Oct 222014

Although, they will! Everything does. And that brings me to this year’s winner of the Nobel prize for literature, to Patrick Modiano. I’ve read two of his books now, the German translations of “Dans le café de la jeunesse perdue” and “L’Horizon”. Both are relatively recent works from 2007 and 2010, both are very short and, although they tell different stories, they share very similar motives.

In both books we have a main character who is obviously an alter ego of the author, and in both the “story” circles around a young woman who the main narrator once knew. I say main narrator, because there’s more than one and in both books we also get part of the story from the woman’s perspective. In both books Modiano introduces circumstances, but not necessarily explains them in detail. It’s all very sketchy, and, just like in real life, we are sometimes left with questions without answers. At least in “L’Horizon” this can easily get outright annoying, at least when the author has managed to make you curious about the fates of his protagonists.

OK, so where’s the connection between those books, the image and a song by the Rolling Stones, you ask? Well, these books are about memories fading away, about how chance connects us with certain people and how by chance we part. They are about a certain randomness in how we live and whom we join and for how long we do that, and they are also about how much of that is not even our own choice. We fall together like these leaves and we are driven apart like leaves by the wind. These books are about our vain effort to tie it all together in memory, to not let it fade away. These books are about time.

I like them and I think you may do so as well.

Oct 212014

Villach is a small town and does not have much that could count as interesting modern architecture. This building, part of the recently rebuilt Congress House, is not much of an exception either, but at least the color helps :)

The Song of the Day is “Red House” by Mina Agossi. Hear it on YouTube.

Oct 202014

Remember the time when I complained about having all those shiny prime lenses and not using them? Well, seems the time is over, the pleasure in using primes is back. I guess it will last at least until the 40-150/2.8 arrives :D

The Song of the Day is “Teeth” by Elvis Depressedly. Hear it on YouTube.

Oct 192014

This is an image that I took the first day I got my camera back. I hadn’t taken any images in four days but, wow, what a relief it was and how the joy returned!

The image is probably a tad over-processed, at least that was my impression while I did it, but I have to say that – honestly to my surprise – the final result looks pretty much like what I saw while I was there. Or at least that’s what I think now :D

The Song of the Day is “Autumn” by Marc Almond. Hear it on YouTube.

Oct 182014

This elaborate building was erected to celebrate the 50th year in the reign of “The Emperor“. And this is only one building. In Klagenfurt, my home town, it was a theater, and in the same way it happened all through his empire. And to make it even more absurd, I suppose most of these buildings he didn’t even visit once.

Oh, by the way, this image has been taken with my old Panasonic LX5 while the Olympus OM-D E-M1 was sent in for repair.

The Song of the Day is “Jubilee Swing” by Ella Fitzgerald and her Orchestra. Hear it on YouTube.

Oct 162014

By the way, in my rant about how awkward the D300 felt, I completely forgot to mention image stabilization :)

In this particular image I seem to have forgotten to use it though. 9mm, f5.6, ISO 400 and 1/60s: oh dear, I’d have gotten away with ISO 100 and 1/15s! I suppose it must have been because shutter speed was on the unresponsive back dial and I was fed up trying to change it :D

The Song of the Day is once again “Blue Sky” by Joan Baez. Hear it on YouTube.

Oct 152014

Recently I left work early and took the train down to Zentralfriedhof, Vienna’s gigantic central cemetery. I go there a few times a year, frequently in winter, and most of the time I keep to the Jewish part.

This time I went for the graves of the rich of the Fin de Siècle. You see, money can buy a lot, even for the dead, but nothing is for eternity. After a hundred years you see decay everywhere, but somehow that’s only fitting for a cemetery, isn’t it?

The Song of the Day is “Last Call For An Angel” by Viktor Lazlo. Hear it on YouTube.

Oct 142014

I’ve got my camera back. It took exactly two weeks, they have replaced the top plate and now everything is good as new. You may remember, the back wheel, normally shutter speed in manual mode or exposure compensation in A and S, had become extremely unresponsive. It is a problem that seemingly quite a few OM-D E-M1 expose after a while. At least you read about it on Flickr and in other forums, but then, people tend to get vocal when they’ve got a problem, while almost nobody praises, that things work as expected. Thus I have no idea how frequent the problem really is. Anyway, I got bitten by it and now it does not hurt any more :)

I didn’t even need to resort to posting images taken with my two backup cameras, the Nikon D300 and the Panasonic LX5. Actually I didn’t make that many either. The D300 felt outright alien in my hands. It is heavy, lacks live view and I just didn’t get into the mood with it.

The LX5 was better. Using it was pretty fun, although the resolution (7.5 megapixel in square ratio) is a tad low and the dynamic range does not give you much leeway. You either nail the shot or it’s blown.

All in all I felt uninspired during the two weeks, and when I finally got the Olympus back, it was a tremendous relief.

This image is from a pawn shop window in Vienna and the Song of the Day is “Pack Your Memories” by Vaya Con Dios. Hear it on YouTube.