culture, landscape, leisure, nature, photography, seasons, travel, winter

Traveling in times of the pandemic

This is my first bi-lingual blog-post. Text in Deutsch weiter unten.

A friend of mine started a challenge to inspire the reader to travel without leaving the room and and calls it Zimmerreisen,which translates to room-travel. The German word can be a plural noun as well as a verb. I really liked the idea and I wanted to participate. As she writes her blog in German and addresses people living here I would also write this post in German. But, the majority of my followers don’t understand German, so I decided to write this post in both languages.

Puzzleblume named a few of rules for the challenge:

  1. each second Friday of a month a new turn
  2. pingback to her post
  3. 1,500 words should be enough (per language)
  4. Not only images. Tell us a story!
  5. use the tag #Zimmerreisen (and #roomtravel)
  6. use the given letters as stimuli for your imagination to find places or things starting with the given letters
  7. First we start with “A”, “B” and “C”. Use at least one of them for your post

I’ve chosen “Alpes”, “Balloon” and “Carnival” for this first roundtrip from the back of your seat to have

A few years ago, I was in Bavaria with some friends for having a hot-air balloon flight in front of the Alpes.

You know, flying balloons depends very much on the weather. While for most time of the year a balloon can fly safely only during the morning or evening hours, during winter they can also have good conditions during the day. So, we met at about 8:30 with the pilot and tried to find a good spot to start. The sky was covered with thick clouds, but the weather report (not the forecast) said, it would be possible to fly. And we did! After a couple of 10 meters, we touched the clouds and when we came out of the clouds, a sunny blue sky was above us. We went up to 1,000 meters and enjoyed the view to the Alpes.

Where’s the “C” you might ask. This happens during the core time of the carnival season while we were escaping the carnival festivities. In German, carnival translates to Karneval. The origin of this word is Latin “carne vale” and means “meat, farewell”. This festivity is the last before the start of the lenten season, which ends on Holy Saturday.

Btw. I’d encourage you, to join. I guess, it’s a lot of fun ūüėä

German:

Eine Co-bloggerin von mir hat eine Challenge gestartet Post zu schreiben, in denen man reisen kann, ohne das Zimmer zu verlassen und nennt das “Zimmerreisen”. Ich fand die Idee so gut, dass ich mich auch daran beteiligen m√∂chte. Da mein Blog aber in Englisch ist und Ihre Idee in Deutsch, habe ich mich entschieden diese Post Zweisprachig zu schreiben, denn die Mehrheit meiner Leser verstehen kein Deutsch.

Sie hat ein paar Regel aufgestellt:

  1. jeden zweiten Freitag startet eine neue Runde
  2. Pingback zu ihrem Post setzten
  3. 1,500 Wörter sollten genug sein
  4. Nicht nur Bilder, sondern eine Geschichte erzählen
  5. Den Tag #Zimmerreisen benutzen (und #roomtravel f√ľr englisch-sprachige Leser)
  6. die gegebenen Buchstaben als Inspiration f√ľr den eigenen Blog-Post nutzen. Die Orte oder Gegenst√§nde sollten mit diesem Buchstaben anfangen
  7. Wir beginnen mit “A”, “B” und “C”, und mindestens einer der Buchstaben muss verwendet werden

Ich habe mich f√ľr “Alpen”, “Ballon” und “Carnival” f√ľr diese erste Runde entschieden.

Vor ein paar Jahren war ich mit ein paar Freunden in Bayern um eine Fahrt in einem Heißluft-Ballon vor der Alpenkulisse zu unternehmen.

