For a civilization so closely aligned with the Mediterranean, it is remarkable there are no temples in Athens dedicated to Poseidon, the god of the sea. However, on the rocky peninsula of Cape Sounion, which juts into the sea at the southeast tip of Attica, the Athenians built him a sanctuary – as well as two to the goddess Athena, patron ofÂ their city – that todayÂ stands as one of the most remarkably situated of all classical ruins. Built on the summit of the rock, which rises 200 feet out of the water, and surrounded by stout walls, the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion keeps watch over the great expanse of the Aegean. As you’d expect, it’s also a magical place to watch the sun set. Click the panoramic image, then click again for greater detail.
That curiosity atop Philopappos Hill turned out to be the marbleÂ mausoleumÂ of Philopappos, a prince of the ancient Hellenistic Kingdom of Commegane in upper Syria, whichÂ was later annexed by the Roman Empire, and senator under Emperor Trajan. Dating to 116 AD, the tomb, opposite the Acropolis and within the formal boundaries of the city, shows the high position Philopappos had within Athenian society. (Indeed, for the six centuries prior to its building, the area was known asÂ Mouseion Hill, or the Hill of the Muses.) Today, it makes for a relatively solitary uphill stroll to see the two-story monument and take in the unobstructed view of the Acropolis within the context of modern-day Athens. Or, if you’re a GreekÂ teenager, the ideal spot to roll a joint in relative seclusion. As always, click on the panoramic imageÂ then click it again for greater detail.
Happy birthday to me. I just got the new Lytro camera and I can’t wait to start experimenting.Â Itâ€™s the first consumer camera that records the entire light field â€” all theÂ rays of light traveling in every direction through a scene â€” instead of a flat 2D image. And that changes everything.Â By capturing the light field, you can do incredible things: like refocus pictures after you take them. Tap the touchscreen viewfinder on whatever part of the picture you want to bring into focus or, once the picture is imported into a computer, click to refocus. For example, check out the two versions of the same rudimentary photo below. Even on an overcast, light-lessÂ morning – and without bothering to read the instructions, natch – the premise behind the Lytro camera is clear: in the first photo the focus is on the foreground; in the second it shifts to the building in the rear. It’s the same digital file but theÂ amountÂ of light the camera absorbsÂ fromÂ the field of vision allows me to essentially re-conceptualize the image after I take it. This is going to be fun – especially after I read the manual.
Second only to my fondness for Mexican food is my west coast craving of the In-n-Out Burger. It’s without question one of the best quality burgers out there. The fact that it’s a fast food chain makes their uncompromising standards even more remarkable. Meat, onion, lettuce, tomato, pickle and bun combine to create an idealized work of art as artistically pureÂ as the french fries which are cut and cooked to order. Conceptually this led to me to have a little fun stripping away the nostalgia and experimenting with a bit of digital data-mashing. Corrupting the code of the image aboveÂ brought about a number of interesting surprises – kind of like discovering there’s a “secret” In-n-Out menu where the fries come Animal Style.
Just when you think there’sÂ nothingÂ left to do, no corner left unexplored, Incheon Airport travels back in time as the Korean RoyalÂ FamilyÂ of the Josean Dynasty make aÂ ceremonialÂ procession through the terminal. Dressed in colorful traditional costumes, an enfilade of noblemen and women (staff from the Cultural Heritage Foundation actually) re-enact a scene from a bygone era: the daily walk of the Royal Family. It turns out that transit travelers spend an average of 5.2 hours at Incheon waiting forÂ connectingÂ flights and the procession is part of a push to make the gateway more than just an airport but also a destinationÂ representingÂ Korean society. A Cultureport, if you will, which also includes a Traditional Craft Gallery, the Korea Culture Museum, and the Korean Traditional Cultural Experience Centre, all within the terminal confines.Â DeliriousÂ after five hours of shopping and walking and eating and staring at the departures board it made for one of the more intriguing distractions I’ve ever witnessed in an airport and a fun photo-op, too – not to mention a very royal send-off.
With six hours to kill in Seoul’sÂ Incheon Airport – before connecting in Beijing and only then on to home – what’s a weary traveler to do except take random photos of unsuspecting travelers and chance objects? After all, I’ve just slept through an overnight flight from Phuket with miles and miles to go before I sleep again.