In my mind, Egypt is associated with the friends and acquaintances from this country whom we have known for almost a lifetime. And with pyramids, sculptures, painting and literature, sailboats on the Nile and palm trees in oases. Last but not least, with a rising full moon behind remote settlement houses on the Nile. But one after the other.
Photographs of the pyramids of Giza like to show them with the desert as their surroundings. They appear to stand free under a clear, steel-blue sky. At the time these monuments were built, there must have been a strictly organised activity for the mummification of corpses and the documentation of their past lives. A lot of people must have worked there permanently, as scribes, painters, sculptors and not least as tomb architects and workers. Today we would call this an industry.
Modern Cairo is getting closer and closer to the site of the Giza pyramids. The city limits are only a stone’s throw away from the new Egyptian Museum. It is as if this structure is a last warning before the city finally swallows up the pyramids. If you look from the Citadel towards Giza, you almost think the skyscrapers are as tall as the pyramids.
The first step pyramid was erected between 2720 and 2700 BC by Pharaoh Djoser. As with many other ancient statues, its face was destroyed, probably by Christian fundamentalists who wanted to put an end to the statue’s possibility of having an effect on the population. Photographing these statues is only possible with patience, searching for the best perspective and a moment without visitors in the line of sight. Then you can imagine the grandeur and splendour that these works must have once radiated.
The ancient Egyptian museum houses a lot of ancient statues from the old empire. Fortunately, some of these works remained intact due to sand drifts. One can then see the earlier extent of the drifts before the excavations by the boundaries of the fundamentalist destruction.
The bust of the pharaoh Userkaf made of black stone is not only well preserved. Its presentation in the museum makes it reminiscent of a magician who does not want to be recognised. The bust was found at his sun temple at Abu Ghurab. Userkaf was the last king of the 5th dynasty. His pyramid, now ruined, is located a few hundred meters from the northeast corner of Djoser’s 3rd dynasty step pyramid at Saqqara.
From the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt by Pharaoh Mentuhoteb II in the years 2030 to 2021 BC, the pharaohs wore a larger headdress symbolising the two parts of the empire.
Less than 200 years later, the pharaohs intensified the cultivation of the Fayyum Oasis for vegetable production by diverting water from the Nile into the area, which was up to 45m below sea level. At that time, a huge lake was created. Although the area has been permanently settled and cultivated for almost 6500 years, sometimes the feeling of a precarious existence of a desert oasis still imposes itself.
There is a relaxing contrast to the oasis when you travel the Nile by boat. Then you are in the middle of the Nile as a lifeline with a green strip on both banks. Apart from numerous cruise ships, barges, sailboats and rowing boats also move on the water.
As the sun set one evening, the last full moon before the beginning of spring rose in Esna. Four weeks later it would be Easter because of this. The lighting conditions favoured a single exposure shot to get a satisfactory result. At 135mm focal length and f8 with ISO 3200, it took me what felt like a very long 1/30s to take the picture.
Two weeks ago I went to Lake Constance for business reasons. At 7 o’clock in the morning I could see a red sun rising in the fog between trees. That’s why I made a stopover at Lake Constance to take pictures there in the evening and in the morning.
The morning drive two weeks ago might have made you think of ghosts and of course there is literature on this subject from the area. The evening when I arrived was wonderfully sunny and fogless. By car I made an “ascent” to Hohenklinge Castle in Stein am Rhein, to see the valley from above. The view reminded me of a Renaissance painting.
There is no repetition for the landscape photographer. The natural light will never be like that again when you go back to a place. Where the sun was supposed to rise it was not foggy. It was cloudy. From here the Upper Rhine begins.
Early in the morning, all of a sudden, two women drifted in the river. The two of them wished me from below a “good morning. ”
Here in Stein am Rhein ends Lake Constance, which lies between the High Rhine and the Upper Rhine. Before sunrise you could see some discoloration of the sky, along with very little ground fog.
In our vicinity there is a quarry that shone over to us in the afternoon with its warm colors. Loading the car with the heavy photo equipment, I drove there to try a few shots. The grounds were not as welcoming a I had imagined. Concrete paths and many closed gates that hindered a free study of light conditions. A remarkable amount of people on the road, often with dogs.
The quarry named Referenz was used to mine for quartz porphyry, a red stone similar to granite, either used for road construction or e.g. statues. One rock formation was outstanding, with trees on it and a warm and yellow surface.
On a mountain north of river Neckar through Heidelberg that was used spiritually by different subsequent cultures, there is a ruin of the monastery St. Stephan, with an arch that has probably bee reconstructed. It was already pretty dark when I got there. For the following shot it took me 2 minutes exposure time and 2 more minutes for noise reduction. You don’t see it.
The Heidelberg Castle is always a great sight. It was almost too late to find a balance between the decreasing daylight and the electrical illumination. Nevertheless, with a single 90s shot at ISO 400and f/8, the basis for this image, which is a kind of negative, was achieved. The dark Heidelberg Castle dominates the scene.
It’s the primary goal of many photographer’s who travel to Heligoland: bird photography. For more than 20 years now the Northern Gannet populates largely the red rocks of the island.
A short walk leads to the rim where these birds are breeding amongst seagulls and guillemots. Birders populate this rock early in the morning or late in the evening close to the rim, where the birds are nesting.
Gannets like to fly like students roam around in their school yard. Very attractive to see. A long and late sunset close to the summer solstice enhanced the experience.
The birder population varies largely with the year as the bird population does. This January, empty nests and no birders on Heligoland. This evening we were attracted by a beautiful sunset. After the sunset no further bird photos could be made. What a pity !
After sunset the color palette turned into orange and turquoise. Turner in Venice used these colors in his last watercolors often. A power plant still was working a little bit.
Last evening in a special resort. Flowers in every room. A view like on an airplane window seat. Meeting friends from long ago and renewing friendship. Happiness, breathlessness, intense talks, laughter.
Great sunset seen from above Lake Lucerne and Lucerne itself.
Wonderful sunrise in the morning, blue sky and fresh air. Breakfast in the sky. Last conversations. Melancholy of farewell. Final goodbye. The composition resembles a painting of a former family member: Otto Flechtenmacher.
Luxuriant floral decorations everywhere in the lobby. Manual HDR without tripod: works.