Ovcha Kupel, a suburb at the very edge of Sofia, Bulgaria. For centuries, natural mineral water springs made Ovcha Kupel an ideal place for the washing of sheep prior to shearing — and thus its name in Bulgarian. It the late-19th and early-20th centuries, as Bulgarian’s self-consciously attempted to adopt a central-European rather than “oriental” identity, Ovcha Kupel became a spa location and later, as until today, a center for rehabilitation medicine. The old spa pavilion at Ovcha Kupel is derelict and crumbling, an irony as Sofia attempts to market itself as a “European Capital of Culture.” But — and please don’t spread the word too far! — one of “my” places in Sofia is a walled-in plazh (“beach”) adjacent to Ovcha Kupel’s rehabilitation hospital. Behind the wall of the plazh: mineral water showers (five plastic spigots actually), a mineral-water-filled pool big enough for a score of people to paddle and wade in, a “beach” of raked sand somewhat admixed with sin-bleached cigarette-butts and paper scraps, and a shaded lunch counter offering quite passable salads and delightfully cold beer. New York’s Hamptons, the French and Turkish rivieras, and the island archipelagos of Greece are fine for those who can afford them. For now, I settle for Ovcha Kupel.
The photo above was taken with a Canon G10, a camera that I’ve relegated to the shelf but still occasionally blow the dust off of and take for a walk. I still like the color palette that RAW files from the G10 renders but the poor dynamic range of the camera’s tiny sensor cameras can be seen in the blown-out sunlit areas at the right of the photo, which I’ve either enhanced or compromised further through a couple of quick attempts at remedial adjustment in Lightroom.