Wie jeder wei√ü, Ballon-Fahrten sind sehr Wetterabh√§ngig. Die meiste Zeit des Jahres k√∂nnen sie nur in den Morgen- oder Abenstunden starten. Im Winter hingegen besteht in den Alpen auch die M√∂glichkeit tags√ľber zu fahren. So haben wir uns morgens gegen 8:30h mit dem Ballon-Piloten getroffen und einen Start-Platz gesucht. Der Himmel war mit dicken grauen Wolken √ľberzogen, aber der Flugwetterbericht sah f√ľr einen Start gut aus. Nach einigen Duzend Metern haben wir die Wolken erreicht und nach einigen weiteren Duzend Metern erfolgreich durchsto√üen, wo wir von der Sonne und strahlend blauem Himmel erwartet wurden. Bis zu 1.000m sind wir aufgestiegen und konnten die Aussicht auf das fantastische Alpen-Panorama genie√üen.

Was ist mit dem “C”? Die ganze Aktion fand in der Karnevalszeit statt. Zwischen Weiberfasnacht und Tulpensonntag, w√§hrend unserer j√§rhrlichen Karnevals-Flucht (dar√ľber habe ich schon ein paar Mal geschrieben). Karneval, oder in Englisch carnival geht zur√ľck auf das mittel-lateinische “carne vale”, das “Fleisch, Lebewohl” bedeutet. Aschermittwoch, mit dem Karneval abschlie√üt, ist der Beginn der Fastenzeit, die mit Karsamstag ihr Ende findet.

Btw. Eventuell möchtest Du auch teilnehmen. Tu es!

Take care!!

 

 

architecture, art, cityscape, culture, landscape, leisure, night, people, photo-of-the-day, star, street, urbex, work, world

Throwback Thursday: connecting lights

This image is taken during our photographer’s roundtable in January 2010. It’s 11 years old. But I guess, it’s a symbol for this year: a vaccine is available, distribution of the vaccine hast started and the bright area in the sky is proposing a “back to normal” to come soon. Until then, keep safe!

Take care!

architecture, art, cityscape, culture, landscape, leisure, night, people, photo-of-the-day, star, street, urbex, work, world

Throwback Thursday: 2020 – what a year!

December 31st, the last day of the year! Time for a look back. I guess all of you are happy, this wired year finally came to an end. All of us are tired of the regulations, limitations, and lockdowns we were faced this past year and had to follow even if we didn’t want to.

Right before Christmas, I got my 2020 yearbook. During the lockdown in March-May, I feared, my 2020 yearbook would be quite thin, there was no possibility to go out and take photographs. But, I was wrong. I even had to work very hard, to reduce the number of images to fit in a book. So, I want to name the major topics now:

March      - forest animals
April      - blue forest
May        - birding + stars
June       - Iceland
July       - comet Neowise
August     - birding (bee-eater)
September  - heathland
October    - fall

In the end, I created 4 books this year Iceland, Iceland monochrome, Iceland wildlife, and my yearbook. So, 2020 was a very productive year and without the limitations, it wouldn’t have been possible¬†to have all my 2020 images developed up to now.

But, there were also a couple of downsides this year. Our vacation at the sea in April was canceled because of the lockdown. Our family vacation in May was also canceled because of the lockdown. The extended weekend trip end of September for visiting my brother in Switzerland was also canceled. But this time for bad weather (first heavy snowfalls and closed streets). ¬†Our plan was to make a trip to a wine-growing area in October. But, because of the increasing number of infections. We didn’t book a hotel in advance to be able to react short-term to the weather conditions. So, we stayed home instead. Around the first of Advent, my wife wanted to visit a couple of Christmas markets. You guess it: canceled – no Christmas markets were planned or set-up. Visits for Christmas with my parents or our moved-out children??? Very distributed and no gathering.

When looking at my job, it came out, I’m not affected by the lockdown and the limitations to go out for work. I can do my work perfectly from home. All I need, is my company notebook, a headset to telephone, and a connection to the internet. Lucky me! My wife is working at a pension home to keep the inhabitants mentally active. So, she’s working in a secure place.

All in all, it’s good to know, the first vaccines are already approved, and also the pop-up vaccination centers are ready. So, the most endangered people are getting their vaccines now (if they want) and all others will follow during the next months following a priority plan.

