Today’s Pic du Jour, the 91st (!) straight, was taken yesterday when I returned to Ljubljana, drenched from an afternoon storm, after a 50km bike ride. I liked the mood these late afternoon stormy colors veiled the old town center with. They certainly perked up mine.
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Ljubljana, capital city of Slovenia.
This is the Kopališče Kolezija, the oldest swimming pool facility in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital. Located southwest of the city center, a public pool has been in this area since at least 1879. It probably hasn’t always been this colorful, making it a fitting inauguration for a new and occasional urban exploration photo series.
The facility underwent several upgrades and renovations, both before and after the second world war, through the early 1970s. An ownership dispute forced its closure in 2000. In 2009 the City of Ljubljana solicited bids from architects for another overhaul. A winning bid was selected but nothing has progressed since, leaving the facilty a popular hangout for skaters, graffiti artists, drunks and junkies.
The #FriFotos theme for this week is ‘Geometric’, which sent me to the archives looking for lines and shapes that I found to be slightly unconventional. That search was whittled down to this selection of fifteen taken over the past five years in ten countries.
The first two are among my personal favorites: the ground up view from the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin (top) and the Graffiti stairway in Sarajevo (below). Enjoy!
Hurdles are often used as metaphors for the obstacles life throws in our path. Few managed them as gracefully and ferociously as Aries Merritt, seen here on his way to the world indoor 60m hurdles title last March. He would later strike Olympic gold before ending his season by smashing the world record in the 110m hurdles.
This was taken from my press seat at those championships, where I managed to get the entire field in the frame while panning. It was my most liked photo on Facebook this year and among my favorite shots from 2012.
This week’s photo challenge asked us to put forth our year in a dozen pictures. Rather than try to select my 12 favorite –an impossible chore really– I decided to look back at some new ways of shooting that met with some degree of success.
When looking back, it quickly became clear that 2012 was very much about motion. During my 13 days in London for the Olympics, I really enjoyed experimenting with slow shutter speeds at tube stops. I especially liked making eye contact with this woman at the Notting Hill Gate station –more about this shot is here– and below her, catching another woman’s reflection on this moving train at the Mile End station.
This next one was taken from my rooftop here in Ljubljana facing southeast, a 59-second exposure around sunset. I like the splashed mix of color. I’ve been keeping an eye out since for similar skies but with faster moving clouds. I’m sure that day will come. This was part of a nightscape series I began in October with this post of black and white long exposures.
These next two were also taken from the rooftop, the first just a simple scene during a gentle rain and the second the lone shot that emerged from my first experimentation with a pan-pull-zoom (?) technique.
But it wasn’t all about motion. I also managed to collect a few frozen fragments of time. This next shot of Cuban pole vaulter Lázaro Borges was taken at a track meet in the north-central Slovenian town of Velenje. I really liked the contrast of the colors against the night sky. Lots more jumpers from that meet are here.
Next up is Vlado Kreslin, one of Slovenia’s most respected and popular singer/songwriters, belting out Texarkana during an REM tribute megaconcert in Ljubljana’s Congress Square, or Kongresni Trg, in September. More than a dozen bands played over the course of five-plus hours for a sensational finale to the summer. I posted a couple dozen photos here the day after the show.
The tail-end of the year also witnessed plenty of discontent here in Slovenia with spontaneous demonstrations and protests flaring up in all corners of the country. The Autumn of Discontent officially changed seasons on Dec. 21 with the so-called National Uprising Demonstration which attracted some 12,000 people to Republic Square near Parliament along with plenty of police. Don’t be fooled by the officer’s look; she was actually very nice.
Back in London during the Olympics, the full moon over Tower Bridge during a rare break away from Olympic Stadium.
I got to know The Ljubljana Moors, or Barje, Europe’s southernmost wetland, pretty well over the course of the past year thanks in large part to the bicycling addiction which replaced a cigarette habit of 28 years. The June early evening light made this night unforgettable.
And finally, this shot of Koseze Pond, northwest of the city center. When I approached on an early evening bike ride, I felt as though I stepped onto an architect’s perfectly color-saturated rendering of the area before it was built. A tighter shot of the same area is here.
Slovenia’s Autumn of Discontent officially changed seasons yesterday with more demonstrations last night, the so-called National Uprising.
The largest was in the capital Ljubljana where a crowd estimated at more than 10,000 gathered in the central Trg Republike, or Republic Square, near Parliament to again demand the resignation of Slovenia’s entire political elite, including the current government. The initial response? Through its official twitter feed, Prime Minister Janez Janša‘s SDS (Slovenian Democratic Party) party called the demonstration a ‘Zombie Uprising’. I suppose that’s one way to deal with dissent and a growing restless and upset population. Probably not the best option however.
Unlike a few previous gatherings late in the fall, this one remained peaceful. A few more snaps below plus a 46-photo slideshow is below – it even includes a smoking Santa. There were more protests tonight in the same general area as former Prime Minister Borut Pahor was sworn in as Slovenia’s fourth president since independence.
For good English-language background on the current and growing political crisis in Slovenia, I strongly recommend Sleeping with Pengovsky, a blog by a local journalist. Don’t be turned off –or on– by his Friday and Monday skin posts (which are probably NSFW in the U.S.). There’s plenty of really good analysis, too, beginning with the first couple stories inked to below.
There’s 35 days until the departure date for my extended jaunt and I’ve hit a wall. That’s not a terrible thing; I enjoy the challenge of breaking through barriers.
All these photos were taken on 26 October 2012 here in Ljubljana. I’m making progress on backing up and purging my hard drive and wanted to give these a modest home here, somewhere besides my Flickr stream. They exude a certain calming effect. At least to me. Enjoy.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a wall to tear down.
These were taken last night in Ljubljana’s old town center while I was out listening to some friends playing some music. As always, fairly festive.
I wasn’t carrying a tripod or shutter release cable so both exposures were limited to 30-seconds, top at f11 and bottom at f9. To help with your bearings, the river shot faces south and the castle southeast-ish.
I might return with a tripod tonight to get some longer exposures, although I haven’t quite mastered carrying a camera, tripod and a cup of hot mulled wine simultaneously.