Saturday, 9 March 2013

Two cargo ships in the Sound

Just after 5 P.M. today, the container ship Anne Sibum (151 x 22 m) and the roro cargo ship Mistral (153 x 22 m) met in Øresund.

Anne Sibum and Mistral meet close to Hittarp in Øresund.

The Anne Sibum was on its way to UST'-LUGA. 

The destination for Mistral was Santander.

Friday, 8 March 2013

A lively stream in Hittarp

The small stream, emptying its water into Øresund here in Hittarp, is rather lively this time of the year:

There must have been a time when it was full of fish, maybe even of the kind described in this famous lied by Schubert:

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Wide angle views of Helsingborg

The Helsingborg city theater, with modern sculptures in the front.

This afternoon I received my new wide angel lens, a Tokina 11 - 16 mm F2,8 DX. Of course, I had to test it immediately.

Here is a selection of my first ever wide angle photos. Unfortunately, the light was not the best possible while I was shooting:

Ducks, gulls and two Helsingborg - Helsingør ferries departing. 
The Dunkers cultural center - a seaside view.

The Dunkers cultural center main entrance.
A somewhat closer shot of the Dunkers, with three of the rabbit sculptures in fron of the entrance.
One of the fairly new apartment buildings in the Northern Harbor.
Another apartment building in the Northern Harbor area.
The schooner Nina and part of the Helsingborg Marina.
The Helsingborg concert hall. 
The main entrance to the concert hall.

More modern art, with the concert hall in the background.
The statue of Field Marshal Magnus Stenbock , with the City Hall in the background.
The cruise ship Quest.
A closer look at the Quest.
The Helsingborg Pilot station.

I think I am going to use the Tokina quite a lot. The wide angle zoom allows you to get very close to the subject, which is nice. Of course, there is a danger that you begin to overuse this possibility.

Roro cargo vessel Pulpca - one of the regulars in Øresund

Pulpca passing Hittarp at 10:25 P.M. this morning on its way to Antwerp.

The roro cargo ship Pulpca (205 x 25,5 m) is one of the regulars in Øresund. Together with its for sister vessels, it is part of Transfennica's Baltic service:

From 2013 onwards Transfennica will deploy 5 instead of 3 ships on its Baltic service.
The weekly departures from Antwerp are carried out by the ro-ro sister vessels Kraftca, Pulpca, Trica, Plyca and Timca. The ports of Tilbury, Rauma and Gdynia are called at once a week, Paldiski, Kotka and Saint-Petersburg twice weekly and, finally, Hanko three times a week. Saint Petersburg (Petrolesport terminal) is now called at directly, instead of transhipment via Finland.
The ro-ro vessels can take various types of cargo, including mafis, cassettes and containers

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The 160th anniversary of Verdi's La Traviata

The beautifully renovated La Fenice opera.

On this day, 160 years ago, Verdi's La Traviata was performed for the first time. The venue was Venice's gorgeous La Fenice opera house. 

The premiere was not the great success Verdi had hoped for. The root of the problem was, according to the distinguished baritone Franco Varesi, who sung to role of Giorgio Germont, that Verdi had composed the opera with disregard for the vocal capabilities of his principals."This caused much strong feeling among the Venetian public". 

Another view of the La Fenice. 

Verdi then withdrew and revised the opera, which was presented again a year later, in 1854, at the Teatro Gallo di San Benedetto, also in Venice. 

Those who want to see La Traviata again at La Fenice - one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world - will have to wait until February next year, when the new production is due to be performed. 

Diego Matheuz

The conductor will be the young Venezuelan Diego Matheuz, who in 2011 was appointed Principal Conductor at the La Fenice. 

Here the great tenor Piotr Bezcala (Alfredo Germont) and soprano Eva Mei (Violetta) perform the famous Brindisi.

Bofors guns in the late 1890s

Bofors had a state of the art cannon workshop already in the late 19th century.

Sweden's Bofors company, located in Karlskrona, was a leading manufacturer of guns already in the late 19th century. The company's first cannon workshop was established in 1884. Alfred Nobel, who owned Bofors from 1894 until his death in 1896, played a key role in reshaping the company to a modern gun manufacturer.

