a photographer's view to the world – a traveler's blog
Since my first visit of Iceland, I’m following the Icelandic news online (the English version of course 😁). Earlier this week, I read a news initially published by ruv.is about the Atlantic puffin.
These cute birds only come to land for breeding and Iceland is the breeding home for about 40% of the worldwide population. Two years ago, I already published a similar post focussing on the enormous decrease of the puffin population. Now they state, the population decided by 70% since 1995!😳😩😡
According to the news, the vanishing of their food is the primary reason for the decline. I already wrote about it. Thus, I simply ask you to follow this link and read the second and third paragraphs.
OK, guys. It seems the polling part worked and you voted for some more UK: Northern Wales.
This tree grows near or in the lake, depending on the water level. As you can see, approximately half a meter of water was missing to make the tree an island.
We were based near the lake during our stay. Thus I got up early to be there for sunrise and left the house at about 6:00 in the morning. I was only about 1 kilometer to walk. As the weather seemed to become perfect for such a morning, I planned to go here right at the first morning. You know, weather is able to change fast and not taking an opportunity can lead to waste a chance. Thus I went out before the planned breakfast to be back at right before the time aligned for breakfast.
Side note: I wasn’t the first one out. When leaving the house for the lake, I met another photographer. But, he was outside to smoke instead of taking photos. Even when I told him about my plan, he didn’t want to come with me. Later he regretted to not having joined me for the little walk.
The silence, calmness, and serenity of this scene gives so much of power. A perfect start in such a week.
Each year in spring I see images on Instagram with this small bird. It’s quite rare here although they are common in Europe (except Great Britain and Scandinavia) and Asia. You can even find them in Africa. The European part of the population is migratory. They fly south over winter because they can’t find insects to feed themselves during winter. In Germany, you can find them only in certain areas.
For a long, I had them on my bucket list and I’m really happy to finally met one of them.
We, humans, try to get rid of vermins by spraying poisons over the fields. But, poison has side effects: the fruits take in portions of the poison and beneficial insects are also harmed. With the death of insects, insect-eating animals like these beautiful birds are also affected.
Make your garden attractive to insect-eating animals. They help to protect your harvest.
On our last night on the Isle of Skye, we were sitting together in the living room of the vacation home and chatting about many different topics i.e. reviewing the just past week when suddenly the topic Astro Photography popped up.
When I started with photography back in the 1980s, I got a magazine in my hands having an image in it showing how the earth spun under the Northern Star, Polaris. I was fascinated at the first moment. I thought carefully, about how the photographer could have created that image, because there was no further information in the magazine.
So, that was the easier part. I opted for a slide file with ISO 400 and kept the shutter open for an hour. No problem at that time.
Surprise, surprise – the settings were guessed right and the spinning stars were on my slide as planned. Unfortunately, the lab decided to cut that slide because they assumed having an underexposed image in that place. Thus, I was still without such an image.
I took that image in a rural area, quite far away from my home. So, there was no option to retake it. Over time, I forgot it. But, on that night on the Isle of Skye, all these memories came back. I had everything with me. The only difference is the approach how to capture the starts. Back in film days, it was no problem to keep the shutter open for so long. Nowadays, you have to make sure, your sensor does not overheat. Therefore, you take many, many images of each 30 seconds or so and stack them in postprocessing. We were in a quite dark place on the Isle of Skye and had a clear sky. So, I set up my tripod, put my widest lens on my camera, and dialed in a timer to automatically do a series of 30-second long exposures for a total of about 15 minutes.
The image above is not perfectly aligned with Polaris, but I like it anyway.
Next week, I going to start a new series. You have the opportunity to choose:
a) Northern Wales – 70%
c) Norway – 10%
d) Graubünden (a Kanton in Switzerland) – 20%
Simply type your wish in the comments. I don’t trust the polling tool below very much.
Update: the poll tool seem to have worked. I put the results behind the options-
Today, I challenge you with a song from Münchner Freiheit published in 1987 (together with the London Symphonic Orchestra): Solang′ Man Träume Noch Leben Kann. Münchner Freiheit is also the name of a famous square in Munich and translates to “liberty/freedom of/in Munich”. They were very successful at that time and published many top-10 hits. This is one of those top hits. In Germany, this was their second most successful song.
A year has passed quickly
when the rain falls
A sea of questions.
I face you
Remembering days gone by.
Versuchen wir es wieder,
So lang’ man Träume noch leben kann.
Let us try it again
as long as we can live our dreams.
