This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

Lady with Unicorn Update: Third Row Finished

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 10, 2017

Lady with Unicorn

Just wanted to brag about finishing another row in the endless embroidery. Did I mention that it contains over 180,000 stitches?

If you’re working on this piece, don’t give up! The tablecloth is a killer and takes about twice as long as the other pages, but the lion and unicorn bodies are easier than the fruit salad that surrounds them.

Here’s the whole photoset.

Advertisements

Posted in Crafts, embroidery, photography | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Lesson Learned: It’s a Good Idea to Train

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 10, 2017

Note to self: if you’re running a long race, it’s a good idea to train. I traveled a lot this summer, so my running fell by the wayside. Besides, I figured, the Arad to Masada half-marathon is mostly downhill, right? Er, almost. The beginning and end are downhill but in the middle, there are some tough hills. Also, 21 kilometers is a significant distance, not to be taken lightly unless you can run 15 kilometers without much effort. I was barely running 7 kilometers when I realised that the race date was only a week away. I got through it without hurting myself, only through experience and good form. The fact that they’d re-surfaced the old Arad road to the Roman ramp of Masada also helped.

Around the 10th kilometer I noticed that I was literally running in a guy’s shadow for several kilometers, so I got the courage to make a comment (in Hebrew) about the hills. Oleg, a big Russian guy, told me that he also hadn’t trained and was afraid he’d bitten off more than he could chew. We ran (sometimes walked) together for 12 kilometers, encouraging each other along the way. He told me that he’d run 8 full marathons. When I told him how much I wanted to do a marathon but didn’t think I ever would, he said, “Oh, it’s just like doing a half-marathon twice.” (It isn’t really, of course, but anything can make you laugh at 3:30 in the morning when you’re wondering when the hills are ever going to end.)

Here’s a shot of me and Oleg coming up to the last water station around the 18th kilometer. We look a bit wilted but are trying to put on a good show.

Me and Oleg at the last water station

We crossed the finish line together. Yes, that’s our time above the track (final time 2:36). Not brilliant but, hey, we finished! Oleg was high-fiving me and waving at me before the finish line, later at the finish party, inside the bus back to Arad, and even back at the Arad parking lot. I think I helped him as much as he helped me, because it was getting hard to keep my spirits up when I was so tired. The camaraderie of runners is one of the great things about running. Sometimes total strangers will team together and the sum is greater than the total of its parts.

Me and Oleg at the finish line

Exactly one week later, I ran as part of a 6-person (mixed) team in Tanach Tashach. We covered 200+ kilometers in 26 hours and I ran a total of 34.5 kilometers. Although I rested between the two events, I was not nearly up to speed and had to walk most of the hills.

Here I am coming in to Mesilat Zion. The first day was brutal. It was bloody hot (all around me, people were walking the hills; I wasn’t the only wimp) during the first leg, 8 kilometers. I was paired with someone who was a much stronger (and younger) runner, so she ran ahead of me on the legs where we ran together.

Me near Mesilat Zion

The second leg, a few hours later, was 13 kilometers in mid-afternoon. It got pushed later and later and we got caught running after dark without headlamps. I was alone, running along loose stones downhill, and eventually I turned on my phone flashlight app to light the path when it became too dangerous to continue in the dark. I can tell you that it’s not easy to run off-road with your phone for light. Your hand and arm start getting cramped from holding the light onto the path. During that first day, I ran the equivalent of a half marathon and was exhausted. I got a few hours of sleep (thank heavens we rented a zimmer with real beds and a shower!). I ran with Noa at 2 a.m. for the third leg. Fortunately, that was only 6.5 kilometers and Noa (of #forceofnoa fame) wasn’t a whole lot faster than me because she’d done chemo the previous Sunday.

We ran two teams, ForceOfNoa1 and 2. Noa, a former ultra-runner who is currently undergoing chemo for breast cancer, is the team’s mascot. She was the coach and leader of their team a couple years ago (the unusually wet and muddy Tanach Tashach of 2015, which was probably my most uncomfortable and dangerous run ever). We were a mix of old and young, strong and weak, injured and uninjured runners. We did a switch-around of runners on the third leg of my runs so that an injured runner could rest, so Noa ran with me. I know it sounds cliched but she really is an inspiration. Running with her in the dark, losing the trail (#16 wasn’t well marked in the middle, something that the organizers should have foreseen because everyone runs that leg in the dark), finding it again, jogging with the bracelets back to the zimmer because the next pair of runners hadn’t show up on time–nothing fazed her. (Well, OK, the last thing did faze her. At 2 a.m., all you want to do is shower and collapse, not hang around waiting for your team-mates to show up. We were pretty pissed off.)

The next day there was a brief rain that, instead of cooling us down, turned the forest into a tropical jungle. At least it wasn’t enough rain to cause serious mud, but the humidity was uncomfortable. We were worried that we would be disqualified because our times had slipped so much that we were in danger of the stations closing before our runners arrived. The station volunteers were very helpful. When it started raining again, they packed everything else first, leaving the sensor set up as late as possible. Our #3 runners managed to get to Kfar Uriah in time and the rest of the stations had generous closing times, so we finished without being disqualified. Actually, we weren’t the last in the 6-person teams, of which there were very few. I hadn’t realised that the vast majority of Tanach Tashach teams have 8 runners each. So yay for us!

