Category Archives: B&W Photography

To Kraków and back – Part 1

Saturday, September 16.
Late afternoon.
I’m packing my suitcase and camera bag.
The phone rings. It is Little A. wishing Sweetheart and me a great trip. On the background I hear Ex speaking to our daughter.
Then Little A. repeats what her mother said.
Oh boy.
Then my iPhone pings. A message from Big A. telling me to check my mail as she does not want to get up early and drive us to the airport for nothing.

What the fuck is all this about?
I check the newspaper.
Oh my.
One of the headlines reads “Ryanair to tell 400,000 passengers of cancelled flights after roster ‘mess-up’”

Ryanair promises their customer it will cancel 40 to 50 flights to and/or fro every day until October 31.
Luckily Sweetheart and I are not concerned.

Sunday, September 17.
02:00
Big A. picks us up and we arrive at Charleroi Airport (the so called Brussels-South) around 03:45. To early but hey, better be one hour to early than 5 minutes to late.
At 06:30 the plane takes off and 2 hours later we arrive at Kraków Airport. Not even 30 minutes later I enter the address of the apartment in Here Maps. Traffic is moderate and I steer the rented Toyota Yaris over the Polish roads.
It takes us 20’ to arrive and about 40’ to find the place because the roads ends and continues further in a sort of dead-end group of small roads.

We are way too early to check in the apartment so I drive to the old center of Kraków where I find a parking spot.
There is a small market going on. Mostly elderly people selling old or cheap stuff. I have the impression they are mostly underprivileged people. The road is broken, there is mud and rubbish. There is no happiness, everybody looks sad or indifferent. Like if it is still cold-war Poland. You know, the USSR and stuff.

We head to the old center. Some building are dilapidated, some brand new. It is a mix of a new and an old era. Don’t forget, the Wall fell in Berlin fell only 27 years ago and it took quite some time before the former USSR countries found their new ways.

We had lunch, delicious Polish food and it was very cheap. It was good outside with a discrete sun.

Then we walked further, discovering more of Kraków. Then the first raindrops fell. Shortly after it rained and it did so for the remainder of the late afternoon.
By the time we got back at our car I was soaked to the bone and my clothes, shoes and vest as wet as if I had fallen in water. Sweetheart was wearing a waterproof vest but her shoes and jeans were soaked too.

Back at the apartment we took a shower and I checked the opening hours of Decathlon. They were open so we drove over to the shop. Sweetheart got rubber boots. I a pair of waterproof and very comfortable hiking boots from hunting department. Two pair of waterproof trousers to pull over jeans or whatever and a weatherproof vest completed our purchases.

The apartment itself was simply great and well equipped. We could not have found a better place to say. Modern, cozy, and cheap.

Near a Sunday market at Kraków.
Ricoh GR II

Monday, September 18.
The weather app tells us it is going to be a warm and sunny day.
Great.
We enjoy our breakfast and then we are on our way.
It takes about 2:30 hours to arrive at Zakopane near the Slovakian border.

Zakopane is a resort town in southern Poland, at the base of the Tatras Mountains. It’s a popular departure point for winter sports and summertime mountain climbing and hiking. Kasprowy Wierch and Gubałówka, reachable by cable car and funicular, are nearby ski destinations offering sweeping mountain views. The town is also known for its turn-of-the-20th-century wooden chalets, symbols of Zakopane-style architecture. (Wikipedia)

We find a sort of restaurant, well, more of a canteen and have lunch there. The food is delicious and ridiculously cheap.
Don’t count on your English though. They had their menu translated so it was about pointing at the right items and then she showed me the bill and I wrote down what I was going to pay with the tip added to the amount.

At the Tatra National Park we join a queue and after 45 minutes we get in a cable car. Ten minutes later we get out. We are at 2000 meters. The view is breathtaking. Sweetheart and I enjoy a walk, we climb even higher. I film, take pictures, we laugh and kiss and are so happy.

It is a popular place to have your wedding photos taken as we spot several newlyweds and professional photographers and stylists.

Later we dined at the same canteen and for the four meals + drinks I paid not even 30 Euro.

After the +2 hour drive back we were exhausted. After showering I downloaded my work of the day on the Western Digital Wireless Passport Pro and copied a movie on an USB-stick so we could watch it on the huge flat screen TV.

