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European Excursion [Redux] | Photo Essay | Travel Photographer |

Just over a year ago, my wife and I were back on North American soil for the first time in a month. A few months later, I posted 90 photos in a post called “European Excursion: A Photo Essay“. A year later, I revisited some of the 4,600+ photos I took and reworked some of the ones that, in hindsight, likely should have been included in the first set.

As described originally, I was “armed with my Nikon D70, a 18-15mm kit lens, a 55-200mm lens, a slew of batteries and a gigantic 32GB memory card – with several 8GB cards for backup. This is the European Excursion Redux.

Erected just outside of Buckingham Palace, the Victoria Memorial was completed in 1924. Built from 2,300 tons of white marble, the picturesque monument is a fitting testimony to the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
Erected just outside of Buckingham Palace, the Victoria Memorial was completed in 1924. Built from 2,300 tons of white marble, the picturesque monument is a fitting testimony to the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
On the northeast corner of the Victoria Memorial, stands this sculpture, meant to represent the peace that Victoria brought to the Empire. The woman holds an olive branch, guarded by a lion which has long been a symbol of England. The shot is composed in HDR.
“On the northeast corner of the Victoria Memorial, stands this sculpture, meant to represent the peace that Victoria brought to the Empire. The woman holds an olive branch, guarded by a lion which has long been a symbol of England. The shot is composed in HDR.”
The Wellington Arch sits west of Buckingham Palace and adjacent to the Palace Gardens. Built on Constitution Hill - which is why it was originally known as the Constitution Arch or the Green Park Arch - the Arch celebrates Britain
The Wellington Arch sits west of Buckingham Palace and adjacent to the Palace Gardens. Built on Constitution Hill – which is why it was originally known as the Constitution Arch or the Green Park Arch – the Arch celebrates Britain’s victories in the Napoleonic Wars. It stands as an entrance to Hyde Park and contains at its peak, the largest bronze sculpture in Europe.
The Palace of Westminster, aka. The Houses of Parliament for the United Kingdom, showing the Victoria Tower. The Palace seats both Houses - House of Lords and House of Commons - of Parliament, and while my wife and I were in the area, we took in a public viewing of debates in each House.
“The Palace of Westminster, aka. The Houses of Parliament for the United Kingdom, showing the Victoria Tower. The Palace seats both Houses – House of Lords and House of Commons – of Parliament, and while my wife and I were in the area, we took in a public viewing of debates in each House.
The Palace of Versailles, the crown jewel of the French Empire, was largely built by the French king pictured here: Louis XIV. Known as the Sun King, the statue of Louis XIV stands at the main entrance to Versailles sprawling courtyard, just inside the golden gates of the inner courtyard.
“The Palace of Versailles, the crown jewel of the French Empire, was largely built by the French king pictured here: Louis XIV. Known as the Sun King, the statue of Louis XIV stands at the main entrance to Versailles’ sprawling courtyard, just inside the golden gates of the inner courtyard.
A line of the living quarters at Auschwitz I, in Krakow, Poland. I said it then, I said it a year ago when I first posted a set of images from Europe: it was surreal to be standing in the Auschwitz concentration camps. My undergraduate thesis was based around the Allies knowledge of the camps and their complete inaction, so standing where one million Jews, gypsies and other "sub-humans", as deemed by the Nazis, was in a word, surreal.
A line of the living quarters at Auschwitz I, in Krakow, Poland. I said it then, I said it a year ago when I first posted a set of images from Europe: it was surreal to be standing in the Auschwitz concentration camps. My undergraduate thesis was based around the Allies knowledge of the camps and their complete inaction, so standing where one million Jews, gypsies and other “sub-humans”, as deemed by the Nazis, was in a word, surreal.
An Auschwitz I guard tower, with "Halt!" written in both English and Polish. Beyond the Halt sign lies two levels of electric fence, which contained so much electricity that the fences could be seen to vibrate. Some of the prisoners even committed suicide by throwing themselves upon the lethal fences.
An Auschwitz I guard tower, with “Halt!” written in both English and Polish. Beyond the Halt sign lies two levels of electric fence, which contained so much electricity that the fences could be seen to vibrate. Some of the prisoners even committed suicide by throwing themselves upon the lethal fences.
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The railroad/gatehouse entrance to Auschwitz II, aka The Gate of Death. It was just beyond this gate that the “undesirables” – Jews, gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals, etc – were sorted by Nazi doctors: some to the camp to work, some to the “showers”, where they were gassed with Zyklon B.
