animals, bird, flowers, landscape, leisure, nature, people, photography, review, seasons, sport, summer, travel, wildlife, world

Throwback Thursday: I’m back …

… from Usedom at the Baltic Sea. OK, I came already back on Saturday from my 2-weeks family vacation. Although it wasn’t a typical family vacation because I was on Usedom with my wife, daughter, and grant-son. That little guy is 5. So this was his first vacation where he was able to notice everything and he liked it a lot. One of his statements was “I like our new home more than our old home”. He didn’t realize, that the vacation home was our home only for our vacation.

Back in 2019, when we were in the Netherlands with him, he was too young to notice such a change. Back in 2018, I was already in Ahlbeck with my wife and we decided to come back with our grant son for his first beach vacation. Unfortunately, this come-back lasted longer than expected because of the SARS2-CoV / Covid19 pandemic.

This time we rented a vacation home near the middle of the town. Ahlbeck is quite small, with only about 3,400 regular citizens but with more than four times the number of guest beds. The apartment, we rented in 2018, was also very lovely, but reaching the beach from there was quite complicated because a huge rehab clinic building barriers the direct way and we had to make a long way around. Reaching the pier also lasted about 20 minutes by foot. You can see the pier in the image above from 2018. We love to walk along the surf in the evening, so we had to pull out the rental bikes first to reach the beach. Very inconvenient. That’s why we decided to get this time an apartment closer to the town and with easier access to the beach. It’s only about 200 meters as the bird flies and about 300 meters walk to reach the waterfront.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t perfect beach weather this time. Some drizzling nearly every day for at least some time distributed over the whole day. But, I won’t complain. We had some beach weather, we had cycling weather, we watched the neighboring towns as well as the next town in Poland, which is only about 4 km away. We also rented bikes for our stay and surprisingly the little guy was able to cope with the (quite small) distances on his bike. The longest distance we cycled in one day was 12 km with a couple of pauses. We cycled mostly along the sea on the promenade connecting the 3 neighboring towns grouped under the name Kaiserbäder. They have a lot of bicycle tracks here.

I love the area at the baltic sea for the small villages, the avenues with their chestnut or oak trees, and the forests reaching up to the coast. The sea does not have a noticeable tide (only about 10 cm), the huge beaches with very fine sand, and the flat-bottomed sea which is quite warm and less salty than the other oceans. So, these beaches are very entitled to kids, especially smaller ones.

The term Kaiserbäder (Kaiser = Emporer; bäder = baths) was chosen because these towns were visited by the Emporer of the German Empire back in the 19th century a couple of times. The word Bad (= bath) in a town’s name refers to the idea of being a place for curing and rehab. In the late 19th century, people had already come here to the coast for spending some leisure time, cure, and recuperate. Especially the rich ones and the noble men and women. Even the Emporers were here a couple of times and that’s the reason, why the towns have chosen the name Kaiserbäder to operate under that name. Nowadays, everyone can benefit from the beauty of the coast and retreat from the burdens of daily chores.

For one day (without having a certain date in my mind) it was planned to visit a nature protection area nearby (ok, 1 1/4 hours drive by car) to see White-tailed eagles (very good chance), osprey (maybe – a hope), grey cranes (quite good chance because they are quite common here but very shy), and red kites.

In the end, I saw 2 white-tailed eagles sitting in the trees far-far away and one flying from one side to the other (👍), one osprey (sitting very far away, then flying even further away, but also flying a bit closer to capture him), 5 cranes flying by, 1 stork, 1 crane with a chick in the woods (no photo possible), many grey herons and 3 great white egrets, common terns, lots of different ducks and geese, many swallows, black-headed gulls, cormorants. I’m stopping here to not bore you.

In the meantime, the others were visiting an adventure park in a town nearby very suitable for kids under 12.

For 4 days starting with Ascension Day, the German Masters in Kite-Surfing took place here right next to the pier. I watched the sportswomen and sportsmen for a few hours distributed over several days with my camera. You know, I like to see them “flying” over the water. This was an unexpected event and therefore not planned. But, very welcomed. Even the wind was unexpected those days: some competitions had to be canceled because of too heavy winds.

In the end, this was a family vacation and not a photo trip. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy about the images I was able to capture. The nature protection area has to stay on my list. I have to come again with more time and arrive earlier. Without the overcast sky, I’d have come back with less usable images because the light conditions would have resulted in either overexposed skies or in hopeless underexposed subjects.

