Tranquility

Tranquility. Relaxation. Meditation.

No matter how you call it, if you would ask somebody what is essential, when you try to achieve it, most would probably say that you need to be at a quiet place, so you can listen into yourself. And you would probably be  right about it. Silence does help, when you try to relax and be one with yourself.

However, I found something else that helps me to calm my mind. It’s water. It doesn’t matter if it is the sound of water dripping from leaves, the sound of waves at a beach or the murmuring sound of a little river. I simply sit down, listen to it and feelhow my breath and heart are slowing down. It’s almost like magic. and I love it☺

And so it is probably not surprising, that I sometimes like to take long exposure shots, as it almost always involves water and time. Loug exposure photography is a very slow process after all.

The shot abovehas been taken at the Foroglio watefall in Switzerland on a very cold morning. But despite the cold it was a very pleasant, relaxating experience.

What are your travel plans?

For the first time in years it is January and I have no idea, where I will spend my vacation. Maybe it is time to start planning? Do you already know, where you plan to go? I hope it will be a dream location and a dream vacation!

when planning vacation there is of course always the question whether I would like to revisit a place I have been already or venture into a new place. For a photographer, it is at least an easy thing to decide where we would like to be once again. After all, we have our vast photo library and it is of course well organized. So is yours, isn’t it? (If not, why not spend a few rainy days doing that?)

Maybe a short trip to Provence, France? It is a lovely place, very mediterranean, sunny, friendly people, good food and as you can see in the photo, also very nice to take pictures. Or maybe a bit further south, to the Isle of Corsica? It has been a while since I’ve been there.

There won’t be a big motorbike tour with my buddies this year, as I simply don’t have the time to go with them on the tour they will be doing. Island… It is for sure a place on my travel list, but I just can’t afford to take three weeks in a row this year. Too bad. But there will be other occasions.

So it will be Europe, that much is sure. And as the weather is quite miserable lately, it will most likely be a place in the sun :)

But enough about my plans. What are yours? Anybody having inspiring ideas, maybe coupled with some photos?

Stairway

Haven’t we all taken a shot like this? Specially if we like black and white photography. Stairways shot from above provide lines, structure and … boredom. Lets face it.

Anyway, lately I decided to take my Monochrom more often for a walk. After all you only take photos if you also have a camera with you . Yes, I know, we all have a cellphone and therefore alway have a camera with us but lets face it…. I prefere shooting with a “real” camera. Don’t get me wrong, you can take great pictures with a phone, but when taking pictures, it just doesn’t feel the same.

But let me get back to the shot here. The stairway is at my office and I had the Zeiss 50mm f1.5 lens on my monochrom and was just fooling around, taking random shot to get back into the practice of rangefinder photography and manual exposure when this gentleman entered the stairway and did me the favor of braking the boredom of the lines.

Not a great shot, but at least an interesting one.

Enjoy your weekend folks!

Preparing for Santa Claus

It is this time of the year again. When we rush into shops to get our christmas presents at the last minute. What a stress!

But hold on, isn’t there a simpler way? A more convinient one? One that does not involve running around like a madman?

Of course there is! All you need is to believe in Santa Claus, send your wish list to the north pole and then wait for him to drop by on Christmas Eve and deliver all the goodies.

Some people obviously do, like this chap here who illuminated a nice landing stip for Santa to land with his sleigh. Who ever you are, I envy you for not having lost your believes in wonders and miracle!

Madonna del Sasso

In 2012, I visited Locarno for the first time and then wanted to hike up to the church which is high above the town. It is called Madonna del Sasso and is part of the “Camina di Santiago”, the pilgrim way to Santiago in Spain. Unfortunately, it was closed for renovation back then and covered in scaffolds. Here’s the wikipedia article about it:

The Madonna del Sasso is a sanctuary and pilgrimage church in Orselina, above the city of Locarno in Switzerland. It is the principal sight and goal of pilgrimage in the city.
The founding of the sanctuary goes back to a vision of the Virgin Mary that the Franciscan brother Bartolomeo d’Ivrea experienced in the night of 14/15 August 1480. The interior is highly decorated, and a platform gives a magnificent view of the city.
The sanctuary is linked to Locarno city centre by the Locarno–Madonna del Sasso funicular.

So, when I decided to to on an extended photowalk last week, it was a no brainer what I wanted to visit in Locarno. it was a nice walk from the hotel. Speaking of hotel, I can really recommend touring Switzerland in November, the hotel rate was way down, I got two nights in the four star hotel Belvedere in a nice room with a lovely view for 310 Swiss Franks.

