Fotoeins Fotografie

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Posts from the ‘Asia’ category

My Vienna: Armenian Mekhitarist Community (since 1810)

From outside, the buildings don’t look particularly special. But they tell a tale of extraordinary migration: beginning in Armenia and ending here in Vienna’s 7th district, by way of present-day Turkey, Greece, and Italy.

At the corner of Neustiftgasse and Mechitaristengasse is a set of buildings for the Armenian Mekhitarist Congregation.

If I’m in the city for a month, my curiosity demands to learn more. Through e-mail and by phone, I inquire with the monastery’s contact person about a visit, and I’m instructed to join a group of Americans for a guided tour.


Armenian Mekhitarists

The Mekhitarists are an order of Benedictine monks of the Armenian Catholic Church founded by Mekhitar Petrosean from Sebaste (now Sivas). Since 1810, the Mekhitarists established (a second) headquarters in Vienna, whose modern presence includes monastery, church, museum, and a library containing the world’s third largest collection of Armenian manuscripts.

Understanding the sustaining power of the printed word to a fragile culture, Mekhitar and the order’s monks created a complete dictionary of the Armenian language. The first volume of the “Dictionary of Classical Armenian Language” (圆员諏猿曰諓諗 諃员諈钥员远缘员諉 约缘远請諕曰) was published after his death in 1749, and the second volume appeared in 1769. In 1837, the New Dictionary of Classical Armenian Language was published, whose contents have now been digitized.

With my love of books since childhood, I’m regularly on the look for (sources of) old manuscripts, which is obvious in the images below.

By tour’s end, I have a few quiet minutes for a couple of questions.

Q1. How many Armenians are there in Austria?
A1. With a total population of almost 9 million, Austria is home to about 8000 Armenians, of which about 5000 live in Vienna.

Q2. Who was Deodat/Diodato?
A2. Diodato was an Armenian merchant whose birth name was Owanes Astouatzatur. He is credited with opening Vienna’s first licensed coffee house in 1685. Today, that location happens to be occupied by another café with a memorial plaque inside.


Mekhitarist Timeline

•   1701: Mekhitar of Sebaste (1676–1749) establishes congregation in Constantinople (now Istanbul).
•   1706: Move to Greece’s Methon; new monastery established.
•   1717: Move to San Lazzaro, one of Venice’s islands.
•   1773: 2nd group breaks away from Venice, establishing monastery in Trieste in the Habsburg empire.
•   1775: Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa’s “Privilege” guarantees Armenian colony with permanent status.
•   1805: Napoleon seizes Trieste as French territory; Trieste’s Mekhitarists flee to Vienna.
•   1810: Habsburg Emperor Franz I grants Triestine Mekhitarists permission to settle in Vienna.
•   1811: Mekhitarists establish presence in Vienna’s St. Ulrich.
•   1811–1873, 1889–1898: Book printing press by the Mekhitarists in Vienna.
•   1837: after 1835 fire, new construction designed by Josef Kornhäusel begins in Neubau.
•   1874: Site expansion includes new church, also by Kornhäusel.
•   2000: The Venice and Vienna chapters reunite into single Mekhitarist order.


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Mekong River, Mekong delta, Mekong River Delta, song Tien, Tien Giang, river delta, My Tho, Vietnam, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: RTW10, twenty-six

10 years ago, I began an around-the-world (RTW) journey lasting 389 consecutive days, from 24 December 2011 to 15 January 2013 inclusive.

26 June 2012.

I’m spending a few days in southern Vietnam with a base out of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). On a day trip from HCMC to the area around M峄 Tho, I’m on one of the islands in the Mekong river delta. I’m on a horse-drawn cart where a boat on the other side of the island will take me to the next destination in the delta. Unfortunately, I don’t speak any Vietnamese: I simply shrug, I nod and smile, and I follow. But one thing is clear: there’s a perfect alliance of measured movement among human, horse, bicycle, and motorcycle on this narrow paved road.

I made the image on 26 Jun 2012 with a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi) and these settings: 1/250-sec, f/8, ISO100, and 18mm focal length (29mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-m8r.

Lantau Island, Tai O, Hong Kong, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: RTW10, twenty-five

10 years ago, I began an around-the-world (RTW) journey lasting 389 consecutive days, from 24 December 2011 to 15 January 2013 inclusive.

