Archive for the ‘Germany’ Tag

Cabin in the Cradle   7 comments


Cabin in the Cradle

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During our recent trip to the Pisgah National Forest, our travels were hobbled by the so-called “government shutdown.” While we were free to travel the roads within the forest – really, how do you close a forest – signs of the shutdown were visible. In some cases, literally signs, such as “Campground Closed.” In other spots near attractions, garbage cans were overflowing with trash, barriers were set up, and restrooms and picnic areas were locked. Utterly ridiculous.

We had to find whatever we could, despite the circumstances, in order to salvage the trip.

Near the Cradle of Forestry location, we found this nice pair of cabins just off the road, set up as an example of early life in this area. Yup… Closed. That didn’t stop us from standing just outside the fence to frame up a photo opportunity.

Given the old nature of the scene, I decided to go with a Wet Plate look (collodion process) after merging and basic processing. Switching back and forth between this and the standard color version, this idea stood above all other attempts, although the color version was compelling in its own right.

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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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Here’s the Church; It is in Stiepel   10 comments


Here's the Church; It is in Stiepel.

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“… We would have gone in, but there were too many people.”

We recently did a three week trip to Germany for medical purposes**. Since we were rather engaged with that whole process, I didn’t have too many opportunities to shoot. Priorities.

The weekend after surgery, we had a few days of downtime, so we just started driving around on small, local roads, knowing that we could plug our hotel address into the car’s SatNav for the return trip, a process made significantly more challenging in that the SatNav only spoke German. We don’t.

At the top of a hill in the village of Bochum-Stiepel along the Ruhr River, we found a lovely church and decided to poke around a bit. Good angles were complicated because a young couple was getting married in the church, and they seemed to have a lot of friends. Also because of the wedding, we couldn’t go inside for a look. After doing some research at home, I regret not having access, as there are frescoes inside that date from the 12th and 16th centuries.

It’s almost unfathomable for an American, but this building dates back to the year 1008 AD, when it was a small single-nave church. Around 1150 AD it was rebuilt into a Romanesque basilica. The single-bay center aisle and the three-bay transept still exists today. During the last quarter of the 15th century this basilica was enlarged to a late Gothic hall church. The surrounding church yard is worth being seeing (and you will.) Its oldest tomb stone dates from 1600 AD and the walls and main gate are even older.

Not bad for a stumble-upon.

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For those interested, but not aware of the details, we went to Germany so that Susan could get spinal surgery. (All ahead, Pucker Factor 10.) Her C6/7 disc was just gone, C5/6 would follow soon, so she needed a two-level cervical disc implant – two artificial replacement discs and plates.

Although the implant technology is made here in the U.S., the FDA only *very* recently approved two-level implants using obsolete technology, which means there is little experience among the docs here in the States. In Germany, surgeons have been doing this for many years, and they have state-of-the-art devices available.

If you or anyone you know has spinal issues or degenerative disc disease, DO NOT accept the “standard of care” here in the U.S., which is fusion of the spine, as your only choice. Fusion produces terrible results – neck collars, pain, immobility, certain future surgeries, etc. – yet that’s all we can get here. Compare that to the fact that Susan and I walked into town for ice cream TWO DAYS after her surgery.

If interested, hit me up and I’ll tell you how we went about this.

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