Never before, I was able to capture one of these guys so close. They are at home around the Baltic Sea, along the North Sea, along the Norwegian coast, and in Iceland. You can also find some of them at some lakes here in Germany. While I was on Usedom for our vacation, I got the opportunity to go to a nature protection area near by. Despite that fact, I needed a really long lens. Unfortunately the sky was very cloudy that day.
White-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) are bigger than the American bald eagle, but smaller than the Steller’s sea eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus), also known as Pacific sea eagle or white-shouldered eagle. The White-tailed eagle has a wingspan of up to 250cm. There’s a saying, when you have the impressing, there’s a room door flying above you, it’s a White-tailed eagle. They are really impressive.
Fortunately, the population is slowly growing again. During the 1970s DDT created huge problems for them. While eating dead animals poisoned by DDT or wit ha huge level or DDT in their bodies, the poison also in the eagles’ bodies enriched which caused a severe problem: the egg-shell became too thin, so the the eagles destroyed their own eggs while breeding them. During the 1980s, DDT got banned and the number of eagles raised again. Slowly, but steadily.
It’s so fascinating watching them passing by. Because of their size, it seems, they were quite slow. Most of the time, they are gliding. But, a a single flap of their wings speeds them massively up. Same is true, when they start using thermal up-streams. You can’t change your lens fast enough to capture them neither in the “elevator” nor on the “highway”.
For hours, 2 of them were sitting on high trees with no activity, but too far away for an image. Even with 800mm attached to my APS-C body (resulting in 1200mm f5.6) would only give me a few dark dots somewhere in the trees.
Maybe, you remember my post from Sunday, when I included a part of a sculpture I stumbled upon a few years ago in Aix-la-Chapelle during a day trip. I liked the artistry of the sculptor, and how he was able to model the mimics of the kids. Later at home, I tried to find out a bit more about it.
When spotting the fountain from a distance, you can see kids playing. While trying to find a good angle to take an image, I came closer and closer. When coming closer, I noticed the faces and wondered about the discrepancy between the face of the girl in the middle in comparison to the boys’ faces dancing around her.
The scenery consists of four kids. Three boys form a circle with their arms around a girl, apparently of the same age, crouching down in the middle. When looking at the very detailed modeled faces, you can see, that the boys are happy, mischievous, and showing some schadenfreude.
The name of this sculpture is “Türelüre-Lißje”. This is not German. It’s in an old local dialect relative to Lower German.
Lißje, or Lieschen is a belittling form of the woman’s name Lise (short from Elisabeth, sometime Gisela). The other part “Türelüre” is a kind of ring-a-ring-a-roses. When pronouncing this, it’s also a reference to the time, when the story happened: the time of the French occupation in the Rhineland (1794-1814)
You can see, in this image, that the nearly kid-sized figurines are part of a fountain and the water below the girl is also a reference to the background story. The girl was stopped by the mischievous boys and prevented from going to the toilet. They danced around her until it was too late.
This final image is in my option the essence of the scene: the girl is captured and in fear while the surrounding boys, although only one is visible in this frame, are blocking the viewer to come any closer and at the same time hindering the girl at least on two sides to escape. In addition, the boys are leaning towards the center and covering the girl even in this direction.
For me, it’s kind of a memorial and picturing the cruelty already available even in small kids.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “Let men be noble, helpful and good”. It’s the first sentence of a hymn, he wrote in 1783. It’s a wish and a product of education. It’s not god-given. We have to work hard to respect each other and treat everyone equally.
These are the lyrics of one version of the old song (local dialect) handed down from the 19th century with my translation to German and English:
Türelüre-Lißje uus Klapperjaaß
Wovör hat dat Kengsche et Böksje esue naaß
Haue die Schelme va Jonge jeddooe
Haue dat Kengsche net pesse losse jooeh
Türelüre-Lißje uus Klapperjaaß
Dovör hat dat Kengsche et Böksje esue naaß
Türelüre-Lieschen aus der Klappergasse
warum hat das Mädchen ihr Höschen naß?
Haben die Schelme von Jungs verursacht
Haben das Mädchen nicht pinkeln lassen
Türelüre-Lißje aus der Klappergasse
Darum hat das Mädchen ihr Höschen naß.
