Adventures in Africa, mostly eastern and southern. Taken from time spent studying abroad for half a year in South Africa, as well as trips before and after. I was first able to see the continent at the age of 7, and have loved coming back ever since. Also includes a subsequent adventure to Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Ngorogoro Crater.
Cape Town Shopkeeper with colorful prints, masks, and trinkets for sale (Cape Town, South Africa)
Market seller in Cape Town, South Africa. Markets are always great places to go, with profusions of color, trinkets of all shapes and sizes, and only slight variations of regional specialty items from shop to shop. Pro tip: get the salad tongs - surprisingly sturdy, and it's always fun to be served by a wooden giraffe.
Cheetah laying in the grass (Hluhluwe, South Africa)
Cheetah lays in wait in the grass in Hluhluwe, South Africa.Even with a long zoom lens, it is hard to feel comfortable near an animal that has a top speed of 70mph. As cheetahs prefer an extensive open area to call their territory, modern civilization has encroached and given the species the "vulnerable" designation. Interestingly enough, the world "cheetah" comes from the Sanskrit word for "variegated", meaning different colors, especially in patches or streaks - very apt!
Yellow Cape Weaver building its nest in flight (Hluhluwe, South Africa)
These Cape Weaver birds construct large woven nests of grass and leaf strips, suspended from a branch. In Hluhluwe, South Africa, some trees will have dozens of these hanging nests - a spectacular sight!
Lazy leopard on the lookout
Usually reclusive, this leopard in the Serengeti was not afraid to leave her tree. After leaving the tree with her cubs (and turning absolutely invisible in the grass), she mounted this fallen tree to better spot her family's next meal.
Giraffes enjoying their acacia meal on the savannah.
When a male lion runs, everyone gets out of the way.
Lions on a dried-up creekbed, teaching their cubs how to lounge most effectively.
Kills are guarded jealously by the apex predator, until they've had enough. Then the next level of predator/scavenger arrives, and the cycle continues.
A brief rest
The glaciers still exist, for now.
Legacy of Robben Island (Cape Town, South Africa)
Political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, were held on Robben Island for decades. Here, a former prisoner describes life in the facility.
Pincushion flower with dew drops (Cape Town, South Africa)
Pincushion flower with dew drops in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, Cape Town, South Africa. Situated at the base of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch has one of the most impressive botanical collections in the world. Also throughout the garden are a series or rotating art exhibit, making each visit different!
A moment of joy for children in the mountains of Lesotho
It's always playtime in the mountains of Lesotho! Increasing modernity and exposure to other civilizations has not modified the traditional Lesotho dress of a wool blanket wrapped around the shoulders and rubber boots on the feet. The country has an interesting history: after losing territory to the neighboring Boers in the 1860's, the Basotho people appealed to Great Britain, who declared the territory a protectorate. British protection ensured that the country remained free of South African interference until 1966, when it was given independence.
Custom backgammon board (Coffee Bay, South Africa)
Man, were we happy to see this sign. It meant that we were at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and therefore, had no more uphill.
We got very lucky with the leopard spotting.
Battle of the Cape of Good Hope: Atlantic Ocean vs. Indian Ocean (Cape Town, South Africa)
Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. At the point of confluence, the colder, darker Atlantic water mixes with the warmer, lighter Indian Ocean water to for a beautiful swirl of blues!
12,500 miles to anywhere on earth
Hippos at a watering hole in Ngorogoro Crater.
A trek beginning
The Lemosho route starts in the forest, well-shaded and beautiful.
King of the Crater
Can you spot her?
Drakensberg Mountains (South Africa)
At the edge (Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa)
1,000m straight down. The first time in my life that I've ever experienced a fear of heights.
Giraffe taking a sunset drink at the watering hole (Hluhluwe, South Africa)
Giraffe taking a drink at sundown in Hluhluwe, South Africa. Although very resistant to predation, giraffes are at their most vulnerable when drinking, so make sure to conscientiously examine the surroundings before bending down. Giraffes have many anatomic adaptations to suit their lifestyle, including an enhanced system of valves in the jugular veins - preventing blood from rushing to the head when leaning down for a drink.
