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Posts Tagged ‘Vienna Austria’

One of  the best known buildings in Vienna is Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral), the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Vienna. You can see the multicolored tiled roof, one of its distinctive features, in the photos below that I took a few nights ago. The cathedral is located in a busy area in the center of the city with surrounding buildings quite close. As a result, you have to get pretty close and shoot upwards to get an unobstructed view and the angles get all skewed.

In a few hours a taxi will bring me to the airport to catch my flight back to the USA. It has been a brief trip to Vienna with most of my daylight hours occupied with work, but I have been fortunate to have the chance to catch some of the beautiful Christmas decorations in the city at nights. I might do another posting or two of Vienna when I return home, but this will almost certainly be my last one that I write in Vienna itself.

Merry Christmas to you all, wherever the holidays happen to find you.

Stephansdom Vienna

Stephansdom Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Last night I had the chance to go strolling through the central pedestrian shopping area in Vienna. A light snow was gently falling, making things feel even more festive as the city prepares for Christmas. One of the really cool things about this area is that each of the streets has a different style lighting. The photos below show three of my favorites.

Vienna Christmas

Vienna Christmas lights

Vienna Christmas lights

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Once again I find myself in Vienna, Austria just before Christmas for a work trip. Many of you know that I retired earlier this year, but I was requested to come back to assist with a workshop this week that I have helped to run for the past seven years. It is hard to say no to an overseas trip and Vienna is particularly beautiful at this time of the year. There are lots of Christmas markets throughout the city, wirh the largest one in front of the Rathaus (City Hall).

In the market there are rows and rows of vendors selling all kinds of products, including a wide variety of food and beverages. My personal favorite is the käsekrainer, a large sausage filled with chunks of cheese that melt when the sausage is grilled. I usually have mine in a hard crusted roll (like a mini baguette) with lots of spicy mustard. The most popular item for consumption, though, appears to be glühwein, hot spicy wine, served in festive mugs. You put down a deposit on the mugs and either return them or take them away with you.

Most of my daylight hours, which seem really limited at this time of the year, are filled with work, but I managed to make it to the Rathaus Christmas Market and grabbed a few photos one evening earlier this week. Hopefully they give you a sense of the festive atmosphere at the market, though you don’t get the smells of the food cooking in the open air and the sounds of the Christmas music, with a variety of individuals and groups performing live.

Merry Christmas in advance and Happy Holidays to those of you who do not celebrate Christmas.

Vienna Christmas Market 2019

Vienna Christmas Market 2019

Vienna Christmas Market 2019

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I have returned from my week-long trip to Vienna, Austria, but thought that I would share images of some of the night lights of the city on my final night. On a cold winter evening when snow was lightly falling, Vienna gleamed like one of the brilliant crystals from Swarovski.

As you can see from the first photo of one of the streets in the central pedestrian zone of Vienna, the city lights are amazing. The second shot is of of the clock tower in one of the inner courts of the Hofburg Palace. The final image shows the elegant storefront of the Swarovski store.

Thanks to my readers who have stayed with me this past week as I deviated from my normal wildlife and nature photography. It is enjoyable to mix things up a bit and a fun challenge to photograph entirely different subjects. I am heading out in a short while and with a little luck will have some new wildlife images to share tomorrow.

night lights in Vienna

night lights in Vienna

night lights in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Last night, my final night in Vienna this trip, I had a chance to walk by Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral), an incredible building in the center of the city.

The beauty of Vienna is magnified at this time of the year by wonderful decorations and lights everywhere.

Stephansdom

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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My short trip to Vienna, Austria is rapidly coming to a close and I want to leave you with this image of the entrance to the outdoor Christmas market at the Rathaus (City Hall), the tall building in the background.

My busy work schedule and the rainy weather this year have conspired against me and kept me from getting new photos. I decided to reprise a photo from a similar posting that I did in 2016. I did have a chance earlier in the week to visit this Christmas market and, as always, it was amazingly beautiful, despite the bustling crowds and often commercialized decorations and merchandise.

Best wishes to all for a “Frohe Weihnachten,” German for “Merry Christmas.”

Christmas 2018

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Sometimes the most mundane scenes capture my eye and prompt me to photograph them. On Monday morning, I looked out of my hotel window and was captivated by the way that the early sunlight was falling on the dome of a building in the distance. As I started exploring the scene I saw lots of wonderful details, a wonderful juxtaposition of elements of the old and the new, of historical buildings and new construction.

