Tag Archives: Zentralfriedhof

2920 – Blue Sky IV

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 😀

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

2919 – Last Call For An Angel

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.

2711 – Dust N’ Bones

While I write this blog post, I am on the train back to Vienna, I see an incredibly beautiful full moon and its reflection in Wörthersee, Carinthia’s largest lake, and although I know I can’t take an image of the scene, it doesn’t make me sad at all. It’s an image that can’t be taken with today’s technology.

I could strongly underexpose for the texture of the moon’s surface, and then perhaps merge that image with a second, longer exposure, overexposed for everything else. This would give me a hint of the moonlit landscape and maybe some clouds in the sky. That leaves us only with the problem of the multi-faceted reflections of the bright moon on the ever moving surface of the lake. Together those three targets, moon, landscape and water, pose a problem with no solution so far. The only solution would be a sensor with much higher sensitivity and – equally important – much higher dynamic range.

How much we would need? Well, I guess we’re talking about something like noise-free ISO 51,200, exposed at at least 1/60s and with a dynamic range of at least 16 bit. Starting from there we could talk about tone mapping strategies. Don’t forget: HDR is hard to get free of halo effects even if we disregard the problem of moving water 🙂

You see, even if I were not in a moving train with dirty windows, I couldn’t show you what I see. Maybe a lot more years need to pass, maybe I’ll live to see it, maybe this is left for future generations of photographers, at a time when I’ve long been dust n’bones.

The Song of the Day is “Dust N’ Bones” from the Guns N’ Roses album “Use Your Illusion I”. Hear it on YouTube.

2704 – Laid In Earth

Cemeteries are melancholy places almost by definition, and when a cemetery is old and neglected like the immense Jewish part of Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof, it is doubly so.

In this scene I loved the long perspective, the shadows of the trees, and without knowing I was extraordinarily lucky. Look at the full size on Flickr: There are two people in the far distance, exactly at the vanishing point, exactly in the right pose. I’ve tried a variant before and one after this shot, only a few seconds apart, but this is the only image with the two. I’m glad it was the best composition anyway 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Laid In Earth“, Dido’s Lament, today sung by Ane Brun. Hear it on YouTube.

2622 – Dead To The World

Here’s one more image from Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof, showing the grave of the industrialist Marcus Engel (1825 – 1909), a rich man, now long forgotten. He was glad to have been spared the end of his world.

The Song of the Day is “Dead To The World” from Patti Smith’ 1996 album “Gone Again”. Hear it on YouTube.

2621 – See That My Grave Is Kept Clean II

Here are some more images taken at Vienna’s Jewish cemetery, this time in color.

The day began with low fog, but by the time I had arrived at the cemetery gates, the fog had risen and I couldn’t make those graves-in-the-fog images, that I had come to take in the first place.

Nevertheless, there was dense fog between me and the sun, just not low enough to be photographically useful. Thus the light was low and colors were washed out.

One of the improvements in Lightroom 5.3 is, that they deliver camera profiles for Olympus cameras. These images use the camera profile “Vivid” (and then some additional vibrancy), thus they look less dull than it was. To my eyes the result is pretty believable.

The Song of the Day is again “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” from the Los Super Seven album “Heard It on the X”. Hear it on YouTube.

2620 – See That My Grave Is Kept Clean I

Vienna once had a big Jewish community. There are records of Jewish presence here from the 12th century.

Not that Austria treated its Jews particularly well throughout the centuries, but it was not worse than elsewhere, and Vienna was the center of an empire that once spanned the globe. For a few years at least 🙂

The nineteenth century was a time of assimilation and of Jewish expansion. Jews from Austria’s eastern provinces came to Vienna, those already here mostly tried to shed their Jewish identity. Judaism didn’t play that much of a role, participation in the society was the goal and many Jews even converted to Catholicism. People of Jewish origins became respected citizens, many even rose to the ranks of gentry.

Then came the catastrophe of the nationalist movement, culminating in the insanity of Nazi ideology. Suddenly people were determined by the believes of their grandparents. The Nazis invented an illogical pseudo-scientific race theory that essentially disrupted the effects of assimilation, and that forced the luckiest of their victims into exile, while the millions, who tried to flee too late or who did not have the means to buy their way into freedom, ended up in the horrible furnaces of Auschwitz.

These images were taken in the vast Jewish part of Vienna’s major cemetery “Zentralfriedhof”. There are thousands of graves of forgotten people. People whose children were murdered and buried in foreign soil, people whose children left and never dared to come back to the graves of their ancestors. It’s a sad place.

The Song of the Day is “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” from the Los Super Seven album “Heard It on the X”. Hear it on YouTube.