The first time I came to Kiev, Ukraine, I was overwhelmed. That was ten years ago. There were so many differences between the European cities I was used to and this city, it was simply too much for words. On one occasion I was even questioned by Militia, the local police, to know if I had been taking a picture of them.
At that time I only had a throw away film camera, so I couldn’t show them what I had. They let me go. Today, ten years later, it is very normal for anyone to take pictures in the city, although it is not recommended to take any pictures of the Militia, even now.
Lately I haven’t been taking many pictures. For some reason I can’t get myself to go out in the freezing temperatures and shoot something I have shot already multiple times. The birds are mostly gone to warmer climes, the “dead stuff” is nearly all that remains.
Even the geese have left, only a few birds remain, and I think I know them all by their first names by now. Now if only they’d perform tricks so I could photograph them…
The life we are living is mostly made up out of stress and fast-paced actions. Take a drive through a city and see if your blood pressure didn’t rise above usual. Spend a day in your office and see if at the end of that day you don’t want to trash that telephone or that keyboard.
Slowing down is a modern necessity, while in the old days, life seemed slow enough not to need any change of pace. Going to the city was an outing to be noted. Today we are happy to be able to get away, be it on a camp ground, at the lake or anywhere that does not involve modern amenities.
My home town is a city of the north. The north of The Netherlands, it is not located in Holland. Where I was born, the ground lies 4 meters below average sea level. If the dikes were broken, most of the house would be under water. My home town is more than a thousand years old if you count all the settlements of the past in that same spot.
The city is called Leeuwarden, or Ljouwert in the local Frisian language. I spent most of my childhood and youth in that city; coming back is coming home to the house of your parents when you have become an adult,
A few weeks ago, when I was in The Netherlands, I was told that in winter everybody can take good pictures. Winter is not quite here yet, but it already has a foot in the doorway. Yesterday I decided to go out, the weather looked foggy and gloomy. By the time I arrived at my chosen destination, the fog had made place for an intermittent drizzle, mixed with some snow.
You’d say that those are not the best conditions for photography. But… you already know that you have to take pictures, come rain or shine. Ok, here was neither, but I still needed to take some pictures.
Here in the New World we talk about “historical” when an object or a place is some 100 years old. In the Old World, “old” is more like 600 years old or even older. We arrived in North America only some 500 years ago. Buildings were created only in the last 150 years. Anything older has been replaced or destroyed.
This time I would like to take you to an old church. Construction began in 1450, a little later than many of the churches we know in Western Europe.
Walking around in a far away city with a camera is always good. Even more if the city is photogenic. However, when you are far far away, you probably don’t have a tripod with you. So you have to resolve to other means of stabilisation. Or not?
When I came out of a coffee shop ( coffee, nothing else, eh! ), I was greeted with this view of Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in Kiev. The same spot of the now famous Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004.
We probably all know what a church looks like inside, even if sometimes it’s only from a distant memory. Some churches look really simple, some look more elaborate. All of them have their photogenic properties. When you go to Eastern Europe, you will most certainly run into a kind of church that shows much and at the same time little on the outside.
In Ukraine I ran into this church. It looks pretty simple, well kept and not very wealthy. Until you look up and see that golden dome up there.