This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for December, 2012

2012 in review

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 31, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 110,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Rainbow Shawl: Farewell and New Beginning

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 19, 2012

Last look at Rainbow shawl

Call me the Frog Queen (unraveling is called “frogging” on some lists because you “rip it, rip it”). Or call me Penelope…. 🙂

I’m starting over. I was worried about not having enough yarn for this shawl and the texture seemed a bit dense. Aade Lõng Artistic 8/2 is a springy, somewhat coarse yarn. Some people try soaking it in conditioner to soften it, but, hey, the sheep is what it is! And this sheep is no merino. A yarn with this texture holds up beautifully for outer garments and pieces that don’t require soft drape. The pattern is Garden Path Shawl, free from Elann yarns.

New beginning of rainbow shawl

The photo above shows the original shawl, worked on 4 mm needles, and the new swatch, on 5 mm. (I could possibly go a little higher, to 5.5 mm, but I don’t want the yarn-overs to look stringy.) I think the larger needle diameter suits the yarn better. The pattern will have a bit more defintion and the yarn is not going to start pilling or sag out of shape.

The yarn comes in a very long skein (over 900 meters). I divided it into three balls and wound them on a ball winder, carefully numbered so that I would knit them in sequence. The swatch (light blue) is worked from the outside of the third ball. The plan is that I will knit the yarn in reverse order — the third ball from the outside inwards, and the rest of the yarn directly from the old shawl itself. That way I bypass the stage of unraveling, skeining, and rewinding into balls, not to mention finding the splice where I joined the yarns.

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A Closer Look at the Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 19, 2012

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

I realised that the earlier shots of the Ponte Vecchio (the postcard shots 🙂 ) don’t really give you a sense of what it’s like to cross the bridge on foot, so these photos will take you across the bridge itself. The first photo (above) shows the western side of the bridge (most of the photos I showed you earlier were taken from the east). The shops are built on the outside of the bridge, on supports. As I mentioned earlier, originally they were meat shops but the smell and the mess weren’t in keeping with the dignity of the only direct route between the Palazzo Pitti (residence of the Grand Dukes) and the Uffizi and Palazzo Vecchio (seats of government).

The next photo was taken from the sidewalk along the Arno River, walking towards the bridge.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

The middle of the bridge is an open square. There are no shops on the western side, where all those people are leaning against the wall.  On the eastern side, the Vasari Corridor (second floor) passes over an open arcade.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Open square with a bust of Cellini, surround by fences covered with padlocks, despite the 200 Euro fine.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Portico at the north end of the bridge. If you continue straight, under the arches, you are walking directly under the Vasari Corridor to the Uffizi. If you turn right, you are on the bridge.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Walking over the bridge. Lots of tourists and lots of gold jewelry. You can see the open square ahead.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Looking up at the Vasari Corridor on the eastern side of the bridge (Cellini is behind you). The original small windows were replaced at Mussolini’s orders with panoramic windows in 1939, so that Hitler could have a better view of the Arno.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

View looking back towards the north end, if you turn 180 degrees (it looks like I didn’t take any photos of the south end of the bridge, probably because it was rather non-descript, with jewelry shops on either side and expensive hotels and restaurants on the other side):

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

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Hanukkah 2012

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 16, 2012

Hanukkah 2012

Last night was the last night of Hanukkah, so I walked around my neighbourhood and Gittit street taking a few photos. The hanukkiah box above was holding so many that it’s difficult to count them.

Garage with a couple hanukkiah boxes on a plastic table, surrounded by junk. Definitely not your average setting.

Hanukkah 2012

Elaborate hanukkiah in a garden. The family had just lit, so I asked permission to come into the garden to photograph it. The husband said that family legend (not verified, he stressed) says it was left with non-Jewish neighbours in Germany by his grandparents. They perished in the Holocaust and his father was able to reclaim it.

Hanukkah 2012

Kitchen window. It’s a widespread custom for each member of a family to light, so sometimes you see balconies and windows filled with candles or oil lights.

Hanukkah 2012

Tea-light hanukkiah in a stone niche:

Hanukkah 2012

Street hanukkiah and kitchen hanukkiah:

Hanukkah 2012

Moon setting over Jerusalem. I had a tripod with me. Taken from the security road just beyond Katros street, so there wasn’t too much interference from city lights. 250mm lens, slightly cropped.

Moon Setting over Jerusalem

Hanukkah 2012

Hanukkah 2012

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Leonardo in Florence

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 16, 2012

Leonardo da Vinci in Florence

What a magnificent costume!

Valter Conti is a street busker who plays Leonardo da Vinci in Florence. (I only know this because I gave him a euro and he gave me his card. I once photographed a street performer in Tel Aviv, didn’t think to give her a few shekels, and she became one of my most popular early images. I’ve felt guilty ever since, so now I try to give something to street performers whom I photograph.)

I noticed that he seems to have modeled his costume after the Leonardo statue in Milan, not the one outside the Uffizi in Florence. Maybe he didn’t fancy the leg exposure….

Leonardo da Vinci in Florence

Leonardo da Vinci in Florence

Leonardo da Vinci in Florence

Statue of Leonardo da Vinci outside the Uffizi:

Statue of Leonardo da Vinci, Piazza della Scala, Milan:

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Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 4, 2012

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

The present Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) was constructed in 1335, but a bridge has stood on this site since Roman times. It is one of the most photogenic landmarks in Florence (and that’s saying a lot), straddling the Arno River at its narrowest point.

Originally the shops built onto the sides of the bridges were butchers’ shops. However, after Cosimo I commissioned Giorgio Vasari to build the Vasari Corridor above the bridge, to connect the Palazzo Vecchio (“Old Palace,” or Florence’s city hall) and the Palazzo Pitti, the butchers were replaced with gold merchants to enhance the bridge’s prestige. It’s still Florence’s bling center.

The photo below was taken from the Uffizi (“Offices,” or administrative building, now Florence’s most famous art gallery). You can see the Vasari Corridor running over the top of the bridge, turning right and into the Uffizi. We didn’t go inside the corridor, which is now the world’s longest portrait gallery. Tours are quite expensive (around $100 per person).

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

The next photo was taken from Piazzale Michelangelo.

Ponto Vecchio, Florence

This photo was taken from the Ponte alle Grazie, a bridge that runs parallel to the Ponte Vecchio, to the east. We were going across at night.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Piazzale Michelangelo again:

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

Sunset over Arno River, Florence

Taken from the Ponte Santa Trinita, the bridge west of the Ponte Vecchio:

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

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