Monday, October 23, 2017

Abroad: The Populist in Prague and Vienna

We wised up the second day and got up early and had an Uber take us to the bottom of the castle stairs. Still a climb, but nice light and much more dramatic with only a few people around.

There are numerous serious art museums in Prague including several on top of the hill. We started at the Sternberg Palace with it's Renaissance emphasis just as it was opening. Most of the time we were completely alone in there.

A sunbeam in a quiet corner with a chair for the guards.

A sunbeam in the elaborately decorated Chinese Cabinet.

You have to pass through the central courtyard to get to some of the galleries.

Just as you pass the archway from the courtyard, there are doors to a very nice sculpture garden. There were only two other people there, having coffee, and I think, discussing art.

The corner of the sculpture garden.

Lunch in another quiet courtyard restaurant a few steps from the palace, with an excellent tiramisu for dessert.

Located in the middle of the actual castle is St. Vitus Cathedral, visible from nearly everywhere in Prague. The next three pictures are some of my favorite examples of camera movement. Kind of an appropriate subject for dancing light. (He was the patron saint of dancing long before he was associated with the neurological disorder.)

Looking down the central nave. Most of these cathedrals have three doors on the front. Visitors enter through one of the sides and leave through the other so you can get away with a long exposure back against the middle door.

Sunshine through the stained glass. I was very careful to frame the picture so that it was above the heads of the crowds. Shortly after I opened the shutter a 7 foot tall man stepped in front of the camera, but I think the sunshine made it to the film despite his presence.

Next on to Vienna. Nerdy fact: the train goes southeasterly until Brno then changes to southwesterly to Vienna. The Brno train station is then the easternmost Sarah and I have ever been.

We began with the Schönbrunn Palace. Most of the garden is open without admission, but the Orangerie, with it's giant empty halls where the plants winter over, is a separate ticket. Once again we found ourselves practically alone in there.

One of the modest side fountains.

A side view of the schloß and the Privy Garden, with a few of our compatriots, and my own shadow,  projected onto the courtyard.  As much as I seem to gripe about crowds, and my delight when we were by ourselves, it was fascinating to observe so much diverse humanity on vacation. The infrastructure and operation of tourism is also kind of interesting in itself.

It took us about fifteen minutes to get to the center of the maze. It was particularly fun because we kept encountering the same people several times as we guessed our way to the center. In the nearby labyrinth (one long folded path divided in four quadrants rather than a puzzle), there was a small play area with little structures that challenged children to solve math puzzles.

We had lunch in the Gloriette.  Another vocabulary lesson: If your palace is at the bottom of the hill and you build something at the top of the hill overlooking the garden, it's a gloriette. I found myself wondering if Marie Antoinette had eaten cake up here as a child.

As in Prague, there are significant art collections in numerous venues. We decided on the Belvedere Palace mostly because of the collection of work by home-town boy Gustav Klimt. More vocabulary:  If your garden is on a hill and the palace is at the top of the hill, it's a belvedere.

The grand staircase from the top with Sarah wondering why I'm not right behind her.

Klimt's painting The Kiss is the most popular work they have.  Just next to it they have a room with a full size copy just for people to take selfies in front of.

I think palatial gardens must make up half the market for hedge trimmers.

All with The Populist. .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24x35 frame with the Promaster pocket tripod.

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