art, culture, photo-of-the-day, photography

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 132: “striped & checked”

Ok, this one is really hard, Ann-Christine. First, I assumed I’d have to give up this time. The only striped thing in my archive coming to my mind were cats.

But, fortunately, I found at least a few things.

art, culture, photo-of-the-day, photography

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 130: “It’s a Small World”

This week’s Lens-Artists photo challenge is hosted by Anne and she takes us with her in the tiny world of macro photography. She’s right, one can discover a lot with a macro or even a micro lens. Macro photography is defined by everything up to a scale of 1:1. When using a lens able to use at scales between 1:10 and 10:1 you’re talking about micro photography.

A common macro lens is usually working up to the scale of 1:1. But, there are options available to boost the scale being this i.e. by involving extenders, bellows and reverse adapters. I own a set up extenders and a revers adapter und use them sometimes.

Below, I assembled a collection of images taken with my 105mm macro lens, a 35mm prime lens attached via retro adapter or with a 400mm telephoto lens by using extention tubes. You see, there are different ways to do macro photography. Btw. the easiest way is using a macro lens, but the most fascinating one is the retro adapter (end even the cheapest one😊). In case your interested in a howto, drop me a line and ask, what you want to know😊.

Btw. you can find many more examples here in my blog.

art, culture, photo-of-the-day, photography

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 129: “Favorite Photos of 2020”

Ok, it’s January 1st. So, it’s time for a look back on the past year. Did you like it? Did you love it? Or did you hate it?

I don’t want to review the year again, because I already did it twice.

My top landscape images are already published. So, what’s missing now? The birds are missing! And here they are:

In addition, I have the top 9 by votes of Instagram for you:

This post is part of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. This time it’s organized by Tina Shell. Head over to her site to see her motivational post and links to many other posts inspired by hers.

art, culture, photo-of-the-day, photography

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 128: “And Here Comes the Holiday Season…”

Yep! Holiday season. A strange holiday season at the end of a strange year. I know, this year is strange for all of us, all over the world. Many families in many countries looking back in anger because of a personal loss. Lots of fear for many people: will I get infected? Will a family member get infected? And when having symptoms, the fear changes to “I hope, it’s something else”. And after a confirmed infection, this changes again. Now the question is “will I survives and will I recuperate completely”. I guess I can understand these feelings as I got tested in June in Iceland and waiting for the result was not enjoyable. Earlier this week my wife got tested because of an infection. She (we) had to wait about 30 hours for getting the result. It turned out, the test was negative, but instead, she was diagnosed with a lung infection – also not good, but better as COVID19.

In a ‘normal’ year, December is the worst month of the year. Besides the necessary Christmas-related happenings, I have 13 birthdays during December in my closer family circle plus the close friends. 8 of them are still upcoming, including mine. So, it’s a lot of stress to get all the necessary visits and festivities coordinated. The other thing is, in general, I don’t like the early start of Christmas decorations and products in the supermarkets (really, is it necessary to start end of September selling this stuff????) and playing the same 5 or 6 Christmas songs for months in the shops (yes, Band-Aid, Wham and Mariah Carey are among them 😫). Similar situation, when turning the radio on. Call me Mr. Grinch, but I can’t stand this anymore. Ok, ok, I’m not that extreme as Mr. Grinch. I don’t hate Christmas at all and I don’t try to ruin it for others. But, I don’t like how we are showered with music, decorations, smells, and so on for such a long time each year and always the same kind of stuff. This has nothing in common with the idea of Christmas.

OK, this year is different. No driving to work and working from home instead saves me from hearing these songs over-and-over again in the car (I’d need to commute 2 hours per day). I also try to avoid entering a shop as I’m one of those with a high risk for a dramatic course. Christmas shopping is done either online or I delegated it. Even all the birthday parties are skipped and there no necessity to attend an Advent or Christmas celebration in the office, society, or church. Staying home a lot. I even participated in my first ever virtual Christmas party organized by a lady from my department. It was nice and entertaining. Among other things, she had a Christmas-related quiz organized: 20 questions around Christmas. I had 10 correct answers (it would have been 12 if I would have followed my first idea and not corrected) and in the end, I  ranked #13 out of 96. I guess that’s quite good despite the questions were sometimes very American and British. You could ask me, are there no happy feelings bound to Christmas? Sure, there are some 🙂

Here, we have a saying: Die Dosis macht das Gift (the dose makes the poison). Another one is “putting sugar in the honey”.

