Shoes on the Danube Promenade — Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Shoes, Boots, Slippers

This is our entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Shoes, Boots, Slippers.

Just below the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest, on a ledge above the Danube River, is a sobering yet beautiful memorial to 20,000 Jewish victims of the Holocaust.  Ferenc Szalasi, the Hitler-installed head of the Hungarian government and leader of the antisemitic, fascist Hungarian Arrow Cross Party, was instrumental in causing their deaths.  From October 1944 to January 1945, Arrow Cross firing squads rounded up groups of Jewish men, women, and children, marched them to this location on the Danube, forced them to strip off their clothing (especially their shoes), and then shot them at close range so that they would fall into the freezing-cold river below and be carried away by the currents.  This permanent memorial, created by sculptors Gyula Pauer and Can Togay, consists of 60 pairs of shoes cast from iron (now rusted) in front of a 40-meter long stone bench with three cast iron signs. The signs state, in Hungarian, English, and Hebrew:

To the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross militiamen in 1944–45. Erected 16 April 2005.


The reconstructed shoes are placed as if they had just been removed by their owners.  The real shoes would have been gathered by the executioners and sold on the Black Market.  Visitors to the memorial have adorned the permanently-installed shoes with symbolic items of mourning and remembrance: stones in the shoe cavities, flowers in shoes and on the ground, salt in containers and spilled on the ground, and candles.


These photos were taken just after 11 AM local time on April 18, 2019, with a Canon 200D.








Treads — Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Shadows

This is our entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Shadows.

Shadows add beauty to the everyday tire tread showcased in soft beach sand.

This photo was taken on October 9, 2018.  Specs are:

Olympus TG-5, ISO 100, f/6.3, 1/640 sec, 18 mm.

The Art of Blowing Snow

This is our entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Open Topic.

Here is a photo to help get you though the hot days of summer.  The image was captured between sweeps of our car’s windshield wiper as we traveled home this past January in a snowstorm.  (Never take photos from a moving car, right?)  Heavy snowflakes are being blown sideways to add to the blanket already covering the pine trees bordering the roadway.

This photo was taken on January 29, 2019.  The color is original.

Coonoor Station Water Tower — Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Chutes and Ladders

This is our entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Chutes and Ladders.

In February of this year we rode the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) toy train from Coonoor to Ooty in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.  This railway is a meter gauge, or cog, railway, having a middle rail with a rack that allows a train to climb steep inclines.

Our tour company had arranged to get us tickets for the afternoon run, but a taxi drivers’ strike scheduled for that day threw our plans in disarray.   Our guide, who lives in Coonoor, worked his magic to get us tickets for the earlier train, but even then it was uncertain whether the train would run at all that day.

We arrived early to be sure of a seat, since two trains-worth of passengers could be expected to queue for the one train ride (if it happened at all).  We were early enough that the morning’s haze had not burned off yet, but swirled mistily a few feet above the ground.  Any object photographed even a short distance away was muted by this mist.  The water tower shown below finally rose above the mist that enveloped the shrubs below it, but the sky beyond was featureless.

This photo was taken on February 5, 2019. Specs are:

Canon 100D, ISO 320, f/9.0, 1/500 sec, 106 mm.

Man with a Beard — Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: View From the Side

This is our second entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: View From the Side.

While visiting Paris this month, we took in the Palais de Tokyo — a modern art museum. (We had decided to avoid the “main” attractions because of the crowds but read that this was one of the better “second tier” museums. Paris has some pretty high tiers.)

Modern art museums with contemporary exhibits seem to have several that are interactive. One exhibit in the Palais de Tokyo has very large electronic screens that project the profiles of those who stand behind them. We spent several minutes looking at various screens while our fellow visitors posed. One of our favorite subjects was this man:

Attila József by the Danube — Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: View From the Side

This is our entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: View From the Side.

Attila József (April 11, 1905 – December 3, 1937) is a well-known Hungarian poet.  In 1980, a statue to honor József was erected on Kossuth Square in front of the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest. During Viktor Orbán’s tenure as Prime Minister, it was decided to move the statue closer to the banks of the Danube.

Attila József published his poem By the Danube in 1936.  The following is an excerpt (our selection) from the poem, with translation by John Székely.

As I sat on the bottom step of the wharf,
A melon-rind flowed by with the current;
Wrapped in my fate I hardly heard the chatter
Of the surface, while the deep was silent.
As if my own heart had opened its gate:
The Danube was turbulent, wise and great.

And the rain began to fall but then it stopped
Just as if it couldn’t have mattered less,
And like one watching the long rain from a cave,
I gazed away into the nothingness.
Like grey, endless rain from the skies overcast,
So fell drably all that was bright: the past.

But the Danube flowed on.

I am he who for a hundred thousand year
Has gazed on what he now sees the first time.
One brief moment and, fulfilled, all time appears
In a hundred thousand forbears’ eyes and mine.

In the Danube’s waves past, present and future
Are all-embracing in a soft caress.

The photo was taken on April 21, 2019. Specs are:

Canon 200D, ISO 100, f/9.0, 1/80 sec, 35 mm.


On Canal Saint Martin — Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: In or On Water

This is our entry in Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: In or On Water.

During our most recent visit to Paris, we decided to concentrate on activities that are not in the “Top 10” of most tourists.  One of these activities was a 2.5 hour cruise on Canal Saint Martin, beginning at the Arsenal Marina and ending at Parc de la Villette. According to our guide, the first 1.8 kilometers of the total 4.6 kilometer length are underground.  The photo below was taken from the front of the boat as it approached the end of the underground part. The arcs of light on the ceiling are reflected on the water below.