Author: Sylvia Knittel

The long flight

A long flight is always distressing as I’m flying economy. But the last times I flew with KLM/Delta and it was good experience, so this was my choice this time too. And on top I was lucky and got another seat because some people wanted to sit together. So I comfortably sat at the window on a place with much legroom without paying the additional price. I was very comfortable and had spectacular views over Greenland and Canada.

82 days of my life

There are 82 days of my life ahead of me that will be filled with my own personal adventure. I decided to take a 3 months sabbatical as for quite some time, I just don’t feel the weekends are long enough anymore to fully recover. Because I notice health challenges popping up that just can’t be nurtured away while going full speed in my daily life routine. And I also realize how hard it has become for me to turn off and tune out. That probably comes as a risk with my type of job as well, but my plan is to continue doing my job healthy and happy for many years to come. I really like my job, I have fun doing what I do and I feel like I’m accomplishing the right things in it. All in all, these are great reasons to embark on my journey and find some free space and recharge.   Out of the three months, I will be in the U.S. for 82 days. Why the U.S.? Because …

Summer in the fields

Very often while driving on B464 I looked over the fields into the land and saw many beautiful sunsets. And I always wanted to go there with my camera to see, if that scenery is also good for a picture. On one evening I finally grabbed my camera and went out. Technically it’s a challenge. Powerful backlight, light sky and dark foreground – but the eyes don’t see it like this, they look at the scenery as it is evenly lit. To make the fotos look like the eyes see it, I had to use some techniques. First hand my beloved graduated filters. Then a picture combined from several pictures with different exposures. To do this, I used a tripod. I did two variations: One HDR, aka three different exposures, and several photos put together in Photoshop. The latter has the advantage that there can be used photos with different focus. So the picture is sharp all over. Field in bright daylight On a morning a few days later I was only three kilometers further …

Milky way on new moon

Night skies with milky way are absolutly fascinating. I could watch this forever and ever. Even here on the northern hemisphere, where the milky way is not as spectacular as on the southern hemisphere. The narrow ribbon is always in the sky, but not easy to spot. The center of the milky way cannot be seen every night, but when the time is right, you can see it with bare eyes. So you need some planning in advance. Searching for the darkness The milky way rises, like sun and moon. It appears on the night sky with the rotation of the earth. To see it, the sky must be dark, really dark. Moon is no option, it is way to bright. Other sources of light as streetlights or houses must be as far away as possible. In a land like Germany which is populated very dense, this is difficult, because it’s bright nearly everywhere. But there are darker places. I look at the maps from www.lichtverschmutzung.de, which are also available on english pages. In the …

Blue cloud: the wonderful Wisteria

Wisteria, in Germany often called Blue Rain, are really wild climbing shrubs. They grow fast and powerful. The shoots get 100 ft long. The trunks are getting so powerful that they destroy nearly everything in their way and rip the fixations off the walls. But once a year they bloom in April/May. The flowering is so spectacular, that it rewards for the rowdily behavior. Wisteria get wonderful long panicles with hundreds of blue oder white flowers and a heavy fragrance. The seed vessels are beautiful too, a little bit furry and hanging on very long stems which is beautiful the whole winter when there are no leaves. To discipline them is hard work, much and heavy cutting, but it’s worth it. When you do this, you can bring the Wisteria in every shape you want to – if it’s a tunnel, a pergola or a little tree. They have so much energy to bud and get very old. Especially in Japan there are old Wisterias with characterful trunks and interesting forms of trunks. The japanese Wisteria …

April at Hermannshof: Flood of tulips

At Hermannshof, the flood of tulips which gushes through the garden on april and may, is one of the most spectacular sights the garden has. It’s also beautiful for those who love a more restraint garden style. When you enter the garden through the main gate, most of the people turn right in the direction of the huge open space. While entering you already see the colourful tulips gleaming through the trees. In autumn, those patches are full with Rudbeckia and Heliantus in flaming yellow. Now they shine in ervery possible colour of tulip. It seems they are thrown ramdomly into the patches. Throw is the right word, as they are distributed like this by the gardeners. But the design follwos a clear plan. What you see as colourful variety is carefully planned. Interesting combinations of colours are sometimes audacious, for example red, pink and yellow. Bands in only one colour bring order into the planned chaos. Next to the Cercis (see the blogpost on woods) there ist mostly red and white. The tulips are …