So, the grouching hour is over, Christmas season is around the corner. Here are a couple of Christmas related images from the past years. Btw. I want to tell you the greatest and most valuable Christmas present ever that I got: my daughter, my first child, was born the night before Christmas (Dec 23rd at about 22:00h). She really has Christmas spices in her blood! During December she’s always wearing a Santa Clause-like jelly bag cap either in red or in dark-blue with tons of little stars. But, both are having a white edge and pompon. Even her son has such a hat (he only has a red one). So, it’s quite funny to see them walking along the street like two of the dwarfs searching for Snowwhite.

In the past, I wrote a small series of posts on how Christmas and Advent look like here in Germany. Maybe your interested and check them out. They are all tagged with “Advent” and have “Cultural notes” in the subject.

 

a woodcarving crib

 

some Christmas cookies

 

Advent wreath

 

a home-made Advent calendar in our kitchen

 

a felt crib

 

a classical Christmas tree with the gifts for the kids under the tree

 

a detail of the Christmas tree (no wax candles anymore for security reasons)

 

a booth at the Christmas market

 

another booth at the Christmas market

 

So, thank you Ann-Christine for this wonderful theme, and forgive me for my grouching 😊

I wish you and your beloved a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you in 2021!!

Take care!

art, culture, photo-of-the-day, photography

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 127: Precious Moments

This week’s challenge is easy for me. Amy is asking for “precious moments”. Everyone has so valuable memories. Memories as precious as gold, silver, or diamonds like i.e. your wedding, the birth of your first child, getting a certain job, getting a promotion, you name it.

But, I’m telling you a different story now. You know, in 2014 I was in Iceland for the first time. And that country captured me. Right after my return, I started collecting hints and started planning my next visit. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find someone willing to accomplish me. Either the plan was too exhausting or the costs too high. You know, Iceland is quite an expensive country. By the end of last year, out of the blue, a mail arrived in my mailbox: a friend was looking for company for his own trip. As he regularly organizes such trips to different countries he knows a lot of people. His initial plan and my plans were mostly congruent and he was willing to add my additional destination to the plan. When the Covid19 pandemic started in China, I didn’t assume it would reach Europe. But, it did! When it came over to Europe End of February, there was still hope to be already over. We were about to start on June 13th. But, the pandemic lasted longer and longer. At some point in May, Iceland was virus-free again. But not the plane and no ferry was operating. Even the airlines didn’t cancel the flights. We were kind of locked. Finally, we the cancellation and were able to book seats on the first flight from Frankfurt to Reykjavik. What a precious moment, when I left the airport after the COVID19 test. Everything went well from that point on.

The other touching moment was near the end of our trip. During my first trip, I was guided to a beautiful waterfall located on private ground, as usual. No path was leading to the waterfall, no parking ground available and I even didn’t get a name. Unfortunately, the sky was dull and I didn’t get a nice image. Fortunately, I was able to find the waterfall during the last years in the maps. Since 2014 I’m following Icelanding news (in English) and had to read, the landowners had closed every possible way to reach the waterfall because of the misbehavior of many tourists: leaving their waste, trample down the sensitive plants, and even shit (yes!) behind the bushes! So, I assumed, I’d never see it again. But, while preparing the tour for this year, I noticed, the landowner created a small parking ground and prepared a path river-up to the waterfall. A one hour hike over quite challenging ground leads up to the waterfall. Unfortunately, we were unable to find the parking ground. Instead, we parked our car near a path leading river-down to the waterfall and started our hike. After 20 minutes or so, we reached the river, about 20 meters broad. We saw the river flew too strong to cross it. The ford seemed to be passable for horses, but for humans. There was too much water running down. We walked a bit up and down the river to see if there’s another option. but, there was no other option for us. At least we didn’t see one. So, we started walking back. Halfway back, a group of Icelanders came to meet us. Surprisingly, they asked us, how far it’d be to the river. We got to know, they were also on a hike to that waterfall and invited us to join. They said, one of them would know, how to cross the river even as a human. So, we joined the group. But, when arriving at the river again, they saw, the river had too much water to allow us, to cross it. But, they had a plan B. A short distance down the river was a bridge. So we were able to cross the river save and finally reach the waterfall.

Standing in the same place again as 6 years ago, I was touched to tears.

In my opinion, this is the most beautiful waterfall of Iceland: mostly because of the color of the water: turquois!

