Hamburg’s Christmas Lights

Warning: This post is photo heavy!

One of the things I love about Christmas here in Hamburg is all the gorgeous Christmas lights. They make the cold and the dark at this time of year seem worthwhile. Therefore last Sunday evening armed with my fancy new camera I headed into the city to try and capture them. What I learnt is that I still have much to learn about photography. Still I got some pretty decent shots.

Looking across the Alster at Sunset

 

Going for the art-house look

 

Rowers out on the Alster

I don’t think I could ever get sick of this view

Merry Christmas in multiple languages

My beloved Rathaus

 

A Christmas Tree of Light

Another art-house shot

Fairy lights strung across the street

Alma maters, Opera Houses & Tigers

This is Part 2 of the photos I took whilst visiting family & friends in Australia.  If you missed Part 1 you can find it here.

After spending some time up in Newcastle visiting family, I headed down to Sydney where I lived for 15 years to visit my friends. Whilst there, I paid a visit to my beloved alma mater Sydney University.

The Quadrangle is the most famous part of Sydney Uni and for good reason, it is just gorgeous.

I spent quite a lot of time there in my four years at the University.

I also made sure to visit some of Sydney’s most famous sites

And some of its historical places like The Rocks

I then went somewhere I have not been in years – Taronga Zoo because to be honest, I love photographing animals, especially when they are this photogenic

As always I have many more photos than I put up on the blog, so if you are interested you can check out the Sydney Uni album, the Sydney album and the Taronga Zoo album on Flickr.

 

 

Beaches, Sunsets & Humpback Whales

After returning to Germany after visiting my family and friends in Australia almost a month ago, I have finally gotten around to uploading and sorting through the photos that I took whilst there.

My hometown of Newcastle, where my parents still live, is a beach town and home to some of the most gorgeous beaches in Australia.

- Bar Beach

 

Newcastle Harbour is also the world’s largest exporter of coal and my parents, who have an apartment right on Newcastle Harbour, spend quite a lot of time on their balcony watching the ships sail into and out of the harbour.

- A ship coming into the Harbour at sunset

 

They also have a great view of the Newcastle skyline

 

And of the Queen’s Wharf Tower that is affectionately (or not so affectionately) called the B.D.  You can probably guess what B.D stands for.

 

Whilst visiting my parents, we spent one day up the coast at Nelson Bay on a whale watching cruise.

We saw the locals just hanging out

And of course, we saw the main attraction, humpback whales.  I took hundreds of photos all perfectly lined up, just to get hundreds of photos of the sea as I could never get the timing rights when the whales breached.  This is a photo I just snapped randomly.

It did require some straightening up and cropping as it was snapped so randomly that nothing was set up. There is lots wrong with the photo technically, but even with all its faults, I just love it. Watching the whales out on the ocean was just such a wonderful experience.

And here is a photo of one of my favourite Australian birds, the Rainbow Lorikeet, just because.

 

If you are into photography or just want to see more of my photos, you can take a look at the Newcastle photos and the Nelson Bay ones on Flickr.

More photos of Sydney including the Taronga Zoo are still to come!

 

 

 

Planten un Blomen

I took advantage of the nice weather we are currently having in Hamburg (a rarity it must be said) and once again took my new camera out for a test drive – this time to the park Planten un Blomen. On the way there, I was lucky enough to see this mother swan and her babies swimming down one of the many canals in Hamburg.

Mother and babies

My goal at Planten un Blomen was to practice landscape and nature shots.

Deck chairs
Ball of flowers
Lake at Planten un Blomen

But when I got to the lake a Toy Boat Enthusiast Club were there showing off their boats and I couldn’t resist capturing them in action.

Toy Tugboat
Toy Sailboat
Toy Boat #2

After shooting the boats for almost an hour, I wandered over the tranquil Japanese gardens

Japanese Pergoda
Japanese Gardens

This photography thing is becoming rather addictive and honestly is a really enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.  I ended up taking 439 photos of which only 30 were, in my opinion, worthy enough to be uploaded to Flickr. I still have so much to learn about photography, which I’m starting to think that like learning German will be a lifetime endeavour.

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Himmelfahrt at Ohlsdorfer Friedhof

Today is Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day) which is a public holiday across all of Germany. Himmelfahrt also doubles as Father’s Day which men (fathers or not) celebrate by wandering around the woods with their friends getting drunk. Since I’m not male, I decided to spend my Himmelfahrt wandering around the Ohlsdorfer Friedhof to test my brand new camera, a Panasonic Lumix FZ200. Ohlsdorfer Friedhof is the world’s largest park cemetry and covers a massive 391 hectares. It is is so big that it has two bus lines to help people get around. I spent 4.5 hours there and only saw a very small fraction of the cementry. However, it was a fantastic location to play around with my new camera and I can see myself spending much more time there in the future.

Just look how gorgeous it is (click to enlarge the photos).

Graveyard
Group of graves

On my wanderings I ended up at the Kinderbegräbnisstätte (Children’s graveyard). It was the most depressingly beautiful part of the cementy and the place I took, in my opinion, my best photos.

Bears on a child's grave
Sleeping angel child
Toy dog on a grave
Child's grave #4
Toy cars on a grave

I have many more photos over on my Flickr page.

After playing around with my camera all day, I am beyond pleased with it and all it can do. It will be a great camera for me to learn more about the art of photography and hopefully improve my skills. Also, it has some really lovely in-built creative retouches so that you can make your photos look like this, if desired.

A wreath on a grave

 

 

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This Week on Instagram

Very little that is blogworthy has been happening around here, but I’m feeling like I’m neglecting this little blog of mine, so I’ve decided to share with you an emerging passion of mine, Instagram.  For a long time I could take it or leave it, it was handy for sharing photos across multiple social networks at a push of a button but that was all. However lately, I’ve kinda caught the Instagraming bug and have rather enjoy playing around with both my phone’s camera and Instagram to come up with some shots I rather quite like.

So, here’s what has been happening in my world over the past week or so as captured by Instagram.

I dyed my hair a dark red-brown. And yes, this is a very rare photo of myself I feel comfortable sharing. Also note my gorgeous brown bathroom tiles.

The mall below my office building appears to have been invaded by France. I’m really not sure what inspired the sudden outburst of French flags.

I made pumpkin pie spice mix which tastes amazing with mashed sweet potato.

We have been getting some gorgeous sunsets.

My one true love. A massive 600g of it.

It’s my favourite time of year. Tulip season.

If you are also a fan of Instagram, please feel free to follow me at riaynmac.

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First Frost of the Season

Winter has decided to arrive, in my opinion, a little early this year. Yesterday morning we had our first minus temperature, a chilly -2C, which made getting out of bed to go to work very hard indeed.  This morning, however, it was -4C and getting out of bed to go to the gym was almost damn near impossible.  But I did it and the world rewarded me with a gorgeous frosty wonderland to walk to the gym through.

I snapped the following two photos on my way to the gym and marvelled at how gorgeous everything looked with a white coating and smiled happily at the blue sky and sunshine.

Frost on autumn leaves

Frost on the Hedge

Then after I got back from the gym, the blue sky and sunshine went away to be replaced by grey clouds and the first snowfall of the season.  The snow didn’t stick and quickly turned to sleet, but it was enough to truly let me know that winter is here.  I’m wondering if minus temps and snowfall in October means that we are in for a long, harsh winter this year.