art, photography

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 205: “The eyes have it”

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.

 

Take care!

art, landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, travel, world

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #204 – “Door and Doorways”

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.

a sailship’s captain used to live behind this door back. He build that house in the 18th century.

 

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!

no more privacy in the lady’s room
no door is departing the shower from the pool anymore

 

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.

and the entrance to a smaller audition stage in the basement. Both glass doors are open at the moment.

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!

 

 

art, landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, travel, world

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #203 – “Local Vistas”

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.

Take care!

photo-of-the-day, photography

Monochrome Monday 9-04 and LAPC 202 “minimalism”

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.

Take care!

art, landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, travel, world

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #199 – Mechanical/Industrial

OK, guys. Weekend! Time for my contribution to LAPC. This week John is our host. He went back the memory lane a couple decades and directs our view to the time when machines started to first accomplish and ease, and later replace human labor.

 

I guess, I have to pause the next two or three weeks for LAPC because I’m on a trip. My usual posts are prescheduled.

Take care!

art, landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, travel, world

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #198 – Lights and Shadows

It’s Saturday again and while others are preparing for going to a party, I’m publishing a post for LAPC. It’s Patti’s turn this week.

We have a saying here “Wo Licht ist, ist auch Schatten” (Where there is light there is also shadow) and that’s definitely true. In photography as in painting, you can play with light and shadow. The human eye is always attracted by the bright parts of an image. Thus, you can use the shadow parts to may the main object pops out. The interaction between lights and shadows works in general best with black-and-white images, but also in color images it’s worth to have an eye on them.

A group of small decorative side towers at one of the towers of Colone’s cathedral at full moon. Here, the dark parts are the main subject also only seen as a silhouette.

During winter, the sun is able to paint wonderful structures on the ground.

This image taken in Sossusvlei is also a good example for what shadows can contribute to you final image.

Not only for abstract images, shadows can help making your main subject really key: the shadows in the back help this cheetah really popping out. Especially, because the low standing sun also models out his muscles.

Shadows can bring some depth in your architecture image. Especially for Lost-Places images this works well in monochrome and in color.

 

This is another example of very strong shadows. The sun was only able to enlight the top parts of the structures of a mountain side on Iceland.

This mushroom pops out from the dark surroundings. Although growing in the shadows, you can recognise it very well and the surroundings doesn’t distract form the main subject.

In this image, take a few weeks ago, the sun paints beautyfull patterns on the ground. The sun itself is positions near the sweet-spot (following the rule of thirds). In addition, the patterns are painting a positive diagonal from the lower left to the upper right and ends in the star-shaped sun. Thus, the patterns lead your view from the dark to the light.

The remaining two images are a bit different. Here we have a partial solar eclipse and total lunar eclipse. In the first one the moon is shadowing a part of the sun, while in the other image the moon crosses the earth shadow. In that image I put together 6 phases from the transition as well as the main image of the bloodmoon itself.

In case you’re interested in participating in this challenge either once or on a regular basis, check out this post published by Amy to learn about the rules and where to find the weekly topic.

Take care!

art, landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, travel, world

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #192 – Rule of Thirds

It’s Saturday and therefore it’s time for The Lens-Artist’s Photo Challenge. It’s Tina’s turn to challenge us this week. And it’s again a quite technical challenge. She calls for images demonstrating the “Rule of Thirds”.

To understand, what “Rule of Thirds” means, think of 2 horizontal and 2 vertical lines parting your image into 9 equal-sized rectangles. The most important part of the image should be places on one of the 4 points, where a horizontal and a vertical lines are crossing each other. In the screenshot below of an unedited image, I switched on showing these lines. Some cameras are even able to show these lines either in your view-finder or on the big display. Even many smartphones have the ability to help you get more interesting images by overlaying these lines while taking your images.

You don’t need to have your main subject exactly on one of these points. It’s not always possible. But, it gives you a valuable hint for getting better images. And, it’s so easy to incorporate.

Below, you can find some more examples from my archive from different genres.

 

Don’t get me wrong, following this rule is not a force. It’s a good rule, even many of the old and now-famous painters followed them. But, there are some cases, where it is necessary to break the rule. But, that’s for another post 🙂

My advice for a beginner: stay with the rules until it becomes natural for you, to see the world that way. Then begin to experiment by breaking the rule intentionally and knowing the exact reason why it is necessary to break them in a certain image to reach the next level of photography.

Take care!

art, photography

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 196: “Humor”

This time John challenges us for The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge with Humor 😲 He writes, that he picked this theme because he was considered of having a very special kind of humor. Phew!