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The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Paris, France, beneath the Arc de Triomphe. The Unknown Soldier was interred here on November 11, 1920, two years after the end of World War I, as a memorial to all those that died. According to Wikipedia, “it has the first eternal flame lit in Western and Eastern Europe since the Vestal Virgins’ fire was extinguished in the fourth century.”
Shot in HDR from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, this shot shows a sunset over the Paris district of La Defense. The square, hollow building at image centre is La Grande Arch, the third arch on the historical axis of Paris.
Shot in HDR from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, this shot shows a sunset over the Paris district of La Defense. The square, hollow building at image centre is La Grande Arch, the third arch on the historical axis of Paris.
Shot in HDR, this is taken from the opposite vantage point as the previous photo. Taken at La Grande Arch, the Arc de Triomphe can be seen at image centre, in the distance. The La Defense district is the new heart of Paris, combining its financial district with many of Paris
Shot in HDR, this is taken from the opposite vantage point as the previous photo. Taken at La Grande Arch, the Arc de Triomphe can be seen at image centre, in the distance. The La Defense district is the new heart of Paris, combining its financial district with many of Paris’ highest residential skyscrapers. The esplanade in the image foreground is the westernmost point of Paris’ historical axis.
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One of Notre Dame’s famous gargoyles overlooking Paris. The climb to the top of the Notre Dame towers left our legs burning and tired, but for vantage points like this (and this) and the next photo, the hike was surelty worth it.
Another Notre Dame gargoyle over looking Paris. In the distance, the Eiffel Tower can be seen, along with the gold-domed Les Invalides, burial place of Napoleon.
Another Notre Dame gargoyle over looking Paris. In the distance, the Eiffel Tower can be seen, along with the gold-domed Les Invalides, burial place of Napoleon.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart - or Basilique du Sacré-Cœur - in Paris, France. Shot in HDR, the image shows the dominating domes of the cathedral, which can be seen for miles around Paris, as it sits on the highest point in Paris, Montmartre.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart – or Basilique du Sacré-Cœur – in Paris, France. Shot in HDR, the image shows the dominating domes of the cathedral, which can be seen for miles around Paris, as it sits on the highest point in Paris, Montmartre.
A symbol of the absolute monarchical power that ruled France, the Palace of Versailles was expanded from the original hunting lodge that stood on its grounds to a major centre of power, beginning in 1664 with Louis XIV. The Gardens of Versailles, containing 800 hectares of land and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, were built up with the Palace over the years. The fountain seen here, a part of the "Bosquet de Larc de Triomphe" - translated as the Arc de Triomphe Grove - is a great example of the power and glamour that the French kings wished to portray.
A symbol of the absolute monarchical power that ruled France, the Palace of Versailles was expanded from the original hunting lodge that stood on its grounds to a major centre of power, beginning in 1664 with Louis XIV. The Gardens of Versailles, containing 800 hectares of land and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, were built up with the Palace over the years. The fountain seen here, a part of the “Bosquet de L‘arc de Triomphe” – translated as the Arc de Triomphe Grove – is a great example of the power and glamour that the French kings wished to portray.
A shot of the immaculately-kept American cemetery, on Omaha Beach, Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France. The graves of over 2,000 American soldiers overlooks the Omaha Beach where many of them fell during D-Day, June 6, 1944. The line of ivory crosses seen here seem to go on forever, interspersed with a Star of David, to mark those of Jewish heritage (a star can just seen just right of image centre).
A shot of the immaculately-kept American cemetery, on Omaha Beach, Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France. The graves of over 2,000 American soldiers overlooks the Omaha Beach where many of them fell during D-Day, June 6, 1944. The line of ivory crosses seen here seem to go on forever, interspersed with a Star of David, to mark those of Jewish heritage (a star can just seen just right of image centre).
The Canadian cemetery in Beny-sur-Mer, Normandy, France. Steps away from Juno beach, where the Canadians landed on D-Day, June 6, 1944, the grounds are well-kept and have been given to Canada in perpetuity, by the government of France. This image shows a wild poppy in the foreground, with the Canadian graves fading away into the background.
The Canadian cemetery in Beny-sur-Mer, Normandy, France. Steps away from Juno beach, where the Canadians landed on D-Day, June 6, 1944, the grounds are well-kept and have been given to Canada in perpetuity, by the government of France. This image shows a wild poppy in the foreground, with the Canadian graves fading away into the background.
