Subscribe: Die Murmeltierjahre im Land des Frühschoppens
Preview: Die Murmeltierjahre im Land des Frühschoppens

Die Murmeltierjahre im Land des Frühschoppens

Updated: 2016-02-25T10:36:22.411+01:00


Study on curvilinear abstraction



Vanishing storefronts


I've always been fascinated by storefronts. Because a storefront can be a window to the past. A storefront is what links the seller and the buyer, it is one of the interfaces between the people and thus, one of the factors that makes a society. That's why observing storefronts you can learn a lot about the people that use them.This is a butcher's shop in Barcelona. This picture looks very familiar to me, every little bit of it transports me home, brings memories of my childhood to my mind. In this series I am going to show storefronts in Salzburg and Hallein, and how the times are changing for them.Walking around the city, if you try to avoid the tourist paths you may still find quite authentic stores where time stood still around the sixties......stores where actual people still buy their stuff. Stores that, without a doubt, are still making a significant contribution to their local communities. But, for how long?Because the pressure that real estate and tourism exert on traditional stores is so huge that they are hardly able to survive. All too often, the only recognizable thing is the old store sign which is sometimes still visible. Times are changing, and where once there were plenty of stores where you could find everything you could possibly need, today you can only get the exact same souvenirs and touristy stuff that you can also get everywhere. They all look the same, they all have really little to do with the city but, still, it is what people want, what money wants.Survivors. There still are some survivors, even at the heart of Salzburg's Old Town. But it is very sad to observe the trend. Every time a traditional store closes to leave room for yet another souvenir shop, which looks exactly like all the others and sells exactly the same stuff as the others, the soul of the city dies a little. People who actually live here observe the signs that announce the closing with impotence and begin to guess which of their favorite places is going to vanish next.You cannot stop progress. This is the conclusion. But. still, you are allowed to be sad about the direction in which progress goes. Especially in these times, where everything happens so fast that you don't really have the chance to stop to take a breath.But what you can do is take your camera and make a photograph, and keep not only a vanishing memory but an actual image of how it was back then. Die Murmeltierjahre im Land des Frühschoppens by Toni Palau is licensed under a Creative Commons License. If you are reading this on a location other than it might have been stolen! [...]

Through the leaves



Read in 2010


Russell Shorto'sThe Island at the Center of the WorldHerbert Asbury'sThe Gangs of New YorkEric W. Sanderson'sMannahatta: A Natural History of New York CityPhilip Roth'sIndignationFrank McCourt'sAngela's AshesSteven Pinker'sHow the Mind WorksGerald Durrell'sMy Family and Other AnimalsEduard Punset'sViatge al poder de la mentGerd Gigerenzer'sGut FeelingsSteven Pinker'sThe Language InstinctBastian Sick'sDer Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod, Folge 4Philip Roth'sPortnoy's Complaint Die Murmeltierjahre im Land des Frühschoppens by Toni Palau is licensed under a Creative Commons License. If you are reading this on a location other than it might have been stolen! [...]

Almost spring again



Abstract Reflection on Stream



A crane flies to Japan



This origami crane is ready to fly to Japan, to join a huge flock that's already on its way, to try and bring hope and comfort to all those who are suffering the consequences of the earthquake that struck the island on March 11th. The whole week I've had these people very present in my thoughts.

It is especially moving for us hobby photographers, because most of the stuff we use for our passion (cameras, lenses, films, ...) has been produced, designed, conceived or dreamed of in Japan. I wish for the best as my crane flaps her wings and takes off...

A new beginning



I guess you noticed that I have been quite inactive in Die Murmeltierjahre im Land des Frühschoppens for a while now.

The thing is that I have been quite busy lately. As I already told here, I reverted to using film with vintage cameras recently, and obsessive passionate about my hobbies as I am, I discovered myself thinking a lot about film types, computing exposure, medium format, do-it-yourself film scanning, colour negatives transformation, and yet another vintage camera.

I have been using my flickr photostream to share my progress in my film adventures, but flickr is not really the right kind of platform for that matter. I realised I was having a lot to tell these days, but it was almost exclusively about photography. Since I did not want to transform Die Murmeltierjahre im Land des Frühschoppens in a photography blog, I did not post at all.

That's why I decided to start a new blog, a blog about photography. I am very happy to invite you to come over to my playground, a (photo) challenge a day ....

What will happen with Die Murmeltierjahre im Land des Frühschoppens? Don't worry, it won't be that easy to get rid of me and my paranoia ;) I plan to continue posting here, and I hope I can canalise better what I have to say depending on the topic. If I have something to say about photography, it will go to a (photo) challenge a day .... Everything else is going to be posted here, to Die Murmeltierjahre im Land des Frühschoppens. Random pictures will continue being posted here as well.