This is not my normal style of photography, but I thought it would be fun to share with you a couple of images that give you a sense of the feel of that early morning in Vienna, Austria. I had hoped to take some additional photos of the city, but the last couple of days have been cold, wet, and windy. With a little luck I will be able to take a few photos of the Christmas markets to share with you before I depart this beautiful old city.

Vienna Austria

Vienna Austria

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Whenever I am traveling for work I try to find some local wildlife to photograph. I am currently in Vienna, Austria and yesterday morning I went for a short walk in the Stadtpark, a park in central Vienna that is not far from my hotel. In the small pond there I found mostly mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos), a species with which I am quite familiar.  One duck, however, really stood out because it had such unusual markings.

I focused my attention and my camera on this particular duck. Its shape looked to be similar to that of normal mallards and I wonder if this might be some kind of hybrid. I suppose that it could be another species altogether, though it did not look like any of the species in the photographic list I found on-line of the birds of Austria.

Whatever the case, this bird struck me as being a bit of an odd duck.

duck in Vienna

duck in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Here are a few shots of butterflies that I spotted last weekend during a visit to the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria. Unlike the brightly-colored larger butterflies that I sometimes see in gardens, these butterflies were small, rather drab in coloration, and very skittish. They also tended to perch on the ground, which made them a little tougher to photograph. In my experience, woodland butterflies tend to fit this general profile.

I particularly enjoyed chasing one butterfly, which is shown in the first and second images below. The butterfly is a species that I do not see at home and looks quite nondescript when its wings are closed. With the wings open, though, the butterfly reveals its beautiful colors and patterns—it is like a hidden treasure.

The other two butterflies are also quite beautiful, with wonderful muted tones and patterns.

 

butterfly in Vienna

butterfly in Vienna

butterfly in Vienna

butterfly in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Dragonflies are amazing. They spend most of their lives as nymphs in the water before they crawl out, discard their exoskeletons, and become beautiful aerial acrobats. I photographed this probable Downy Emerald dragonfly (Cordulia aenea) last weekend at the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria.

The object in the upper right in the first image is the discarded exoskeleton, often called an “exuvia,” and further down the vegetation is the dragonfly itself.  The dragonfly appears to have recently emerged from that same exuvia. Note how much longer the dragonfly’s body has grown after emergence. The wings of the dragonfly are not yet fully extended, suggesting that it still is in the process of emergence. If you look closely at the exuvia, you may notice some white stringy looking parts. These are the breathing tubes are part of the respiratory system that helped the dragonfly breathe while still a water-dwelling nymph.

I was standing on a relatively steep incline and the reed-like vegetation was growing out of the water, so it was a challenge to get a good angle to photograph the dragonfly. The second image was taken from a different angle from the first (and I was happy that I was able to keep from sliding into the water).

I proceeded down the trail for a while before looping back and returning to the spot where I had seen the dragonfly. I think the dragonfly in the final image may be the same one as in the first two shots, though obviously the perch is not the same. After dragonflies have emerged, they generally have to wait some time for the wings to harden and for their metamorphosis to be complete.

dragonfly in Vienna

dragonfly in Vienna

dragonfly in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Damsels in Vienna? Here are a few shots of some beautiful little damselflies that I encountered this past weekend during a visit to the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria.

While traveling for work I normally leave at home my Canon DSLR and big lenses and use instead a Canon SX50 point-and-shoot camera with a super zoom lens. There are some compromises and limitations with this type of camera, but I am quite pleased with the results I can achieve using it, including these almost-macro images.

damselfly in Vienna

damselfly in Vienna

damselfly in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Finding birds is tough when the leaves are on the trees, but I did manage to spot this cool-looking one here in Vienna, Austria while visiting the Donau-Auen National Park. If this bird had remained quiet, there is no way that I would have been able to find it, but fortunately for me it was singing loudly.

I did a quick internet search, but so far I have not yet been able to identify it. I’d welcome identification assistance, particularly from someone with experience with European birds.

