This week, Tina has found a very challenging topic for The Lens-Artist’s Photo Challenge: The eyes have it
Yes, eyes can have a message and you have to be able to read it. For the gallery below, I picked some images from my archive, where the eyes have a message. For us, the mimic is an essential part of our communication. Faces are something a baby can recognize very early. And even as adults, we see faces very easily in everyday things around us, like clouds, tree barks, blossoms, and so on. Even some animals have eyes-like patterns on their bodies like i.e. the peacock butterfly. Other animals have, from our point of view, quite strange eyes. I was even searching for an image with a sheep’s or a goat’s eye but failed to find one.
The first image in the second row is a bit different. It’s a sculpture of 3 boys having circled around a girl. This sculpture is called “Türelüre-Lißje” and pictures an old legend of a girl who used to live here near the cathedral in Aix-la-Chapelle. One day, she had a big need to pee, but a few boys got aware of that problem, circled her, and hindered her to follow the call of nature. I included that image here because the artist was able to model the faces of the figurines so well. Now we can feel how the pained girl must have felt, but also see the cruelty of the boys.
For decades, a secured border parted two countries here on Usedom: the German Democratic Republic (since 1989 a substantial part of the Federal Republic of Germany) and Poland. While about 90% of Usedom kept German after WWII, approximately 10% belongs to Poland since 1945. Nowadays, you can roam freely from one side to the other and the wooded path, built in the former no-man’s land, leads you right to the shore of the Baltic sea.
All humans (and animals as well) are living together on this wonderful planet. Despite cultural differences, it’s great to roam freely and get used to these differences. All of us can benefit from knowing each other Even when it comes to misunderstandings sometimes, in general, all of us benefit.
Goods, habits, culture, and much more enrich our lives, our minds, our experiences, and our common ground for further growth as mankind. Help to keep the fences down between states, countries, and people! Or, to quote a song by the British rock band Pink Floyd “Turn down the walls”.
What do you think, about how big that glider is?
Its body is only about 1 meter long. It’s a “toy”. OK, not really, it’s a radio-controlled glider. No one is in the glider and the pilot is standing on the ground with the remote control. Nevertheless, it’s amazing to see how well and fast it could move carried only by the winds.
I took this image also from the top of the dead rock heap, I introduced you to four weeks ago while standing on the edge of the heap. Radio-controlled vehicles (ships, planes, and especially cars) were quite popular when I was at school. One of my classmates was active in a model car club and another one in a ship model club. I’ve even seen radio-controlled airplanes, helicopters, and submarines. But, up to now, I’ve never seen a radio-controlled glider.
We’re having another guest host for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week: Sylvia Bacon of My Colorful Expressions. Her topic is doors and doorways. Doors usually part something from something else but not as strict as a wall would do. Doors can allow access with permission when having the right key.
Doors can also give some information about the owner or what is hidden behind the door.
These richly decorated doors can be found in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the German state located on the south coast of the Baltic Sea. The iconic symbols also tell about the people living here. The doors always have three elements. One of them is most often the rising sun. You can find it on both doors in the lowermost sector and in the top sector of the third door.
But, what happens, when a building becomes useless and abandoned? Doors are open!
But, there are more doors.
The next three doors are at home in Barcelona. It’s the entrance hall of Orfeo Catalan, the Palau de la Música Catalana.
For the final images, I’m taking you with me to Asia. Asia in Europe. Asia in Germany!
Feng shui, also known as Chinese geomancy, is an ancient Chinese traditional practice that claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment.
On the other hand, you can find these doors in many places in Japan.
A torii is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the mundane to the sacred. This one is located in Germany. That Japanese garden was created in 1912 by famous Japanese garden architects. Each year a team of garden architects comes over from Japan to make sure, the garden is still in perfect shape.
I was really amazed to see, how many images of doors I have in my archive when I started my search. As usual for this kind of job, I used Excire Foto to find them. I simply used the tag “door” and got more than 1,000 results to choose from. I also had a few images with doors in my mind, to share with you. But, it was great to have so many additional images to choose from. I hope, you enjoy the selection.
