Lucerne is one of the most beautiful Swiss cities I know. The only problem –it is overexposed. The famous Kapellbrücke must have been photographed more than a hundred million times, the slightly less famous Watertower bridge and the Jesuit church probably millions of times.
The light conditions were sub-optimal due to the time of year and timing of my visit (grey skies). However, fortunately, I had my Olympus 9-18 mm f/4.0-5.6 wide angle lens with me during the shoot, and could use Adobe Lightroom for postprocessing.
I love the Olympus 9-18 lens when I travel to cities. 9 mm enables me to capture almost everything that is interesting from an architecture point of view, 18 mm is the bare minimum for a portrait. I remember one trip to London where I almost never took this lens off the body, despite the fact that I have multiple other lenses at my disposal. Obviously, I had my Lumix 20 mm f/1.7 lens with me as well. You know, the lens I have a love – hate (colours, depth of field, sharpness versus slooooooow and awful aesthetics) relationship with. With this lens I took the first two pictures of the series below.
During the shoot I became slightly worried about the fact that the autofocus of my GX80 camera occasionally stopped working, and only started again if I took the lens off the body, and put it back again… It happened only a couple of times when I switched lenses, and only after I successfully used the lens after taking a couple of shots. I would hate to have this camera bring in for repairs. I love using it for street photography and already hear a ‘… we could not recreate the issue’ from Panasonic.
Anyway, I hope my pictures of the beautiful city of Lucerne add some value to all the pictures that are already out there.
Last weekend I visited Huis Doorn in the Netherlands, home of the former German Kaiser (Emperor) who lived from 1859 – 1941. After Germany lost WW I, Wilhelm II obtained asylum in the Netherlands (which had been neutral during WW I). Wilhelm II subsequently bought Huis Doorn and ordered extensive alterations. Fortunately enough he did not have to worry about furnishing his house; the German government enabled him to take whatever he wanted from his palaces in Germany. All in all 59 railway carriages were needed to transport his selection of furniture and other possessions to the Netherlands.
The transition from Kaiser to civilian provided him with lots of spare time. One of the hobbies of Wilhelm II developed was felling trees from the estate and chopping them up. It was rumored that he was so dedicated to this activity that he was solely responsible for significantly reducing the number of trees in the woods surrounding the house.
Important persons in his life in Doorn included his wives, first Augusta Victoria van Sleeswijk-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, who died in 1921; and secondly, Hermine von Schönlach-Carolath. He married her in 1922, one year after the death of his first wife. After Wilhelm’s death Hermine returned to her estate in Silesia, where she died in 1947 during imprisonment by the Red Army. Another important person in the life of Wilhelm II at Huis Doorn was Sigurd Von Ilseman, his adjudant, who had followed him into exile at the end of WW I. Sadly, Von Ilseman committed suicide in 1952 on the premises of Huis Doorn.
The emperor always kept hoping that one day the monarchy in Germany would be restored and stated that he wanted his body only to be transported back to Germany once that would be the case. To no avail. Although Hermann Goering visited the Kaiser a couple of times in Doorn before Hitler came to power, Hitler was not interested in a political role for Wilhem II.
The attitude of Wilhem II towards the Nazis was a bit ambiguous. On the one hand, he sent Hitler a telegram to congratulate him with the victory over France; on the other hand, he did not want the Swastika symbol to be present at his funeral. His telegram of gratulations to Hitler was the reason for the Dutch government to confiscate Huis Doorn after the war. His wish of a funeral without Swastikas was ignored by the German authorities when they arranged Wilhelm’s funeral in 1941.
The relationship with the Dutch royal family also was interesting. Despite the fact that they were relatives, Queen Wilhelmina never paid him a visit, though her daughter Juliana and her husband Prince Bernhard did.
After his death Wilhelm II was put on a bier in the Mausoleum (which he had designed himself) on the premises of Huis Doorn. In the field in the front of the mausoleum there are also graves of five of his dogs.
All pictures are taken with an Olympus OMD-EM10 camera in combination with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 9-18mm f/4-5.6 ED wide angle lens. The pictures in the house were taken without a tripod with an ISO between 3200-6400, hence the noise level of the pictures. All pictures were taken in RAW and post-processed in Adobe Lightroom.
I would highly recommend a visit to the estate, combined with a guided tour by enthusiastic volunteers. For more information go to www.huisdoorn.nl
Recently I visited Rapperswil, a town situated on the southern end of the Lake of Zurich. It is a beautiful old town, built on a hill in a peninsula surrounded by the lake. Rapperswil boasts a number of historic monuments, including an old monastery, a castle and several churches.
Due to the fact that my Nikon D750 was being repaired by Nikon (as part of the recall program to fix the flare problems of their D750 model), I decided to take my Olympus OM-D EM10 camera with me.
With the exception of the pictures of the individual musicians of the band KabelBrand (for which I used the Olympus 14-42mm 3.5-5.6 lens), I took all the photos in this post with the Olympus 9-18mm 1:4-5.6 wide angle lens. Because the OM-D EM10 camera uses the micro four-thirds sensor, the equivalent full frame length of this lens is 18-36mm. The lens is extremely light; weighing only 155 grams, it almost feels like a toy, and certainly a lot lighter than the 640 grams of my old Nikon 20-35 mm (although that is a 2.8 lens).
It was an extremely sunny day and therefore an excellent opportunity to check the performance of the lens under these conditions. As you can see, the lens did a great job. The only thing is that the performance of the lens when it was exposed to direct sunlight was not great; I could not use a large number of my pictures, because they showed clear traces of flare when I reviewed them in Lightroom, despite the fact that I was using a lens hood. This provides a good reason to scrutinize pictures taken under these conditions more closely with the LCD screen of the camera next time. It is also a good reason to come back to Rapperswil another time to try and see whether the performance of the lens without a UV filter would be better.