MojVet Photoshooting

“Would you want to come by and take some pictures? You know, for printing, and the website…” Sounds easy enough…

This was actually my first “real” photo assignment: document “a day in the life” of my sister’s small animal vet clinic MojVet in Ljubljana. They would use the photos on their website and to decorate their walls. We decided to do the shooting in a documentary style, completely unposed, which suited me very well since I know nothing about proper studio work. It also meant, however, that it wasn’t obvious how long it should take, since we depended on “interesting” (and cooperative) clients to come in to the clinic with their small furry friends.

Normally, I shoot outdoor adventures where my subjects are my friends that are with me on the same trip. I don’t normally hang out in operating rooms, so shooting the work at the clinic was a completely different experience! Besides the challenges of shooting indoor with sub-optimal artificial lighting (I should have brought some lights!), it was fun to work out the angles and learn to anticipate the gestures and movements of the clinic team and their patients. I’m not normally a particularly outgoing person, but being in the role and getting into the flow of photographing there I felt really relaxed and confident.

Shooting in the operating room was pretty exciting! Here are a few that made the cut:

Photographing the pets and their owners in the checkup area and observing the effect that the animals have on people was really fun.

This was one of my favorites: three kids with their pet bunny… when I asked the father for permission to take photos, he pointed me to his daughter since she was obviously the one in command:

Sometimes the simultaneous presence of fear and deep care from both sides was very touching:

 

And, of course, the waiting room (with some unusual patients):

This guy is dog super-model material – he also ended up on a giant poster downstairs by the entrance. It’s cool to see a photo of mine be printed two meters wide!

Finally, after a few months the prints were made and during another one of my visits home we hung them up. There was some debate whether to use frames or not; in the end it was decided to frame them, though perhaps it would have been better without the glass to avoid reflections… maybe in the next iteration we’ll try something different.

Birthday tour — Rorspitzli 3220m

Part of this year’s annibirthday (2 birthdays + wedding anniversary) fell on a beautiful, sunny Friday. Luckily, it happened to be my birthday and not the anniversary, and I managed to convince Tobias to go ski something. He had told me about this great tour from Göschenen with a 2000m descent before and it fit my wish for “something tall in Uri”.

If you want to skip the text and just go to full-screen photos, go here.

We knew that there would be lots of climbing — 2100m of vertical gain. We also knew that this effort most likely will not lead to powder heaven, but instead to some nondescript crusty mess.

In the end, this felt like many ski tours rolled up into one — first the spring-like approach and blistering heat, then some proper alpine-looking scrambling above 3000m followed by 1000m of very enjoyable north-facing snow, and finally the worst death crust you can think of for the last 1000m down to the valley floor.

We started like all good spring tours should start — carrying skis.

Heading up from Göschenen -- snow levels not looking promising

Finally up in the open looking over at Salbitschijen:

Near Salbithütte:

Heading up on the open slopes near Salbithütte

Looking toward the impressive walls below Dammastock

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Heading toward the couloir that gives access to the Rorplatten that eventually lead to the Rorspitzli:

Climbing the little couloir:

Looking back in the direction of Andermatt:

We were trying to move reasonably quickly, but the warm weather got to us and we started slowing down… so not many photos until the summit 🙂

A couple following in our tracks seen from the summit of Rorspitzli (they were super friendly and eventually gave us a ride back down to the train station…)

The summit of Rorspitzli is a kind of unremarkable rubble pile. The scramble up and down is straightforward, but you have to be on the lookout for loose blocks… here we’re downclimbing and you can see the glacier with ski tracks below:

Ridge leading up to the summit pyramid:

Downclimbing the ridge to get to the glacier:

Finally, skiing… the snow was windpressed, recycled powder, but skied much better than expected.

Until we hit about 2000m — then the game was over and for the next 1000m of vertical we skied some pretty horrible breakable crust all the way down to the road.

Here’s Tobias demonstrating the proper technique for skiing this kind of crap:

This will be a great tour to do before work one day… 🙂

Pizzo Rotondo 3192m

I’ve had plans to get into the Rotondo area for the past four years but the plans never quite materialized. This year it was the destination for the annual “Ralf & Guido Tour” with the ZSS — in previous years, R&G tours have gone to Wallis for multiday high-altitude ski touring at its finest (Turtmanntal and Zinal) but this year a single day trip was the only possibility. The magic of the Rotondo region is that it marks the border between the typically colder north and milder south right in the middle of the main alpine ridge, offering views of the central swiss alps and the 4000ers of the Berner Oberland and Wallis to the west. All of this coupled with a tour that ends in an exciting 200m couloir to get to the summit of Pizzo Rotondo makes for a very attractive tour.

