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!

landscape, photo-of-the-day, photography, street, technic, travel, urbex, work, world

Monochrome Monday 8-01

Today I’m starting in the 8th year of this continuously running series of presenting monochrome images and I still love doing it.

Today, we’re back in Iceland again. This is Djúpalónssandur beach located on the south-western edge of Snæfellsnes peninsula.

Take care!

 

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

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 146: “Gardens“

Gardens! Nowadays you can find them around many houses. But, the idea of having a garden is not that old. When spinning the time back for about 100 years, you would also find gardens, but they were generally looking way different than today. Instead of flowers and blooming bushes, you would have found vegetables and fruits. The gardens were used to grow food. Not everything was in shops available for sale. So, people had to take care of themselves. Only farmers used to have small so-called farmer’s gardens. But, even in these farmer gardens, you were able to find herbs among the flowers.

In Japan, gardening has a quite long tradition. The gardens usually have a religious background. In the past, I already told you, that our state capital Düsseldorf has one of the three biggest Japanese ex-pat communities (besides London and Paris). Not far away from my home, there is a Japanese garden, built by a Japanese garden architect. In Japanese gardens, each detail has a reason. Every position, size, and direction of each detail has a meaning. So, each year a group of Japanese gardeners comes over to reshape the garden.

I was there a few times and would go again when we would not have the pandemic still around. So, enjoy my images from the past.

This post is my contribution to The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge hosted by Amy.  Head over to her page and read to rules to participate.

As usual, click on one image to enlarge it.

Take care!

art, culture, photo-of-the-day, photography

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 146: “Focusing on the Details“

You might say now, don’t ask me for macros. OK, I won’t do it. But, nevertheless, you can see, focussing on the details does not necessarily mean macro photography. Having an overview is very nice. But, in general, the details are more important. You’re right, you have to focus and work on your inner eye to find the sweet spot, the composing supporting your idea most.

Go out, take your camera and take photos, come back and show your results. Link your post to Patti’s post, as she’s the host for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo-Challenge. Everyone is welcome.

 

You can click on the images to enlarge them. All the images are taken without a macro lens

Take care!

art, culture, photo-of-the-day, photography

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 145: “Getting to Know You“

Or better, to get to know me 😊 (at least a little bit)

There are always two people in an image: the creator and the viewer.

Each image, I’m showing, is a part of me and you can experience a bit about me when watching my images (and, of course, reading the texts).

To find out more about me, you can switch to the About-me page.

I love being in nature and photographing nature, although, photographing the beauty of nature sometimes hurts. I love traveling and coming in touch with the ordinary people in the countries, I’m traveling. I love to learn about their culture. If you want to talk, drop me a note. Modern technology makes it possible 😊.

As I said, sometimes photographing the beauty of nature hurts. So, I picked a couple of images, where it hurt.

getting soaking wet for nearly two full weeks in Iceland
It’s usually freezing cold when we’re on the north sea island Helgoland in mid January

 

Aurora Borealis in Northern Norway – it’s very cold outside, especially at night
getting up very early – hours before sunrise to be in your spot at the right time
also before sunrise

 

in the heat of the day hiking without any shadow
or waiting for your game
climbing up mountains while >30°C

 

staying up all night for capturing a full circle of the bloodmoon, a comet or some stars

 

getting up at 4:25 a.m. to be there at the right moment

Photography hurts sometimes and I’m willing to suffer when the possible results are promising. The last image is from today. Getting up soo early and driving to your destination is exhausting. But, being there enjoying the silence and the light is sooo rewarding.

Take care!

history, landscape, night, photo-of-the-day, photography, urbex, work, world

Throwback Thursday: revived for the night

You can consider this as a follow up to my post from Monday. An old railbus parked in a former steel plant, now a museum. That night, they illuminated the remains. It was a great opportunity for a photographer to expore a known area under way differernt conditions.

Take care!