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Posts Tagged ‘Vienna’

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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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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As I was walking along the Danube Canal in Vienna, a small yellow boat caught my eye. Bright colors, of course, almost always attract our attention, but there is something that I really like about the way that this boat fits into its surroundings.

You can see some of the graffiti that I have featured in recent postings, as well as some undecorated areas of the walls that separate the higher street level from the much lower canal. I am not sure what that yellow structure is used for, but it is an almost perfect color match for the boat. Initially I was disappointed when I saw that there was a cyclist entering into the frame in the upper left, but I changed my mind and now think it adds some additional interest to the shot.

This is not an image that would be easily associated with Vienna, but I like the “artsy” feel of the urban landscape that I was able to capture.

yellow boat

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Quirky Vienna

Vienna, Austria is a traditional old world city in many ways, but it has its quirky elements too. Here are a few of them that I spotted during my most recent trip.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The lights at the Christmas Market at the Rathaus (City Hall) in Vienna, Austria really put me in the mood for Christmas. I’m finishing up my work in Vienna and will be back in Northern Virginia in a couple of days.

Merry Christmas (in German)

Merry Christmas (in German)

Vienna Christmas Market

Vienna Christmas Market

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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At this time of the year there are Christmas markets all over Vienna. One of the largest and busiest is located in the square in front of the Rathhaus (City Hall), an elaborate building in the center of the city.

Most of the times that I have visited this market in the past have been at night. Each time I had to fight my way through jostling crowds of people as I was overwhelmed by the sights and smells of the market.

Last week, I had the chance to walk through the market early in the day before it had opened. I noticed there there were statues overlooking the market booths. The statues, which I suspect are historical figures, are probably permanently in place. I’m sure that it was my imagination, but the statues seemed to be making an assessment of activity that was taking place below their feet.

I love the look of the Rathaus and am also including a few views of this wonderful piece of architecture.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Where do you find wildlife when you are in an urban area like Vienna, Austria, which I am visiting for work this week? I had some free time this past weekend and I took a long walk along the Donaukanal (Danube Canal). The natural landscape along the canal was not very inspiring, but I couldn’t help but notice the colorful graffiti everywhere. Much of this “art” was poorly done and consisted on tags that had been crudely executed by some individual or group, sometimes defacing a much more beautiful piece.

I came across several wildlife-themed pieces that were really well done that I wanted to share. Some of the wildlife depicted is realistic, while other creatures are more fanciful.

Osprey

Osprey

Osprey close-up

Osprey close-up

Owl

Owl

Graceful bird

Graceful bird

Fox

Fox

Tiger

Tiger

Imaginary bird

Imaginary bird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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On my final night in Vienna, I took a long, leisurely stroll through the pedestrian district in the city’s center, enjoying the magical atmosphere created by all of the different Christmas lights that adorned the streets.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Although Vienna is best known for the classical music of composers like Mozart and Strauss, there is music everywhere at Christmas time, from the carols of a brass ensemble at a Christmas market to the softer sounds of a Swedish choir celebrating Sankta Lucia.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It was a really foggy start to the day in Vienna yesterday and the photos I took looked almost like they had been taken with black and white film.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I was walking through the Volksgarten in Vienna, I was a bit surprised to encounter three ducklings, living in a fountain along with two male adult Mallards. The city had constructed a ramp so that the ducks could enter and exit the fountain and a couple of plywood platforms, where the ducklings would rest and play.

Obviously there was a mother duck involved in giving birth to these ducklings, which were no longer babies, but I did not see her at all during any of my three visits to see the ducks.

Although I had only a point-and-shoot camera with a small zoom lens, the fountain limited the movement of the ducklings and I was able to move in close for some pretty good shots, which show the personality of the little ducklings.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Vienna can be a crowded city, overflowing with people much of the time, but early morning in the Volksgarten, I had my choice of seats—both the chairs and the benches were completely empty.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I am back in Vienna, Austria for a short business trip and captured a few of the sights of this beautiful city on an early morning walk today as the city was coming to life.

Conservatory in Vienna

Conservatory in Vienna

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Vienna City Hall (Rathaus)

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Athena statue outside Austrian Parliament Building

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Statue in Volksgarten

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The streets in the pedestrian area of Vienna have spectacular displays of lighting for Christmas that are simple and elegant. Each of the streets has its own motif that is repeated in white or gold lights. My favorites are the giant chandeliers in one of the main streets, but others are equally impressive. Do you have a favorite?

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I am including a selection of photos in a gallery to show you some of the different lighting schemes—click on a photo to see the photos in  the gallery at higher resolution.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I was a little jetlagged, but managed to take a short walk through part of the city this afternoon, the day of my arrival, and got these photos of some of the notable buildings in Vienna, Austria.

There are so many beautiful and interesting buildings in Vienna that you could easily spend weeks photographing them. I have been in this wonderful city quite a number of times, so many of these buildings are familiar to me. I realize, however, that is not the case for most of my readers, so I thought I would share some of that beauty in a few photos from the point-and-shoot Canon that I have with me during this business trip.

