WPC: Vibrant

This week’s topic for the weekly photo challenge by “The Daily Post” is “Vibrant”

(as usual, you can see the photo enlarged, when clicking in it)

Here we have a gray, wet and cold January. What a difference to this vibrant green emerald hummingbird.

Take care have a great weekend!

(as usual, you can see the photo enlarged, when clicking in it)

art, culture, history, landscape, nature, photography, travel, world

Visiting a wood workshop


610_7803_wIn many places you can see displays standing in the streets giving direction to the workshops of craftsmen and artisans working with olive wood.

They are producing a great variety of products from the olive wood: i.e. bowls, honey spoons, salat servers, barbecue tongs, plates and many more things for the kitchen. You can also buy some toys or a chess game. Or, even some thinks for decorating your house.

The final parts are polished and oiled with olive oil. You have to apply some oil every now and then, when the wood becomes gray and blunt.

Stay tuned!

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animals, bird, mammal, photography, seasons, travel, world

I’m back …

610_5995-e_w… from another re-visit: I was on Helgoland again.

I met with some friends on Helgoland and so I don’t edited many photos up to now. Nevertheless, I assembled a gallery of images for you. 🙂 It’s attached at the end of this post, as usual.

You know, during winter the gray seals get their babies – right in the winter here in the northern hemisphere. And we went, to see the babies 🙂

Unfortunately, the baby season was short this winter: nearly all of the seals gave birth during November and December 😦 Thus, they already left their babies alone, because they don’t need mother-milk anymore. So, we found several groups of adult seals and groups of growing children resting on the beaches. That’s not, what we expected to see, although they have had a very hight rate of new-born seals this winter: over 300 new-born gray seals in one season!

Luckily, we were able to watch two late nativities last week: #315 arrived on Wednesday and #316 on Thursday. A new record!

Here on Helgoland we have many free-living gray seals. They are the biggest free-living predator in Germany. An adult weights about 300 kg (> 660 pounds). They are here at home and allow us, to visit them. No fences between them and us and no fence to keep them from running away. They come and go following their own decision. As long as we behave properly, they will stay and don’t harm anyone.

But, there is much more to see. We were able to watch lots of guillemot in the cliffs of the main island (Helgoland has a small side-island called Düne, where you can find the seals) and even some northern gannets. Wow! They came very, very early to their breeding place this year. Helgoland is well-known for being an important breeding place of the guillemots.

Although, it’s winter now, we have had fantastic weather for taking photographs. Only one day with snow and hail storms, while the other days were sunny, but cold. Temperatures below 0°C, and a moisture of nearly 100%. Thus, it felt way colder, than it really was. Nevertheless, we were outside all day, despite the weather. But, we have had fantastic natural light – for the seals and much more for the birds. It will last a few weeks for choosing and editing these fantastic photographs.

Just in case, anyone of you is interested in attending a seal photographing workshop during next winter, drop me a line. I’m considering to offer a 2 or 3 day workshop for a max of 5 participants (minimum 3). You’ll be faced to a fantastic island with high cliffs and soft beaches, fresh air without traffic pollution (only electric cars are allowed on Helgoland), friendly people and the really amazing animals.

Helgoland and Düne are parted by water, crossed by a ferry several times a day. Once, both islands were Helgoland. The people from Hamburg used Helgoland as a stone pit to build their city from the red sand stone. A very heavy storm broke the small remain between the two parts of Helgoland and left two islands.

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culture, photography, travel, world

In the Oli Mill

610_8747_wAlthough, my plans were different for today’s post, I bring up the post on the oil mill as it completes my last posts regarding the olive trees.

A simple sign beside the road offered a sightseeing of an oil mill. We stopped our car and accepted. Outside the building in modern industry style, were old mills set up.

In the pre-industry times, the olives were grinded by big round millstones pulled by donkeys. Then the mash came in the next stage. Here it was pressed, to get the oil out of the mash. In the early 20th century a steam machine overtook the donkeys job as well as the mens job at the press.

Today, we have a washing machine first, were the farmers throw in their olives. Next, they are milled and centrifuged by different machines to be filtered before bottling the native oil. The machines are cooled to keep the oil from getting to warm. That’s because the oil looses quality when getting to warm during the production process.The remaining parts from the pit shells are pressed into pellets to be sold for pellet heatings.

At this point, we were shown a documentary to learn, how the olives are collected at harvest time and how the machines produce the oil. Harvest time is in winter, and during summer there is no work to be done in the mill. So, they produced a little documentary for the visitors showing all processes in action. What a great idea.

Before we left the building, we have had to pass a table with some oil cans and were allowed (had to) taste the oil: 2 different pure oils and an oil spiced up with garlic. The idea here: get the tourists to buy some cans 🙂 I expected this. The price was OK, so I bought a can. I like cooking with olive oil, so the can is already empty. What a pity. It tasted way better than the oil available in the grocery stores around.

Stay tuned!

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culture, history, landscape, nature, photography, travel, world

Olive forests everywhere

610_7330-ef_wOn Corfu you can find many, many old olive tree forests. Corfu was a colony of the Venetian Republic for growing olive trees to produce oil. Everywhere you can find these forests, even next to the streets.

