A Year with the Gargoyles

First Section
One of the things I love about Gothic architecture is the sheer amount of detail. From the tracery in the windows to the finials that seem to top every point, there’s always something to see. Often, each bit of decorative detail is different from any other piece on the cathedral, like snowflakes.

Having taken last year off from the 365 photo project — the goal to take at least one photo every day — I decided to give it a go again this year. I figured it would encourage me to go for walks on my own and keep looking at the world around me. While out for our New Year’s Day walk, we stopped by the cathedral. I’m as drawn to the whole Domplein as a needle is drawn to north on a compass. While taking in the majestic detail of the apse, I had the idea to incorporate the cathedral into my overall 365 project. My goal this year is to photograph every gargoyle on the cathedral and in the garden next to it. Once that’s done, I’ll probably go back and start photographing various other decorative details until I’ve captured almost every inch of the place!

I could easily spend a whole day there, taking photos of each and every figure, but to keep me going out on a regular basis, I’m only taking photos of one gargoyle a day. I don’t do it every single day; but I’m aiming to go almost daily. I’ll probably do a post at the end of each week, or maybe I’ll just start a separate Tumblr blog for them. We’ll see.

I had to start somewhere, so I chose the section of the cathedral that you see above. It’s in the back of the cathedral on the southern side, near the entrance to the Pandhof. There are three gargoyles that run along the top of this section of the building, on the three bits of buttressing. I started left to right and you can see them in that order in the following pictures. I tried to get them head on and from a side view.

Gargoyle 1

This next one reminds me of a Muppet, like a cross between Fozzy Bear and Sam the Eagle.
Gargoyle 2

Gargoyle 2

Gargoyle 3

Gargoyle 3

Foto Vrijdag 2.52 Project 365 Complete

Shroud [day 365/365]
It’s official. I successfully and honestly completed Project 365. One photo taken every day. There were days when it was a bit of a last-minute snap of random items, and I definitely seem to have done a better job the first half of the year, but I’m glad I completed the challenge. I certainly think it has made me pay more attention to things around me and certainly helped me get used to looking at things in new ways.

Today, despite the fog and light drizzle, I headed out to take my last photograph for the project. I wanted to get some sort of photo of the Domtoren. It’s one of my favorite spots in town, plus, my first photo of the year was taken there, so it seemed a nice way to end things. As I said, it is a very foggy day today, so when I first entered the square behind the Stadhuis (the location of this photo), I was shocked to realize that taking a photo of the Domtoren might not be so easy! It was hardly visible! Still, I ended up taking a number of photos of it, from all sorts of angles, and came up with some photos that I really am happy with, including this next one:

As for the second half of 2010, my photos definitely weren’t quite as good. I got a bit lazy with it, and I also used my camera phone a lot, so the quality wasn’t as good, either. On the other hand, I do feel like I ended up with photos that will serve as a reminder of random events, so what I lost in artistic style, I made up in memories. Still, no reason why you can’t have both! I guess that will be my general goal for future photos.

I don’t plan on specifically doing the Project 365 again at the moment, but I am hoping to post a photo-a-day of Utrecht here on my blog. Not every photo will be taken that day, but I hope to have new photos taken each week.

In the meantime, here are some of the photos from the last half of the year.
So Handsome [Day 188/365]

Funny Face [Day 189/365]

Contrast [Day 236/365]

Clouds Part [Day 266/365]

Golden Achievement [Day 269/365]

Goal for the Day [day 288/365]

Up the Nose [Day 232/365]

Birdie [Day 332/365]

Project 365 In Review

Along with my Foto Vrijdagen (Photo Fridays), I’ve been doing a Project 365 challenge this year, in which I take at least a photo a day. I’m proud to say that as of tomorrow, I will have completed the project. While going through the photos, I thought I’d pull out my favorites this year and post them here. Some you may have seen before, others you may not have seen, for lack of relevance to Utrecht. I’ll post the first half today and the second half tomorrow, along with my final photo of the project/year/foto vrijdag. For what it’s worth, this is as close as I come to a year-in-review posting.

Personal Jesus [Day 18/365]

Just Married II [Day 22/365]

Snow Bike [Day 41/365]

Alessi [Day 50/365]

Twisty People [Day 52/365]

Casting Shadows [Day 61/365]

Window Seat [Day 63/365]

Café Cat [Day 71/365]

Continuation of a Theme [Day 84/365]

Nuts for Nuts [Day 94/365]

Watcher [Day 100/365]

Bonte [Day 105/365]

Power Sources [Day 136/365]

Geometric [Day 140/365]

No Little Plans [Day 146/365]