Category Archives: Germany

Hohenzollern

Hohenzollern Castle, located in Swabia about 80 kilometers south of Stuttgart, Germany was home to the family that eventually spawned the emperors of Germany. Destroyed and rebuilt a number of times since its construction in the 11th century, the current version dates to the mid-19th century, where it was a conscious architectural folly and anachronism, modeled in English Gothic revival style, and after the chateaus of the Loire.

Hohenzollern © Harold Davis

Hohenzollern © Harold Davis

It had been raining all week. On a gray day, I parked in the parking lot below the castle, and paid my 5 Euros fee. I ignored the shuttle bus, and schlepped my camera and tripod up to the entrance to the castle, maybe a twenty minute walk. It was sprinkling lightly, and as I entered the lower levels I looked up at the swirling mist with a few beams of sunlight coming through, and proceeded to capture a number of views with monochromatic HDR in mind.

Afternoon of the Faun

Faun © Harold Davis

Faun © Harold Davis

Captured in the castle garden at Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.

Speyer Cathedral Dome

I spent my last night in Germany at a hotel near Frankfurt airport in a somewhat depressing industrial neighborhood. A few blocks from the hotel I found a nice place for dinner, and ate outside at the communal tables. While I waiting for my food I worked on this photo of the Speyer Cathedral Dome.

Speyer Dome © Harold Davis

Speyer Dome © Harold Davis

The interior space in the Cathedral in the imperial city of Speyer, Germany is built to a huge scale. Although mostly reconstructed rather than original, the sheer magnitude of interior volumes is worth experiencing, and this city along the Rhine River is steeped in history.

Heidelberg Student Jail

Mostly aristocratic students at Heidelberg University were not under the jurisdiction of the normal authorities. The University handled disciplinary matters. Facilities in the old University buildings included a jail (now a museum), with one of the cells shown here.

Heidelberg Student Jail © Harold Davis

Heidelberg Student Jail © Harold Davis

For the most part, sojourns in the Heidelberg student jail were the result of frat-boy pranks, and treated as something that was part of the accepted tradition of student behavior. Part of the tradition was to add one’s name and maybe some art—so in later years as a “good old boy” one could come back and point to the scene of one’s incarceration.

It was all one big lark. But making things a little more poignant, note that I photographed the cell shown here in a state of “arrested decay” (just as I did with the California ghost town of Bodie in Arrested Decay and Gone with the Wind). At the Heidelberg Student Jail, “arrested decay” means most of the carvings and painting date from the decade before the first World War—where many of these pranksters must have perished.

Special thanks to Francis, who showed me the jail and explained its background.

Stairs in the Heidelberg University Library

With a few of the students in my Black & White workshop I headed into the ornately decorated Heidelberg University Library. We asked if we could photograph in the library book stacks. No, we could not: approval by a higher authority was needed. The “higher authority” was not currently available.

On the way back out of the library building we found these stairs. Proving once again that you don’t always get what you want, but if you are open to the adventure sometimes you get what you need.

Stairs, Heidelberg University Library

Stairs, Heidelberg University Library © Harold Davis

The image above is looking down the stairs. Here’s one in the opposite direction, looking up:

Heidelberg Library Stairs © Harold Davis

Heidelberg Library Stairs © Harold Davis

 

Maulbronn Monastery

Maulbronn Monastery, Kloster Maulbronn in German, is the best-preserved medieval Cistercian monastery in Europe. It is a World Heritage Site. Happening to get there so soon after my visit to the Cistercian monastery in Cadouin in the south of France is a wonderful coincidence, and I will explain how it happened in a future post (thank you Dieter and Gerhard!).

Church Ceiling, Maulbronn Monastery © Harold Davis

Church Ceiling, Maulbronn Monastery © Harold Davis

Maulbronn Monastery was founded in 1147, the first example of Gothic architecture in Germany. The ceiling of the church partially shown in this photo is presumably from a somewhat later period of construction.

More Cheap Shots

Mastarbeiten

 

Kunts Passage

 

Fahrtgasse

Cheap Shots

Design Schmuck

 

Rathaus

 

Very fun Flower Photography Workshop in Heidelberg

A very fun four-day creative flower photography workshop was had at the Heidelberg Summer School of Photography. This was a great group of compatible people and talented photographers genuinely excited by the subject matter. English was spoken (because of me) and also German (my feeble attempts at German were lovingly corrected). Italian was also spoken—not to mention the universal language of “photography.” The agenda included field trips to a lovely horticultural nursery and to the greenhouses at the Heidelberg University Botanical Gardens. We also practiced studio flower photography, and followed the full workflow of my method for capturing and processing flowers for transparency on a light box.

