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!

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.

Schanzenviertel

Today Katharina and I went for a stroll through the Schanzenviertel, one of the last remains of left-wing culture in Hamburg. The quarter is full of graffiti, tourists, punks and hipsters, a strange but not wholly amusing mixture, at least to me. We took a look at some graffiti and wondered whether this is a place to live, considering that for many people it’s the place-to-be, it was a no for both of us. The place is just too run-down.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Katharina taking a picture.

Still the graffiti is rather good:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kiss me! I’m psychadelic.

There is a playground next to the old bunker, so I took the Atomium shot that others go to Brussels for :D.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Atomium plaything.

These people were mending the abandoned(?) skateboard park. No skaters around.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hipster skateboarding.

The following portrait is of »Pflanzpirat«, an artists who helps people with their guerrila-gardening projects.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The streets are rather deserted on a cold Sunday afternoon. That doesn’t make it a comfort-zone.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s a left-over from someone’s last-night supper.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The remains of the day.

Gentrification meets left-wing culture.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Che!

A lot of things in Hamburg exist in contrast to Berlin – and for no other reason than that.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Berliner Betrüger.

 

Photowalk Hamburg

Today I went on a photowalk with Sascha, who keeps a fine and awe-inspiring travel-photoblog here: www.senicer.de. We went to town with nothing other on our minds than that we would not be able or interested in doing landscape, garden, animals. So nothing that I usually do. All right. Here we go.

We started on the infamous Reeperbahn in St. Pauli. The goal was to capture not the hustle and bustle at night as that can quickly get rather dangerous (there was a gang-suicide there just the night before) but the sobering morning. So we went there at 9am to find empty streets, devoid of tourists. There are not many people who live there any more, as the quarter is rather gentrified. Most people who live there are seniors who enjoy the low rent because they are still on contracts from the 1950s. The streets are rather bleak in the morning with no-one around, the sex shops are closed and there is no hint of the night-time glamour left.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Old man and a headless woman.

 

After that we went on to the harbour where at that time of the day many tourists wander around to get a glimpse of the the Hamburg-skyline, which you can only really see from the southern bank of the river. In order to get there you have to walk under the river Elbe through the „Alter Elbtunnel“, which crosses the river north to south.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The old tunnel.

From the tourist port (Landungsbrücken) we went east towards the Hafencity, which is a new quarter unashamedly built for the rich and home to the new Elbphilharmonie, the concert hall, which although twelve times more expensive than planned (clocking in at a billion euros) is still not finished. Here I managed to sneak in a shot of Sascha who was quicker to walk up to the pier on steps that are laid out to mimic an amphitheatre.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sascha up the steps

Upps, he beat me to that.

Having arrived at the Hafencity there was nothing really interesting to us. Lots of inhumane architecture with glass and concrete and steel on an inner-harbour island. Probably good for shots with lots of texture and form, but I am no good at capturing that. Still we found a fisher with his fishing rod who was looking for pikeperch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fisher

Walking from the Hafencity towards to city-centre I managed to capture this nice old Porsche complete with its bearded driver in a panning shot. These always seem so innocent and easy to do, but of course I panned a lot and took even more pictures until I got a nice car and good sharpness in one image.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Panning Porsche

Walking up the car park at the biggest media and electronics store in Hamburg we fought our instincts and pointed the camera straight down only to see a clerk from the store trying to bring order to the inner-city car chaos on the first after-Christmas shopping day. If I interpret this image correctly, he had to give up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Car park

The buskers are still busy, especially as Germany is on holiday at this time of the year and lots of tourists make their way through Hamburg. This man was kind enough to let me take a picture of him playing in the cold.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Busker

We stopped at the local Tesla store where a salesman told us that a Tesla sportscar virtually pays for itself and we were quick to agree because he wouldn’t let us go otherwise, he didn’t get our telephone numbers to call us in case there was a sales-emergency but I took a picture of another salesman who did nothing else in these fifteen minutes than polishing the right side of the car. It was really shiny and nice.

ShinyTesla

ShinyTesla

Right at the Jungfernstieg at the Binnenalster there were the last remnants of a Christmas Market and this warm-looking busker sat at the entrance. Note that he only got this warm grandfather look after we paid some money. He was a nice enough chap anyway.

OrgelspielerHamburg

Busker

To finish our tour we went to the TV-Tower, which is almost out of use. There used to be a restaurant and panorama-viewpoint inside but now bits and pieces of the concrete fall down and people are no longer allowed to go near. It was rather dark, so I took this eight-second shot because I liked the foggy atmosphere.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

TV-Tower