At the beginning of may I went to Saxon Switzerland with my buddies Alex and Jan with the hope to get some impressions of spring back home. Besides driving to some locations with the car we went on a 3 day hike in the park. We got really lucky with the weather, on the first two mornings we had beautiful layers of fog covering the lower areas of the park and during the day we had warm and sunny weather, perfect for hiking.
I’m already sure to go back there in autumn to get some shots with a different palette of colours.
Here are the first shots I’ll add to the gallery:
Castle in the Sky / Tenkuu no Shiro Rapyuta Can you spot the castle in the sky far away?
The title has been obviously inspired by one of the best anime I've ever seen, directed by genius Hayao Miyazaki.
I took this image close to the famous Bastei in the Saxon Switzerland national park. Can it get any better when you have those conditions after the first night?
Fogtown The river Elbe did an amazing job cloaking the towns around the riverbed in beautiful fog. A view which is not so rare in the Elbsandsteingebirge - Sächsische Schweiz national park.
Mighty Wehlnadel After scouting this place in the night, Alex and I only had left a few hours of sleep before heading out again to be in time for blue hour and sunrise. On the next morning we woke up to beautiful foggy conditions. We already expected fog but didn't imagine such a dense layer of fog, which was a nice welcome surprise on our first day in the Elbsandsteingebirge - Sächsische Schweiz.
Bridging the Gap This is a rather classic view you get in the Elbsandsteingebirge - Sächsische Schweiz, a view towards the famous Schrammsteine. Nevertheless I was very intrigued to frame the setting sun in the rock crevice when I saw this location the first time.
Those 5 days in the national park have been very successful in terms of pictures, having nice company by my friends Alex and Jan was just the icing on the cake 😉
Secrets in the Mist On that very morning I was incredible lucky, the mist stayed in the valley for a long time so that I was able to capture several angles of that valley close to the famous Bastei in the Saxon Switzerland national park. There are more fog pictures in the pipeline, I hope you can bear it and don't get bored quickly 😉
Gloomy Gorge During the first day when we arrived in Bohemian Switzerland we had plenty of rain and an overcast sky. Good for us, because we had the ideal conditions to pay the Kamnitz Gorge (Edmundsklamm) a visit and were blessed with beautiful lush and saturated colours.
Because we went to the gorge quite late, like only a few minutes before sunset, we had the gorge to ourselves. Therefore we could totally enjoy the peaceful atmosphere there.
The gallery “Japan” with the first pictures of the natural beauty of Japan has been added to the “Landscape” section. Enjoy 😉
Hidden Gem This literally was a hidden gem, a little bit off the main trail. Well, I discovered it while I was already walking through the dense forest because I didn't want to be limited by the views I got while walking only on the trail. At this waterfall it was very fortunate that I didn't approach it from the front, I would have probably walked away immediately because the front is not very photogenic and there were so many more waterfalls I wanted to see. When I approach the waterfall from the left I immediately saw the beautiful bend with all those lovely lush plants around which act as the perfect frame for the waterfall. In the end I was really happy that I discovered this composition so quickly because there was so much more to discover on that very day.
The waterfall is called is Kudan (九段の滝) and is located at the Oirase River, close to Lake Towada in Japan.
Forest Magic 1 This one is from Shirakami-Sanchi, Aomori Prefecture, Japan.
Although this area is quite touristy I didn't see many tourists on that particular day, maybe because the weather was not the best. We had (drizzling) rain more or less the whole day.
Good for me, because having everything wet around you means beautiful lush colours in the pictures later.
In this forest I even spottet wild monkeys here and there, but I couldn't get any good shots, they might be a little bit scared of foreigners, which are indeed a very rare species in this area of Japan.
Forest Magic 2 Another one from the beautiful lush forest in Shirakami-Sanchi, Aomori Prefecture, Japan.
Lately I'm missing these lush colours a lot, winter has only been dull so far here in Germany, not even white, only grey and brown, can't await spring!