21 June 2012.

On the first full day of northern summer, I’m on a day trip from Hong Kong proper to the west side of Lantau Island. The small fishing town of Tai O is my destination. It’s not long before my stomach growls in hunger at the sight of a woman making “Chinese pizza” (棣欏鍗, “heung fei guen”).

Among a variety of deep-fried seafood, Chinese pizza is a specialty of the Tai O Snack shop (澶ф境灏忛). The “pizza” consists of an egg crepe base, upon which diced spring onion, pickled radish chunks, roasted sesame seeds, crunchy egg crisps/savoury cracker, salt, black pepper, and homemade savory sauce are added. After a gentle grill, the crepe is folded and rolled, ready for takeaway or for consumption at one of the small tables inside. It’s entirely possible you might want fried-fish or -shrimp as well on the side …

I made the image on 21 Jun 2012 with a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi) and these settings: 1/13-sec, f/5, ISO200, and 20mm focal length (32mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-m86.

Hong Kong Mahjong Company, Lockhart Road, Tonnochy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: RTW10, twenty-four

10 years ago, I began an around-the-world (RTW) journey lasting 389 consecutive days, from 24 December 2011 to 15 January 2013 inclusive.

18 June 2012.

I’m looking for something that can (partly) summarize Hong Kong in an image. That the city rarely sleeps, that there are always people streaming through by day or at night. The scene above of the pedestrian crossing is at the intersection of Lockhart Road and Tonnochy Road in Wan Chai. Notable is the neon sign at upper right, representing the 2nd home of the Hong Kong Mahjong Company (棣欐腐钄撮泙濞涙▊). In November 2015, the company moved into a new 3rd home a block further east at Lockhart and Marsh.

What’s equally noteworthy is the near proximity to Joy Hing Roasted Meats (鍐嶈垐鐕掕嚇椋簵), for an essential dining experience of having a BBQ-pork rice plate on a small plastic table and a little plastic chair.

I made the image on 18 Jun 2012 with a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi) and these settings: 1/6-sec, f/8, ISO800, and 41mm focal length (66mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-m7B.

Tian Tan Buddha, Ngong Ping, Ngong Ping 360, Lantau Island, Hong Kong, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: RTW10, twenty-three

10 years ago, I began an around-the-world (RTW) journey lasting 389 consecutive days, from 24 December 2011 to 15 January 2013 inclusive.

5 June 2012.

On Lantau Island near Hong Kong, the cable car ride takes me from the end station of the Tung Chung MTR line in Tung Chung to Ngong Ping. It becomes very apparent the Buddha on the top of a hill is more than simply “large”. The Big Buddha statue itself is over 26 metres (86 feet) tall, and with the throne and pedestal base, the entire structure stands a total of 34 metres (112 feet) tall. the “Tian Tan Big Buddha” (澶╁澶т經) faces north to the original inspiration of the Tian Tan (Temple of Heaven) in Beijing. With almost 10 years of planning and 3 years of construction with the auspices of the neighbouring Po Lin Buddhist monastery, the opening ceremony occurred on 29 December 1993.

I made the image on 5 Jun 2012 with a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi) and these settings: 1/100-sec, f/8, ISO100, and 28mm focal length (45mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-m6b.

My Seattle: Bruce & Brandon Lee, father & son

Honouring the surname

In the mid- to late-1970s, our parents took us to single-screen movie theatres with names like Olympia, Golden Harvest, and Shaw for cinema night to watch movies made in Hong Kong. There were dramas; some high on the melodrama and low on character. Some were historic-period pieces, and there were kung-fu movies for which Dad passed his love to me.

There’s nothing quite like seeing a kung-fu action sequence on a big screen. I was mesmerized the first time I laid eyes on a memorable fight scene set in Rome’s Colosseum, that epic scene observed by little stone dragons between “Little Dragon” himself, Bruce Lee, and Chuck Norris’ character in the 1972 film “The Way of the Dragon“. As a kid, I was proud to have had the same surname as this Bruce fellow, and memories of seeing his on-screen characters prevailing in fights have stuck over time (e.g., “Boards don’t hit back.”)

Tragically, Bruce and his son, Brandon, died too young. I’m certain when I was a teen that I asked where Bruce Lee was buried; my parents didn’t know and in pre-internet days, it was more of a challenge to find those answers. But the mystery has long been solved: Bruce Lee and his son, Brandon, lay side by side in Lake View Cemetery in Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

Despite multiple visits to the city in years past, this particular return trip to Seattle has been decades in the making for a chance to honour a part of my childhood and a part of my heritage. When I find the Lees, my arrival means another answer has been quietly realized. On a crisp bright autumn morning under blue skies, I feel my father’s spirit with me; he never had the chance to come to this cemetery. My lips move without voice, a prayer I utter into the ether, pushing for hope to reach him. Because I know now that this, is also for my Dad.


