• Travel

    Minimalism in landscape photography

    I hadn’t realised that I had taken photographs that had minimalist qualities until I came across a challenge at Landscape Photography Magazine. While searching for motifs, I came across a surprising number of shots, three of which I submitted.

    Geographically, we are for the first photography on the so-called elbow of the North Frisian island of Sylt. The beach section in this photo shows the northernmost part of Germany. You can see the sandy south coast of the Danish island of Romo above the centre of the picture. The border between the Kingdom of Denmark and the Federal Republic of Germany runs somewhere in the middle of the sea between Sylt and Rømø.

    The North Sea can be very choppy. In the photo, you can see a few waves in this section of the sea, which connects the open sea with the tidal flat side that lies between the islands and the mainland. The cloudy sky also has little structure. Slightly sloping is the sandy beach, with a few footprints on it.

    In earlier times, groynes made of stone, wood or iron were built on Sylt to fortify the beaches or to reclaim the land. Nowadays, a sandy beach on Sylt is fortified by means of sand washes. The wooden groynes sometimes stick out of the water like rotten teeth. The iron groynes are rusting and have gaps and holes.

    In this photo, a rusty groyne is a welcome break in the vast expanse of sea, clouds and beach. I took the picture with my Nikon D810 A at ISO 200, f8 and 1/350s with a focal length of 52mm.

    Two coast lines: Denmark and Sylt © Julian Köpke

    Iceland is a paradise for minimalist photography. In many places, you hardly have the opportunity to let the landscape have a contemplative effect on you. Because you are rarely alone, however, the lighthouse of Raudinupur in the northeast of the island can only be reached on foot, over dirt roads and sheep pastures, always accompanied by wind.

    The change of pace provided by a hike after long stretches by car did us good. An approaching fog bank completely covered the sea, and the way back would be less sunny. It was very bright on our rock; the exposure took only 1/2000s at ISO 800 with an aperture f/11. Without a tripod, I took the shot so that I could always change my perspective quickly.

    In no time, the lighthouse disappeared in the fog after I had taken the photo. Minimalism can be that simple: a sheep, a lighthouse and a looming fog bank.

    Lighthouse Raudinupur © Julian Köpke

    I took the last picture of this blog entry in 2012 on Mauna Kea at an altitude of 4000 metres. Two weeks earlier, the moon had given us a beautiful solar eclipse in Arizona. The next morning, a transit of Venus was due to begin, for which we had travelled to Hawai’i.
    A transit of the planet Venus that can be observed from Earth occurs about 4 times in 243 years due to the inclination of the planets‘ orbits to each other. The last two transits were in 2004 and 2012, and the next one will take place in 105 years.
    We can enjoy a full moon every month – weather permitting. Below the moon you can see the growing shadow of Mauna Kea in the evening sky.

    Full Moon on Mauna Kea © Julian Köpke