*AD because of an affiliate link*
In 2020, I introduced you to Excire Foto, software to analyze and organize your images and, most importantly, find them! Since June 1st, the next version is out and includes among other improvements a Duplicate Finder and the ability to analyze PSD files. I’m going to publish a review soon. In the meantime, you can get more information and the prices here.
For now, take care!
The sun is warm,
the sea is cold.
The surf rolls in
and wets your feet.
finding colorful stones,
watching the gulls passing by,
listening to the wind
carrying their cry.
Enjoy your life
before growing old!
From today, a feature update of Luminar Neo is available. With the now published version 1.1 all proposed features are implemented. Therefore, there is no rebate for the reduced functionality anymore. But, with this code SOLANER-NEO, you can save 10€/10$.
One of the long-awaited features now finally available is the portrait background removal tool. Instead of manually removing the background and having to handle each hair separately, AI eases this a lot. With a single click the background can be made transparent.
This time, Anne challenges us to go local. Everyone takes photos while traveling or on special occasions like parties, graduation for school or university, weddings, birthdays, and so on. But, have you ever tried taking photos where you live? You know, I’m primarily in nature photography. But I live in a quiet urban region. Although, I living at the edge of the Ruhr area, you can’t really step out and be in the nature. Even the forests are fields where trees are planted to harvest wood.
I know, some people grab their camera an go into the city for taking photographs. They are either in architecture or in street photography. For me, non of these topics is really interesting although I do it sometimes.
Instead, I’m planning visits to natural places in my greater region. Quite often these are trips to nature protected areas with significant bodies of water to photograph birds. During the last two years, I also captured some butterflies and dragonflies as well as blossoms in our garden, And I hope, this year the monthly photographers roundtables will start again.
So, for today, I assembled a small collection of images taken in our garden dring the last years. Most of the images are unpublished. I’m extremely proud of the hummingbird hawk-moth having visited two times our garden and me being able to get a few very nice images of this really fascinating and extraordinary insect.
As the other kinds of wildlife photography, this can also be quiet time consuming. Be prepared and wait patiently for your subject coming in the right position. Although this collection might look amazing, I’m not one of these guys going out in the wild meadows to search for and photograph insects. I really admire those people bringing back home those fantastic photos of insects, but for me the necessary effort it too high. So, I only have an open eye and capture what’s around me. I can be patient to get my shot but I’m not patient enough to do so for hours.
You can enlarge the images by clicking on one of them and use the cursor keys to jumpe from one image to the next. That way you can also see the descriptions for the images. Have fun!
I hope, you enjoyed my little insect gallery. I know, not everyone loves them and I have to admit, some insects really look strange and alien like. Nevertheless, these tiny creatures also have their important role to play her on earth. They help feeding us! And each of them is worth the effort to protect them.
… 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!
LAPC is hosted this week by Sofia Alves. She introduces us to the concepts of minimalistic and maximalist photography. I’ve picked another image from the sun observatory, I introduced you to, last week. I often use minimalism in my photography because there are no distracting elements. Especially in monochrome, the leading lines are important to preserve harmony.
In this image, you can get an idea of the dimension the sun observatory has. The van is standing right in front of the observatory. A visitors group was brought up here with that van. Here, you can read more about the location.
Ok, some very rich people might consider this car as being a toy. An expensive toy! An expensive hobby. Buying old but beautiful cars, reconstruct them (or let others do that hard job while they spend their money on them), and put them into exhibitions, showrooms, or museums.
I can understand museums or even manufacturers doing this and making the restored cars accessible to the public. But, I can’t understand rich people doing it only for being proud of having them.
I can’t remember what kind of car this is. I photographed it in a showroom waiting for the next owner. Fortunately, that showroom is (was) accessible for everyone, and even taking photographs was allowed. I took this image with a fish-eye lens handholding the camera on my stretched arm to get this image. I only cleaned the edges and removed my legs in post-processing. I love, how the fish-eye lens was not only able to capture the whole car, but also distort the proportions (a bit 😲😂).
I took this image in January 2011 and didn’t find time to edit it until recently.