So, finally I can say, the more complicate it is to reach a certain goal or the more efford you have to invest to reach it, the more preciuos the goal becames!

Take care!

abstract, art, culture, flowers, food, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #112 – “Pick a Word…”

Ok, Leya, I picked my word from your list. I’ve chosen simply the first one “comfortable”.

Although it’s still summer (according to the calendar), it feels much more like a fall. The apples in our garden are ripe and we picked already some of them to eat them, make juice, and apple purée. Also, the blackberries are ripe to make juice, jam, crumbles, and liqueur.

Much of rain, cold winds even the first November storm (I know, it’s still August) rushed over the land. When the sun comes through, the air stays cold. Soon, the t-shirts have to make room for the thick pullovers.

But, that’s the time for cozy evenings at the fireplace, if your house has one (ours has not). Otherwise, you could put a DVD with a movie of a fireplace in your DVD player. Enlight some candles and some joss sticks. Take a cup of coffee or tee and take a seat. Watch how the wind plays with the fallen leaves.

 

I took this photo a couple of years ago when I was in Brittany with some friends. We had rented a former farmhouse with 6 rooms, a large kitchen, and a nice garden. But, we didn’t use the house that much, because we were a lot outside for discovering the country, taking photos and visiting the beaches. We were there pre-season in June and enjoyed the evenings with the fire.

Take care!

abstract, art, culture, flowers, food, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #111 – “everyday objects”

This week it’s Patti’s turn to challenge us and she has chosen the topic “everyday objects” because she recently started unpacking stored things packaged about two years ago.

So, let’s try and have a look, what I found in my archive.

 

Children are eager to pick them, but adults usually don’t pay attention on chestnuts on the ground, especially when wet.

This is a carder wool bee. We don’t notice them while they are working. But, we’re happy when we get fruits as a result of their successful work.

We’re also happy when all of our machines work properly. We only pay attention, when something goes wrong.

 

Have you ever seen straws like this??

What do you see? It’s a toy for very small kids. The can learn to grasp.

Insects are annoying. But, did you ever saw their beauty?

When you’re going in the city, have a look up along the buildings. It’s often interesting how they are constructed.

 

 

Everyone is every now and then waiting at a bus stop. See, how the night can change the appearance. Light changes everything. Open up your eyes and see!

 

Guess, what I have here for you!

Five eggs in their box. Were you right?

A candle enlights a room. But, what happens when you blow out the flame?

 

 

You’re sitting in front of a computer, right? See, what’s inside of it!

Fall again. The hazelnuts are ripe. Without color, it looks unfamiliar, right?

 

Did your eyes follow the pipes? Do so. Look, where they will lead you!

Old buildings usually have beautiful staircases. Count the floors and wonder!

A straightened light works out the shape of the keys.

You can have so much fun when looking carefully at the surroundings. Change the way you look at them. Change the light and / or the position of your eyes.

A very special kind of seeing the world around you in a different kind is converting your camera to ‘see’ either infrared or ultra-violet.

Take care!

abstract, art, culture, flowers, food, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #110 – “creativity in the time of COVID19”

Covid19 – a term, rising memories to the pest epidemics from the medieval ages, where town became nearly deserted.

The current pandemic is kind of worse. An epidemic is limited to a certain region. A pandemic, instead, is worldwide. Here in Europe, the pandemic started end of February, that’s more than half a year ago. In the beginning, our government ordered us to stay at home. Only the most necessary or essential leaves were allowed. We were ordered to go into lockdown.

You know, I’m meeting with other photographers once a month for our monthly roundtable. Certainly, this wasn’t allowed. So, we had to start something else. We needed to become creative for coping with the new situation. Tina Shell asks this week for the Lens-Artists Challenge to show such creative ideas. Here is our (my) answer.

Instead of meeting in a certain location and doing our photo-walk as usual (the location is always negotiated online in the week before the meeting), we met online in a conference call for talking about 2,5 hours. To have a relation to our normal main topic (photography) I had a special idea. I own a deck of inspiring cards. Each of these cards has a special idea and is meant to train creativity in photography. This time, I picked one card for each participant in advance of the meeting and sent a photo of the card to them. One week, each of us had to think about the content and find a solution for presenting up to 5 images during the meeting. It was a great success!

My topic was: backlit (others were: hot, cold, yellow, from below, from above, from behind, blue)

Here are my results:

 

moss, about to start blooming very soon equipped with some dew drops (macro)
oil drops (macro)

 

product image of a collectible bottle

 

star magnolia in the garden

 

amaryllis petals in our living room

 

white tulip blossom in a vase on our kitchen table

 

oil drops (macro)

 

All of these are photographs! During raw development, I only adjusted the lights and the darks slightly and did some post-sharping.

