art, astro, long exposure, night, photo-of-the-day, photography, postprocessing, star, travel, winter, world

Throwback Thursday: Orion Nebula

As I proposed last week: the Orion nebula. Orion, the hunter, is present in the winter sky in the northern hemisphere and the nebula can be found in the sword hanging. Orion is located left of the Pleiades.

You can see the nebula even with your bare eyes, but better with a spyglass or a telescope.

Take care!

art, astro, long exposure, night, photo-of-the-day, photography, postprocessing, star, travel, winter, world

Throwback Thursday: A path to the stars ….

… or on my way to Orion.

I was out that night for photographing the Orion nebula a couple of days ago (ok, literally it’s two weeks tomorrow). It’s located in the sword hanging of Orion right ahead. I liked the situation, how the path leads you directly to Orion. So, I took a wide-angel image first. Next week, I’m showing you the nebula.

You can easily see, how much light pollution we have here. And this is a location with only very little light pollutions in comparison to the situation in the wider area. You might remember my complaints from the past i.e. when I talked about the comet Neowise.

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°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.

 

 

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°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.

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 😊

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!

astro, landscape, nature, night, photo-of-the-day, photography, star, summer, travel, world

Throwback Thursday: a rare visitor

Currently, we have a rare visitor from outer space next to us: comet Neowise

Here, where I live the conditions are quite bad for astrophotography. In the past, I already told you a couple of times, light pollution is a serious problem all over Europe and especially here in my region because of the big cities Cologne, Leverkusen, Wuppertal, Dortmund, Bochum, Essen and the rest of the Metropolregion Ruhr Area emits so much light even to the sky that you can see hardly any stars at night. When looking up to the stars, you could count them on 3 or four hands.

The second problem is the time of the year. In July sunset is very late and sunrise very early. and in the time between the sky is still a bit enlighted from the sun, even it is already below the horizon: the twilight zone. The above image is taken at 23:45! The sunset was at 21:42  and the sunrise at 5:30.

The third problem is the direction: the comet is located in the north-western direction. The western part of the sky is the part, where the sun sets and where the bright parts remain the longest. (in addition to the huge lights from the cities in that direction, as long as they are less than 70km away)

An we have a fourth problem: during summer the moisture in the air is much higher than in winter. So, thin cloud layers in the upper sky filter some lights. Winter nights are much better for astrophotography.

During the first two weeks when Neowise was already visible from the earth we were left out because of bad weather. But, last Sunday the weather was great at daytime and that was quite proposing for a try and I did, even the could forecast for the night wasn’t good. Nevertheless, I tried. Although I read, the comet should be visible with the bare eye, I was unable to see him. The first photo instead made him visible! Hooray! A second try during the next night, unfortunately, didn’t bring better results despite the cloud forecast was better. Reality proofed the forecast wrong. So, I’m still hoping for a third chance. But the weather forecast proposes lots of rain and clouds for the next weeks. I guess I won’t see him again.

Take care!

 

architecture, long exposure, night, photo-of-the-day, photography, seasons, star, technic, travel, winter, world

Monochrome Monday 6-42

For a long time, I wanted to go out photographing this bus station at night. Different from other photos taken of illuminated buildings, I opted for going out late to make sure to have a black sky. You know, usually, I go out at “blue hour” for taking such photos. I’m quite happy with the results. I really like the kind of graphical look.

Take care!