Week 2 – Bolton

I’d just like to say thank you very much to everybody for the kind words and support given to me after last weeks post. I was a little overawed if I’m to be quite honest as I received more comments, now have more followers and earned more hits in two days than I did for the whole of the previous 53 posts of the past year. I will try to live up to expectations but please don’t be too disappointed if I don’t make it all of the time.

I managed to get home to the north-west of England over the weekend with the family for a short visit. I was hoping I might find a suitable photo opportunity here. Well I wasn’t disappointed!

I nearly called this “Irony” but then I thought the better of it. Suffice to say somethings may, at first glance seem to be a good idea but then if you look closely they turn out to be very different.

Week 32 – Sanssouci Rose

This was shot during a rainy Sunday stroll through Sanssouci…..

f/4 1/125 ISO 400 @30mm

Week 31 – Polperro and Stonehenge

These are the last two taken on holiday.

The first one shows the lovely fishing village of Polperro which was just down the road from Looe (Cornwall) where we spent the second week of our England and Wales round-trip.

The second picture was shot on the way back to Harwich at Stonehenge.

f/14 1/125  ISO 400 @17mm

Polperro

f/14 1/250 ISO 400 @30mm Pol. Filter

Stonehenge

Week 30 – Muffer

This was taken in Rhosneigr (Anglesey) on the last evening of our holiday in Wales.

Thanks once again for everything!

f/25 1/250 ISO 400 @17mm (Two remotely triggered strobes)

Week 29 – Coming Home

Some of you might have guessed that the project has not died, moreover everybody is entitled to a bit of a holiday sometime.

After driving back through Germany and the Netherlands this was the view that greeted us on the Stena ferry taking us home.

There will be more to come over the next few days to catch up.

f/16 1/60 ISO 400 @17mm

Hoek van Holland

Week 28 – Don’t you just love blondes…….

and this one is a very special example…… meet the aptly named Bonny.

She is a very obedient, patient and easy going girl, quite prepared to have her pictures taken in the rain sitting next to her favourite treat without complaint.

A real low maintenance girl……..

f/4 1/80 ISO 100 @30mm

The Blonde Bombshell

Week 27 – The Saale

After a short weekend break in the south of the country, this week’s post is centred around the river Saale.

As we have now reached halfway on the photographic journey through the year 2011, this week’s entry is interactive. All those entering the poll (see below) have the chance to become the lucky winner of a once in a lifetime prize.

So here goes:

The first two were taken directly on the banks of the Saale River in Hirschberg (Thuringia). This Bench is the longest to be cut from one log (according to the Guinness Book of Records), and seats approximately 97 people depending on which nationality you are.

f/7.1 1/250 ISO 400 @17mm

Two Generations

 f/5 1/500 ISO 400 @34mm

Hirschberg

The third picture was shot in Burgk (Thüringen) and shows the new tower (42 metres) with views over the river Saale, the Castle and the surrounding landscapes.

f/8 1/500 ISO 200 Pol. Filter @17mm

Saaleturm Burgk

Please cast your vote:

Week 26 – Kim Wilde and the Siblings

The Economist was recently titled “The man who screwed an entire country” accompanied by a picture of Silvio Berlusconi. In Potsdam it isn’t a single man but more a political morass of people who were on the payroll of the regime before the fall of the wall. One of the latest victims has been the local public services company which hosts the annual music festival in Potsdam. This year’s roll call included Simple Minds, Robin Gibb and Kim Wilde.

The first shot was taken as a candid during Kim Wilde’s “Cambodia”. My covert skills obviously leave a lot to be desired as my subjects quickly spotted my intentions. The second shot was taken with their kind permission.

My thanks go to these unknown siblings on a bench.

f/4 1/25 ISO 800 @50mm

Kim Wilde in Potsdam

f/5 1/8 ISO 1250 @30mm

Week 25 – Verena and Paris

This week’s picture is a tribute to a great Frenchman, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry both an aviator and a children’s author. Second only to that man Eric in French history…..

This was shot with kind permission of Verena under the plaque commemorating Saint-Exupéry in the Panthéon (Paris) during a recent business trip.

f/5 1/125 ISO 800 @29mm

Verena in the Panthéon (Paris)

Week 24 – Oma (Hamburg)

This is Oma (Grandma) in the Stadtpark in the beautiful city of Hamburg.

