The most surprising thing this year was the selection of many of my pictures in the Flickr Explore stream. My best picture in 2021 is again a black and white, this time of the Bernese Alps with a view of the mountain chain Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The picture was taken on the Schilthorn when I fled the permanent James Bond exhibition.
The end of the year had some surprises in store for both of us. We drove to the Black Forest and hoped for snow to cool off. The snow did not come immediately and a red dawn on January 2nd seemed dangerous and not calming.With plenty of snow, alternating sunshine and snow drift, there were beautiful moments in the countryside in Breitnau near Hinterzarten.
With the help of some tips from a photographer friend I was in school with a long time ago, I tried to improve my photographic technique and post-processing. This includes the trick of placing a piece of newspaper in the sharpness plane of the lens in order to speed up the focus. Very effective.
With the first cable car to the Schilthorn I started at 7:40 am in Mürren. Unfortunately, as a tourist I couldn’t go up earlier. On the terrace of the mountain station there were two cardboard figures with shooting irons in hand, which appeared to me on the pictures of the webcam as strangely motionless guests. The temperature at 0 degrees Celsius was not friendly for the hands, so I was mostly alone on the platform.
How do you photograph mountains ? At distant mountains the colour disappears into a dull blue, which is why I prefer black and white in these cases. Then a gripping dynamic may develop that draws you into the image.
The technical side of a cable car has always fascinated me. A cable car is a workplace for drivers, technicians, engineers and many others. The first ride in the morning is a cheerful encounter of these people, who have known each other for along time and take turns doing some work on the machines. That’s why we were allowed to listen to music for the morning gymnastics during the drive uphill.
In fact, the construction of a mountain station on the Schilthorn before it became the location for the 4th James Bond movie starring George Lazenby was certainly controversial and economically questionable. After the movie, everything was clear. Today you can admire many scenes and their making of on a separate floor, as well as 10 minutes of impressive films about the local landscape and the film.
It was only while processing the images that I noticed the many airplane tracks in the sky that had not been there for so long.
The mountain range of Eiger (left), Mönch and Jungfrau also looks better in black-and-white technique. The imminent change of the weather is already clearly visible on the image.
The cross-country trip to Lucerne with a 20-year-old navigation system took me along many country roads, which used to be the only connection to this city. It’s hard to imagine how the traffic might have moved then. That’s why the system guided me down from the motorway through beautiful Swiss landscapes.
A little tired I arrived in Lucerne and went to sleep. Just in time for sunset I made a tour through the old town to Lake Lucerne, on which wonderful sailboats were on the way.
The last highlight of our trip through Iceland was the newly erupted volcano Fagradalsfjall in March in the Krýsuvík volcano system of the Reykjanes peninsula. After arriving at the parking lot, which we unfortunately could not pay for lack of a local app without internet connection on site, was by a lava river on the footpath to the viewpoints a long walk fully loaded with photo equipment to tackle.A long horizontal path to a steep climb that should be worthwhile. The last part of the 150m ascent was provided with a rope on which you could pull yourself up. Then came a plateau, on which the visitors spread out over a large area.
Right hand side in the background on a hill has landed a helicopter. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I haven’t noticed so much aircraft noise. A burning smell was everywhere in the air, sometimes pungent. After a short time, I started to have a slight headache.
The impression of a primordial landscape induces the last image.
In the morning a short review of the Vestrahorn in the hotel at the computer. The warm light of the morning sun was reflected in the dune grass, which grew into the black sand in repeated small domes. And in the mountain range that gave the name to the place.
I liked the simplicity of the house forms in Iceland. I’d like to photograph them all. Remotely, they are reminiscent of the wooden shapes of the houses and hotels of a Monopoly game.
A road that didn’t seem to be difficult on the map should take us to the foothills of Eyafjallajökull. On the way there we met riders who used the same road with Icelandic horses. They were clearly faster and, as if by magic, always quite a bit of us. The road was interrupted by watercourses that our simple car could not pass through. We had to turn around.
After a visit to Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi we drove to the ferry port, which takes you to Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands). Hefty wind and thin rain awaited us. The lens could hardly be held straight with the hand. Some grains of sand from the black beach penetrated into my left eye and keep me busy for some time.
The furthest eastern destination of our trip was the Vestrahorn. With a private beach of black sand, this place is interesting at low tidal ranges because of its reflections. The nice lady at the entrance gave us a ticket for morning and evening. So we came there in the morning and in the evening hours.
The blue colour of the reflections deceives the fact that a warm morning sun illuminated the beach. My friend Detlef is almost lost in the vastness of the beach.
Sometimes I find it difficult to make panoramic shots because I can’t plan the picture in my head. Every panorama always contains a small surprise. On the Vestrahorn I made this panorama with reflections from 2 shots with identical parameters.
The weather got better and better, but remained changeable, which gave us plenty of opportunities for beautiful shots. Detlef had already programmed all stops in the navigation system, so we could go there in peace as we wanted.
The weather varied considerably from region to region, sometimes necessitating quick decisions. Or a chance to take a nap.
On our way to Budir a second time we passed by the foothills of Snaefellsjökull.
The small hotel near the red beach of Budir has an excellent location and its own charm. Prepared for tourists are two old cottages, decorated with milk jugs.
It was impossible for me to sleep really long. The long day in Iceland and the tension about when the test result would arrive kept me awake. In the end, it was 12 hours that we waited. We spent the quarantine in the car on the way to the hotel as indicated. After12 hours of tiring waiting, the result – a negative test -was as a text message on our mobile phones.
The weather was constantly changing on the way. In addition to great photo opportunities, there were also boring sections with rain or dull views. At the end we arrived in Arnarstapi. Again along day with excursion to the basalt coast with finely distributed rain.Despite the unpleasant rain, the sky was full of interesting light conditions that the eye was not accustomed to correctly estimate.
Our flight to Iceland started in Germany with summer darkness, which was far from reaching its maximum. To the north over Germany and to the northwest over Scotland, th edusk could be seen in the west, and after not too long already the dawn in the east. The topology of the sphere allows us to see the evening in the left plane window and the morning in the right plane window.
Red clouds, sometimes dense, sometimes filigree, hovered over an almost closed cloud cover over the sea. Seeing the sun was reserved for the captain of the flight.
After a Covid test, we had to go into quarantine. Outside it was still bright as in our home on a winter afternoon at 4 pm. Everything was deserted, so I took a photo session at the harbor without violating the purpose of the quarantine. I was greeted by a strong eruption of the Krýsuvík-volcano system in the Fagradalsfjall mountains, for which I was only partially equipped in camera technology.
In the morning I was able to see the volcanic region again from the pool of the hotel. A half-full wine glass was on the edge. In the night three young mermaid have had loudly their fun in this pool.