Locarno is always worth a visit, and being just a three hour drive from where I live, I guess, I’ll be back in Spring, I think it will look lovely in April or May. And I’ll have to go back anyways, as the church seems only to be open when mass is celebrated and of course I was there at the wrong time :)

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Madonna del Sasso, a beautiful view high over Lago Maggiore. I’m quite happy with the way the lens flare worked in this picture :)
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Entrance to the church. I don’t know why, but for some reason the view reminded me of architecture I would expect to find in Spain or Mexico

The photography bug didn’t leave

So for those of you who wondered why the blog got so quiet lately, it is not because I lost the photography bug or felt off the edge of the world. It is simply that I was very busy and the photos I have taken in the last couple of months were pictures of family and friends. And I hope you understand that I don’t put these on the internet :)

But now you can cheer up, I have a couple of days off and I plan to spend them going to the sunny southern part of Switzerland and spend them taking pictures. Lots of pictures. And if the bug is still in my blood, there might even be some worth showing off :)

So, I wish you all a nice time, lots of laughters and a good time!

Oh, and for those who wonder where this lovely mountain is located – Just head over to Switzerland and then visit the small village of Wildhaus. A marvelous place of earth and an area I used to live for a couple of years.

the lovely village of Wildhaus, located in Toggenburg, Switzerland
the lovely village of Wildhaus, located in Toggenburg, Switzerland

 

The invisible rope

I couldn’t sleep that night after having caught a member of the society practice his secret arts. There had been rumors about it, talks that sounded like bed time stories but actually seeing it was a completely different thing. I was in my bedroom, my eyes closed and yet the questions kept coming back, no matter how hard I tried to fall asleep. Did I really witness magic? Was he a member of that society or just some wizard passing through our town? And if he was a member, what if he or some other member saw me take that picture?

The cry of a cat under my window made me sit upright in my bed, my heart racing, cold sweat drenching my cloths. It was answered by another call, that sounded like a crying baby and I listened to the sounds coming closer, my eyes wide open, trying to pierce through the darkness of the room as I expected the shape of a black cat to appear in my window and brake through the glass. Another cat joined the concert and then a fourth and a fifth until the night was filled with the sounds. I had moved back in my bed until my back was pressing against the cold wall and I was about to scream for mercy when the hellish concert stopped and there was only silence and my frantic heartbeat filling my ears like jungle drums.

Dawn found me with my back still pressed against the wall and I only dared to relax when the first morning light assured my feverish mind that were no cats at my window that tried silently to get into my room and ensure the societies secrets remain untold. I eventually found some sleep and when I saw my pale face in the bathroom mirror I tried to convince myself it had only been a nightmare, fueled by my all too vivid imagination.

The next night was quiet and so was night after it and after a few days I had successfully convinced myself that I had only witnessed some optical illusion and the terrifying sounds the night after were a pure coincidental concert of cats in heat. But still my sleep was light and I kept finding myself waking up before dawn with a strange yearning to go back to that place. For days I resisted but then I convinced myself that in order to find my usual deep sound sleep, I should go and face my fears and so I left my home on a sunny morning in June just after the sun started to bath the city in warm golden light and walked the empty streets. I crossed the river Limmat and went up the small streets to the small place, not sure what I wanted to see once I arrived there.

At first it seemed to be almost empty, just a few people sitting at the far end of the gravel covered place, watching the sun rise over the city. I stood close to a large tree, listening to my shallow breathing and my nervous heartbeat as I tried to convince myself that everything was normal. My eyes scanned the environment. The people at the far end seemed to be ordinary tourists, just sitting there and not doing anything special. The low sun was casting deep black shadows on the gravel covered ground and my eyes followed a black line on the ground connecting the tree i was standing behind with another one further away like the black shadow of a rope tied to the two trees.

Only that there was no rope tied to the trees.

I tried to understand what I saw when the black line suddenly trembled as if a weight was added to the end tied to the tree close to me. I watched the shadow of a man appear, balancing on the shadow rope taking a slow step. I almost cried out when the young man appeared behind the tree, walking on thin air, his arms stretched out to keep his balance, just like his shadow, as it took step after step. I watched him take step after step as I lifted the camera without thinking and I pressed the shutter.

It's magic
Walking on thin air

Click

A sound as loud as thunder.

He stopped and turned in one elegant, swift motion. Our eyes met as he stood there, a few feet above the ground, effortlessly held in mid air by his shadow balancing the shadow rope. His eyes were black, no white surrounding his black pupils as they pierced into my core, rendering me immobile like a snake hypnotizing a rabbit.

You came.

I turned and ran. I didn’t scream as I turned. I don’t know why I didn’t, as I felt like screaming, just to make at least one of us use his voice as he didn’t use his to talk to me. I ran away, stumbled franticly along the small alleys down to the crowded Bahnhofstrasse, his soft laughter in my mind as I bumped into strangers until I couldn’t run anymore. I stared at the blue glass walls of the Prime Tower, realizing I had been running for miles. His laughter had grown weaker, the further I got away from him until it was barely there anymore, but there was still his last thought he shared with me.

We know who you are.

Pictures and thoughts from someone exploring photography

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