Sunday, June 5, 2011

Another Shooting (Photography That Is)

I don't know why, since I AM retired, that I don't just take off every day for a shoot.  Even though I have a list of places I want to go, I tend to stay home unless I have company.  Yesterday one of my girlfriends was available for the day, so we took off for the next site on the list, San Juan Baptista Mission.  Had I known more about this site, I would have gone sooner and stayed longer!!  This shot is taken from across the courtyard, where stands the Palace Hotel and the Livery Stable.    
This mission has had three occupations.  First the Spanish, then the Mexican government, then the United States government.  One of it's occupants was Mrs. Breem who came over Donner Pass and was one accused of cannibalism having fed the children food of an unknown origin.    Walking through town up to the Mission, we discovered Roosters ... gorgeous ones!!  And lots of the most beautiful blooming cactus that I'm sure was growing here when the Spanish arrived.  The stalks at the base were up to two feet thick.

Inside the courtyard, we met the current Priest, who having spied our cameras, came over to ask us how "normal" people can take good shots.  This happens to us quite often.  People say "Wow, what a camera ... bet you get great pictures with that!!".  That's like saying, "Wow, what an awesome pencil ... bet it writes great books!!"  We are never offended however, just explain we get great pics with our I-Phones too!!!   After a lengthy conversation, the Priest told us of several good "shot" spots (including another Rooster) and how to enter a small unmarked chapel.  He said we should look for the hole in the door.  Sure enough, at the bottom of the door was a round hole about 6 inches across.  He told us it was so when the mice ran under the door, the resident cat could follow!!!  Love it!!!

Thankfully there was no one in the main sanctuary so my laying flat out on the floor to get this shot didn't raise eyebrows or cause anyone to call the guards!!  The painting of designs on the walls inside and out are so eye-catching and decorative.  Makes me want to do that to my house.  In several locations they have covered the original designs with glass so you can see the barely visible original paint.  On either side, they have repainted those designs around the entire church and around every window and door.
Outside, and not visible in the first image, is the bell tower.  It seems they had an earthquake here some time ago and the tower apparently fell down.  They even have a seismic recorder in the central courtyard.  They rebuilt the tower and have added earthquake supports.  This entire Mission is made from adobe bricks, with 3-5 feet thick walls, not for its cooling properties, but because adobe walls tend to fall over unless they are very thick at the base.  This Mission, unlike others I have seen, had several cupboards built in to each wall in every room.  There were even two secret passages visible in one room if you looked hard.  As you walk through, there is really not a lot of documentation about what you are looking at, so we couldn't decide what some of the cupboards would be used for, since they went through to the outside walls.

They also had the biggest kitchen/fire pit I have ever seen.  Probably 25 feet wide, the beam holding it up sagging considerably.  This is the right hand side of the kitchen.  A funny discovery ... they remodeled the kitchen.  You can see here through the glass, there was a small door or pass-through which was filled full of bricks.  No idea why ... in the adjacent room, you can see the same thing ... a hole in the wall that was filled in with rather ill-fitting bricks.

So many more images, but I'll save them for another day.  On the way out we passed another adobe building, built in the early 1800's and still standing.  This parting shot shows the door reflecting the cloudy day.
Okay, one more.  Never had I seen so many cactus blooming, and certainly never anything that had a flower like this one!!!  It was easily six inches across and obviously a happy camper!!

No comments:

Post a Comment