Kategorie-Archiv: General

Retrospective: 2016

Another successful year is in the books and what a year it was. Interestingly I didn’t really got to do the things that I set out to but instead visited other places and met other people. I didn’t make it to Scotland, Iceland or to Namibia. But instead went to Norway, the Faroe Islands as I had hoped last year, Alps and again to the Iberian Peninsula. I got to teach a couple of great workshops and met some cool people along the way. So I can say that photographically I am content with what the year had in stock for me.

And as per usual I want to share some of my favorite shots of the year with you in the form of a top 10 list. So without further ado, here we go!

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#10 Certainly this image is still from 2015 but it none the less was edited in 2016 and thus somewhat counts to kick this list off. It has since brought me some interesting results such as winning the Nature category in this years dot.ART urban awards. And it certainly is actually one of my all time favorites already. But since it’s not technically a 2016 shot I thought I’d put this at the bottom of this years list instead of not making an appearance at all.

#9 – I know this is a rather quiet and not too dramatic shot but it I like it none the less since it was the third time I visited the Bohemian Switzerland and finally the weather was permitting my taking a shot in the Edmundsklamm. The last time the rain was too heavy and the time before that the pasture had already fallen due to severe weather leaving only barren trees behind. On my third visit however everything kind of fell into place.

#8 A shot taken during one of the coldest summer nights I’ve witnessed in central Europe. My travel mate and I didn’t think that the temperature would drop significantly below 0° during August days even at 2700 meters in the Alps. We were wrong and to our dismay the gloves we had left behind in the car or at home would’ve been a welcomed asset against the cold that permeated our layers of cloths one by one while we were taking nightly shots of this Italian alpine glacier. The image is on this list because it was one of the rare locations were even tough we were in the middle of Europe we didn’t see a single photographer in the vicinity and had the whole area just to ourselves. It was a huge success because we had intended to go to a place where no one had shot before and so far it seems we got exactly that.

#7 Another image that made the list more due to what happened behind the lens than what was captured. Philipp Lutz and I had intended to shoot some gorgeous landscapes in the Dolomites, but due to the missing snow it kind of fell flat. So instead we did a tour de force across the mountains trying to find any snow if any at all. The temperatures dropped to -15° at night and sleeping in the car was quite the adventure at some points in time. This shot stands emblematically for this frantic trip, when we finally were able to find some snow that even though it seemed patchy and half way sublimated added to the overall very beautiful scenery.

#6 On my sojourn in the Saxony Switzerland I was greeted by great sunrises numerous times and this was no different. Standing on the sandstone mountains and witnessing the first morning hours after a night in a sleeping bag under a rock ledge just ticks all of the boxes for me. Add a perspective that most people haven’t shot yet and you have my place number six.

#5 Certainly one of my favorite black and white photographs of mine and it took about four days of spending days in the fog on an island with only 10 inhabitants waiting for the clouds to roll by.  For this it really paid off it’s only a single image but for me personally it was very gratifying to see that patience – I am an incredibly impatient person – can pay of. Be it only for a single image in four days, it still felt like this is a one of a kind shot.

#4 A shot from my third road trip down the Portuguese coastlines. While it wasn’t a shot that took a ton of effort I just enjoyed sitting on the edge of the cliff and see the blue hour unveil. The gentle tones and beautiful, serene scenery just put me at ease when looking at it. It’s hard to describe but the shot just fills me with a warm fuzzy feeling.

#3 I seldom shot with in plain daylight and in this case the shot originated from a test shot before waiting for the sun to descend further to achieve more warm and let contrasted light. In the end however I decided against the warmer and more sunset bathed atmosphere for reasons I just can’t put my finger on. This shot give a good reference to what a regular day is like standing on the 200 high cliff next to the ocean right in the middle of the pacific. It seems like that is already enough, there is no need for further shenanigans when the scenery is just that breathtaking.

