All posts in General

21 Feb

impressions of Friuli

friuli neither is the most impressive nor the most visted part of italy, but definitely  has it’s own character, secrets to be uncovered, plenty of history and culture and offers beautiness for those, who are willing to take a second look.

most people don’t pay any attention to the beautiful lake of cavazzo, they just rush along the motorway to reach the adriatic beaches. they miss a piece of jewellery called venzone – hit hard by earthquakes in the past (1976) and rebuilt originally brick by brick. cozy village with a lovely shop for lavender based-products and frightful, curious mummies to visit in the crypta of san michele.

we made a short side trip to the fortezza di osoppo, after all world war one had it’s centenary recently and the historic fight places between the austrian hungary and the italian military are still very present as well as he fortification used in these days. he fortezza turned out to be a lovely green and restful place to stay with a nice cafe. offering a great view to the surroundings.

next stop san daniele del friuli, well known for the famous prosciutto. interesting to see how how professional & touristic the big companies act along the sr463 in terms of marketing & selling their products. we turned away from those crowdy places towards the magnificent frescos inside the chapel sant antonio abate and enjoyed silence and wonderfully lit, intense colors of the frescos.

following the river tagliamento downstream we reach villa manin (gallery) near codroipo, the residence of the last doge of venice – lodovico manin. this historic building even hosted napolean bonaparte, who commented on the palace the following sentence  bon mot: to big for an earl, but too small for a king :)

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a few kilometres to the east lies palmanova, a unique star-shaped city designed at the drawing-board, once built as a supporting base for venice and fortress against the turk. nowadays more known for a huge shopping center in front of city.

as we head on to direction “mare” (the sea) we pass aquilea, once the biggest city in italy and today well known for its art treasures like the mosaic in the cathedral. we also enjoyed the sweets served in the cafe near the cathedral as well as a truly recommendable museum dedicated to the story of pinocchio.

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on the way to trieste it’s mandatory to stop gradisca d’isonzo, a really pretty village well suited as a base for visiting all the historic places of world war one, which are located along the river isonzo. this includes a trip up the monte san michele, a small hill, from which one can enjoy a wonderful clear view of the surroundings up o the alps in the north. it’s so quiet an peacful up there that all the cruelties of the famous isonzo-battles are hardly to imagine. in a short footwalk around the top of the “monte” those deaf witnesses of the grimly fights 100 years ago – the emplacements and caves of the austrian and italian military – can be visited.

Sacrario Militare di Redipuglia
the fascistic monument in redpipuglia – errected during mussolini’s dictatorship – for the italien soldiers, plays in class of it’s own compared to the austrian-hungarian graveyard, which is located one km to the north of redipuglia. the sunset in the evening during my visit gave it an almost unreal though peaceful paint, covering the monument’s hard and bombastic character.

heading direction trieste on the magnificent coastal road ss14, along the carso, miramare palace, faro della vittorio, grotta gigante, …, so much to visit, so less time…

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of course we stopped in udine on our way home, a strange place, which felt like a relict of medevial times – dark and threatening.

enjoy my friuli-selection in the gallery :)

 

06 Jan

cornfield

In General by admin / 20150106 / 0 Comments

There are plenty of wonderful cornfields just around the corner of my workplace.
Despite to the amount of corn it seems, that there’s just one single harvester available for all local farmers, which leads to half harvested fields or sometimes last the whole autumn untouched and therefore can be looked at for a long period of time – under different weather conditions a simple “must shoot” for photographers :)

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Especially in the evening, when the light is low and the sunset generates a warm, golden and magic ambient worth taking some pictures.

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In conjunction with the some nice filter effects from the nik collection one easily gets some very pleasing pictures. Quite understandable why it sometimes is so hard forme to pick the best shot out of very different moods…
a very simple explanation why i simply show them all :) or at least a few! i invite you to watch them all here in my gallery.

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03 Jan

the art of graffiti – linz 2013

In Fuji X-Pro 1,General,graffiti,linz by admin / 20140103 / 0 Comments

i always connected grafitti with big cities like vienna, berlin, NY – overseeing the fact, that also linz seems to have a really vital scene – at least in terms of the speed the walls get overpainted ;-)

i became aware of some fabulous paintings in october ’13, while slendering along the river danube near the römerberg-tunnel and really was stunned about the high quality of the artwork. since then, i opened up my eyes, googled and found some more places – all of them officially released for graffiti paintings from the administration of linz – and even got in contact with some of the artists.

they paint as fast as i am able to take my shots, so they keep me rushing once a week through all the locations to document the goings-on.