 

In my personal life, there were also a couple of changes. I started a completely new job. I changed from being a project manager for IT projects to vendor management. Instead of reporting to clients, I now get the reports from our vendors. A very interesting change of view.

My daughter also started working again in February. Back in 2016, she started getting educated in nursing but had to quit because of her baby. Despite being a single mum, she’s working shifts (early and late, but no nights) as a nurse in a pension home. She got employed in March after 4 weeks of working voluntarily in that pension home. For 2021 she’s planning to start again to get educated in nursing so that she will be able to earn a bit more money. She also moved to a new apartment in June (after living again with us for about 9 months, because of some problems with her apartment and since February because of her work). Now, she lives only 300m away from us, so that we can take care of her son when he’s not in kindergarten.

Our older son was able to convert his fixed-term contract into an unlimited one and our youngest wasn’t limited too much by the lockdowns to learn for his job. By the end of 2021, he has to pass the written exam and in January 2022 he has to pass the oral examination.

My wife is currently recuperating from the lung inflammation she got surprisingly early December.

So, 2020 was a bad year in many perspectives, but it wasn’t a complete disaster. There is always some light in the dark.

This is the sun at noon on Dec. 24th. That’s a very typical winter sky here in my region. You can see, how low the sun is in the sky. It’s taken from your bathroom window on the second floor. From the street, I would be unable to see the sun at all. The trees are not that large and are about 100m away from our house. But the sun is standing so low during winter.

The image above is also a good illustration of my year 2020: there was a lot of struggling and complicated situations. We were pained by strict regulations to fight against SARS2-CoV. But, there was still some light. Think about your past 12 months. I guess you are also able to find some enlightening memories. Keep them well and let them carry you through the remaining time of the pandemic.

See you next year! Happy New Year!

architecture, art, cityscape, culture, landscape, leisure, night, people, photo-of-the-day, star, street, urbex, work, world

Throwback Thursday: industry on magic mushrooms?

8 years ago! What a day. Perfect weather. Even stars above the scene!

Our monthly photographer’s roundtable led us to this closed former steel plant in the north-western Ruhr area. Instead of tearing it down, the area was converted into a park and many parts are accessible for the people. This was neither my first, nor my last visit. Unfortunately, it’s nearly a 100km drive.

Take care!

architecture, art, cityscape, culture, landscape, leisure, night, people, photo-of-the-day, star, street, urbex, work, world

Throwback Thursday: November blues in December?

I took this image a couple of years ago, but it could be taken today.

This image is illustrating, how I currently feel: bored, annoyed but at the same time lacking drive. I have so much to do, but I’m not motivated to do anything. So, I’m waiting for the time passing by when I’m back from work.

Only three weeks until winter solstice. Today, sunrise was at 8:24h and sunset is at 16:22. On Dec. 21st the sun will rise at 8:33h and set at 16:22h. But, when having so deep hanging clouds and fog, the days don’t get bright. People living further north even have way shorter days at the moment.

The weekend before last, the temperature was below 0¬įC even during the days with crisp blue skies. But, on the next Monday, the temperatures rose again and brought this uncomfortable weather: slightly above the freezing point, drizzling rain (with the ability to create black ice on the frozen surfaces of the streets), and the bad sight. A thick, warm jacket or better coat is important. Not because of the low temperatures, but because everything feels colder because of the moisture in the air. An umbrella does not help much. The drops are so fine, they find their way under the umbrella and make your clothes wet.

Unusually we have this kind of weather during November (but with much more rain). This year, November was way too dry. Forests are dying because of the lack of water. Lakes, and especially the artificial lakes for ensuring we have enough drinking water, are dramatically empty. Three hot years in a row without enough rain to refill all the reservoirs have consequences. Nature is fighting back!

We need more large forests to make sure, the rain will come back. But, without water, no forest can grow. Even, if it could, it would last decades.

This is flu weather. Keep yourself warm and take care of not getting infected by any of the bad viruses roaming outside at the moment. You know, there are a few viruses around much worse than flu.

