Funny. Yesterday I went into this church in Faak (located in “Kirchengasse”, who would have thought that) to make some HDR images, and I did, but so far I’ve not even try to work on them. This image clearly was my favorite. It always amazes me how incredibly easy it is to create foregrounds out of nothing. You only have to use an ultra-wide lens (this of course being my Sigma 10-20 at 14mm and f9.5) and go very, very low. At this time of the year it is especially easy with all those flowers around.
The Song of the Day is “Tryin’ To Get To Heaven” from Bob Dylan’s 1997 album “Time Out Of Mind“. At least for me the sound samples on bobdylan.com don’t work, but those on Amazon do, so please go there. Hmm … we had some references to Dylan in the past and you can safely bet that there’ll be more. I haven’t seen the old man en vivo in quite a while though.
No more than 85 people live in Hochfeistritz, a small village in eastern Carinthia, 968 meters above sea level, perching on the western flank of the mountain range called “Saualm”. A narrow, winding road leads up there, and one would not necessarily expect a jewel of a Gothic church in this lost place, but here it is, a pilgrimage church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who, according to legend, in the year 1215 has appeared to a peasant, standing upon a spruce. The current church dates from 1460.
The Song of the Day is “Santa Maria, Strela do dia” (Cantigas de Santa Maria 100), not exactly a Carinthian pilgrimage song, but one of the more beautiful.
Which version? Hard to say, because everybody who dabbles in old (well, very old) music has sung it. Personally I probably like Jordi Savall’s version best. Sadly Amazon has no sound sample of this, so have a look at this version.
In reality it does not matter which version. As you get hooked to that kind of music, you want to have all of them, because all are different. Some are only sung, others use various kinds of medieval instruments (and there are many), and there is no right or wrong.
It is now at least 20 years since I shot a series of slides in Vienna’s Votivkirche, a neo-Gothic church erected between 1856 and 1879 to commemorate the rescue of Emperor Franz Joseph (yes, the one from the “Sissy” movies) from an attack. Read the whole story on Wikipedia. Funny. This person is so engraved into Austrian minds, that he is simply “The Emperor”, as if there were none before and none after him. This always reminds me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ novel “El otoño del patriarca” (“The Autumn of the Patriarch“), a not entirely unfitting comparison for what our late Emperor really was 🙂
I was then fascinated by the light reflexes from the stained-glass windows, and when I was there Thursday noon I was struck again. Don’t get me wrong, this is Kitsch, not the real thing, but it is pleasant Kitsch and it is well executed.
I had no tripod with me but, using the Nikon 18-200 VR, it was possible to shoot at 1/8s hand held. Did I say that I love VR? And did I say I love Auto-ISO? All shots were made at 1/8s, but the camera automatically varied ISO between 200 and 1250, 1600 would have been allowed by my settings. Sure, some images have more noise than I would like, but none has more noise than necessary, given the light. Without Auto-ISO I would have had to change ISO all the time or, more likely, would have set it to 1600 and shot with that all the time.
The Song of the Day is an instrumental Jazz piece by the late Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, “The Emperor” from their 1986 album “Avant Pop“.
The weather should have been better today, but it was reckless and defied the forecast, which again called for interiors. Finding an empty church on Palm Sunday is not so easy, thus I decided to try my luck with Stift Griffen, a former monastery of the Premonstratensians, about 30km east of Klagenfurt. It has two churches, a cloister, and a big graveyard within the walls. Today it houses a museum dedicated to the Carinthia author Peter Handke, who was born near Griffen.
This image was taken in the older, smaller church. I saw the lone candle on the floor, just in front of a small step, and I decided to go very, very low. I used the Sigma 10-20 at 10mm. Again it is an HDR image made from seven exposures at 1EV distance, tone mapped with Photomatix and then post-processed in Photoshop.
