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.

Black Canyon Trail

For our first ride together (without a trailer) in two years, we decided to ride the classic Black Canyon trail at Teton Pass outside of Wilson, WY. The Black Canyon trail is one of the original Teton Pass trails, now maintained by the grassroots Teton Freedom Riders trail building crew (also see this little documentary about the organization). It’s sort of a “baby” trail at the Pass with no built jumps, but incredibly fun. We also did something that is considered crazy in these parts: rode our bikes up to the pass from the bottom, rather than hitching a ride or shuttling. I thought the climb on the old pass road was rather nice — only 550 meters of vertical, really no reason not to ride it up.

The trail proper starts at the top of the pass and traverses a steep hillside that makes a great ski run in the winter time:

The traverse and climb up the ridge goes through some beautiful meadows and starts to feel remote very quickly:

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Spending most of our time in the european Alps, it’s really a treat to see so much uncultivated and untouched forest in all directions:

Finally we reached the top of the climb, a good 200+ vertical meters from the pass. The afternoon sun lit up the dried grasses and made for a perfect resting stop.

Finally it was time to taste the downhill part of the day. The trail weaves down the hillside with some fun switchbacks through the open meadows. Unlike the switchbacks we’re used to on the hiking trails in the alps, these never broke up the flow of the trail and were very smooth to ride.

All the way down into the forest we were treated to sweeping views of the valley. We even saw a herd of deer run up the hillside in front of us.

The trail changes character as it enters the forest, earning its namesake.

Some fun root sections and creek crossings lead you back to the old pass road:

As usual, you can see the full gallery as well.

Engelberg freeriding

Sometimes you can’t resist the slopes, the snow, the sun, the friends. It’s always fun skiing with Romain and Andreas — we used to pretend that these workday ski outings were group meetings, but now that I’m no longer an astronomist we just call them for what they are: skipping work to play in the snow.

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On this particular day, we didn’t actually go touring but instead opted for a lift-accessed pow-fest. The avy danger was a bit sketchy so the plan was to stick to cruiser slopes and soak in the sun on the family-friendly side of Engelberg at the Brunni resort. When we showed up, the only other people in line were kids going sledding — are we being crazy?!

Once we traversed out of the resort proper, the light, fast powder confirmed that we made the right choice, although it wasn’t quite as plentiful and untracked as we had hoped. Here’s Andreas practicing his tele-style:

We skied all the way to the bottom and at the end found ourselves on ~5 centimeters of snow on top of grass. I cried a little for my skis here and there. Here’s Romain on the most dangerous part of the day:

We eventually got back up to the top and scoped out new lines:

Prof. Teyssier showing off his impeccable french powder style with Titlis in the background:

Lunch on the terrace at Brunni is spectacular with huge cliffs on all sides:

Finally we realized that the south-facing slopes were not gonna last much longer and headed a bit further north in the Engelberg valley to the famous (secret?) Haldigrat non-resort. This place is really special — a single lift allows you to access relatively gentle ungroomed slopes… with an hourly capacity of 50 people.

You call up the guy and let him know you’re coming up so you can pay him for the runs that you plan to do:

The views are amazing all the way to lake Luzern and the north-facing snow stays good for some time — if you can find some untracked patches still a few days after the snowfall…

… which we did

On the way out we got stuck between two creeks and opted to ski out one of them…

View the full-size gallery here

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:

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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.

October streets

Walking around town… with the new family member and lots of visitors, we have spent a lot of time casually strolling around the city. The weekends have served up some glorious sunshine, which makes the changing colors all that much more spectacular.

(First couple taken with the Minolta Rokkor 50mm f/1.4 — and with a baby strapped to me)

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Idaplatz

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Kafi

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Style at Helvetiaplatz Saturday flea market

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Over the top style

Down by the lake I tried shooting with the Rokkor 135mm f/3.5 — on the crop this is 200mm which makes it pretty hard to frame in a crowded place, but still managed some decent shots

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swans at Bellevue

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shadows by the lake

more swans by the lake

more swans by the lake

Commuter life…

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leopard print

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borders

Strolling around town on a gorgeous autumn saturday afternoon…

courtyard papparazzi

courtyard papparazzi

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Sihl

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Trees lining the Sihl

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longboards everywhere these days

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sunshine coffee

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West/Werd

Strohmuseum (Straw museum) Wohlen

My sister Saša is something of an expert on straw hat making, especially in and around our home town of Domžale. As it turns out, the town of Wohlen in central Switzerland also took part in the straw boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We went to visit the little museum they’ve opened there – really nicely laid out in a beautiful old Villa with a fabulous garden –  worth a visit!

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Lev came with us too…

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sisters

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Tina enjoying the museum

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museum groundskeeper

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The Strohmuseum is in a gorgeous old villa…

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fall colors

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catalog samples

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fashion straw ornaments

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hats hats hats

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machines

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straw-making machines

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ornament templates

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you can try these yourself!

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tools

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raw material

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braid spinning machine

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the museum houses volumes of catalogs from the straw-business days

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villa interior

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the exhibit includes a “dressing room” where you can try on different hats…

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Tina posing

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they also have gentlemen’s hats

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and gentlewomen’s

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All manner of straw-hat making techniques are represented

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Molly not sure about her choice

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Reflection

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a hat requires a face to go with it

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they also played music…

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our ethnographer-guide looking serious

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top hats!

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enthusiasm

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beautiful surroundings

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the back side of the villa

 

The aunts visit

A few weeks ago my sisters came to meet Lev and spend a couple days with us…

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Tina and Lev

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T & L 2

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T & L 3

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Saša and the Lion

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S & L 2

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S & L 3

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Bath time with mom is awesome

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strolling in the Idahood

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We got some hipsters to join our table in Josefwiese

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I wish I knew what was behind me

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Good views and monk costumes…

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Fun times

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Taking a break

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Good spot for a diaper change

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Hanging out in the sun

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Cozy

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pretty light

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nice place for a nap

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Uetliberg Kitsch