Take care

art, culture, history, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, travel, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #108 – “sanctuary”

My pause lasted a bit longer than expected, but I’m back for the next Lens-Artists Challenge. This time, we have a guest host. It’s Xenia from tranature and she asks for our understanding of “sanctuary”. In her own post, she showed us a couple of images where nature is the main part. Preservation of nature and animal shelter came up time my mind right after the original meaning of a holy place, i.e. the sanctuarium in a medieval cloister.

 

Each harbor is a sanctuary for the ships. As soon as a ship leaves the port behind, the seamen are on their own to make the trip a success. Nature has such mighty forces to bring even huge modern supertankers, freighters or container ships to the edge of their possibilities and to jeopardize the success of their journey.

Take care

art, culture, flowers, photo-of-the-day, photography, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #101 – “one single flower”

Today, we have a guest host for Lens-Artists Challenge. Cee is our host and she asks for one single flower.

For this challenge, I limit myself to only one image.

 

This schlumbergera (I guess it’s a Schlumbergera truncata) grows well in our living room. I love the intense red color. As the window in our living room goes to the north, it’s not hot and not too bright. So, each year we’re getting some wonderful blossoms around Christmas (mostly in early January). We have a second one with pink blossoms. But I like the red one more.

In German it’s called Gliederkatus or Weihnachtskaktus. Translating it literally, the first one would translate to element or rank cactus and the second one Christmas cactus.

When photographing blossoms, it’s sometimes hard to limit yourself to only one blossom. But in this case the single blossom stands for its own and can be admired without getting distracted.

I guess, I need to pause for the next 2 weeks, because I’m going on a trip on Monday morning ’til the end of June. My regular posts are pre-scheduled.

Take care

art, culture, history, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, travel, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #100 – “The Long and Winding Road”

Today, it’s Tina’s turn to challenge us and the asks for long and winding roads.

Come, follow me to the fantastic island located in the nothern Atlantic: Iceland

even this is a road for cars

I love this image very much. The tiny car crossing the river in the front part of the image isn’t a toy car. It’s a big offroad van instead.

 

Or do you prefer Scotland?

Now, we’re on the Isle of Skye:

 

 

 

You can also travel in Wales.

 

Maybe you like a railrod more than a paved or a gravel road

A short trip to the Czech Republic for visiting their nice capitol: Praque

In the Alpes, like here in Switzerland, you can find lots of winding roads .

Sometimes, roads don’t look like a road, but they are like here in the wonderful Valley de Viñales in the north of Cuba

 

Also, rivers are roads:

 

You can see the roads even better from above by getting in an hot-air ballon:

Now, lets sing together with Louis Armstrong “(What a) Wonderful World”!

 

btw. some guys really love winding roads:

 

Take care

art, culture, history, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, travel, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #99 – “old an new”

Today, it’s Amy’s turn to challenge us. And she did.  She was thinking of people wearing traditional clothes in a modern city or using modern machines. Another idea she told us, is a cityscape taken in a city with a history where new building standing beside old buildings or modern vehicles in front of historic buildings.

Here are my images for this challenge. As usual: click on the images to enlarge them.

I want to show you modern machine digging in the ground for coal, cerated eons ago.

Modern art in the middle of the king’s castle of an old kingdom?

Coal made the Ruhr area rich. Nowadays only the once dirty but now the remaining symbols are keeping the memory alive.

Some ancient traditions are kept alive by modern soldiers in traditional uniforms to keep the memory alive.

Once this was a dirty and busy harbor. Now startups, expensive restaurants, media agencies and hotels residing in the brick stone buildings as well as in the modern glass-and-steel buildings.

Even when visiting tiny greek islands you will stumble upon the achievements of modern society.

 

Have a nice weekend and

Take care

art, culture, history, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, travel, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #98 – “Delicate Colours”

this week the Lens-Artists photo challenge is organized by Leya

Spring is the season of colors. While some colors are very intense others are soft and delicate. Here in my region spring is nearly over. This week we even got the first day of summer. It was so hot, we were able to sit outside ’til 11 p.m.. Great! I love it!

Thus, I picked some images from my archive. The pasqueflower and the white-pink magnolia are from 2017 and the other images from March and April 2020.

Take care