#2 This is one of those shots that simply was enthralling to take. Two days of hiking with a 25kg backpack on pretty darn difficult terrain at times made this a huge payoff to say the least. It was one of the shots that took the most effort this year which is why it felt even more satisfactory when the sunrise turned out to be this intense, even after it looked like the sky was not revealing anything worth shooting. It really felt like a victory taking this shot. Maybe even worth the patella tendon inflammation that came afterwards due to my knees not being able to cope with the terrain and the heavy gear.

#1 Somehow almost everything came together in this shot from the Faroe Islands. The Sunset, the scenery that I had not yet seen any images from, and of course a good friend to share the beauty with. I can easily say that this is my number one shot from 2016. I guess I needn’t see more as the image easily speaks for itself.

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So all in all 2016 was a great year for my personal photography. I also gave some workshops and am working on expanding for the next year. You can find what is planned so far for next year, including my Iceland Workshop here.

So what are my plans for 2017? So far only two trips are scheduled which are Iceland in January, as I want to build my winter portfolio since the Dolomite Trip  2016 wasn’t as fulfilling as I had hoped, and Scotland in April with my buddy Tino. Also there is the 2nd Iceland trip for the workshop I am doing in September to October.

Other than that I need to finish up my gear as I have recently switched some lenses around and also looked at other new equipment such as tripod and filter options. Trip-wise I am currently looking into some locations in Japan and USA. Also an annual visit to the Alps would also be on my list again. Let’s see what out of all these I can turn into memories and pixels.

Onward to a great 2017! I wish you all the best and see you around.

Retrospective: 2015

Ahh, 2015 is over and I ticked most of the boxes that I wanted to when I was walking in. I finished university, I did in fact even get a very good degree 1.1 – which is like an A in American terms I would say, I got this website of the ground after a year of being in the making, and I won several awards for my photography, did a little workshop, and got to teach a Photoshop course as well as shooting my first wedding. Photographically speaking it has been quite a successful year.

Alongside these facts I was fortunate enough to travel quite a lot the past year. Two times I went to Rotterdam, Frankfurt and the Alps (even though one of the trips was dreadfully cut short by weather), I got to visit Berlin and London, shot the Brittany coastline, the Hallerbos, visited the Saxony Switzerland again (sadly no pictures worth sharing shot there this time around) and finally made my dream come true to visit Iceland and it was just as brilliant as I’d hoped it would be. Certainly Iceland was the most  impressive photographic venture I ever head, so many stunning landscapes I beheld and moments I got to experience.

And with 2015 coming to a close I thought I should select what I think were my best works taken this year and maybe give you a little insight about my personal opinion ‚bout them. So without further ado here are my top 10 (or actually top 9) favorite shots of the year:

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I guess I’ll reserve the #10 spot for all the shots I haven’t had the time to edit yet. I am sure that there is at least one shot still lingering on my hard drive that would make this list if I had already edited it. So there are only 9 images on my list here.

After a severe thunderstorm passed over Germany's capital the Tempodroms roof stands stark against the ominous skies with a stray lightning illuminating the clouds.

#9 – One of the shots I took in Berlin had to be on here, if only for the overall great yield I got. I guess I love this one in specific because it simply wasn’t so much effort involved; I just got lucky with this one, which almost never happens. The Tempodrom building was just about 500 meters from my Hotel, and as soon as I heard a rumbling thunderstorm I had to rush over and try to get some good pictures – good thing I wasn’t out in the city at that point, I could’ve easily missed this chance. Instead somehow, over the course of only a few minutes, everything just came together, the lightnings, the composition, the short pause of rain,  reflections caused by the wet surface and even a bird sitting on the peak there. I seldom get such an easy shot to take.

Dusk falls over the small lighthouse on the coastline of Ploumanac'h. The prolific red granit rock formations that have made the small village a tourist attraction were formed about 300 million years ago and have been subsequently unearthed by the tides.

#8 – Though by some of my peers already deemed rather unspectacular, I fell in love with this shot from the Brittany shore due to my usual „blue hour preoccupation“ as you may call it. It was already almost dark when I took this, and bare eyesight was already getting difficult along with the stormy weather and the splash makings things even more complicated, so it wasn’t an easy picture to take. But I love how I was able to capture exactly the mood of the place at that exact moment in time. And the small light house as well as the one in the back help to emphasize the „oceanic“ feel. Besides this is the only true sea scape in the list, very unusual for me I guess.

