• Monochrome,  World at night

    Dark Earth, blazing sky, vast universe

    Every time the moon wanes and an ever narrower crescent becomes visible, we enjoy the sight of an almost perfect circular disk with a narrowly illuminated edge. Due to the nearby elevations of the Kraichgau around the Königstuhl, the moon rises here in Rohrbach later as the announcements of the observation programs indicate. Yesterday, short after 6 o’clock in the morning I obtained the following image, drunk with sleep, no tripod, camera settings still correct for Japan, and an empty battery. Some of the treetops of the pine forest are faintly illuminated and can be seen directly under the moon.

    Near New Moon in Heidelberg © Julian Köpke

    The photographic repetition the next morning with an even narrower crescent moon spurred my ambition on. The visibility should start about 50 minutes later. After the end of daylight saving time at three o’clock in the morning it was almost the same time on the clock as the day before.

    If it hadn’t been for the clouds ! No moon visible at all. The clouds divided the world into three parts with visible stars and darkness of the night still over the city: dark earth, blazing sky, and the perceptible vastness of the universe.

    Dark Earth - blazing Sky - vast Universe © Julian Köpke
    Dark Earth - Blazing Sky - Vast Universe © Julian Köpke
    Dark Earth - Blazing Sky - Vast Universe © Julian Köpke
  • Japan,  Travel

    Japanese paintings

    On the return flight I remembered the many Japanese drawings and paintings. During my stay I had taken extra pictures of pine branches in the hope that I would be able to achieve a painterly effect by post-processing them. I set to work with my laptop. The first image should be a pine branch of the Rengeo-In shrine in Kyoto.

    Pine impression Rengeo-In temple Kyoto © Julian Köpke

    I felt encouraged to try more, although operating the laptop on the plane was sometimes a bit difficult. The next try should be an image of the Golden Shrine Kinkaku-Ji in Kyoto.

    Golden shrine Kinkaku-Ji Kyoto © Julian Köpke

    The coloring of the picture is decisive for the success of this illusion. The colors of the Japanese paintings I have in mind are rather not saturated and the contrasts are raised more. With the photograph of an art installation in the port of Takamatsu I could still achieve a little of this illusion.

    Art installation in the port of Takamatsu © Julian Köpke

    We met the first signs of autumn in Nikko.

    First signs of autumn in Japan in Nikko © Julian Köpke
  • Japan,  Travel

    Japan, mon amour

    Why do I like Japan so much ? People are polite and friendly and you never get hurt. How great is that ! The Japanese like beauty for their eyes and their ears.

    Fresh flower bouquets can be found in the toilets of the motorway service areas. Nice music in restaurants, in the streets, in shopping malls. Decorated vases in our hotels when leaving the elevator.

    Decorated vase in Takamatsu © Julian Köpke

    Entering the port of Takamatsu, I found this beautiful composition of an artwork with propped firs. This was a pleasant introduction to our stay on Naoshima.

    Takamatsu port artwork © Julian Köpke

    The combination of an exhibition and nature is an essential feature of the Naoshima Island. Beside the possibility to visit very special and beautiful, but expensive Museums.

    Camel © Julian Köpke
    Naoshima squares © Julian Köpke
    Balls (Walter de Maria) © Julian Köpke
    Naoshima pumpkin (Yayoi Kusama) © Julian Köpke

    At noon we found a little rest at the Pacific Ocean near this Torii.

    Naoshima torii © Julian Köpke

    On our way back to Takamatsu nature itself showed a wonderful spectacle of the sunset.

    Ferry from Naoshima to Takamatsu © Julian Köpke
    Firy bridge near Naoshima © Julian Köpke
  • Japan,  Travel

    Castles, shrines and gardens

    Matsuayama Castle was erected on a hill above Matsuyama. It hadn’t been a real strategic installation. But a demonstration of power. Inside, the paths are intertwined so that no one can easily find their way around.

    The buildings seem to reach the sky. Like clouds they hover above the hill.

    Matsuyama Castle © Julian Köpke

    Today our ascent at Kotohira-Gu shrine was higher and steeper than yesterday to Matsuyama Castle. Before the ascent the usual shopping street for religious and tourist needs was located. I was happy with to oil-paper umbrellas, although it was rainy today. No sun at all.

    Oil-paper umbrellas (Karakasa) © Julian Köpke

    After a night that I had slept badly, the ascent had been particularly exhausting. It is a construction feature of the plants to offer the interested again and again new and beautiful aspects.

    That’s why photographers take a lot of benefit there as well.

    Downwards at Kotohira-Gu shrine © Julian Köpke

    Ritsurin Garden in Takamatsu has been constructed in 16th century for relaxation of its owner. Photos can reflect little of the complexity to this park. From the main southern view point several groups of people with umbrellas could be observed crossing a wooden bridge. They probably wanted to leave the garden purposefully in this weather. Except falling raindrops no noise could be heard.

    Takamatsu Ritsurin Garden in the rain © Julian Köpke
    Takamatsu Ritsurin Garden in the rain © Julian Köpke
    Takamatsu Ritsurin Garden in the rain © Julian Köpke
  • Japan,  Travel

    Golden shrine – Kunkaku-ji

    Often gold is just pushy. Not in the wonderful garden of Kunkaku-ji temple. We started early in the morning to have a chance to take a photo. A warm and permanent rain supported us. There were many people, but not as much as usual.

