Archive for the 'Selcuk' Category


Library of Celsus at Ephesus, Turkey


Library of Celsus, Ephesus, Turkey

This is the beautiful Library of Celsus at Ephesus in Turkey, now nearly 1,900 years old.

The building was built both as a library to hold some 12,000 scrolls and as a memorial to Tiberius Julius Celsus, a Roman senator, consul and governor of Asia. Consul Celsus was rich enough to leave enough money to build the library, and he was buried in a sarcophagus inside it, this somewhat surprising mix of functions being apparantly as unusual then as today. The Library was completed in 135 AD, and was one of the best stocked of ancient times. It burnt down in an earthquake about 130 years later, leaving only the facade. It was rebuilt as a nymphaeum, which is rather less racy than it sounds, and was just an elaborate water feature. This too was destroyed, including the facade, in the late Byzantine period. The facade was restored in the 1970s to the state you see it here, and today it is one of the highlights of Ephesus.

It’s a stunning piece of architecture, and the stonework is incredibly carved. Need I say it makes me very happy to see so much money and effort expended on a library? Yes, it does. Well done, Consul Celsus!

It’s also hard to tell that I was surrounded by about 10,000 people when I took this picture. This place is beset by tourists from dawn till dusk, and getting people-free photographs here is a serious challenge. In the parking lot outside, they were playing a game of ‘fit 100 tour buses into a parking lot designed for 20’ that involved a lot of hooting. It was quite a sight, and made me glad we walked the two kilmetres from the nearest town instead of bussed.

Archaeologist’s puzzle

Collected carved gravestones at Isa Bey Mosque, Selcuk, Turkey


Isa Bey Mosque, Selcuk, Turkey

I saw all these carved stones set out against a wall at the Isa Bey Mosque in Selcuk, Turkey. I’m not sure if they are gravestones or some other kind of marker, but they looked to me like they had been set up by some archaeologist, all collected together, so that he or she could ponder where in the puzzle of restoration each piece fitted. It was common sight at historic sites throughout Turkey.

It made me chuckle that this was the kind of puzzle that needed a crane to assemble. We actually saw a huge crane in use at one site with disgruntled looking workmen standing around while an archaeologist directed the crane to move a presumably several ton block of stone about. How about this way? Or this way? No, maybe this way …

This image is my first attempt at using the Photoshop luminance mask technique of Tony Kuyper. He has some excellent and fascinating tutorials on his website. On first read it’s terribly complex stuff, but with practice I think it will come to be a lot easier, and it looks (amongst other things) like a great alternative to doing HDR with specialist HDR software like Photomatix. The luminance mask technique is far more manual and allows superb control of the final image. It’s well worth a very slow and careful read on his site, and it’s also well worth downloading his photoshop actions so you can try it for yourself.

This particular photo is not HDR and was not bracketed. I did try a single exposure tone-mapping of it in Photomatix, but in this case I prefer the far more natural and contrasty look that came from using luminance masks.

I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say on this technique later, but first I need many more late nights to fiddle on it.

rss Follow on Twitter facebook flickr google+