Fotoeins Fotografie

photography as worlds between words

Austria’s Silent Night: 200 years, 300 languages

One of my early childhood memories surrounding Christmas is learning and singing “Silent Night”. This humble melodic carol is known around the world and sung in over 300 languages and dialects. 2018 is the 200th anniversary of the hymn’s first public performance, and that’s why I’m on a train traveling north from Salzburg to the Austrian town of Oberndorf.

With over 5000 residents, Oberndorf lies opposite the German town of Laufen along the winding flow of the Salzach river. Laufen-Oberndorf was once a single community whose people derived their greatest business and wealth with salt carried on barges from upstream in Hallein and transferred onto larger ships for transport downstream to the Inn river and Passau. After the arrival (and departure) of Napoleon’s French troops, the river became a border, and the town was split in two after over 1000 years as a single community+. Although Oberndorf and Laufen remain in separate countries, the European Schengen treaty has helped reforge their common bonds with the abolishment of border controls.

Short History of Silent Night

Between 1817 and 1819, Joseph Mohr lived and worked in Oberndorf as curate, minister, and schoolteacher for the salt-barger community. The organist for Oberndorf’s St. Nicolas Church was Franz Gruber, a fellow schoolteacher and sexton at a parish in nearby Arnsdorf. Mohr and Gruber tended to spiritual and education needs for their towns, and with their common zeal for music, they quickly became friends. On Christmas Eve 1818, Mohr brought his song to Gruber who added the melody. That very evening after evening mass, the completed song, “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” was performed for the first time with Gruber on his guitar as the only accompaniment.

Over years and decades, the song had generally been considered to be Tirolian in origin, but handwritten letters show Joseph Mohr composed the song by 1816 when he lived in Mariapfarr, a town 120 kilometres southeast from Salzburg. The original German-language version of the song has six verses; the English version has three which are translations of verses 1, 6, and 2.

At Oberndorf’s Stille-Nacht-Platz (Silent Night Square), the two key elements are the Kapelle (memorial chapel) and the Stille Nacht Museum. The original St. Nicholas church was in bad shape and torn down in 1906. To maintain the memory of the first performance of the Christmas song, construction began in 1928 for a chapel at the same location, and the townspeople celebrated the chapel’s inauguration in 1937. With the museum’s opening in November 2016, exhibits describe the history of how the song came to be, highlight the lives of Mohr and Gruber, explain the context of culture and place of the times in the late-18th to early-19th century, illuminate the importance of the salt trade on the neighbouring Salzach river, and celebrate the song’s longevity and popularity around the world. In 2011, UNESCO recognized “Silent Night” as Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria.

Every year, evening mass on Christmas Eve from the Silent Night memorial chapel is broadcast to the world on webcam.

+ The 1814-1815 Congress of Vienna enforced the Salzach river as the border and separation between the nation-state of Bavaria (Laufen) and the Austrian Empire (Oberndorf).

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Fotoeins Friday: Vienna dusk over cobblestone Ballgasse

In this third of five installments, I highlight Vienna for Fotoeins Friday.

Ballgasse is a narrow cobblestone passage and one of the last remaining from medieval times, even though the surrounding buildings are much younger dating to the 18th-century. The lack of vehicles and periods of quiet chatter become a slow relaxed trip back in time. This short stretch of street is within Vienna’s Old Town which UNESCO inscribed as World Heritage Site in 1996.

I made the picture above on 18 May 2018 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the settings: 1/125-sec, f/4, ISO2500, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-bRN.

Patterns (LAPC)

Above/featured: Gartenberg Falkenberg in GrĂĽnau : Berlin, Germany – 11 October 2017 (C6D).

Not only did I enjoy my first Lens Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) with a look at the colour blue, I had fun seeing how other people saw and interpreted the colour.

What follows is a short examination of patterns I’ve seen over the last few years. I admit I’m not always looking for the regularity of patterns, but those who keep their eyes and apertures open should find them pop into their brains or onto their image detectors.


Quartier206, Berlin Mitte, Germany

Quartier 206 : Berlin, Germany – 18 March 2011 (450D).
Hauptbahnhof, Leipzig City Tunnel, S-Bahn Mitteldeutschland, Leipzig, Germany, fotoeins.com

S-Bahn station Hauptbahnhof : Leipzig, Germany – 4 December 2014 (C6D).

U4-Endstation Huetteldorf, Huetteldorf, Huetteldorf-Hacking, Wiener Stadtbahn, Wiener Linien, Otto Wagner, Wiener Moderne, Vienna Modernism, Vienna, Wien, Oesterreich, Austria, fotoeins.com

U-Bahn station HĂĽtteldorf, built in 1896 Wiener Stadtbahn by Otto Wagner : Vienna, Austria – 20 May 2018 (X70).

Majolikahaus, Linke Wienzeile 40, Otto Wagner, Vienna Modernism, Wiener Moderne, Wien, Vienna, Oesterreich, Austria, fotoeins.com

Majolikahaus, built in 1898 by Otto Wagner : Vienna, Austria – 20 May 2018 (X70).


I made all photos above between 2011 and 2018. The cameras denoted are 450D for Canon 450D, C6D for Canon 6D, and X70 for Fujifilm X70. This post for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-cd6.

Fotoeins Friday: Fillgraderstiege steps in Vienna Mariahilf

In this second installment, Vienna is in the spotlight for the month of August.

In Vienna’s Mariahilf neighbourhood resides Austria’s “most beautiful steps“, the Fillgraderstiege. The steps were designed in the Art Nouveau style by Maximilian Hegele and were built with stone and cast-iron over a two-year span by 1907 to connect two streets Fillgradergasse and Theobaldgasse. In 2001, UNESCO inscribed Vienna’s Old Town as a World Heritage Site.

(“Meine Tränen Sind Dein” / My tears are yours)

I made the picture above on 16 May 2018 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the settings: 1/1000-sec, f/9, ISO1000, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-bXP.

L-A Blue

Above/featured: “Partner cities”: Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Germany – 4 Oct 2009 (450D).

The following is an examination of how much the colour blue has permeated throughout images I’ve made from 2008 to 2018, from mountain tops to bodies of water and a handful of cities in between. In most photos, captions include a link for further examination.


Stained glass, Technika Slboproudá, Pasáž Světozor, Praha, Prag, Prague, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

For the company once called TEchnika SLAboproudá (small-current technology), one of the last remaining remnants to show the company’s past existence is the stained-glass mural inside OvocnĂ˝ Pasáž SvÄ›tozor: Praha, Czech Republic – 27 Jul 2013 (450D).

Westfriedhof, U1, U7, U-Bahn MĂĽnchen, MVV, MĂĽnchen, Munich, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

Westfriedhof, U-Bahn station (U1/U7): München, Germany – 2 Jun 2018 (FX70).


The cameras denoted are 450D for Canon 450D, C6D for Canon 6D, and FX70 for Fujifilm X70. This post for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-c9k.

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