One-tusked warthog foraging for morsels (Hluhluwe, South Africa)
Warthog with a razor-sharp tusk in Hluhluwe, South Africa. Although the tusks are valuable for showing dominance and as a last-ditch effort to fight off predators, the warthog's primary means of defense is a quick trot in the other direction, tail to the sky. The largest boars can be 150 pounds, making them a formidable target.
Table Mountain from Robben Island (Cape Town, South Africa)
Young African elephant enjoying lunch (Addo Elephant Park, South Africa)
Young elephant feasts on tasty green fare in Addo Elephant Park, South Africa. Elephants have enormous appetites and can consume up to 1,000 pounds of vegetation per day - difficult when you consider the weight of a standard branch of leaves. Their trunk, an elongation of the nose and upper lip, can act to rip bark from trees, hose themselves with water on a hot day, or pick up something as small as a peanut!
Dew drops on a gorgeous orange flower (Mozambique)
Sadly, I did not catch the name of this beautiful flower found in a hostel in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. The country is an amazing place, but with a sordid past: 25 years of civil war left a deep impression on the country. Pro tip: when driving, be careful to stick to the main roads, and don't go exploring any uninhabited beaches - there are still plenty of buried land mines.
Giraffe toys (Mozambique)
Made entirely from beer can of your choice.
Desert rose flowers playing host to an insect (KwaZulu Natal, South Africa)
A group of desert rose flowers found in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. Despite their name, these flowers are neither endemic to the desert, nor roses, but beautiful nonetheless!
Brilliantly multi-colored flower nourishing a small insect (KwaZulu Natal, South Africa)
An unidentified but charming flower found in the Tala Game Preserve, KwaZulu Natal province, South Africa. Two great things about flowers are the pure vividness and variety of colors found in the different species, from muted pastels to screaming brights.
Erica mammosa flowers against a clear blue sky (KwaZulu Natal, South Africa)
Erica mammosa flowers on the branch in KwaZulu Natal province, South Africa. These gorgeous flowers can be many different colors, including red, purple, greenish-cream, and various shades of pink. Although they can grow at any time of year, they are most impressive in the fall and winter.
King penguins in South Georgia
King penguins, found in South Georgia's Gold Harbour. While the adults have an elegant and water-resistant coat, the juveniles must wear a fluffy coat of brown down feathers until they mature. Since they cannot go in the water during this phase, they are completely dependent on their parents for feeding.
The Squawking: A young king penguin demands food (South Georgia)
King penguin chick squawks for food from a parent on South Georgia. Because the chick's feathers are not waterproof yet, it is dependent on the parents for its diet - mostly fish, with the occasional squid or crustacean for the gourmet penguin.
Fantastic and uniquely blue iceberg (Antarctica)
Chunks of icebergs floating in the sea near the coast of Antarctica. The colors of these giant pieces of ice range from the cleanest of the whites to the deepest of the blues, and everything in between. Why are icebergs blue? Vibrational (energy) transitions, of course! As white light travels through water, the red/orange/yellow components are absorbed, while the blue photons continue through to your eyes.
The yin and yang of baby fur seals (South Georgia)
A blonde Antarctic fur seal pup investigates the world with its brown-furred brethren on South Georgia. Approximately 1 in 1,000 pups are born with this mutation - quite a rarity! Unfortunately, this also confers a higher risk of being eaten, as it's never good to stand out in a crowd of prey.
Fur seal pup eyes intruder with curiosity (South Georgia)
An inquisitive Antarctic fur seal pup fearlessly engages strangers on South Georga. They are the puppies of the South: fun loving, always roughhousing, and about the same size as their four-legged counterparts.
Mother and chick gentoo penguins on a nest (South Shetland Islands)
Gentoo penguin and chick in the South Shetland Islands, about 75 miles north of the Antarctica peninsula. Like other penguins, they are exceptionally loud, smelly, and adorable. Everyone loves a penguin!
Glaciers surrounding Neko Harbour, Antarctica
Neko Harbour, Antarctica - a favorite Minke whale feeding ground, and so named for a Norwegian whaling boat (the Neko) which operated in the area in the early 20th Century. Massive glaciers calve off with no warning, creating massive waves and an awesome sight!