Pilea ovalis and Ancona muricata © Harold Davis

Pilea ovalis and Ancona muricata © Harold Davis

The image above is a study from the Heidelberg Botanical Gardens field trip. Since it is in monochromatic, it is a fitting segway to the next workshop, Creative Black & White Photography that starts in a few days. I hope it is as much fun and fosters gemütlichkeit as much as the Flower Photography did. You can see some of this gemütlichkeit, umlauts and all, in the row of wine glasses I shot at our farewell dinner, shown below.

Wine Glasses at a Dinner Party © Harold Davis

Wine Glasses at a Dinner Party © Harold Davis

Neuenheim

Street Sculpture © Harold Davis

Street Sculpture © Harold Davis

I am told that Neuenheim was originally a small and somewhat impoverished fishing village across the Neckar River from Heidelberg, Germany. Today it has been incorporated into Heidelberg, connected with bridges that straddle the Neckar at roughly one kilometer intervals, and boasts some of the most expensive residential real estate in Germany.

Uferstrasse follows the banks of the Neckar on the Neuenheim side, with a pleasant grass meadow verging from the street to the river. On a pleasant summer afternoon you are likely to see people sun bathing, flying kites, picnicking and generally frolicking on the grass.

At the corner of Schulzeng and Uferstrasse the gargoyle-like sculpture shown on the left is built into an otherwise fairly ordinary apartment building. This is a distinctive corner of the world with layers of history, and it is hard to say what the face represents, but I think it can be fairly characterized as slightly odd and quite interesting—like the city of Heidelberg itself!

Jesuit Light

The old Jesuit Church in Heidelberg, Germany has been remodeled in a high-key. It’s been sandblasted and the interior painted white, and practically gleams of lightness—except the confessionals, which are shrouded in dark black curtains. There’s enough of the Catholic symbolism around so that it can be seen—barely—as an old-style church.

Scouting for locations for next week’s black and white workshop with Gerhard, my host and the director of the Heidelberg Summer School of Photography, we explored the nooks and crannies of this somewhat unusual church. Definitely a good place for the monochromatic vision, particularly in a high-key—and I photographed from behind the pulpit stairs, bracketing and overexposing with the high-key light in mind.

Behind the Pulpit Stair © Harold Davis

Behind the Pulpit Stair © Harold Davis

Alte Brucke in Heidelberg

This is the Alte Brucke (old bridge) in Heidelberg, Germany. It crosses the Neckar River and leads through an arch in a tower to the pedestrian-only area around the cathedral. I photographed the bridge after sunset, and used a one minute exposure.

Alte Brucke Heidelberg © Harold Davis

Alte Brucke Heidelberg © Harold Davis

Exploring Heidelberg

The only way to combat jet lag flying east—there is a nine hour time difference between California and Germany—is to try to get some sleep on the plane, then stay up as long as possible, until something like a normal bedtime. This makes for a very long day. What better way to fill it than with exploration and photography?

My first photo was of a courtyard in old Heidelberg, converted via Waterlogue:

Courtyard in Heidelberg ©  Harold Davis

Courtyard in Heidelberg © Harold Davis

Here are the stairs in the hotel I am staying in. Modern, but still very cool:

Hotel Panorama Stairs © Harold Davis

Hotel Panorama Stairs © Harold Davis

I had dinner in a hole-in-the-wall place called “Schnitzelbank” in old Heidelberg. This place actually does make a pretty mean schnitzel, and they were nice to me, too. Seating is communal, and the general style is touristic-pseudo-genuine, with a nod to being genuine so a bit of being seedy and outspoken is okay. That said, as noted they were kind and the food was pretty good.

Schnitzelbank © Harold Davis

Schnitzelbank © Harold Davis

There are many bicycles in Heidelberg. When you are recovering from jet lag, the trick is not to get run over by one of them, particularly if there is a reflection of another bicycle in a mirror world to further confuse:

Mirror World © Harold Davis

Mirror World © Harold Davis