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

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.

Ponta do Pargo and Sao Vicente

Madeira has a lot more to offer than whale-watching, as was to be expected. Most people go off on hiking-tours and we did so as well, when we visited the Risco-Waterfall. Apart from that we toured to the extreme west of the island, to the Ponta do Pargo for a spectacular sunset and Sao Vicente for the vulcanic caves. In a later post I will write about Funchal and Porto Moniz.

For most of these outings I brought my Olympus OMD Em10 Mark II and the 25mm f1.8 (50mm, f3.6 equivalent), a simple, light and effective kit, which is surprisingly flexible.

a view over Sao Vicente. In the foreground the entrance the grotto’s multimedia-experience

Sao Vicente is a small village with about 3000 inhabitants in its district and is probably most famous for the Grutas, the volcanic caves that can be explored as part of a guided tour.

a look inside a side-tunnel

The tour is quite short, though, as it covers only about 700m, but it ends on a multimedia-experience in which the genesis of Madeira is explained, which is quite nice. Through the caves runs a river of pure water that was filtered by the vulcanic rocks, which is drinkable. The small stream forms lakes underground which are very nice to look at.

a small -artificial – lake inside the caves

Outside of caves, you can find some nice restaurants and of course the extreme cliffs that are part of every coastal town in Madeira.

a vista from Sao Vicente

From Sao Vicente you can go along the coastal roads, which for a large part are not tunneled, which is an amazing experience in and of itself. You drive high up the cliffs along meandering roads and you’re sometimes able to catch a view over a valley and the landscape or the open sea.

a view to the south from Ponta do Pargo

At other times, the road leads you straight through a forest. It’s scenic, it’s wonderful and uplifting. I need to go back in order to get some images to prove the beauty of the northern coastal roads.

sunset at Ponta do Pargo

After a lenghty lunch at Porto Moniz, we went to Ponta do  Pargo at the western-most point of Madeira and thus the perfect spot for a spectacular sunset. There is a lighthouse, which is still in use and only some other tourists were around for the view.

sunset at the lighthouse

The temperatures in Madeira are mild day and night, so we spent some hours there before and after the sunset, exploring the small space near the lighthouse photographically. Apart from the other people there were only some curious goats that alternatingly viewed us as interesting and fear-inducing.

the goats cannot decide what to do about me

I surely hope you enjoyed this small blog, today. Ahhhh, I think I can throw in just one more picture as an extra. Enjoy!

Madeira (c) Torsten Drever

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.

Enjoy!

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!