How can I picture “humor”? What kind of humor do I have? My wife sometimes states that it seems from her point of view, I’d have to go to the cellar for laughing. I guess, she’s wrong. But, I have to admit, I love intelligent humor and when you have to look around the corner for being able to understand it.

From my point of view, it seems to be impossible to show “humor”. Instead, I picked a few humorous or funny images from my archive for you.

This is quite common in some areas in the countryside to make public that someone on the farm is about to marry soon.

 

We found this open-air shower and washbowl in the high-temperature area of northeast Iceland. Water was running unstoppable. While we were wondering about it and taking a couple of images, a second car arrived at this completely free parking ground. A couple from Slovenia left the car and came up to us. They were also wondering about it. After a short talk, the man decided, that taking here a shower would be a great opportunity because the camping ground where they stayed the night wasn’t that great, and visiting a public bath would be quite expensive.

 

 

This next image was taken during the parade for the annual funfair of our town. It celebrates the idea of Jamaica having its first bob team for running during the Olympic Winter Games. There’s also a movie telling this remarkable story called “Cool Runnings”. The scene below shows the finish of the racing track.

I photographed this funny lady a couple of years ago, also during the funfair parade.

This is a harpy, a fictional character in an anime or manga. I’m not that familiar whit that kind of art, but I love photographing cosplayers during the annual Japantag in our state capitol every now and then.

I love street art and this huge one is painted on the side of a 3- or 4-floor apartment building. Enlarge it, it has funny details, too.

This is also street art: a war-knitter decorated some poles and street-bordering chains.

I stumbled upon these “babies” in Prague a couple of years ago. No idea, what the artist has in his mind while creating them.

This is also in the town where I live. Two times a year the laundry is put up in the old town: in June during the Old-Town-Festival and in September for the funfair. A few years ago this image found its way into our State Archive as it documents a certain folkloristic habit.

 

This final image is taken during our annual carnival escape. It’s one of the fish dealers in the Barcelona Market hall

Enough fun for a day,

Take care!

culture, Music, photography, travel, world

Throwback Thursday: Club Tropicana and LAPC 195 “colorful expressions”

 

Today I have another image taken in Club Tropicana in Havana for you.

I’m not interested in dancing at all. So, I wasn’t very eager to go, when I saw this topic on the agenda. But, I also didn’t want to stay alone at the hotel and the visit was already prepaid in the package. Thus, I went.

I have to admit, it was a great experience. I’m happy about the good quality of my images because it was very dark. All of my images are taken at ISO 6400 😲😳 to have short shutter speeds with a suitable field of depth and avoid motion blur.

I guess I’m going to show you a couple of more images taken during that night in the near future. Stay tuned.

In case, you want to see more from Cuba, click here.

Because of the colorful dresses of the ladies, this image is also a perfect fit for LAPC. It’s hosted by Anne, this week.

Take care!

 

art, photography

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 194: “bokeh”

Today, Sofia Alves asks for something called “bokeh”. This word is derived from Japanese. Wikipedia describes it as follows:

“In photography, bokeh (/ˈboʊkə/ BOH-kə or /ˈboʊkeɪ/ BOH-kay; Japanese: [boke]) is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in out-of-focus parts of an image. Bokeh has also been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”. Differences in lens aberrations and aperture shape cause very different bokeh effects. Some lens designs blur the image in a way that is pleasing to the eye, while others produce distracting or unpleasant blurring (“good” and “bad” bokeh, respectively). Photographers may deliberately use a shallow focus technique to create images with prominent out-of-focus regions, accentuating their lens’s bokeh.

Bokeh is often most visible around small background highlights, such as specular reflections and light sources, which is why it is often associated with such areas.[6] However, bokeh is not limited to highlights; blur occurs in all regions of an image which are outside the depth of field.”

Next, I have a few examples from my archive.

 

Take care!

 

art, culture, people, photography, travel, world

Throwback Thursday and Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 193: “birthday”

600_3780-e_wThis week, John Steiner is looking forward to celebrating his birthday, so I’m happy to join the LAPC party. In some families and in some cultures, birthdays are a reason for huge celebrations. So, I picked up this post published first back in 2013.

There is a certain habit in Cuba of celebrating a girl’s 15th birthday.

The girl gets special clothing, is dressed up, and gets perfect makeup. Then they go to a photographer to take beautiful photographs.

According to our guide, some girls are dressed like a bride for these sessions, others wear cocktail dresses and I also noticed photographs showing a girl dressed like a female version of an old-fashioned, Spanish caballero. The photographs are usually taken in a park or in the streets and not in a studio.

Two weeks later, the parents and the girl have a party with all of her friends, and an album, containing the photos, which is a real eyecatcher for that party. Also, the parents put framed photos from that session on their walls.