Türelüre-Lißje from Klappergasse
why did the girl wet her panties
the rascals of young boys have made things
didn’t let the girl pee
Türelüre-Lißje from Klappergasse
that’s why the girl wet her panties
Klappergasse (rattle alley) is the name of a small street in Aix-la-Chapelle. It’s said, a windmill once stood here. Maybe the girl used to live here because the lyrics says “Türelüre-Lißje from Klappergasse”.
We have a saying here in Germany:
Was Du nicht willst, was man Dir tue
das füge such keinem Anderen zu!
What you don’t want, what people do to you
don’t do that to anyone else!
For decades, a secured border parted two countries here on Usedom: the German Democratic Republic (since 1989 a substantial part of the Federal Republic of Germany) and Poland. While about 90% of Usedom kept German after WWII, approximately 10% belongs to Poland since 1945. Nowadays, you can roam freely from one side to the other and the wooded path, built in the former no-man’s land, leads you right to the shore of the Baltic sea.
All humans (and animals as well) are living together on this wonderful planet. Despite cultural differences, it’s great to roam freely and get used to these differences. All of us can benefit from knowing each other Even when it comes to misunderstandings sometimes, in general, all of us benefit.
Goods, habits, culture, and much more enrich our lives, our minds, our experiences, and our common ground for further growth as mankind. Help to keep the fences down between states, countries, and people! Or, to quote a song by the British rock band Pink Floyd “Turn down the walls”.
The sun is warm,
the sea is cold.
The surf rolls in
and wets your feet.
finding colorful stones,
watching the gulls passing by,
listening to the wind
carrying their cry.
Enjoy your life
before growing old!
From today, a feature update of Luminar Neo is available. With the now published version 1.1 all proposed features are implemented. Therefore, there is no rebate for the reduced functionality anymore. But, with this code SOLANER-NEO, you can save 10€/10$.
One of the long-awaited features now finally available is the portrait background removal tool. Instead of manually removing the background and having to handle each hair separately, AI eases this a lot. With a single click the background can be made transparent.
… from Usedom at the Baltic Sea. OK, I came already back on Saturday from my 2-weeks family vacation. Although it wasn’t a typical family vacation because I was on Usedom with my wife, daughter, and grant-son. That little guy is 5. So this was his first vacation where he was able to notice everything and he liked it a lot. One of his statements was “I like our new home more than our old home”. He didn’t realize, that the vacation home was our home only for our vacation.
Back in 2019, when we were in the Netherlands with him, he was too young to notice such a change. Back in 2018, I was already in Ahlbeck with my wife and we decided to come back with our grant son for his first beach vacation. Unfortunately, this come-back lasted longer than expected because of the SARS2-CoV / Covid19 pandemic.
This time we rented a vacation home near the middle of the town. Ahlbeck is quite small, with only about 3,400 regular citizens but with more than four times the number of guest beds. The apartment, we rented in 2018, was also very lovely, but reaching the beach from there was quite complicated because a huge rehab clinic building barriers the direct way and we had to make a long way around. Reaching the pier also lasted about 20 minutes by foot. You can see the pier in the image above from 2018. We love to walk along the surf in the evening, so we had to pull out the rental bikes first to reach the beach. Very inconvenient. That’s why we decided to get this time an apartment closer to the town and with easier access to the beach. It’s only about 200 meters as the bird flies and about 300 meters walk to reach the waterfront.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t perfect beach weather this time. Some drizzling nearly every day for at least some time distributed over the whole day. But, I won’t complain. We had some beach weather, we had cycling weather, we watched the neighboring towns as well as the next town in Poland, which is only about 4 km away. We also rented bikes for our stay and surprisingly the little guy was able to cope with the (quite small) distances on his bike. The longest distance we cycled in one day was 12 km with a couple of pauses. We cycled mostly along the sea on the promenade connecting the 3 neighboring towns grouped under the name Kaiserbäder. They have a lot of bicycle tracks here.
I love the area at the baltic sea for the small villages, the avenues with their chestnut or oak trees, and the forests reaching up to the coast. The sea does not have a noticeable tide (only about 10 cm), the huge beaches with very fine sand, and the flat-bottomed sea which is quite warm and less salty than the other oceans. So, these beaches are very entitled to kids, especially smaller ones.