    Kyoto Kinkaku-ji (Golden shrine) © Julian Köpke
    Reflections in Kunkaku-ji © Julian Köpke

    Our next stop was Ryan-ji temple. 15 is the sum of 3+5+7 and a holy number. 15 stones are dressed in a field in front of the temple. No one is able to see all 15 stones at once, without moving the head. Photographing the field without being allowed to move freely yields a distorted image.

    Kyoto Ryoan-ji temple Zen field © Julian Köpke

    The change from the quiet and rich impressions of the Zen gardens in the city to the Nishiki market was a kind of crash program. The folding fans of Kyoto appeared as a motif once again.

    Kyoto side street Nishiki market © Julian Köpke
    Kyoto folding fans (sensu) © Julian Köpke
  • Japan,  Travel

    Zen gardens

    A narrow shipping street leads to Ginkaku-ji Zen temple garden. Many dealers offer all kinds of souvenirs. A merchant allowed me to take a picture of her folding fans.

    Sensu Kyoto (folding fan) © Julian Köpke

    The wild sea is a difficult subject of painting. So is it for a Zen garden, too. In the garden of the Ginkaku-ji in Kyoto temple I liked very much the intensity of changing aspects of a sand composition representing the wild sea.

    Ginkaku-ji temple "The wild sea" © Julian Köpke
    Ginkaku-ji temple "The wild sea" © Julian Köpke

    It’s impossible to show the variety of aspects of this garden: one has to experience it. The rapidly changing variation of experiences in a confined space is a design feature of this garden.

    The Moon at Ginkaku-ji temple garden © Julian Köpke

    Before leaving you look back on the beginning of the tour with these nice reflections on a slow moving water.

    Sone bridge at Kyoto Ginkaku-ji Zen garden © Julian Köpke
  • Japan,  Travel

    Kyoto

    In the bus I look put for motifs than can convey a feeling of Japan. On a rainy day it might be not so hard. I find one at a rest stop. It doesn’t take much post-processing to get ready.

    On our way to Kyoto © Julian Köpke

    First impressions are important. The main station in Kyoto is loud and bustling. I’m not sure I imagined it under Kyoto. With a long time exposure I capture some of my first impressions of this great station. The lotus flower is everywhere present as architectural motif.

    Kyoto main station entrance hall © Julian Köpke
  • Japan,  Travel

    Calm before the storm ending

    The first time in Japan is an overwhelming experience for me. Difficult to find words. We don’t really get to know Japanese. They are always very friendly and have a pronounced sin for beauty. There are also people here  who live in homemade shelters on the street or rummage through waste bins.

    Our primary touristic foci are the weather and the food. The weather starts with a capriole of a special kind. 3 days before a typhoon is supposed to hit the islands it gets sunny contrary to the announcements of all weather apps.

    Sunrise in Tokyo © Julian Köpke
    Sunrise in Ikebukuro, Tokyo © Julian Köpke

    An earthquake is destroying our plans to observe volcanic activity in the mountains. Higher and higher waves force us to leave the coastal road to take our bus to Hakone. Traffic jam for the first time during our stay in Japan. The Pacific Ocean starts to show its aggressive moves.

    Great wave off Kanagawa © Julian Köpke

    The threatening disaster with the approach to the mountains and the first massive impressions of Mount Fuji are forgotten. I’m a little frightened by the force of the mountain as if a curtain were drawn up.

    Approaching Mount Fuji © Julian Köpke
    Mount Fuji seen from the bus © Julian Köpke

    Just arrived at the hotel we do not check-in, but quickly push around the shores of Lake Ashi to admire the mountain during sunset. The summit weather changes every minute.

    Fuji seen from Lake Ashi © Julian Köpke
    Sunset at Mt. Fuji above Lake Ashi © Julian Köpke

    At such a sunset no one thinks of the threatening typhoon.

    Sunset at Mt. Fuji in Hakone at Lake Ashi © Julian Köpke
  • Architecture,  Travel,  World at night

    Japan, mon amour

    New love. New feelings. Less than one day in Japan. Tokyo means architecture like a mountain range. Food like a fair of flavors. Mild temperatures in the urban area. Some warm rain now and then.

    Tokyo Bay View © Julian Köpke

    Have I seen this before ?  Hasn’t it been bigger ? The statue of liberty in Tokyo. Obaida: a skywalk for people and photographers.

    Statue of liberty in Tokyo © Julian Köpke
    Spider Men in Obaida enjoying Tokyo © Julian Köpke

    A short night after a dinner in a typical restaurant. For the first time dining without shoes. Sitting low, feet underneath our tables. Lights, clouds and fog. Silence. Some sleep. Getting some rest.

    Tokyo at night © Julian Köpke

    Dawn is coming. Pleasant change through translation in space and time. We are not lost.

    Early morning in Tokyo © Julian Köpke
  • Architecture,  reflection,  Travel

    Sinking ship

    A reflection often leads me to a contemplation. That’s what happened to me today at the Berlin Reichstag.

    At the shore of river Spree in Berlin are mounted plates to commemorate those who had been killed when trying to reach freedom. When photographing a reflection in a window front of the Berlin House of Representatives this reflection appeared slightly tilted and looked like a sinking ship.

    Was the death of these people now pointless ?

    What is the point of an overpopulated Reichstag, where the groups in dispute have lost fundamental commonalities and goals ?

    Reflection or consideration: past and future in a window reflection ? Fall of the building Reichstag ? © Julian Köpke