I'd be glad if you would come along with me. Thanks for being there! :)




BWV 788


(object) (embed)

Photographic Treasures


“Digital macht alles kaputt!”The old lady complained from the other side of the counter, with the mixture of sadness and anger of the one who knows the enemy is so big that the only reasonable thing to do is to step out and wait for the end.The place, Foto Bahnhof, close to the train station, is one of the last photography stores in Salzburg. After she told me that they did not have what I was looking for any more, I asked her if she knew about other photo stores in the city where I could find it. She shook her head and started listing stores that do not exist any longer. The last one she mentioned, Foto Mayrhofer, close the the Schranne, closed just a couple of months ago, after its owner went into retirement. It struck me that I was in front of one of the last members of an almost extinguished species. Her clear blue eyes darkened for a moment, as she realised that I had understood the bitter consequence of the syllogism she did not fully state. The advent of digital photography, that reached the general public in the 90s, meant the last push to the democratisation of photography. During the 20th century, photography evolved to come closer and closer to the point & shoot ideal, fine-tuning automatic processes in such a way that the only actions left to the user were framing and shooting.The advantages of a digital camera can be summed up in three: immediacy, low cost and storing and compression. Immediacy on review, because the picture appears on a more or less big screen, with more or less colours, instants after shooting. Low cost of operation because shutter opening and closing has a total cost that tends very quickly to zero. Compression because, thanks to clever algorithms, the optical data captured by the sensor needs a tiny fraction of the total storage capacity of the device, which results in a great autonomy of operation.Technological innovation has countless positive aspects, but its ruthless logic leaves old and sometimes venerable technologies on the side as road kill, because they make no sense any more or, simply, because they are not profitable. For example the CD consigned tapes to oblivion, even though there is already an expiration data for the CD itself, whose symphony's last chords can already be heard under the direction of newer digital formats like MP3 and OGG. Digital photography sensors pushed film cameras to the background, making them museum display items or, sadly, mere pieces of junk that one does not know what to do with.But not all technologies are equal and when a technology, as it happens with photography, is used as a support for artistic expression, I think that it is healthy to renounce to the multiple automatisms and advantages from time to time, because creativity and inventiveness usually work better when the first difficulties to overcome are technical limitations. I think that artistic creativity needs new challenges permanently, in order not to fall into routine and boredom.I have worked you through this long introduction just to talk about the new territory that I am beginning to explore, pretty blindfolded at first, but with great hope and motivation. One of the photographic treasures that we brought from New York last year was Marona's new toy camera, a Diana Mini, from Lomography, that uses 35mm film. All pictures that I included in this post until now have been taken with the Diana Mini.The second photographic treasure, this time brought from Barcelona, is an old camera that we borrowed from Marona's mum, a Kodak Retinette 1A that, after its serial number, was made between 1963 and 1966 and that we let repair and adjust. In spite of the almost 50 years passed, the camera works with a smoothness that a lot of present-day cameras can only wish for.The Retinette makes you really think: from distance to [...]

Christmas Season


North America has an unwritten rule: Christmas season does not officially start until the day after Thanksgiving, called Black Friday. Europe does not have such a clear starting shot, sometimes you already can smell Christmas even as early as late September.

We were in New York City the day after Thanksgiving last year. Having not really got over the jet-lag yet, we woke up really early and started wandering around the city at a time were really few people were in the streets, what sometimes was kind of spooky.

We went into Kossar's Bialys on Grand Street, in the Lower East Side. There, sipping coffee and eating an excellent bagel in the kind of environment that could not be farther from the magenta armchairs of a well-known coffee franchise but that, honestly, is exactly what makes New York interesting, exciting and worth living in, we watched the city wake up to the sound of the first Christmas song.

(object) (embed)




Autumn gets closer to its zenith, days are getting shorter and shorter and Nature, as well as people, starts getting ready for the upcoming winter.

The trees, that have been showing us their most amazing colours lately, are stripped bare of all their leaves, silently and calmly.


Some, though, are a little shy.




Abstract 220°



BWV 1010


(object) (embed)

Photo Walk


I went for a photo walk by myself yesterday.

I listened to my favourite accordion street player under the cathedral arches...


I spied on relaxing spots, all pretty with decorative pumpkins...


I saw myself in the future in an unexpected flash-forward...


I discovered the calm of the autumn leaves in spite of the menacing barbed wire...


But most of all, I started having fun with our new toy...


