Small towns, especially very old ones, do have a certain attraction to photographers. Structures, old architecture, people and “street photography” are on their various bucket lists around the world. However, there are some places that are especially interesting – or beautiful in that sense. The small town Rovinj in the northern part of Croatia most certainly qualifies as such a spot and I was lucky to cross it off my bucket list recently.
Rovinj is located on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula and its busy history goes back to the Byzantine Empire, probably due to the strategic location at the Adriatic Sea. Today there are roughly 13 000 people living in Rovinj and the main economic activity is tourism with peak season between May and September. There are many restaurant and bars in the old town, a tiny farmers market and unforgettable sunsets almost every day.
You can quite literally sit on the stones directly at the sea shore and enjoy a sundowner drink – in a bar, restaurant or simply on the main pier of Rovinj. The view is stunning wherever you go – at the shore or from the basilica in the centre of the old town. There even is a small (actually tiny) light house and a small harbour that set photographers’ hearts aflutter.
I stayed at a small place directly in the centre of the old town in one of the narrow streets with restaurants and bars around. Its busy at night but because parking is virtually impossible it seemed like a good idea. Many of the places in the old town also offer to rent a parking lot somewhere near for the time of your stay. This usually includes a short drive because there is no space for cars in the old town. Like no space whatsoever. But being able to explore Rovinj by foot during the different times and lighting conditions of the day is absolutely worth it.
While walking through the town I found a brilliant little shop that sells the many different olive oils of the region, which happens to be one of the best regions in the world for olive oil production. They also offer cheese, honey, wine from the local farmers around Rovinj and the best consultancy (in terms of olive oil) I have ever experienced. The first time I ever did a proper olive oil tasting – which sounds strange but it was fun and I learned a lot. With all the pictures (and olive oil) in my bag I headed back home with the promise to myself to come back to Rovinj soon.
So I got a mirrorless full frame camera. The EOS R from Canon. But this is actually not supposed to be about the EOS R (only a bit), but the camera may help to make a point here: It is about photography. Let me get this out of the way: The EOS R works beautifully, the images are crisp & sharp and everything I wished for. You can check out some of my impressions from the camera below.
I was shooting with the Canon 6D until now, which is also full frame and also a great camera. I travelled quite a bit around the world with my 6D and I enjoy looking at all the pictures I took. People back than basically where asking the same questions about the 6D that people are asking now about the EOS R: “But it misses feature xyz”, or “It has not enough MP…”, or “Why didn’t they do this and that…” – all the bla bla you can read in many posts that basically seem to justify their own existence by finding something they can bash.
Faisal Yaqub has posted a review of the EOS R after two month of usage and points out a few features and what he really likes about the camera. It is important to note that he focuses on things that actually help him to take good photos. When I got my 6D I couldn’t help but notice how well Canon seemed to understand what I really really needed in a camera and what features I basically do not care about so much. Possibly because they understand the fundamentals of what is necessary to take good photos. And they left those additional features out in the 6D.
And they did something similar with the EOS R. The EOS R combines many things that are actually helping me to take photos and/or support my workflow with the camera. The excellent ergonomics of the EOS R is only one of the many points. Or the “FV” mode that makes it so easy to control e.g. exposure compensation when you do not have an R-mount lens on with the brilliant additional ring on the lens (e.g. one of your old EF lenses). But many of these things are not mentioned in most of the reviews, maybe because they can not be compared on paper or against other cameras or brands. It is personal.
Jamie Windsor makes a wonderful point in his video on how photography can make you unhappy (Disclaimer: I think his channel is brilliant!): “The pursuit of gear is not photography!”. And it is actually why I am writing up this EOS R post: Having a good camera that actually helps you with the little things and (I think) purposely misses out on certain features is maybe the better camera for you because it focuses on you as a person taking the shot and not on other cameras, other brands or things to be compared on paper. It is a tool and, hence, has to take a step back for us to be able to focus on what actually is important to us: The art of photography!
In terms of gear 2018 was an interesting year. I moved to the G1X mk III as “second cam” (replacing the G9X with 1 inch sensor) and had lots of fun taking photos. I was (actually still am) impressed by the image quality out of this camera. I was looking for a “small” camera that enables me to take it with me without thinking about packing but at the same time I did not want to make a lot of compromises in terms of image quality. This post is supposed to give you an idea about the cam and of course to recap some captures from 2018 at the end of the year. Enjoy!
The first opportunity for the G1X mkIII to shine was the green ice at the Munich Olympic Regatta Center, where after a period of extreme cold weather the sun came out and turned the ice on the water green.
After the green ice impressions, the camera accompanied me on a number of short and often spontaneous trips in & around Munich. This included a trip to the Allgäu (via Nesselwang, see above). Finally, due to luggage restrictions, I took the cam with me to New York for a few days. This included a few iconic views of course but also some tricky shooting situations, such as low light hand held (no tripod!) and action street performance.
November 11th, 2018 marks one hundred years since the end of World War One.
“Never Again” is an art project (www.niemalswieder.com/english-version/) by Munich performance artist Walter Kuhn.
I was certainly not alone the night before the 11th, taking pictures of the poppies. They are a symbol of rememberance for the dead and fallen of both World Wars.