Visit Graz

The Styrian capital Graz, with roots dating back to the Roman Age, lies on either side of River Mur. Graz is well known for its striking buildings and architecture.


Graz, the capital of Styria and Austria's second largest city, is nestled in the south of the country and is a vibrant city with a population of 250,000. Here, culture, culinary delights and trendy design take centre stage on both sides of the River Mur. Its reputation of being a lively, modern cultural place earned it the title of Cultural Capital of Europe 2003, and with a population of 250,000, it has a great number of interesting sights ranging from old and time-honored to dynamic and modern. Its beautiful historical centre (a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site) is a colourful smorgasbord of different influences, from the Baroque to the Renaissance, Art Deco and Medieval.



Landmarks such as the late-gothic cathedral is reminiscent of the times when Graz was still an imperial seat, and the baroque Mausoleum of Emperor Kaiser Ferdinand II next door is an equally impressive sight. Universalmuseum Joanneum, donated by prince Johann at the beginning of the 19th century, is Austria's largest provincial museum and spotlights nature, culture and arts in Styria, whereas the Murinsel is an artificial floating platform in the middle of the Mur. It was constructed by the New York artist and designer Vito Acconci on the occasion of Graz becoming the 2003 European Capital of Culture.

Ohhhh YES I do love Sunflowers!

5 facts and one photograph

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1. Each sunflower is actually thousands of teeny flowers.

The iconic yellow petals and fuzzy brown centers are actually individual flowers themselves. As many as 2,000 can make up the classic sunflower bloom.

2. You should harvest sunflowers in the morning, not the afternoon.

Planning to clip a few to display in a vase? If you wait until the afternoon, they may wilt.

3. Sunflowers are native to the Americas and were domesticated around 1000 B.C.

Even way back when, people saw the value in growing sunflowers, which are still harvested for sunflower seeds (and the oil you can make from them) today. In 2014, 1.7 million acres were planted in the United States, the USDA reports. The majority of those were found in North Dakota.

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4. A dried sunflower makes a unique, natural bird feeder.

Feathered friends love to snack on sunflower seeds just like you do. To find out how to hang this garden-inspired feeder (no peanut butter required!), get the tutorial at Creative Cain Cabin.

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5. Each sunflower can contain as many as 1,000 to 2,000 seeds.

So there are tons for birdies to munch on! But you can harvest and roast them for yourself, too.

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Gostilna Mlin in Kamna Gorica , Slovenia

Gostilna Mlin in Kamna Gorica is an old converted mill and is set in a great location in an idyllic village close to Radovljica and Bled.

Staff is fast, helpful, attentive and kind

The menu offers Slovenian dishes, traditional and Pizzas.

Food is excellent with a good variety and a great value for money .

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Velemer Hungary Holy Trinity Church

The Holy Trinity church was erected in the 13th century in Velemer, County Vas Hungary .

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The rectangular aisleless church, to which a tower is attached on the north facade, is aligned east to west, as typical of medieval times. While carrying elements of Romanesque style it also has some Gothic elements . The walls of the church are built of both brick and stone. It is adorned by an arched cornice, with corbels carved with human faces, representing the various sins, supporting the roof. The frescoes in the church were painted by János Aquila of Radkesburg from 1377 to 1378.
The church was used by the Calvinist church from the mid-17th century, and was re-Catholicised in 1733. It was abandoned in 1808.
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 created by dji camera

Soviet Victory Memorial Bad Radkersburg

This memorial commemorates the victory of the Red Army in 1945 against the nazi fascist

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Located near the border with the Kingdom of Hungary, it was affected by the armed conflict between King Matthias Corvinus and Emperor Frederick III in the late 15th century. During the Ottoman–Habsburg wars, extended fortifications were laid out according to plans designed by the Italian architect Domenico dell'Allio. Radkersburg was elevated to an Imperial fortress by resolution of the 1582 Diet of Augsburg.

In the course of the 19th century language conflict, nationalist struggles in the ethnically mixed area arose between the predominantly German-speaking citizens and the Slovene-speaking peasant population down the Mur River. A garrison town of the Austro-Hungarian Army in World War I, it was occupied by troops of the newly emerged Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia) on 1 December 1918. An armed revolt against the occupation forces, led by Johann Mickl, in order to affiliate the town with German-Austria failed. Nevertheless, by resolution of the 1919 Treaty of Saint-Germain, the area north of the Mur passed to the First Austrian Republic, while Oberradkersburg (Gornja Radgona) and the neighbouring municipality of Apače (Abstall), on the south bank, became part of Yugoslavia.