She says “the best years were my thirties”,

My reply “unfortunately mine are all but gone!”

“You’ve still got your forties to come!”

That’s all very well but if the thirties were the best years, where do we go from here? They say the old thirties are the new fifties. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

P.S. she’ll be ninety-three this year so she ought to know (she’ll kill me if she reads this).

f5.6 1/100 ISO 400 @44mm

Oma (Stadtpark Hamburg)

Week 23 – Rainy Milano

This is Uli, my colleague on a very wet day in Milan. We went from a glorious nearly 30°C in Berlin to a miserable 18°C and rain in Milan. Still I got to see the San Siro from the outside so all in all not bad for a day’s business trip.

Rainy Milano

The first picture (above) is a crop of the second (below), as usual I couldn’t decide so I’m hedging my bets once again.

Both (of course) f4 1/1250 ISO 400 @30mm

Rainy Milano Again

Week 22 – Schloss Lindstedt

as above ………

f8 1/50 ISO 800 @50mm

Castle Lindstedt

Week 21 – Back to basics…..

This was taken early in the morning whilst on my way to work on that “sit up and beg” style Dutch bike of mine that I have mentioned previously. The view is from the Havelstrasse across to the Hans Otto theatre in Potsdam.

I’ve finally gone full frame, albeit analogue. This was shot with a Pentacon 50mm f1.8 (effectively a Meyer Oreston 50mm f1.8) lens on a Praktica MTL3 camera which were last produced around 1984. The MTL3 is completely manual with the only electronics being an inbuilt TTL light meter. It is pure East German precision engineering even if the technology used is over five decades old.

I’m really enjoying shooting film at the moment so be prepared for more in the coming weeks. This shot is OOC as they say, meaning straight out of the camera with no digital development whatsoever.

If I remember rightly:

f11 1/500 Ilford HP5 (ISO 400) @50mm

Hans Otto Theatre (Analogue)

Week 20 – The Avenue

This is the avenue that runs between the Orangery and the Dragonhouse (Belvedere) in Sanssouci.

I seem to have suffered a creative block this week, considering my L.O.F.T. it’s astonishing that I can be susceptible to such a thing.

f10 1/125 ISO 100 @30mm

From the Orangery to the Dragonhouse (Belvedere)

Week 19 – The Schleizer Triangle

Schleiz’s claim to fame is one of the oldest “natural” race tracks in Germany.

The first ever race took place on the 10th of June 1923, with the aim being to race as far as possible and as quickly as possible on five litres of fuel. The winner of the car race was Mr. Huldreich Heußer with a total distance of 87.3 km and an average of 41.4 km/h (which quite incidentally is similar to what I get out of my Dutch “sit up and beg” style bicycle when going downhill fully laden). Mr. Horst Raebel on his motorcycle managed six laps with an average speed of 64.2 km/h (which is something to aim for on that bicycle).

I’ve really no idea who won this particular race, but today the top speeds average 160 km/h per lap……I think I’ll get my coat!

f10 1/250 ISO 200 @35mm Pol. Filter

Schleizer Dreieck

Week 18 – The Lady by the Lake

…… on a sunny May afternoon in Neuruppin (1923).

f4 1/800 ISO 200 @19mm

The Lady by the Lake

Week 17 – The Pleasure Garden

….. or in German the “Lustgarten” which somehow has a more appealing ring to it ……..

f14 1/200 ISO 200 @30mm

The Pleasure Garden

Week 16 – Have a break….

have a, well it’s not a KitKat that’s for sure but I think she’s enjoying it anyway.

It’s been a long time coming but spring has well and truly arrived in the capital.

f5.6 1/50 ISO 200 @25 mm

Berlin Mitte

Week 15 – Nonuplets (Neunlinge)

This is Uta…… and Uta, with Uta in the background, Uta in front of Uta, beside them is Uta, by the side of her is Uta, with Uta and Uta in the distance. (From left to right).

Thanks to erm ….. that’s right Uta.

f 10 1/250 ISO 200 @17mm

Nonuplets

Week 14 – The Class of 2011


The Class of 2011 in 2011

It’s 21 years ago this Spring since I sat my A-levels and these ladies 20 years my junior will be studying hard as I write to make sure they get the grade for Uni. I certainly don’t envy them in the slightest.