#ForceOfNoa1 and 2

Me and Noa. I’m having a bad hair day from the awful humidity, but that’s small potatoes, as they say.

2017-10-03_11-53-09

Posted in Israel, photography | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Brno Architecture

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 28, 2017

Central nave of St. James’s Church, a late Gothic (13th century) structure. One advantage of a mirrorless camera is that it’s small and can be operated soundlessly. Because there were no other tourists around, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable photographing this interior with a big DSLR.

St. James's Church, Brno

Exterior of St. James’s Church.

St. James's Church, Brno

Detail of House of the Lords of Lipá, an extremely ornate 16th-century Renaissance building (the sgraffito facade is actually 19th century), now a shopping center.

DSC01118

Cool building decorations in central Brno.

Brno

DSC00989

Brno

Posted in photography, travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Brno, Czech Republic

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 27, 2017

I went to Brno in the Czech Republic last week on a business trip, to meet my boss (yes, she lives in Brno — welcome to the modern world of remote working) and her team. Brno is the Czech Republic’s second largest town (about 600,000 people), the capital of Moravia, and the center for a lot of high-tech R&D. Its eleven universities, five of them specializing in IT, provide an abundance of student labour!

This is the Vegetable Market in the old part of the city, very close to where my apartment hotel was located. I was lucky with the weather. It was mostly sunny, some clouds, no rain. I took these photos with my new mirrorless camera, a Sony A6300 with 16-50mm kit lens.

Vegetable Market Square, Brno

Špilberk Castle, literally down the road from where I was staying. It’s surrounded by a network of paths that are popular with joggers. Actually, the joggers stick to the gravel paths rather than the cobblestones.

Špilberk Castle, Brno

At the end of my first day at Red Hat, Brno, I went out with a couple guys I had met at NHO in Munich for beer. Afterwards we walked around the castle at night. They told me that Brno is a very safe city and I noticed lots of people wandering around after dark or congregating in groups and drinking beer. Technically, it’s not legal to drink in public places but if you’re not creating a disturbance, the police tend to ignore it.

Špilberk Castle, Brno

Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, literally next to the apartment hotel where I was staying.

Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul, Brno

Brno’s most famous son is Gregor Mendel, the geneticist. He was abbot of St. Thomas’s Abbey and conducted his plant-breeding experiments in the abbey’s garden.

St Thomas's Abbey, Brno

Art nouveau building on Verevi street, #14. I passed by this building every day on the #12 tram to Technology Park, so on my last day I walked along the tram route for several kilometers and photographed buildings.

Brno

Typical painted apartment buildings that you see all over the Czech Republic. They’re very cheerful and when the sun is shining, the streets look like boxes of pastel macaroons.

Painted Brno apartment buildings

Posted in photography, travel | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Munich Architecture

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 27, 2017

Munich architecture is a very interesting mix of styles. This colourful glass wall (“Bühnenfenster,” an installation by Olafur Eliasson, of Narima glass, by Schott) is the back of the Bavarian State Opera’s rehearsal hall.

Rehearsal Hall of Bavarian State Opera

The Max Planck Society, a research center, has a very cool interlocking stone sculpture flanking its main entrance.

ax-Planck-Gesellschaft, Generalverwaltung, Munich

Across the the street from the Max Planck Society is the Bavarian State Chancery, which was destroyed during WWII and rebuilt in steel and glass. It’s so wide that I would have needed an extreme wide angle lens to photograph the entire building, so you’ll have to settle for the middle section.

Bayerische Staatskanzlei (Bavarian State Chancery), Munich

The New City Hall (Neues Rathaus) from the outside, below the tower. Our guide told us that the glockenspiel performance isn’t worth organizing your schedule around, but if you happen to be passing through Marienplatz just before 5 p.m., you might as well hang around for a few minutes to watch the mechanical jousting knights.

Neues Rathaus, Munich

Courtyard of the new city hall, in typical neo-Gothic style.

IMG_4389

Highly decorated oriel windows in the courtyard of the new city hall.

IMG_4313

Accordionist playing in what we would have assumed was a beer garden. Our guide told us that to be considered a beer garden (a place where you are welcome to bring your own food as long as you purchase the drinks), it has to be a permanent set-up. Since the tables and umbrellas are only out in good weather, apparently it’s not a true beer garden. The accordionist let out a yelp after each song so that people would notice and applaud.

IMG_4306

Posted in photography | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A High-Level View of Munich

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 26, 2017

Frauenkirche, or Church of the Virgin Mary, photographed from the Neues Rathaus tower.

Frauenkirche, from Neurathaus tower

I was in Munich last week, as a participant in Red Hat’s New Hire Orientation (EMEA) program. We spent two days watching presentations and were presented with our brand new red fedoras! Well, most of them got the hats. Those of us with very small heads will have to wait for our to be delivered.

