animals, insect, macro, photography, wildlife

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #252: What’s bugging you?

This week, Donna is challenging us with a topic, a bit harder to understand without having read the introducing full post.

Over time, I also took photographs of insects, although I’m not one of those guys crawling through the meadows and forests with their macros lenses and macro flashlights. Nonetheless, many bees and especially butterflies began an eternal life after being captured by my camera’s sensor. But, today, I try to avoid these and introduce you to some other creatures I captured in our garden.

For a couple of years, we have a mortar barrel in our garden. Initially, it was used to transport some gravel from the building materials store. After that, the barrel stood around empty but it collected some rain. When another store offered some water plants, my wife bought some water lilies among others. This body of water equipped with perfect landing grounds is a very welcomed water supply for many, many flying insects. They come during summer to collect water, just like the wasp below.

Even many birds, squirrels, and cats use this water against their thirst. 

Unfortunately, other animals like i.e. hedgehogs can’t benefit, because they can’t climb up there. So, we decided to create a small pond with about 250l of water but the water level is close below ground level with a shallow waterfront to offer not only safe water access but also an area where birds can have a bath.

Surprisingly, this pond got populated by some surprising animals the next spring: alpine newts.

These amphibians need bodies of water for their eggs and their larvae grow in the water. the adults leave the water in summer to make their living by hunting insects at night. The next spring, they come back into the pond to work on the next generation.

The pond is also attracting some dragonflies. Up to now, I only noticed large red damsels and azur maidens, and none of the big dragonflies. But, I hope some of them also choose the pond in the future.

A few years ago, I found these extraordinary caterpillars in our garden:

sycamore (Acronicta aceris) / Ahorneule


Orgyia antiqua, the rusty tussock moth or vapourer (Orgyia antiqua) / Schlehen-Bürstenspinner, Schlehenspinner oder Kleine Bürstenspinner

or this real bug:

geringelte Mordwanze (Rhynocoris annulatus) / I was unable to find their English name, if any

Here is another bug. I found him in the fall before last. They were attracted by the already-dried lavender blossoms.

Pyrrhocoridae on lavender / Feuerwanze

These guys used to hover above our forsythia a couple of years ago. It was a really tough job to capture at least one of them.

Bombylius major / Wollschweber


This was a very lucky find. Over centuries, cockchafers were so many, that it was common to cook them i.e. as a soup or serve them roasted. Nowadays, they are rare and this was the first living one ever I saw. Their larvae live 12 years in the soil until the beetle comes out of the ground to fly up to the next big tree to find a mate. This is a male with his antennas folded. Males have bigger antennas than females, but the females live a few weeks longer to spread their eggs.


And at last, I have a really creepy one for you: Pterophorus pentadactyla

Federgeistchen (Pterophorus pentadactyla)


When talking about creepy insects, I can’t avoid presenting at least one spider.

I was photographing the blossoms of our lilac by using a ladder when I noticed some strange fine lines in the image on the back of my camera. Because of the regularity of these fine lines, I supposed, my lens were broken. But, everything seemed fine on the first hand. So I went to my computer to check the images on the computer screen and recognized, I captured a tiny spider web by accident without having seen it with my bare eye. so, I went back and tried to find that blossom again where I not only found the web but also the tiny Araniella cucurbitina, sometimes called the “cucumber green spider”

cucumber spider on lilac (Araniella cucurbitina) / Kürbisspinne

When digging through your archive, it’s likely you find more images than expected.  These challenges are a very good opportunity to walk through your archive and see your images from a different perspective. Those of you following me for some time can easily see, this is not my usual style. It’s different

As usual, click on the images to enlarge them.

Thanks, Donna for this wonderful opportunity to show some images not that common.

Maybe, I inspired you to dig in your archive and find some images, you can publish your images on your blog and set a link to Amy’s inspiration post. Don’t forget to tag it with LENS-ARTIST, so we can find it.

Take care!


Ad: Luminar Update & Summer Sale

Are you ready for the latest Luminar Neo update?

In Extensions, you’ll get significant quality improvements with Upscale AI. You will now be able to collapse individual Extensions panels in the Catalog view—such as HDR Merge, Focus Stacking, and Upscale AI—providing a more customized and cleaner user experience. Several interface changes exist for Noiseless AI, Supersharp AI, and Magic Light AI.

