Moscow 2013 - Photography - M1key - Michal Huniewicz

Moscow 2013 Photography - M1key - Michal Huniewicz

Moscow 2013 by Michal Huniewicz

Здра́вствуйте! My friends and I spent a couple of days in Moscow; this is what we saw.

Thanks: danvolodar (pointing out factual errors), MACKBA (pointing out factual errors)
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.
Uploaded on: 2013-06-08.

Red Square

Red Square
Go to Moscow, they said. You'll take a nice shot of the Red Square, they said.
The Red Square is one of those historical places one just has to see. It separates the Kremlin (the official residence of the President of Russia) seen on the left, and the historic merchant quarter called Kitai-gorod seen on the right. Originally built to be a clear area for the use of guns in defence of the Kremlin, it has seen countless military parades, Soviet Army marching to lift German siege during World War 2 [13], and a gig by Shakira. [1]
The building in the centre is the State Historical Museum.
There was some sort of gig being prepared, hence the clutter.
ISO 200, 18mm, f/3.5, 1/1250s.

That's Polish girls for you

That's Polish girls for you
These are young Polish women. When I kindly suggested I would take the photo for them, one of them barked "But we wanted a selfie!" What a surprise...
On the left hand side, St. Basil's.
ISO 200, 18mm, f/3.5, 1/1000s.

Saint Basil's Cathedral

Saint Basil's Cathedral
This is inside the Saint Basil's Cathedral, which you saw in the previous photo.
Completed in 1561 on orders from Ivan the Terrible, the cathedral commemorates the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. It is shaped as a flame rising into the sky. The building is unique in that "nothing similar can be found in the entire millennium of Byzantine tradition from the fifth to fifteenth century." [2]
It was secularised in 1929, and its state has never changed. (See Hagia Sophia)
If you're lucky, like we were, you were experience an amazing performance of Doros - a male choir from Russia. This is my video of Doros, rather poor quality.
ISO 900, 50mm, f/1.4, 1/80s.

Loser

Loser
Inside the Kremlin. We can visit it thanks to Mr Khrushchev who opened it to public decades ago, including foreign visitors.
Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin had their personal rooms in the Kremlin. The golden eagles that once decorated the towers were replaced by shining Kremlin stars, and they are still there.
ISO 200, 18mm, f/4.5, 1/1000s.

Kremlin

Kremlin
The Dormition Cathedral on the right, the Cathedral of the Annunciation on the left.
ISO 200, 18mm, f/4.5, 1/1000s.

Ivan the Great Bell Tower

Ivan the Great Bell Tower
This is the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, the tallest of the Moscow Kremlin complex towers (81m). Behind it (not in the picture) is the Tsar Bell, the largest bell in the world (201,924 kg), which is broken and doesn't work - which, I think, is a pretty accurate symbol of Russia! [3]
ISO 200, 18mm, f/4.5, 1/1600s.

Officer

Officer
Here's an officer (with shaving skills comparable to mine).
ISO 200, 52mm, f/4.8, 1/400s.

More

More
There's more of them.
ISO 200, 52mm, f/4.8, 1/400s.

State Historical Museum

State Historical Museum
The State Historical Museum once again (I quite liked this building), and to its left, the Spasskaya Tower Nikolskaya Tower, built by an Italian architect, just like the Kremlin walls and its other towers, actually. [4]
ISO 800, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/20s.

Mausoleum

Mausoleum
This is the Lenin Mausoleum, right there in the centre, against the red Kremlin Wall. It is where the embalmed body of Lenin can be seen, and that was my main reason to go to Moscow; I had always wanted to see him. Taking pictures inside is not allowed, and they take your camera and mobile phone away.
If you've seen any of the Russian military parades from the communist era, it is on top of this mausoleum where the highest dignitaries stand.
ISO 800, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/20s.

Bride

Bride
Wedding photo shoot in front of the mausoleum.
ISO 200, 50mm, f/1.4, 1/8000s.

Zhukov

Zhukov
This is Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov, the Soviet marshal who, during World War 2, liberated the Soviet Union of the Axis Powers, and then eventually conquered the capital of Germany, Berlin. Look at his right hand - apparently it's the gesture of halting the German army.
It is worth remembering that the Soviet Red Army defeated up to 80% of total German armed forced deployed in the war. [6]
ISO 200, 50mm, f/1.4, 1/8000s.