Musical rides


This week I did something that I had never done before: I was able to ride my bicycle to and from the office for 5 days in a row, Monday to Friday. Not only do we seldom enjoy such a fine weather for such a long time, it is also very rare for me to get over my weaker self and not to fall victim to any of the numerous excuses at my disposal. I am really proud, I must say.My ride to the office runs along the Salzach river. For most of the trip I use the bike path, which is a reconverted tow-path, used hundreds of years ago by horses and oxen for towing upstream the boats that, after reaching the salt-mines in Hallein, would be loaded with salt and driven downstream again, to give Salzburg its name (“salt castle”) and to make its prince archbishops awfully rich.The ride is some 17km long (one-way) and I spend a little less than an hour on it —I am not at all fast! The first two days, especially Tuesday, were quite hard because I got headwind and I was still tired after a hike on Sunday. I got a little obsessed with the cycle computer as well, trying not to do too bad for the statistics. But from Wednesday on, I tried to ignore the computer and simply enjoy the ride.I realized that there is a kind of physical “in-the-zone” feeling, a delicate and wonderful equilibrium between the force you exert on the pedals and the resistance from wind, road and gravity (slope). That means, there is always a minimum amount of force you have to use in order to maintain a certain pace. The trick is to use just this minimum force, but not more. If you try to keep the pace uninterrupted, by switching gears accordingly, you may be able to run and run with minimal effort and without even realizing the distance.The funny part is that this kind of being “in-the-zone” happens in your mind as well. At least, once I've achieved this equilibrium of forces, my mind seems to become hypnotized by the rhythmic movement and I stop thinking about riding at all and my awareness wanders to other places.And in this state, invariably, music comes to my mind. I guess it's because the pedalling pace is kind of a metronome that you cannot miss. It's not that I think: Let's sing “Mary had a little lamb”! Songs and melodies simply pop up in my mind. They come and go, without warning, at times switching from one to the other in colourfully wild arrangements that I would certainly not be able to make myself.This is a selection of some of the melodies that came into my mind during this week's bicycle rides. Interestingly enough, Johann Sebastian Bach seems to have got a stronghold in my brain: Prelude from Cello Suite No. 1, BWV 1007, by J. S. Bach Variation 1 a 1 Clav., Goldberg Variations BWV 988, by J. S. Bach Sinfonia No. 2, BWV 788, by J. S. Bach (listen here) Gabriel's Oboe, “The Mission” original soundtrack, by E. Morricone Another composition for two violins by J. S. Bach (I think!) which I can sing but I still haven't found out what it is 2nd movement (Largo) from the Concerto for 2 Violins, Strings and Continuo in D Minor, BWV 1043, by J. S. Bach (listen here)But, without a doubt, this week's winner has been the Prelude from J. S. Bach's Lute Suite No. 4, BWV 1006. Enjoy! Die Murmeltierjahre im Land des Frühschoppens by Toni Palau is licensed under a Creative Commons License. If you are reading this on a location other than it might have been stolen! [...]

Circumzenithal arc?


The (part of a) circumzenithal arc (I think!) that accompanied my bicycle ride on the way back home along the right bank of the Salzach, from Rehhof to Urstein. Too bad that I did not have a camera!

(UPDATED on Sunday, 26th September 2010)
Tuesday and Wednesday I got no luck, but on Thursday, 23rd September 2010, the arc was again there and this time I had a camera with me! :) There are two rainbows at each side of the Sun, separated some 20-30°. Here you can see some pictures of the phenomenon:

(image) (image)


Does anyone know what it is? I don't really think it is a circumzenithal arc... Might them be sun dogs?

BWV 847


(object) (embed)



(object) (embed)

Bus 40


(Sunday, 25th July 2010, around 9:30pm) The sleepy little boy, whose eyes were slowly closing, his head resting on the lap of an elder sister, in front of the tired smile of their mother, on the bus number 40, near Parc de la Ciutadella, in Barcelona.

(this is a new section, "photos I didn't shoot", in which I will be presenting some photographs that I saw but, for one reason or another, did not take; inspiration for this idea comes from

Mediterranean breeze


(object) (embed)



Summer solstice sunrise over Stonehenge
(photograph Andrew Dunn, 21 June 2005)

Twice a year the rays of the setting sun align perfectly with the east-west direction of the main street grid in Manhattan. This beautiful phenomenon was aptly called Manhattanhenge, in reference to the alignment of the sun on summer solstice over Stonehenge, by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Today the second 2010 Manhattanhenge is due to happen. You can check out some photographs on flickr.

Maybe someday I'll be able to post my own...

Nature's Chinese Lanterns