The nationalist conflicts lingered on, on both sides of the border. In World War II many members of the German minority greeted the Wehrmacht invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941 and joined the German combat units, while large parts of Radkersburg were devastated by armed conflicts. After the war, most of the remaining German-speaking population south of the Mur was forcibly expelled.

The Radkersburg bridge across the Mur was reopened on October 12, 1969 which led to a first rapprochement between Austria and Yugoslavia. In 1975 the town achieved spa status, another thermal spring was made accessible in 1978, soon followed by an extension to the bathing site. Since Slovenia joined the Schengen Area in 2007, border controls between Radkersburg and Gornja Radgona have been abolished.

35mm equivalence of native Fujifilm X lenses


I am often asked about the correspondence focal length for the Fujifilm X lenses

This table will help you find the true 35mm equivalence of native Fujifilm X lenses.



Native Fujifilm X lenses

Name Focal Length (35mm) f-stop (35mm) Aperture Size

XF14mmF2.8 R 21mm ƒ/4.2 5mm

XF16mmF1.4 R WR 24mm ƒ/2.1 11mm

XF16mmF2.8 R WR 24mm ƒ/4.2 5.7mm

XF18mmF2 R 27mm ƒ/3 9mm

XF23mmF2 R WR 35mm ƒ/3 12mm

XF23mmF1.4 R 35mm ƒ/2.1 16mm

XF27mmF2.8 41mm ƒ/4.2 9.6mm

XF33mmF1 50mm ƒ/1.5 33mm

XF35mmF1.4 R 53mm ƒ/2.1 25mm

XF35mmF2 R WR 53mm ƒ/3 18mm

XF50mmF2 R WR 75mm ƒ/3 25mm

XF56mmF1.2 R 84mm ƒ/1.8 47mm

XF56mmF1.2 R APD 84mm ƒ/1.8 47mm

XF60mmF2.4 R Macro 90mm ƒ/3.6 25mm

XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro 120mm ƒ/4.2 29mm

XF90mmF2 R LM WR 140mm ƒ/3 45mm

XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR 300mm ƒ/3 100mm

XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR 12-24mm ƒ/4.2 2.9-5.7mm

XF10-24mmF4 R OIS 15-36mm ƒ/6 2.5-6mm

XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR 24-83mm ƒ/4.2 5.7-20mm

XF16-80mmF4 R OIS WR 24-120mm ƒ/6 4-20mm

XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR 27-200mm ƒ/5.3-8.4 5.1-24mm

XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS 27-83mm ƒ/4.2-6 6.4-14mm

XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR 75-210mm ƒ/4.2 18-50mm

XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS 83-300mm ƒ/5.3-7.2 16-42mm

XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR 150-600mm ƒ/6.8-8.4 22-71mm

Touit 2.8/12 18mm ƒ/4.2 4.3mm

Touit 1.8/32 48mm ƒ/4.2 11mm

Touit 2.8/50M 75mm ƒ/4.2 18mm

Odprta kuhna in Ljubljana

Odprta kuhna is a unique and the most popular food market in Slovenia that has been bringing freshness and innovation to the Slovenian culinary scene since 2013.

It has become a regular Ljubljana event and every sunny Friday from early spring to late fall its stands attract thousands of foodies and fans of relaxed hanging-out.

Every (sunny) Friday between 10 AM and 9 PM, and until 10 PM in the summer, Pogačarjev trg square comes to life in various colours, flavours and aromas. The stands of Odprta kuhna have presented over a 100 restaurants from all over Slovenia and the visitors have tried close to a thousand different Slovenian and international dishes.

Imagine a walk in the Ljubljana streets that takes you around the world. When you walk between the stands of the colourful food market, you smell homemade Kaiserschmarrn from one side and on the other some flames jump up into the air from a Asian wok; bograč from Prekmurje is inviting you to one stand and juicy burgers are on the grill at the next. It simply doesn’t get tastier than that!

Cold?? It's the Frost Saints

Surprised about the spell of cold and rainy weather?? No need!

The Ice Saints take place from May 11, 2019 till May 15, 2019. The Ice Saints is a name given to St. Mamertus, St. Pancras, and St. Servatius in folklore of some Europe countries. They are so named because their feast days fall on the days of May 11, May 12, and May 13 respectively.

The period from May 11 to May 15 was noted to bring a brief spell of colder weather in many years.