Cascade of Joy The Anmon Falls (暗門の滝) have been one of the highlights of my visit to North Japan last year. It is a collective name for three waterfalls in the forests of the Shirakami-Sanchi World Heritage site in the northern Tohoku region of Japan, stretching between Akita and Aomori Prefecture. Here you can see the highest waterfall which drops 42 m, the second drops 37 m and the third drops 26 m. It's a beautiful and peaceful place which seemingly is not visited by many tourists during rainy days in autumn 😉
During the past 2 days at work I had the pleasure to work with this beast to take some “product photos” of the things I’m working on. Wow, compared to my Olympus mirror-less camera this is a huge and heavy beast weighing almost 2kg together with the kit zoom lens. I haven’t been using DSLRs for almost 2,5 years now, basically since I sold all of my previous DSLR kit. For sure this thing here is build like a tank and robust as hell, that’s probably also the reason why we still have this old camera from 2005, but it’s so damn heavy if you’re not used to it anymore! At least the past 2 days reminded me why I don’t miss this ancient and heavy technology 😉
I’m also pretty sure this is one of those cameras which cause this peculiar disease called “DSL-ARM”, recently discovered by Olympus! Enjoy the video(s) at this website (side note: dont’ take it too serious ;)) http://www.getolympus.com/dslarm
I almost forgot to also upload the rest of the pictures from 2015 of the “Beautiful Germany” Landscapes category. Especially the picture “Gently Touched” has a special meaning for me and remembers me of a good time and days of pure happiness together with an important person in my life. Enjoy!
Mysterious Fog And here comes a fresh shot from tonight’s moody scene in the local forests, close to my home. Of course I'll continue uploading the rest of my Iceland pictures later!
After doing a fog timelapse (youtu.be/3_ZXh367AAQ) I went back to the forest because the fog totally blocked the view over the scenery I wanted to take more pictures of. Because it was already quite dark I had to expose for over 6 minutes to get in enough light. I had to use the flashlight of my mobile to find back the way to my car and when I arrived at the car I noticed I came back with only my tripod and the camera fixed on it, but my backpack was still in the forest, so I had to walk back all the way again in an already pitch-black and misty forest. Wow, this was a really spooky mood 😉
Gently Touched While I was browsing my archive I found a shot from November 2014 which I really liked but never intended to upload.
For me the picture has a special meaning and remembers me of a good time and days of pure happiness.
Morning Glow The first upload from the recent hike to Mohnenfluh summit with a bunch of befriended fellow photographers.
We were camping close to the lake and had to get up at around 3:30am in order to be at the summit to photograph the sunrise.
Every time you witness a sunset from a mountain summit you get this amazing feeling, you are far away from civilization, it's peaceful and quiet and you have an amazing view, while the sun cloaks the landscape in beautiful hues, the type of palette you can't see during the day.
Mohnenfluh Panorama Another sunrise view from Mohnenfluh, this time as a wide 3:1 panorama over the Lechquellen area.
Lately I’ve been processing more shots from my past travels to Japan. This not only includes the beautiful landscapes of North Japan but also includes some modern architecture from Tokyo. I also managed to continue two recent series, the “Observer” and “Zebra” theme got an addition each.
Here are the first 3, enjoy 😉
Zebra 2 The zebra theme is getting an addition, I'm considering whether I should do more series just like the "The Observer" series.
The zebra was seen in Minato Mirai, Yokohama, Japan.
Tunnel View This one was shot in Minato Mirai, a central business district in Yokohama, Japan with a lot of interesting (modern) architecture.
The Observer 4 Again, from time to time I keep updating repeating themes which I like most. "The Observer" is a series about dominant, rather abstract looking buildings gazing over a bunch of smaller / inferior buildings, with an intimidating posture.
In this case it's the second tallest building and 4th tallest structure (as of 2016) in Japan named Yokohama Landmark Tower. It's located in a central business district of Minato Mirai, in Yokohama, Japan.
The area around the tower is very vibrant and I really liked the way how the tower is connected to the surrounding buildings, it's very clever and looks amazing.
