Sunday, 21 August 2016

STAYCATION

Hello dear readers!

STAYCATION! With capital letters.


Five years ago I started this new tradition. 2016 it's time for another Staycation.
Meanwhile I know what to expect:

  • Spending time en plein air instead of airport terminals

  • Resting on comfy balcony chairs instead of those seats at boarding gates

  • Time to take close looks instead of rushing through busy schedules

Well, those who know me/my blog, know that I am the last person on this planet who would rush any kind of trip abroad. My schedules look more like this and this.

Staycation 2016: 5 km away from home, housesitting at my parents' home.
Very pleasing alternative to all possible trips abroad: the balcony

 The bumblebee became a regular visitor.

Happy furry insects are a lovely company



Spot the busy bumblebee

Could be that the bumblebee sensed the upcoming change of weather?

Main duty while house-sitting: watering all the plants. 

This is what the balcony looks like 24 hrs later:

Today is another day. A day where the sky does the watering.
Mirror, mirror on the leaf

Such a relaxed way to start a new day ... getting in touch with blossoms.



All pictures were taken with a SIGMA DP2 Merrill / 50mm. This camera loves overcast skies as much as I do. :-)

Staycation's middle name? Spare money!
 ... which leads to lasting memories aka souvernirs.

Have a lovely, relaxed sunday,
may it be cool like ours ... or hot like summer.



Monday, 15 August 2016

b/w Photography: Gear

Hello!

regular readers might be familiar with my vegetable cooler. It used to house mealworms in spring-time. New season, new purpose!

ready to go with a decent film stock at hand

About one and a half years ago, I sat at the legendary Café Jelinek in Vienna, chatting with a friend, after-work, talking about this and that, Rome and fashion and suddenly I came up with the idea of buying a pre-loved Nikon F4. The legend! Out of reach – moneywise – in my teenage years. See, I still know the name, having admired the famous camera only from the distance. Instead I teamed up with a Yashica FX-7, which turned out to be a reliable tool, it's still in use

The friend – a professional photographyer – disagreed: "Why buy a 35mm camera? F4? You should try medium format, that might be something for you"


It did not take long and I came home with this camera in my hands:
Yashica Mat 124-G

Binocular system
3 reasons why I favoured this camera over others:

1. no mirror
I look through an additional lens - the binocular system.  No mirror means, there is no flipping, no shaking, when the mirror moves. The binocular Yashica Mat allows slow speed, handheld - 1/30, 1/15 - no problem

2. light weight
The complete camera weighs less than a Hasselblad body. Trying various cameras, I noticed several reasons, why the Hasselblad is not for me. Mainly because my hands are too small. A friend, she is a photographer, gave me one advice: hold it and see how it feels. If it does not feel right in your hands, it's not right for you, no matter how phantastic the specs are.
  
3. built-in light meter
The light meter is nice. In the long run I teamed up with a hand held light meter. The camera needs a exotic battery, mercury free, which has a shorter life span, compared to the original mercury batteries in the 1970's. Ever 3-4 months approx. 9 EUR. 

Ordinary sky, seen on a digital camera display
The ordinary sky suddenly becomes special
6 months later a friend de-cluttered his closets, mainly camera gear. He knew about of my renewed passion for analogue photography ... 

Canon AE-1: Love!

I had no idea what a difference the gear makes until I started shooting with the Canon AE-1

Canon AE-1 and Viviar 70mm-150mm lens
The 70-150mm and I did not team up very well at the beginning. The 150mm zoom did not suffice for my needs when I wanted to capture details on facades etc. It did not make any sense, until ... well, until I heard read about 80mm & portrait!!

Our youngest family member is a Labradoodle: Luna


Both cameras – the Yashica Mat and the Canon AE-1 fit in this backbag:
KATA backbag
KATA was a legend. Was – because unfortuantely, KATA is no longer. Manfrotto bought KATA a few years ago. From what I've heard, the original  KATA knowhow* and KATA design became part of the Manfrotto pro-line.

Ok. Now you have read a lot about my cameras. And what about black and white? 

To be continued!

The follow-up posting will lead us straight to the dark room

* two Isreali guys, both experienced with weapons founded KATA. Their bags provided maximum protection for (all kinds of) gear. 



Monday, 8 August 2016

Wetlands

Oh, how I love the wetlands in Lower Austria. They are nothing new, only that I have discovered them recently. The "Nationalpark Donauauen" (National Park Danubian Wetlands) starts in the outskirts of Vienna and goes all the way down the Danube River towards Slovakia. 

Standing in the middle of the wetlands, you experience the overwhelming soundscape, wild animals.  Amphibians, birds, water animals. It was a spectacular experience. I have to go back and explore the wetlands a bit further.

vintage 6x6 TLR camera: YashicaMat 124-G / Film: Kodak Portra

The "disturbing depth of field" is on purpose. Well, maybe aside from all-too-prominent blurry leave in the foreground. ;-)

Garden Plot

I've noticed that a photo of broken trainers isn't the most welcoming sujet. So meanwhile, until it's time for the next post, a filler:

Typical Viennese garden plot with an impeccably groomed lawn  
This is the big picture:
Vienna's 21st district: Floridsdorf behind the rail tracks

Friday, 5 August 2016

Unreasonable

Shopping has ceased to excite me for quite a while. Spending money on the High Street just doesn't add up. In other words, THIS is not what I've expected to get after four years:
ugh. kaput GEOX shoes in their fourth year (shoelaces removed)
You think I am old fashioned, thinking that trainers can last longer than 4, 5 years?

You think, luxury goods have spoiled me, that I am expecting too much, f.e. better ageing? In the end those so called luxury goods don't seem to be that luxurious after all.