When the world stops: penguins avoid a roaming fur seal (South Georgia)
Time freezes as an Antarctic fur seal ambles through a king penguin colony on South Georgia. The penguins do not have to worry, however - the fur seal usually dines on fish, squid, and krill.
Boarding the zodiacs, small boats used to get from ship to shore. Hardy, dependable, and fun (you can even surf them!).
Penguins enjoy the white-sand beaches of the south (South Georgia)
Pristine bay in the Falkland Islands. Guess why it looks so pristine? Land mines, laid by the Argentineans during the Falklands War in 1982. However, penguins are not heavy enough to set them off, giving them sole occupancy of the former war zone. Lucky ducks (almost).
Icebergs floating in front of the mountains of South Georgia
Icebergs floating in the Drygalski Fjord, adjacent to South Georgia. South Georgia was a fascinating place with one of the richest concentrations of animals that I've come across, especially massive penguin colonies.
When worst comes to worst, there's an emergency shack with your name on it (South Georgia)
Emergency shack on South Georgia. These shacks are occupied only during emergencies, when the warmth, shelter, and food keep inhabitants alive long enough to be rescued or wait for the storm to pass.
Mammoth mountains of Antarctica
Port Lockroy, Antarctica. A former whaling station, military base, and research operation, half of the island is open for tourists - the other half is strictly penguins-only. A post office is also in operation, for the philatelics of the world. Rugged and jagged, these mountains are just one reminder of the harsh conditions on this frozen continent.
What more is there to say? Mountains, lakes, cities, bridges, flowers, deserts...
Looking down on Angel's Landing
Zion NP. Angel's Landing, which seems so mighty and occasionally terrifying (at least for those afraid of heights), peeks up in the middle of the valley, as seen from the rim.
Master of the universe (Shasta, CA)
What's better than scrambling up boulders? When a view of Mt. Shasta and a carpet of Northern CA forests awaits.
Half Dome (Yosemite)
Glorious! One day, I will climb you.
The Splendor of Bryce Canyon
These canyons are quite deep, and quite narrow.
The geological intricacies of Bryce Canyon.
Mojave National Preserve
Gorgeous, and very isolated. Water, food, and appropriate gear are a must. There isn't anyone out here to help you if you run into trouble.
Bryce at sunrise
Get up early, go to Sunrise Point. Trust me, it's worth it.
The Narrows make for an excellent adventure, when the conditions permit. Rent water shoes and a walking stick. Don't be afraid of falling.
Afternoon glow illuminates a fallen tree.
Grand Canyon from the top
Remember, every step down means another step to climb.
View from the Hermit Trail
The Hermit Trail is lesser known, emptier, and a little rougher. Doesn't mean that it is any less spectacular!
Colorado River, carving inexorably
Human for scale
Downtown San Francisco behind California poppies (San Francisco, CA)
California poppies in front of downtown San Francisco, as seen from Twin Peaks. Running down the middle is Market Street, which begins its straight path in the Castro and continues all the way down to the Embarcadero and the water. Although it is the state plant of California, it is not illegal to cut poppies - contrary to what we were told as children!
San Francisco Valley
In between skyscrapers
Up close and personal
With the Colorado River.
Looking roughly south from Twin Peaks.
Up the trunk of a redwood tree (San Francisco, CA)
Looking up the trunk of a giant redwood tree in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. The park features a redwood trail, with over 100 species planted 100 years ago - the solitude found there definitely makes it one of my favorite places in the city. The tree bark is amazing, simultaneously pliable but strong, with deep ridges adding an extra dimension.
Macro view (San Francisco, CA)
A fine specimen of a flower found in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens! With the wind, it took awhile to get the focus exactly right - on the fine fibers of the filament (of the stamen).
Runners after my own heart (or spine). Big props for having a vertebral artery foramen in the C-spine, but not below (San Jose Turkey Trot).
Not all beauty is found outdoors. Beautiful craftsmanship on this piano.
AT&T park from the inside
AT&T park, home of the San Francisco Giants, from the inside. The park has a great vibe - cozy and fun! Don't miss a chance to catch a game.
Red rocks of Sedona
Looking down on Sedona, AZ from Schnebly Hill around sunset. The area is gorgeous but quote rugged - if you get there and have the chance to go on a jeep tour, take it! They permit access to otherwise-inaccessible areas all around the town, up into the mountains, and over (not around) steep rock faces.
