Before we headed to Alaska last month, we looked at places we might visit during our short stay there. One of the places that caught my eye was the Eklutna Historical Park, near Eagle River, where our family lives. Advertised as an “Alaska Native and Russian Orthodox cultural experience“, the site includes two churches and an old cemetery, irresistible to this photographer/genealogist! As soon as we arrived, it started to rain, so we were only able to spend about a half hour there, but I managed to take a few photos while protecting my camera from the rain. The site is a blend of the Russian influence and the native Athabaskan tradition of building spirit houses over the graves of their family members. The church above is the new church, built in 1962.
Below are some of the colorful spirit houses in the old graveyard, which is still used. The log church is the original Russian Orthodox Church, built by the Russians some time between 1830 and 1870 in Knik. Around 1900, the building was moved to the old graveyard in Eklutna. The spirit houses show a blend of the Orthodox and native traditions, often decorated with the Orthodox cross.
Whenever we take out of town visitors to Sedona, we always take them to Chapel of the Holy Cross. Built into the rocks with a spectacular view, it is a very special place. Despite being full of visitors, you can always sense the spiritual and sacred essence of this spot. When we visited Sedona a week or so ago, I took a few photos inside with my Lensbaby Edge 80.
The top photo was taken a year or so ago, and I just re-edited it in Perfect Effects (my current go-to tool for editing landscapes) for today’s blog. The head of Christ and the candles at the bottom were edited in Lightroom and Photoshop. The middle photo of the person lighting a candle was edited in Topaz Impression, using the Van Gogh filter (I wish there was a way of recording that so I could remember- maybe a post-it notes feature in Lightroom!).
One of the first things our little group photographed on our trip to Flagstaff was the Greek Orthodox Church. I was particularly entranced with the gargoyles, which adorned the roof line.
I found this one amusing, because it looked like he was munching on leaves.
The final assignment in my lensbaby class is a photo essay using mostly lensbaby images, and it can be either narrative or thematic. One can’t walk around downtown Santa Fe without noticing churches and sacred images everywhere, so I chose to focus on this theme for my photo essay.
Seeing the Sacred
The first image- I’m not sure what building this was!
The next two are the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis, and the third is a statue of Kateri Tekakawitha (1656-1680), the first Indian of North America to be promoted a saint. The simple cross was hanging over our bed.
The rest of the photos are from San Miguel Mission, the oldest church in the U.S., built between 1600 and 1620.