I translated the first verse and the last two lines of the chorus for you line by line to keep as much as possible of the meaning. This song came to my mind when I started preparing today’s post. For 9 years I have published weekly a monochrome image here on my blog. Initially, this was my participation in Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness (Thank you so much, Leanne). When she stopped it a couple of years ago, I continued it on my own. (I’m happy, she restarted it recently). I love monochrome images. I love photography. I love capturing nature in all its glory. Often, I take images with the intention to process them in monochrome. Sometimes, I feel while processing an image, it would look great in monochrome.
You know, back in the 1980s, I run my own lab and monochrome films were more often in my camera than color (slide) films. I still love the gameplay between Lights and Darks.
The song “Solang′ Man Träume Noch Leben Kann” (as long as we can live our dreams) brings a couple of aspects together:
Today, I’m reviewing the monochrome images published here during the last 12 months and republish those of them, I like most. Maybe, you enjoy seeing them again, too.
In a background tab, you could have Münchner Freiheit sing Solang′ Man Träume Noch Leben Kann for you by clicking on the link. In case you’re interested in the full lyrics, they are also available in the usual suspects. Google Translate can help you translate them into your language or at least into English.
Btw. in 1988 they also published a version in English: Keeping the Dream Alive by Freiheit (they staged with this shortened name internationally), which was re-published i.e. by Kim Wild in 2013. Follow the link to Youtube to listen to that version, too. Although the English lyrics are nice, they differ from the German original. So, maybe it’s worth checking both versions. 😁
So, I’m starting today the 10th year of Monochrome Monday / Monochrome Madness. Stay tuned and
It’s mid of May. So, we’re in the middle of spring. To be honest, usually, spring starts in March over here outdoors, sometimes even in late February. First trees getting their leaves, spring flowers are blooming, temperatures are rising, and blue skies replace the grey blanket above our heads.
This year, we have spring flowers, but quite late and the trees are getting their leaves, but the temperature won’t rise. We still have temperatures between 10°C and zero. The sky is merely still grey without any structure and it’s drizzling very often. Not much rain, but enough to annoy us, while nature does not benefit because the amount is too small.
In German, we have a weather rule “Der April weiß nicht, was er will” (April does not know what he wants). This describes the overall fast-changing weather conditions we experience in April. Even snow and ice are still possible and could possibly remain for a few hours. But, the overall statistics say, April 2023 was colder and wetter in comparison with the average since the beginning of weather recording more the 100 years ago.
“May the force be with you!” is the blessing used several times during the Star Wars movies. So, I tried to find and Star Wars-related image for today. But, as expected I don’t have one in one of my cosplay folders. You know, I photographed the cosplayers at Japantag a few times, but Star Wars is usually not to find as the origin is not Anime or Manga. I probably would have more luck at a ComiCon or a Star Wars-themed convention, but I’ve never visited such an event.
Instead, I incidentally met a group of clone warriors, a few Jedi, Princess Leia Organa, and even Lord Vader a few years ago at a photo + adventure fair. You can read the whole post here in my archive.
I’m not into anime, manga, or these computer games. But, I love how much effort these people invest to not only create the clothing and ‘weapons’ of their favorite characters, they even bring the characters to life.
That day was a bad one. Heavy winds pushed low-standing clouds over the sea towards the coast. Clouds, full of water and ready to pour it over the scene. So, we had to secure the doors when getting out of the cars. A mixture of rain, hail, and snow welcomed us. No hard rain, but enough to keep some of us inside the cars. To make it even worst, the ground was covered merely with ice and rain poodles on top of them. Very careful movements were an absolute necessity. These were not the conditions we came for. What a difference to 2016, when I was there for the first time.
This time we needed the shortest shutter speeds, even when using wide-angle lenses. While setting up a tripod was possible in those conditions, it was impossible to use it. The wind not only pushed the tripod and made longer exposures impossible, but the guts were also even so strong to make the tripod tumble down. So, I opted for another way to get a long exposure of the waves: I put my beanbag on top of the concrete wall securing the parking ground from the cliff, and pressed the camera in the bag. That way, everything was stable enough for a 20-second exposure at 97mm.
For a long, I was hoping for such a location and the right conditions. You see, you have to be open-minded when arriving at a location. Don’t stick to the idea of recreating the images you have seen online, in books, or have on your bucket list. Look around and discover what the scene and the conditions have to offer. Benefit from what you have in front of you. In German, we have a saying: better the sparrow in the hand than the pigeon on the roof (Besser den Spatz in der Hand also die Taube auf dem Dach.).