal masterpiece unlike any I’d ever seen. Bayon stands at the centre of Jayavarman’s capital, Angkor Thom, in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Bayon temples, along with Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm, are easily the best 1-2 day trip you can take in southeast Asia. Here’s a 29 photo tour:

Reflections of Bayon in Angkor Thom
Reflections of Bayon in Angkor Thom. Brilliant photo by Mike Behnken
Bayon temples in the Angkor Thom area of Siem Reap, Cambodia near Angkor Wat
it’s 90-degrees fahrenheit, but I kept reading about killer mosquitos. They said it’s crucial to get vaccinated, and cover yourself from head to toe.

Who are the faces of?  They Bayon faces are said represent Lokeshvara, a Buddhist deity that projected benevolence outward to the four directions, or even the king himself. Here’s the explanation:

Initially the faces were believed to represent Brahma, the Hindu God of creation depicted with four heads. When it was later established that the Bayon was not a Hindu temple but a Buddhist one, archeologists believed the faces to be of Lokeshvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion. The similarity of statues of Jayavarman VII and the face towers had led some to believe that it is the King himself whose face is depicted on the towers.

Amazing Angkor Wat in Photos

35 photo tour of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temples

Angkor Wat is one of the most impressive sites in the world, and was immediately a highlight of my southeast Asia trip. The temples are breathtaking!  While you need to visit them in Cambodia to appreciate it, below is a photo tour of the experience.

Angkor Wat at sunrise
Angkor Wat at sunrise. This brilliant photo is from one of my favorite travel photographers, Trey Ratcliff at Stuck in Customs

Angkor Wat is located in Siem Reap, in Cambodia. Along with Angkor Thom, Bayon, and Ta Prohm, Angkor might be the best two-day trip you can take in all of Asia.

Angkor Wat, in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Wat was built by the vanished Khmer empire. It was constructed during the reign of King Suryavarman II, who ruled from 1113 to at least 1145.

the walls of Angkor Wat are filled with details carvings, each depicting the rich history
the walls of Angkor Wat are filled with details carvings, each depicting the rich history
Angkor Wat in Cambodia
photo by JonJon Pascua
Buddhist monk explores Angkor Wat
Buddhist monk explores Angkor Wat
The Library at Angkor Wat.
The Library at Angkor Wat. Photo from one of my favorite travel photographers, Trey Ratcliff
There are more than 1,860 carved Apsara dancers in Angkor Wat.
There are more than 1,860 carved Apsara dancers in Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat entrance - Angkor Wat at Visit50.com
“Angkor Wat” translates to “The city that is a temple.”
The Battle of Kurukshetra is the subject of this bas-relief at Angkor Wat.
The Battle of Kurukshetra is the subject of this bas-relief at Angkor Wat.
Count the arms...VERY powerful!
Count the arms…VERY powerful!

Scholars say the temples of Angkor Wat were built for funerary purposes, since its bas-reliefs are meant to be viewed anti-clockwise, a direction that was associated with death in the Khmer empire. This is Angkor’s only temple with tombs, despite the “Tomb Raider” movie being shot at nearby Ta Prohm, where there’s no tombs.

Impressive Petra!

Petra, one of the 7 Wonders of the World

Petra in Jordan is impressive – established sometime in the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans – they carved the entire city out of the rock. They didn’t build columns – they kept carving the rock until they had columns. Given the back-story, it’s some of the most impressive architecture I’ve seen.  I highly recommend visiting Petra.

The Monastery at Petra, The Monastery of Petra, (aka Ad-Dayr or Ad-Deir in Arabic), in Jordan
The Monastery of Petra, (aka Ad-Dayr or Ad-Deir in Arabic)

Petra was named one of the new seven wonders of the world in 2007; it was  declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985.

The Monastery is massive - Petra, Jordan
The Monastery is massive! Petra, Jordan
at the Siq, the narrow passageway to Al Khazneh ("The Treasury") at the ruins in Jordan
at the Siq, the narrow passageway to Al Khazneh (“The Treasury”)

You may recognize this spot (above photo) in Petra from the film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The movie’s fictional “Canyon of the Crescent Moon” was modeled on this 250-foot-high (76-meter-high) sandstone slot canyon known as the Siq, which that leads directly to Al Khazneh (the Treasury). Siq pictured above.

in front of Al Khazneh ("The Treasury") in Petra, Jordan
in front of Al Khazneh (“The Treasury”) in Jordan

Established possibly as early as 312 BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, the site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812. UNESCO has described it as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage”.