The term Kaiserbäder (Kaiser = Emporer; bäder = baths) was chosen because these towns were visited by the Emporer of the German Empire back in the 19th century a couple of times. The word Bad (= bath) in a town’s name refers to the idea of being a place for curing and rehab. In the late 19th century, people had already come here to the coast for spending some leisure time, cure, and recuperate. Especially the rich ones and the noble men and women. Even the Emporers were here a couple of times and that’s the reason, why the towns have chosen the name Kaiserbäder to operate under that name. Nowadays, everyone can benefit from the beauty of the coast and retreat from the burdens of daily chores.
For one day (without having a certain date in my mind) it was planned to visit a nature protection area nearby (ok, 1 1/4 hours drive by car) to see White-tailed eagles (very good chance), osprey (maybe – a hope), grey cranes (quite good chance because they are quite common here but very shy), and red kites.
In the end, I saw 2 white-tailed eagles sitting in the trees far-far away and one flying from one side to the other (👍), one osprey (sitting very far away, then flying even further away, but also flying a bit closer to capture him), 5 cranes flying by, 1 stork, 1 crane with a chick in the woods (no photo possible), many grey herons and 3 great white egrets, common terns, lots of different ducks and geese, many swallows, black-headed gulls, cormorants. I’m stopping here to not bore you.
In the meantime, the others were visiting an adventure park in a town nearby very suitable for kids under 12.
For 4 days starting with Ascension Day, the German Masters in Kite-Surfing took place here right next to the pier. I watched the sportswomen and sportsmen for a few hours distributed over several days with my camera. You know, I like to see them “flying” over the water. This was an unexpected event and therefore not planned. But, very welcomed. Even the wind was unexpected those days: some competitions had to be canceled because of too heavy winds.
In the end, this was a family vacation and not a photo trip. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy about the images I was able to capture. The nature protection area has to stay on my list. I have to come again with more time and arrive earlier. Without the overcast sky, I’d have come back with less usable images because the light conditions would have resulted in either overexposed skies or in hopeless underexposed subjects.
This is my contribution to Monochrome Madness organized by Leanne Cole. This week we have another theme. It’s “season”. “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.Take care!
Although, summer hasn’t started (according to the calendar, summer starts on June 21st), I was on summer vacation and came back Saturday evening. The last 2 weeks I was at the Baltic Sea on the Island Usedom. It’s the most north-eastern part of Germany, next to the border to Poland. Usedom is known for being a very sunny area, so that they advertise with the slogan “the sun-island”. Despite, many parts of Germany suffered from bad weather with heavy rain and even some over-floodings, Usedom was dried out: 3 weeks without any rain, when we arrived. When we arrived we had nearly 30°C, crisp and cloudless blue sky and a smell of salt, resin and blooming flowers.
Not far from our vacation home, there was a white beach with very fine sand. Some beach chairs were waiting to be rented. You know, I love being at the sea. I love walking along the shore, listening to the birds, the soft wind and the sound of the waves.
On Usedom you can find several towns and villages. Not all of them are located at the coast. Usedom is the second largest island of Germany (Rügen is the biggest one, located next to Usedom). The island is 66,4 km broad and a bit shaped like a banana with much bigger ends (up to 23 km) then the middle part. The Baltic sea does not have a huge tide. You often even notice the difference between high tide and low tide.
Usedom is located not of the Germany capitol Berlin only in a about two hours drive distance. So, you can find many people from Berlin, here. At the end of the 18th century, rich people from Berlin started to go for vacation and spotted i.e. Usedom as a beautiful place for recovering from the stress and the dirt in the big city. At first, local farmers and fishers gave rooms to the city-people.
Next, entrepreneurs built villas and mansions for the rich visitors. These houses followed a very certain building style with ideas coming from the ancient greeks and romans. Today, that style is known as “Bäderarchitektur” (Resort architecture). I’ll show you some more examples in future posts. Fortunately, most of them are already well reconstructed and in very good shape.
To make the trip more comfortable, the coastal towns built piers in addition to the railway stations. So, the people were able to come by ship and have not only a comfortable stay but also a comfortable trip. We were for your stay in Ahlbeck, the town with the oldest pier. You can see it in the image above.
In the urban hinterland, you can discover many interesting villages by bike. The island has a dense network of bicycle tracks. Most of the island is quite flat, so you don’t have many problems with hills or so (despite, there are a few). You can even find a few lakes on the Island.