The Castle Window – Castello de Vide – Portugal

The Castle Window

In the hillsides of eastern Portugal (just west of Spain) lies a small walled city that time has left behind: Castello De Vide. While it is unknown exactly when this area was settled, there is written history dating back to the 1200’s. This sleepy town still largely operates as it has for centuries with community markets and festivals celebrating Portugal’s glorious history. Portugal is dotted with these stronghold cities that are leftovers of their vast wealth and empire dating back to when they ruled the seas and all the trade and wealth that went along with that distinction.

Napa Barn

Napa Barn

During fall, the grape leaves carpeting the vast vineyards of the Napa Valley change into a myriad of colors making fall in wine country a spectacular sight. I love the utilitarian nature of this barn, the faded paint, the rusted roof. It provides so much character to an otherwise non-descript country scene. It makes the imagination wonder if there is something more enchanting hiding inside other than probably just a few farm implements.

 

Ashcroft Fall

Ghost Town Fall

Ghost Town Fall

This image was taken in the ghost town of Ashcroft just outside Aspen CO in September 2012.

From http://www.heritageaspen.org/ac.html

In the spring of 1880, prospectors Charles B. Culver and W. F. Coxhead left the boomtown of Leadville to search for silver deposits in the Castle Creek Valley. After vigorously promoting their findings back in Leadville, Coxhead returned to find 23 more prospectors had joined “Crazy Culver” in the camp they named Castle Forks City.
They formed a Miner’s Protective Association, built a court house, and laid out the streets in only two weeks. Each of the Association’s 97 members paid $5—or one day’s work and $1—to draw for building lots. By 1883, the camp, now called Ashcroft, was a town with a population of perhaps 2,000 with two newspapers, a school, sawmills, a small smelter, and 20 saloons—bigger than Aspen and closer to the railroad in Crested Butte.
As quickly as it boomed, Ashcroft went bust. The mines, which initially produced an amazing 14,000 ounces of silver to the ton, were just shallow deposits. Promised rail links to Crested Butte never materialized. Major strikes in Aspen, already the county seat, lured away investors and workers.
By 1885 there were just 100 summer residents and $5.60 in the town’s coffers. Only a handful of aging, single men made Ashcroft their home by the turn of the century. They all owned mining claims, but spent their time hunting, fishing, reading and drinking in Dan McArthur’s bar. They told stories in exchange for drinks and served as an informal employment service, matching sporadic work at the remaining mines above Ashcroft with an unstable work force.
Every four years they elected municipal officers from among themselves. “Judge” Jack Leahy—who died in 1939—was the last of the original citizens. He cultivated a reputation as a scholar and legal expert and wrote long, melodramatic poetry. Historian Jon Coleman calls these men “prospectors with dismal prospects, boosters with nothing to promote, and town fathers with no children.”
In the 1930s there was a new flurry of interest in Ashcroft, this time by international sportsman Ted Ryan and his partner Billy Fiske, captain of America’s gold medal Olympic bobsled team. They built the Highland-Bavarian Lodge (north of Ashcroft on Castle Creek Road) and planned a European-style ski resort in Ashcroft with an aerial tramway up Mount Hayden.
World War II put an end to their plans. Fiske died in combat and Ryan leased Ashcroft to the army for $1 a year. The 10th Mountain Division, America’s soldiers on skis, used Ashcroft for mountaineering training in the summer of 1942. After the war, ski area development moved to Aspen, and Ryan later deeded the site to the United States Forest Service.
In 1948, Stuart Mace, a veteran of W.W.II and commander of a canine division, brought his family and dog sled operation to Ashcroft. Mace and his Toklat huskies were featured in the popular 1950s TV series Sgt. Preston of the Yukon. The ghost town was fitted with false fronts to create a Canadian set.
Given use of five acres in exchange for caretaking on behalf of the Highland-Bavarian’s remaining holdings, Mace devoted the rest of his life to protecting the area from development and restoring the ecology. In 1974, he was joined in that effort by the Aspen Historical Society. Under the direction of Ramona Markalunas, Ashcroft became a National Register Historic Site, and the Aspen Historical Society received the first U.S.F.S. permit ever granted to a historical society to preserve and interpret a ghost town.

Settlers’ Camp

This image was taken outside of Buena Vista, CO off Highway 285.  Barren cottonwood trees, a frozen stream, and snow blowing off the crusted Collegiate peaks create the perfect backdrop for this dilapidated barn and stone wall.  This photograph allows your imagination to wander to the hardships endured by the settlers that worked so hard (sometimes in vain) to tame the rocky mountain west.

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of ordering a print, please contact me for details. All photographs are limited to 500 reproductions.

Notes: These are low resolution images and I apologize for the watermark signature on my photographs as I feel it detracts from enjoying the image. However, with the ease of image piracy on-line they are necessary evils. You may also want to read my color post as images can be very different from what you see on the monitor. 

Colosseo durante la Notte

(The Coliseum at Night)

Completed in 80 A.D. and capable of seating 50,000 spectators, the Coliseum is an elliptical amphitheater in the center of the city of Rome and is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering.  The coliseum was used for gladiatorial contests, public spectacles, and dramas based on classical mythology. A marvel of ancient engineering, mock sea battles were even staged (the coliseum had a vast aqueduct system allowing the arena to be flooded).

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of ordering a print, please contact me for details. All photographs are limited to 500 reproductions.

Notes: These are low resolution images and I apologize for the watermark signature on my photographs as I feel it detracts from enjoying the image. However, with the ease of image piracy on-line they are necessary evils. You may also want to read my color post as images can be very different from what you see on the monitor. 

Rovine Romane

(Ruins of Rome)

The forum, just across from the coliseum is the largest piece of ancient Rome left (somewhat) standing.  These columns are in the middle of the forum; not far from where the ashes of Julius Cesar are entombed. This shot was a right place right time shot.  While touring the forum ruins, I walked past these columns right when the sun was behind them.  Creating magical contrast of light and sky that is best showcased in black and white.

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of ordering a print, please contact me for details. All photographs are limited to 500 reproductions.

Notes: These are low resolution images and I apologize for the watermark signature on my photographs as I feel it detracts from enjoying the image. However, with the ease of image piracy on-line they are necessary evils. You may also want to read my color post as images can be very different from what you see on the monitor.