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The back of the beautiful Vienna State Opera building. Now you see what I mean by curly bits.

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A long exposure of the mumok, the museum of modern arts in Vienna. I really like Vienna, don’t get me wrong, but after the overwhelming exposure to classic buildings with their statues, figurines, gargoyles, columns, domes, and odd flowery pieces, the smooth outer shell of the museum of modern art calibrates my vision back to normal and lets me appreciate the curly bits of architecture again. But it takes a while. Hence, after a day in the inner city, spending an hour taking pictures of the mumok is basically a must, if the hotel bed seems to be too far away for a lie down instead.

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Naturhistorisches Museum Wien

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I really like the baroque charm of the museum for natural history in Vienna. This shot was taken in its main stair case. The museums earliest collections were begun more than 250 years ago and it opened to the public in 1889. In science we are very careful about giving credit. At the time of the opening of the museum, this didn’t just mean that your name appeared somewhere on a publication. No, they also put up statues and paintings of the important contributors.

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This ram was grazing next to the house we rented to spend a weekend with all of Pleuni’s cousins at the north-west coast of the Netherlands. The Dutch weather didn’t fail to surprise us by switching from being crispy cold and bright on one day, to being dramatically stormy, sprinkled with bouts of heavy rains, on the next. I took this picture while being blasted by strong winds and envied him for his thick fur, in which he seemed to be completely oblivious to windchill.

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Another shot from the Point Reyes National Seashore. I like the soft, dispersed light that filters through the fog. After hiking along the Tomales Point trail with only low shrubs and grass left and right, I came back to the Pierce Point Ranch and only then I noticed these trees, as they provided such a big contrast to the landscape I had been in for hours before. The Pierce family must have planted these trees, either for timber or fuel, or just for the comfort of having them around. I don’t know what connects us with trees, but somehow I find being close to them comforting. To see their massive structures and to listen to the sounds that the wind makes when it rushes through their leaves and branches satisfies a need in me that is very different from the side that lets me program, analyze complex structures, or visualize data.


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We enjoyed camping with friends in Montana de Oro State Park over Thanksgiving and this shot was taken at Spooner’s Cove. The name Montana de Oro (“Mountain of Gold” in Spanish) comes from the golden wildflowers found in the park. I really liked seeing the waves crash into the rocks like furious beasts, trying to break them apart.


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Elk in series

[audioslideshow-content imageurls=”http://www.andreasgros.net/wp-content/gallery/animals/img_9879.jpg 6 http://www.andreasgros.net/wp-content/gallery/animals/img_9881.jpg 6 http://www.andreasgros.net/wp-content/gallery/animals/img_9895.jpg 6 http://www.andreasgros.net/wp-content/gallery/animals/img_9898.jpg 6 http://www.andreasgros.net/wp-content/gallery/animals/img_9904.jpg 6 http://www.andreasgros.net/wp-content/gallery/animals/img_9928.jpg 6 http://www.andreasgros.net/wp-content/gallery/animals/img_9986.jpg 6 http://www.andreasgros.net/wp-content/gallery/animals/img_9994.jpg 6″ soundtrack=”Marcel_Pequel_-_09_-_Nine.mp3″]

Here are the elk in series. Hit play to see them all. The soundtrack is the same as in “Going South” (Nine by Marcel Pequel). Shut off the music by hitting the “sound off” button next to the play button.


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Tule elk

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I spent last Monday with two herds of tule elk (Cervus canadensis ssp. nannodes) at Point Reyes National Seashore. The weather changed from foggy to a brief spell of sunshine, and back to extremely foggy. This shot was taken in the latter foggy episode. Fortunately, the elk were grazing happily not too far away from the path. However, the dominant male was keeping a close eye on me, while preventing the females from straying off too far. After about 1.5 hours of me standing still on the path, about 100 meters away from the herd, the wind turned slightly and blew my scent right towards the herd. A number of females put their heads up and sniffed, seemed to classify me as harmless, and started to move slowly in my direction, leading others in their wake. When they were about 15 meters away, this male intercepted them and started to maneuver them away from me. At this point I took this shot and a couple of others that you can find in this series or in the the animal gallery: http://www.andreasgros.net/galleries/animals/

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From Twin Peaks you have great view of San Francisco no matter at which time you get up there. When I was up there for the first time, it was at an early afternoon and I had no time to stay until after sundown. But now on my way back from Napa I had time to stop there for some night shots. Unfortunately, there were strong gusts of wind on Tuesday night, but with the great internal stabilizer of the 70-200mm lens, this 49 second exposure was possible.

The big street left of the center is Market Street and at its end is the San Francisco Ferry Building, whose tower was once among the highest buildings of the city.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

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I spent the past two days scouting north of the bay. On Monday night I camped at Lake Berryessa in Napa County. As I arrived there after dark, I had no idea how scenic this area actually was. I had read some reports about the hikes in this area and had decided to take the Stebbins Cold Canyon Trail up to some promising mountain tops, from which I wanted to get a good view of the lake and its surroundings. When I started the hike it had just begun to drizzle heavily, but my hope was that (1) it would brighten up at some point, and (2) further up the mountains the conditions would be better.  During the climb it was actually nice to be kept cool by the rain, but when I reached the first peak and waited for better conditions, the strong wind chill worked like a dimmer switch for my mood. Well, until I saw the first rays of sunshine tearing through the dark cloud layer. Then the only problem was to keep the drizzle off the lens for long enough to be able to take the shot.


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