Archive for the ‘Europe’ Tag

Heads (Not Talking)   2 comments


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Heads (Not Talking)

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Time for a little Halloween fun. Creepy enough for ya?

While walking around the grounds of the medieval German church shown in Here’s the Church; It is in Stiepel, we stumbled upon a curious art installation tucked away in a corner of the property. All of the heads seem to be looking directly at the church.

The fact that the installation is not far away from some ancient headstones makes it all the more oogie.

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HDR processed from three hand-held exposures, processed with a combination of Nik/Google’s Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, and Viveza.

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Kirche Sankt-Georg   4 comments


St George wm

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Nothing straight, here…

The St. Georg Protestant Church is located in the historic city center of Hattingen, Germany. Of all buildings in Hattingen, it is surely the one most noticed from afar.

The church was built in 1200 from local Ruhr sandstone. Remains of a Roman pillar base and two column bases from the period after 820 were discovered in 1972 during excavations inside the church.

Since the building anchors the town center, there are many good approaches for a photo, but I think this angle shows it best. The rough cobblestone street and the crooked medieval buildings give a sense of disarray to the scene, so although I straightened up a few lines here and there, it is difficult to find a good point of reference for vertical and horizontal lines. I thought it was better to have a sense of crazy angles in the scene.

Lest you think I went too far with Photoshop’s puppet warp feature, the church’s steeple is truly tilted to one side. Evidently this is one of about 90 listed (and listing) church steeples with this attribute. Some theories suggest that it was built this way deliberately, so that if a storm took down the steeple, it wouldn’t fall on the nave. Others suggest that it’s due to the revenge of an underpaid carpenter. The way I see it, if you put all that slate on a skinny little structure, it’s going to start leaning at some point.

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Hip Hop Danger   2 comments


Hip Hop Danger

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There’s danger in this kind of Hip-Hop.

One weekend, while wandering the mean streets of Hattingen, Germany, we came across a town carnival that had a number of rides, games, and attractions. Mostly geared toward the kids, we nonetheless took delight in the retro-American motif throughout the fair. I mean, really… Break Dance? And who are those people painted on the backboard?

The other thing that struck me is how this scene would be different in the States. There would be a barrier in front of the ride, and people would be herded in line for the next ride. Here… if you want to jump up, go ahead, but you’ve been warned.

Sony NEX 7 hand-held, f/22, 1/8s, 15mm.

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She Always Wanted to Live in a Castle   6 comments


She Always Wanted to Live in a Castle
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The other day, we were strolling around our historical town in North Carolina. One building had a plaque proclaiming that it was built in 1828, or thereabouts. We call that ‘history’ here in the States, and while interesting to some, it just doesn’t seem very old when you compare it to a place like Burg Blankenstein.

Climbing up the steps and through the stone passageways of this medieval castle in Hattingen, Germany, I ran my hand along the rough wall, feeling the natural textures, the divots, and the roughness brought on by centuries of wear and use. I had to wonder how many people passed this way over the ages, how they dressed, what their lives must have been like.

From the top of the tower, there is a commanding view over the valley of the Ruhr River to the hills and fields beyond. It must have been a great place to watch for interlopers. We spent some time at the top, watching a shepherd in the field far below, moving his flock along the greenway aided by some hyperkinetic, overachieving border collies. I could imagine Lords and Nobles standing atop the tower in the morning mist, enjoying a cappuccino and playing “Master of All I Survey.”

Construction of Burg Blankenstein began in 1227. The castle was ready in 1243, but was finished over the course of 200 years by the Counts of the Mark. In 1425, Blankenstein was one of the most important castles in the county. In 1614, shortly before the Thirty Years’ War, it was occupied by Spanish troops. Over the years since then, the castle fell into disrepair, was ordered to be demolished, became a factory, and now houses a restaurant and reception hall.

You run your hands along the stone walls. You can feel century upon century under your fingertips. Ancient history.

Yeah, we could live there. Beautiful place.

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Sony NEX 7, handheld at 18mm, three exposures +/-2 EV processed in PS CC, OnOne, and Nik Collection.

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The Iron Men of Hattingen, Germany   5 comments


The Iron Men of Hattingen, Germany

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Hattingen, it would seem, is a rather proud town.

Outside the old, walled section of the town stand these statues by Polish artist Zbigniew Fraczkiewicz. The iron men symbolize the battle for steel manufacturing in Hattingen. (In 1720, there were 52 operating coal mines within the municipal area and Hattingen became one of the first industrial cities of the Ruhr region. Steel production started in 1853, when the Henrichshütte was founded. The Henrichshütte became one of the most important employers of the whole region and dominated the town until it closed in 1987.)

The town of Hattingen was first mentioned in 1396, when the Duke of Mark granted permission to build a city wall. Today, Hattingen has a picturesque historic district with Fachwerk (timber-framed houses) built between the 14th and 16th centuries. The old city is still partly surrounded by the city walls, and provides a place for fascinating strolls through medieval buildings.

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O’ Little Town of Hattingen   2 comments


O' Little Town of Hattingen

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From high up on the tower of Blankenstein Castle, we looked down onto part of the town of Hattingen, Germany. The castle itself was ordered built in 1226, and is a prominent feature on the landscape. (More pictures of the castle soon.) Although these houses don’t show the classic framing style of the old part of town, the place is rather old and adorable.

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