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as most of the paintings are done in pedestrian underpasses, photographers have to face with two imponderables – limited space and irregular lightning conditions.
the first thing simply can be surpassed with a wide angle lens. i mostly used the xf14 for taking the pictures, but somethimes wished to already own the forthcoming xf10-24 as tunnels offer limited possibilities to alter one’s own shooting position.
but i also like the pictures shot from a perspective view (with the xf18-55), as these add depth and a nice kind of athmospheric feeling, including the immediate surroundings like neon tubes, pedestrians and part of the floor and ceiling.

the different lightning conditions are a little bit more of a hard nut to crack. sure – the x-pro 1 is capable of delivering good high-iso shots, but the neonlights just burn in the night – making it even darker and more complicated during the daytime – and many of them are burned out, leaving dark areas on the walls and thus resulting in an unbalanced illumination.

a tripod of course can ease the problems, as well as using a flash – in my case a fuji ef-42 with soft bouncer – the latter with surprisingly good results compared to my old nikon d80-dslr with external metz af-48, although it also depends a lot on the colors used for the graffiti paintings itself. glossy silver or dark surfaces like brown and black deliver often unwanted bright spots during flashing, as the used acrylic spray print gets a highly smooth surface when dryed up reflecting light fairly well.

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overall i’m quite pleased with the results i got and it’s in the nature of graffiti to produce punchy, colorful and highly saturated pictures, leaving plenty of room for post processing steps like applying b/w-conversion or trying out different film-simulation modi.
just in case you’re interested: the jpegs have been developed with corel’s aftershot (sometimes using sean m. pucket’s wonderful nostalgia plug-in), the raws undergone processing in LR5 with silver efex2. pictures in the gallery nearly all show the jpeg-version, as i am mostly quite pleased with the results i am able to obtain from them – so enjoy viewing them here..

***

so what about my new year-wish? linz, please give the boyz more space to paint!
and linz note:
there’s no fairy needed for fullfilling the wish to make all our lives a little bit more colorful – just a few more walls ;-)

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“Guads Neichs” (= happy new year in upper austrian slang ;-) auch für euch Pius, Kosh, Syno, Keos, Hoek, Thys, Members of the One Two Crew, Method, Urag, ..

27 Aug

photo essay of linz höhenrausch with xf27

In Event,Fuji X-Pro 1,General,Shooting by admin / 20130827 / 0 Comments

what a really lucky guy I am…

a few days ago I just walked in the local photostore to pick up some equipment for my loewe photobag and while paying couldn’t help asking for a delivering date of the fujinon xf27 – the answer came immediate and really unexpected: “yes, we do have one in stock since yesterday!”  BONG :-))

after testing af speed and minimal focus distance with a few shots inside the store it took me another hour of thinking and googling, but then returned back and bought the lens.

why did I hesitate? well, I’ve not been quite sure, if the lens was worth buying or if it’s better to wait for the xf23 prime?
on the pro side, since I’m not owning a prime lens near the 35mm ff-format, it definitely does fit well in my existing xf-collection (14, 18-55, 60, 55-200). besides that, I assumed, that I can benefit from the pancake size, offering low weight and a “stealth mode”-design due its smallness, which for sure is also practicable for street-photography.

the xf23 prime on the other hand will offer two stops more – from f2.8 down to f1.4 – and will certainly play in it’s own optical class, providing a different – higher level – playground for us photographers.
for those now asking: what about the xf35? I can respond, that I personally prefer the 41mm focal length of the xf27 over the 53mm of the xf35, seeing the latter already more at the beginning of tele. the fact that the xf27 will therefore allow me easier picture composition in every day shooting, destroyed my last doubts.

so what can a proud owner of this lens tell you?
interestingly this lens carries a “made in china”-tag, despite to its other brothers and sisters. don’t bother a second, quality feeling is alright, the focus ring is nicly damped and still feels like being made of metal – is it metal? think so.
there are plenty of other sites available offering technical data and solid reviews for the lens. what I can remember – and what impressed me – was the more or less constant (center) sharpness of the lens up to f11, so there’s no real sweetspot like on the other xf-lenses. sharpness in general is satisfying for me (with a sharpness setting +1 on the x-pro), but not more (compared to the other xf lenses). however, I’m not too sensible in this area – I normally just increase the local contrast a lttle bit during post processing, so modern software allows me easily to adjust sharpness up to my needs and up to now I seldom felt the need to readjust sharpness on pictures taken with the xf27.

aperture handling needed a little bit getting used to it. interesting to see that I needed a few hours of “re-learning” to set the aperture via the command dial. although I did so for several years with my nikon dslr, my fingers always twiddled on the lens itself.. . nothing really serious, just a personal statement, but it shows quite well, how intuitive the good old fashioned manual aperture ring is and how glad I am, that fuji implemented them on their xf lenses.
also, the left hand needs some regripping during shooting with the xf27 – while normally my left hand supports the lens underneath I now use my forefinger and thumb to bracket the x-pro on top and bottom, since the lens is simply too small to lie comfortably on my hand.

af speed? really fast (in fuji terms) and well, nothing to worry about. it really might be the fastest xf lens s far, but that’s maybe my subjective impression. when it locks the picture, it’s mostly sharp and also showed no hunting so far in low light conditions. af-motor noise is quite loud with a strange, rather scratchy sound.

macro capabilities are moderate, mainly due to the minimal focal distance of about 30 cm. I wish it would be half the distance for such a small lense – why can I do that with the superzooms of cheap compact cameras costing less than half the price of the xf27? it’s a mystery to me, don’t think that there are technical reasons.