Support for the new cameras Sony ZV-E1 and Sony FX30 was added.

On top of that, you can learn more about every tool by clicking on the “i button” located beside each one. You’ll also receive explanations about all the five tabs inside Luminar Neo (Catalog, Presets, Edit, Extensions, and Export) during the onboarding process.

Additionally, you can easily purchase new creative assets including Skies and Presets from the Luminar Marketplace directly in Luminar Neo’s Extras tab.

While editing you’ll notice performance and stability improvements in Face AI, Mask AI, and Sky AI.

Luminar Neo 1.10.0 is also faster and more stable, as we’ve caught and fixed a number of bugs. Update now and enjoy using the latest version of Luminar Neo!

I want to make you aware of a special summer sale for Skylum’s Luminar starting now.

In addition, I have a promo code for you: AFS-UmGMOW. It gives you a 10% discount during the Summer Sale.

Take care!


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #251: Buildings and Other Structures

OK! Challenge accepted. Anne challenges us with a topic outside my comfort zone. On my trips, I also visit (usually smaller) towns. Indeed, they have houses. But do they also have ‘buildings’? And what about structures? Finding structures in nature is easy. But it’s hard, when not visiting cities.

Let’s have a look, at what I can find.

First, follow me to Lisboa. In the old town, you can find so many structures.

Second, I want to take you to Helgoland to show you the famous Hummerbuden. Although the island is so small, keep your eyes open and see, what’s in front of you.

Next, came with me to Parha (and avoid to get lost), …


…, via Barcelona (you can lose yourself so easily in Barcelona), ….

…, Duesseldorf (some areas seem to be constructed with a long ruler), …

…, and a few random places.

When digging through your archive, it’s likely you find more images than expected.  These challenges are a very good opportunity to walk through your archive and see your images from a different perspective. Those of you following me for some time can easily see, this is not my usual style. It’s different

As usual, click on the images to enlarge them.

Thanks, Anne for this wonderful challenge this week.

Maybe, I inspired you to dig in your archive and find some images, you can publish your images on your blog and set a link to Amy’s inspiration post. Don’t forget to tag it with LENS-ARTIST, so we can find it.

Take care!

animals, bird, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, wildlife

Throwback Thursday: puffin

Since my first visit of Iceland, I’m following the Icelandic news online (the English version of course 😁). Earlier this week, I read a news initially published by about the Atlantic puffin.

These cute birds only come to land for breeding and Iceland is the breeding home for about 40% of the worldwide population. Two years ago, I already published a similar post focussing on the enormous decrease of the puffin population. Now they state, the population decided by 70% since 1995!😳😩😡

According to the news, the vanishing of their food is the primary reason for the decline. I already wrote about it. Thus, I simply ask you to follow this link and read the second and third paragraphs.

Take care!


photo-of-the-day, photography, spring, world

Travel Tuesday: awaiting a new day

OK, guys. It seems the polling part worked and you voted for some more UK: Northern Wales.

This tree grows near or in the lake, depending on the water level. As you can see, approximately half a meter of water was missing to make the tree an island.

We were based near the lake during our stay. Thus I got up early to be there for sunrise and left the house at about 6:00 in the morning. I was only about 1 kilometer to walk. As the weather seemed to become perfect for such a morning, I planned to go here right at the first morning. You know, weather is able to change fast and not taking an opportunity can lead to waste a chance. Thus I went out before the planned breakfast to be back at right before the time aligned for breakfast. 

Side note: I wasn’t the first one out. When leaving the house for the lake, I met another photographer. But, he was outside to smoke instead of taking photos. Even when I told him about my plan, he didn’t want to come with me. Later he regretted to not having joined me for the little walk.

The silence, calmness, and serenity of this scene gives so much of power. A perfect start in such a week.

Take care!

nature, photography, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #250: cloudscapes

Building a castle or a chateau in the clouds is an idiom in German for working on an obviously unrealistic dream. I’m quite sure, that idiom has its origin in distinct clouds and cloudscapes.

A few years ago, I was sitting on the balcony of our hotel room looking out at the sea and saw this castle, illuminated by the setting sun, floating up in our direction.

I was waiting there for the blue hour to photograph the castle. As I’m unable to read clouds, I wasn’t aware a thunderstorm was coming closer. Fortunately, it passed without starting to rain or throwing more bolts of lightning than this single one.

