May 262017

Saint Rochus is something like the “spare church” in Strachov Monastery. It’s a gallery today and when I was there, they had classic modern paintings on display. Chagall, Ernst, that kind.

Well, the paintings were interesting, but what really fascinated me was the church with its blank, white walls. Mesmerizing.

May 092017

Yeah, I know, don’t tell me: I’m milking Saint Nicholas. At least this will be the last wide-angle image of the church 🙂

But then: isn’t it beautiful? It took quite some preprocessing, I’ve played a little bit with the colors, but basically that’s what it feels like to stand up there and looking across this gorgeous hall.

May 082017

Today’s the 8th of May, for some among my fellow citizen still a controversial date. It’s the day Nazi Germany surrendered in 1945.

Almost every city has a street named after the date, but for many it was always seen as a Day of Defeat rather than the day Austria got back its freedom. Every year we still see functionaries of the so-called Freedom Party (FPÖ) gather that day to “remember the victims”, which is a mostly a euphemism for remembering the “Good Old Days”.

May 072017

Rectilinear lenses are so much easier to use than fisheyes. They exaggerate the corners, while the view through a fisheye comresses everything near the edges. This makes it much harder to compose precisely. A good viewfinder helps (and the E-M1’s is very good), but when viewing a fisheye image on the monitor, you’re almost guaranteed to find flaws.

Mar 102017

Pretty nice, right? Of course this is not a really old church. In a way these late 19th century churches, with their architecture always mimicking some historic style, could well be dismissed as kitsch, but on the other hand I like to think that a church does have a purpose as well.

If a church of roughly similar looks fit that purpose 800 years ago, I see no reason why the style shouldn’t fit the purpose today. Or, look at it this way, if we accept that Yellowstone can be the subject of images after Ansel Adams, why shouldn’t we accept Neo-Romanesque or Neo-Gothic architecture?

Anyway, I like churches to be bright, and this one surprised me pleasantly.

Nov 292016

Lavender is a hard test for your judgement and your honesty. It forces you to lie.

Make a Google image search for lavender. You immediately see amazing (and sometimes atrocious) colors, but much of what you see is a blatant lie. Lavender does not look like on Flickr, it looks more or less like … here in my images. Yes, two weeks later it may be stronger in color, but it is not that intense violet, that you so often see, and it’s not an intense pink either.

Lavender’s color is more modest. It is tempting to present it as something garish that it isn’t, but even if you can resist, your troubles are only just beginning. The problem is, that it looks very different, depending on the light and your position relative to the sun.

It’s easy to make the test: On a sunny day, for instance at 10 am, when the sun is already high but still directional, hold your car at a lavender field, take a few steps into it (being careful to stay between the rows and not to trample the flowers), and then take images in different directions. All those images will have been taken at roughly the same time, the difference will only be the direction of light and the amount of backlight.

All images will look vastly different. Some will look more “correct” and some less so. If you process all of them in the same way, you will have some that look grossly wrong.

What I did was trying to “harmonize” the images. That’s a euphemism for lying, of course, but – believe me – I’ve tried the alternatives and they are worse.

3692 – Abbaye du Thoronet: Above the Cloister

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 3692 – Abbaye du Thoronet: Above the Cloister
Nov 272016

I’ve never seen a cloister like this. Like in Silvacane the refectory is above church level and atop the chapter house.

Not only do stairs lead down to the cloister though. Through the refectory you can also get out and on top of the cloister.

Of course the ultra-wide at 7 mm makes the cloister look bigger than it is. At 14 mm the third image, while still wide, gives a more accurate impression.

In hindsight, of the “Three Sisters”, l’Abbaye du Thoronet is the most impressive, and even more so because of this unusual view.

3691 – Abbaye du Thoronet: The Church

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 3691 – Abbaye du Thoronet: The Church
Nov 262016

The Abbaye du Thoronet is the third of the “Three Sisters”. It’s not in use any more and most of the outbuildings are already in ruins.

You reach the abbey on a small street. To the left is a big parking area with a small café (very welcome afterwards), and the abbey itself is on the right side. You follow a short, cobbled road through oak trees leading down to the gate.

There you pay the entrance fee, and then you can either go to the right and up to the humble main entrance of the church (depicted here), or you go down through some ruins and into the cloister. Church and cloister have been beautifully restored.

Everything is empty though. We know that mediaeval churches were colorfully painted, but nothing is left of that. Again it’s all naked architecture, only that the stone here has a beautiful red tinge.

Nov 252016

Using a fisheye is hard. Before you look through the lens, you never know what you’ll get.

For the fountain the lens was ideal. Everything is round here anyway, you have to look twice to even see the fisheye effect.

The image from the chapter house is extreme, but then, in a certain way it conveys what I saw and how it felt to be there. That’s a funny thing to say about an image that’s totally distorted 🙂

The third image, looking from the cloister into the chapter house (yes, it was that dark in there) is somewhere in the middle.

For comparison I have an image taken from the church down into the cloister, also ultra-wide, but this time with the rectilinear 7-14/2.8.

Fisheyes: this is really stuff for experimentation. Try it out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Predictions impossible 😀