Hong Kong architecture photography

Incredible Hong Kong photography that makes the Hong Kong architecture look surreal

Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captured Hong Kong’s architecture  in his Vertical Horizon photography project. He’s made it into an 80-page book of photos from his 2012. The 26-year-old French photographer captures the city’s skyscrapers from vertical angles – all looking up. So cool!

Hong Kong photography by Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze

Quarry bay - Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captures Hong Kong’s soaring heights in his new book, Vertical Horizon. It's a Hong Kong photography project featuring Hong Kong architecture
Quarry Bay

These vertical angles were captured through a wide-angle Sigma lens with a 10 mm focal length. Unlike a fisheye lenses, he says a sigma lens avoids distorting the urban landscape’s straight lines.

This photo reminds me of the Guggenheim museum in NYC, but it's actually in Hong Kong. The photo is part of the Vertical Horizon photography project, a Hong Kong photography collection featuring Hong Kong architecture
This photo reminds me of the Guggenheim museum in NYC, but it’s actually Tai Hang.
Hong Kong photography - Vertical Horizon of Hong Kong architecture
love the brilliant colors

Hong Kong photography - Vertical Horizon of Hong Kong architecture Hong Kong photography - Vertical Horizon of Hong Kong architecture

French photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze shot these in 2011 and 2012 for this Hong Kong photography project
French photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze shot these in 2011 and 2012
Wan Chai, an area known for nightlife. It's part of a Hong Kong photography collection featuring Hong Kong architecture facing up
Wan Chai
Hong Kong photography of Tsim Sha Tsui, an urban area in south Kowloon
Tsim Sha Tsui, an urban area in south Kowloon

Check out the full 80-page book of photos at the link below –
Vertical Horizon (English and Chinese Edition)

Book - Vertical Horizon photography project, featuring Hong Kong architecture facing up

The Vertical Horizon project is a similar style to the awesome architectural photography of Peter Stewart.

To see more posts on Hong Kong, including some of the best Hong Kong architecture.

 

Brunei architecture – stunning!

Brunei architecture

Introducing the tiny Islamic sultanate of Brunei, located in Borneo, between Sabah and Sarawak (Malaysia), and is one of the smallest countries in the world. Brunei architecture was stunning!

My trip through Brunei began in the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB), where there’s impressive mosques. We also strolled through Kampung Ayer, a entire village on stilts.

Below are some views of their illuminated golden-domed Omar Ali Saifudien Mosque and Jame Asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque (29 golden domes!)

Brunei's Jame Asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque (29 golden domes!)
Brunei’s Jame Asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque

Above is my photo of the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, with its gleaming gold dome.

Brunei is about the size of Delaware, with a population of 415,000, and the government provides free education, health care, pensions and low-interest loans for the purchase of homes and cars. The Brunei sultanate become the richest man in the world in 1984, at $40 Billion, and reportedly now has $20 Billion.

Oil is the source of all wealth, and when Shell began pumping in the 1970s, it soon became known as “the Shellfare state.”

Brunei has such amazing architecture! View from inside the Brunei mosque
Amazing architecture! View from inside the mosque

Brunei - inside the mosque - Visit50.com

New Year’s Eve: Sydney, Hong Kong, Taiwan

The New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration in Sydney (see below video) might just as impressive than my last two years of New Year’s.  Last year I kicked off my 5-month trip in Hong Kong for New Year’s Eve, and the year before I was in Taiwan. Both of their fireworks celebrations were impressive!  After being out of the country the past two years on New Year’s Eve, I’ll be back in New York City! Videos for all 3 are below

That might even be more impressive than my past two years – check out the videos, with fireworks coming from the sides of a building, I was just across the harbor – aka Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade. The Hong Kong skyline is one of the world’s best. I highlighted some of the Hong Kong architecture here. Happy New Year!

(click the bottom right corner to expand to full screen)

2009-2010 at “Tapei 101” – the largest building in Taiwan. At the time it was the largest in the world, but that lasted less than a month. Check it:

Hong Kong - International Commerce Center on New Year's Eve 2010-2011

NYE at the International Commerce Center in Hong Kong. Such a cool fireworks display!