Burchard’s Shadow

“I have come to believe that there are infinite passageways out of the shadows, infinite vehicles to transport us into the light.” – Martha Beck

Appropriate for photography as well as life.

Not to mention this fellow, Burchard of Worms.

Burchard of Worms

He is quite a character in the history of the Germanic states.  Certainly worthy of a statue.

ob der Tauber

Not a bad way to wake up.

Opening the window and looking out at this.

ob der Tauber

This is the view this morning from our hotel room in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, overlooking the Tauber river, which exits the frame at the lower right corner.

Accompanied by a very typical winter sky.


Even though, after 3.5 years living here in Europe, we have grown accustomed to the insides of the churches and cathedrals (they do have a tendency to blur together after a few dozen), every once in a while there’s one that stands out.

For us, it was the altar of the Mannheim Jesuit Church.

Cast roses to form the shape, flower petals leafed with gold.

A pattern repeated in the 2 meter tall candelabra’s left and right.

And the pulpit just off frame left.

Quite beautiful, yet not overly ornate, as we have found in many other churches.

Mannheim Jesuitkirche

Click on the image to take you to a larger version – 1,706 pixels on the long end.

Still smaller than the 8,531 pixels of the original.


If you are curious, that’s a stitch of seven images.  24mm handheld, ISO 800, 1/60 @ f8.

And to get an idea of distortion, that’s a normal-sized bouquet of flowers, wrapped in plastic, sitting on the marble steps at the bottom of the image.  Just inches in front of my toes.  And the Eye of Providence within the circle at the top?  That was probably about two feet behind me, over my head.  Since I was shooting floor to ceiling, by the time I got to that part of the image, I was shooting up and back behind me.  So if you are standing directly below it, it’s perfectly centered within the circle; here you can get an idea of the depth of that part of the structure due to the parallax.


The German word for “art”.

Well, you can be the judge.

But the title comes courtesy of three school-aged girls who were walking by as I framed and took this shot.

“Das Haus ist Kunst”!

“The house is art”!

Followed by giggles.

I think they were right.


For me, the most interesting detail is the shadow.

In our part of Germany, between November and early March, we’re very happy to see the sun.

Very happy.

As it can be grey for weeks on end.

But it’s not that.  Look at that angle.

This picture was taken at 11:21am.  Almost noon.  Facing west.

When the sun was just 19.6 degrees above the southern horizon.

In another month, at the Winter Solstice, it will bottom out at just 16.0 degrees above the horizon.

That makes for long shadows and beautiful light all day long.

As long as we can see the sun.


And if you’re wondering where I’m getting the exact details on the sun, browse over to The Photographer’s Ephemeris, a nice application for desktop and portable use.

Using it, I now know that had I stood in the exact same place for another 5 hours and 13 minutes, the sun would have set about 3 degrees to the right of the furthest right roof peak.

Handy info.

Stone Walkway

After yesterday’s nostalgic look at one of my happy places, I started digging around in the archives.

Here’s another.

Stone Walkway

Doesn’t look like much, does it?  A nice stone arch over a curved walkway.  Pretty straightforward architectural shot.

But similar to yesterday’s post, this was a revisit to a place that I had first visited almost fourteen years prior.  A scene that I shot on film and printed.

That print is framed and hanging on the wall directly behind me right now.

Although there are a lot of differences between the two, it’s the same walkway.  The original was oriented in portrait, it was shot from the opposite end of this view (so the sidewalk arches to the left) and there were very beautiful, large complementary brown, round glazed pots, evenly spaced between the columns.  It was quite a scene.

I was very disappointed to see that they had moved the pots elsewhere, since they added a unique curved element to the scene.  I did get photos of them in their “new” location, but it wasn’t the same.

Outside the technical aspects of the image, there’s more to it.

That first trip, we were lugging around a one-month old unhappy camper (it was hot and humid that day).  The trip that let me take the picture above, the boy was thirteen and standing next to me.  He’s now an adult with a family of his own.  Doing great things.

And the best part?  Even without the photos, I can quickly visualize the place and think all the same things.

But it is nice to see it.

Glass in Glasgow

Goddess and I just got back from a wonderful eight days in the United Kingdom.

A lot to catch up on here in the house, so I don’t have much time to update.  But I wanted to share the impetus for the trip.

A few months ago, Goddess was doing her internet perusing (dreaming), looking at travel destinations and/or concerts.  As you probably know, we’re big fans of traveling to new places.  And if we can sync up a concert with those travels, all the better.

So Goddess scored.

By finding a concert in a place we haven’t been.

Two nights in Glasgow, Scotland to see Philip Glass perform live.

The rest of the trip (to be covered later) was to be built around that.

Friday night was a double treat – Philip Glass performing with Kronos Quartet, another favorite of mine.  They performed Philip’s soundtrack to the Bela Lugosi‘s performance as Count Dracula.

Here’s a quick of Philip talking about the evolution of the project (along with a view of the performers and stage setup):

And it was Goddess’ first time ever seeing the movie, so that made it fun.

And just in case you haven’t seen it:

The second night was originally billed to be just Philip solo on piano, which is always incredible.  But just a couple of weeks ago, we found that the evening had been modified to include Tim Fain, an accomplished American violinist.

As it turned out, it was this exact same show, which was fine, because it’s so much better in person, especially with seats just 30 feet away.


That now makes three times that we’ve seen Philip Glass perform live.  I hope for many more, since I’ve been a huge fan of his for thirty years now.  The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall was quite nice, but I don’t think it was a match, both visually and acoustically, for the Schermerhorn in Nashville.

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Image ©Thomas Clay

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a better resolution image of the inside of the Glasgow hall.  It certainly wasn’t lacking for quality.  I just preferred the Schermerhorn.

And if you look on the left side of Glasgow hall, you can see the forward corner of the loge level, just next to the front row.  That’s the corner that Goddess and I sat in for the showing of Dracula.  So we had front row seats.  For the second night, we picked the opposite corner, but just a few seats to the left, so we were even with the second/third row.

And those tickets were an unbelievable £25 (about $38 US) each!  And neither performance was sold out, which was a shame.

All in all, the music and the experiences were amazing.