Even at midnight the No. 1 transportation hub of Frankfurt is still busy. The trains coming and leaving the station every other minute to various destinations inside or outside Germany. And even the skyline towering over the station is still well lit.

#7 – I reckon even as a German photographer familiar with the skyline of Frankfurt you haven’t seen this angle of it yet, which is why I think this one to be among my best of 2015. I scouted a lot prior to going to the city and had the aspiration to get at least some shots in, that weren’t taken before. And with this (and maybe 2-3 others) I delivered on that intent. It might not be the cleverest of compositions, being clustered with power lines and such, but in my mind they do contribute to the overall notion of Frankfurt as a national transportation and financial hub and furthermore it’s a very unusual angle.

The moon lit up by the sun slowly drifts upward behind the Aiguille d'Avres. It's light being refracted by the earth atmosphere becomes akin to that of a sunset when exposed for a longer amount of time. Without even a haze of wind the picturesque Lac Guichard reflects the moons beams in between the plants which slowly overgrow the lakeside each year.

#6 – I actually only successfully edited this shot after I returned from Iceland, although the trip to the Alps actually had been 2 months prior to my sojourn in Iceland because I had to edit it several times to be content with the outcome. I suppose the reason why the shot was so important is due to the fact that it is the only really good shot I got to take on the trip, which at the time was cut short by vehicular problems caused by the extreme heat that stuck Europe during the beginning of July. My friend Tino Klein and I heavyheartedly decided to call it quits after only 4 days because the cars breaks were almost melted (and certainly deformed) by the severe heat of the asphalt and general temperature not supplying enough cooling. Instead we spent some great times in southern Germany simply relaxing, after we had steered clear of any more pass roads which may have caused our breaks to cease functioning completely. This shot on the one hand captures, I think, the severe heat (as you can see on the rock in the foreground the water level has dropped significantly over a short period of time) and the warm white balance also was set to convey the feeling even though it is a moonlight shot; on the other for me it stands for the great times I got to spend either way, despite having to drop 3/4s of locations we had planned for the trip.

With the fog rolling from the shorelines located only several kilometers outside the city limits the different bays of the Rhine within Rotterdam glow in the reflected light of the skyline. Around midnight on a week day it's surprisingly quiet for such a vivid area. It seems as if the fog is not only blocking out the lights but the sounds as well.

#5 – I suppose the magic behind this one, much like with my Tempodrom image above, is the unplanned nature of it. One evening I just headed out to Rotterdam hoping for the best and upon arrival was gifted with sever mist in the marina area and no wind at all. Even though this is the only shot I was able to get that day because the fog ultimately got so think it wasn’t possible to see anything anymore I am still content with getting a „bladerunner’esk“ shot like this more or less without too much of a hassle.

Twenty minutes are quite a long duration. The clouds above the 185 Tower in Frankfurt vanished as only relative time gives them permanence. The buildings however stood stark against the sky not wavering a second.

#4 – Another Frankfurt image. Only one just didn’t cut it here. Aside from having a great time shooting the building with my friends Tino, Philipp Lutz and Jan Pusdrowski I also got to meet Jonas Piontek another prolific German landscaper usually focused on weather photography. We had a great time in Frankfurt, catching some good shots. Just can’t detach the images from those memories I guess. But even beyond that this ultra long exposure won me two awards this year and made it onto an exhibition around Europe. Can’t say that I am not especially proud of this one.

 

The sun descending upon the mighty Öræfajökull part of Vatnajökull the largest glacier in all of Europe. It's ice glistening in the warm evening light which is illuminating the haze coming inward from the Atlantic sea.

