Fotoeins Fotografie

photography as worlds between words

Posts from the ‘Austria’ category

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.

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.

Fotoeins Friday: Aktuelles Wetter (current weather)

In this first of five, I highlight Vienna for Fotoeins Friday in the month of August.

A cool evening draws to a close in the Austrian capital city. I’m waiting to board a train with the city’s U-Bahn and return to my accommodations. When a wonderfully interesting superposition of pictorial elements comes together, it would be a shame not to get a frame. I might be tired, but I’m not dead; I remind myself it’s worthwhile to pay attention.

I made the picture above at U4 station Landstrasse on 15 May 2018 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime with the following settings: 1/125-sec, f/4, ISO4000, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-bWr.

Mountain goats, fauna, Alpine fauna, Karwendel, Alpinewelt Karwendel, Bergwelt Karwendel, Mittenwald, Bavaria, Bayern, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: mountain goats on Austria’s Karwendel

I see movement at the corner of my eye: two little dark blips move slowly against a field of loose rock, boulders, and patches of snow.

At the mountain station of the Karwendel cable car, few venture through the 430-metre (1411 feet) “under rock” tunnel to Dammkar. On the other side is a predominantly east-facing view of the Karwendel mountains along the border ridge between Germany and Austria.

I install the 70-300 glass, and my first guess is that they’re mountain goats. Google Maps tells me later it’s a distance of over 0.5 kilometre from where I stand. Even with full-frame and maximum 300mm focal length, I don’t have enough spatial resolution to determine whether the quadrupeds are Alpine ibex (Alpensteinbock) or chamois (Gams). My best guess is that they’re the latter.

Mountain goats, fauna, Alpine fauna, Karwendel, Alpinewelt Karwendel, Bergwelt Karwendel, Mittenwald, Bavaria, Bayern, Germany, fotoeins.com

A pair of mountain goats

I made the above photo on 30 May 2018 with the Canon 6D, 70-300 glass, and the following settings: 1/1000-sec, f/8, ISO1000, and 300mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie on fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-bUD.

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