In case, any one of you is able to give me a hint on the brand and the model, I’d be glad to hear from you. Simply type it in the comment section below.
This is the sun observatory located on a 100-meter high heap of dead rock that remained from digging the coal out of the ground, as I already told you last week.
This story started back in April 2010 with a cat giving birth to 4 little kittens in our kitchen. Fritz was the youngest of them, but the biggest from the birth. Out of his 3 sisters, he stayed the longes with us. only the oldest is also still with us. The middle 2 moved to another family in the summer of 2010 when they were a few months old. These were the first of the four kittens who ate cat food and didn’t drink mother milk anymore. So, the first chapter ended well.
Their mother was less than a year when she became pregnant by accident. According to her habit, we guessed, she was born in the summer of 2009. She became only about 1 year old and died as a result of an accident with a car on a Saturday night in mid-September 2010. Luckily, the kittens were already old enough to survive alone (with our help). The second chapter ended not so nicely.
The first 2 girls were black, just like their father and the 2 younger kittens were tabby, just like their mother. The first-born kitten was the smallest from the beginning and stayed quite small. So, she got the name Petite-Fleur (little flower). The second got the name Felina, derived from the Latin name for cats: Felidae (Felis silvestris catus). The third got her name from the very prominent “M” on her forehead: Mchen (little M). And, the youngest was Fritz. He also has the “M” on his forehead, but less distinct than in his elder sister’s fur.
On Sunday, April 30th, 2017, little Petite passed away because of a severe injury and the third chapter also ended badly.
Today, the last chapter ended and it also ended sadly. About a year ago, we had to bring Fritz to the vet clinic because he collapsed a couple of times. his regular vet was unable to help any further. It was too severe. Apparently, he got poisoned. Although we got him back after a couple of days, but he wasn’t the same anymore. From that day, he had to see the doctor quite often. Every couple of weeks he collapsed again. In October last year, he had to have his molars pulled. Unfortunately, one fang also had to come out. Pills helpt him to recover more or less. But, he didn’t eat cat food. He captured mice and rats. He only took water, a bit of cat milk, and dry cat food. So, it was very problematic to give him the medicine. While we’re on vacation, his condition went worse again and our youngest son (he’s still at home) and his girlfriend took action and brought him to the vet clinic again. They took him in after a short examination. Later, they called our son to tell him, that Fritz’s state was already too bad to heal him. He already had water in his lung and they recommended putting him to sleep. So, this noon, the final chapter ended very sadly again.
Another sad Sunday. But, Fritz is reunited with his mother and his oldest sister.
Three weeks ago, while scouting a location, I saw these
kite flyers paragliders. It was amazing to see them bringing their kites up in the air. Although there was not much wind the man in the middle didn’t have any problems bringing his kite up. The lady to the left, instead, struggled a lot. I don’t know anything about kiting, but I like watching them. So, I can’t tell, if it was a lack of physical power, less experienced, or simply bad luck. Apparently, the guy in the middle was waiting for her and while waiting he had to fight hard with his kite and the wind to avoid being lifted up.
The guy to the right came later. He was still preparing everything. Although his kite is already in the air, the kite wasn’t connected to his body. So, he was unable to start. He even didn’t have his security backpack pulled on.
Unfortunately. I wasn’t alone. So, I couldn’t wait long enough to see them in the air.
This plateau is about 100 meters above the ground. It’s a heap built from the dead rock remaining from digging for stone coal in the underground mines for centuries. As the mine is closed since 2001, the area is converted into a park. There’s a path around the heap. This path is about 6.4 kilometers long. The whole park is around 7.5 square kilometers in size and offers a lot to the people.
Although the park was opened to the public in 2011 and has a very interesting sun observatory to visit, I wasn’t there up to now. The main reason was, that the sun observatory was closed again only shortly after the opening because of construction problems. In a documentary I watched the week before the visit, I noticed a demonstration of a part of that observatory: the point for observing the solstice. Apparently, the film team got access to the closed area for that sequence or it was taken from their archive. What a pity. Next week, I showing you the observatory.