As usual, click on an image to enlarge it!

Take care!

flowers, photography, spring, world

Throwback Thursday: A blue morning

Last week on Saturday morning, my alarm clock rang very early again: at 4:30. Many people don’t like getting up so early. They even don’t like getting up earlier than necessary or earlier than on a weekday morning. Me, usually, too. But, sometimes, the plans say different. So, this weekend: getting up early, drinking one coffee, having a shower, and jumping in the car.

Depending on the general temperatures of spring, around mid-April, the bluebells start blooming and their blooming time only lasts about 3-4 weeks. They depend on loose and nutrient-rich soil and must not become overgrown with bushes. The flowering cycle must be finished before the canopy of the surrounding deciduous trees closes and no light reaches the ground anymore. Although they were very common in Europe after the last ice age, they are very rare now, except in England and Wales. This small (tiny) forest is about 1,5 hour’s drive away from my home. Thus, I had to get up early if I want to be there at sunrise. And it’s only a very small timeslot to find rich blooming ground as well as not too dense foliage.

This forest is a nature-protected area. So, leaving the few paths is not allowed. I’m fine with that rule. But, there are many others not caring about it. The locals usually complain about the reckless visitors. When I was there for the first time, besides me only a few joggers were passing by. During my second visit, 10-15 photographers were also there, most of them equipped with apparently good equipment and a tripod. But, they should know better. When walking through the flowers to get ‘better’ spots / sights, they are trampling down the flowers and compacting the ground to make it next year harder for the flowers to breakthrough. They withdraw their energy into the onions. When I was there last year for my third visit, only very few flowers were blooming. Because of the cold weather, nature was way behind normal development. This year the timing was perfect. Many, many blooming flowers were covering the forest ground. Even from the parking ground about approximately 200 m away as the bird flies, I was able to see the blue glowing in the forest. And only a couple of quite well-behaving dog photographers (dog among the bluebells) were there. But, it was still quite full for the small area.

In the end, I was back at home at about 10:00. Time for breakfast!.

Take care

 

 

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

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 153: “Wonderful world”

On January 1st, 1968 Louis Armstrong published his song “What a Wonderful World”. It was written specifically for him and describes the beauty of the world and the small pieces of happiness in everyday life. Louis Daniel „Satchmo“ Armstrong was an African American, born in 1901 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Once, Louisiana was part of the southern states in the USA, where slavery was an important part of the economy. But, although slavery became illegal after the civil war, those people were (and are) still not equally treated. Unfortunately, that’s not only in the USA but also in many other countries in the world.

From the mid-1950s more and more (primary descendants of former slaves) stood up against the still existing social injustices and repressions. Probably you already have heard the name Reverent Martin Luther King, who became kind of a leader of the non-violent Civil Rights movement. Unfortunately, he was killed in April 1968.

In this setting of a civil rights movement, the song was published and became very successful. In case, you don’t know the song, go to Youtube and find it. It’s still a wonderful song. You can even find a lyrics video to read the lyrics along.

The intention of the song was to set a countercurrent to the political climate. Thus the song describes the beauty of nature, friendship, and children’s view despite the huge problems of hate, jealousy, and power struggles.

The first verse is

“I see trees of green, red roses too. I see them bloom for me and you, and I think to myself: What a wonderful world.”

I really recommend, to listen to the song, now. And, while Satchmo sings his song you can swipe through the gallery below. Click on an image to enlarge the images.

thank you, Amy, for this wonderful topic, this week.

Take care!

 

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

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 152: “Shades and Shadows”

Ann-Christine invites us this week to celebrate the sun for The Lens-Artists Photo-Challenge. You know, when there is light, you will have shadows.

 

 

Hint: I’m currently running a raffle. Until midnight tomorrow, you can enter to 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, flowers, landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 151: “From big to small“

It’s Patti’s round, this week, at The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. She reminds us of an old principle this week. Start wide and narrow your view more and more.

So, when coming to a scene, take your wide-angle lens first and take a couple of shots. Then, step further into the scene and look for the details. Isolate a mountain, a tree, a flower, a part of a building, you got the idea. This does not necessarily mean doing macro.

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 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!

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!