The Bedretto was a particularly popular spot that morning — I guess the scary amounts of new snow and strong winds in the north pushed everyone south of the ridge. You had to be quick if you wanted a spot to sit down on the bus from Airolo:

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug



Soon we found ourselves on the north side of the beautiful Bedretto valley in flat light…

On the lower slopes we definitely were not alone…

But soon our track veered off from the main stream onto some steep and firm terrain:

Eventually the visibility went down to almost nothing. Once we reached the couloir, its walls provided some much needed contrast and a reference point:

Our group on the summit:

Descending the narrow snowy ridge was quite spectacular in the flat light:

Back in the couloir:

Then it was time to ski! It looked a lot like this:

Although the visibility improved lower down, the snow deteriorated…

On the way out, we waited for a bus next to this family-friendly ski resort:

This friendly woman wanted to make sure no one needed to use the facilities before she locked up…

And everyone generally enjoys huge amounts of snow, especially on roofs…

See the full size gallery here.

New Year’s Day walk about

Šiška – Tivoli – Šiška

short and sweet. 1st day of the new year.

into the park, walking and running

DSCF6818 DSCF6822 DSCF6824  DSCF6827 DSCF6829 DSCF6832

sleds and sledders

DSCF6834 DSCF6838

looking for birds and squirrels

DSCF6855 DSCF6857 DSCF6865 DSCF6866 DSCF6872 DSCF6878

much needed break with hot chocolate at the center for design

DSCF6894 DSCF6895

(these next few at the cafe are taken by my niece Živa)

DSCF6902 DSCF6907 DSCF6913 DSCF6917 DSCF6927

always playing

DSCF6940

something comforting about these gray winter days

DSCF6945

(pre) teenage angst

DSCF6950

 

 

Tiporenesansa: a print shop in the heart of Ljubljana

Strolling around town and catching the snowflakes, we ran into Marko, an old friend of my sister’s who happened to be walking to his studio… which happens to be a print shop in the heart of Ljubljana. It is stocked with printing presses saved from the tooth of time (slovene phrase, but it fits) by tender love and deep appreciation for the art of typography and printing. Really a remarkable place, check out their website and pay them a visit, maybe learn a thing or two or just enjoy the beautiful space and letters all around you.

(full-size gallery)

DSCF5495

Classroom and studio:DSCF5490 DSCF5486 DSCF5479 DSCF5494

Letters, letters, lettersDSCF5480 DSCF5481 DSCF5485 DSCF5488

Machines:

DSCF5489DSCF5476DSCF5477  DSCF5478DSCF5493

Art:

DSCF5482 DSCF5487 DSCF5492

Fayuan temple

I visited Beijing two years ago, but somehow never managed to work through all of the photos I took on the trip. Recently, I was digging through my photo catalog and stumbled across these pictures I took at the Fayuan temple, Beijing’s oldest Buddhist temple. It’s a remarkably serene place, offering an alternate universe to the chaos of the Beijing streets that surround it. The feeling in the temple is not unlike some of the great mosques I remember from my days in Cairo, with worshippers and monks praying and strolling its grounds in quiet contemplation. I was lucky to visit around the time when a worship ceremony was taking place so I could observe the neighborhood pour in and assemble on the temple grounds. The temple is situated inconspicuously in a residential hutong and if it weren’t for its colorful decorated roofs, it would be hard to locate. Fayuan street is also on the border between a historic hutong neighborhood and a re-developed one, giving a casual visitor a quick glimpse of Beijing’s transformation that has slowly swallowed up much of it historic core. Nevertheless, the authorities seem to have recognized the appeal of hutongs and several are now protected (including, I believe, the one surrounding Fayuan temple). Many hutongs are also host to boutique hotels and classy residences interspersed with family dwellings that have existed there for many generations.

(full-size gallery)

Re-developed hutong around the corner from the temple:

IMG_6521

Old hutong:

IMG_6401 IMG_6403

New residence inside an old hutong house:IMG_6406

Outside Fayuan temple — the two lions mark the entrance:IMG_6415

Inside Fayuan:

IMG_6416 IMG_6423 IMG_6429 IMG_6433 IMG_6436

old and young worshippers:IMG_6439 IMG_6442 IMG_6456 IMG_6458

Community worship:

IMG_6471 IMG_6481 IMG_6488 IMG_6498 IMG_6507