3871 – Saint Rochus in Strahov Monastery

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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.

3870 – The Library of Strahov Monastery

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May 252017
 

You can’t walk around here like in Austria’s Admont monastery Library, and if I’d have to choose, I’d take Admont for my books, but Strahov’s library is definitely the main reason why people come here. Not a bad reason, I’d say.

3668 РThe Graves of S̩nanque

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Nov 032016
 

Lavender fields in B&W? That would indeed be objectionable, but this post is not about lavender, this post is about the dead. See the graves on the backside of the church? This is the place where the monks find their last rest.

In the original color version the crosses, being in the shadow on a bright, sunny day, would have been easy to miss. B&W gave me the leeway to emphasize them dramatically but without ruining the image.

3667 РSecond of the Three Sisters: Abbaye Notre-Dame de S̩nanque

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Nov 022016
 

Sénanque Abbey is the second of the so-called “Three Sisters of Provence”.

To be honest, it was a little bit of a let-down. The view in the Image of the Day is one of the classic views in Provence: Sénanque, and in front of it endless lavender fields.

Well, actually the distance between the wall that I look across and the monastery is far from endless. The illusion in about every book is createy by wide-angle lenses. Actually it’s good that there is a wall, because otherwise it would be hard to get an unobstructed view at all. In other words: you can’t imagine how many photographers there are 🙂

You’ll see later, that we were generally a little bit too early for the lavender season. It was impressive elsewhere, but Sénanque lies higher than most lavender areas. Therefore the blossom is later, and for our visit it meant that we got precious little color. Have a look at Wikipedia to see what it should look like 😀

It was worse though. The monastery is still in use, it can only be visited as part of a guided tour, and unfortunately we had just missed the tour. What now? Wait?

We decided to have a look around and get a better feeling for what we’d be missing. The church was open, so I took a peek inside, found it almost completely dark, and otherwise it was just more of the same. By the way, the image of the inside has been taken at ISO 200 and 0.3s, handheld.

What we did not know, what our books did not depict, and what I had neglected to research beforehand, that was the cloister. In the end we gambled, left and lost – a little.

Any picture search with the terms “sénanque abbey cloister” will reveal a beautiful cloister. Had I had Internet access on the spot, I think the outcome would have been different. But then, I wanted to take some pictures on our way back, and had we stayed two more hours in Sénanque, I would have missed those. You’ll see what I mean in two days.

Oct 292016
 

Here we have again a mix of three lenses, the 12-40/2.8 at the top,

the fish for the image showing how the stairs leading to the cloister are situated in relation to the refectory (a cool application of this lens, if you ask me),

and finally the 7-14/2.8 for the B&W shot looking down. I like the image looking up best, therefore the order is a little bit weird 🙂

I can’t remember why I went B&W with the last shot, but I suppose this is a case of “tried it randomly and it worked”.

Oct 282016
 

Empty halls of pure architecture. That’s what those old French monasteries are.

The first two images have been taken with rectilinear lenses. I’ve used the 7-14/2.8 for the big hall of the church. Could easily be mistaken for Dwarvish architecture in Moria, below the Misty Mountains, right?

The third image has been taken with the 7.5/f3.5 fish. It’s a manual lens without electronic communication between lens and body, but I am absolutely sure I have used it wide open.

It’s the first time I have used a fisheye on vacations. You won’t see it in use very often, but during the months since, I have found it to be a valuable addition to my “Big Gear”.

Oct 272016
 

When you go to Provence, and when you love architecture and medieval art, and when you like monasteries and churches, in other words, when you are a lot like me, you have to visit the three big Cistercian monasteries. Silvacane is the first of them, located NNW of Aix-en-Provence.

Silvacane is not in use as a monastery any more. Its style is strictly Romanesque, colors and decorations are long gone.

This is not how those buildings have looked while they were in use. Medieval churches were painted in colors and richly decorated. Many of them still are, especially those that have not been used as horse stables or barracks, like it was the fate of so many of those buildings around and after the French Revolution.