Turku Castle, Turku, FI 2013
A young boy peers through a medieval divided lite window in the facade of the over 700 year old “Turun linna” (Turku Castle) located in Turku, Finland. I can only imagine the thoughts racing through this young man’s mind as the ancient glass distorts and alters his view of the gently falling snow as it slowly covers the castle complex and frozen river beyond. The Turku Castle today is a museum and popular tourist destination in Finland but in days past, and for over seven decades, it has stood guard over the Aura River Estuary. Over its long history the castle has been a fortification, a storehouse, a prison, a barracks, an administrative center and a stately palace.
There is no doubt that these castle walls hold countless stories detailing the rich history of Finland, Sweden and other Nordic lands. But today, on a magical and snowy day in March, these walls of solid granite and iron serve as the ideal backdrop for a little boys imagination and a proper stage for great adventure!
Denali Natl. Park, AK 2012
The world lost a beautiful soul a week ago today. A devout and holy woman, Mary “Alma” Smith, passed during heart surgery, and those of us who were fortunate enough to have known her will forever miss this gentile woman of God.
I first met Alma at St. Williams Catholic Church in Troy, NY. She was sitting a row or two ahead of my family and me, near the front of church, rosary in hand quietly praying while waiting for Mass to begin. Beginning slowly at first, with a simple handshake at the exchange of a “sign of peace” during Mass, our friendship grew steadily with each passing Sunday. At first appearance Alma seemed to be a typical grey haired “senior citizen”. However, as we began to exchange greetings before, and small talk after, Mass and as our friendship grew I learned that she was anything but typical.
Alma was fond of New York’s Adirondack Mountain Region. She was an experienced hiker and although to my knowledge not an “official 46’er” she had reached the summits of many of the Adirondacks highest peaks. She was intimately familiar with “The Yorks” located in Downeast Maine, and told me stories of York Beach and “The Nubble” that I had not previously learned of in the fifty some years my family and I have spent vacationing in this little bit of heaven on the Atlantic coast. Alma was a kind and caring person and a woman of great faith who believed mightily in the power of prayer. Each time my bride and I were about to embark on a trip she would always send us off with a promise to pray for us and our safe return. Thanks be to God her prayers were always answered and we returned safely from each adventure with even more stories to share!
Alma had an adventurous spirit and loved to hear of our travels to Alaska, Sweden, Finland and China, or anywhere else we had been or were going to. She listened with great interest to our tales of travels to Stockholm, The Great Wall of China, to South East Alaska and the famed “Inner Passage” or to Denali National Park. She repeatedly asked me to bring photos of our latest trip to Alaska for her to see… Sadly, and despite my best intentions to do so, I never did bring those photos in for Alma to enjoy… Until today.
Alma, I hope you enjoy this image which I now dedicate to your memory. Peace to you… good and faithful servant of the Lord.
Sunrise at Long Sands, York Beach, ME 2014
Rising early has always been one of my favorite things to do. The quiet that exists at this time of day can be extraordinary and is oftentimes therapeutic. A time to reflect on our blessings and the “wonders”, big and small, that surround us each and every day. The quality of light that frequently exists at, or near, sunrise… the “golden hour” in photographers jargon, bathes our surroundings in the warm tones of orange, gold and ocher adding greatly to the contemplative mood. This image, captured on a quiet morning earlier this year, speaks to me on this day of Thanksgiving. It reminds me to appreciate and acknowledge all the wonders in my life, from the intricate beauty of a spiders web bathed in mornings golden light to my loving family, dear friends and the miracle of life itself. Surrounded by so much, I am humbled by, and give thanks for, all the blessings in my life!
Stockholm City Hall, 1923. Designed by R. Östberg
Light… Visible light to be exact, is defined by Wikipedia as “…electromagnetic radiation visible to the human eye and responsible for the sense of sight.” The primary source of all visible light we perceive is our Sun. Traveling through the vacuum of space at a speed of over 186,000 miles per second, on average nearly eight minutes and thirty seconds are required to make the trip from the Sun to the Earth.
To the scientist, the primary properties of visible light are such things as intensity, propagation direction, frequency or wavelength spectrum, and polarization. Light is one of the fundamental constants of nature.
To the photographer and artist, light is much more! As it interacts with the physical world it has the power to model form, define space, reveal texture, set mood and create infinite gradations of tone enlivening and revealing the surfaces that define our environment!
