Perfect happiness

The quiet, rare joy of enjoying the work of an artist previously not known.
Hans Robert Pippal

In a medium that’s my particular favourite and quite uncommon.
Pastel

To top it further was the subject depicted.
Streets of Vienna from the late 20th century. Vital and vibrant.

Vienna, 8th district. Theater in the Josef Strasse in Winter. ca 1975 Albertina, Vienna ©Bildrecht, Vienna, 2016

There is a special fragile quality of paintings from the 1970s , 80s and 90s.

Artists were facing a challenge from photography like never before. Painting had not found its new space that it has today in the 2010s.

As art became more abstract and non-representative, paintings like these, masterly in their confidence and skill, depicting reality as it was, yet more than just a capture of the scene, were rare. A treasure for the viewer today.

 

Mountains, mornings and winters

Mountains, mornings and winters seem to be made for each other. Specially after fresh snowfall. The Gerlitzen Alpe is a popular skiing destination and a photographers joy.

We went a little crazy.

Out with our cameras at all hours of the day and night. Including 4 and 6 am when the sky was clear and the stars performed their nightly drama. The fact that the wind howled and the air was cold enough to be felt through several layers, seemed somehow not to matter. (ok seems I did grumble a bit as my long-suffering husband informs me.  I naturally don’t remember such things 😀 )


Then morning came bringing with it a rosy sunrise.
The full collection of photographs can be seen on my website

A slow warm winter

It seems to be an endless wait for snow in our part of Austria this year. Around me are dry mountains, their trees still holding on to their last brown leaves. Much treasured are small areas around water where there is some frost and ice. A little of winter magic before Spring returns.

At Bärenschützklamm, a happy waterfall, ice dusts the moss-covered rocks. Some icicles reach down. Not yet strong enough to touch the ground.
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Some months ago, the forest was full of colour. Singing its Autumnal song. Now that song is ended. The winter one not yet started.

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We wait…

Natural Treasure

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Every year when the weather starts getting warmer and the alpine snow starts melting, a pretty little valley in the Hochschwab mountains starts getting filled with crystal clear water. Streams of fresh snow-melt flow down the mountains flooding the grassy valley.Hour by hour this lake expands and water levels rise reaching a depth of over 12 meters by mid May-June.

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The water however is so clear and the air so pollution free, the grass now under the water continues growing as do the many wild Alpine flowers. This gives the lake a unique green colour and with that it’s name. The Grüner See (Green Lake).

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Over the years as it’s beauty has become more known. The lake has become a popular weekend outing for families. A leisurely stroll around take a couple of hours ending with a nice meal at the local cafe.

Diving enthusiasts also come in droves. Enjoying the clear fresh ever if cold waters. A special thrill is to sit on a submerged park bench or cross swim over the small bridge when the water level is rise high.

For photographers the colours and reflections are all the thrill they need.

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Being civilised

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A sure indication of the nature of a city is the nature of its downtown. Specially at night. At the center of Vienna is the Stephansplatz. Every elegant strasse of Vienna’s sparkling downtown leads  up to it. Streets and streets full of high-profile fashion brands. Jewellery, fashion, art. There are shops for all. Add to them the glittering coffee-shops, so essentially Viennese.

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At the center of the plaza is a building that is at once a perfect match for this elegance and a contradiction to the busy commerce. The beautiful Stefansdom. Vienna’s huge Cathedral. Beautifully restored, the Cathedral is the heart of Vienna. A symbol of it’s staunchly Catholic past.

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At night as the Cathedral stands beautifully illuminated, its finely decorated exterior and grand interior is a fine symbol of  Viennese culture.  The beauty of all the arts Vienna has been famous for. Be it music, painting or porcelain. A highly evolved symbol of civilisation such as only a city can be.

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Snowflake

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Drifting down slowly
Dancing in every draft

It began it’s journey long ago
In a cloud that was so dark

In a warmer land it would be rain.
A big fat drop that comes splashing to the ground.

But now it floats every so softly
at leisure on its way down.

 

Charmed by Faschings madness

 

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I’d walked through the town center alone, for once not even with the company of my trusty Canon which was away for servicing. Carrying instead my husband’s Olympus. (I’m quite challenged when it comes to new electronics. It takes me several shoots before the camera becomes an extension of my mind and eyes)

A little hesitant. It’s been only some months since we shifted to Austria. I still have a struggle with the newness of the language, culture, mindset… even the weather. The sunny blue skied day for which I’d put away my heavy coat with glee was bitingly cold.  An icy wind cutting through my fleece jacket faster than the proverbial hot knife through butter.

As I made my way through the town, it seemed the streets of Leoben were inhabited today with ghosts and demons and witches and clowns and sheikhs and the Simpsons. For it was the day they call Faschings. The Germanic version of the Carnival.

I did my recce round and choose a sunny spot from which to see the parade. Standing midst a crowd of people. Still shy about taking photographs. Street – people photography and the amount of courage it takes has had reams written about it already.

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But the light was strong and clear and the tricky lensbaby I had on the camera required every bit of concentration. As the procession reached me I got bolder in the photographs I was taking. Stepping forward to get a clearer view. Losing some of my nervousness and as I did that, I found myself being welcomed into the crowds.

Sweets and smiles were thrown with abandon by the people in the procession. Many stopping specially for their photograph to be taken. Rewarding me with a brightly coloured bon-bon for my efforts

For that moment I was part of the world here. No longer a stranger.

More on Faschings here