Without wanting to sound like the pompous “old git” that I really am, I’d like to say to them “make the most of it all and above all enjoy it!”, I know I did (and do).

The picture below gives an idea how the scene my have looked in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s.

My special thanks go to:

The Music Class of 2011 at the Goethe Gymnasium Nauen, Germany

They are: Nora, Anika, Carolin, Susi, Anne, Deborah, Sophia, Fine, Anne, Jenny, Isabell, Alena, Kristina, Miriam, Franzi and Antje.

f5 1/25 ISO 320 @19mm (for both shots)

The Class of 2011 in 1991

Week 13 – Beer Benches to You!

And lots of them!

Apparently the official translation is “Ale-Bench” although I’ve never heard of this expression and I find the literal translation of “Bierbank” somehow more pleasing, even if it isn’t correct.

Sunday evening and the very last minute, with the inspiration once again coming from elsewhere (the usual source). All rather hurried in every respect as well, sorry for that and I hope you like it anyway.

f 8 1/5 ISO 200 -1 ev 26mm

Volkspark, Potsdam

 

Week 12 – Katharinenholz

Thanks to Antje for this week’s entry, I was definitely in need of some inspiration for one reason or another.

Spring hasn’t quite made it yet, even if the clocks have gone forward this last weekend. It is however “in the air” as they say.

This was taken at Katharinenholz in Bornim (Potsdam)

f10 1/160 ISO 400 30mm


Katharinenholz (Bornim)

 

Week 11 – Park Babelsberg

Here we are back in not so exotic territories but home nonetheless.

Many thanks to Tom for this week’s suggestion and of course to the unknown cyclist who rounded off the picture nicely. It was taken from Park Babelsberg overlooking the Havel River to the city of Potsdam.

Thanks also, to those readers who pointed out that I have been living abroad for too long and that my blog should be named “53 Weeks on a bench” rather than “53 weeks on a bank”. Although both are of questionable heritage with regard to the English language and everything else for that matter, (one being a Geordie and the other a Yorkshireman), I will none the less adapt my “Germisch” or “Dinglisch” title to the correct “Bench”.

It would have been kind if someone would have let me know a little earlier, to which my better half will undoubtedly say “I told you so!” and she is German…… nuff said!

f1.4 1/8000 ISO 200 @30mm

Park Babelsberg

 

Week 10 – ….. Hong Kong

Aren’t I a lucky boy? I don’t just get to partake in a business trip to Hong Kong, but I also get to invest in a brand new razor-sharp Sigma 30mm 1.4 whilst I’m there.

This was shot from pier 9, Central district, Hong Kong Island looking across to Kowloon where the MS Queen Elizabeth was moored. I did try to persuade quite a number of people to let me take their picture on a bank, but they were not in the slightest interested (it must have been my handsome appearance).

f1.4 1/40 ISO 800 30mm

 

Kowloon and MS Queen Elizabeth

Week 9 – From Bremen to ….

…… tune in again next week for the sequel, you won’t be disappointed!

Thanks to Peter for his patience trudging around Bremen city centre on a cold damp winters evening.

f1.8 1/25 ISO 800 50mm ambient light

Bremen Hauptbahnhof

(P.S. I really do love that cheap 50mm 1.8 piece of glass)

Week 8 – Zum Zipfelteich

Here’s a picture of the little people and their mother on a rather curious looking bank. It was taken during one of those now so very familiar winter walks in the south-east of the country.

This is a place I will undoubtedly be visiting again this year albeit, in a somewhat tempered climate. I might even use this location as a changing of the seasons project within this project because it really is ever so pretty here.

f8 1/25 ISO 250 17mm

Am Zipfelteich

P.S. Sorry about the blown out sky but sometimes you just can’t choose when you get the opportunity to shoot, and I really didn’t want to “Photoshop” it.

Week 7 – The Expatriate

I finally found a bank with someone on it.

This is Pete, he’s the gentlest soul you’ll ever meet.

f5 1/160 ISO 100 19 mm

 

The Expatriate

Week 6 – BOGOF

This weeks offer is a BOGOF (not to be mixed up with BOBFOC), where you get two for the price of one, which probably applies for both actually…..