I like that idea. (OK, maybe, because I’m a photographer).

600_3779-e_wWe met this young lady in the old town of Havana. Her mother was with her and took care of her hairstyle and her makeup, while the photographer directed his assistant to adjust the reflector.

So, we can congratulate her on her 15th birthday.

Are there any similar habits, where you live or coming from?

While waiting for my next post you can have a look at the previous posts and maybe drop me a note in the comments section below.

 

In the meantime, the girl is a young woman. As I said, I took these photos back in 2013. So, she’s already 24. How much must have changed for her in her life.

As I’m always interested in getting to know habits from other countries, regions, or cultures, drop me a note in the comments and tell me, how do you celebrate birthdays. I’m interested in your personal celebration as well as in general habits and traditions.

Take care!

landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, seasons, spring

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 192: “Earth Story”

This week, Amy reminds us to tell Earth Stories. She writes “The natural world has many stories to tell. They are written on the ground, in the mountains and rivers, and on rocks and trees. Let’s share their stories through our lenses. ”

Earlier this week we had Spring Equinox. That day, when day and night have the same length, marks the begin of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and fall in the Southern Hemisphere. In spring, Mother Earth demonstrates all of her creativity and power. Gazillions of plants start growing or blooming and the animals get their offspring.

In Japan, this time of the year is so important, that they broadcast a prognosis for the first day, when the first cherry blossoms start blooming. The cherry blossom is the symbol for beauty. This tradition called Hanami in Japan and you can read more about it on Wikipedia.

 

 

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It’s sometimes hard to find images fitting to a certain challenge. For these tasks, I’m using the help of Excire Foto. I told the software where my image library is located and it starts analyzing the images. It recognizes the main colors in the images as well as the contents (what is in the images) and tags them automatically. Later, I can use the user interface to search for images with certain tags. Currently, you can save a few bucks when ordering Excire Foto, because it’s on sale. With coupon Code SPRING-30 you can save 30%.

When using this link, new customers can get Excire Analytics for free when buying Excire Foto before March, 31st. After clicking the link, put both products (Excire Analytics is visible in a separate tab after clicking on Excire Foto for seeing the details) in your shopping cart and use code AnalyticsDeal during checkout and the total decreases by 39€.

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Take care.

landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, seasons, spring

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 191: “curves”

Curves are the most stable constructions when considering the statics. Thus you can find a lot of different curves in nature. But, also mankind learned to benefit from nature and incorporated curves in human created structure like products or architecture. As Ann-Christine has chosen this as her challenge for us this week at LAPC, I picked a few examples from my archive for you.

 

5 eggs

 

a staircase in Galeries Lafayette, Paris
a road in Iceland constructed in a way to preserve the homes of the elves and the other little folks
the curvish shape make the hors more resistible
same for snail houses
or bridges
and cathedrals
nature is the role model
and mankind copies

 

and a lizard uses it to hide himself

 

As usual, you can enlarge the images by clicking at them.

 

<ad>

It’s sometimes hard to find images fitting to a certain challenge. For these tasks, I’m using the help of Excire Foto. I told the software where my image library is located and it starts analyzing the images. It recognizes the main colors in the images as well as the contents (what is in the images) and tags them automatically. Later, I can use the user interface to search for images with certain tags. Currently, you can save a few bucks when ordering Excire Foto, because it’s on sale. With coupon Code SPRING-30 you can save 30%.

When using this link, new customers can get Excire Analytics for free when buying Excire Foto before March, 31st. After clicking the link, put both products (Excire Analytics is visible in a separate tab after clicking on Excire Foto for seeing the details) in your shopping cart and use code AnalyticsDeal during checkout and the total decreases by 39€.

</ad>

Take care.

landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, seasons, spring

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 190: “moving closer”

There’s a quote from Robert Capa (born Endre Ernő Friedmann;[1] October 22, 1913 – May 25, 1954), a Hungarian-American war photographer and photojournalist. I guess, nearly all people know at least one of his photos, the dying soldier. Robert Capa took that photo during the Spanish Civil War. I shows the soldier while he was falling backwards still having his gun in the right hand after being hit by a bullet less than a second ago. you can see that photo also on Wikipedia. Robert Capa once said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” He definitely was close enough Not only for the image I mentioned above, but during all of his work. Patti challenges us this week with this topic for The Lens-Artists Photo challenge and here introduction also starts with this quote

When watching the news, one topic dominates them currently: the war of Putin against the Ukraine. So, Robert Capa seems to fit in this unpleasant time. Unfortunately!

