Photo Post: Panic

Photo Post: Panic

I’ve been bouldering a lot (on plastic) recently and it feels great to be back in form! But the last time climbing is a looooooong time ago. At least until last Sunday morning, when I finally managed to squeeze in a short climbing session with my long-time friend and climbing partner. Everything is different outside: Bad footholds, fragile sandstone, and being on a rope high above the last clipping point. Sometimes, a slight fear of falling creeps into the mind. Sometimes, even the good footholds seem tiny and slippery.

Basically, it’s the same as with my current work project: It feels a little insecure, but you keep pushing, little by little, one move at at time. Take a deep breath, do secure movements, calm down, climb high. And luckily, in climbing and in life, there are people who catch me if I fall. Thank you.

Communicating Science

Communicating Science

I’ve been at a scientific meeting recently and (again) was surprised of the disconnect that sometimes occurred between a speaker and the audience. If the listener (me) does not understand a complex subject that is explained, it is not solely on me! Don’t blame me that I could not follow your cluttered slides and your jumbled train of thought! Sure, sometimes I will be uninformed or not smart enough. But sometimes it is on you, dear speaker.

Explaining an easy concept complicatedly is easy. Explaining a complex concept concisely is artistry. And while I’ve set through many talks cluelessly, I admired the few speakers who mastered the art: The ones that make you feel clever just by listening. The ones that explain intricate science so well that you think you designed the experiments yourself. The ones that let you rediscover what they did and make it seem like what they are doing isn’t difficult after all.

Giving a good talk boils down to the same things that are important in photography: The subject needs to be clear. Leading lines are necessary to guide the viewer. Help them navigate the frame. Unimportant stuff is left out (and there is a lot of unimportant stuff). And everything left in has to support the main subject. Tell a story.

The following pictures do not follow these rules at all, but I hope my own talk did at least…

Themes

Themes

A large milestone of my (work) life is due at the end of this year. A distinct goal I am working towards; a goal that shouldn’t be missed. Accordingly, I themed the next months as the ‘Time of Progress’. Every day with progress, no matter how much, is a good day. I also have been using (my own implementation of) the Theme System for my work journal for the past three years; however, rather poorly in the recent months. It is time to properly reinvigorate the daily journaling (and themes) – at least for a while.

More lately, I’ve also come to the conclusion that my photography will benefit from a theme-based approach. While pictures on a single post are mostly from a single day and, thus, already appear to follow a theme, I am looking for something more long-termed and directed. So far, I am going out and capture whatever works with the current conditions in nature. And I will keep doing that. But I am also fond of having an artistic project that spans a longer time frame than a single summer afternoon and that results in a ‘finished’ collection of pictures following a common theme – suggestions welcome.

Limbs

Limbs

Spreading from a common body, reaching out in search of light, intertwined but solitary, a mutual goal but separate journeys. All supporting a common trunk to be alive, to support a life, to stay alive.

Long-term deep emission reductions, including the reduction of emissions to net-zero, is best achieved through institutions and governance that nurture new mitigation policies, while at the same time reconsidering existing policies that support continued emission of GHGs (high confidence).

TS. 6.1 – Technical Summary – WORKING GROUP III CONTRIBUTION TO THE IPCC SIXTH ASSESSMENT REPORT (AR6)

It’s all there. A multitude of pathways to reduce emissions. Many branches, a common goal: Keep the planet habitable. It requires systematic change in all sectors: energy, housing, transport, industry, land use, food production. All of the pathways that limit warming to ‘acceptable’ limits have one thing in common: they require change right now. Or to be more precise – the required change should have begun 2 years ago, or 10 years ago, or 20 years ago. But still, nothing changes. Since this last report has been released, several countries have released their new plans to drill for even more oil and gas. Business as usual; the trees will get chopped down, leaving limbs scattered around the corpses.

The Unexpected

The Unexpected

Necessary variation,
arbitrary contemplation,
forlorn forest, torn apart,
born in freedom, sworn by heart
to live, to give, inform, restart
what's wrong, what's flawed
does fall apart.
Without definite destination,
ahead a dreaded bifurcation:
What's right? What's left?
And what is left to say and write?
The obscure shadows of the night
do greet the swiftly fleeting light.
Blue flowers sprout across the ground
as doubt vanishes all around.

Collide / Collapse / Collude

Collide / Collapse / Collude

Bright beam of light within the night,
a scenery in black and white.
Dreams are extremes
but, as it seems,
color soaks in and strokes begin
to rise and shine, a hopeful sign.
Deceiving thoughts,
are leaving spots,
and what is left is sparse:
unite and fight for what is right,
do not incite, do bring delight.

Clickbait

Clickbait

Who doesn’t like Top Ten lists? Admittedly, I couldn’t resist and here is a list of mine, however, it doesn’t contain ten elements. Instead, I have searched the archives for my favorite pictures from the last 12 month – because today it’s this blogs first birthday.


Morning Gymnastics

Two geese, Hometown.

Morning mist & our local pond: A perfect match.


Nestling

A small pine, Harz.

The mystical Harz mountains. One of my early pictures and, until today, probably the best conditions I have ever had in Harz.


Protected

Bee in action, Hometown.

Looking forward to the time of the year when nature is coming alive again.


The Dream

Toad on migration, Harz.

Also in the Harz mountains, in one of the most remote regions. I was quite excited when we saw a single toad on our hike. An hour later there were so many that it became difficult not to step onto one.


Prospects

Rofanspitze, Alps.

