Growth of years

This January I found myself again in Prague, one of the cultural and architectural jewels of Europe…

As is often the case when travelling, I spent most of the time in hotels and conference rooms – well, after all, we do have to work for a living, right? Even so, I did catch one afternoon to go out for a stroll around. Thanks to the inspired refusal of a friend of mine to go and see what I had originally intended to visit, we went instead to the Strahov monastery, a place I had vaguely heard of but which turned out to be quite delightful. The monastery is high on the hills above Prague, a shortish walk from the palace and catherdral. However, in its small way it has some of the most amazing things you will find to see in the whole city.

Perhaps the most remarkable (for me, at least, as a bit of a books and libraries nut), was the amazing library – with some of the most beautiful and luxuriously appointed rooms I have seen in any library, anywhere. However, it’s easy to find images of those if you look (and well worth it!).

Instead I decided that this was my favourite image of the visit… it’s an ivy growing on the walls of the monastery that looks like it has been there for hundreds of years. I don’t know what it would look like in full growth – it probably turns the whole wall into a forest of green. But in winter, the skeleton of the ivy is wonderfully revealed, and I couldn’t possibly not take a photo.

To get this I used a new lens (Zeiss 25mm Biogon) and (wait for it) my new Leica M9. Yes, I confess – having fallen for the rangefinder experience in Oxford last year, it did not take long for me to persuade myself and my ever loving wife that it would be a waste to wait for my next birthday… and Christmas… and the birthday after that…

Being very close to the wall I couldn’t get a straight shot at this, so had to correct the significant vertical distortion in post-processing with Lightroom. I decided to leave the image a little dark, as it accurately reflects the light at the time I took the picture…

Image taken on 21 January 2011, Leica M9 with 25mm Zeiss Biogon, 1/350th at F 3.4 and ISO 800.

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