The Bofors cannon hall in the late 1890s.
The cannon hall in 1906.
254 mm Bofors guns under construction for the Finnish coastal battleship
Ilmarinen , launched in 1931.
(image by wiki)

The Bofors heavy weapons division is since 2005 part of British  BAE Systems Ltd.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

When Europe's intellectual elite spoke out for Finland: The Pro Finlandia petition of 1899

The title page of the British petition.

Before independence in 1917, Finland had been part of Sweden for over 600 years, until Sweden in 1809 lost Finland to Russia. From the Finnish point of view, it was important that Czar Alexander I granted Finland the status of an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire.

In the end of the 19th century Czar, Nicholas II, influenced by Russian nationalists, instigated a process of Russification, which was met with strong resistance in Finland, first passive, and later active. On 15 February 1899, Czar Nicholas signed a document - the February Manifesto - which fundamentally curtailed Finland's autonomy.

The Finnish Estates declared the Manifesto to be invalid in Finland. 

Finnish historians Eino Jutikkala and Kauko Pirinen describe the events that followed in their book "A History of Finland" (1996):

"Politically vigilant of old, the university students skied from farm to farm and from cottage to cottage across the farflung, snowbound land and, in slightly more than a week, collected 523,000 signatures on a protest addressed to the Czar, petitioning him to bring the provisions of the Manifesto into harmony with the constitutional laws of Finland.This civic protest,in which nearly half the adult population took part, was an amazing demonstration of political alertness and unanimity.

"A deputation of five hundred men set forth to deliver the petition and the signatures, filling many volumes, to the Czar personally. Nicholas II, however, instructed the Minister Secretary of State to tell the deputation: 'I shall not, of course, receive them, although I am not angry with them, either'."

"The name of Finland and an awareness of the peril threatening her political status spread, because of the Manifesto, throughout the civilized world. No less than 1,063 scientists, writers and artists in different European countries drew up a petition addressed to the Czar, entitled 'Pro Finlandia', which was entrusted to a deputation under the chairmanship of Senator Trarieux of France for delivery to Nicholas II."

"'Scarcely a single famous name is missing from it,' said the embarrassed minister of the court eying the petition. After long deliberation, the Czar nevertheless refused to receive the international deputation. On their way back home through Finland, the members of the deputation, who represented the intellectual elite of the world, were accorded an idolatrous  reception, the like of which, in the words of one member, now Czar was likely to experience in that country for a long time."

It is possible that the international petition slowed down the rate of Russification somewhat in Finland. However, for the Finns the greatest significance of the petition was that it mobilized a sense of civic awareness among common people, which was of great importance during the years that followed. 

The "Pro Finlandia" petition, with all the signatures, was later published in book format. As you can see from the samples shown here, many of the national petitions were beautifully designed works of art: 

This is the text accompanying the British petition, which was signed by e.g. Florence Nightingale and Thomas Hardy:

The famous writers Anatole France and Emile Zolá were among the signatories in France:

In Norway, the petition was signed e.g. by Henrik Ibsen:

The first page of the Swedish petition.

The first page of the Italian petition.

The initial page of the Dutch petition.

The title page of the Norwegian petition.

A page from the Danish petition.

The grand opening of the Trelleborg - Sassnitz train ferry connection in 1909

The opening ceremony in Trelleborg on July 7, 1909.

The opening of the train ferry connection between Trelleborg (Sweden) and Sassnitz (Germany) on July 7, 1909, was a big media event. German Emperor Wilhelm II and Swedish King Gustav V participated in the grand opening ceremony organized in Trelleborg.

King Gustav V greets Kaiser Wilhelm in Trelleborg.

Emperor Wilhelm and King Gustav at the opening ceremony.

The Swedish train ferry "Drottning Victoria".

The German ferry "Deutschland".

1909 poster. 

Monday, 4 March 2013

Swedish transport innovations (in 1905)

The beginning of the 20th century was a time of transport innovations also in Sweden. Below are three of them, introduced in 1905:

The new mail car on the route Stockholm - Berlin.

The interior of the new mail car.

The first Swedish mail delivery truck, serving the route Jerna - Trosa.

The first electric locomotive acquired by the Swedish State Railways.