Hermannshof in april: Woods

The second part of my april series is about woods at Hermannshof. There are many specias trees and shrubs. From early april on the magnolia are in bloom, especially the beautiful soulangea „Lennei Alba“ in the middle of the great lawn. Grand and gorgeous it reins the scenery. It was planted in 1888. At the same time the huge magnolia denudata was planted in front of the villa. End of february, the Eranthis, Galanthus and Crocus tommasianus are still in bloom at the feet of the magnolia. The cherrys are in bloom too, and rare shrubs like Stachyrus praecox show their special stucture. On the back side of the dry hill sits a Chaenomeles, which I really love because the colour of the flower is so special. Usually, I don’t like them because of their thorny, straight branches. But with this soft powdery yellow, even Chaenomeles makes sense.  Gehölze Ende April Woods end of april At this time, the show winner is Cercis siliquastrum. It blooms in an unbelievable voilet-pinkish colour with thick tussocks of …

Hermannshof in april: Daffodils

Two times in a row with only three weeks between I was at Hermannshof in April. So I will show you a lot of pictures in a row. In this time of the year, the bulbs are blooming, but there are beautiful woods too. The end of the row ist Wisteria – you will understand why, when you see the blogpost. But we start with the daffodils and the early blooming tulips. Zweimal im Abstand von drei Wochen war ich im April im Hermannshof und habe viel mitgebracht. Drei Tage hintereinander gibt es jetzt Fotos pur, denn ich habe noch etwas nachzuholen. Natürlich gibt es viele Zwiebeln zu dieser Jahreszeit, aber auch die blühenden Gehölze sind besonders. Anfang April beherrschten ganz klar die Magnolien und Cornus das Bild. Ende April sind es Cercis (Judasbaum), Davidia (Taschentuchbaum) und natürlich die Wisteria. Der Wisteria widme ich aber einen extra Beitrag – Ihr werdet verstehen, warum. Doch der Reihe nach. Starten wir mit den Narzissen und frühen Tulpen. Daffodils love a normal and not too dry soil and also cope with light …

Lace and bath foam – Magnolia and cherries in bloom

Normally, I’m shooting alone, even when I do flower pictures like these when the Magnolia and cherries are in bloom. So it was an exception being on my way with someone else. Jürgen and me met last year at the macro workshop of Pierre Johne and decided that we wanted to go shooting together from time to time. This time we went to he Gardens of the University of Hohenheim. The gardens are on the Fildern south of Stuttgart. In my german Blog I alredy wrote about the gardens here.   Becuase the gardens are for scientific research too, there is a huge variety of Magnolia and cherry trees, some are very old, some newly planted for testig reasons.   Üblicherweise bin ich alleine zum Fotografieren, auch wenn ich Blümchenbilder mache, wie jetzt zur Blüte der Magnolien und Kirschen. So war es eine Ausnahme, am vergangenen Wochenende zu zweit unterwegs zu sein. Jürgen und ich hatten im vergangenen Jahr gemeinsam am Makro-Kurs bei Pierre Johne teilgenommen und uns zum gemeinsamen Fotografieren verabredet. Ziel waren die Gärten der Universität …

Sunrise in Hamburg from above

Last week I had the possibility to watch a wonderful sunrise in Hamburg from above. Sometimes everything works smoothly together – and I had my camera with me. Details are only boring – just have a look at the three pictures I made. In the title, it’s the blue hour at 5:50 a.m. Delicate colours with a little pink and rosé. Letzte Woche kamen mehrere Zufälle zusammen und so hatte ich die Gelegenheit, einen wunderbaren Sonnenaufgang in  Hamburg von oben zu erleben – und zu fotografieren. Ich will euch gar nicht mit Details langweilen, denn es gibt einfach nur drei bunte Bilder zum Schauen. Im Titelbild ist die blaue Stunde um zehn vor sechs zu sehen. Am Himmel zarte Farbtöne, auch ein bisschen rosa und pink.   The sunrise on the Alster with interesting diffraction at 6:15 a.m. The sky is lighted by intense red and orange tones. Der Sonnenaufgang über der Alster mit interessanter Lichtbeugung um Viertel nach sechs. Der Himmel leuchtet in intensiven Rot- und Orangetönen.   At half past seven there is only …