After tracing the likes of The Peaceful Revolution, Martin Luther, Bach, and Mendelssohn in Leipzig, the sparkle of bright lights and the promise of mulled wine beckon. Emerging from the Markt S-Bahn train station, the sounds of the underground give way to the din of crowds. The city’s central Marktplatz (Market Square) is home to the Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt (Leipzig Christmas Market) and people are out en masse despite the cold bite in the evening air.
Inspired by a similar photograph in a hotel room, I’m at Willy-Brandt-Platz at the bus- and tram-stop in front of the Westhalle at Leipzig Hauptbahnhof (Central Station). I’m deliberate in experimenting with photographs made over a variation in settings. What I like is the tram moving into the frame from the left, the light stripes parallel to the lines of the building in the background, and leading to the waiting crowds at the right. And the Christmas consumer streak continues …
Thanks to Leipzig Tourismus und Marketing GmbH (LTM) and InterCityHotel Leipzig for their kind hospitality. Access to public transport was kindly provided by LTM and the MDV Mitteldeutscher Verkehrsverbund regional transport authority. I made the photo above on 2 December 2014 with the Canon 6D, EF 24-105 zoom-lens, and the following settings: 1/4s, f/4, ISO640, 28mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-6jv.
In a present-age of speed, screens, and instant gratification, there are reasons to hold onto something tangible in your hands, something as simple as a cup, a plate, a bowl; all high-quality products made in the slow time-honoured way developed over centuries as an important local and, now national, cultural tradition.
First time porcelain production began in China going back at least 1000 years BCE with the subsequent centuries yielding hard durable highly-valued products in white, blue-and-white, and green. With European naval powers reaching Asia in the 16th and 17th-centuries, porcelain found new customers and high demand as “white gold” on par with gold and silver. Admiration and envy got many in Europe to thinking: all we need are some chalky deposits, some water, and some big hot ovens, and we’ll be rich … apart from chemistry, the correct firing or curing temperatures, experimentation, and skill. Until the early 18th-century all porcelain came from China, which is how the present-day phrase “(fine) china” arises.
The European debut to porcelain-making began in 1710 in Albrechtsburg castle in Meissen. When the big guy (who pays your wages or is holding you prisoner) says: “go ye therefore and make me some ‘gold'”, one tends to heed those orders. Frequently in need of funds, Augustus the Strong imprisoned and ordered the alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger to produce “gold”, but with mathematician and physicist Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus’ guidance, the two gentlemen did the next best thing and produced Europe’s first “white gold.” Porcelain manufacturing moved from the castle to the present location outside of Meissen’s old town in 1863.
We enter the Meissen Couture and its porcelain museum for a look behind the scenes. Why worry about modern techniques like 3-d printing when you’ve got motivated people willing to put in the hours; their hearts, minds, and souls into their craft? The basic creative instinct and personal touch live on in Meissen.
I’m out and about, at 8 on a Wednesday morning in late-April.
In the midst of the (in)action.
A creaky door opens and closes.
Clanging sounds of pots and pans.
From around the corner, a dog barks.
A word from a woman to her young daughter, on their way to school.
A delivery van slowly makes its way down the narrow cobbled-stone streets.
And a morning passes, in the middle of Neustadt in the German city of Dresden.
I made this photo above on 22 April 2015 with the Canon 6D and the EF 24-105 L IS zoom-lens. I’m grateful to Germany Tourism and Dresden Marketing for supporting activities in the area. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-6Qc.
After identifying a number of places to view Prague at night, Dresden is equally worthy to photograph after sundown. With its nickname “Florence on the Elbe” (Elbflorenz, Florenz an der Elbe) leading the way, I highlight these four places to photograph the city at night.