after shooting a few days with the lens I can say it fits neatly in fuji’s – and my personal – xf portfolio. it’s not *the* winner compared to other lenses – alone impossible only because of the hefty price tag of €440 – but be fair: that’s not what it was designed for and maybe it adds some marginal return which other xfs lack?
considering the current delivery problems of fujinon xf lenses, I think I took the right decision, and the xf27 will be useful for me in daily shooting situations – future will show.. .

update:
so far the xf27 showed less sensitvity for flares in sunlight conditions, but for convenience I added an extensable, foldable schneider lens hood as well as an uv-filter sole for protection reasons. the bigger diameter of the rubber ring and increase in length also brings an additional benefit: it adds just the necessary millimeters in length to enable me again to hold the x-pro 1 as I’m used to it with all the other lenses – supporting the lens underneath with 3 fingers of my left hand brings back the solid feeling and one stop in low light shooting. plus: it really looks nice! now the lens shows just the right size for an ergonomic operation with the x-pro 1 – wonderful!

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the sample photos were taken while visiting the third linzer höhenrausch (thrill of the heights) named “the art of towers” – an summer installation / exhibition on top of the roof of buildings located in the upper ausrian museum quarter near the main shooping road in the heart of the city and being an well visited attraction since the first exhibiton dated back in 2009, where linz has been european capital of culture.

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enjoy the pics here in the gallery!

ps: just need to mention, that 3 pictures towards the end of my photo essay were taken with the xf55-200..  . did you notice any difference? I don’t think so ;-)

15 May

the opening spectacle of the new opera in Linz

In General by admin / 20130515 / 0 Comments
spring 2013. Linz got a brand new opera house called musictheater – at last and after several failing attempts due to intervention of a popoulistic party. but now that’s history and the opera looks forward hopefully into a bright future.

one part of the opening has been the nightly spectacle named “a parzival” with the catalonian performance group La Fura dels Baus. a party for all senses in front ot the facade of the opera with music from Richard Wagner, giant puppets, flying humans – all voluntary people from the surrounding – and firewoorks.

A perfect opportunity to show up the low noise capability of Fuji’s X-Trans-senor. all picture from my X-Pro 1 were shot handheld with ISO6400 setting and processed with Adobe’s Lightroom 5 Beta.

View the pictures in the gallery “ein parzival“…

frühling 2013. Linz hat ein neues Musiktheater – und das alles nach zahlreichen vergeblichen Verhinderungsversuchen einer popolistischen Partei. Zum Glück ist das nun Geschichte und das Opernhaus darf hoffnungsfroh in die Zukunft schauen.

Eine der Acts zur Eröffnung war das Spektakel “Ein Parzival”. Zitat aus der Brochure “Der Anfang” des Landestheater Linz:
“Das Landestheater lädt zu einem Fest für die Sinne in den Volks­garten. In die Dämmerung klingt die betörend schöne Musik eines Komponisten, der sich zeitlebens als Wegbereiter des Neuen, der Zukunftskunst verstanden hat. Die Fassade des Musiktheaters wird zur Bühne, auf dem Dach, in schwindelnder Höhe bewegen sich Figuren aus Richard Wagners Weih­festspiel, das der katalanische Regisseur Carlus Padrissa unter dem Titel ‘Ein Parzival’ anlässlich der Eröffnung in eine spektakuläre Phantasie über die befreiende Kraft der Kunst verwandelt. Riesige Gestalten ziehen über den Vorplatz des Theaters, fliegende Menschen kreuzen den Nachthimmel, der von den Garben einer eigens von Thomas Bautenbacher konzipierten Feuerkunst durchzuckt wird.

‘Zum Raum wird hier die Zeit.’ (Carlus Padrissa)
La Fura dels Baus begannen vor dreißig Jahren in Barcelona mit Straßentheater von einzigartiger Vehemenz und Bildkraft. Inzwischen sind sie mit ihren kreativen Aktionen weltweit gefeierte Volkskünstler und Padrissa zählt als Opernregisseur zu den erfolgreichsten unserer Zeit. Seinen Kreationen zuzuschauen vermittelt das Gefühl der Entgrenzung durch Spiel und Phantasie. Ein Parzival entsteht unter Mitwirkung von Menschen aus Linz und Umgebung. Rund fünfzig Kletterer, Taucher, Läufer, Skifahrer und ganz einfach abenteuerlustige, theaterinteressierte Oberösterreicherinnen und Oberösterreicher bilden das ungewöhnliche Ensemble, mit dem das neue Musiktheater seinen Betrieb aufnimmt.”

Eine hervorragende Gelegenheit für meine Fuji X-Pro 1, die Stärken ihres X-Trans-Sensors im Schwachlichbereich ausszuspielen. Alle Fotos wurden aus der Hand mit Einstellung ISO6400 aufgenommen und in Adobe Lightroom 5 Beta bearbeitet.

Hier geht es zu den Bildern “ein parzival“…

05 May

welcome to refro-to

In General by admin / 20130505 / 0 Comments

this really is an exciting day 4 me – going public with my first site dedicated to my greatest passion – photography.

since I’m not a professional photographer it will take me 4 sure some time to grow the whole project up to my vison.  so slow down like snails and  enjoy – grub – watch – comment & come back soon.. cheers refro-to