#3 – I guess this one was obvious for those who follow my work. One of the most famous landscapes on earth, Jökulsarlon was as beautiful and breathtaking as I had hoped. Even with the tourist masses still present in September, it was a genuine experience since it only took a couple of hours of biding time until they were gone and Philipp and I had the place almost too our selves. Wandering along the shores, listening to the crackling ice of the glaciers in the distance and the seals at the outlet of the lagoon was just an amazing experience. We stayed two nights and we got this nice sunset right on our first day there. Surely this isn’t the last shot from Iceland in this list though….

Iceland's highest tuya "Herðubreið" steadfast under the northern lights, milkyway and a hat made of lenticular clouds. It is the highest elevation in the ash-desert of Ódáðahraun, towering with more than 1600m over the highlands which average around 700 meters.

#2 – The 2 days Philipp and I spent exploring the vicinity of Ódáðahraun were certainly amongst the most exciting of my life. I have never seen anything remotely comparable to the Icelandic highlands. And while they do not offer the breathtaking icebergs of the lagoon or the picturesque beauty of all the famous waterfalls around the island it’s something even more special only hard to capture in photographs I assume. The atmosphere was so thick and intense it had me excited all the way through it. The strong winds, the barren and desolate landscape, and vast lava plains were just so otherworldly it’s hard to describe. This night time shot stands emblematic for the time I got to spend there and makes it most likely my favorite shot from 2015, even though, from a technical or compositional standpoint, it is certainly not my best, not by any means.

In the gentle morning light of the very first day of the new year the Kochel Lake is dissembled by mist rising up from the waters. Minus 10° and a meter thick layer of snow make it difficult to work in the field but the scenery unveiling before the eyes is astounding, the mountains sometimes peaking through the mist and a pair of herons flying in the distance.

#1 – At the top of my list is certainly this serene landscape I was fortunate enough to capture on the very first morning of the year. Jan and I had gone to sleep only short after the new year had begun setting our minds on the next morning to get up early and shot the Sylvensteinspeicher.  After leaving the house about 5am and driving 30 kilometers over to the spot, we noticed that due to the high snow the access was completely blocked and there was no way we’d get the shot. Already pretty bummed, not to say pissed, we decided to drive further north to maybe find another spot to shoot the blue hour which was already drawing ever nearer. After a few minutes Jan came up with the idea to try to find the fisher’s huts at the Kochel lake about 20 kilometers north of our position. Since we had almost no other idea what to try instead we decided to give it a go. We simply went with our gut to find them and, without knowing where they were in the area around the lake other than that they had to be on the shore – obviously – found them immediately by accident. The Kochel Lake isn’t that small so we were really psyched that we found them let alone in time. As you can see in the image the fog was thick and rendered the already beautiful scenery even more sublime. Because of that Jan was joking around, as we parked the car, about how we would meet Kilian Schoenberger, a pretty famous German landscaper who seems to always drive were there’s fog at the moment, simply because we now had such favorable conditions. I was just  like „yeah, right“. But after a short walk to the shoreline, we noticed two figures in the mist, both photographers, and one of them indeed was Kilian Schönberger as it turns out! We shot the huts and had a little chat with him talking about this that and the other thing. It was certainly the most incredible mixture of coincidence that has ever happened to me.

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I am almost certain that my next year will be a great year as well, but after such an eventful and exciting year 2016 really has it’s work cut out for it, or should I rather say that I do?

Even with two entire trips falling flat this year, one being a Scotland trip I had planned with Tino, and another one the Alps trip with Jan, that I was scheduled to be on right now, there were just so many great opportunities, leading me to somewhat doubt that the next year can top this one. But I would certainly  be delighted to be proven otherwise.

In case you wonder what plans I have for this coming year so far, I can only say that I am looking into doing a road trip across South Africa and Namibia with a local friend, want to visit Iceland in winter time, want to get that Scotland trip that didn’t work out last October, need to work more on my general winter portfolio so maybe head out to the Dolomites still this winter with Philipp, would be excited to go to the Färöer Islands, and maybe this and that in between. So if I am able to make all that work, maybe I’ll be able to top it 2016!

Also doing more instructional and educational work is also planned, so you may want to check back for more workshops in due time! As for now, I wish you all a happy new year and a blasting 2016! Take care.