Sep 142016
 

I’m growing old. On a free day in Vienna I thought I’d take some images of waterfalls.

They don’t come aplenty around Vienna, but there are a few not far away to the south. Myrafälle (Myra Falls) they are called, and they are quite a tourist attraction.

Lots of people queue at the entrance in the lower part of the gorge. The way through is extremely busy, but if you’re patient, it’s definitely possible to get some images that look like “wilderness”.

Of course it was not the right time of the day, at least if you’re looking for silky water. On the other hand, using a tripod in that location would have been completely impossible anyway, therefore even a very strong neutral density filter wouldn’t have been an option. I took my images with small apertures instead (most of the time f10) and tried to avoid the most contrastful areas.

The funny thing is, and that’s the reason why I say I’m growing old, it took me all the way through the gorge to realize that I had already been there once. I don’t remember when though.

I know that I must have turned around somewhere after the middle, because I don’t remember the – rather unspectacular – upper part, where the gorge widens and you follow a small and quiet creek.

Actually I don’t remember having taken photographs either, so it may have been sometime around 2000 or even earlier. In any case I found the experience of that memory loss a little bit spooky 🙂

3615 – Pills

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Sep 112016
 

I’ve found this ceiling in a modern church in Vienna. I suppose I pushed the colors a little more than necessary, but actually I like the plasticity of the result. Ymmv.

Btw, today is the 15th anniversary of the event that formally turned western democracies into fundamentally authoritarian systems.

Not that secret services world-wide wouldn’t have interpreted the laws in “creative” ways before, but this was the point when we handed the world officially over to unelected, unaccountable, secret organizations with secret plans and methods. And when we did find out about them, well, it was all lies, propaganda, power games, torture and war crimes.

1984 I was convinced that the book was outdated and essentially only valid in dictatorships and in the Soviet Empire. When I first saw Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil”, I recognized many things, but although I adore the film, I found it factually exaggerated. “Minority Report” was fascinating, but built around such a fundamentally stupid idea, that I didn’t see anything like that coming.

I was wrong in all accounts. We’re well past 1984 when it comes to surveillance, the idea in “Minority Report” is pursued by police forces world-wide, and as far as “Brazil” goes, more and more I feel like being right in the middle of it.

Wouldn’t it be a cool idea to stand up, step back and recognize again that we are “The People”? All that has happened has happened because of choices. Choices have been made by people who were not entitled to make choices that could (and did) destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. But leaving those choices to those people, that’s also a choice.

You can always choose Norbert Hofer in Austria, Marine Le Pen in France or Donald Trump in the US. They won’t disappoint you in one respect: choosing them will change a lot. Only not for the better.

Choosing the authoritarians means choosing choices to be taken away from you. That’s the very nature of authoritarianism: Someone decides all the things and it’s not you!

3601 – One Cool and Foggy Morning

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Aug 282016
 

I don’t do HDR very often. I used to do it in the past, but frequently it seems too much hassle. Dynamic range of digital cameras has become so good, that it rarely is necessary any more.

And there are exceptions 🙂

This image is one. No way I could have got both clean grass and that much detail in the sky in one exposure. I can’t remember whether I had to clone out a reflection of the sun in the lower right part, but I suspect I did …

… no, I’ve just looked up the original exposures, and there is really no trace of a reflection. Amazing how good those Olympus lenses are on Olympus bodies. I have no idea how well they do on Panasonic bodies, but I’ve always had trouble with extensive flares when using Panasonic lenses on Olympus bodies. Must be some incompatibility of sensor reflectivity and lens coating.

3595 – Two Days Later

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Aug 222016
 

Looks like a long time has passed, right? It didn’t. Only two days are between the images in yesterday’s post and these two.

I’ve used the same lens and I’ve tried for roughly the same perspective. It’s not perfect, but hopefully good enough to convey the sense of wonder 🙂

Aug 212016
 

April 28. We’ve had snow that late in earlier years. Well, I can remember at least two occasions, one was even in early May. Never before was it that much though.

We had already brought most of the plants out, and it was arranged that in a few days the protective nets for the cats would be strengthened, in order to better survive next winter. They had suffered a little, even though we’d had an exceptionally mild winter.

Well, and then 15 cm of that wet, heavy slush fell down on us in a single day. It was even more in Klagenfurt, around 20 cm, and friends from Rosental, the valley where we lived for 20 years, told us a story of 40 cm of snow and almost two days without electricity.

3589 – The Secret of the Spiral

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Aug 162016
 

Do you also like this kind of images? Exotic spiral staircases? I certainly do. You see a real lot of them on Flickr and elsewhere, and I have always wondered how people find so many of them.

Well, I suppose I know now. I’ve always looked in public places for big spiral staircases. Of course the few that I found were always full of people. Recently I discovered this one, and suddenly it all became clear: they are tiny and narrow! They are not in big public buildings, they are in private houses.

It doesn’t mean that I’ll suddenly find more of them, but it means I can stop looking in the wrong places 🙂

3583 – Uncertain Situation

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Aug 102016
 

Things got shaky in Europe pretty quickly. I write this post two weeks ahead of publishing, so everything could have happened between now and when you’re reading this.

Everybody seems to have gone mad. We’ve had an almost daily succession of violent events during the past week. It is all blamed on IS terrorists and the IS itself (if there is such a single entity indeed) claims responsibility. In reality it does not seem so clear though.

One guy born in Iran and having run amok in Munich seems to have been more of a Nazi, racist and convinced of his Aryan superiority, full of hate for his victims who all were immigrants of Bosnian, Arab and Turkish origin. If you think of it, this guy definitely didn’t sympathize with the IS. He still began his rampage in the same week as some other guys likely related to IS, or at least saying so in their final vanity.

It all does not make sense. The only common thread seems to be a desire for violence, coupled to a disregard for their own lives. It’s depressing. Meanwhile we wait for the next thing to happen, and at the same time the populists try to take advantage of the situation, try to hurl us down into a maelstrom of violence and counter-violence.

Yesterday a priest was cruelly killed in France. The two terrorists, shot by the police when they left the church, were said to have been “neutralized”.

The discussion forums of the newspapers were full of comments. The last I saw were 6000 comments below one single article.

Wise words? Few. One comment suggested family, friends and indeed the whole circle of acquaintances of all terrorists should be “neutralized”. I asked if he really meant mass killings, and he said, no, he had only meant those people should be detained.

Well, asking for plain murder still seems to be off-limits, but obviously concentration camps become thinkable again. And I’m afraid that’s exactly where we’re heading.

3482 – The Window of Opportunity

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May 012016
 

For those of you living in a big city: Do you ever visit your own museums?

I certainly do so on vacation in other cities. I rarely miss an important one. But Vienna? Yes, I’ve been a few times in Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna’s most important collection of paintings, but it took me more than 30 years to visit the Academy of Fine Arts. Yes, that’s the academy that refused Hitler and forced him into politics. What a pity! The world of Art would have survived another talentless painter, but so many millions of people would have survived. The Academy has a much smaller collection, but it has one of the most interesting works of Hieronymus Bosch.

Finally in January, and now we are where this image was taken, I visited Albertina, the museum primarily known to me for its graphic art collection with DĂĽrer’s famous “Young Hare“.

Oh how mistaken I found myself! They have a vast collection of modern Art with major works from the Impressionists, Expressionists, Surrealists and many more. In any case, if you are ever in Vienna and are even remotely interested in paintings, all three museums are well worth your time.