Rocks of Sedona
Red, brown, tan - all combine to produce beautiful layers in the afternoon's fading light
SF Botanical Gardens
Redwood Grove, SF Botanical Gardens
Golden Gate Skeleton
The famous bridge marks the entrance of the bay, and must be continually repainted to ensure freshness. The Golden Gate strait was so-named for its resemblance to the Golden Horn, the inlet in Istanbul Harbor dividing the Bosphorous.
It went on like this - terraced hills with endless vineyards, with the Douro River snaking in between.
Courtyard in repose
Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to a number of fantastic palaces and castles. Pena Castle is a Alice-in-Wonderland-esque compound, replete with whimsical colors, beautiful arches, and over-the-top details.
Classic tourist shot.
The Santa Marta lighthouse in Cascais will celebrate it's 150th anniversary of service in 2018.
The architectural details on these churches was impressive - statues within arches, innumerable levels of detail, and coordinated with the surrounding landscape.
Foreign to our American sensibilities, the streets in Lisbon are often small, tortuous, and multilayered - here is an example of a more open thoroughfare.
Kaitlin uses the professional athlete card to go for a spin on a Four Seasons Lisbon rooftop track.
Ke'e Beach from the Kalalau Trail (Kauai, HI)
Ke'e beach, Kauai. The road from the west side of the island ends there, and after that, it's all hiking trail. Gorgeous, rugged, and a little wild - many people have been killed by the surf, and if you get seriously injured, the only way out is by chopper (which we actually saw in action, unfortunately).
Sunset behind the palm trees of Poipu (Kauai, HI)
Sunset from Poipu, Kauai. Situated at the southern tip of the island, Poipu offers great snorkeling, swimming, and relaxing. Although some areas are more commercialized, it is great to find a little corner that's a little more out of the way and has a great view!
Kalalau Trail to the sands of Hanakapi'ai Beach (Kauai, HI)
Kalalau trail, north shore of Kauai. The 11 mile trail runs from Ke'e Beach to Kalalau beach, with a few intermediate stops like Hanakapi'ai Beach (seen here). It can be a difficult hike with constant changes in elevation, exposure, and weather that varies by the minute. Pro tip: at the beach, the combination of strong currents, changing tides, and isolation makes for regular drownings - stay out of the water!
Na Pali Coast
On the island's rough northwestern edge, inaccessible by car (only hike, boat, or helicopter). Verdant and gorgeous.
The "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", red rocks and all. Very, very wet, in slight contradistinction to the one in Arizona.
Relaxing in the natural lava pools of Queen's Bath (Kauai, HI)
Queen's Bath, Kauai. If the surf is calm, the water becomes fantastically clear, revealing the underwater flora and fauna. In this natural pool carved from a lava shelf, there are areas for jumping, snorkeling, and enjoying the magnificent scenery. Be careful though! The rocks are slippery, and if the surf is not cooperating, you may be swept out to sea.
A banana merchant in repose (Thekaddy, India)
Banana seller in the city of Thekaddy, Kerala, India. The amount of bananas on display in this warehouse was truly staggering - bananas in vehicle-sized piles, bananas on ropes, and in every shade of green, yellow, and brown imaginable. This man's shop represented one of maybe 100 similar shops housed within the sample building. Pro tip: bananas are high in potassium - great for when you're electrolytes are low, like post-ogling millions of bananas.
Painstaking attention to detail on a stone temple (Madurai, India)
Temple in the Hassan District, Karnataka, India. The Hassan District, nearly 1000 years old, has a rich religious history. At different times, it has played host to a major Jain temple (with the world's largest monolithic stone statue!), temples dedicated to Shiva, and the center of the Hoysala Empire. Impressively, not only were these figurines intricately carved, but they were one of perhaps eight layers of decoration surrounding this particular temple building. These were constructed on a timeline of many decades, with attention to detail and longevity being the primary points of importance.
The Chinese fishing nets of Cochin (Cochin, India)
Fishermen operating the Chinese fishing nets of Cochin, India. Although these nets are enormous (65 feet wide, 30 feet high), the catch per cycle is only a few fish. However, the fishermen use manpower and a rock pulley system to control the raising and lower few minutes, allowing for many cycles per hour.
