culture, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, review, seasons

Happy New Year

When standing on the beach and watching the waves rolling in you can every now and then find things. In the surf, you can find stones, shells, algae or other sea plants, and even human waste. At the same time, the surf washes away footprints or any other mark in the sand. Heavier waves are able to form the beach and even the coastline anew. This happens usually during the winter storms.

Tomorrow, a new year is starting. A new year comes to us just like the waves on the ocean. Some waves are small, others are bigger and some even might be shaking the foundations of life. You won’t know in advance what the year will bring to your life. You also won’t know in advance, what it will take from you. But, you have to take it and you have to cope with the changes.

The last year and the year before were such life-changing times. While 2020 had severe menaces for our health, we looked a bit more positive on 2021 by the end of last year, because several vaccinations were already available. Now, that another year passed by, we see more and more people getting tired of the restrictions we’re still faced with each day. Although vacations are the easiest and least intrusive treatments, too many people are still denying the existence of the virus, or the power of the impact of the infection (i.e. long-covid and post-covid-syndromes) besides the possible life-threatening outcome of an infection.

I got my vacation in summer and the booster two weeks ago. Up to now, I didn’t get infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and I’m willing to do anything to keep this status for the future.

But, in the meantime, it’s much more than not going to a theater, cinema, restaurant, or any other public event. It also changed the relationship and habits between humans. Distance (not only looking at the space between individual human beings), no hugging, no kissing, not meeting friends and family, wearing masks. All this helps cool down relationships. Our societies are changing. Our habits are changing. But, is suffering in an ER or laying in a cemetery a nice and desirable alternative? Centuries ago, people were suffering from pests, pox, and other diseases which are not relevant anymore because scientists were able to find vaccinations and treatments to extinct them. Now it’s our task to cope with Covid and defeat this virus and its mutations. We already reached a very good state. Let’s motivate the hesitating ones to help for the final victory so that we can start gaining our lives back completely. The longer it lasts, the harder it will be to come back to ‘normal’. But, going back to ‘normal’ too early is too dangerous for mankind. This virus has the potential to dramatically reduce the world population because it does not make any differences between people.

Nevertheless, I wish you a happy new year, and may a gentle warm wind strengthen your back and dry up the tears remaining from the past year.

 

Take care!

culture, nature, review, travel, world

Throwback Thursday: The flooding in July 2021 in Western Germany

Currently, Europe is parted into two. A line is drawn from north to south from Finland to Italy. While the regions east of the line are ruled by heat, the western half is suffering from cold.

Hot air can carry more moisture than cold air. So, the moisture comes down as rain in the area where both air masses are meeting. In addition, the high-pressure area and the low-pressure area are very stable and don’t move. Instead, the rain comes down over and over again for days in nearly the same place: in western North-Rhine Westphalia and north-west Rhineland-Palatinate, two German states near the borders to Belgium and the southern Netherlands.

After a nice start into summer end of May, the weather changed by early June. It became colder and the rain began to fall. End of June, the first extreme rain appeared here in the region. A friend of mine reported an overflooded underground car park in his newly built apartment building. Fortunately, they were able to save all cars ahead of the flooding.

Because of the constant and sometimes havier rainfalls, the lakes, rivers, and creeks were already full and the ground was already saturated with water.

Tuesday last week, the weather forecast announced another heavy rain field. For about 120-150 km long and 30-50 km wide. You can see the size in the left map below. Btw. I’m located right in the middle of the pink area. Find Düsseldorf, our state capitol, and take the letter ‘o’. Now, move up and see the horseshoe-like bend of the river Ruhr. I’m near the right side inside the area. The color indicates the amount of rain in mm per 24 hours. Up to 200 liters of water were have been falling per square meter, but no-one said to the people move their valuable belongings to higher places or even leave the area completely. The situation was recognized early enough to warn. Warnings were even sent out, but the people didn’t understand the warnings.

You can find these maps, created by Deutscher Wetter Dienst (DWD), in their official Twitter account. DWD is the official German Meteorological Service.

The next images are not mine. I got them via Facebook. It’s a city quarter of a neighboring town. This place is only about 15 km east of us as the bird flies after only a few hours of rain. The stones are the result of a landslide. It looks bad, but other areas west of us were hit even harder. You can find an article on Wikipedia with a couple of images and containing also descriptions from other affected regions.