PS I haven’t worked much on my photos and videos yet so I have little to show.

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Denmark

For those not interested in tech stuff and computers just jump to Denmark

I’m writing this while sitting in a corner of my living room. In front of me an old Samsung Syncmaster P2370 monitor in high-definition. A very old Dell keyboard, very noisy. And a mouse.

On my right side, on my desk, my iMac 27” with all the whistles and bells needed to write and work on my photographs.

I’m listening to my favourite CD, “Push The Sky Away” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It is playing on the same computer I’m writing on and I’m using VLC to play the music. Video is something else though. Haven’t gotten more than a black screen. Sound is okay though.

A cheap 20$ single speaker gives an acceptable quality but pushing the sound through my very old amplifier and equalizer would give a better sound. But these analogue devices are hooked up to my iMac.

No fancy Microsoft Word but LibreOffice Writer. I’m not even sure if there is a spellchecker available.

In fact, I am writing this on a 35 $ computer (screen, display, SD-card and mouse not included). I wanted to reconnect with Linux and decided to get a Raspberry Pi 3b. Although it cannot be compared to the sheer power of my iMac for normal work this configuration has not let me down yet. I am pleasantly surprised but on the other hand Linux does not have a huge footprint either.

So the Raspberry Pi is just a side project but also a plan B whenever my main system should die. Maybe, during the winter, I’ll be passing time with some electronics experiments.

Denmark

Sweetheart and I enjoyed our holiday very much. It was Sweetheart’s first flight. All went well except that her luggage ended up in Portugal. An error at the luggage check-in. She got her suitcase the next day. Sweetheart loved seeing the sun coming up above the clouds. It was magical.

Morning Sky (2016) Ricoh GR II
Morning Sky (2016)
Ricoh GR II

We had great weather. Sunny and not to warm. The rental Renault Clio okay. The hotel cosy and well situated at walking distance of the station of Helsingør, the ferries to Sweden and the centre of the town.

Food was delicious but very expensive. People friendly. Culture and art seem to be very important as there are museums and cultural centres everywhere. Higher incomes are taxed up to 65% but wealth is redistributed. School system is different, there is more space for personal development. Alcohol is extremely expensive and there is a rightful zero tolerance for drivers.

Helsingør Castle (2016) Ricoh GR II
Helsingør Castle (2016)
Ricoh GR II

We arrived at 08:20 at Copenhagen airport on Saturday, September 17. When it became obvious Sweetheart’s suitcase was not travelling with us we picked up the car and on our way to the hotel, 47 kilometres from Copenhagen, we shopped for some basic stuff for Sweetheart. I had chosen for the coastal road.

After checking in we visited Helsingør and its castle used in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

On Sunday we drove along the coast and on Monday we took the boat to Helsinborg, Sweden. A whole different city when we looked at the buildings and the general architecture.  Specialized shops selling only wine, beer and liquor. A stand on the street was an alcohol bar.

Despair (2016) - Helsingborg, Sweden Nikon D300 with 24-120
Despair (2016) – Helsingborg, Sweden
Nikon D300 with 24-120

Unfortunately, Stella, Sweetheart’s eldest daughter, was not feeling well, texting Sweetheart with a zillion messages. Shortly after I held a crying Sweetheart in my arms. It was only the 2nd to 3th time in our 5 years I saw her crying.

In the afternoon the lower grades did not have school but the parks were filled with their laughter.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch. On a huge public square with flowers and pergola’s the underprivileged were drinking and shooting drugs. Sweetheart gave me some space so I could do some street photography. I was spotted quickly though and was confronted with an aggressive drunk so I backed off.

Shadows & Light (2016) - Black Diamond, Copenhagen Ricoh GR II
Shadows & Light (2016) – Black Diamond, Copenhagen
Ricoh GR II

Between Helsingør (Denmark) and Helsinborg (Sweden) lies 7 km of water. Somewhere in between the border. So while the ferry is in Danish waters you can buy as much booze in the tax-free shop as you can carry. When the boat crosses the border you are not allowed to buy any alcohol any more but you can spend all your dough on tax-free tobacco.

On September 20, our 5th anniversary and the start of our 6th year we took the train to Copenhagen. It was very cheap because the ticket was 24 hours valid and gave access to bus, tram and metro.

