Brooklyn

I recently went on holiday in the United States for the very first time – the plan was to go to New York, spend a few nights there and then roadtrip through Texas (of all places). It all went fine and I made some amazing experiences and met quite a few nice people along the way. After quite a flight – the greatest deterrent for me to go the states ever again – I arrived at the hotel in Brooklyn, only a measly one hour drive away from downton Manhattan. Being there for the first time, I was intrigued by the slightly run-down nature of Brookln, at least compared to most of the places I have lived up to now.

a view from the Sheepshead Bay station of the Q train

But the nice thing about Brooklyn is that it is filled to the brim with small shops, markets and a huge Russian community that is reflected in the language of advertising that you see all around. There are also many Russian-orthodox churches around, which I did not expect at all.

And of course you can get everything from fine-dining to the ever-pervasive fast-food diners. This one was trans-fat-free!

the RollnRoaster diner

As Brooklyn is located next to the Ocean, there are great beaches with free-to-use tables and chairs, so that many families just go there for a picnic, a barbeque or just to play some outdoor games.

Brooklyn Beach

Even more to the west of Brooklyn there is Coney Island beach with the Luna Park fun fair. A great experience for the family, especially as the park seems to be situated in an „authentic“ NY neighbourhood.

Welcome to Coney Island

The entrance to Luna Park is quite well-known from photographs, here is my recreation of an image I saw near the entrance to the park, if I remember correctly.

The park is quite old now and it looks its age, though during the weekends it is said to be full of people enjoying the rides and food from food trucks and the like.

starz

When you go through the park you arrive at the beach, where more fun, food and communality can be found.

the flavor of New York

But I had to go back as I was knackered from the flight and a full day of walking on foot. Near the station I found a picture opportunity that for me sums up Brooklyn. The slight tackiness, the down-to-earthness, the food and the rusticness. That’s why it’s the leading image for the article.

America runs on Dunkin‘

On my way back to the hotel I shot this image through the station onto the fun-fair. Thanks Brooklyn and I hope you enjoyed these images!

Coney Island station

Funchal and Porto Muniz

Funchal is the municipal seat of the autonomous region of Madeira and its largest city with roughly 112 thousand people. Built into the mountainside it comes across as a rather large city, because there is a lot of footwork involved when you want to explore it. One of its most interesting features is the cable car that takes you from the coastal region high up to the mountaintop of Funchal.

the cable-car ride

There you find two botanical gardens, the „regular“ botanical garden, which requires yet another cable-car ride and the tropical garden, which is right next to the station. There you can spend many hours walking, enjoying the plants, artists‘ exhibitions and sculptures.

a sculpture in the tropical garden

The sculptures differ widely in their range, as the garden is subdivided into a number of zones, e.g. the chinese garden and so on.

another sculpture

Walking down the garden you come to a central spot with an old colonial looking house and a waterfall, which is the main image of this post.

tropical garden, full view

It’s a sight to behold. The waterfall with the central pond is quite amazing, actually and harks back to the many levadas in Madeira.

This is a long-exposure with the camera sitting on a bench, probably at f22 to get the exposure time to around a second. #nofilter

Back to the bottom of the city, you find the cathedral located in the centre of the city.

inside the cathedral of Funchal

In the old-town part of the city there are yet more sculptures and picturesque alleys with painted doors.

But of course, as everywhere in Madeira, the beaches are really rocky, which is why there are bathing facilities made of concrete, which I find interesting, because they seem so fallen out of the 1960s.

Madeira

Leaving Funchal, one might drive to the north-west of the island to find other great places. I rather liked Porto Muniz, where you find amazing vulcanic rocks forming bathing spaces that look much more natural (they are artificially separated from the ocean, though).

Porto Muniz

And a restaurant located right in the rocks where you can eat while a gentle breeze comes from the ocean.

I hope you enjoyed this one.

touristic Mallorca

A couple of weeks ago I went to Mallorca for holiday, tired of the gray and cold in Hamburg, it seemed like a good idea for all the right reasons. It was.

That being said, I did not expect too much as I did not know a lot about the island apart from it being the center of cheap – binging and behaving as the worst stereotype of your home culture as you possibly can. So we stayed in a pensioners‘ apartment hotspot. Good choice, well executed. Bingo! (except for the bingo part, there was no bingo, nowhere, I’m not good with numbers anyway)

We did all the sightseeing stuff we wished for, learned how fleur-de-sel is harvested, artificial pearls are made, went to the dragon’s cave (I was curious, but no, no dragon, probably never, so sad) and went to Valdemossa, a wonderful town terraced into a mountain. I do envy the people who are able to live in such a spectacular landscape. Not only, if you think about it, because I envy them for not having a need for vitamin D supplements.

