To save your house from hurricanes you can build it between rocks like this in Britany, France.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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!
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.
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°C 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.
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.
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°C), 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.
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 😊
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.