Spice box - perfect for the foodie in your life (Cochin, India)
Spice box from Cochin, India. Clockwise from top left: hot chili peppers, white peppercorns, black peppercorns, turmeric fingers; middle: whole brown cardamom. Other common ones include: saffron, hot chili peppers, whole fennel, more hot chili peppers, and turmeric fingers. While saffron remains somewhat of an expensive delicacy here in the United States, it is only about 10% of the price in India (although quality varies, of course). These flavors and more combine to give each region (and smaller) very distinctive tastes!
Indian elephant with gold headdress prepares for a festival (Cochin, India)
Elephant with ceremonial headdress (known as a caparison) in Cochin, India. The elephant was out on a practice run for an upcoming festival; as a melting pot, Cochin incorporates many different festivals, from traditional Kerala events, to Northern Hindu gatherings, to Christian and Islamic festivals.
Longboat slipping through the serene lagoon (Kerala, India)
On the longboat to Marari Beach, Kerala, India. Tourism is an important part of the Kerala economy, and for good reason - the state boasts white-sand beaches, good weather, and cultural/religious destinations.
Time frozen as shopkeeper prepares banana chips (Thekaddy, India)
Banana chip production in Thekkady, India. The rain was torrential as we came through, forcing the deep-frying process to move under the shop's roof - don't try this at home! This village is near the Periyar Tiger Reserve, one of 27 in India.
A closer look at the Tak Mahal
Beautiful calligraphy surrounds the main arches of the Taj Mahal, telling stories from the Qur'an. Two interesting factoids: instead of being painted on, the calligraphy is actually created by inlaying black marble in the white marble, and that the font size increases higher up on the structure, done to ensure that the text appears to be uniform throughout the structure. The inside of the Taj is decorated with (among other things) a lapidary (complex inlaying) of precious and semi-precious stones, which create a wonderful sparkle.
Reflections on the Taj
Fun fact about the Taj Mahal: it is totally symmetric (both left/right and back/front), except for two aspects. The first is a little unavoidable, as the Arabic calligraphy around the edges is difficult to write/understand in a mirrored fashion. Secondly, the tomb was constructed by Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal in the middle of the structure; when he died, his son (who deposed him) placed his tomb just off to the side. Confusingly, the miniature minarets extending from the main structure can create an optical illusion that some pieces are at different levels.
Itmad-ud-Daula's Tomb, or "Baby Taj", was the Shah Jahan's inspiration for the more well-known Taj Mahal, constructed XYZ years later. While smaller, its design is no less intricate or sophisticated - very impressive in its own right.
Temple beneath the cloudy sky (Chennai, India)
Maintenance worker looks out over the temple in Chennai, India. These temples can be sprawling complexes of structures with very intricate stonework, requiring a significant amount of upkeep. Pro tip: circular polarizers are a great way to bring out the sky and the clouds by altering the quality of the light entering the lens
The Extravagant Interior of an Indian Palace
The Red Fort was constructed on the banks of the River Yamuna by the Emperor Shah Jahan. Like many things associated with royalty in India, the palace decorations can be completely over-the-top in their opulence and ostentation (this example being at the Red Fort in Old Delhi). The work is incredibly intricate and finely crafted - a show of resources. Many arches across North India show this scalloping around the arches as a nice architectural touch.
A Bishnoi brother and sister outside their hut near Rohet Garh, Rajasthan, India. In some countries and cultures a girl of this age may assumed to be the mother, but the Bishnoi women tend to get married at age 18 or 19 (to men 22-23), and have their children from there. (This shot is one of my favorites)
Portrait of a Colorful Grandmother (India)
Grandmothers can have distinctive fashion sense, too! While clothes in India are tremendously colorful, she has picked out an unusual combination of single-color scarf and interestingly-patterned pants and shirt.
Proud of her fresh henna (Cochin, India)
A mother with her child, proudly displaying her hand freshly decorated with henna in Cochin, India. Henna is generally milled into a powder, mixed with an acid (like lemon juice), let rest, and applied using a variety of tools to form a temporary type of body art.