Burgtheater, Vienna

Burgtheater, Vienna

Detail of Austrian Parliament Building, Vienna

Detail of Austrian Parliament Building, Vienna

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Detail of Rathaus (City Hall), Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Sitting in the airport in Newark, I decided to take advantage of the time before my flight back to Washington, D.C. and play with some of my images. I have always loved black-and-white photography and have tried a couple of times to convert some of my images. I never know for sure what will work, but one of my photos of Christmas decorations in Vienna, Austria seemed to be appropriate for experimentation. I know that there is some good software available if I decide to pursue that direction, but this time I opted to desaturate the image almost entirely. I like the effect, in part because of the graphic lines of the original.

Which version do you like more, black-and-white or color?

Almost black and white

Almost black and white

Color

Color

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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On my last night in Vienna, Austria, I decided to go for a walk through the city center to see how it was decorated for Christmas. There were lots of lights everywhere. Using available light, I took some photos of those lights and of some of Vienna’s famous landmarks. With a tripod, I would have done better, but I took advantage of various objects to brace myself and my camera for some fairly lengthy exposures. Here is an eclectic set of shots from my walk on a very cold Vienna evening.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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My time in Vienna is drawing to a close and I thought I’d post a few more of my favorite photos from the Christmas market.

Stands selling hot spiced wine are often areas where people congregate. One of them was set up on a path flanked with statues and I like how the first photo shows a statue peering down over the stand. What would he think of the scene in front of him?

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The second image shows one element of the Christmas decorations. I like the colors, shapes, and the lines in that photo.

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The third shot was taken looking up at some of the towers of the Rathaus (City Hall). I braced myself against the wall of one of the booths to steady myself for the shot and you can see part of the booth in the foreground. I like the effect of this extreme angle (and I always love shots of buildings lit up in the evening).

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A couple of days I posted a photo of a building and asked readers to guess what its function was. There were a number of creative ideas including an observatory and a television tower, but Sue was correct in surmising that it is part of a heating plant?

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Yes, it actually is a district heating plant in Vienna, Austria. It was designed by Austrian artist Friedensrich Hundertwasser (1928-2000) in 1988-1992. I don’t know too much about the artist, but he was a bit eccentric, judging from the biographical information in Wikipedia, and the name he adopted as a artist means Peace-kingdom Hundred-water.

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According to information on a Hundertwasser webpage, originally he opposed the idea of this project, as he had fundamental objections to a garbage-incinerating plant as long as all possibilities for avoiding garbage were not exhausted. But when it was promised that the plant would be equipped with the most modern emission-purification technology, that 60,000 apartments would be heated, and in view of the fact that Vienna needed a garbage-incinerating plant, Hundertwasser finally agreed to do the design.

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I’ve included a number of different photos to give you a sense of what the heating plant looks like from different angles and distances. No matter what your views are on modern art, you have to acknowledge that this is a unique and unusual way to decorate the exterior of an urban heating plant.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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One of the most interesting aspects of any outdoor market is watching people, including the salespeople. In my experience, the vendors tend to be outgoing people who try to attract passersby to stop at their stalls and purchase what ever they are selling. Here are some photos I took of three of the vendors at the Christmas market in Vienna. The lighting is a bit harsh, but I decided to take the photos without flash to be less obtrusive.

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chestnuts

Vendor

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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This evening I had the chance to visit again the Christmas market in front of the Rathaus (City Hall) in Vienna, Austria and got better photos. Why? It was less crowed, the weather was better, and I was alone (rather than with three friends who were more interested in shopping than in taking photos).

The first sign was from a stall that was selling lebkuchen, a German baked product that is a lot like gingerbread. I really like the hand-carved look of the sign.

Lebkuchen

The second sign is a sign for a stall called “Potato Jim” that sold stuffed baked potatoes. I am not sure who “Jim” is, but I thought the sign, with a potato wearing a Santa hat, was cute.

Potato Jim

The third sign is one that was at the entrance to the Christmas market. The big letters spell out “Merry Christmas” in German and the small lit sign to the right spells out “Vienna Christmas Market.” The building in the background is the Rathaus (City Hall).

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yesterday I had a chance to photograph one of the coolest buildings in Vienna, Austria. I plan to write a little  about it and post a few more photos later this week, but I thought I’d post a photo now as a sneak preview.

What do you think is the main function of the building, a part of which is shown in this photograph? Could it be an art museum or an apartment building? Stay tuned for the correct answer.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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You probably noticed that the subject matter of my blog is different in this posting. I am away from home on a short business trip to Vienna, Austria. I arrived this afternoon and had the chance to visit several of the Christmas markets here. They were all very crowded and it was also well below freezing and windy, so shopping was not a lot of fun. It was actually more fun to watch people.

The biggest Christmas market was at the plaza in front of the Rathaus, the city hall. I have only a point-and-shoot camera with me, but I managed to take a couple of shots to give you a sense of the venue. According to Wikipedia, the beautiful Gothic-style building was constructed between 1872 and 1883.

I’ll try to post a few more photos of Vienna, a beautiful city with lots of charm, while I’m here.

Rathaus at dusk

Rathaus at dusk

Christmas lighting in Vienna

Christmas lighting in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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