Calculated by "cost per wear" this pair of BALLY trainers was cheaper than any pair of shoes you find in bargain bins on the High Street.
BALLY trainers in their 19th year
Yes, I can see what you can see: these shoes do look quite old. Probably because they ARE old. :-) But: they are intact! No holes, even the shoelaces made it up to their 19th year.

Conclusio: I will remain loyal to the high end stores. The standards of luxury brands have probably declined over the past decades and that a future pair of BALLY trainers will probably not make it to its 10th anniversary. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  *shrugging shoulders* Time will tell.

Meanwhile I will focus a a new product group:

  This well curated choice did take me about 10 months. LOL 
Those 10 months were a pleasant sensory journey.

Apropos time will tell: over the past 5 years the steel crown aka timekeeper as pictured below has undergone various stress test: walks in the soaking wet Scotish Highlands, off-road tracks on dusty Siberian islands. Not to forget long bicycle rides on cobble stone roads on a daily basis.  

Cost per wear: declining on a steady basis
In the long tearm any cheaper alternative would probably add up, too.

Those nice Junghans Max Bill watches? I don't see them working on my wrist after 5-10 years, due to my physical demanding lifestyle. Renewing them they would force me to return to the stores, on a frequent basis. Yes, I call every 5 years a frequent basis. ;-))  ... which leads me back to the beginning of this posting.
 
Oh, not to forget: Being a fan of timeless, classic styles helps, too. Big time!. 

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Remarkable Heritage

En passent, while riding my bike, this housing complex caught my eyes. It is a remarkable estate which dates back to the late 1920's. It was the time between the wars, when the so called "Red Vienna" offered housing space for a vast number of people in Vienna - approx 63.000 aparments have been built during those years.

Social housing in Vienna, a remarkable heritage, dating back to the late 1920's

The city of Vienna looks after those estates, not long ago they funded a project for keeping records, very useful for curious people (in German only). Those large housing complexes carry names, just like large ships. The one above is named Somogyihof, after the Hungarian writer Béla Somogyi (1868–1920)

Brick facade with a capital X

The reason why I stopped, went back a few metres and took some photos is the way the architect Heinrich Schmid jun. worked with the bricks. It is not common in Vienna. In Hamburg the decorative (klinker) brick facades are a familiar sight in the "Kontorviertel", a district where you find old office buildings, a district I am very fond of.

Not exactly "Kontorviertel" but still: bricks, Hamburg, LOVE! aka "Speicherstadt" (09/2013)

Good to know there is still a lot waiting for me to be discovered in my home town city, within environmental friendly bicycle-riding distance. What a win-win.


Happy discoveries to you,
Paula

PS: I'd like to continue on this path: posting twice a week. Keeping my fingers crossed, with a capital X.  

Saturday, 30 July 2016

New Season

Hello!

Here I am, returning to my homebase: the good, old reliable blog.

I have been exploring the world of Social Media and I've enjoyed twitter. BUT: in the end it's always the blog which serves as an excellent archive, contrary to twitter, when searching for a certain photo, forwarding stories to friends or browsing through memories.

This blog has always served as a "Best of", at least to me. No matter how outdated blogging is in 2016, it feels right to pick it up and continue where I stopped.

Speaking of favourite places: a few weeks ago I went down South, the lake disctrict in Carinthia is just 330 km from Vienna.

Evening at Lake Ossiach, first day of the vacation, before tanning ;-)
I have visited Carinthia many times for many years, having walked on many frozen lakes. The Carinthian lakes are excellent skating "rinks":

Silbersee, Villach, Carinthia on New Years Day
This time I went there during the summer season, for the first time in ages. You can imagine my excitement. No, you can actually see my excitement:

Evening swim after a hot day at the literature festival. Lake Afritz, Carinthia, Austria
During the vacation the "40th Festival of German-Language Literature" happened to take place in Klagenfurt.

Very entertaining. Readings and the following discussions, seriously: big time entertainment. The festival takes place at the regional broadcasting studio and outside, in the garden in front of the studio building.

Stairway to literature heaven/hell*
 *depending on text & jury

Put "nerdy" in one picture? This! People listening to literature, 32° in the shade
Me, having an excellent time

Reading and re-reading at the beach the following days
Exclusive beaches in July (high season starting 2 weeks later)
The Wörthersee (Lake Wörth) is famous for ....
... its bright turquois water.

Happy people, nothing to complain about :-)


Free public beaches are rare in Carinthia, but they do exist. To my surprise many villages around the Wörthersee – the lake which is known for luxury and decadence – offer various free public beaches. 

The following photo demonstrates the wide range of colours and character those lakes in Carinthia provide: from tropical water (Wörthersee, above) to emerald green, mountainous forest lakes, such as Lake Vassach in Villach:

Another free public beach: Lake Vassach in Villach.


Enjoy your weekend!
Paula

Thursday, 21 April 2016

After work at the Volksgarten

 Every year there is a week that calls me to the Volksgarten. It's the one week where you find lilacs in bloom. The park is as central as you can get in Vienna.

Initially I went there to enjoy the smell of syringa in full bloom, but the light was too intriguing.
 Vienna City Hall in the background
 A few weeks from today, people will enjoy these seats in the cool shade. Today it was 17°C.

 Syringa as beautiful as every year.

 Hanami, followed by crow watching. 
Best down time I can imagine, following around a crow. Take your time. 

 Be sure to leave the garden before this gate closes!

 I know Vienna by heart. What I did not know until recently was the fact that the Belvedere garden is really dull in early spring.
Two weeks ago while cherry trees all over they city were in full bloom, not a single plant nor flower was in bloom at the Belvedere garden. Disappointing, the least. But not tragic. ;-)


This year (like every year?) the lilac season and the tulip season coincide.