A perfect sunrise.


Delicate

Poppy flower, Hometown.

One of my goals for this year: Photographing more poppies!


Closing the Circle

Sunset ICM, Hometown.

Spirals in a sunset, warm and cold swirling around each other, as night greets day.


Duck

Duck, Hometown.

Not much else to say here.


Triplet

Three dead spruces, Harz.

It took longer than expected to find this composition of trees during the first snow of the winter.


Parabola

Birch tree catching light, Hometown.

A single birch tree catching the first rays of light in front of the dark forest.


Travellers

Geese, Hometown.

The geese at our local pond during autumn: Every morning flocks of birds start off into the unknown.


Group Picture

Birch trees, Solling.

This makes me wanna photograph more woodlands; unfortunately, fog is rather rare around here.


Rising Clouds

Woodlands, Harz.

Perfect conditions as far as photography during noon goes. Rising clouds and snowy spruces came together.


Companion

Sandpiper, Denmark.

Cuddly, fluffy, tiny.


Lines

Retreating waves, Denmark.

First and only time so far that I have photographed the ocean; looking forward to going there again.


Backlit

Common Blue, Bavaria.

There are many variations of this picture in my archives. This monochromatic one has become one of my favourites.


Aspirations

Three eucalyptus trees, Madeira.

Besides birches, I fell in love with eucalyptus trees: their red bark in contrast to the green leaves and the shape of their branches is wonderful.


Mountain Ranges

Rofan mountains, Alps.

The colors and mood of a sunrise in the mountains cannot be communicated with photos.


Delicate Connections

Water droplets on grass, Hometown.

Two single droplets of water and fine spider webs form an abstract imagery.


Approach

Soldier beetle, Hometown.

Patience, patience, patience. I am looking forward to the day where I can sit and wait in nature as long as I want, without obligations waiting around.


Ordered Chaos

Beech trees in fog, Hometown.

Our local woodlands in late Autumn. I had been waiting for fog for a long time and when it finally arrived, I spent a whole morning outside exploring new paths.


Simplicity

Blossoms of a cherry tree, Hometown.

One of the simplest shots one could make.


Fairytale

Woodlands ICM, Near Hometown.

One of the (very) few times we got snow this winter. We explored some woods close by for the first time as the morning sun unfolded.


The Conversation

4 geese, Hometown.

Four geese on a landing stage enjoying the first rays of warm light, chatting about the happenings of past week.


Cold White Christmas World

Winter, Harz.

Starry night, cold air.


Commander

Group of trees, Madeira.

It were definitely the harshest conditions I shot in this year: Rain pouring down, wind sweeping across the land.


Seagull Portray

Seagull, Madeira.

The palette of colors and ocean in the background is what makes me like this one.


Crooked Heart

Highland cattle, Hometown.

Finding piece in a single picture.


Falling Into Place

At a levada, Madeira.

25 springs are welling right next to this waterfall. A special place and, sadly, quite crowded because of it.


Reminiscence

Sunset, Brocken.

Compositionally quite boring; but a special one to me, because it was a delightful evening trip with my parents.

Oscillations

Oscillations

One of the last exercises in an introductory course to programming I teach is to implement a straight-forward approach for modeling population growth over discrete time steps with a logistic growth function: The population x of a species at time t+1 is determined as x(t+1) = r * x(t) * (1-x(t)) where x(t) is the population at time t, and r is a fixed reproduction parameter. The choice of r influences the long term behaviour of the resulting time series – thus, the growth of the species population; for example, for r < 1, the series tends towards zero – the species goes extinct. However, for r > 3 the series oscillates – it exhibits a periodic behaviour (for some values of r the series even becomes seemingly random without a fixed period, see e.g. here). The length of the period depends upon r, but it never reaches an equilibrium; like a pendulum, swinging around its only stable position in the middle. Like life pulsating between non-steady positions, but never reaching a balanced state.

Oscillations are present constantly. The term (1-x(t)) models the environmental restrictions that prohibit unlimited growth. Restrictions which prevent us to come to a rest. The fantasy of a steady state is a futile one. There are times where a stable position seems in reach; until external restraints pull us back into another direction. At the moment, it’s the direction of work; and hence, photography and blog posts are somewhat neglected. Winter already fades again, making way for summer. Left are only some solitary pictures of oscillating camera movements and colorless nature.

Photo Post: Peace

Photo Post: Peace

Peace is comfortable. Conflicts only appear in the newspapers – neither in our streets, nor in our reality. But out there is war. And with every day we keep ignoring the climate crisis it comes closer. Climate refugees knock on our doors right now – and there will be more. And even though the conflicts haven’t even reached us yet, I am not fighting for what I believe: Basic human rights. The right to use our only chance on life. A chance that we could provide rather easily right now. Instead, I repeatedly choose comfort over action. Security over uncertainty. Every life lost in the Mediterranean, at the British Channel, at the Polish border, is lost forever. And even worse: the tide may turn. When it’s not a handful, but millions who seek shelter, water, food. Will there be a time where we have to defend what we have? Where we have to flee ourselves? So, sometimes, I engage the thought: Fight, flight, freeze? What is it worth fighting for? Would I fight? And why not now?

This topic deserves a longer post, I guess. But there is little time (another excuse to not fight right now…). Anyway, I like this selection of photos. Although they are from two different walks at two different lakes around here, they fit together: The combination of light and dark, the muted colors, the mood they reflect – nature during these early winter days. White and black, peace and war.