Although, I’ve read about this fact before, I was quite impressed by these forests. For me, a forests consists of high trees standing next to each other. Their treetops form a dense roof. Only few light can pass this roof during summer. Only in winter and early spring the light has a chance to reach the ground. But, these olive tree forests are so translucent.

Also the trees themselves. They are so impressive. Look at their shapes and how big they are, compared to our rental car.

We also visited an olive oil mill. I’ll show you some images in a separate post. Here we learned, on Corfu olives are not picked. The trees are way too high to pick the olives. Instead, huge fabrics are spread below the trees to collect the falling olives. In some forests these fabrics stay on the ground, in others they stay furled and in a few forests we saw no fabrics. Maybe the latter were given up or the farmer have taken them home.

At harvest time, the fabrics are spread under the trees carefully. Now, the people are shaking the tree branches with long bars to make the olives fall down. All the olives drop in the fabrics now, where they are collected for further handling. Most of them for producing oil.

Stay tuned!

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art, landscape, nature, photography, seasons, travel, world

Monochrome Madness 2-40



For this week, I picked an image taken last summer in France. At the end of a storm, the sun promised to come back. It’s my contribution to the Monochrome Madness Challenge organized by Leanne Cole, a photographer based in Melbourne, Australia.

Here you can see the waves rolling on the beach at the end of a storm and the iconic rocks of Etretat to the left. These chalk cliffs are part of the Alabaster Coast in the Normandy.  I’m standing on a small platform about 3 or 4 meters above the beach, where I was able to overlook the scene way better, than from the beach itself (although the beach is quite steep down to the waterline).

Take care!


art, photography, world

Something different ….

steller… I tried today. A few days ago, I came in touch with Steller – short for story-teller. On the first hand it’s an app for your mobile to publish tiny ebooks. You can write stories and illustrate them with your images. Or, you can publish images and put a few words in between.

Although, I didn’t like it much, I gave it a try and published my first tiny ebookWinter Walk

Check it out and tell me, what you think. You don’t need the mobile app for watching.

Take care!


landscape, photography

Winter Walk

610_5921-eh_wYesterday we have had a wonderful winters day. Sunny and a blue sky with some clouds. Because of a cloudless night we have had an icy night. But, at noon the temperature increased to about 5°C ( ~41°F). As you can see, the clouds are bringing the next rain from the west. But, in the meantime the sun was really reviving.

In the evening the rain started again and we got hard rain. But, in the morning we have had some sun again. Unfortunately, there was no time for another walk in the morning and in the afternoon the weather changed again 😦 The forecast also proposes much more rain for the next days.

A few months ago, I already showed an image in Monochrome Madness 9 taken at the same place, but during a snowy winter. See, how different it looks this year.

We made a small roundtrip for about an hour and the above one was the last image. A small selection of my images taken during that hike is in the slide-show below.

Have a good start in the next week.

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culture, photography, technic

WPC: weight


This week’s topic for the weekly photo challenge by “The Daily Post” is “weight

The pillars, in the image above, are carrying a whole mountain. We’re in a coal mine, far below the surface of your planet. It’s a view in a machine, that scraps the coal from the wall and moves it in my direction for bringing it up. (The mine is already closed and now, it’s a museum)

Take care have a great weekend!

(as usual, you can see the photo enlarged, when clicking in it)

culture, history, landscape, nature, people, photography, travel, world

Welcome to Corfu

610_7298-s_wToday, I’m taking you on to another trip. I’d like to introduce you to the beautiful greek island of Corfu. If you’ve read Ililas, the book written by Homer telling the stories of Odysseus wandering through the Mediterranean Sea on his trip back home to Ithaka after the end of the Trojan war, you might already read about Corfu. In those ancient times the Phaiakens used to live there. Corfu was the last station on Odysseus’ trip. They led him home to Ithaka, where he came right to save his wife and his crown. No-one believed, Odysseus might be still living 10 years after the end of the Trojan war. But, that’s a totally different story 🙂

Those of you, familiar with the Austrian Empire might think of Impress Sissi (Elizabeth of Austria-Hungary), the wife of Imperator Franz. She used to live here, in a palace called Achilleion, for some years to recover from here melancholy after her son’s death. She called the palace after Achill, another of the greek heroes during the Trojan War.

Or, if you’re familiar with the royal family of Great Britain, you’d think you HRH Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. He was born in Palace Mon Repos on Corfu as Prince of Greece and Denmark.

But, I’m putting all these apart and tell you a bit more about the island itself. It’s the most norther Greek island. It’s locate in the Ionic sea, not far, west of the Albanian coast. The shortest distant is only about 1.5 km as the bird flies. West of Corfu, you can find the heel of the Italian boot (you know, the shape of Italy is similar to a top boot.

For today, I assembled a very short gallery as a starter. All of the images are taken from the balcony of our hotel around sunrise. You can see the Albanian hills on the other side of the sea and parts of the castle at the left. And many, many swallow hunting insects over the sea. The windmill on the right, can be reached from the peninsula called Mon Repos. The palace, I mentioned above can also be found here.