My grandmother grew up in Austria with that being the rule and has instilled it on at least two more generations. These saints – St. Mamertus, St. Pancras, St. Servatius, St. Boniface and St. Sophia (also called Cold Sophia) – who have feast days on May 11 – 15 respectively – were said to have feasts that fell during the last possible cold snap of the year before autumn. So if you waited to plant until after their feast days, you were generally considered safe. Exactly which saints are included in the group depends on where you live – the first three are included everywhere.

According to The Big Book of Catholic Customs and Traditions, this tradition stems from the idea that these saints played a trick on the people by bringing a frost. In the fifth century, Archbishop Mamertus began a tradition rogation days, prayer and processions around the crops, orchards and animals, asking God to protect them from the saint’s wrath.

A 2013 article from The Guardian says that as late as the seventeenth century, Galileo and his students were studying the Ice Saints and weather patterns around their feasts. They found the legends of the cold naps to be accurate. However, it also states that more recent studies aren’t so certain.

Sufi Ramadan

“I cried because I had no shoes, and then I met a man who had no feet.” This famous line from the Sufi poet Hafiz reflects the essence of Sufism, the mystic path of Islam, in one sentence.

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How do Sufi practices differ in Ramadan?

“The question you bring up is interesting because it indicates to my mind that you make a separation between Sufi and Muslim … I don’t make that separation,” . Sufis are Muslims; they practice the five pillars of Islam, which include fasting in Ramadan.

Out of the five pillars, fasting is the only one done purely between an individual and God. It is done in secrecy and privacy. “Fasting is a form of hijab; Allah gave every being on earth protection. The birds he gave wings, the porcupine he gave needles, the skunk he gave a scent … to man he gave zikr Allah, and in Ramadan we remember Him more and more,” he says.

Restraining oneself from eating, drinking, love making, sinning, anger and striving to be good builds patience. Sabr (patience) is mentioned in over 90 places in the Quran. In one verse in Surat El-Baqarah, it clearly states, "O you who believe, fasting is prescribed to you, as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn patience."

Yet patience is only one aspect of the holy month. “Ramadan gives everyone the opportunity to go into themselves … during this month we are not taken by the world,” .

Sufi iftars are traditionally communal. Many gather together in a zawya with a sheikh present. They first drink water then pray the maghrib prayers followed by a communal meal. Then they pray the tarawih and in between they sing praises to the Prophet Mohammed.

In Ramadan extra prayers are done not out of habit but out of genuine conviction. Sufis feel this so strongly they want to do more. A Sufi makes sure he does all the tarawih prayers although they are not obligatory.

“The Prophet Mohammed prayed the tarawih two nights in a row, and then didn’t show up the third night. He didn’t want people to think it was mandatory,”

In Arabic Ramadan is spelled with five letters and Sufis believe that each stand for something that defines this holy month. R for ridwan, Allah’s satisfaction; M for marhaba, Allah’s love; D for deman, Allah’s protection and security; A for ulfal, Allah’s friendship; N for nour, Allah’s divine light and the essence of creation.

“Ramadan reveals many of the holy secrets of the Quran and for the believers it is a month of forgiveness, Ramadan opens the door of the interior of ourselves and the secrets of Allah are within us.”

Slapnik in Slovenia

Slapnik, a settlement with 17 houses that once had around 80 residents, mostly farmers, lost its population to larger towns in the region, as well as to immigration to the US and Australia after WW2. Since 1985 is has been designated as part of Slovenia’s immovable cultural heritage, and become a curiosity for visitors, and those interested in the region’s architecture in particular.

The British Broadcasting Company will film a show in the village in which couples from around Europe will live in the renovated houses. Further details remain unknown, but it’s expected that around 20 episodes of the series will be filmed.</p><p>Slapnik, and the region in general is expected to benefit from the attention, while the renovated buildings will provide more opportunities for further commercial activity in the village.

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More images

https://www.marcosecchi.com/gallery/Slapnik/G0000gZxXl5J8prI/C000040quAlDfuPY


The lovely village of Stanjel

Štanjel  or in Italian San Daniele del Carso is a village in the Municipality of Nomen in the Littoral region of Slovenia.  It is located on the Karst Plateau overlooking the Vipava Valley.

In the 17th century it was fortified to defend it against Ottoman raids. It was heavily damaged during World War II and it has been slowly rebuilt since.

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The castle represents the dominant part of the old settlement. Originally a much smaller medieval building owned by the Counts of Gorica, it was inherited by the Habsburgs, who bequeathed it to the Counts of Cobenzel. With the exception of a brief Venetian rule and the ownership by the Coronini family from Kromberk, the Cobenzel family continued in Štanjel until 1810, when the family eventually died out. From that moment on, the castle was owned by various families.