I experienced this dramatic sky when I was in Iceland. After more than a week of more or less constant rain, finally some light.

The most beautiful cloudscapes can be found at the sea.

But, clouds are also nice when they lay to your feet like a carpet.

Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between the sky and the sea.

As usual, click on the images to enlarge them.

Thanks, Amy for this wonderful challenge this week.

Maybe, I inspired you to dig in your archive and find some images, you can publish your images on your blog and set a link to Amy’s inspiration post. Don’t forget to tag it with LENS-ARTIST, so we can find it.

animals, bird, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, wildlife

Throwback Thursday: Eurasian hoopoe

Eurasian hoopoe (Upupa epops) / Wiedehopf

Each year in spring I see images on Instagram with this small bird. It’s quite rare here although they are common in Europe (except Great Britain and Scandinavia)  and Asia. You can even find them in Africa. The European part of the population is migratory. They fly south over winter because they can’t find insects to feed themselves during winter.  In Germany, you can find them only in certain areas. 

For a long, I had them on my bucket list and I’m really happy to finally met one of them. 

We, humans, try to get rid of vermins by spraying poisons over the fields. But, poison has side effects: the fruits take in portions of the poison and beneficial insects are also harmed. With the death of insects, insect-eating animals like these beautiful birds are also affected. 

Make your garden attractive to insect-eating animals. They help to protect your harvest.

Take care!


photo-of-the-day, photography, spring, world

Travel Tuesday: infinity



On our last night on the Isle of Skye, we were sitting together in the living room of the vacation home and chatting about many different topics i.e. reviewing the just past week when suddenly the topic Astro Photography popped up.

When I started with photography back in the 1980s, I got a magazine in my hands having an image in it showing how the earth spun under the Northern Star, Polaris. I was fascinated at the first moment. I thought carefully, about how the photographer could have created that image, because there was no further information in the magazine. 

Needed equipment:

  1. camera, able to keep the shutter open for a long time
  2. tripod to keep the camera in the exact position
  3. film – what kind and which ISO?
  4. cable shutter release with a screw to keep the shutter open (had to be bought at once)

So, that was the easier part. I opted for a slide file with ISO 400 and kept the shutter open for an hour. No problem at that time.

Surprise, surprise – the settings were guessed right and the spinning stars were on my slide as planned. Unfortunately, the lab decided to cut that slide because they assumed having an underexposed image in that place. Thus, I was still without such an image.

I took that image in a rural area, quite far away from my home. So, there was no option to retake it. Over time, I forgot it. But, on that night on the Isle of Skye, all these memories came back. I had everything with me. The only difference is the approach how to capture the starts. Back in film days, it was no problem to keep the shutter open for so long. Nowadays, you have to make sure, your sensor does not overheat. Therefore, you take many, many images of each 30 seconds or so and stack them in postprocessing. We were in a quite dark place on the Isle of Skye and had a clear sky. So, I set up my tripod, put my widest lens on my camera, and dialed in a timer to automatically do a series of 30-second long exposures for a total of about 15 minutes.

The image above is not perfectly aligned with Polaris, but I like it anyway.


Next week, I going to start a new series. You have the opportunity to choose:

a) Northern Wales  – 70%
b) Iceland 
c) Norway – 10%
d) Graubünden (a Kanton in Switzerland) – 20%

Simply type your wish in the comments. I don’t trust the polling tool below very much.

Update: the poll tool seem to have worked. I put the results behind the options-

Take care!

art, monochrome, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, winter

Monochrome Monday 10-01

Today, I challenge you with a song from Münchner Freiheit published in 1987 (together with the London Symphonic Orchestra): Solang′ Man Träume Noch Leben Kann. Münchner Freiheit is also the name of a famous square in Munich and translates to “liberty/freedom of/in Munich”. They were very successful at that time and published many top-10 hits. This is one of those top hits. In Germany, this was their second most successful song.

  1. Ein Jahr ist schnell vorüber,
    Wenn der Regen fällt,
    Ein Meer voller Fragen.
    Ich steh’ dir gegenüber
    In Erinnerung vergangener Tage.

A year has passed quickly
when the rain falls
A sea of questions.
I face you
Remembering days gone by.