Now that we arrived in another fresh year it’s the best time to reflect on good and bad memories. Of course here I’d like to focus on good memories in the form of pictures. Last year I focussed more on landscape photography again, architecture photography was only covered by the trip to Frankfurt and Japan. Unfortunately the pictures of the latter trip (also landscapes) are still in the process of getting finished, so I’ll not be able to cover them here, which is quite a shame. In the meantime I’ve been to Tokyo again and came back only last week, so there’s even more to come in the architecture photography department, stay tuned!
Although I have the feeling that I didn’t go out shooting not nearly as often as I wished for I still feel and see an improvement of my skills, I no longer rely and focus on poplar locations a.k.a. “money shot locations”, I completely lost the motivation to shoot something which has been shot exactly the same so many times already. I tremendously improved my skills of discovering interest and beauty in the area which surrounds me. I however still struggle when it comes to details in terms of solid compositions and post-processing decisions. Often I’m also having a hard time with pre-visualization of shots which many artists highly rely on to fulfill their vision they already have in their mind before even picking up the camera. Well, that will leave something for the next years to concentrate one, I guess!
Now I want to present you my top 10 of 2015, without particular order. I hope you also enjoy those pics as I do 😉
In my Kingdom Cold
Dreamworld Afterglow This one is from early July this year, from the hike to Butzensee in Austria, I recently discovered it while browsing and weeding out images. Good memories from a very successful photo-trip with my buddies Stefan, Johannes and Quirin 😉
The Observer 3
Gloomy Fairytale Last week south germany was blessed with beautiful fog, remember, I also made a short timelapse clip which beautifully shows what happened almost after every sunset 😉
You can check out the video here:
This picture was shortly made after the timelapse when I went back to the forest because I couldn't continue shooting the vast landscape around me because everything was completely covered up in fog 😉
The atmosphere in the forest was really gloomy, there was also a lot of fog already and the rest of the lasting sunset glow was shining into the forest in an amazing soft and diffuse manner, I guess it was the first time for me to photograph a forest in these perfect conditions.
Meandering Beauty Another one from our first offroad adventure on the F210, after almost missing the sunset (see picture "Fire over Iceland") we were still hungry for more nice scenery during blue hour, so we continued driving in the dawn while looking for some nice overviews until we found this spot with that beautiful meandering river towards the peculiar mounatin in the background. In the meantime the wind had gotten really strong so we really struggled to keep our tripods safe and still for some time. Because the light had already faded away the canyon part of the frame was really dark and required a 10min exposure which luckily turned out sharp, not razor-sharp but still sharp 😉
At the time I captured the frame I was already quite sceptical whether the image would be completely ruined by the wind gusts, but now I'm quite happy that the 10min exposure turned out well!
The great Escape While we found this waterfall only by accident, I quite liked the complex and challenging setting to find an interesting composition. It was not something you've seen before on pictures where you already had an idea which compositions work and which don't, something you find yourself into in Iceland very often, because I think it is a country with a lot of massively "over-photographed" places where tons of pictures of the same spot can be found in the internet. Anyway, after some time I discovered this lovely little patch of green which I was curios about as to how it would integrate into the frame. There was almost no space to set up a tripod, I was very happy that I brought along also my little Gorillapod tripod which was tiny enough to fit in that very constrained space. I'd like to thank Alex for volunteering to pose in front of the waterfall to give the scene a better sense of scale.
A beautiful sunset at the breathtaking Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, unfortunately photos can’t simply describe how cool this place is.
This beautiful waterfall is called Aldeyjarfoss, it was our first destination on the way down the F26 which lead us through the middle of Iceland, all the way to the south, passing by many beautiful areas in the highlands. When we arrived it was around late noon and the sun was shining. We immediately started to find out whether we can have some of us posing next to the waterfall for a pictures we’d like to take during sunset or dawn. While we came closer to the waterfall I discovered that there was a beautiful lush green grotto on the other side just below the ledge, where most photographers stand on while not noticing the beauty below them. So I already made a mental note to not take that hackneyed composition from the ledge above, instead climb down to the green grotto below and try my luck there, risking to not get that “moneyshot”, which a lot of photographers are really obsessed about, instead my hope was to get away with an original and refreshing capture of this beautiful place.
