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.
Inside the castle of the former king of Saxonia. To the right, you can see the colonies of the former royal stud. Now, people using the area to cut short from the river Elbe or the new town on the other side of the river to come to the old town.
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.
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.
A friend of mine posted an image on FB of a Ferris wheel at night. I liked the image very much. While chatting with her online, I checked the archive of this blog to see, if I have one of my own images already online. I found a couple of other funfair related posts i.e. here, here, and here. The image I was looking for, I unfortunately only have on my other blog to showcase as an example for the “Kirmeslichter” (lights at a funfair) workshops, I’m offering. This year I didn’t offer that workshop, because there were no funfairs because of the COVID19 pandemic.
Each year in September the funfair comes to my town, but not in 2020. Nearly every year I’m out for at least one night to capture these special lights. The Ferris wheel is usually the center of such a funfair. That one year, there was another circling attraction right behind the Ferris wheel and I was waiting with my camera for a moment when both of them were operating. The carousel in the background only has two arms with a gondola for about 8 people in each. When in operation, the gondolas are circled first in one direction and after a short stop, in the other direction. I can’t imagine how it could feel sitting in one of the gondolas.
When I was in Praha back in 2010, I came along these traffic lights.
The traffic lights are for pedestrians. Right next to the lights, there is a button at the wall for people to change the lights from red to green. This is necessary, because the street is so narrow, that no two persons are able to pass each other when in the street. Even kids are unable to do so. So, the traffic lights are really a necessity.
Last year this fantastic canyon was closed for the public for several months. As almost all of the Icelandic nature, the area is very sensitive. When rain falls, the soil becomes soft and the plants are in high danger of getting thread down when (lots of) people walk over the grass. Also the soil itself: without plants, the rain will wash the soil away.
Unfortunately, many tourists seem to have stored their brain in a locker at the departure airport or even at home, instead of bringing it with them and use it during their trip. Many of them don’t care about walking beside the paths, destroying plants or throwing their tase simply in the nature. I’m not a fan of regulations, watchmen, tourists taxes or something like that, but it seems without this these people will have destroyed the beauty of nature in a wink.
While the closing last year was prolonged several times until June 1st, the Icelandic government decided this year to close it ’til June 1st at once. Surviving winter is hard enough for the plants, even the well adapted plants of Iceland.
Here we are in Brittany again. At the beach of the picturesque town of Cancale you can find this small square with some booths. They are selling oysters here. Right in front of the coast you can find oyster banks set up by fishermen to breed oysters and harvest them more easily. When enlarging the image you can see some of the banks in the water. The beach right next to this square ist covered over and over with oyster shells. I guess, thousands of generations of oyster shells are laying here, thrown away by the people who bought and eat them. It’s an interesting sound when walking over them.
This is my contribution to Monochrome Madness organized by Leanne Cole.
“Monochrome Madness” is now in its fifth year of existence. Look at Leanne’s site on Wednesday (Australian time), to see many more monochrome images created by many other talented photographers from all over the world.
I’d also encourage you to participate. The conditions are published in each of her Monochrome Madness posts.
I came across this wonderful backlit fountain, when I was in Dresden in October 2015. The low standing sun enlightened the water in such a wonderful way, so that I couldn’t resist to take some photos.
Full-Frame (35mm, FX), focal length 14mm
More of my images can be seen at my own blog.