Pink “Garden Bike,” Tenekee Springs, AK 2013
As an avid cyclist, bicycle commuter and cyclotourist, riding is one of my favorite things to do! It really does not matter if I’m riding on my 30-plus year old, steel frame Panasonic LX Sport, now refitted w/ a triple crank and re-purposed as my “touring bike”, or my wife’s old Schwinn “Mesa Runner” which I converted into my “daily commuter” bike, or the 2012 carbon fiber Trek Madone 5.2 road bike (my “go fast” bike!), if I’m not out making images, or traveling, riding is probably where you will find me!
While traveling around the USA, to Scandinavia, Italy and Asia I began noticing bicycles inserted into the larger landscape. Oftentimes, leaning against a park bench, a tree or a fence, or chained to a sign post. Typically, a somewhat inconspicuous part of the overall environment, largely unnoticed by the casual passerby!
I started photographing these ordinary bicycles several years ago. At first, primarily because I’m into bikes but as time went by I began to recognize the sculptural quality, sophistication and elegance that these magnificent machines possess, and the richness, variety and sometimes just plain “fun” they can contribute to the visual environment.
The result of this ongoing effort has been an ever changing series of images (and now a line of note cards) featuring bicycles I have photographed at various locations around the globe. In addition to prominently displaying “ordinary bicycles in extraordinary places” I believe these images also promote the bicycle as an integral part of daily life and subtly speaks to the many health, environmental and social benefits of bicycling.
Click on the link at right to view a sampling of the images in this line of note cards on this site. Or to go directly to my online storefront where cards may be purchased follow this link: www.etsy.com/SCirauloPhotography
Some days… it just seems like the sun has gone away forever! Dreary overcast clouds hang heavy in the sky and the grass underfoot saturated from what seems like days of steady, almost incessant “drizzle”, soaks through my shoes as I walk to check on the garden. The wooded area behind our home is lush and green, and branches hang heavy with moisture! Cool, damp, perfectly still air surrounds and adds to the somber mood. Will the sun ever shine again? Then off in the corner, out of the way and largely hidden from view, a splash of color amidst the green catches the eye… rich and vibrant in the soft overcast light. Magnificent!
Somehow the clouds feel a little less dense, the grass a little drier and the spirit is just a little bit brighter. Perhaps the sun can wait a few more hours!
Secure On-line Storefront Now Open
SCiraulo Photography’s secure on-line storefront is open as of 03/19/14 for the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church 2014 First Holy Communion event. The “Parents Information Sheet” distributed by Sacred Heart’s Faith Formation staff contains the password required to access this secure site. If you have misplaced the information sheet, please contact the photographer and I’ll be happy to forward the password to you via email.
To access the secure storefront for the Sacred Heart 2014 First Communion event please have your password handy and click here.
In the words of Carol Luebering, author and editor with St. Anthony Messenger Press, the Sacrament of First Communion is “… a step into new intimacy. From Baptism a first communicant has been one with Jesus, filled with the risen Lord’s indestructible life as part of his very Body, the Church. Taking a place at His table marks a new stage in the relationship with Christ, a conscious willingness to let the Lord nourish and nurture what began at Baptism.” (You can read Carol’s entire reflection on the sacrament of the Eucharist and First Communion in her Catholic Update article entitled First Communion: Joining the Family Table.)
Parents wishing to arrange for a formal portrait sitting for their son or daughter before the First Communion Mass on May 18, 2014 should schedule a sitting time in advance by clicking here. A separate small group portrait session will also be offered, on a first come first served basis, for interested participant families immediately following Mass after completion of the in-church group photo.
I was fortunate to be “in-the-house” photographing the 2014 Arctic Winter Games Closing Ceremony. The Young Fangs Band, based in Fairbanks, AK took down the house and gave athletes from across the circumpolar region a proper send off from “The Golden Heart City.” To view more images of this, and other, Live Performances click here. You can also learn more about Young Fangs Band and their music on the web at www.youngfangs.com
Cultural participants from Greenland, Northwest Territories, Sapmi, Yamal, Nunavut, Alberta North, Yukon, Nunavik-Quebec and Alaska “brought down the house” at Hering Auditorium, in Lathrop High School () with a diverse and eclectic display of talent from across the circumpolar region. The artistry, choreography and musicianship was exceptional and was enjoyed by all.
To view images from this and other 2014 AWG events, either click on “Events” in the menu above or, to go directly to Cultural Gala images click here.