I don’t want to show war images. I’m neither a photojournalist nor a war photographer. Thus you can find different images in my archive.

I took the series below today three weeks ago. Last year I found that place at the end of the booming time and made a reminder in my calendar for this year. The blue crocuses are blooming a little earlier than the yellow ones. Fortunately, I was right with my guess about the time. Especially this huge patch was capturing my attention. I started with a kind of an overview images, although it does not show the complete patch. Slowly going closer and closer to the tree, ending with an image of a small group among all the flowers.

I cloud have go even closer by using a macro lens. But, my aim was showing the beauty of the blue crosses ant not botanical details. Taking macro images is a completely different topic.

Now, even the blooming time of the yellow crocuses is over. In a few places with a lot of shadow you can still see one or another, but in general, you can only see the green leaves and the faded petals. Don’t worry, the next wave of spring flowers is already in the starting blocks. Today, I noticed the first grape hyacinths.

Take care!

 

landscape, leisure, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, review

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 189: “Odds and Ends”

It’s Tina’s turn to host the Lens-Artist’s Photo Challenge this week. I assume everyone has some of these dust-catchers in her home. On a cupboard, shelf, sofa, or windowsill you can find more or less valuable things. One bought and valuated then stored in a drawer or a card box at the attic or in the cellar, later put in the bin or sold at a garage sale or flea market.

A few years ago, we had a booth at flea-marked selling toys and games of our kids, where they were too old for in the meantime. I sold one of them for a quite low price, but the receiver wasn’t a kid. Instead, a dog got it. At once the dog bit fierce in the toy. You can’t imagine how that hurt inside to see the dog maltreated a toy having comforted one of our kids for years and was even in their bed. I know, I gave it away and the new owner can now do, what she wants with her property. But, seeing such cruelty isn’t nice.

 

<ad>

It’s sometimes hard to find images fitting to a certain challenge. For these tasks, I’m using the help of Excire Foto. I told the software where my image library is located and it starts analyzing the images. It recognizes the main colors in the images as well as the contents (what is in the images) and tags them automatically. Later, I can use the user interface to search for images with certain tags. Currently, you can save a few bucks when ordering Excire Foto, because it’s on sale.

</ad>

 

Take care!

 

 

landscape, meeting, photography, plants, review, spring, travel

Throwback Thursday: I’m back … and LAPC #188 “A Special Place”

… from another trip. Thanks to the relaxations from the COVID restrictions it was a quite comfortable trip. Sanitizing hands and wearing a mask during transportation, in closed rooms, and wherever a proper distance can’t be kept is quite easy to follow and a level of restriction easily can be kept. Either way, we were able to enjoy the Mediterranean sun for a couple of days. This year’s destination for our carnival escape was the beautiful Balearen island of Mallorca.
We used Port d‘Alcúdia as our base for exploring some parts of the island. Nearly all of us were in the past already on Mallorca, but partly already decades ago. From Germany, this island is reachable in approximately 2 1/2 hours. Thus, it‘s also one of the most attractive destinations for party people. When talking about Mallorca as a vacation destination, you’re most probably faced with one of the bad images of this island. To name two of them, we have an island of the cleaning ladies (because traveling to Mallorca is quite cheap and requires in many parts of the island no knowledge of Spanish, so anybody can go there). I already named the other group, party people. Because it is so easy to reach Mallorca, and so many flights start each day from every German airport, even young people can travel to Mallorca and have a vacation with nearly guaranteed sunshine.
It’s a shame, people travel to Mallorca only to go to parties and get drunk. The island has so much more to offer. Wonderful landscapes from the sandy beaches with low water and only little tides, nice old town, restaurants with very good and tasty food, a mountain range, that parts the island in the northern part from east to west. These mountains are quite steep and craggy and up to 1.445 meters high. The island, located 170 kilometers off the Spanish mainland,  is about 98 kilometers in an east-west direction and 78 kilometers in a north-south direction. The mountains are approximately 90 kilometers broad with the 15 kilometers broad Tramuntana mountain range as the most important part.  The airport is located near the west coast in Palma, the capital of Mallorca as well as of the Spanish region of the Baleares, a group of islands where also Ibiza, Menorca, Formentera are part. Heading east with our rental cars, we needed approximately 45 minutes to reach Port d‘Alcúdia.
You can find a couple of towns twice on the map, because some towns are located at a safe distance from the sea, have founded a second town centuries ago at the sea to make it easier during the fishing season. The names of these towns start with the word „Port“. Nowadays, most of the hotels are located in these towns located at the coast, while the similarly named town located away from the sea has the Old town. So, when coming to Mallorca, never forget to visit the towns inland.
Unfortunately, the people have committed construction sins starting from the 1970s. So, we find many huge hotels along certain beaches. These concrete mountains mutilate the beautiful landscape. This is also the reason for becoming the most preferred vacation destination for generations of people, especially in Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries. Over the last 2 decades, people from the former Eastern bloc countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, or Ukraine also learned to love that Island.
It‘s very sad, that this island has such a bad reputation. Besides the beautiful landscapes, beaches, and towns, you can find a lot of tasty products like wine, olive oil, cheese, or gin. Also, the cuisine is very tasty. Besides seafood, you can also get rabbit, lamb, goat, and beef. When paying attention to the restaurant, you can be sure, all the products are local.
When we started last Friday, alone from our starting airport there were 6 flights to Mallorca, 4 of them run by the same airline. And, that’s end of February. You could say, it‘s off-season, and you’re partly right. It’s too cold to go swimming. During the days, the temperature went up to 26 degrees centigrade, but the air is certainly much colder, only 15-17 degrees centigrade and around 4-7 degrees at night. That’s enough to see the island less crowded and enjoy the landscape while going hiking or cycling. Many hotels are prepared for giving cyclists and their bike room for the night. The people are generally very friendly and helpful. In the big hotels, you can find always someone speaking some German or at least some English. But, as always when traveling to a foreign country, it’s much better to know some words and sentences in the local language.
For this trip, we had a small list of planned visits:
– rough Northern cost around Soller / Port de Soller
– neighboring town Pollença (the market at Sunday morning) / Port de Pollença
– Cape of Formentor (the lighthouse at sunset)
– the center of the milky way
– Palma, the capitol, with Old town, cathedral, and a bit of shopping for the ladies
– hiking along a small part of the southern coast
– an old fisherman’s town
As well as a few optional destinations. But, our main motivation to go to Mallorca at this time of the year was seeing the blooming almond trees. And we did. Huge fields of white blooming trees. It was amazing.