The area west of Bonn was hit the hardest. A few smaller towns and city quarters are literally wiped away. Either, because rivers re-conquered stolen land (people built houses in riparian areas or water meadows) or by landslides when the soaked soil slipped down the hillsides. In the town of Erftstadt, we had to watch another phenomenon: in the flat area, the river Erft left the bed and flooded the fields used by farmers to grow food. Unfortunately, the ground wasn’t stable. So, the soil was washed away and left a huge and rising crate, several meters deep. This crate swallowed even complete houses while widening. The only image I found online showing this, is the header photo in this article:

https://www.faz.net/aktuell/gesellschaft/ungluecke/hochwasser-in-erftstadt-dramatische-lage-und-tote-nach-hauseinstuerzen-17440280.html

Among very few hours, creeks with usually one 30cm of water were able to grow up to several meters of water. One river with usually 60cm was reported to grow up 8 meters!!!! Despite this vast amount of water, about 24 hours later nearly all of the water was gone. Only the devastation remained. Many, many people lost everything, including their houses. About 172 are reported up to now even lost their lives here in Germany and 31 in Belgium. While 155 people in Germany are still missed. Yesterday evening the last alarms were deactivated. All the danger points are secured. Fortunately, there was no additional rain. But, many parts in the affected area still don’t have electric power, telephone, water supply, and cellular mobile telephony. Reconstruction works will last months and I guess, some people, having lost everything, will move away.

The railway company announced 600km of railways were destroyed (7 tracks) and 80 stations. No-one knows up to now how many streets and motorways are damaged or completely destroys. Not counting the pipes for water and natural gas, the wires for telephony, internet, and electric power, or the animals (wild and farm animals).

The most affected area also includes an important wine-producing area and vacation spots.

The town, where I live, wasn’t affected. First, we don’t have a river or a lake (not in town nor uphill). Second, The hills are covered with houses. So, the soil couldn’t slip away. Third, some years ago, our city government enlarged the canalization system. Luckily, it was big enough to cope with all the additional water.

I didn’t write anything about Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and France. I’m not ignoring them. The reason is, our news didn’t broadcast much about their suffering from the flooding. So, I simply don’t know enough to write about. I only know, the Belgium area bordering the hardest hit German area was also hit very hard. I suspect the people are facing the same problems as they do here.

This last weekend. Germany was hit again: in Bavaria and Saxonia further floodings happened with similar effects as I already described.

I’m so glad for not being affected and feel very sorry for all the affected people wherever they lived. Although this isn’t the first flooding in Germany, it’s IMHO the biggest and the first (?) one in our state. I assume it won’t be the last one.

I just got the forecast for the next thunderstorm to be arriving this weekend, which is expected to hit the already pained region again. 😭

Take care!

art, culture, flowers, landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 150: “Let’s Get Wild!“

We have a guest host this week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Diane She asks for the wild because she works in the wild as a park ranger.

I know, there are a few other meanings in the word “wild”, but I’m concentrating on wild as in “wildlife”.

Enjoy the gallery. Hint: clicking in one of the images starts the slideshow in a bigger size.

Second hint: I’m currently running a raffle. You can win a voucher code for Excire Foto  (*AD because of an affiliate link* ). Check out, how you can become one of the winners 😊

Take care!

art, culture, flowers, landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 149: “Cool Colors – Blue and Green“

These are the days, where I’m happy to have software helping me discovering images quite fast. Tina asked for images with blue and green for the Lens-Artists photo challenge and this way I’m able to deliver very fast. Opening the find dialog, choose the two relevant colors and I’m presented with dozens of suitable images to choose from.

I hope you like the selection:

 

 

If you’re interested to give the software a try, there’s a free trial available:

*AD because of an affiliate link* : get the software

art, culture, flowers, landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 148: “Spots and dots“

Spots and dots ….. a hard challenge when photographing primarily nature. But, nevertheless, Ann-Christine, I’m taking the ball. Nobody said a challenge would be easy. That’s the essence and character of a challenge.

So, take the word “spot” first. It can mean a (dust/dirt) spot on a surface, but it can also mean a very certain location of activity or where something is located. In nature, you need to know such certain spots to find your subject.

First, I have a checkered lily and a spring snowflake. Do you see the spots and dots on the petals? I found it a couple of years ago in a very certain spot. Next, a holly blue, a spotted dogfish, and a gray seal. Nature uses spots for hiding the shape of animals to either hide them from predators or, vice versa, to be recognized too early by their prey.

When stepping back a bit, you can see i.e. poppies like dots in the fields or in early spring fields of alpine squills under the trees when they have no leaves yet. And, don’t forget the red dots of Ilex during winter.

The spots in the last image, I’m leaving for your imagination. Guess, what you see 🙂 I’m solving it later 🙂

Edit: the last image is taken by an intentional mis-focus of the tiny wavelets of the Mediterranean sea on a calm day backlit by the rising sun. The nice bokeh is the result of the mis-focus. Each of the circles was a sun sparkle

 

Take care!