I don’t take the distagon c 40mm f/4 out very often. It’s a really nice wide angle lens but it’s bulky and heavy. The lens is sharp and looking through the waistlevel finder is amazing. The lens still has a small enough depth of field at f/5.6 to work with (compared to the 24mm equivalent for 35mm film). Another very nice feature is the close focus of 45cm: the lens gets close and is wide which is a very special way approaching photographic objects.
The images below were taken during a car show using Rollei Retro 400s developed in Rodinal (1:50, 20C, 22min, reduced agitation: 2x every two minutes).
The first time I came to Liberty Square was in October or November 2002 to watch the annual free show of Cloude Gate, Taiwan’s well known dance theater company lead by Lin Hwai Min. Together with thousands of Taiwanese I watched “Rice” inspired by the landscape and story of Chihshang in Taiwan’s East Rift Valley. I was just taken away by Lin’s powerful language telling about soil, sun, water, wind and fire. The tale about the village Chihshang producing “emperor’s rice” by adopting traditional means bridges centuries of confucian life, buddhism and human struggle with the elements to the presence. With “Rice” Cloud Gates simply portraits Asia and differences to Western culture become obvious which is most visible in the almost “communal” choreography. Check out Cloud Gate’s schedule to see when they come your way.
Ok, let me get back to today’s walk through Taipei and get back to Liberty square that is bounded by the Chiang Kai Shek memorial and the Gate of Integrity to the East and West, and by the National Theater and the National Concert Hall to the North and the South. The square became the place for public events and gatherings shortly after opening to the public in 1975. The square become a hub of the pro democracy movement in the 80s and 90s. The Wild Lily Student movement of 1990 became the most influential leading to deep-reaching political reforms, the first popular election of the parliament in 1992 and the first presidential election in 1996. The square received today’s name in remembrance of the struggle on the way to democracy after almost four decades (1949 – 1987) of martial law in 2007.
The recent Sunflower movement even shows that democracy is not just achieved but an ongoing dialogue between the few people in power and the common folk practicing their right to challenge them. In March 2014 hundreds of thousand Taiwanese protested against president Ma’s deals with China which many Taiwanese believe will open the gates to the mainland’s economic hegemony across the Taiwan Straits. The event was never covered by international media since it mostly reported about the still missing Malaysian airplane and the Crimea crisis.
However, Liberty Square isn’t only important for Taiwan’s democracy but as a place of public life. Everybody meets here. People practice tai chi under the roof of the concert hall. Teenagers trying out their moves for a dance performance. A band plays music and marches along their choreography. On the big stage a theater group rehearses some kind of rock musicals. And in between all this Taiwanese families, Germans taking their Birkenstocks out for a walk, and groups of yapping mainland tourists stroll along creating a unique, dynamic and unmatched atmosphere.
Honestly, Liberty Square in the heart of Taipei is my favorite place. Its history gives me goosebumps. In spite of being dedicated to Chiang Kai Shek who ruled Taiwan with martial law and an iron fist up to his death in 1975, it has become a symbol of Taiwan’s people and their wish for liberty. The square, I visit almost every year, is alive. It’s complex and complicated looking at its symbolic involvement in Taiwan-PRC (people’s republic of china) relations. And finally, the square is simply part of Taipei’s public life and a great tourist attraction.
All images were taken with a Mamiya 645Pro on Shanghai GP3. I developed the film in Agfa Rodinal.
The plan was to go to Spitzingsee, near Schliersee to hike up a little mountain, have some beer on top and make it back down. Saturday was supposed to be a sunny autumn day with temperature up to 20C. All I found were fog and rain. I shot a couple of frames with the cows as my models. One of the smaller cows licked my hand and I touched its smooth fury nose.
I walked a little bit around the lake. The rain stopped for a little while and came back again. I shot a couple of more frames catching the lake, the mountains with the fog hanging heavily in them. Back in Schliersee the sky cleared up a bit and I walked a bit more. around the lake here finishing the trip with a cup of coffee.
I developed the film, an Ilford HP5+, the next day by letting it sit in Caffenol C-L for 90min. As it turns out, HP5+ isn’t as boring as its reputation.The film base took on a brownish coffee stain but the contrast and sharpness are just fine. Maybe 80min developing time is also fine.
Here is the recipe for 1l water: washing soda 16g, Vitamin C 10g, Salt 1-2g, Instant coffee 40g
Like many other places in the south of Germany, Straubing has almost 8000 years history of human settlement. Many signs of early bronze age culture can be found in Straubing going back to 2000b.c. First celtic tribes settled here about 500 b.c. I didn't know that the celts were all over Central Europe as well and read the wiki article with high interest. There are also many signs of the 400 years of Roman control especially the Roman treasure exhibited in the Gaeuboden museum. After the decline of the Roman empire Bavarian tribes settled around the area of the Romanesque church and cemetery St. Peter which was built in the 2nd half of the 12th century.
The city of Straubing was mentioned first in 897 and it developed in the 13th and 14th century to a centre of power of the Wittelsbach family. The city square as well as the St. Jacob church were built in gothic style. Other churches were built but didn't replace the older ones since the city was prosperous enough which makes Straubing special.
The location at the river Danube always promoted the city's importance in the region. Today, you can strawl or cycle along the river banks and enjoy nature.
It's nice to sit in one of the many cafes and restaurants aöong the 800m long city square and enjoying a local beer and the sun.
And some impressions …
The images were all taken with a Nikon D3 and edited with Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop and the NIK plugins.
Last weekend I went to castle Neuschwanstein which is one of the castles King Ludwig II erected in his Bavarian kingdom during his twenty two year rain.I took a co-worker from Singapore there and wasn’t really aware of the still ongoing nut race of the Japanese, Chinese, Koreans and last but not least Americans. I mean the castle is nice to look at from the outside in spite of the scaffolding covering the entire southwest wing until mid 2013 and it’s certainly built in one of the prettiest landscapes of Germany but …
… why would you visit the inside massacred by themes of Wagner’s operas?
If you really need to go there, climb the Tegelberg right next to the castle which offers an amazing view onto the castle and the lake behind it.
Another alternative is the castle Linderhof in Ettal which is about 50km away from Neuschwanstein. It was also built by the fairy tale king (as if this is a good thing) Ludwig II. However, the castle is surrounded by a beautiful park and it’s just fun to walk up and down the hills and enjoy a nice autumn day.
Autumn in Bavaria is nice this year. But avoid any people who chase a Wagnerian fairy tale and its mad king