Unfortunately, some of the plans were unable to realize:
– Cape Formentor was unable to reach because of a closed road. The only road going to the lighthouse was closed for road construction works about 5 kilometers away from the lighthouse. Too far to walk because we would have walked back in the dark and not knowing if we would have passed the closing by foot.
– photographing the Milky Way had to be skipped because we were unable to find the proper place. Mountains were hindering us from looking in the right direction. Ok, the island is quite big, but also has a problem with light pollution as soo many other parts in Europe too, and we only had a small time frame between rising of the Milky Way at about 4 a.m. and sunrise at 7:30 (twilight starts much earlier). How annoying!
– visiting Palma was also a disaster. That day the Day of the Baleares was celebrated. Ten thousands of people were in the streets, but shops and the
cathedral were closed. Instead, many tents were set up to offer street food, wine, olive oil, and so on while in other places music groups, dance ensembles, sports clubs, and other artists were entertaining the masses. So, the streets were extremely crowded and we left early.
– the planned hike along the coast also raised a problem. One of us was wearing sports shoes instead of tracking or hiking boots. He also is a little bit over-weighted and the path was a natural path and not a paved one. After about 1 kilometer (which lasted approximately 45 minutes) we turned back. The whole round track would have been 8 kilometers long. Nearly impossible under these conditions. Very sad.
– another lighthouse was fenced so that we were unable to get to the right spot.

Our trip even had a bad start. As I told you, there are at least 4 regular flights from our departure point scheduled to Mallorca: 6:00, 8:30, 11:00, and 16:50. While the majority of our group booked for 8:30, two had to take the flight at 16:50 because of their working hours. The day before our take-off, we got a short notification about our flight at 8:30 was postponed to 12:10. After a little investigation, we got aware, this was due to a warning strike of the security personnel. When getting to the airport, we noticed only the 8:30 (postponed to 12:10) and the 16:50 flights were supposed to be operated, while the others were canceled. Phew! Blessing in disguise. Our airline was able to get everything managed as well as possible and was very organized to make the best out of that situation. So we finally arrived at Mallorca with a couple of hours delay, but we did!

Nevertheless, I don’t want to complain. It was a very nice trip and it was so great to see the sun again, not to mention the joy of being outside wearing only a T-Shirt. I was writing this while sitting in my plane back home. This morning, I was getting up while it was still dark and -4 degrees to start working. Each vacation comes to an end and almost always it feels like days were shorter when on vacation.

 

All of my images are still in the camera, so I only have a photo of blooming almond trees taken with my smartphone for you. It’s edited by using the AI module from Luminar Neo for removing the power lines between the palm trees and some of the almond tree twigs automatically with only one click. The other click was to automatically correct the verticals. Great job! <ad> you can try this with your own images, head over to Skylum, and get your own copy. As always, you get a 30-days money-back guarantee. </ad>

This post is also part of the LAPC hosted this time by guest host Karina from Murtagh’s meadow. Thanks for this challenge!