We almost spend a good half hour at the rocks right next to the waterfall. While sitting there the noise of the rushing water and the bright sunshine was so soothing that I almost felt asleep on the rock. We decided to go back to the car, have late lunch and get some quality sleep before heading back for sunset and a looong night…
This was the only occasion where we set foot into an Icelandic forest.
Because Iceland has undergone extensive deforestation since Vikings settled in the ninth century there are not many forests to discover.
However we were able to discover a very deep and bizarre birch forest on our way down the F26. I really liked the shapes of the trunks and branches, unlike usual birch trees these had this gnarly zig-zag ppearance, which mad them look really bizarre.
This will be the last entry until new years eve, therefore I wish everybody who reads this a peaceful and restful time over Christmas and new years eve. CU next year!
The name of this waterfall (Godafoss in Icelandic) suggests a more epic story then there acutally is. It is said that after Christianity became the official religion of Iceland at around year 1000, lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði threw all his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall when he returned from his duties in the national parlament of Iceland. At least I was hoping for a more dramatic story 😉
The lonely Iceberg
I think this glacier lagoon called Jökulsárlón was one of the most impressive scenes I’ve witnessed in Iceland. It’s so surreal and it always changes its look, only a few hours are enough and you get a completely different arrangement of icebergs, because there is a small channel which runs into the sea constantly drawing the icebergs into the sea. Especially during the quiet nights this place can be quite mysterious because of the cracking noise when icebergs break apart or when they run ashore.
This was one of these places we visited during the night just to be in time for the sunrise the next norming, little did we know how cool this place looks while arriving at around 11pm.
We were really surprised the next morning how cool these sanddunes and those gigantic mountains in the background looked like.
We were also surprised that this place was the only one we found in Iceland where we were supposed to pay 600kr just to drive on a sand road to get to the beach and the local lighthouse. The reasoning behind this “fee” was nature preservation, which I personally really doubted.
Iceland is full of natural wounds, two of them are waterfalls and canyons, there are just so many.
One of these rather popular canyons has a name which is really hard to pronounce, it’s called Fjaðrárgljúfur, one of my favorites (3rd image).
Canyon Nightfall To reach this waterfall we spend almost half the day cruising around on rough roads and fording several rivers. Ok, maybe we also killed some of that time during our personal hygiene routine in one of the icecold rivers we just were about to cross 😀
Around 4pm we finally arrived and spend the next hours scouting the location and having a nap in the car. Just at the right time when the sun was about to set we were back at the locations we scouted earlier. I picked this one because I liked the serene mood of the canyon during dawn, of course I've got away with some sunset shots too.
Black Fall That's exactly the name of this prominent waterfall in Iceland, or Svartifoss in Icelandic language.
The waterfall is surrounded by dark basalt columns, which gave rise to its name. These lava rock formations are quite common in Iceland, I have seen them in so many other parts of the country, they were even subject to inspiration for architects who used these hexagonal shaped columns as exterior elements at Hallgrímskirkja, a popular church in the capital Reykjavík.
As a tribute to the name of this beautiful waterfall I decided to do a B/W conversion and think it suits the waterfall very well 😉
Green Canyon Another canyon, this time a rather popular one, with name which is really hard to pronounce, it's called Fjaðrárgljúfur.
We woke up quite early to photograph the sunset at this location, for me on this morning it was really difficult to get up, Alex was already setting up his tripod while I was still in the car muffled up in my sleeping bag 😉
Unfortunately we figured out too late that the view we had at this canyon is far from ideal to catch the very beautiful sunrise over the canyon, so in the end we got a few good shots but regretted that we decided to stay there for the sunrise, we could have been already at far better places for sunrise pictures. Actually it was my fault because I liked the canyon very much and persuaded Alex to stay there and wait for sunrise 😉