This is part one of two, seascapes coming a bit later.

Enjoy!

Urban photography

Over the last weeks I went out twice with rather wonderful Yang to do some urban photography here in Hamburg, which is part of my ongoing project of trying to appropriate this city for myself. As we could only meet after work in the dark, we decided on bringing our tripods in order to be able to do some long exposure work, light streaks and generally be able to use ISOs of less than 3200, which is stretching the micro-four-thirds sensors of our Olympuses a bit (even though its not quite as bad as some YouTubers make it seem).

The first outing was to the Reeperbahn where we had to fight really bad weather with rain, sleet and temperatures below freezing point. I got accosted very early on for not giving enough money to a homeless person (she asked me for money in passing by and questioned my grip on humanity) and Yang got told off for taking out his camera in a closed of red-light district. We had fun.

The second tour went to the Hamburg Dammtor station and Yu Garden, a gift from Shanghai to Hamburg, where I expected to being able to witness a tea ceremony, but it was closed and doesn’t offer regular tea ceremonies, least of all to uninvited visitors. Bummer.

Still, we had a good time and got some nice images of which you can find a selection here.

Enjoy!

 

Hamburg at night – the B/W edition with Yang

The other day I went on a photowalk with Yang (check him out on Instagram here). We decided on doing some long exposure stuff around the harbour, Hafencity and Speicherstadt and when we met a surreal south wind blew us all around and it was an incredible 13 Celsius in January! I forgot my tripod mount for the camera at home, so initially I felt challenged by the situation and decided to rise to the occasion, so I set my ISO up to 3200 accepted the grain for the creative effect it is really not and went ahead. The grain that is there now is simulated film grain over heavily denoised impages. Yang was better prepared and pushed ahead with his images and we walked around. As I am not really at home with architecture I kept close to him and some of my images are heavily inspired by what he did minutes earlier (only with more grain and less badda-bumm). So be it. It was a fun outing, though and I hope we will see to another one, soon.

 

Enjoy!

Bochum at night

There is probably not too much to say about this, as the title is carefully crafted to relieve you of the need to use your imagination in even mildly exaggerated ways. So I’m back in my second home-town for a couple of days to meet old friends and to reflect on this year – which btw has been good when viewed through the lens of photography (see what I did there?).

It feels good to be back in Bochum for a while, everything feels familiar and friendly and troubles at home are far away and drift away quite nicely. Being here I had more coffee-dates with friends than even a caffeine junkie like me can handle easily, so I’m typing away on my tablet quite late at night. In the last two days I went out after dark to capture some impressions of this rugged and likeable town, which I hope you like. As I did not think of bringing a tripod, I could not do some of the stuff I wanted, like capturing clean images in the dark, so I had to ramp up my ISO quite madly, but the low resolution I use here will smooth over the rough edges, I guess.

Anyway. Here they are. Enjoy!

Hamburg’s nights

Lately I’ve been walking around late at night and made some images that exemplify what Hamburg looks at night. Here’s a collection of the quieter and more bustling sites along the Elbe all taken with long exposures, so that it’s the movement of the machines, not the humans that gets the focus. I guess I’ll be working on this a lot more in the future, so a part II will come (whenever that is). Enjoy!

Harbour City II

Today, some friends took me out to the Elbphilharmonie to make some images. A beautiful, icy-cold and bright winter-day persuaded me quickly to join them. We were not alone. That is actually the reason why there are only a handful of pics in here today, there are quite some more nice images on my hard-drive, but they usually have some person who is tack-sharp in the frame and I shy away from publishing pictures of strangers that I haven’t asked for their image.

Snapshots – Roadtrippin‘ Tanzania

Being on the road in Tanzania is actually not fundamentally different from being on the road in Germany. That being said, the differences are sometimes harsh. In the last blog I talked about rubble roads and their abundance in rural parts of Tanzania is striking, to say the least. Here I am more concerned with visual differences. The kinds of motorcars, the bustling street life, the amazing colours fuelled by the ocre-dust, the clothing and the general openness of public life in the towns and cities. The blog-post picture shows a bajaji, a three-wheeled motorcycle used as a car. These nimble things come from India but have grown to immense popularity in Tanzania. The streets are teeming with them – at least in parts where a middle-class is forming. Having such a vehicle means huge popularity and mobility as you are instantly able to transport people or goods from one town or village to the next, which is still problematic as the images from the rural areas show:
it’s more rustic. Almost no one has a car or jeep. Some go on motorcycles (more to come) or bikes. Transportation by hauling stuff on your head abounds and is a balancing feat I struggle to understand.
Many of these images were shot from our trusty Toyota Cruiser (Asante, Malik) others were shot candidly on the streets and pathways. I hope these images help portray one aspect of being on the road for two weeks: diversity.