As I wrote on Thursday, I’m back from my trip to Namibia. Thus, my pause in participating in the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge has ended. This week, Amy is our host, and she wants us to show images celebrating something.
December is a month of a huge variety of different reasons to celebrate: Advent, Chanukah, Christmas, Year’s End, 13 birthdays in my family and my close friends, and I guess, you can name many more depending on the region or country you’re living. Not counting all the other requests like i.e. for visiting Christmas Markets, company Christmas celebrations, Advent celebrations of churches, schools, kindergartens, associations, and other local communities. You know, what I mean. December is a very, very busy month when thinking of celebrating something.
Therefore, I opted for something completely different. I picked this image taken Friday night last week in Namibia. It was our last evening in the wilderness. The next morning (Saturday) we went back to Windhoek to fly back home on Sunday evening. That last night was the end of a wonderful trip through a wonderful and amazing country. On that last trip, we saw again some examples of the wonderful fauna of Namibia embedded in the amazing landscape of the Kalahari desert. It ended with celebrating sundown.
Besides some beverages, we had some fruits, sweet pastries, thin Namibian air-dried sausages like salami but thinner than my small finger, and of course biltong (coin-sized dried meat pieces).
P.S. when looking at the post now, I’m thinking if I should also file it for last week’s LAPC called “one image, one story” hosted by Ann-Christine.
You know as a regular reader, I’m part of a monthly photographers roundtable. We’re meeting each first Saturday of a month for a photowalk in our region. Under the current condition and rules, although we don’t have a complete lockdown as we had in spring, that’s not possible. So we had a Zoom meeting combined with an exercise to be done during the week before the meeting.
This time I picked a theme for all of us instead of selecting a card from the Inspiracle card deck. Each of has can show up to 5 images wherein a maximum of 2 is allowed to be taken from the archive. We’re in November and in the northern hemisphere, this month is considered dark, unfriendly, and depressing. In Germany, we have a couple of memorial days during November dedicate to the death. When now the Mexican “Día de los Muertos” comes to your mind, you’re completely wrong. Check the link above to learn a bit more about these memorial days. Because of this background, it came to my mind the give us “fading, transient, transience” as a theme for the exercise.
Here are my results:
The first 4 images are taken for the exercise, while the others are from my archive.
Currently, we have a rare visitor from outer space next to us: comet Neowise
Here, where I live the conditions are quite bad for astrophotography. In the past, I already told you a couple of times, light pollution is a serious problem all over Europe and especially here in my region because of the big cities Cologne, Leverkusen, Wuppertal, Dortmund, Bochum, Essen and the rest of the Metropolregion Ruhr Area emits so much light even to the sky that you can see hardly any stars at night. When looking up to the stars, you could count them on 3 or four hands.
The second problem is the time of the year. In July sunset is very late and sunrise very early. and in the time between the sky is still a bit enlighted from the sun, even it is already below the horizon: the twilight zone. The above image is taken at 23:45! The sunset was at 21:42 and the sunrise at 5:30.
The third problem is the direction: the comet is located in the north-western direction. The western part of the sky is the part, where the sun sets and where the bright parts remain the longest. (in addition to the huge lights from the cities in that direction, as long as they are less than 70km away)
An we have a fourth problem: during summer the moisture in the air is much higher than in winter. So, thin cloud layers in the upper sky filter some lights. Winter nights are much better for astrophotography.
During the first two weeks when Neowise was already visible from the earth we were left out because of bad weather. But, last Sunday the weather was great at daytime and that was quite proposing for a try and I did, even the could forecast for the night wasn’t good. Nevertheless, I tried. Although I read, the comet should be visible with the bare eye, I was unable to see him. The first photo instead made him visible! Hooray! A second try during the next night, unfortunately, didn’t bring better results despite the cloud forecast was better. Reality proofed the forecast wrong. So, I’m still hoping for a third chance. But the weather forecast proposes lots of rain and clouds for the next weeks. I guess I won’t see him again.
Earlier this week the two biggest planets of our solar system were next to each other: Saturn (the left bright spot in the sky) and Jupiter (the brightest spot in the sky).
They were in opposition to the sun (Jupiter on July 13th and Saturn on July 20th), meaning, they were well illuminated by the sun and positioned in the darkest part of the sky (look in eastern direction).
Both of them are quite close to earth at the moment because of the track they follow around the sun.
Today, this image turns 10. You can see how red the sky is. That’s a result of the series of eruptions of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull in southern Iceland, which started on March 20th. The huge amount of volcanic ashed blasted in the sky during the eruptions forced the aviation to pause for a couple of weeks. The impact was worldwide in the northern hemisphere because of the enormous power of the eruption which brought the ashes to the upper layers of the atmosphere where it could be spread quickly by the jetstreams.
while prop airliners are quite resistant to these ashes, jet engines are at risk to get broken because of the ashes might melt inside the jet engine and dispose of the movable parts of the engine and glaze them over. When this happens the engine is broken and the plane is about to crash.
