THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA
In a cartoon that one of my students once sent me, two medieval builders are seen, one whispering to the other, We saved some money on the foundation, but dont worry, no one will ever notice!
On the grounds of the Campo di Miracoli in Pisa, sits the Cathedral or Duomo, the Baptistry and the famous bell tower. Work on the bell tower of the Cathedral commenced around AD 1160, but right from the beginning the tower began to lean. The builders would get discouraged, abandon it, only to come back and build a few more courses (there are eight altogether). Each time they returned, they would place heavier weights on the high side. With all the delays, the completion of the tower came two hundred years after the construction first began.
In the last two centuries, each time that a tower collapsed somewhere in Italy, a commission would be appointed to save the Tower of Pisa, and each commissions effort succeeded in doing more harm than good. During WWII, Italian anti-aircraft gunners, trying to shoot down an Allied bomber flying overhead, missed the plane, and shot one of the columns of the tower instead. Happily, it was not a direct hit on the tower.
Just a few years ago, a group of engineers and architects finally succeeded in straightening the tower by about 40 cm, away from its fatal angle of inclination of 5.5°. They performed their feat by removing earth from below the high side, with long augurs. (Of course, no one would want to see the tower straightened all the way, who would visit the "Plumb Tower of Pisa!")
Legend has it that four hundred years ago Galileo, the Father of Physics, discovered the Law of Free Fall, after performing experiments in which he dropped objects from the top. There is no real proof that Galileo actually performed the experiment there, but he was a student and later a professor at the University of Pisa, and he did discover the law of free fall.
I had seen the Tower from the grounds of the Campo di Miracoli in several previous visits to Pisa, but the tower was always closed to visitors. In some years I saw it with stabilizing cables on one side of the tower. When I finally saw the tower open to visitors in July of 2005, I immediately purchased a ticket, and waited until the 8-8:30 pm slot for the chance to climb the tower, three hour later. I had previously submitted a shot of the "Worn Steps of the Leaning Tower." The height of the tower is 55.86 m (183.27 ft), or approximately 18 stories.
The present photograph was shot in the top course of the tower where the bells hang. The bell hangs vertically, the surrounding walls lean, and on some of the sides (not the one seen) niches have been carved out of the walls, in order for the bells to clear the walls as they swing. Next to the bell, in the background is seen, the dome of the medieval Baptistery, resembling the bell itself.
I shot the photo with my first digital camera, a Fuji-4700, and performed minimal post-processing in Photoshop CSII increasing the contrast and creating a simple frame. I would have liked to repeat Galileo's experiment, dropping a few Euros from the side. But who wants to see Euro drop!
Critiques | Translate
clnaef (6289) 2007-03-27 8:51
Belle atmosphère de fin de journée et commentaire intéressant.
maltese (22907) 2007-03-27 8:59
Belle composition et une beau contre-jour qui met bien cette cloche en evidence.
feather (51130) 2007-03-27 11:47
I've never thought of all the implication of a leaning tower before apart from the obvious. Of course the bell will hang vertcally and present problems; imagine the dull tones if it kept banging on the wall, never mind the damage :)
Taking the shot into the light has created wonderful silhouettes and highlights on the bell and railings. The leaning archway does indeed look strange.
thea0211 (1365) 2007-03-27 12:34
such a lovely story to begin with! (but please: no euros dropped :)!
good use of light in this image, creating nice silhouettes of the bell and its surroundings, making the 'tilting' of the tower more obvious.
I also like your other photo, the one with the steps, even more because I've been to Pisa, but the tower was closed for the general public.
well seen and composed photograph!
Ertan (2988) 2007-03-27 12:39
Merhaba Bulent Abi
Cok ilginc bakis acisi. ve yine ilginc calisma.Kadraj ve kompozisyon cok basarili.Gercekten etkileyici kare.
somkiat (1104) 2007-03-27 12:50
very good silhouette photo.i can sense the peaceful of this place.and the little golden light made the spectacular scene.good capture of this bell for here.very well done
carper (96) 2007-03-27 13:07
very nice idea Bulent,
the pov is very orginal, and I like the fallen light, the dof is nice and the note is great, very good trekearth work.
norenastramus06 (1226) 2007-03-27 13:34
ışık renk ve yansımaları ile çok güzel komposizyon.
tebrikler hocam.ellerinize saglık.
ahmetgedikli (25609) 2007-03-27 16:37
Işığı, bakış açısı, siluetleri, çerçevesi ve notunuzla orijinal bir çalışma. Elinize sağlık, saygılar.
emjleclercq (15780) 2007-03-27 17:10
Very nice framing of the bell inside the opening of the arched window. The light shapes perfectly the silhouette of the bell. Not very colorfull, but still very sucessfull.
