That day, my face felt sandblasted when I was walking along that beach.
This is a part of the south beach of the small neighbor island of Helgoland, Düne, taken during my first trip to Helgoland, back in January 2011.
I already said on Monday, I’m not there this year. My friends planed to take the ferry on Monday morning from Cuxhaven. Again, it was a vague chance of not getting over to Helgoland because of heavy wind and rough sea (similar to last year). Last week they stopped the ferry for 2 days because of the bad weather. Unfortunately, the weather was still bad on Monday morning, even worse than last year. So, no ferry on Monday 😦
If you’re interested in visiting Helgoland during winter, you can drop me a note.
Who said, in landscape photography, you don’t need big telephoto lenses? The above image taken from Helgoland shows the southern beach of the small neighbour island Düne with the lighthouse you already know, when you’re a frequent reader of this blog.
DX, 310mm (= 465 mm FX), f/5.6, ISO 800, 1/2000
The longer the lens, the heavier it is. The heavier a lens is, the more likely you’ll get unsharp blurry images because of unintentional tiniest camera movements (i.e. a breath or simply a heartbeat). That’s especially true, when standing on of of a cliff during heavy weather or a storm. A tripod might help a bit, but sometimes the wind is strong enough to move the whole tripod. So, only very short exposure times can help, getting a sharp image.
This is my contribution to Monochrome Madness organized by Leanne Cole. Look at here site on Thursday (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.
You could ask, why I travel to the North Sea in mid winter. It’s dark, wet, cold and the sea is rough. Only very few people find their way to Helgoland during winter. In summer, it’s a destination for yachtsmen and day tourists for duty-free shopping. But, in winter?????
We’re going there for seeing nature, animals (birds and seals). The grey seals get their babies during winter. While the first wild grey seal was born in winter 1996/97, there were about 100 babies in 2011. 2016 there were already more than 316 and this year more than 426 babies from October 1st until January, 21st (when we left Helgoland).
The baby in the above image was born only a few hours ago.
Although, these animals look so cute. Keep in mind, they are the most dangerous animal in Germany. A male wights up to 300 kg and is much quicker on the beach than a human. So, many signs advise the visitors to pay much attention and keep a distance of at least 30 m between you and a seal. Winter is not only the season for giving birth, it’s als mating season. So, you can also see some fights between the adults (also there are fewer fights in January, because both, birth and mating season have reached their end).
Fortunately, most of the visitors behave good. But, every time you can see some people behaving very bad: going too close, standing between mother and baby, standing between animal and the see and so on. You got the picture. I guess, one day a seal could attach such a rude and ruthless human and I fear, that animal will be killed because of that. Next, they will be declared as too dangerous, and no-one will be allowed to visit them so easy.
During the 1970 they were completely exterminated in the whole Deutsche Bucht (German Bight). From the late 1980s they re-conquered a sandbank near Amrum. That sandbank became a bridgehead for repopulating the German Bight again. Recently, I saw a report saying there were more than 12,000 grey seals in the German Bight again.
Grey seals don’t attack humans. As long as you keep the distance, they stay calm. They look at you when you come nearer to check up the situation, but calm down again very easy. When they think, they are in danger, they start to hiss loud and show their teeth. A male might try to come a bit nearer to you (a few steps), but generally they tend to flee instead to attack.
P.S. when interested, I could help you to arrange a visit next winter 🙂