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 😉
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.
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 😉
This time I present you some pictures which have been taken when the daylight faded away already, in the case of Elusive Light you might be intrigued to think the warm light is coming from a sunset, but this is wrong, the warm light behind the rock results from a moonset during late dawn.
Due to a low population and a relatively high population density in the capital of Iceland (Reykjavik) there are no other big cities on Iceland which would produce much light pollution during the night.
Therefore when we had clear skies in Iceland we could always see plenty of stars across the sky. Celestial Dreams was captured in a particular cold night at Dettifoss we were lucky to have very clear skies, we could see the milky-way in all it’s beauty even with our bare eyes. It was really fascinating to see a pitch-black sky (not kidding), with millions of visible stars, it felt like as if we could see into space because the sky was so dark.
Elusive Light This photo is very special for me, when I look at it, it evokes the same kind of feelings I had while standing there during the night trying to get a sharp image (due to waterfall spray) and not to get sh*t scared of the 45m drop which was only half a meter in front of me. Yes, you read right, it was night, that's correct. The elusive light you can see behind the big rock on the right is not the sun, it's the soft and warm light of a moon-set. That's also the reason why I had to use a high ISO value while keeping the aperture almost wide open and still exposing for more than 3 minutes. I could have also exposed way longer, but chances of catching waterfall spray on the lens would have been tremendously higher. It's interesting how scared you can get when you stand next to a drop or cliff where you can't see the bottom due to darkness, when we re-visited the waterfall the next day during daylight it was not half as scary as the night before standing next to the waterfall drop. By the way, the waterfall shown here is well kown for being the most powerful waterfall in Europe, its name is Dettifoss.
Kudos to Alex who suffers from vertigo and still was brave enough to stand next to the waterfall to give the viewer a better sense of scale for the waterfall.
Gazing into Eternity After the phenomenal sunset in "Fire over Iceland" we continued walking around in order to check out the place for more photogenic spots. I captured this shot while Alex was standing on this moss covered rock while enjoying the vast view.
Celestial Dreams Due to a low population and a relatively high population density in their capital Reykjavik there are no other big cities on Iceland which would produce much light pollution during the night.
Therefore when we had clear skies in Iceland we could always see plenty of stars across the sky.
But at this particular cold night at Dettifoss we were lucky to have very clear skies, we could see the milky-way in all it's beauty with our bare eyes. It was really fascinating to see a pitch-black sky (not kidding), with millions of visible stars, it felt like as if we could see into space because the sky was so dark.
I took this shot only a few minutes before I went sleeping in our precious Suzuki Grand Vitara and I'm pretty sure I had celestial dreams that night 😉
In this picture you can even see a rainbow like band of auora borealis.
Here are three more pictures of my (N)Iceland series 😉
We were really lucky to see aurora borealis (or simply northern lights) already on our first day after we arrived, we could see the aurora several times during our two week stay, but this was also the strongest aurora we ever experienced.
And so she danced... Here's another one of our first encounters back in Iceland, this time we were really lucky to get a nice display of northern lights! Some parts of the aurora literally danced above our heads, really quick so that this part of the show was only meant for our eyes.
This all happened close to the Dýrhólaey lighthouse, which is close to Vik, where we also found a breathtaking coastline as the perfect foreground.
Fire over Iceland This one has been taken on our first encounter with the highlands of Iceland, when we were driving up F210 desperately searching for Axlafoss, a not so popular waterfall. Because we were really busy locating that damn waterfall we didn't pay enough attention to the sunset which we only realized when the colours started to explode, booooom.... When we realized it we panicky parked the car, took the camera gear and run towards the nice river we just saw while driving along.
Well, there was not so much time looking for striking compositions but I'm still content with this one, it's the best I could find within the time window of 5-10min where the light and colours were fading...
In hindsight this was also the best sunset we experience during our 2 weeks on Iceland.
Finally I’ve uploaded the majority of my Iceland pictures, there is still some work in progress 😉
And here I present you the first 3:
Tranquil Power Back from Iceland only a week ago I'd like you to present the first picture of my Iceland series, a tranquil moment at Skógafoss, one of our first destinations on the ring road.
We stood at this point trying to get the last shots during the blue hour, what we didn't know was the green, ahhhh the big surprise some hours later 😉
First Light over Eldhraun If there is something I really like about Iceland then it's the variety of different surreal landscapes, sometimes you only drive 20-30km and you see landscapes which have a completely different character, however the only thing all areas have in common is their surreal and extraterrestrial look. Maybe that's the reason why a lot of movies have been filmed there, for example Prometheus, Oblivion, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Interstellar or Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens, just to name a few.
But, not to digress, I just wanted to show you one of these typical types of landscape, in Eldhraun most of the land is covered by lava fields. These lava fields are the result of a deadly vulcanic eruption which lasted almost a year (between 1783 to 1784).
Apparently the area also features one of the most magnificent lava tube systems in the country, located north of the Lake Laufbalavatn. More than 200 caves have been found there!
Nowadays most of the lava fields are completely covered in a thick layer of moss.
In this picture you can only get a glimpse of how surreal this area looks like 😉
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!