Priest

Priest
A Russian Orthodox priest in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, which we visited, and witnessed wonderful singing and atmosphere which it is, in my opinion, futile to look for in a Catholic church.
ISO 200, 31mm, f/4.0, 1/80s.

Babushka

Babushka
Babushka is Russian for old lady, not a wooden doll - that is a matryoshka.
This old woman properly interviewed me before allowing me to take this picture! Which was a masterpiece of body language on my part (or so I like to think), as I don't speak Russian, but can understand a bit due to some similarities to Polish. Eventually she said okay, and crossed herself before posing.
ISO 200, 18mm, f/5.0, 1/125s.

Devushka

Devushka
Young women going to church are supposed to wear scarves too.
ISO 200, 28mm, f/5.0, 1/125s.

Young Russians

Young Russians
Some young Russians in front of the same cathedral, which is also the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world (105m).
Clockwise starting top left: ISO 200, 18mm, f/5.0, 1/125s; ISO 200, 18mm, f/5.0, 1/125s; ISO 200, 18mm, f/5.0, 1/125s; ISO 200, 22mm, f/5.0, 1/125s.

Arch

Arch
Such arches seemed to be pretty common in Moscow. The architecture made a slightly oppressive impression on us.
ISO 200, 18mm, f/4.5, 1/800s.

Into the void

Into the void
Let's now take the Moscow underground. It's cheap, fast, and reliable.
ISO 800, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/40s.

Bulgakov's house

Bulgakov's house
And we make it to Bulgakov's house. Mikhail Bulgakov was a Soviet Russian writer - he wrote the famous novel The Master and Margarita. This is the staircase of the house where his apartment was.
ISO 800, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/30s.

One of the rooms

One of the rooms
In one of the rooms I met the beautiful Maria, who kindly let me take a few (dozen) pictures of her.
ISO 200, 32mm, f/4.0, 1/200s.

Maria

Maria
She was really patient, let her hair down like you see in shampoo commercials, and, yes, we took some good pictures.
ISO 1000, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/40s.

Moscow Underground

Moscow Underground
We have to hurry though to see the next location, so let's take the underground again.
The Moscow Metro was opened in 1935, and is the world's third most heavily used rapid transit system (after those in Tokyo and Seoul).
Compare this station to the Gants Hill tube station in London. The latter was designed by Charles Holden, who advised on the construction of the new Moscow Metro.
ISO 640, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/80s.

Has it been raining again?

Has it been raining again?
Yes, it has been raining again...
Moscow International Business Centre in the background.
ISO 200, 60mm, f/4.8, 1/1250s.

Nastja

Nastja
We meet the Russian Photoshop artist, Nastja Kazakova.
ISO 200, 18mm, f/5.0, 1/80s.

White House

White House
Moscow has its own White House. The President doesn't live there though; it is a government building - the formal seat of Prime Minister and the Russian Government. In 1993 it was shelled by tanks during the so called 1993 Russian constitutional crisis. [7]
ISO 1600, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/40s.

Radisson Royal Hotel

Radisson Royal Hotel
This is one of the Seven Sisters, seven skyscrapers designed in the Stalinist style. You'll find similar ones in Warsaw, Kiev, Prague, or Riga.
Personally, I think they're terrifying.
ISO 200, 14mm, f/11, 2s, resting on a ledge.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
This is another one of the Sisters. Grim enough in black and white?
ISO 200, 18mm, f/4.0, 1/400s.

In a supermarket

In a supermarket
Here's a nice girl I photographed in a supermarket.
ISO 360, 15mm, f/2.8, 1/80s.

Underground station

Underground station
Kievskaya underground station. Time to make a move again.
ISO 800, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/50s.

All-Russia Exhibition Centre

All-Russia Exhibition Centre
This is the All-Russia Exhibition Centre, a permanent general-purpose trade show. In the picture, the Central Pavilion and a statue of Lenin in front of it. There was a fair going on there when we visited, and there was distinctive creepy but cool feeling to it, like from a horror film. You're looking around, almost expecting someone to run at you with a chainsaw. Also, we bought traditional Polish food there - kebabs.
Anyway, the centre was created under Stalin, and there are various Pavilions there: of Soviet Republics (Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, etc.), but also space and atomic energy ones. [8] The place was supposed to show off Soviet achievements and ideas.
ISO 200, 18mm, f/3.5, 1/640s.

