A perfect example of why I love travelling so much can be seen in the photos in this blog post.While I never tend to do this kind of thing when I’m at home, I try to absorb as much as possible when I’m on the road. I’ll visit any unique location, taste most any kind of food, talk to just about anyone and have the time of my life doing it. That’s exactly how I ended up at the Grassmayr Bell Foundry in Innsbruck.
I don’t usually like going on group tours because I never seem to get enough time to explore and photograph the things I want to shoot, but this time the tour was with a few of my travel blogger friends and it was a great way to begin discovering Austria.
“A bell’s not a bell ’til you ring it, A song’s not a song ’til you sing it, Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay, Love isn’t love ’til you give it away!”
~Oscar Hammerstein II
When arriving at the foundry you walk in through the front door to the gift shop and for me I was wondering if this was going to be the precursor to a day full of tacky souvenir shops at all the locations we would visit. I love being wrong about things (I’m lying), especially when it means that by being wrong I’m gonna have a great day of exploring and photographing.
We waited in the front of the foundry for what seemed like an eternity (okay, okay, it was like 8 minutes) for our tour guide to take us to the back where the bells are actually forged. In Europe so many of the businesses date back centuries, as do the buildings that they are located in. It all adds to the incredible charm and atmosphere of these incredible locations I get to photograph. As I looked back upon the day I was at the Grassmayr Bell Foundry while retouching these images, the sights, smells and sounds all came rushing back. It’s a part of the job that I really like, the walk down memory lane as I edit my photos.
“For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on”
The furnace in the back of the foundry was dimly lit and empty when we arrived. We were greeted by the reddish orange hue of the flames and the dusty acrid smell of the molten metal. The bricks in the wall took on an eerie glow and all the old tools surrounded by the cracked walls in the foundry gave the place a timeless feel. This scene could have been taking place centuries before and not much would have been different.
As the workers arrived and began to get to the business of bell making, I was barely able to set up in time to get my first photographs. No matter how many photos I take, no matter where I am; I want them to be perfect. While I know that there is no such thing as perfect, I’ll settle for as good as can be. It makes it even more nerve wracking when I’m taking photos of skilled craftsmen pouring insanely hot molten metal into a cast. There is no: Can you guys do it again?? I missed my shot!
Precisely why I do not photograph events :)
It was back in 1599 that Bartlme Grassmayr cast his very first bell in Tyrol and fourteen generations later the family is still making bells ring in over a hundred countries all over the world. Not only do they cast bells but they also now restore old historic bells.
You’ll also find a small bell museum on the premisses of the Grassmayr Bell Foundry, I found it quite interesting. When visiting, make sure that you check out the sound room, it really is a treat. While not much to photograph, it will put a smile on your face, trust me. Now you have to go experience it for yourself because you’re just dying of curiosity, right?
We left the foundry to continue our tour of Innsbruck and later that day I got the opportunity to photograph, churches, the cathedral, museums, palaces, and a funky bar with a panoramic view. Not too shabby a day I must say. Innsbruck has a lot to offer and is not just a ski town. I mean sure, it is a world class place to go skiing, but with all the other incredible diversions, you will never be bored. There are also a number of fine biergartens if that’s your thing. I personally don’t drink any more……. Then again, I don’t drink any less! ;)
Looks like a lot of possibilities for more exciting travel this year for me. While not all these locations are yet confirmed, these are the locations I’m working on right now.
- Umbria and Tuscany in Italy
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Arizona/Grand Canyon/Monument Valley
- The Galapagos Islands
- French Polynesia
- Canada coast to coast
- The Côte D’Azur in France