All the best,
Tezic (17867) 2007-03-27 17:35
Merhaba Bülent Bey,
Işığı çok güzel dengelenmiş, nefis bir kompozisyon... tebrikler....
wilkinsonsg (8662) 2007-03-27 19:14
Good note, it complements the image of the bells nicely.
Well controlled exposure in tricky lighting conditions - TFS :)
JCG (35129) 2007-03-28 3:28
Without this work which would be the tower of Pisa today ? Still a very interesting comment which accompanies the photograph, it is always a true pleasure. An image which diverts initially but when it is known where it was taken we let us understand better. Beautiful management of the light which gives a pretty back-light on
the bell, it is very pleasant. Beautiful work Bülent, thank you.
With my all friendships,
rigoletto (34279) 2007-03-28 4:49
Well Dear Professor,
Interesting photo to show us the difference of m.g and m.g.cosθ
The light is really attractive here and the similarity of the bell and the dome looks quite interesting.
It is also awesome that you climbed up that 18 stories (unless you were dropped there by a heli).
ALIRIZA (16423) 2007-03-28 10:11
Merhaba Bülent Abi,
Harika bir geometrik çalışma. Çerçeve, derinliğe doğru şekillerin uyumu ve ters ışıkla hoş bir çalışma. Ellerinize sağlık...
Selam ve saygılarımla...
cimcim (3712) 2007-03-28 10:12
Very well composed photo, very good POV and good light control. Güçlü güneş ışığına rağmen patlamamış hatta tam tersine yumuşak bir doku kazanmış çok güzel bir fotoğraf...
sevgi ve selamlarımla
renerob (601) 2007-03-28 10:16
A nice simple shot with a lovely silhouette yet there quit a calmness about it and the touch of golden light quit nice,
jemaflor (103049) 2007-03-28 12:42
Interesting shot with this backlight to draw the sihouette of this bell, well seen with the view on the background.
stego (24132) 2007-03-28 18:39
An unusual image of that famous place. A pov that says much of your unique eye for such subtle mathematical details. We learn a lot from your photos like this one and the attached notes.
I don't need to mention the technical flaws, as they seem almost inevitable under those conditions and aren't too relevant here. Tthe light is part of its charm and the fact that the roof on the bg somehow matches the bell is another interesting feature.
axiotea (21651) 2007-03-28 23:49
I never thought the bell of Tower Pisa could be straight and your photo showing us how it is. Interesting compo and note about the history of the tower sinking further into the soil. I liked also 'the worn step of the leaning tower'.
Have a nice day
kdialyna (3148) 2007-03-31 2:09
Very nice Bulent.
When I saw the picture for first time and before I read the note, I thought ,"Why Bulent made a not straight photo?". After I read the note and I laughed with my self.
Very good idea to make a photo like this from the leaning tower of Pisa. It gives you the feeling you are in there.
I like very much the yellow color from the opposite sunlight. Makes the picture to look old, like the Pisa tower.
I wish you a nice Week end.
salvator (19110) 2007-03-31 3:34
Hello Bulent Bey,
Wonderfull composition, wonderfull colors, and wonderfull notes as always. The details, the chain and the semi silouette of the bell, the perfect use of light are extraordinary. Harika. Elinize saglik. Best personal regards. Salvator.
amino (418) 2007-04-06 12:58
Great shot Bulent. I love the shadow and light's play. It has a chiaraschoro style. Great shot, just like your other pics!
danos (103082) 2007-04-11 8:24
very nice composition with an informative note.You created wonderful silhouettes and highlights with this shot contrast of light and shadow.You managed great the background and we can see here the dome of this church.Well done.
xavshot (69835) 2007-04-13 16:15
je trouve ce contre-jour très bien réalisé. Il fait ressortir le graphisme de l'endroit et apporte une atmosphère douce et tranquille. J'aime beaucoup le résultat. Bravo
meltemi (0) 2007-05-01 11:11
good composition. This is a wonderful place to visit especially in the autumn when the town isn't overburdened by tourists. Well balanced and interesting with the bell as a key object, the image seems to have a natural glow. Good to see. Nice note too, as always.