Take care!

landscape, leisure, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, review

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 187: “water”

This week, Anne is our host for LAPC. Her topic is water, a topic I wished for so long and would be mine, in case I were asked for a topic.

Without water, life on earth were impossible. At least, that kind of life, we know. But, water is extremely flexible. You can find it nearly everywhere and in many different appearances. When asking a physicist , she will tell you, water has 3 different appearances: solid, liquid, and gaseous. Thus, I try to show you all of them.

Ice, solid as a rock.

 

Water as a surface and above the surface: the sea, the rain, and the clouds.

 

Hot water releases steam.

 

 

Steam climbs up in higher regions and forms clouds.

 

When there is enough water in the air, it starts falling down: rain!

 

 

Some have fun in the rain.

Others have fun with snow, also a kind of solid water.

 

And rivers bring the water back to the sea.

Although some (many?) humans tend to complain about the rain, this is what it would look like without water:

Take care!

 

Btw. <Ad> Luminar Neo is out. In case, you want to try Luminar Neo on your own images, head over to Skylum and get your own copy. As always, you get a 30-days money back guarantee. In case, you want to read a bit more before heading over, click here to read a review I published earlier today. </Ad>

landscape, leisure, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, review

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 186: “low light”

A day come to its end

Birds and other animals head to their preferred place for staying the dark and dangerous night



The sun says good night to the mountains 

and another actor enters the stage.

 


Nowadays, humans are usually not afraid of the night anymore.

In the city when the shops are closed and only the owner or the employees are in to clean up.

 

At night at the bus stop. No one is around. Everything seems peaceful and silent.

 

When having a walk in the park now, you can enjoy the silence. Traffic noises from far reaching your ear

 

Artificial light. For millennia, fire and candles were the only artificial light source.

Nowadays, it’s different

Especially in the cities, you have a lot of lights turning the dark to the new day


But, after crossing the city limits and bringing some kilometers or miles between you and the city

you can start experiencing natural light again.

light pollution to the right from a city in about 50km distance, but already some stars in the sky above

Orion nebula
Aurora Borealis / Polar light / Northern light

After a dark night, the next morning starts

From dusk ’til dawn, the light isn’t absent. It’s still present, but on a (very) low level.

Thanks, Sofia, for this enlightening challenge this week for The Lens-Artists Photo challenge.

Why don’t head over to her site, look for the rules, and also write a post.

Take care!

landscape, leisure, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, review

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 184: “What travel has taught me” and LAPC 185 “Change”

Again, I’m combining two Lens-Artist Photo-Challenges. Last week Amy asked for what “travel has thought me” and this week John is asking for “Change”. I was extremely busy last weekend and over the week I’m following my own schedule. But, knowing the topic in advance, gave me the time to prepare a post although this weekend I’m very busy again.

You know, I was in Namibia last year for visiting and experiencing a desert. Namibia has lots of them. They are different from the sand deserts of the Sahara. But, you can see, how the sun dried out the country. Every now and then, we were crossing sand-filled valleys by using bridges. These valleys are rivers. According to my experience, rivers consist of water. In Africa, rivers cal also consist of sand and dust for some time during the year. They dry out.  Here in Europe rivers don’t dry out. Even during the extremely hot summers of 2017-2019, the rivers had at least some water. The water level was very low and even for river Rhine, shipping had to be stopped for a couple of weeks. But, for Africa, it’s quite normal that rivers dry out.

We have to be very, very careful with our activities as they have an impact on our environment. I’m not an ecologist, but Global Warming can’t be denied. Glaciers are melting and the additional water is diluting the salty water in the oceans, which makes the inner-ocean streams (i.e. Gulf Stream or Humboldt Stream) collapse which results in climatic changes on the continents as well as collapses of fish schools. Increasing temperatures are affecting the countries, especially around the equator. Bigger areas of heat and no rain at all will avoid growing food because of the lack of water. Monsoon-like rain at quite low temperatures in other parts will also avoid growing food because the rain will wash away the fertile soil.