From Ostankino Tower

From Ostankino Tower
From the TV tower, at around 350m above ground. Getting there was a bit like going to a foreign country: security and passport checks, empty your pockets please. The lady checking my stuff was happy to see my Polish passport, and I could actually understand what she was saying.
ISO 200, 18mm, f/3.5, 1/500s.

Ginger

Ginger
Red-haired girl who was a photographer herself, and let me take this picture.
ISO 200, 29mm, f/4.0, 1/320s.

On the platform

On the platform
Travelling again...
ISO 500, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/40s.

Bunker 42

Bunker 42
... And we arrive at what is known as Bunker 42 aka Tagansky Protected Command Point, a once-secret military complex, bunker, and Spare Long-Range Aviation Command Post ET-42 [9]. In other words, a Soviet bunker, built in case of a nuclear attack by the USA.
The guy on the right - he followed us everywhere in the complex, silently and without a smile.
ISO 200, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/400s.

Deeper underground

Deeper underground
This is 65m underground. You have to walk the stairs down and up again; good exercise.
ISO 1600, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/10s.

Ready to nuke the US?

Ready to nuke the US?
We witnessed the actual Soviet nuclear missile launching procedure, which was repeatedly performed during the Cold War, and the officers doing it never knew if the missile was real or fake. Afterwards they showed us a clip of an American city being destroyed by the missile.
The museum presents the Cold War from the Russian perspective.
ISO 1600, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/30s.

Red alert!

Red alert!
Shortly after that, we heard the sirens - the US had retaliated after our launch. Back in the day, should the US attack, "up to 3,000 people could live and work [in the bunker] for 90 days without assistance from the outside world, thanks to stores of food and medicine, an air recycling system and diesel generators." [10]
ISO 1600, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/30s.

Cosy

Cosy
The bunker has now a private owner, and has been renovated and altered.
ISO 800, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/30s.

Carriage

Carriage
Time to visit the final location, and the metro will take us there again.
ISO 1000, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/80s.

Buran

Buran
This is a Soviet space shuttle called Buran; created in response to the U.S. Space Shuttle program. This one is in fact a prototype, and it never flew. [11] Not aware of this, I touched it thinking "Oh my god, this was once in space!"; wrong. Besides, there has only been one flight of a Buran shuttle ever, and it was unmanned.
ISO 200, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/600s.

Gorky Park

Gorky Park
Anyway, we are in Gorky Park; it was mentioned in the famous "Wind of Change" song by Scorpions, which was written in response to the sociopolitical changes taking place in a post-Cold War Era in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s. Viewers of the German ZDF chose this song as the song of the century. [12] (See my Berlin gallery for the song)
ISO 200, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/800s.

Russian posing

Russian posing
Finally, this gem, on the bank of the river Moskva.

Moscow (the bits I saw) didn't strike me as a beautiful city, but it felt safe and pretty well-organised. I was surprised to see hammers and sickles, as well as Soviet red stars, I thought that was done with. However, there is some serious wealth on display, in the form of shiny cars and very expensive hotels, and young people partying and drinking vodka in super-long double-decker hummer limousines; so maybe this should be the new symbol of Russia, hummer and pickle? (Pickles being a common snack after having a shot of vodka.)
Also, we suspect that the fancy restaurant we dined in was actually... a meetup place for high-quality prostitutes and their respectful customers, judging by the prices, the ridiculously attractive half naked women giving us, the men in our group, "the look", and two babes in high heels riding horses outside (no kidding).
While some older people in Moscow were a tad unpleasant, like anywhere else in Eastern Europe, the young ones were friendly and helpful, if a bit reserved. One could also sense some pride in them, regardless of their age.
All in all, I can recommend visiting Moscow for a few days - mind you, it's not for the squeamish, as Moscow Domodedovo airports makes use of the infamous nude body scanners. For 100руб you can buy your scan as a postcard to send to your family - I didn't get mine because I had forgotten to breathe in when posing. When one of my female friends got scanned, the guards laughed "Хаха, хорошо!", and clicked Upload to Facebook, here's the outcome.
ISO 200, 200mm, f/5.6, 1/500s.

Goodbye Moscow

Goodbye Moscow
And finally, one more shot of Maria; до свидания, and thanks for viewing the gallery!
ISO 200, 46mm, f/4.0, 1/100s.