Btw. when looking at certain paintings by William Turner starting from around 1821 you can notice a very reddish sky. Now it seems, this wasn’t artificial freedom but reality affected by the series of eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull from 1821-1823.
It’s the end of November. In the northern hemisphere this means, we’re just about at the door of winter and winter means coldness. And “cold” is the theme nominated by Tina.
In February 2016 I was in northern Norway. The winter you can find over there is much harder than the winter in my region. Although, we usually have cold winters with temperatures around -10°C and lower. Even this past week the temperature felt below 0°C painting nice decorations on the plants. Car windows were also frozen, so the drivers were complaining much.
But for this challenge, I’ve chosen something different: icebergs floating on lake Jökulsárlón in southern Iceland near sunset. You can’t imagine how cold the wind is when it comes down from the glacier to the lake even in mid summer – lousy could.
Another week of Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. This week’s topic is “waiting” and Tina wrote a few paragraphs to explain her idea.
Here is my story:
Back in the 1980s when I had my first car I persuaded my younger brother to go with me to France for a photo trip along the river Loire and visiting all the famous chateaus. For the end of that trip, a visit to medieval town Mt. St. Michel was planned. Mt. St. Michel is built on an island near the coast between Brittany and Normandy. At that time I had my first job and a car. My younger brother was still at school but he was able to speak french. So, without him, I wouldn’t be able to travel to France. At that time, the French were considered to only speak French and nothing else. I don’t know the reason anymore, why we canceled that trip. But, later I was sure of never seeing Mt St. Michel.
In January 2009 I joined a group of photographers. Each first Saturday of a month we’re meeting for photography trips in our area. Although we’re living distributed over nearly half of our state, we’re able to meet. The organization and planning are done via the internet.
Over time some friendships grew among some of us. We even organized some trips to locations a bit further away and for quite longer durations than one afternoon a month. In 2011 we used a public holiday (a Thursday) for a trip to Brittany. While planning the week, I came up with my long-time dream of visiting Mt. St. Michel. I even was able to persuade the others, despite the quite long distance from our vacation home at the Côte d’Emeraude. We were traveling with 2 private cars. Unfortunately, two of us were unable to start with the other on the same day and stay the full week. Instead, they started on Wednesday after work and arrived late that evening, while we others already had 4 days of driving around and seeing some parts of that area, including Rennes.
When they arrived, they told us about the fantastic sky at sunset and that they were near Mt. St. Michel when the sky turned red for sunset. So, they decided to take a photo stop at Mt. St. Michel 😢 I felt terrible when they told us about this. Mt. St. Michel was so near to me and the chance for canceling the planned visit was increasing rapidly. But, the previews on their camera displays made the other eager to want to go to Mt. St. Michel, too. Tides are turning 😀
Finally, the next day we headed to Saint-Malo first and later that day to Mt. St. Michel. Walking up the hill was a fantastic experience. I felt like thrown back in the medieval age. Unfortunately, the town was very, very crowded.
In the end, I was able to get this image (and a few more – but I love this one most). I have printed it and it’s hanging in our living room. At the same time, the others were in a pop-up theatre attending the opera Madame Butterfly right at the foot of the hill. When we arrived they were persuaded by a sales agent to use that night for a once-in-a-lifetime experience watching the Puccini opera in an open-air opera near that centuries-old town. I refused to accomplish them. My plan was very different and you know, why. 😀
It was kind of hard, to find a spot where the pop-up theater won’t ruin my image.
But, I found one 😀
You see, I had to wait about 25 years to see this iconic town.
According to the calendar, it’s still summer. Summer means hot days, warm nights, sitting late in the garden and so on. But, this summer is different. It’s similar to the last years (expect 2018). Since early July (when the summer holidays for the schools started here in my state) the temperatures only reach 20 somethings in maximum, the days are mostly overcast and have gray skies. So, no open-air bathing, barbeque or bike rides. In the mornings we start at around 10°C. That’s way too cold for the season. This July and August felt more like an October. On the other hand, it did not rain. Ok, some drizzling every now and then. But, that wasn’t enough to refill the reservoirs and the groundwater.
Farmers have big problems due to the renewed dryness. First, the reservoirs were not filled up during the winter from the huge loss last summer. And second, the heat-period in May and June this year sucked a lot of additional water. Forests are about to die because the native trees are not used to such conditions (heat and lack of water). Other tree species must be used to fill the gaps, species i.e. native from Italy, south of France or Spain.
By the end of last week, we finally got some rain. It was very welcomed, but summed up it wasn’t enough.
Sólfar is a sculpture in Reykjavik, the Icelandic capital. It symbolizes a dragon boat with 5 Vikings sailing to the west. The Icelandic name means “Sun voyage” or “voyage to the sun”.
In this image taken at about 2 a.m. (yep, in the middle of the night), I illuminated parts of the sculpture. In the older post, you can see some other images, too.
Today, 5 years ago, was the last day of my first trip to Iceland.
That island is so magical. I flipped over and over again through my images to find the one, representing the island to me.
When reading the post, I linked above, you can see, we have a very wet trip. But, the light of the nearly endless summer nights ist so fantastically.