I just couldn’t decide between the two. So why don’t you decide?

 

Both photographs were taken of the same bank on the floodplains of the Wisenta River in Schleiz (Thuringia). I was hoping for a little more variety of motifs, when I set out, i.e. a balance between portrait and landscape photography, however encountering someone sitting on a bank at this time of year in these weather conditions has proved more than just a little challenging.

f8 1/8 ISO 400 50mm Pol. Filter

View across the floodplain to the Wisenta river

f8 1/6 ISO 400 35 mm Pol. Filter

A tight corner

Week 5 – Green and Grey

It’s nearly twenty years ago since I first heard this song with a very good friend of mine travelling to his home in a small German town on the Polish border. Being six months into my year abroad at the time, it reminded me very much of my own home in the North West of England.

Today I see the song in a slightly different light…. guilty as charged? I don’t really think so, this isn’t the land of gold and poison, neither do the palm trees grow here naturally. It is nevertheless a very different place from “that” town, which conversely does not mean that I don’t look frequently behind me, to “my” valley of green and grey.

For those interested:

http://www.newmodelarmy.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=101:green-and-grey&catid=30:lyrics&Itemid=44

Photographically speaking I’m not really sure I like this weeks entry (colour key is out and my processing skills need to be honed), but it does partially summarise this place where I live today, particularly, and if not only, at this time of year.

f10 1/40 ISO 400 17mm

Week 4 – A Blast from the Past

Karlshorst (Berlin) is the latest “in” urban location for the alternative “new” Berliners (after Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain). Whilst the infrastructure, amenities and general standard of living begin to improve, and the rents increase, it is easy to forget that the district has a very special past.

After the unconditional surrender was signed by Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel on the 8th of April 1945 in Karlshorst, the war in Europe came to a close.

On the 10th of November 1949, it was here that the Soviet administration issued the official mandate for the formation of the new East German state, the Deutsche Demokratische Republik.

Twenty years after the collapse of DDR and the exit of the Soviet troops, Karlshorst now prepares for the new invasion of Starbucks, IKEA, organic supermarkets and Montessori / Waldorf schools.

Russian T-34 (Calibre 85mm) Tank – f10 1/40 ISO 200 22mm

Week 3 – Moody Skies in the Depth of Winter

Winter once again returns.

Taken on an afternoon walk to break up the all day feast which is synonymous with rural family celebrations.

 

f10 1/1000 ISO 200

Görkwitz (Thuringia)

Week 2 Potsdam – “The-Bread-Roll-Run”

I think you may have to get used to a number of these banks being within the boundaries of the city of Potsdam, as well as being taken at the last possible moment during the week.

The more observant of you will have noticed that this was taken on a Sunday, hence it was taken on the first day of the new week. This is correct, unless you live in Germany, where the first day of the week is a Monday. Although I always mutter that this custom is incorrect and probably goes against some international (most probably European Union) law, it certainly worked to my advantage this week.

To those readers used to my rants on this subject and the mixing up of commas and full stops in the German numerical system I have this to say:

“Was interessiert mich mein Geschwätz von gestern.” Konrad Adenauer (First German Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany)

This roughly translates as:

“Who cares what twaddle I have spoken in the past” A rather novel admittance for a politician I think.

That does not go to say that I will in future condone either of the above errors.

The image was taken on my Sunday “Bread-Roll-Run” with the kids, whilst their mother idled, well deserved I might add, in her warm and cosy bed.

We’ve had mild weather with rain over the past few days, which has brought the remnants of the New Year’s celebrations to the surface as well as preserving patches of dirty snow.

A picture fitting for the time of year I think.

Week 1 Dallgow Döberitzer Heide

“It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter, because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary.” – David Bailey – In “Face,” (London), Dec 1984.

It is with this in mind that we set off on our 53 week photographic journey. There are few things more ordinary than a bank, so in the hope that not all the images presented are just ordinary, let’s get started.

It was one of the those wonderful Winter afternoons that you get when the easterly winds blow across the North German plains making the air dry, crisp and very cold. We were out with the kids to see how the wild bison, horses and reindeer fared in the conditions. As the winter sun started to set I came across this makeshift bench.

It was my first bank of the year.