According to dates inscribed on numerous commemorative plaques, we can assume that the Counts of Cobenzel began the renovation of the castle in 1583, and gave it its present Baroque-Renaissance appearance in 1661. Eight years later, the two-winged residence was completed with a walled enclosure and a monumental Renaissance gateway.

In World War I, the Austrian Army used the castle as a military hospital for its officers. In the interwar period the castle became the central point of public and social life thanks to Max Fabiani. Here was the municipality, school, library and medical centre. In the summer, dances would take place in the castle courtyard as well as concerts and plays. In World War II it was severely damaged during an attack by the National Liberation Army. Renovation began in the second half of the 20th century.

12th Annual International Color Awards

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LOS ANGELES 12th March 2019

Professional photographer Marco Secchi of Hungary was presented with the 12th Annual International Color Awards Nominee title in the category of Fine Art at a prestigious Nomination & Winners Photoshow streamed Saturday, March 9, 2019.

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The live online gala was attended by 11,829 photography fans around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the industry's most important event for color photography. 12th Annual Jury members included captains of the industry from Sotheby's, New York; Benetton, Ponzano Veneto; The Art Channel, London; Kolle Rebbe, Hamburg; Droga5, New York; Preus Museum, Norway; Art Beatus, Hong Kong; Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg; Wieden & Kennedy, Portland; Fox Broadcasting Network, Los Angeles; Gallery Kong, Seoul; and Phillips, New York who honored Color Masters with 761 title awards and 1,032 nominees in 37 categories.

"Winning awards is an endorsement that you are doing something right in your craft. I am delighted to win Merit of Excellence in the Food category and have another 8 nominations... a huge thank you to you and your support of photography," said Hugh Johnson, 2nd Place Winner in Food. Leigh Miller, 1st Place Winner in Aerial added, "Wow, I'm over the moon with pride and joy at getting 1st place and honourable mention in the amateur Aerial category. I'm privileged to have my work showcased alongside such talented and creative people. Thank you International Color Awards for the chance to show our work on an international stage and big thanks to the judges for their time."

"It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 7,241 entries we received this year," said Basil O'Brien, the awards Creative Director. "(Name)'s "(Title of Photograph)," an exceptional image entered in the (Category) category, represents contemporary color photography at its finest, and we're pleased to present (her/him) with the title of Nominee."

INTERNATIONAL COLOR AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in color photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in color photography. www.colorawards.com

  • Camera Fujifilm

  • Model XT2

  • Lens 16-55 f/ 2.8

Chromatic Awards

Very happy to share that one of my images has won second place, in the Professional Category of the Cityscape category, in the 2019 International Chromatic Awards

Many congratulations on all the other winners and nominees and my thanks to the judges for their hard work.

It was shot on

Camera Make FUJIFILM

Camera ModelX-T2

Focal Length 42.7mm

Apertureƒ/8.0

Shutter Speed1/350s

ISO400

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Venice Carnival 2019.....is here


The Carnival of Venice is an annual festival, held in Venice. The Carnival starts around two weeks before Ash Wednesday and ends on Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday or Martedì Grasso), the day before Ash Wednesday.

The Venice Carnival is now world famous - it always takes place during the ten days leading up to Shrove Tuesday. Carnival, being a pre-Lent festival, means 'farewell to meat' and is celebrated throughout Italy.

 VENICE, ITALY - MARCH 05:  A general view of guests at Palazzo Pisani Moretta during the annual Ballo del Doge on March 5, 2011 in Venice, Italy. The Ballo del Doge, created by fashion and costume designer Antonia Sautter, is considered the most elegant and exclusive masquerade ball during the Venice Carnival.


It was first held in Venice in the 11th century and consisted of over two months of revelry, until it fell into decline during the 18th century. It was revived in 1979 with great success and nowadays it is a great excuse to don a mask and costume, parade around the city, enjoy the live music in the main squares of the city, the events organised by the tourist board and is a wonderful open-air festival where everyone can join in. Fantastic costumes are displayed in St Mark's Square and Venice is the perfect back-drop for amazing photographs.


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Carnival in the 18th century began with a series of balls in St Mark's Square, as can be seen on the fresco on the walls of the famous café Quadri's. Fortunes were squandered every night of Carnival in the Ridotto Gambling casino, whatever the social status all the people wore costumes and masks, many connected to the Commedie del'Arte, Harlequin, Columbine, the Plague Doctor and of course the courtesans.