Versuchen wir es wieder,
So lang’ man Träume noch leben kann.

Let us try it again
as long as we can live our dreams.

I translated the first verse and the last two lines of the chorus for you line by line to keep as much as possible of the meaning. This song came to my mind when I started preparing today’s post.  For 9 years I have published weekly a monochrome image here on my blog. Initially, this was my participation in Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness (Thank you so much, Leanne). When she stopped it a couple of years ago, I continued it on my own. (I’m happy, she restarted it recently). I love monochrome images. I love photography. I love capturing nature in all its glory. Often, I take images with the intention to process them in monochrome. Sometimes, I feel while processing an image, it would look great in monochrome.

You know, back in the 1980s, I run my own lab and monochrome films were more often in my camera than color (slide) films. I still love the gameplay between Lights and Darks.

The song “Solang′ Man Träume Noch Leben Kann”  (as long as we can live our dreams) brings a couple of aspects together:

  • today marks the 9th anniversary of publishing monochrome images regularly
  • this year passed quite fast (again)
  • don’t allow bad weather to stop your progress
  • there’s so much more to discover in this beautiful world
  • in each post, there are 2 people: me, as the writer, and you, as a reader
  • each image contains at least one memory  (open the link, scroll down, and read the second last paragraph)
  • collect memories, store them, and repeat
  • try to live your dreams. Enjoy the moment.

Today, I’m reviewing the monochrome images published here during the last 12 months and republish those of them, I like most. Maybe, you enjoy seeing them again, too.

In a background tab, you could have Münchner Freiheit sing Solang′ Man Träume Noch Leben Kann for you by clicking on the link. In case you’re interested in the full lyrics, they are also available in the usual suspects. Google Translate can help you translate them into your language or at least into English.

Btw. in 1988 they also published a version in English: Keeping the Dream Alive by Freiheit (they staged with this shortened name internationally), which was re-published i.e. by Kim Wild in 2013. Follow the link to Youtube to listen to that version, too. Although the English lyrics are nice, they differ from the German original. So, maybe it’s worth checking both versions. 😁





So, I’m starting today the 10th year of Monochrome Monday / Monochrome Madness. Stay tuned and

Take care!


culture, nature, people, photography

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #249: Art in the park and in other public places

Today, John challenges us for The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week with “Art in the park (and other public places)”.

I start with re-posting an image from my last week’s collection:

cemetery in Paris


fear and schadenfreude in a fountain in Aachen

I told the story behind this monument in the past. You can find it in this blog most easily when clicking this link.

What do you think, could this be a proper piece of art for your garden?


How to illustrate “Kafkaesque”?


Don’t hinder the wind!


Out of Africa

Last summer, I stumbled upon this art exhibition. Sculptors from Zimbabwe presented their amazing pieces of art.

Street Art in Lisbon


Street Art in Dusseldorf


How about war-knitting????


Art in public has been around for centuries and was a sign of wealth

Even light is (or at least can be) art. You can read the full story when clicking on this link.

I intentionally left out architecture and old buildings i.e. created by Antonio Gaudi. They are quite often richly decorated and wonderful pieces of art.


As usual, click on the images to enlarge them.

Maybe, I inspired you to dig in your archive and find some images, you can publish your images on your blog and set a link to John’s inspiration post. Don’t forget to tag it with LENS-ARTIST, so we can find it.

Take care!



abstract, art, flowers, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants, spring

Throwback Thursday: during a short rain break

It’s mid of May. So, we’re in the middle of spring. To be honest, usually, spring starts in March over here outdoors, sometimes even in late February. First trees getting their leaves, spring flowers are blooming, temperatures are rising, and blue skies replace the grey blanket above our heads.

This year, we have spring flowers, but quite late and the trees are getting their leaves, but the temperature won’t rise. We still have temperatures between 10°C and zero. The sky is merely still grey without any structure and it’s drizzling very often. Not much rain, but enough to annoy us, while nature does not benefit because the amount is too small. 

In German, we have a weather rule “Der April weiß nicht, was er will” (April does not know what he wants). This describes the overall fast-changing weather conditions we experience in April. Even snow and ice are still possible and could possibly remain for a few hours. But, the overall statistics say, April 2023 was colder and wetter in comparison with the average since the beginning of weather recording more the 100 years ago.

Take care!