Stay tuned!

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art, culture, landscape, photography, seasons

Monochrome Madness 2-39

mm39-dsc_9023-e2_wIt’s Tuesday, and thus it’s time for Monochrome Madness organized by Leanne Cole.

Although, we’ve winter here, it’s not as cold as it should be. This was my first Christmas in t-shirts. We’ve had temperatures around 10-18°C, while we were supposed to have -10°C or so. While I’m writing this post, we have had 5-9°C. That’s much to warm. Many flowers didn’t stop blooming, others are starting in their next blooming period. We’ve even heard birds singing their wedding songs. Gosh, we have early January and not mid March. It could (and probably will) became colder again.

The image above was taken on December 23rd back in 2009. The last time we have had a white Christmas and the first one for many, many years (not saying decades). You know, I don’t like winter. But, having mosquitos in the air in early January isn’t that nice, either.

During the last weeks we have had much of rain here. If it would be colder, we would have much snow now. Snow looks nice in photos, but it’s also a burden and lots of hard work when it comes to driving your car and cleaning the sidewalks. Ice and snow endanger the traffic in the streets. Mountains of removed snow decrease parking lots and the available space on the sidewalks. Each individual has to spend time to clean the sidewalks several times a day, at least after each snowfall. Thus, I’m not too unhappy about the quite higher temperatures.

Our whole climate is out of balance. All these man-made climatic changes endanger our source of life. Droughts on one hand and overfloodings on the other hand endanger our food, as well as heavy storms during the enlarged hurricane periods endanger our houses, roads, infrastructure and countries. Not mentioning the results of changed streams in the oceans (i.e. think of the El Niño phenomena in the south pacific).

According to the weather channel, we have a low-pressure area over Russia and Siberia. Low-pressure areas always rotate clockwise in the northern hemisphere and thus this brings very low temperatures to East- and North-Europe. Over the Atlantic Ocean we have a corresponding high-pressure area, that brings warm and wet air to West- and South-Europa, because high-pressure areas always rotate counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere. And that’s the reason, why big parts of Germany have very mild temperatures while people in Poland perished by cold.

Take care!


art, photography

The 2015 Selection

You might remember my post two days ago, when I put a movie online containing the essence of my year 2015. For today, I put these images in the sieve again and distilled the (IMHO) best shots from a technical and / or creative point of view. This post is also my submission to Jim Goldstein’s blog project. He asked us, for reviewing our own images taken during the past year and select the top 5 to (max) 10 images. For doing so, he gave us some strategies by directing us to his 10 rules published on dos a few years ago.

I guess, it’s always a good idea, to review your own images every now and then. You can learn from the mistakes you’ve made, as well as from the top results. Don’t hesitate to review your best shots from the years before, too. You probably won’t pick the same images again, because you’ve made some progress in your photography skills. Reviewing your old images from a technical and / or creativity perspective can help you, to make some further progress.

Here are my top 10 images – the 11th image was chosen by friends and runs out of competition.

By clicking on one of the images, you can see them bigger in a gallery ans scroll through them more easily with your mouse or by using the cursor keys of your keyboard. For this preview they are downsized, as usual.

I’d also encourage you, to leave me a comment in the box below.

Take care!



art, culture, General

Happy new Year!

dsc_6831_wHappy new Year for Everyone!

This year lays in front of us, just like an empty sheet of paper. It’s waiting to become lettered. Which are your plans for the future? What will happen unplanned? Which unexpected events might become a more or less important mark on your personal sheet of paper? Which will find their way on mine?

Some plans are already in a state to become realized. Others are still vague. And many, many events are even not in my mind.

I also have a German Sylvester tradition for you. For many decades each year many TV stations broadcast a sketch on December 31st here in Germany. It’s recorded back in 1963 in a theater. Both actors are British: Freddie Frinton and May Warden. The whole story runs in english. In the opening scene a german speaking narrator sums the play up. In the 1960s there were not many people speaking or understanding english here in Germany. So, this was quite necessary for the audience on the TVs.

It’s the story of an old upper class lady celebrating her 90th birthday with her 4 male best friends, just the way she did for decades. Unfortunately, here friends already past away during the past years and left her alone. Despite that, she wants to celebrate her birthday following the same procedure as every year and so, her butler James has to be the substitute for each of her friends. And he does it the best way he can. The broadcasted version is about 18 minutes. Just in case, you have a problem to watch it, thy this version. It’s a bit shorter, only about 11 minutes. But, the story seems to be identical. At least, we have the same actors, but without the narrator. I’d recommend, trying the first link first.

I don’t know, why this sketch is so popular here. But, nearly every one knows the story and (thanks to the narrator) even people without any knowledge of the english language can understand it. Over the years many German comedians have made their own version of the sketch. Some of them are run in local dialects.

During the last about 8 hours of a year, this story runs on most TV stations. Either the original version or one of the dialect versions or even several of them are broadcasted. This movie belongs to Sylvester just like fireworks.

Happy new Year!