UPDATE: Thanks to the assistance of a number of viewers, I have been able to identify this bird as a Great Tit (Parus major), a widespread and common species throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central and Northern Asia, and parts of North Africa.

singing bird in Vienna
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I have been to Vienna, Austria often enough in the past 25 years that I have seen most of the big tourist sights. Now, when I have a bit of free time in the city, as I did yesterday, I like to go exploring in the Donau-Auen National Park and seek out wildlife.

I was thrilled when I spotted dragonfly in flight and was able to photograph it after it landed high in a tree. It is not a species with which I am familiar, but fellow bloggere and dragonfly enthusiast Walter Sanford suggested that it is of the Emerald family and I tend to agree with him.

dragonfly in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The view from my hotel room in Vienna seems to be mostly of ongoing construction work, but this morning it featured a touch of color as the sun slowly began to rise. A nice highlight was the sliver of a crescent moon still visible in the sky.

Vienna

Vienna

vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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In the middle of December, it starts to get dark really early in Vienna. As I was exploring one of the Christmas markets late in the afternoon a few days ago, my eyes were drawn to the interplay of light and shadows on the top of the building of the Museum of Natural History (Naturhistorisches Museum). Natural light was rapidly fading and the artificial lights began to come on, highlighting some of the architectural details of this magnificent building.

Folks passing by probably wondered why I was staring at this scene for an extended period, sometimes with my camera to my eye and sometimes with my naked eyes. We photographers are a peculiar breed.

Museum of Natural History

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I am in Vienna, Austria for a brief work trip and had a chance to stop by the Christmas Market in front of the Rathaus (City Hall). Even on a Monday afternoon, the market was crowded with shoppers. The market is noisy, busy, and a bit gaudy, but despite all of the commercialization, I could still feel the spirit of Christmas.

As the big sign in front of the market states in German, “Merry Christmas.”

Vienna Christmas Market 2017

Vienna Christmas Market 2017

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Walking two dogs simultaneously while riding a bicycle? I am not sure that I would try it, but this man in Vienna was somewhat successful in doing so.

dog walking in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I was hoping that I would be in Vienna at the right time of the year to see baby swans, but I guess my trip brought me here a bit too early. At the lake at Donau-Auen National Park, I could see one Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) swimming around and wondered if it was alone. When I walked further around the lake, I spotted what appears to be its mate, partially hidden by the vegetation, sitting on a nest.

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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As I wandered through the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria this past weekend I did not see any large butterflies, but I did spend quite some time chasing several smaller ones.  The butterfly species appear to be somewhat similar to the ones that I see in Northern Virginia, but not identical, as was the case with the damselflies that I featured yesterday.

butterfly in Vienna

butterfly in Vienna

butterfly in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Nature photographers are a peculiar breed of people. How else could I explain why I headed off to the Donau-Auen National Park within hours of my arrival in Vienna, Austria. I am staying in the center of the city, virtually surrounded by historic buildings and monuments, yet I feel more drawn to explore nature than history.

Saturday was a warm, sunny day and I was hoping to encounter dragonflies as I explored some of the areas of the park that I have visited before. It may be a little early in the season or that I was simply not lucky, but in any case I did not encounter a single dragonfly. I was, however, quite fortunate and saw quite a few damselflies. These beautiful little creatures are tiny and elusive and like to hide perch on vegetation, so it is often challenging to get clear shots of them.

I was shooting with my Canon SX50, a superzoom point-and-shoot, which helped me sometimes to get shots without scaring off the damselflies. In some cases, though, it was really tough to get the camera’s focus to lock onto the target.

The shapes and colors of the damselflies are somewhat familiar and may be related to the species that I see at home, but I am not even going to try to identify them. I hope that you can enjoy the delicate beauty of these damselflies that I encountered during my most recent adventures in the national park here in Vienna.

damselfly in Vienna

 

damselfly in Vienna

 

damselfly in Vienna

damselfly in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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My short trip to Vienna, Austria is rapidly coming to a close and I want to leave you with this image of the entrance to the outdoor Christmas market at the Rathaus (City Hall), the tall building in the background.

Best wishes to all for a “Frohe Weihnachten,” German for “Merry Christmas.”

Christmas 2016

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Nighttime in Vienna, Austria is incredible—there are so many beautiful buildings that are wonderfully illuminated. Capturing their beauty while hand holding my superzoom Canon SX50 is a bit of a challenge, but I try to stabilize myself by leaning against various poles, buildings, and other stationary objects.