 

 

We are the generation to initiate the change. Michael Jackson sang in his song “Man in the mirror” (written be Glen Ballard / Siedah Garrett):

I’m gonna make a change
For once in my life
It’s gonna feel real good
Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right
….
Who am I, to be blind pretending not to see their needs?
….
That’s why I want you to know
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could’ve been any clearer
If they wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change
I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It’s time that I realize
….
Gonna make that change come on
(Man in the mirror)
You know it
You know it
You know it
You know
Change
Make that change

 

Earlier this week I watched a documentary about people living in the Zambesi plains in Zambia. The people make their living with fishing. Traditionally, they were fishing with self-made traps and caught only the big fish, while the smaller ones were able to escape. So, over millennia, the system works well. Over time, more and more people came up with the idea to use nets instead of traps, because with the nets they were able to catch more fish. Unfortunately, they now also caught the small and young ones. Guess, what, the number of fish decreased enormously. So, the government forbade using nets but the people didn’t care. during the documentary, fishermen were interviewed by the film team. Surprisingly, they are aware they are exterminating all fish and killing the base of their lives. Their excuse: Even when I stop using nets, the others still use them. So, they will have more fish to sell, than me.

In small, this is the situation, we see all over the world. No-one is willing the do the first step. No government, no company, no women or man.

I want to hand over a loveable and lovely planet to our children. I want to make them see and experience the unique beauty of this wonderful tiny blue pearl in the black and cold universe. I don’t want to forbid. I want you to think about what you’re doing. Re-think it from end to end. When Sting published his song against Cold War in the 1980s, he phrased “The Russians love their children, too”. I believe this. Not only the Russians, all people all over the world. When people don’t have health anymore, who should spend money on products? When we don’t have enough water to grow plants, what do they want to eat? Do CEOs want to go out in the fields to grow and harvest their food on their own, because there are no farmers anymore?

The sentence «S’ils n’ont plus de pain, qu’ils mangent de la brioche.» (if they don’t have bread, they should eat cake) is attributed to the French Queen Marie-Antoinette and is supposed to be the final spark to start the storm of the French Revolution. The result is written in each history book.

A quote supposed to be said by either Chief Sitting Bull, Chief Seattle, or part of a prophecy of the Cree reads “When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money.” Regardless, who was the first one having said this, it’s true. Thus, I’m reciting Michael Jackson “start with the man/woman in the mirror and make the change!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take care!

landscape, leisure, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, review

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 183: “Memorable Events”

Thanks, Ann-Christine, for giving me the opportunity to remember a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Seychelles Islands back in October 2010. For two weeks I was in paradise. La Digue is one of the bigger islands forming the country Seychelles. It’s located in the Indian Ocean and belongs to the African continent. You can find it on a map when staring with your finger in Mombasa at the Kenyan coast and moving to the east and starting with your other finger from the Jemen-Oman-border going south.

Seychelles is south of the equator at 4°16′ S 55°46′ E. So they are outside the cyclone area. No dangerous animals are living on the islands. There is even no malaria threat in Seychelles.

The islands have a tropical climate. It’s hot and the humidity is quite high. Because of the short distance to the equator, there is no twilight. When the sun goes down, it becomes dark nearly at once. The sun rises at around 6 a.m. and goes down at around 6 p.m.

 

first sight of the paradise aka Seychelles

 

the church is already decorated for the upcoming national holiday
one of the fantastic beaches around La Digue

 

a big print of this image is in the image’s rotation box and thus hanging every now and then in our living room for a couple of weeks.

 

nightfall is very fast so close to the equator

 

I loved watching these pretty white long-tail tropicbirds when they were in the air. It seemed to me, they really have fun and enjoy flying fast and amazing courses. 

 

When you want to read a bit more, you can find my posts here. Scroll down to the bottom of that page to start with the oldest post.

Take care!

photo-of-the-day

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 182: “interesting objects”

It’s Saturday evening, so it’s time for LAPC and Patti is our host this week.

The first object is from my “toy box”. It’s a view inside a (broken) hard disk.

Many people love lighthouses. This one is not in use anymore for a couple of decades. One of the famous comedians in Germany in the 1970s and 1980s used to live here: Otto Waalkes. Now, it’s used by the nearby city government for weddings.

 

Even (street) signs can offer something to look at. Decide on your own, which sign you need to follow. I found this in Normandy, France, a couple of years ago.

 

Or maybe, you’re interested in street art. Some war-knitting activities affected these poles in a street in our state capitol, Düsseldorf.

I met this strict-looking lady inside the botanical garden of Barcelona. It’s a memorial for the famous flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya (1913 – 1963).

Or, maybe you’re more in details. I illuminated this chain with two flashes, each with a gel attached to color the light.

This is another memorial, I found in Barcelona. I have to admit, I don’t know the meaning nor the artist. But, I liked the shape, the color at night-fall, and the minimalism in this image.

When you’re not familiar with a place, have a look for these telescopes. They usually point by default to an interesting area. In this case, it’s Hotel W in Barcelona.

