Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts from the ‘Culture’ category

“Science is an integral part of culture. It’s not this foreign thing, done by an arcane priesthood. It’s one of the glories of the human intellectual tradition.” – S.J. Gould.

Worms’ Holy Sand: Europe’s oldest surviving Jewish cemetery

I’m looking for a “thousand-year history” in the city of Worms located in southwest Germany. This has nothing to do helminthology or nematology, as the town’s name is derived from “Warmaisa”, the former Jewish name of the city. This is about an important part of Jewish-German history and peaceful coexistence of the Judeo-Christian communities within Europe. The town’s fame and reputation is also partly derived from Martin Luther; I’ve already visited the site where Luther was on trial to answer charges of heresy, as well as the world’s largest Reformation monument.

This part of the Rhein river area is considered the “cradle of European Jewry”, known also as “little Jerusalem on the Rhine.” In medieval times, flourishing Jewish communities in the cathedral cities of Speyer, Worms, and Mainz facilitated the creation of a common Jewish league with the name ShUM (SchUM), spelled out by the first letters of the Hebrew names for the three cities. To emphasize the influence of Jewish heritage in Europe and to continue the ongoing process of preservation and education, the recent application by Germany for the ShUM cities to be inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site is at present in the Tentative list (2019).

On a breezy late-autumn afternoon, light fades quick, casting solemn shadows on this ground. In the town’s old Jewish cemetery, I’m the only person present, and I’ve placed a small stone on top of a number of gravestones. I’m surrounded by apparitions over an millennium’s age and by the remaining physical traces in various shapes, stones, and size.

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Albuquerque: world’s largest hot air balloon festival

What colourful and interesting sights of light and balloons you might see, whether it’s your first or the umpteenth time at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Every year beginning the first weekend in October, hundreds of thousands of visitors descend upon central New Mexico to see several hundred hot-air balloons ascend into the skies over the Duke City.

To kick off our time in the American Southwest, we drove into Albuquerque for our first time in the city and to attend our first Balloon Fiesta. We purchased in advance tickets to day 1’s morning session with park-and-ride, day 2’s evening session with park-and-ride, and day 3’s morning session without park-and-ride.

For opening day, clear skies and crisp conditions waited for us as we struggled mightily out of bed, but headed out into the dark of the early morning with great anticipation. Even with massive crowds and some traffic chaos, the long wait was worth the sight of seeing the balloons as oval dots on the horizon and as shapely giants up close.

I have to mention the breakfast chile relleno burritos which everybody recommended we seek and try on the festival grounds. How about a version consisting of a New Mexico green chile stuffed with cheese and batter fried, enveloped in a scrambled egg and cheese mixture, all wrapped in a soft corn tortilla and lightly grilled? Big balloons and breakfast burritos? “YES, GUY!

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Spanish Banks, Salish Sea, Strait of Georgia, Georgia Strait, Vancouver, British Columbia, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Spanish Banks’ sunset over the Salish Sea

The Salish Sea, 5 of 5.

The Salish Sea is a body of water encompassing Georgia Strait, Howe Sound, Burrard Inlet, Puget Sound, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The sea is named after the Coast Salish people who are the first inhabitants of the region. The renaming without displacing the old geographic names occurred in 2010.

Any sign of an early summer arrives with temperatures stretching past the 21C/70F mark. Vancouver residents flock to the beaches at Spanish Banks for time with family, friends, and their furry pets. There’s beach volleyball; there are leashed dogs docile and relaxed, and unleashed dogs running wild with tongues wagging out. Hours pass, sunscreen is applied and forgotten, the burn is on the necks and shoulders, the burn is on the meats and veggies on the grill. Before you know it, sun’s down, temperature begins to drop, and it’s time to pack up. Before you leave, spare a thought for the Spanish Navy who sailed into these waters in the latter half of the 18th-century: geographic testament lies in names Juan de Fuca, Galiano, Lángara, Malaspina, etc.

I made the photo on 6 June 2014 with a Canon 6D (mark 1) with 70-300 glass and the following settings: 1/200-sec, f/8, ISO200, and 92mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-b5H.


Albuquerque: big balloons & highlights in the Duke City

To begin our journey through the American Southwest, one of our first destinations was the International Balloon Fiesta. The largest balloon festival in North America is held every October in Albuquerque, the most populous city in the American state of New Mexico. Located roughly in the centre of the state and bisected by two major interstate highways I-25 and I-40, Albuquerque has seen its fair share of human activity and history:

  • Inland trade road between Meso-America and southern Rocky Mountains, c. 1000 AD/CE.
  • El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro established between Mexico City and Santa Fe for the colony of New Spain.
  • City founded 1706 AD/CE, in a wooded area along the east bank of the Rio Grande river.
  • City named after Viceroy of New Spain who was the 10th Duke of Alburquerque; 1st ‘r’ dropped to ease spelling and pronunciation.
  • City population: over 560-thousand, metro area over 910-thousand.
  • City elevation, average: 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mile).
  • City shaped by Spanish presence, railroad, University of New Mexico, Route 66, Sandia National Laboratories, TV- & film-production.

Having arrived from our respective cities at sea-level, we needed about a day or two to adjust to 20% less atmosphere* at the city’s mile-high elevation. Not only did the balloon festival exceed our expectations, we’re happy to share some of our favourite moments and places in and around “The Duke City”. With a limited number of days in the city, a rental car is the easiest way of getting around the city.

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Iona Jetty, Iona Beach Regional Park, Iona Island, Georgia Strait, Strait of Georgia, Salish Sea, British Columbia, Richmond, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Iona Jetty in the Salish sea

The Salish Sea, 4 of 5.

The Salish Sea is a body of water encompassing Georgia Strait, Howe Sound, Burrard Inlet, Puget Sound, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The sea is named after the Coast Salish people who are the first inhabitants of the region. The renaming without displacing the old geographic names occurred in 2010.

The Iona Jetty is a 4 kilometre (2.5 mile) finger of land which begins at the Iona Beach Regional Park and stretches out into Georgia Strait. After your walk or bike out to the very tip of the jetty, you’ll feel like you’re standing in the middle of the sea. In this image, Mount Wrottesley looms over Point Grey, wood-chip barges, the North Arm Jetty, and the waters of the Salish Sea. Further information about Iona Beach Regional Park is provided by Vancouver Trails and Metro Vancouver.

I made the photo on 30 April 2016 with a Canon 6D (mark 1) with 70-300 glass and the following settings: 1/640-sec, f/16, ISO1000, and 280mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-ddC.


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