This shot of a clock tower in one of the inner courtyards of the Hofburg Palace is my favorite image from yesterday evening while I was wandering around the city.

clock tower in Vienna, Austria

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It was not quite as elaborate as Tchaikovsky, but the Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) at the small lake at the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria performed their own form of water ballet this past weekend. Here are a couple of shots of the acrobatic moves of one of the swans and an overall view of the “Swan Lake.”

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Swan Lake

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Today I had some free time to wander about in the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria.I am visiting Vienna for a few days on a business trip and decided that I did not want to fight the crowds at the numerous Christmas markets in the city.

It was cool and windy and I did not see as much wildlife as I did during a visit there last April. However I did manage to spot a family of Mute Swans (Cygnus olor). Two of them—one adult and one adolescent—landed on ice that had formed on the small lake and they struggled to walk across the slippery surface to reach open water. The adult, who was bright white in color, moved with much more confidence than the dusky-colored youngster, who moved in a cautious and tentative way. I suspect that it was the first time that the young swan had encountered ice.

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Mute Swans

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I love trying to capture unusual reflections, like this cityscape of Vienna that was reflected last week in the tuba of a band that was playing in the center of the city.

Reflection of Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I am now home from Vienna and as I was reviewing my photos from the trip I came across this image. What could be more adorable than a baby duckling trying to imitate its mother, especially with Mother’s Day only a week away?

I took this shot last week in Vienna, Austria at the Volksgarten, where a family of Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) had taken up residence in a fountain.

Mallard Mom and duckling

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I am usually averse to photographing unknown people in public, but the drivers of the fiakers, the two-horse carriages that offer short tours in Vienna, are such a colorful group of characters that I couldn’t resist grabbing a few shots from a distance.

fiaker driver

fiaker driver

fiaker driver

driver4_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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During my two walks through the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria I encountered Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) in several locations swimming about and foraging for food. Their beauty and grace was remarkable and their white feathers were dazzling—it is easy to see why they have inspired music and ballet. Through the reeds I also spotted a female swan sitting on a nest. I would love to have seen baby swans, but I guess it’s still a bit too early.

As I was doing a little research, I was a bit surprised to learn that Mute Swans are not native to North America—they are an introduced species. I grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts and my earliest memories of swans are the pedal-powered swan boats in the Boston Public Garden. According to Wikipedia, those swan boats have been in operation since 1877.

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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At this time of the year I love to try to photograph insects, but during my brief visit to Vienna, Austria the weather has been cool, windy, and sometimes rainy. The only insect that I was able to capture was this green-eyed moth that I spotted at the Donau-Auen National Park. I did a quick internet search,so far but have not been able to identify this insect.

When I am on business trips, I generally don’t travel with my Canon 50D DSLR and multiple lenses. I had been using a Canon PowerShot A620, a 2005 vintage 7.1 megapixel point-and-shoot camera. However, a while back I purchased a Canon SX50, a super zoom camera, to use as my new travel camera and I have used this trip to Vienna to test it out. I knew that it would be pretty good for long range shots, and have featured some images of birds this week that I photographed with the SX50.

What would it do, though, with smaller subjects? Would it be able to capture details? When I examined this image of the small green-eyed moth, I was pleased to see that the camera did a pretty good job in rendering details, such as the antennae and the eye.

I am still playing around with the different settings of the camera in an attempt to maximize the quality of the images it delivers, but my initial impressions are quite favorable.

Green-eyed moth

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The locals must have thought I was a bit crazy as I maneuvered about taking photos of some House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) in the Volksgarten, one of the many beautiful public parks in Vienna, Austria. After all, House Sparrows are among the most ordinary-looking and common birds in the city.

Most of the time the sparrows were in constant motion, but a couple of them perched for short periods of time and I was able to capture a few images of the female and male House Sparrows that highlight their beauty.

sparrow5_blog

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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When I saw this bird bobbing its head as it moved forward in the waters at the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria, I knew immediately that it had to be a coot. From certain angles, it looked just like an American Coot (Fulica americana), a species that I have seen regularly this spring. When it turned its head, however, I noted that it had a white shield on its forehead that its American counterparts lack. After a little research, I learned that this is a Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra).

Eurasian Coot

Eurasian Coot

coot1_blog

Eurasian Coot

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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