"I cleave the heavens, and soar to the infinite. What others see from afar, I leave far behind me." Giordano Bruno (1548 – February 17, 1600)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Gift of Love and Luck... or "The Tale of Piggeldey Wiggeldey"

"To a father growing old nothing is 
dearer than a daughter."
Carl Orff - "O Fortuna" from "Carmina Burana"  
played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
It is strange how something small can evoke for many people strong emotions and fond memories. For me it is a small lump of plastic (W1.8cm x B0.8cm x H1.3cm) in the form of little pink pig with the cutest black beady eyes, a red snout, red trotters and two red spots. This little pig evokes such a strong poignant feeling of love, profound loss, happiness, sorrow, despair and melancholy all at the one time.

These little pigs are sold in their thousands each year throughout Austria and other parts of Europe as a New Year token, along with other shapes. They are given out to the customers who frequent your business, children, friends and family as wishes for the coming year. Wishes for the recipient. Pieces of luck, fortune, health, joy, love, wealth, abundance, etc., made out of marzipan, chocolate, plastic, wood, felt, fabric, metal, clay, paper or any other medium that can be fashioned into a shape or image. The pig is one of the images for luck.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nuts in May

"I'm tired of high policy talks. 
I want to focus on nuts and bolts."
Dave Freudenthal 
Edward Ka-Spel - Nuts in May
Well not the nuts of the old nursery rhyme, but rather nuts that go with bolts. Currently, Gersthof where I live, is going through a massive tram line maintenance process. Believe it or not, and this is not very girly, I am finding it fascinating. Whenever I pass the works with my camera, I take the time gathering some photographs.  
I have been experimenting with some rather arty shots, “gathering” these arty ones of nuts with their bolts. Not something that would be usually classed as beautiful, I found these ones strangely attractive in their collected form. All thrown together in a box, waiting to be used or recycled back into the track work, where they would then perform their designated function. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Raindrops Keep Fallin’...

"Let the rain kiss you. 
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. 
Let the rain sing you a lullaby."
Langston Hughes 

Frédéric Chopin - "Raindrop" Prelude, Op 28, No. 15
My last trip to the Alps gave me spring and April showers. I decided then that I should start pushing my camera to the max and improve my photography skills. It was basically let’s see what we are both made of. Of course my PENTAX K-7 DSLR is made of metal, rubber, circuitry and glass. Me? Well, I am “made of  sugar and spice and everything nice,” because that is what little girls are made of, according to an old popular nursery rhyme, "What are little boys made of". That, of course, is another story. 
The above aside, I spent that trip photographing everything that caught my eye, and really gave the Pentax a workout, while improving on my skills. Since then I haven’t stopped. Besides the flower, insects, mountains and anything of interest that catches my eye, I also photograph raindrops. Raindrops are not simple things to photograph, (or anything small for that matter), when you don’t always have both lenses with you and you are sometimes stuck using the 55-200mm. This is the case with these wet green snaps.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Best Keep Secrets of Austria - Introducing artwalk18

"Without poets, without artists,
men would soon weary of nature's monotony."
Guillaume Apollinaire
Escape The Fate - Picture Perfect
A further tale of adventure from Austria, the land without the Kangaroos. I have recently been musing about why people choose to visit this small country. For this article, I decide to ask Google the simple little question “why do people visit Austria?” Interestingly auto select tried to convince me that I wanted Australia, the land with the Kangaroos, but I wasn't going to play that little Google game. I stumbled across 2 blog/webpages that both provided me with a list of ten and five reasons respectively:

a. The Shearing Blog:
1. Classical Music; 2. The Austrian Alps; 3. Architecture; 4. "The Sound of Music";  5.Food; 6. Drinks; 7. Weather; 8. Railways; 9. Dancing; 10. Yodelling
b.  Nomadical Sabbatical:
1. Yodelling; 2. Mountains; 3. Classical Music; 4.Architecture; 5.Food & Drink

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Baby IT Was Cold Outside! The Eisheilige 2014

"It's too cold outside for angels to fly."
Ed Sheeran

Margaret Whiting & Johnny Mercer - Baby Its Cold Outside
Most years in May, with some exceptions, Austria along with most of Europe goes through an icy spell that throws us back into winter for a week. Those glorious spring days seem to take a break or disappear without so much as a protest to be replaced by rain, icy winds and extremely cold weather.  In the Alps, the days can sometimes herald the last of the winter snowfall for the year.  After that is generally becomes a downhill run into summer.  
The days are referred to at the Eisheilige (Ice Saints). The worst day is usually St. Sophia’s feast day and she is referred to as the Kalte Sophie (Cold Sophie). Despite global warming and indications of climate change during the seasons, these days religiously, (pardon the pun), arrive every year around the same time and have for centuries. Farmers generally hold off some of their labours, to ensure that any work in the fields is not wasted. The days generally are: 
St. Mamertus, Bishop of Vienna – 11. Mai
St. Pankratius, an early Christian Martyr – 12. Mai
St. Servatius, Bishop of Tongeren – 13. Mai 
St. Bonifatius, an early Christian Martyr – 14. Mai
St. Sophia, an early Christian Martyr – 15. Mai

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Spring ~ Nature's Promise of Warmer Days

Strolls and Dandelions
 ANTon and BEEtrice
Humble Bumblebee
 The POLLENator

" Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway."
Mary Kay Ash
Donovan - Mellow Yellow
During my last visit home to Mauthen, located in Carinthia, Austria, I wandered around everywhere with my camera looking for inspiration. After the first couple of snaps, I became mesmerised by spring. The colours, especially that one, wonderful bright colour that stood out so much more than any other. The one that nature throws at you when she is at her artistic best – YELLOW. Yellow in all it various shades, from mellow yellow* through to bright golden yellow.

The colour is such a promise of the warmer golden days to come. From bulbs to bushes to flower to wildflowers, beguling the human eye and encouraging insects, especially the bees, to enjoy their first meal of the season, as well as kick starting their working year. I realised I had a theme, maybe two – COLOUR and INSECTS.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Eurovision 2014: And the winner is...

Rise Like A Phoenix 
2014 Eurovision Song Contest winning number
YouTube Channel - Conchita Wurst

 Conchita Wurst - My Heart Will Go On 
YouTube Channel - Alienhomeful
" Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself."
Robert Green Ingersoll 
Conchita Wurst - Unbreakable
Austria (the country without Kangaroos). Thank you Conchita Wurst, who represent ed the country at the Eurovision Song Contest. The song, though not brilliant, was better than many of the others presented, having a message that was powerful and clear for everyone who listened to the lyrics. 
After watching the Contest program with friends last night, I had originally decided on a very different and perhaps more amusing essay to celebrate Austria’s first win since 1966. I was going to base it on a remark from one of the friend about it being a “James Bond” song. I have changed my mind since then.