Copenhagen is cold but beautiful. Gorgeous architecture like the Opera or the Black Diamond (Royal library). A zillion bicycles who won’t stop even if you want to try to get off a bus.

The Opera House - Copenhagen (2016) Nikon D300 with 24-120
The Opera House – Copenhagen (2016)
Nikon D300 with 24-120

We walked for a while and then Sweetheart suggested taking a hop on/hop off bus. So we visited the Danish capital by bus and then by boat (included in the price).

Later that evening we had dinner, found our way to the station and took the train back to Helsingør. I guess we had another 2 stops before arriving when the train stopped. Something was said through the intercom but we do not understand Danish. Everybody got off. Then an official saw us sitting there, puzzled. He made us clear we had to leave the train.

While we walked to the other side of the station a voice said “the train to Helsingør is going nowhere”. There we stood, waiting in the dark. It was cold and it was raining. About 20′ later a train arrived and another 30′ we were at out hotel.

The next day we drove to the other side of the Danish Sealand Isle. The beach there was desolated. We enjoyed the sun lying on huge rocks and then we had even some more fun while the sun warmed our bodies and a gentle breeze caressed our skin. It was a magnificent moment.

Graffiti (2016) - Freetown Christiania, Copenhagen Ricoh GR II
Graffiti (2016) – Freetown Christiania, Copenhagen
Ricoh GR II

Then our holiday was over. We drove back to Copenhagen and I found an expensive parking space in the center. We walked to Christianshavn and straight to Freetown Christiania, an 84 acres city within a city. Hippies, own flag and currency and an anarchist community. The smell of hash and weed was omnipresent and we regretted not having visited it earlier but we did not want to get on a plane stoned.

Street at night (2016) - Copenhagen Ricoh GR II
Street at night (2016) – Copenhagen
Ricoh GR II

I loved Christiania and its apparent freedom.

Later on I gave the car back and then it was really over. Sweetheart and I enjoyed the night and the world and its small lights.

We landed at 22:50 in Charleroi and Sweetheart phoned The Boy to find out where he was. We walked to the underground parking but we did not find The Boy.

He was waiting for us in Zaventem, Brussels Airport. It was a miscommunication with Sweetheart. So we waited 45′ minutes before he finally showed up.

Much later we were finally back home.  We slept well and the next morning, when I dropped her off at her place I knew our holiday was really over.

We had a blast. I loved being with Sweetheart. We had an incredible holiday.

Railroad tunnel at night (2016) - Copenhagen Ricoh GR II
Railroad tunnel at night (2016) – Copenhagen
Ricoh GR II

 

Overby, Denmark

Finally I did not use my analogue Nikon’s that much. After all this was a holiday with Sweetheart and our quality time way to important to waste it. Even on photography.

The Ricoh GR II was the camera I used the most but for the long exposures and a few landscapes I preferred my Nikon with the good, old and trusty 24-120 VR 3.5-5.6. Not the best lens in the world but a true workhorse.

From our base camp in Helsingør we hopped by boat to Helsingborg in Sweden. Not that far but a different city, and I guess a different world, altogether.

We went by train to Copenhagen. It is a beautiful city that we explored by foot, by bus and by boat. As we had to take the plane in Copenhagen I drove to the city on our last afternoon and we went for a walk to Freetown Christiania.

Christiania, also known as Freetown Christiania, is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood of about 850 residents, covering 34 hectares in the borough of Christianshavn in the Danish capital Copenhagen. (Wikipedia)

This shot was made near Overby and is one of the  few long exposures I made.

Overby, Denmark (2016) Nikon D300 with 24-120 at 30 seconds.
Overby, Denmark (2016)
Nikon D300 with 24-120 at 30 seconds.

 

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Villa Stadzicht – II

Second visit to Villa Stadszicht,  Tholen. Shot with a Bronica ETRSi, a 150mm lens, a 1024 ND filter, a red filter and Ilford Delta 100.

This is a 6′ exposure.

This means 6 minutes waiting, waking, pondering and then again waiting. Looking at your subject and its surroundings. Enjoying being in the scene, almost feeling it.

Villa Stadszicht (2016) - 2nd version Bronica ETRSi with 150mm and loaded with Ilford Delta 100. Red and 1024 ND filer

Villa Stadszicht (2016) – 2nd version
Bronica ETRSi with 150mm and loaded with Ilford Delta 100. Red and 1024 ND filer

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