The 2019 edition will run from Sat, Feb 16, 2019 – Tue, Mar 5, 2019

Photo Walk during Venice Carnival 2019

Carnival in Venice


This year the Venice Carnival will be from the 16th February to the 5th March 2019

The Venice Carnival is the most internationally known festival celebrated in Venice, Italy, as well as being one of the oldest.

This congregation of masked people, called Venice Carnival, began in the 15th century, but the tradition can be traced back to the beginning of the 14th Century! During those years one of the first laws made by the Serenissima was that masks cannot be used around the city at night.

Later, Venice Carnival attracted foreigners - including princes - from all over Europe, who came to enjoy the wild festivities while spending fortunes.

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During the ten days of Carnival leading up to Mardi Gras, Venice is a hive of activity and entertainment, from improvised street entertainment to performances put on by the organizers. A central idea is chosen each year that is taken from various cultural or show-biz themes. Saint Mark’s Square remains the heart of Carnival, with its huge stage, although other events take place throughout the city, helping to avoid an excessive build-up of people in pedestrianized Venice.

During this period I will offer with my team a Carnival Workshop where during the first  2 hours we will take pictures of the Masks and Costumes in St Mark’s Square and then we will head after a coffee break for the Venice Tour. 4h Tour Price is €500 Max 3 people or 2 adults + 2 Teens  – Extra persons MAX 2  € 70 per person.

 

Book here and choose 4h  then specify Carnival in Notes

Photographing Wild Bears in Slovenia

I have been photographing the brown bears of Slovenia for over three years and now I would love to share it with you. Believe me it is an amazing experience….even without a camera!

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The trip will include bear hide visits, a visit to Rakov Škocjan, Krizna Jama cave and Grad Snežnik or Predjama Castle. Visit to the bears hide takes place after lunch to maximize the chances of photographing these amazing mammals. We will be taken by 4x4 to the hide locations and return to base camp as darkness begins to fall. This allows for some of the most amazing "golden hour" lighting, due to our position high in the mountains.

Our host, Miha, has been working with these amazing animals for many years and his guesthouse has friendly welcoming atmosphere not to mention great local food. Miha knows not only the terrain but also the wildlife and will ensure that guests are placed in the most productive hides at any given period.

The guesthouse is located in a picturesque village at the foot of the mountains through which runs a crystal clear river.

To check my Photo Tour click here

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European Bison in Hungary

The European bison, the largest land mammal on our continent, was severely hunted until it finally became extinct in the wild in 1927. By then, only 54 individuals remained, all in captivity.

Since then many things have been done to bring back the European bison to its ancestral lands by establishing new wild bison populations in several of our rewilding areas, and creating new breeding stations.

The bison is not only endangered and in strong need of more space to roam, it is also what is called a “keystone” species in Europe’s ecosystems. Its grazing and browsing behaviour opens up bush land into open mosaic landscapes and its trampling and manure creates space for hundreds of other species. The bison is simply a biodiversity enforcer that we really need out there.

Choose the return and expansion of the European bison to where they once belonged, like in Hungary,  Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Slovakia.

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I Love Winter!

it is a simple matter of fact that I love winter…it is never too cold. You can always wear another layer of clothes

In Hungary winter is really magic, in the countryside you can smell the wood burning fire, nature is waiting for spring. It is like being on a suspended time frame.

Winter in Orseg, Hungary

Winter in Orseg, Hungary

If you like my picture you can freely download it from Unsplash

These are 8 reasons I love winter:

  • When the first snowfall hits and you’re left gaping at the sky in wonder, captivated by the Earth’s ability to turn water into these icy sprinkles.

  • The blast of cold air that washes over you when you open your front door, filling your lungs, and you, with a renewed appreciation for that “fresh air” your mother was always telling you about.

  • The moment you step in from the cold and feel your skin tingle with appreciation.

  •  The desperation you feel when you’re sprawled out on your porch in nothing but a sweaty loincloth during a summer heat wave, wishing that winter would come early and relieve you of this slow and painful death.

  • The happiness you experience from the temporary mass extinction of bees, that allows you to frolic across fields and hang out in your backyard without fear (but with a couple of extra layers).

  •  The freedom to wear ugly-yet-comfortable sweaters without shame is enacted every time the temperature drops below 40 degrees. Let those singing reindeer shirts see the light of day, for once.

  •  The irrational feeling of success you experience when you cup two handfuls of snow together and feel them crunch into place, creating the perfect snowball.