The Canadian National Memorial at Vimy Ridge, France, commemorates the World War I battle of the same name. Opened in 1936 by King Edward VIII, the memorial was designed by Walter Allward. This image shows the two pylons, representing Canada and France, dpeicting them as partners in arms.
The Canadian National Memorial at Vimy Ridge, France, commemorates the World War I battle of the same name. Opened in 1936 by King Edward VIII, the memorial was designed by Walter Allward. This image shows the two pylons, representing Canada and France, dpeicting them as partners in arms.
One half the Vimy Ridge Memorial "Mourning Parents" twin statues, this image is the male figure. Shot in HDR, the names of the missing and dead can be seen just below the figure’s left arm; the list of 11,169 names is engraved around the exterior of the monument. The interior contains a dedication plaque that reads: "To the valour of their countrymen in the Great War and in memory of their sixty thousand dead this monument is raised by the people of Canada."
One half the Vimy Ridge Memorial “Mourning Parents” twin statues, this image is the male figure. Shot in HDR, the names of the missing and dead can be seen just below the figure’s left arm; the list of 11,169 names is engraved around the exterior of the monument. The interior contains a dedication plaque that reads: “To the valour of their countrymen in the Great War and in memory of their sixty thousand dead this monument is raised by the people of Canada.”
A close-up of the Vimy Ridge Memorial "Sympathy of the Canadians for the Helpless" statue. The Vimy Ridge memorial grounds - as well as the preserved 250 acre battle grounds surrounding the area, have been given in perpetuity to Canada by the government of France.
A close-up of the Vimy Ridge Memorial “Sympathy of the Canadians for the Helpless” statue. The Vimy Ridge memorial grounds – as well as the preserved 250 acre battle grounds surrounding the area, have been given in perpetuity to Canada by the government of France.
The second half of the Vimy Ridge Memorial "Mourning Parents" twin statues, this image is the female figure. Shot in HDR, the names of the missing and dead can be seen just beyond the statue; the list of 11,169 names is engraved around the exterior of the monument. The interior contains a dedication plaque that reads: "To the valour of their countrymen in the Great War and in memory of their sixty thousand dead this monument is raised by the people of Canada."
The second half of the Vimy Ridge Memorial “Mourning Parents” twin statues, this image is the female figure. Shot in HDR, the names of the missing and dead can be seen just beyond the statue; the list of 11,169 names is engraved around the exterior of the monument. The interior contains a dedication plaque that reads: “To the valour of their countrymen in the Great War and in memory of their sixty thousand dead this monument is raised by the people of Canada.”
The Canadian National Vimy Ridge Memorial, shot in HDR, as seen from the rear, while approaching from the parking lot. The two figures at the foot of the memorial are the two aforementioned "Mourning Parents", the male on the right, the female on the left. The ridge commands the surrounding areas and the views from the top show the French countryside in all its splendor.
The Canadian National Vimy Ridge Memorial, shot in HDR, as seen from the rear, while approaching from the parking lot. The two figures at the foot of the memorial are the two aforementioned “Mourning Parents”, the male on the right, the female on the left. The ridge commands the surrounding areas and the views from the top show the French countryside in all its splendor.
A Venetian canal and bridge, Venice, Italy.
A canal and river-road in Venice, Italy. The image is dominated by the church bell tower, just left of image centre.
A canal and river-road in Venice, Italy. The image is dominated by the church bell tower, just left of image centre.
A canal and river-road in Venice, Italy. The image is dominated by the church bell tower, just left of image centre.
At the Hellenic Parliament lays the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The image depicts a hoplite laying dead on a small slab, a copy of an ancient warrior’s tomb. The large square in the foreground, Syntagma Square, was the site of Greek protests during the latter half of 2011 and continuing into 2012. The protests started days after this image was taken.
At the Hellenic Parliament lays the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The image depicts a hoplite laying dead on a small slab, a copy of an ancient warrior’s tomb. The large square in the foreground, Syntagma Square, was the site of Greek protests during the latter half of 2011 and continuing into 2012. The protests started days after this image was taken.
The National Gardens of Athens - formerly known as the Royal Gardens - is a 38 acre park, located directly behind the Hellenic Parliament. The space is open to the public, so my wife and I took the oppourtunity to stroll through them. The gardens contain numerous species native to Greece, a small pond and well-maintained paths. To find such serenity in the heart of a major European city was a fun discovery.
