Vista from Montparnasse Tower

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge — Vista.

Many tourists ascend the Eiffel Tower to see the vistas of Paris. We have.  There are two problems when doing this. The first is that the most iconic structure in Paris, the Eiffel Tower itself, is not part of that vista. The second is that a nondescript skyscraper, the Montparnasse Tower, is part of that vista.

We had a one day stopover in Paris while coming home from Central Europe last month. We decided to take in the vista from the top of the Montparnasse Tower.  It costs less than visiting the Eiffel Tower and the view is better! This is one of the shots we got from the Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck.

 

 

Budapest Chain Bridge Light Trails

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Night.

Following a few hours of after-sunset photography atop Buda Castle Hill and Gellért Hill in Budapest, Hungary,  we set up tripods at the Pest end of Chain Bridge to capture light trails.  There is an island between the inbound and outbound lanes of traffic that is safe for pedestrians. To create the trails in the photo, a series of eight 30 second exposures was stacked in Photoshop layers, aligned, and merged into a single image using the lighten blending mode.

An interesting phenomenon that occurs when you have a good spot is that it attracts other photographers. After a few minutes here, several other people with cameras popped up.  They weren’t using tripods so they can’t have been taking this shot.

The Budapest Eye

We have always been fascinated by Ferris wheels, so it is no surprise that we admired (and photographed) the Budapest Eye from many angles before (and after) we rode it.  The Budapest Eye — also known as the Sziget Eye — towers 65 meters high over Erzsébet Square.  Only St. Stephen’s Basilica (and the Budapest Parliament Building) are taller at 96 meters.

The first photo was taken from Gellért Hill on the evening we arrived in Budapest.  Saint Stephen’s Basilica is the imposing building behind it.  We had hiked partway down from the 140 meter peak of Gellért Hill, which rises above the Danube River. The 25 second exposure captures the rotation of the wheel.

The second photo was taken as we stood in line for our ride just after sunset. At 2700 Hungarian Forint (HUF) per ride, slightly more than $9 USD, for a minimum of three rotations or 8 – 10 minutes, it is a pricey thrill, but worth it.  Calculating from time stamps on our photos, we rode for at least 15 minutes.

The third photo was taken from directly beneath the arc of 42 cabins on the wheel.  Each cabin is sized for four to six people.

This post is our entry in nancy merrill photography’s A Photo a Week Challenge: Three of a Kind and Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Wheel.

The 19th Century Military Technology of the Lajta Monitor

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge — Technology.

When we were in Budapest this April, we took a one hour tourist cruise on the Danube to help us locate the major attractions. As we were passing the Parliament building, our jaws dropped when we saw a ship that is known to every student of the American Civil War — a monitor. When they were built, monitors were the most technologically advanced ships ever seen. They were constructed of metal rather than wood, sailed low in the water to expose a minimal target, and had a rotating turret that allowed the guns to be aimed without turning the ship.

A few days later, we toured the ship — the SMS Leitha (or Lajta Monitor) — on a rather cold and rainy day.  The Leitha is closely based on the 1861 design of the USS Monitor and was in service as a warship from 1871 to 1921. After that, the guns were removed and it was used to haul gravel.  The ship was rediscovered more that 80 years later and restored to its 1871 configuration. After the 19th century, monitors saw action in World Wars I and II and ships derived from the design were even used in Vietnam. It was pretty stunning to learn how advanced monitor ships were and how long they were in service. It was fascinating to explore a ship so close to one of the most famous ships in the Civil War (the Huntley and the CSS Virginia would be the others).

Die Mimik der Téthys

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Connections.

Die Mimik der Téthys, 2019 (the facial expressions of the Téthys) is the creation of Julius Von Bismarck that is displayed in the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France.  Téthys was the sea goddess of Greek mythology.

Die_Mimik_der_Téthys_2019_2859

According to a sign accompanying the exhibit,

The artist picked up a disused buoy just off the French coasts, a form of sign-posting used to facilitate navigation and warn boats of any dangers. Today suspended at the Palais de Tokyo, [it] reproduces in real time, thanks to a complex network of motors and cables, the movement of the buoy that has replaced it.

Because of the data connections between the exhibited buoy and the real buoy, we could “watch” the movements of the real buoy as it was being tossed on the Atlantic Ocean hundreds of miles away.

Altar of the Old-New Synagogue in Prague

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge — Worship.

We recently visited the Jewish Quarter in Prague. One of the (many) stops was the Old-New Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in Central Europe. The building — constructed in 1270 — is in the gothic style and was build by hired Christian workers since Jews were not permitted to participate in the building trades.
The photo below shows a raised platform used for Torah reading during services. The large red banner was given by Charles IV, in honor of the Jewish community’s service.

An interesting aside about this synagogue is that, in around 1600, Rabbi Lowe is said to have created a creature — called the Golem — to protect the ghetto. This creature, the world’s first “robot,” is said to be hidden in the attic of the synagogue.

Unrolled

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Roll.

After a journey spanning three days (17 hours in the air), we were finally deposited at a tiny hotel in Negombo, Sri Lanka.  Since the local time was approaching 5 AM, we were most anxious for sleep in a real bed.  Checking out the bathroom, we discovered the sum total of toilet paper supplied for us.  We decided to dig out our own reserve supply (we have traveled in this part of the world before).

 

This photo was taken on February 1, 2018. Specs are:

Olympus TG-4, ISO 500, f/2.0, 1/30 sec, 4.5 mm.