The Song of the Day is not a song but an instrumental piece, “Who Will Rescue You?” from the fantastic 1996 Jazz album “The Carla Bley Big Band Goes to Church“. Very recommended, just as most of her work, no, all of it that I know 🙂
Weather here in Carinthia is … sub-par. A drab sky, some drizzle all in a while, lovely. In cases like that you better photograph somewhere inside, and why not in a beautiful gothic church like Maria Saal? We already had this church in “29 – At the Church“. This time I took five images, no more. One from the outside, four from the inside, all of them HDR made from seven exposures bracketed with 1EV distance, all of them treated with Photomatix in a first step and lots of Photoshop layers afterwards. All images were taken with the Sigma 10-20 at 10mm, of course from the tripod.
What is the Song of the Day and why have I named this image after the bench? Could it have been the sinister sky that made me think of “The Mercy Seat“? Sure, we could have this from Johnny Cash from his “American III: Solitary Man” album, but that would do neither the song nor the image justice, no it must be the original, Nick Cave on “Tender Prey“.
Oh yes, did it look that way? Nope, not at all 🙂
The Song of the Day is not exactly one but three, a recitative, a duet and a chorus from George Frideric Handel’s Messiah. These are:
Recitative (Alto) – “Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.” (I Corinthians 15 : 54)
Duet (Alto/Tenor) – “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.” (I Corinthians 15 : 55-56)
Chorus – “But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15 : 57)
There are so many recordings of “The Messiah”, I have 14 and that’s far from comprehensive, so what shall I recommend? Personally, I like the interpretations of William Christie, John Eliot Gardiner, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Trevor Pinnock best and, though you could fail with none of them, Trevor Pinnock‘s is probably the most consistent.
This is a tombstone in the western wall of Klagenfurt’s parish church of Saint Egidius. I took the image with the Sigma 10-20 at 10mm and f8. I have rotated and cropped the image quite a lot, because originally I had another idea for the composition. Sometimes it’s fine to have enough reserves.
Goodness, it’s late! I’m back to Vienna and have spent hours preparing images and yesterday’s entry. Let’s keep it brief now.
This is the parish church of Rosegg in Carinthia. Light was mediocre today and, as I had to catch a train, I had no time to wait for sunset, thus I decided to make an interior shot. Quite challenging contrasts 🙂
Do you like Chris De Burgh? I guess he’s not everyone’s taste, but when I was a teenager, he was very popular, and out of sentiment I seem to have most of his records 🙂
“In A Country Churchyard” from his album “At The End Of A Perfect Day” is the Song of the Day.
Late, late, late! Sorry, I could not make up my mind. Yesterday I had quite a variety of mediocre images and some good ones, this one probably the best. I drove to Klagenfurt for some night images, finding myself quite disgusted by the Christmas decoration and all the traffic, but there are some quiet spots, even in these busy times.
One of those places is the half-open yard at the Dome, facing Lidmannskygasse. Here I found this secret conversation between the Holy Hemma of Gurk and an angel.
I didn’t feel well today, not at all, as I seem to have caught a cold. I still wanted an image, thus I drove to Sternberg, a small church on top of basically a big rock. It has an awesome view and at this time of the year you can even see a sundown from there. Not that there would have been anything mentionable about the sundown, as the sky was featureless blue. Maybe I’ll show some sundown images this winter, though I doubt that the road is usable throughout winter.
After some tinkering around with color versions, I decided to present the image in B&W, as this seems to give better balance.
Magdalensberg is a mountain near Klagenfurt, the church on top 1059 meters above sea level, that’s almost 600 meters above Klagenfurt. Enough to keep it out of the fog in all but the most severe cases, accessible via a good street throughout the year. 2000 years ago the Romans were there, and they came only after the Celts. Today there is an archeological park near the top and opposite of the church is an inn, open all of the year as well.
Yesterday (yes, I’m a tad late with this entry) I was there with my father to shoot the sundown. I did, it was quite spectacular, but then I can’t always post sundowns, can I?