 

 

art, culture, leisure, photo-of-the-day, photography, review, urbex, work

Throwback Thursday: RIP Photokina ?!?

One week ago, I got an email from the Photokina team, the team behind the (former) world-leading fair for photography. Since 1950, every second year in September all eyes worldwide were directed to Colone in Germany to see the latest products and services for photographers: cameras, lenses, tools, gear, paper, printing machines, and so on.

Over the last couple of years, there was already a change visible. In my 2016 Photokina review, I already talked about it. 2018 was the last year the fair was held in the traditional way. Starting from 2019, they changed the frequency and the time of the year to face the changes in the photography business: Starting from 2019 the fair should run each year in May. (I wasn’t at Photokina in 2019, because I was in Wales at the same time). In my opinion, changing the time to May was a bad idea. It’s already vacation time. New consumer electronic products are already introduced at CES in January and for the shops, it’s too early to order products for Christmas. So, I really wonder which audience they want to address.

The other problem is, although we’re taking more photos than ever, only the tiniest part of them is ever printed and put in an album. In my opinion, more than 99% of the photos are taken with a cell phone and will never leave the device (expect from being¬†put on FB or Instagram or being forwarded by a messaging service like WhatsApp, signal, or telegram to only name a few of them). And instead of printshops and laboratory, we only need a computer, software and maybe a desktop printer. And, we have an enormous diversity spreading from the pro wedding or product photographers to the ordinary snappers.

Over the last couple of years, we can notice an increase in camera and lens prices, while, on the other hand, the revenues of the manufacturers are decreasing. In 2015 I was asked by a fellow blogger about my opinion on the¬†future of cameras¬†and wrote a post on it (sorry, it’s written in German, but hopefully, this link works for you¬†to translate it into English). When looking into it today, I see, many things I prophecized are already a reality.

Back to Photokina. In 2020 Photokina was canceled because of the Covid19 pandemic. 2021 now is also canceled because of the still ongoing pandemic and no-one is able to predict if we’re able to run a fair for several hundred-thousand visitors safely. So, this cancelation was already overdue. Now, the email is titled by “Photokina bis auf weiteres ausgesetzt” (suspended until further notice).

Now, the Photokina team has to use the time very carefully to re-invent themself and come back with a (new) concept attracting the manufacturers as well as the audience. CeBIT is an example, where the management did the wrong decisions. CeBIT is history (1986-2018). Is Photokina also already history? When looking at Gamescom (2009-), you can see, a renewed concept can make a fair successful. In the beginning, in the early 1990s, one of the fair halls at CeBIT was dedicated to gaming. Over time, gaming became more and more room. But, at some point, someone came up with the idea to dedicate a complete fair to only gaming, and it became a huge success. Even changing the location from Leipzig to Colone wasn’t able to stop the success.

As I stated above, the audience is extremely diverse in their needs and interests. Photokina could stay relevant when concentrating on pro-level photographers, and leaving out the consumer part. But, the fair needs to refinance itself by getting the entrance fees. During the last years, the entrance fee was already quite high and raised each time. So, I was wondering about many of the visitors. I had the impression their only purpose was filling the room. Many, many visitors seemed to be completely uninterested in the exhibitions. When planning with fewer ordinary visitors (this would probably re-attract more pros), the entrance fees would need to be increased even further. Although pros might be able to deduct the entrance fees from their taxes, I’m not sure if that’s enough.

CeBIT has had similar problems. Once, computer and IT were a small part of the Hannover Messe Industrie (industrial fair). Spinning the computer sector off, was a great and successful idea. But, with the upcoming success of computers, more and more ordinary people interested in computers became attracted by the fair the halls became extremely crowded. Gamescom was able to absorb many of the people interested in gaming, but still, too many people were visiting the fair making it more and more uninteresting for the businesses because they were unable to talk to their business customers. House fairs, organized by either the manufacturers or by big distributors, were taking over and the importance of CeBIT decreased.  In 1995 about 755000 visitors and 7500 exhibitors were visiting the fair. In 2018 only 200000 visitors and 2800 exhibitors found their way to Hannover. That was less than during the first CeBIT in 1986.