Morning Moment of Silence for the Devout
A devout man stands next to the wall of a temple devoted to the god Vishnu in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. Ascetics in India frequently wear clothes of orange saffron color, making them very easily distinguished. Like many places of worship, this temple runs a kitchen for the "ill, infirm, maimed, and saintly".
Complexities of a Jain Temple
The Chaumukha Temple, a Jain temple in Rajasthan, is one of the most astounding structures I've ever seen! It has over 1,400 columns, 24 halls, and an incredible 80 domes. Each pillar is carved individually - the temple took over 60 years to complete in the 15th Century. HDR was used in this shot to capture the vibrance, power, and intimacy of the structure.
Sun Peeking Over an Indian Fort
The Mehrengarh Fort was constructed in 1459 when Rao Jodha established/conquered the city below, to be renamed Jodhpur (Rajasthan, India). Situated on a 120ft sandstone hill, the fort enjoys an excellent view of the old city and offers protection against invaders. It also functioned as a royal residence, and has an inordinate amount of space for the social functions that come with such a position. The afternoon light fell at a beautiful angle over the fort, highlighting its impressive construction.
A Bishnoi woman prepares lunch inside a poorly ventilated hut. The Bishnoi people are conservationists to the core, for whom the preservation of animal and vegetable life has been a religion since the 15th century. Their name comes from the 29 tenets that the founder laid down (bish = twenty, noi = 9).
A primer on turban wrapping
A man in Jodhpur (Rajasthan) creates maneuvers his brightly-colored cloth to make a traditional turban. These pieces of fabric are quite large, about 1m wide and 9m long, and are wound around the head many times to create the appropriate headgear. Helpful to have a partner!
Qutb Minar Rises Above Delhi
The Qutb Minar, 234ft high and 60ft in diameter, was carved by hand in the 12th Century. It is structurally intact, and has had only minor restoration to the lower segment, making its original beauty shine through. Fun fact: the minar was intentionally built at a very slight angle, and not for the reason you may initially suspect! The logic was that, in case of an earthquake, the structure would not fall on an destroy the mosque next door (on the left, out of the frame).
Durbar Square (now mostly destroyed by the earthquake).
A health clinic in Kavrepalanchok, near Kathmandu, Nepal.
"Sterilization" of medical instruments with boiling water in a rural clinic (no autoclaves available).
Looking down onto Durbar Square, Kathmandu, now mostly destroyed.
Rural Kavrepalanchok district (from the back of a bike).
Riding on dirt roads is dirty business!
Looking out over Kathmandu, from the Monkey Temple.
Religious festival in the streets. Colored powder flying everywhere! Didn't come off for days.
View from the top, looking out onto Durbar Square, Kathmandu.
Prayer wheels in motion
The Winds of Mount Monadnock
Mandelbrot would enjoy the spring hiking in Big River Management Area, RI.
Mount Monadnock (NH) on a sunny winter day. The winds here here high, in the 30-50mph range, and the snow blew off the trees quite dramatically.
On the Appalachian Trail.
A Walk in the Woods
A peaceful fall afternoon in the woods of the White Mountains. I've envisioned this shot for years, but because of challenges with lighting, haven't managed to produce something that I've been happy with (until now).
Saltwater fishing, Sachuest Wildlife Refuge, RI.
Sachuest Wildlife Refuge
Not pictured: dead whale washed up on shore.
Fire in Ohio
Not just for the river anymore.
Chill out, man
Rescued elephants relax in the river, and get a scrubbing by tourists near Chiang Mai.
A spectacular temple in Bangkok.
Riverboats are a popular mode of transport in the delta regions.
The golden temple
If only it were so simple, and there was only one golden temple in Thailand. Alas, there are many, but this example in Chiang Mai is a fine one.
A prayer in Chiang Rai
Rotee = crack (or, more like a nutella-smeared crepe; fairly similar.)
One of the most interesting landscapes I've ever seen, but this picture does not do it justice.
Really, really incredible.
Ayasofya from the inside
Be sure to visit both the Ayasofya and the Blue Mosque!
The proprietor was very insistent that they were made in the same factories as the originals. The quality seemed good (/heavy), and prices were not cheap ($300+), but I wasn't buying.
The facilities at Ephesus enjoy a good mechanical skeleton during renovations.