2017 was a year of endings and new beginnings. On the last day of January we left Canada after two incredible years to move back to our hometown Rostock in Northern Germany, where had the chance to take on an academic position. It was tough to begin with, as we had just settled in in Edmonton and we were leaving behind new friends and of course the beautiful Albertan nature. But the new beginnings not only brought more and more work and the excitement of setting up my own research program, it also came with exploring our home with the camera. Before we lived in Canada I was only doing sports photography and aside from the holiday snapshot, landscape photography never really was something for me. That changed after being the aurora the first time, thats what got it all started. So coming back home with a new vision was special. we live directly on the Baltic Sea and that was my main objective. Throw in a trip to Mallorca and the Dolomites and I had quite a good photographic year.
So in the following see my personal seven favorites and the story behind them!
No 1. Easily my shot of the year. This the lighthouse at Cap Formentor on Majorca, Spain. This is the North Eastern tip of the island and I really wasn't expecting the Milky Way to arch perfectly over the light house that night. I was there all alone. Playing with angles a bit I soon found that from my viewpoint I could use the stairs as a leading line. Add in the strong airglow (or aurora, as this was May 28th) and you have the perfect shot. Panorama from 10 vertical frames shot at 20mm.
No 2. Well this one was a great way to say goodbye to Lady Aurora, we were granted a superb show starting somewhere over the Hudson Bay and lasting all the way to descending into Iceland. This here was taken over Labrador and I was blown away that this is looking south as you can see Orion in the shot. Haven't seen the Lady ever since (we are to far south magnetically in Germany here).
No 3. A last big road trip in the Canadian Rockies in January when I went with four friends and met others at Abraham Lake to shoot sunrise. We opted for Preachers point and I particularly liked this huge stack of bubbles, which was hard to expose in the twilight of the morning. Had to focus-stack to get it all sharp and was happy that the last stars were still shining through the break of dawn. Just fell in love with the blue hour this year as you will see.
No 4. The coastline around Rostock is subject to strong erosion and coast protection is achieved for example through these lines of wooden poles (called Buhnen). On a stormy summer night I luckily opted to go east of the City where the clouds eventually broke and created dramatic light. Got quite some shots of the Buhnen but this one is my favorite of the year.
No 5. Venus rising over the Odle Group short before dawn as seen from the Seceda-2500 lift station, one of the most popular spots in the Italian Dolomites. We had hiked up here under the light of the 50% waning moon gaining 700m in hight. The conditions were very wintry, which we did not expect. But we still made it and short before the top I saw Venus and immediately wanted to use this in the comp. Opting for f4 I was also able to get a Venus-Star if you look closely. Also loved how dawn was breaking in the east and how the moonlight casted the scenery in dreamy light.
No 6. Looking in the other direction at Cap Formentor 200m high sea cliffs drop vertically into the Mediterranean Sea and I found it hard to believe that plants grow on these bare rocks. This comp really kept me thinking that even in the most miserable surroundings nature finds a way to adapt and evolve into something bigger.
No 7. When I first met one of my favorite photographers Paul Zizka he was standing waist deep in Lake Minnewanka, getting an under-over shot of the aurora. Well having so much water around in Rostock I now know that being in the water is recommended to get the one special shot. This here was on the island of Rügen, with is chalk coast that belongs to the Unesco World Heritage. I know there was a line of wooden poles in the water, but the tide was a bit high and it only briefly got exposed. So I took roughly 100 shots until I eventually got the perfect water motion and the poles were uncovered, while the chalk cliffs were glowing in the morning sun.