1 year of communting to Wädenswil

Since one week, we are already on holiday (which is the reason for the lack of updates to this blog), enjoying an extended summer christmas holiday far away. My working year 2014 is thus already over and it is hopefully acceptable to show a selection of "commuter photographs" of this ending year.
It has been almost a year since I have started a new post in Wädenswil, a city that is beautifully situated about 25 km south of Zurich, on the lakeside. Usually, I leave home early in the morning and thus my arrival in Wädenswil often coincides with dawn or sunrise. As my train approaches my destination, along the shore of the lake of Zurich, I can already enjoy the sometimes dramatic scenery of clouds, water, mountains, and the first sunlight. If I am in the mood and the conditions seem interesting, I spend a few minutes at the lake, enjoy the dawning day, and sometimes take a few photographs. A "best of" of these short photo sessions (excluding the three examples already shown previously) of the entire year is compiled here in chronological order.
Being able to witness the same scenery during an entire year, and hopefully many more years, sharpens the senses for the changes during the seasons, the moving sun, and even meteorologic patterns. At the same time, the more dawns and sunrises I observe in Wädenswil, the rarer the truly exceptional ones become. Consequently, I am likely to take less dawn and sunrise photographs in  each year. In my opinion, re-visiting a particular location again and again, even re-taking a specific photograph, helps to see things more objectively and to discover truly unique subjects.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugMoon and Venus over the lake of Zurich (January 29, 2014)

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugPink and orange morning in Wädenswil (February 26, 2014)

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug   Sunrise behind the "Speer" (March 11, 2014)

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugHovering cloud over the lake of Zurich (March 27, 2014)

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugCloud and sun beams seen from Wädenswil harbor (May 19, 2014)

Better in the West (June 2, 2014)

Behind the clouds the sky is blue (August 28, 2014)

"Sky lines" over the lake of Zurich in Wädenswil (September 24, 2014)

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugThree mallard ducks on the golden lake of Zurich (October 9, 2014)

2014/12/13 by Florian Freimoser
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November & December 2014 prints: Water cloud & Hay fever

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Just in time, my November 2014 print is presented and it is already accompanied by the December print. Since we will be traveling, I will not print anything in December, but I did not want to skip the last print of the year. The photograph above has been taken earlier this year, in February, on a hike around Pfäffikersee. The cloud appears upside down, because it is not at all a real cloud, but just its reflection on the smooth water surface - it is thus a water cloud. I really like the color gradient from the dark foreground to the light blue background and the shallow waves on the water at the top.

The photograph below was taken three months later, in May. In and around Zurich, this is usually the time grasses start to flower and my hay fever sets in. When I captured the hay fever photograph, I was actually photographing cicadas. I took just this one photograph of the pollen clouds that were released from the blades of grass as I touched them and I was not expecting much. When I looked at the result (only later, at home), I was pleasantly surprised and "Hay fever" is one of my preferred photographs of this year. I am still fascinated that it is possible to capture and visualize flying pollen grains and I really like the light shades of greens and out of focus grass blades.

If you want, have a look at all my prints of this year or suggest a photograph to be printed next year!

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2014/11/30 by Florian Freimoser
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Nearby: Re-reflection confusion

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Although I love nature and the outdoors, I have become to really enjoy photography in man-made environments. When I photograph in and around my home, in Zurich, I have to make do with subjects that may not be highly attractive and interesting per se, but which I can try to capture in a way that I find more interesting than the overall scene and subject itself. Thereby, my nearby photography makes me a more conscious observer of my environment and sharpens my eye for tiny details of beauty within the city desert of concrete and glass. Searching, seeing, composing, and creating photographs of hidden, beautiful details makes me a happier person and, I believe, a better photographer.
The nearby photograph shared here is very similar to the one shown recently. It has also been created  at the skyscrapers on Hagenholzstrasse and similarly features patterns of reflections, re-reflections, and shadows. This composition also illustrates the value of returning to the same subject again and again: I have visited these buildings many times this year, under all kinds of conditions and light, and the photograph above is one of my favorites so far.
This re-reflection confusion can be found in the light and shadow gallery as well as in the nearby collection.

2014/11/19 by Florian Freimoser
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Flora: Hungarian Gentian - Gentiana pannonica

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Hungarian Gentian (Gentiana pannonica)

This Hungarian Gentian was photographed in the Bavarian Alps, on a mountain where I knew these beautiful, sightly plants to abound. Gentiana pannonica is a notable gentian in at least two ways: It has purple-magenta colored flowers (not blue) that are grouped in the axilla or at the top, and their stems reach over half a meter in height. The plants propagate clonally and thus sizable populations may cover alpine meadows. An impressive sight!

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The speckled, magenta-purple flowers of Gentiana pannonica

Gentiana pannonica is an alpine plant that occurs in the eastern alps (one of its German names is  "eastern alps gentian") and the western border of its distribution lies in eastern Switzerland. However, there is a very similar, by the looks almost identical, species, Gentiana purpurea, that lives in the western alps. The Hungarian Gentian is thus a vicariant species: one of (at least) two closely related species that are separated geographically or ecologically and thus do not interbreed.

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Sepals and petals of Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis.

Like many other species of the genus Gentiana, the Hungarian Gentian has been used as a medicinal plant as well as to produce Schnaps. Gentian roots apparently contain some of the most bitter substances known and are used for treating digestive disorders and other afflictions. Due to their beneficial and desirable effects, Gentiana pannonica roots used to be collected assiduously, which has harmed the populations of this beautiful plant. The IUCN red list labels the species as "near threatened", while in some countries, for example the Czech Republic and Switzerland, it is even listed as "endangered".

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Gentiana pannonica bud

I think the large purple-magenta flowers, laced with tiny dark spots, are really beautiful and exceptional. In the three last photographs, the one above and the following two, you can see all the stages of budding and blossoming. At first, the flowers literally seem screwed down, then the large petals slowly unwind, and in the last photograph the creamy yellow center of the flower is exposed.

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An unwinding Gentiana pannonica flower

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A fully opened blossom of Gentiana pannonica

2014/11/16 by Florian Freimoser
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Leafcolors 4: Maple green beams

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Another leaf that has fallen before all its chlorophyll was degraded. The bright autumn colors are not generated in fall in order to attract photographers and tourists, but simply revealed as the dominant color of the green chlorophyll slowly clears away. The bright yellow, red, and orange tones were just hidden behind a green curtain. In this particular maple leaf, the green seems caught in the act of dissipating and I really like the remaining green beams. Also have a look at the interesting color patterns of other leaves shown in the leafcolor gallery (all of which are not photographs, but scans of fallen leaves).

2014/11/13 by Florian Freimoser
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