On the second day, after the presentations, a number of us went back to Marienplatz in the old historic center of Munich to do some touristy things. These photos were taken from the tower of the Neues Rathaus (New City Hall), which is accessible by elevator for 2.50 Euros.

St. Peter’s Church also has a tower with a magnificent view. You pay 3.00 Euros for the privilege of climbing 300 stairs to the top. It is a bit higher than the Neues Rathaus tower, however!

St. Peter's Church, Munich

View of the Alte Rathaus, which actually dates back to the 14th century, despite its “new” look.

IMG_4400

Looking down into the Neues Rathaus courtyard.

IMG_4403

Tower of the Theatine Church (aka the Yellow Church) on the left, with the Siegestor (Victory Arch) beyond.

IMG_4405

Posted in photography | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

More from the Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 11, 2017

“RGB3D” (Ido Scherf and Shai Shtarker, Israel) was a clever installation. At first glance it looked like a pretty but meaningless display of coloured lightbulbs behind a fence. In front of the fence were three steps, coloured red, blue, and green. When viewed from the top of each step, the lights spelled the name of the colour. I took this photo from the RED step.

|RGB3D, Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

“Moon Haze” (Feng Jiacheng and Huang Yuanbei, PR China), or the far side of the moon, literally. I walked around it to the other side to photograph the inflated moon at a reasonable distance, away from the crowds. I included the guy with the phonecam to show scale. The moon is sitting on the 3,000-year-old Broad Wall, one of the ancient city walls of Jerusalem.

Moon Haze, Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

I’ve seen some weird things in the Muristan but “Oasis” (Gil Teichman, in collaboration with Nitzan Refaeli and Ronen Nadjar, Israel) tops them all. The installation “includes a special performance of favorite elephants from previous festivals.” Previous festivals? Does that mean previous Jerusalem Festivals of Light? Did anyone see the elephants performing? I saw inflated elephants with a soundtrack of elephants trumpeting. If someone managed to get elephants into the cramped streets of the Christian Quarter, that would have been quite a logistcal feat.

"Oasis," Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

Batei Mahsei has had some stunning video-mapping installations projected onto its distinctive arched facade in the past. This was not one of them. “Dream Machine,” by Liron Gavish, Shootzi, Tal Heuberger, and Ido Ramon, Israel. It was pleasant but not stunning.

Dream Machine, Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

“Drawn in Light,” by Ralf Westerhof, The Netherlands, was simple but surprisingly effective. The three-dimensional wire house, trees, and other elements, suspended as a giant mobile, comprised a constantly changing landscape. The house’s rotation revealed new details and perspectives. It’s difficult to show scale in a photo. According to the description, the installation was 13 meters wide.

Drawn in Light, Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

“Cathedral of Mirrors” (Mads Christensen, Denmark) was an interactive installation with motion sensors. The colours shifted and pulsated when people walked between the columns or touched them.

Cathedral of Mirrors, Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

“Fly,” by Itzik Ilus, Israel. Clear plastic birds lit by coloured lights. This year the route was marked by orange arrow signs. They were much more difficult to locate and follow than the strings of LED lights usedat  past festivals. Please bring back the light strings! You have no idea how many people missed the sharp right turn down the stairs to Batei Mahsei, walking from the Cardo to the Hurva by accident.

"Fly," Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

Posted in Israel, photography | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

“Solaris,” Hurva Synagogue – Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 6, 2017

“Solaris” is a video-mapping installation by Visualsupport, Poland, incorporating the Hurva Synagogue. The festival brochure describes it as the show’s “world premiere in Jerusalem.” It was pretty, but not amazing. Scroll down for the video.

Solaris, Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

Solaris, Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

Solaris, Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

Posted in Israel, photography, videos | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Concert and Candles in Zedekiah’s Cave – Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 6, 2017

Where else could you see a piano concert at the bottom of a 2000-year-old cave? “Interactive Shadows” (Studio Insight, Guy Romem, Israel) refers to the cameras set along the path to the bottom of the cave. The cameras project images of the viewers on the walls, with different effects (line drawings, coloured silhouettes, etc.).

The musicians are listed as Yoel Shemesh and Achiya Asher Cohen Alloro. I have no idea who was playing that evening. At one point there was a loud cracking sound. The pianist, without missing a beat, looked over his shoulder at a bench that had collapsed in the middle from the weight of the children.

Interactive Shadows, Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

Interactive Shadows, Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

Interactive Shadows, Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

Selfies….

Interactive Shadows, Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

Interactive Shadows, Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

Posted in Israel, photography, videos | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Tribe – Fire Dancers at the Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 4, 2017

Fire and dance show called “The Tribe” (Lital Natanzon, Israel), in the open auditorium on Tsanchanim Road. I can’t say that I noticed any characters or encounters with figures from other worlds, but it was fun to watch. There are only two performances, at 8:30 and 9:15. I recommend you try to get there early, maybe first on your agenda, because it does get crowded.

Long exposures are not easy when handheld at a significant distance.

The Tribe, Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

I call this one Headless Nick. Strange effect!

The Tribe, Jerusalem Festival of Light 2017

Posted in Israel, photography, videos | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »