Open-air museum Kiekeberg

The open-air museum Kiekeberg (as if that wasn’t clear from the title) is located in the south of Hamburg (so actually still very much in the north of Germany) and shows the life of people in the north in the 19th century.

I went there with a friend just for fun after we had gone looking for tiles for his new place. Go figure! I know people who pick tiles! That’s how responsible I’ve become.

The museum has lots of small houses rebuilt to look like the aforementioned 19th century dwellings, complete with a smithy, a small farm, sheep and a home. The home is really interesting. Back in the day people used to live together with their servants and animals under one roof in about four to five rooms. One in which everyone(!) slept, one kitchen, a threshing-floow (yeah, better look that up) and the stable.

Inside the museum there is also an agrarian museum, but we had to leave. I was only dressed for well-heated tiling-shop-interiors and not for a cold day outside. The images here are all in black and white, but no sepia. Why not, I ask myself right now. It would actually portray the throwback well. But, nah! says my inner self. That’s corny.

So here they are, some insights into a cold sunday a fortnight ago.


Fog over Hamburg

Sometimes, things just fall into place.

I wanted to go shoot some images of the sunrise near the harbour. Shooting sunrise is difficult for me, quite simply because even though I don’t get up very late, I’m not a natural early bird.

On this particular day, I met with a friend, which made things easier. We started out at „Landungsbrücken“ to shoot the Elbphilharmonie, a modern classic. The sunrise itself was nothing special really and our viewing point brought many distractions into the frame, so I wasn’t impressed. I managed to get one long-exposure, which I thought was quite urban and moody, though.

sunrise „over“ the Elbphilharmonie

You can already see that the fog is closing in on us here, minutes later, all you could see was white, so we decided on having a coffee…. but inspiration struck us and I mentioned that I had never been up in our main church, St. Michaelis, the „Michel“. So had a coffee and a quick bite and went over to the Michel, which is a short walk from our vantage point. The lady at the reception told us that because of the white-out it wouldn’t make much sense going up, but we did that anyway.

On top we were greeted with sun and blue skies and nice temperatures around 20 Celsius. But the most amazing thing was that the fog went up almost to where we were, giving a fantastic separation between fog and sky and all the hallmarks of Hamburg stuck their heads out of the white. All in all, we spent some two hours there, taking images and enjoying the amazing views and weather. The images hopefully speak for themselves. 

a view in a westerly direction. Dancing towers to the left, Telemichel to the right.

I like the quality of the colors and the almost abstract visuals. Some of the images give almost no hint at to what you actually see.

smoke coming from the coal-power-plant Moorburg

I think, this image has a metaphorical quality to it, as Matisse said

Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us. 

Henri Matisse

Even if some things are visible that everyone from Hamburg will be able to identify, these images are almost undecodeable for people from other places.

a view to the south: the container terminal, my secret skyline of Hamburg

If the view includes another church, the image opens a door to understanding the power of sacred places.

churches and the Elphi

I leave you with a last image with a nice composition, including our concert-hall and our glorious sun. I hope you enjoyed this one!

sun over brooding fog

Instagram Photowalk – Terminal Burchardkai

Recently I was chosen together with a couple of other photographers to be part of Hamburg’s container port anniversary. It’s been fifty years of highly technologized globalization! Yay for Hamburg!

The marketing department contacted @igershamburg to select photogs and we met at the Terminal Burchardkai for an extended behind the scenes tour of the port. And boy, what a tour it was! We went up to a container gantry crane, where the star warsian driver’s cab is located a lofty 50m above ground. Initially I thought that the technology is simply kind of brutish, a lot of steel and heavy engines with little sophistication. Wrong I was!

Each crane is stuffed with a datacenter of its own, so that the whole process of unloading the containerships is gaplessly connected to the ordering party and obviously the logistics centre that is in situ at the terminal.

For me personally, I was quite overwhelmed by the shapes, sizes and primariness (if that’s a thing) of the colors and honestly struggled to get interesting shots, even though it was enormously interesting to me personally. I do hope that you like the images, though.


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.



Hagenbeck Collection

In order to lighten up the bleak wintertime, here is a collection of images from Hagenbeck that is practically bursting with colour. Most of them are from the end of last year, but some are from last weekend. I haven’t been very regularly to Hagenbeck lately as I have been trying to answer questions for myself that I wrote about extensively on this blog.

Still last week I just had to get out of my apartment, so I enjoyed this slightly guilty pleasure at the zoo. As it was a sunny winter’s day, the zoo was packed with people, which was a bit too busy for my liking. Still, this is a nice collection, I think and the pictures might even lighten the mood on a dreary day.

As always, enjoy!

All images used with kind permission by Tierpark Hagenbeck.

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.



Sparring, Boxing, Winning

In the last year I have reflected heavily on my photography (some of the reflecting I found so delightful that I shared it here on my blog). There were two main takeaways from all that glucose-sucking brain activity. Number one, my process of taking pictures is too anti-social, in that it basically is too lonely, i.e. I go out alone and shoot rather silent animals or cityscapes. Number two, my interests in photography changed to portraits and so I had to overcome my imaginary shyness and go out and ask people to make nice pictures of them. The results of both sessions are already on the blog, but the most challenging one came last week and has to with (the observant reader of the headline will have arrived at the conclusion already): boxing! (Yes!)

The gym I go to has a focus on mixed martial arts and boxing, so I went to a group of aspiring Balboas to ask whether anyone was kind enough to have me photograph them after a training session, and as good things happen to good people (tell me about it) two actually said yes and… on the day we arranged to meet, they totally forgot about it and did not come. Bummer.

So the owner of the gym stepped up and generously offered himself and some friends to step in, so I could take the images that day. But the odds for good jpegs were raised as he was really about to have a sparring session in the ring and not a leisurely after-training session. So I set up my two flashlights, one bare and one with a softbox, set my camera to f11 and a low iso and got behind the ropes, dashing around madly to avoid being hit by a tall guy being hammered into my corner.

It was good fun, I took around 350 images, many out of focus, some in pitch black darkness as the speedlights could not reload quickly enough between the clicks of the shutter and a good number were really great.

So here they are, the result of my own sparring with creativity and technology, in glorious black and white. Thanks to you guys for letting me shoot you and


















Hagenbeck’s primates

I guess everyone likes primates, apes and monkeys, because they remind us of ourselves. At least that’s the main reason I like them. Hagenbeck is home to a range of primates from sakis to tamarins, from baboons to orang-utans. Especially the baboons are fascinating to me, because they are so lively, social, funny and frankly raw. Here are some good images from the last couple of visits. Enjoy.

mit freundlicher Genehmigung des Tierpark Hagenbeck


Back again at Hagenbeck’s Tierpark, there was quite a commotion because of four new Siberian tiger babies that even CNN cared to talk about. As I’m free at the moment, I could take the time to stand outside their compound for hours just to take some pictures. Perhaps interestingly, this caused me so much backpain that I had to have my vertebrae reset. Oh well. I think it’s not much compared to the attention the kittens had to endure. Apart from that I made friends with some other photographers there who I went with, which was a good amount of fun and some very expensive equipment got wheeled around between the three of us. But more on that later. First, it’s tiger-cuteness-galore. Enjoy.

All images with kind permission of „Tierpark und Tropenaquarium Hagenbeck“.