To give your photographic eye special training, take your camera and walk around in your house or apartment. Try to capture interesting things. To make the challenge even harder, you can try to tell a story in only one image

 

It was a lot of fun, to dig into my own archive and assemble this tiny gallery for you. I hope you liked it. As usual, click on an image to enlarge it.

Take care!

 

history, landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, review, seasons, travel, world

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 181: “Double Dipping”

This week Tina challenges us to show some work out of our own page. hmmm, I usually don’t participate in other challenges than LAPC. So, I don’t have something to say today and I was considering skipping this week. But, I have two other pages for you:

  1. Monochromia: when you’re a lover of monochrome images, this site is for you! You can find images published at least twice a day from many very talented photographers around the world working in different fields of photography. I’m a regular contributor over there. My slot is Friday 13:00h/1 p.m. New York time. But, I’m always reblogging it here, too.
    Here’s one of my last images, I published over there:
  2. The other one is my other, my personal, Blog. Currently, I’m running a poll to find the images for my next calendar. You’re invited to participate. Simply jump over and vote for your favorite images. The instructions are on top of the page in German first and in English below. It’s completely anonymous. I’d be very happy to get a lot of participants.

 

Take care!

 

history, landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, review, seasons, travel, world

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 180: “2021 – a review in images”

Today we have the first day of a new year. I often compare this day with a blank sheet of paper laying in front of me waiting to get written on. But, it’s also the perfect day to look back on the just past year and remember. So, this is kind of a follow-up to my yesterday’s post.

A week ago, I wrote about my yearbook. It’s also a book of memories (photographically). So, for today’s post, I’m just digging a bit more into the image folder to find the absolute essence of 2021.

Winter:

In early January we got a little snow for 3 days and in February ice rain and on top a quite solid layer of snow for about 2 weeks. A few crisp and clear nights gave me the opportunity to go out for photographing the night sky and some deep-sky objects.

 

Spring:

Spring started as usual, but too cold. The bluebells were not ready to get photographed, but the tulip fields were great again. Unfortunately, late snow destroyed many blossoms. So, fewer fruits grew on the trees.

Summer:

While June started great, by mid-June the weather turned. Gray skies and a lot of rain. The worst day was July 14th when huge amounts of rain fell over a very small band of land devasting the areas. Small creeks and rivers got soo much water, that they were overflooding the streets, railways, and towns besides them. Meters of water was standing in the streets. Up to now, the damages are not removed. Many people still have no heating in their houses in those areas. Many people lost everything except their lives while others were not so lucky because those also lost their lives.

Because of the bad weather, I didn’t go on excursions over the summer.

Fall:

Because of the weather, I didn’t go on any excursions during the fall, except using the first opportunity to see the cathedral in Cologne without any scaffold. The whole summer and most of the fall the weather was quite bad. Only a few hours of sunshine but even these days were cold. So, the Namibia trip from the second half of November dominates this section.

During December, I was busy developing my images from Namibia. So, there’s nothing to add.

You can find the corresponding posts published by our hosts here: Tina, Patti, Ann-Christine, and Amy

Take care!

landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, travel, world

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 179: “serene”

Thank you, Patti, for this week’s theme for The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge “serene” and call it the opposite of the busy time we usually have before Christmas. In my case, 13 birthdays during December are coming on top, not counting the Advent and Christmas festivities for groups like colleges, buddies, neighbors, and so on from kindergarten, school, work, church, … you name it. I just returned from my son’s birthday party.

Next, I had a lookup in the dictionary for meaning and synonyms.

Now, I’m ready for my tiny collection: take a cup of tea or coffee or a glass of water, lean back, close your eyes, and imaging the most beautiful place you have been in your life or the place of your dreams.

Seychelles – the place of my dreams. This dream came true in 2010

 

What a sunset! That night in June 2014, the sky was burning in Iceland!

 

This sunset was not that far away from home: Belgium in fall 2014

 

And I’m closing with these images from Namibia last month.

 

 

As usual, by clicking on the images you can increase them.

Take care!

animals, astro, bird, landscape, nature, night, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants, star, travel, world

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 178: “My choice: a small Namibia selection”

Today’s host for The Lens-Artists Photo-Challenge is Tina. Her topic for today is “you choose” 😊 How funny. From her comments on my post last week I know, she’s quite eager to see some images from Namibia. Thus, I made a tiny selection from the images taken there.

I’m still in quarantine. Because I’m working from home, the two past weeks didn’t look different than the months before. Nevertheless, I was able to develop a couple of images. I’m not done developing my images from Namibia, but there are some I can show right now.

As usual, click on an image to enlarge it.

Take care!