visitors exhibitors
2014 124.731 752
2016 125.995 694
2018 116.218 529

source: https://www.auma.de/de/ausstellen/messen-finden/messedaten?tfd=koln_photokina_150229

architecture, art, cityscape, culture, landscape, leisure, night, people, photo-of-the-day, star, street, urbex, work, world

Throwback Thursday: Rear Window

Today’s subject is inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s famous movie as I kind of felt like the main actor of the story (played by James Stewart) might have felt. No, I’m not sitting in a wheel-chair, nor I’m handicapped otherwise. But, the remaining parts have some similarities.

Last Sunday morning I was attending a personal video conference from our living room. I was sitting on the couch with my notebook standing on the coffee table in front of me. So, I was able to easily watch out of the big window when I suddenly recognized a movement in the garden. That day was already winterly: cold (around 3-4¬įC), a gray covered sky and it was drizzling. Very uncomfortable being outside. Fortunately, I was sitting inside.

I tried to discover, what kind of movement I recognized from the corner of my eye. It was different from the regular bird’s movements. About 20 meters away from me I saw a gray subject laying on the lawn. But, I was still unable to determine what it was. After staring a couple of seconds on the subject, I got the idea, it could be a bird of prey with its prey after a successful hunt which it now covers with its wings to hide it from greedy competitors. Hurring upstairs for getting my camera, but I was too slow. The gray patch was already gone when I returned.

But, after a couple of minutes, it flew into our apple tree for a short rest. This time my camera was ready.

sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) / Sperber

Here he sits, still having the prey in the left claw. I’m not perfectly sure, what it is (was). I guess it could be an Eurasian blackbird.

Btw. the German name “Sperber” is derived from the Old High German words Sparo (sparrow) and Aar (eagle). So, we have a sparrow-eagle ūüėä

Btw2. The German title of the movie is “Das Fenster zum Hof” and translates to “The window to the courtyard”, which is in my opinion a better description for the movie. But, as it is Alfred’s creation he has the right to name it whatever he thinks is right.

Take care!

art, culture, leisure, people, photo-of-the-day, street, world

Throwback Thursday: Ferris wheel

A friend of mine posted an image on FB of a Ferris wheel at night. I liked the image very much. While chatting with her online, I checked the archive of this blog to see, if I have one of my own images already online. I found a couple of other funfair related posts i.e.¬†here, here, and here. The image I was looking for, I unfortunately only have on my other blog to showcase as an example for the “Kirmeslichter” (lights at a funfair) workshops, I’m offering. This year I didn’t offer that workshop, because there were no funfairs because of the COVID19 pandemic.

Each year in September the funfair comes to my town, but not in 2020. Nearly every year I’m out for at least one night to capture these special lights. The Ferris wheel is usually the center of such a funfair. That one year, there was another circling attraction right behind the Ferris wheel and I was waiting with my camera for a moment when both of them were operating. The carousel in the background only has two arms with a gondola for about 8 people in each. When in operation, the gondolas are circled first in one direction and after a short stop, in the other direction. I can’t imagine how it could feel sitting in one of the gondolas.

Sept. 9th, 2009

Take care!

abstract, culture, leisure, photography, work, world

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #76 ‚Äď on display

It’s time for Lens-Artists photo challenge. This week’s challenge is “on display” by Amy.

During the pre-Christmas time, all shop-owners want to sell as much as possible to make some profit. Thus, they decorate their goods in the windows of their shops as well as in the inside. Additionally, they try to attract possible customers with special (so-called rebates) discounts. But, they simply try to sell as much as possible.

When looking in my archive for a good image, I first scanned the folders containing images taken on different markets in France and Barcelona. But, I ended with this image taken in the Galeries LaFayette in Paris a few years ago. It’s taken in the basement in the perfumery department for ladies. These flacons contain a kind of fragrance. I liked the kind they were decorated.

Take care!