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Singapore Chinatown, Singapore, Chinatown, Pagoda Street, myRTW, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Pagoda Street, Singapore Chinatown

4 July 2012.

I’m interested in finding out what Singapore’s Chinatown is like. Riding the MTR, I exit the transport system at “Chinatown” station, and I walk down a flight of stairs to street level. I’m always curious to see (1) what people think how Chinatown should appear, (2) what the resident Chinese feel about the incarnation, and (3) how a gentrified form of Chinatown appears similarly around the world. Apart from electronics stores and dollar stores with cheap souvenirs, there’s a lot more to Chinatown farther afoot. There is a Chinatown heritage centre down this street, and historical heritage buildings are scattered around the area.

Singapore, Chinatown, MRT North East line, fotoeins.com

Chinatown station (NE4), MRT North East line.


During my year-long RTW, I made this photo on 4 July 2012 with the Canon 450D, 18-55 kit-lens, and the following settings: 1/160-sec, f/8, ISO200, and 32mm focal length (51mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie on fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-9VG.

Ben Thanh Market, L锚 L峄, B岷縩 Th脿nh, Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, myRTW, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Night noms at Ben Thanh (Saigon)

27 June 2012.

B岷縩 Th脿nh Market, L锚 L峄, B岷縩 Th脿nh, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

After strolling the streets of Central Saigon at night, one of your experiences should include eating out. That doesn’t mean eating in the cool confines of an air-conditioned restaurant. “Eating out” means you’re on the streets, sitting on plastic stools, and surrounded by residents happily scarfing down their meal. Check out the grilled meats and seafood of all kinds, shapes, and sizes: point and choose, sit and wait, sip on a cold beer or a refreshing fruit smoothie, and enjoy the food as it’s prepared and when it’s served.

The weather might be too hot, too humid, and you might be this close to wilting and melting into a puddle. But trust me; you should be patient and persevere.

Get low and comfortable at the plastic table: watch, listen, wait, smell, taste, and learn.

During my year-long RTW, I made the photo on 27 June 2012 with the Canon 450D, 18-55 kit-lens, and the following settings: 1/4-sec, f/8, ISO400, 25mm focal length (40mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-9UT.

Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong, myRTW, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Tai Po street scene (Hong Kong)

12 June 2012.

This is Tai Po in the New Territories, and I’m walking southeast on Kwong Fuk Road (at Tsing Yuen Street). The white tower at left-centre is the Wing Shing Building (149-155 Kwong Fuk Road), and visible through the haze in the background is Ma On Shan (棣瀺灞) mountain.

Where is everybody?

June in Hong Kong is hot and sticky, and on a blazing muggy afternoon, many are inside next to fans or air-conditioning. I’m one of the foolish few to wander the streets, but my reward is relatively empty streets framed by signage and street lines. There are “classic” Hong Kong elements: the row of air-con units outside and tucked next to windows, commercial signs big and small hanging over the street, familiar traditional Chinese words and characters, “no stopping” and “no left turn” signs to accompany driving on the left, aluminum scaffolding and bamboo poles, and women with open umbrellas to provide shade from the scorching sun.

During my year-long RTW, I made the photo above on 12 June 2012 with the Canon 450D, 18-55 kit-lens, and the following settings: 1/800-sec, f/5, ISO100, and 43mm focal length (69mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-9UT.

King's Road, Westlands Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, myRTW, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: a lunge into Quarry Bay (Hong Kong)

8 June 2012.

“Bonjour! (Hello!)”

Borrowing my sister’s 10-22 lens while I’m in Hong Kong for the month, I wonder how I might view the world through the fisheye lens. This view east on King’s Road from Westlands Road shows how the surrounding high-rise buildings “lean” towards the centre of the field. Like many highly populated cities in Asia, the parallels with “deep valleys” and “towering “walls” are all too clear. It’s also worth noting Quarry Bay was named for the small body of water on which most of present-day Quarry Bay is built with reclaimed land.


I made this photo during my year-long RTW on 8 June 2012 with the Canon 450D, 10-22 fisheye, and the following settings: 1/320-sec, f/8, ISO100, and 10mm focal length (16mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-9W9.

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