The National Gardens of Athens – formerly known as the Royal Gardens – is a 38 acre park, located directly behind the Hellenic Parliament. The space is open to the public, so my wife and I took the oppourtunity to stroll through them. The gardens contain numerous species native to Greece, a small pond and well-maintained paths. To find such serenity in the heart of a major European city was a fun discovery.
The Greek isle of Santorini - a small island in the middle of the Aegean Sea - is known for it’s white-washed houses and blue-roofed buildings. As we discovered after our arrival, only churches paint their roofs blue, while the rest of the island paints their houses a multitude of colours. The island itself is the result of a collapsed volcanic caldera and much to our surprise, can be traversed end-to-end with a car in about 15 minutes.
The Greek isle of Santorini – a small island in the middle of the Aegean Sea – is known for it’s white-washed houses and blue-roofed buildings. As we discovered after our arrival, only churches paint their roofs blue, while the rest of the island paints their houses a multitude of colours. The island itself is the result of a collapsed volcanic caldera and much to our surprise, can be traversed end-to-end with a car in about 15 minutes.
The Faberge egg seen here is perhaps the most famous: the Imperial Coronation Egg, created in 1897 to commemorate the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II, of Russia. The coach in front of the egg is an exact replica - complete with moving wheels and opening/closing doors - of the Imperial Coach that carried Tsarina Alexandra to her coronation. This image was taken while the Faberge collection was on display at the Vatican Museums, in the Holy See.
The Fabergé egg seen here is perhaps the most famous: the Imperial Coronation Egg, created in 1897 to commemorate the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II, of Russia. The coach in front of the egg is an exact replica – complete with moving wheels and opening/closing doors – of the Imperial Coach that carried Tsarina Alexandra to her coronation. This image was taken while the Fabergé collection was on display at the Vatican Museums, in the Holy See.
St. Peter’s Basilica, as viewed from St. Peter’s Square, Holy See, just outside (inside?) of Rome, Italy. Shot in HDR, the image shows Maderno’s façade along the top of the basilica, with Christ in the middle, eleven Apostles and John the Baptist (St. Peter, for whom the basilica is named, has a statue to the left of the stairs, just outside of camera view).
St. Peter’s Basilica, as viewed from St. Peter’s Square, Holy See, just outside (inside?) of Rome, Italy. Shot in HDR, the image shows Maderno’s façade along the top of the basilica, with Christ in the middle, eleven Apostles and John the Baptist (St. Peter, for whom the basilica is named, has a statue to the left of the stairs, just outside of camera view).
The Ponte Sant’Angelo is a bridge spanning the River Tiber, in front of Castle Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy. The bridge contains ten angels sculpted by Bernini; the "Angel With The Cross" is pictured above, shot in HDR.
The Ponte Sant’Angelo is a bridge spanning the River Tiber, in front of Castle Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy. The bridge contains ten angels sculpted by Bernini; the “Angel With The Cross” is pictured above, shot in HDR.
The altar of St. Peter’s Basilica is seen here, specifically, the apse (bishop’s chair) with St Peter’s Cathedra supported by four Doctors of the Church. It was designed by Bernini and is the focal point of the sprawling basilica.
The altar of St. Peter’s Basilica is seen here, specifically, the apse (bishop’s chair) with St Peter’s Cathedra supported by four Doctors of the Church. It was designed by Bernini and is the focal point of the sprawling basilica.
The Pantheon in Rome, seen here in HDR, contain large circular Corinthian columns, with a central oculus to the sky. Rebuilt in 126 AD by Emperor Hadrian, the dome of the Pantheon is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
The Pantheon in Rome, seen here in HDR, contain large circular Corinthian columns, with a central oculus to the sky. Rebuilt in 126 AD by Emperor Hadrian, the dome of the Pantheon is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
The monument to Victor Emmanuel II, the last king of Italy, dominates the surrounding area of central Rome. Here, a closeup of one of the gryphons can be seen.
The monument to Victor Emmanuel II, the last king of Italy, dominates the surrounding area of central Rome. Here, a closeup of one of the gryphons can be seen.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at the Victor Emmanuel II monument in Rome, Italy. With guards on perpetual watch, the eternal flame burns for all those unidentified soldiers lost in World War I.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at the Victor Emmanuel II monument in Rome, Italy. With guards on perpetual watch, the eternal flame burns for all those unidentified soldiers lost in World War I.
About Take The Leap Photography

My name is Kevin Gamble and I am Take The Leap Photography. You can find out more about me (including why I'm an Awesomologist™) on the About page.

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