Macro pansy

Experimenting with a macro lens.

I’ve done very little macro photography, but while the flowers are blooming in Zürich it seemed to be a good time to pull out that macro lens (thanks dad!) and experiment a little.  I found a bed of pansies,  beautifully deep purple and dripping from a recent drizzle.  Sitting on the sidewalk, while passers-by snickered at me, I snuck in close to these pansies and explored different approaches.  Here are a few favorites – I often found it more interesting to zoom in on a droplet, or part of a petal, than on the whole flower.  I have a long ways to go to get the right exposure, depth of field, and crisp imagery.   Maybe tomorrow.

Same photos (full-res) in the gallery.




Fountain cat

Even the housecats enjoy Zurich’s many public fountains.

Finally, after more than six weeks without more than a drizzle, it’s raining.  I went for a walk, as usual, but was diverted by some road construction and ended up on a path that tucks into the entrance to the neurology clinic at the nearby university hospital.  There is a truly lovely fountain there, and I was not the only visitor. Like all of the many public fountains in Zürich, the water is fresh and drinkable.



Zurich by night

For a photographer, Zurich is a beautiful place to wander at night.

2020-04-24-82844Imagine you are a photographer that enjoys photographing historic architecture in grand old cities like Zürich, with its cobblestone streets, decorative fountains, and majestic churches that have stood for centuries.

Now imagine that city at night, with no traffic, virtually no pedestrians, and all the major sights floodlit.  In a way, the stay-at-home Corona Situation is a boon to street photographers who want an unobstructed view of plazas and architecture… places that would normally have been bustling with people on this warm spring evening.

I took this opportunity to wander the old town, from the ETH Polyterrasse overlook, down to the river Limmat, up to the Lindenhof park, and past the Fraumunster and Grosmunster cathedrals.  Sure, I passed some couples and small groups of drunken teens who don’t seem to understand the “distance” part of “social distancing”, but it was otherwise a startlingly quiet Friday evening, with the shops shuttered and the cafés closed.  That may change on Monday, when shops reopen.  Meanwhile, enjoy the gallery!

Hazy Alpine views

As the spring season remains dry, our views of the Alps have been hazy.

Every morning I climb Zürichberg to my favorite outlook, with its sweeping view of the city and Zurichsee in the foreground, and the Alps in the distance.  We’ve had a very dry spring – no precipitation since that light snowfall on March 30 and no real rain for weeks before that.  That has led to beautiful, warm sunny days, but also a fair amount of haze between me and the mountains.  Yesterday morning the view was relatively clear, and Adobe Lightroom helped me remove a bit of haze from my photos.  I can’t wait to get back to the mountains!



A curious (and historic) old building on the edge of campus.

I’ve walked by this curious old building a few times, and always paused to ponder its origin, its purpose, and its sad condition (never seen in this prim part of town).  It sits snugly between a posh residential neighborhood and the focal point of three campuses: ETH, the University of Zürich (UZH), and the UZH hospital.  Clearly, it once had a walk-up counter where one could arrange for the fabrication of chemical/technical apparatus.

Puzzled, a little Googling lead me to a brochure a local historical society wrote about this building.  From what I can glean from that brochure (in German), this workshop was built in 1863 next to a small house, home to several generations of plumbers. The later generations apparently specialized in scientific apparatus as well as home plumbing solutions (Wasch & Badeeinrichtungen – wash and bathroom furnishings). After decades of disrepair, the property was protected under a local archaeological ordinance, purchased by the city, then restored into beautiful shape. It was left unused, however, and sadly became the target of graffiti vandals. It now appears likely to be demolished when the hospital next needs to expand.  The adjacent house is now used by ETH as a daycare facility.