St. Jakob’s Church

Since I am not a religious person, I tend to visit churches the way I visit art collections. Today I want to show you something a bit fancier than the organ of our modest, merely 100-year-old neighbourhood church: 12th century St Jakob’s Church. It was my first visit to that church and I am afraid none of the photos do its beauty justice. They mostly reflect my amazement at what I saw. I have lived in this city for many years, but I am still overlooking churches, because there are so many of them. Some of the most impressive are really easy to miss, since they look somewhat plain from the outside. Click to enlarge the pictures, a lot of detail is lost in these little ones here.

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Wenn ich eine Kirche besuche, dann ist das für mich so ähnlich wie der Besuch einer Kunstsammlung, da ich kein religiöser Mensch bin. In der Jakobskirche aus dem 12. Jh war ich jetzt zum ersten Mal. Die Bilder werden der Schönheit der Kirche nicht gerecht und zeigen mehr mein Erstaunen über meine Neuentdeckung. Ist schon komisch in einer Stadt zu leben, wo man nach vielen Jahren immer noch Kirchen übersieht, weil einige von außen ganz unscheinbar aussehen oder der Eingang irgendwo verdeckt ist. Klickt auf die Bilder, um sie zu vergrößern, auf den Verkleinerungen hier gehen sehr viele Details verloren.

This is the entrance to the church. The birches are decorations left from the Corpus Christi festivities a few days ago. Actually, the entrance is such and important piece of art, it is surrounded by a glass building. There is more stone carving to the left and right. I was a bit overwhelmed with all of it.

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Die Birkendekoration am Portal und auch in der Kirche sind noch von Fronleichnam übrig. Das Portal ist so wertvoll, dass man einen Glaskasten vor die Kirche gebaut hat, um es zu schützen, wirkt insgesamt sehr seltsam. Rechts und links von der Tür sind auch noch Steinmetzarbeiten, die zum Portal gehören.

The central nave with stone and wood carving galore. If you look carefully and your monitor shows enough detail, you can see sunbeams pouring in from the southern window (top right) in front of the altar almost like a rainbow.

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Das Mittelschiff mit massenweise Steinmetzarbeiten und Holzschnitzereien. Ich finde die Farbgebung auch sehr ungewöhnlich und beeindruckend. Wenn man genau hinschaut – und der Monitor es hergibt – kann man von oben rechts das Licht durch ein Südfenster vor dem Altar hereinscheinen sehen. Sieht ein bisschen aus wie ein Regenbogen und war in Wirklichkeit noch beeindruckender.

The choir stalls.

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Das Chorgestühl.

Those figures caught my eye immediately when I walked into the church. Altough there is a lot of decoration, these three stand out.

I think I’ll have to go back to that church again and study it a bit more carefully. The masonry on the portal and the pillars is quite amazing and there are lots of little things that felt too overwhelming to take in during my first visit.

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Die drei Figuren über dem Altar haben mich beim Betreten der Kirche sofort fasziniert, obwohl es ja auch sonst genug zu sehen gab. Ich muss da gelegentlich nochmal hin und mir die Details genauer anschauen. Die Steimetzarbeit am Portal und an den Säulen ist wirklich was Besonderes. Insgesamt waren es mir – wie so oft – beim ersten Besuch viel zu viele Sachen, um alles in Ruhe anzuschauen.

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Learning by Doing

Yesterday I was out practising with my new camera. I was impressively unsuccessful taking good photos. I wasn’t so unsuccessful figuring out what the buttons on the camera are for.

My attempts to capture animals were basically disastrous, they were simply too fast for me. I continuously forgot to change settings when I focused on a different kind of motif. And I totally forgot to re-adjust the ISO setting after I had taken indoor pictures.

Well, here are some of the pictures I kept after generous purging.

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Gestern war ich mit der Kamera zum Üben unterwegs. Toll, was man dabei alles verkehrt machen kann: ich hab ständig vergessen das Programm zu wechseln, wenn ich andere Motive aufgenommen habe. Und den ISO Wert, den ich für die Innenaufnahmen verwendet hatte, habe ich auch nicht wieder umgestellt. Mein Lernerfolg war also prima, die Ausbeute an guten Fotos eher bescheiden.

Vögel und Schmetterlinge sind mir regelmäßig weggeflogen. Dafür bin ich echt zu langsam.

Hier sind ein paar Bilder, die das Massenlöschen überstanden haben.

Semi-orthodox Bavarian Brotzeit

Grocery shopping inspired this Fresh Breeze. I had some space left in my bag and scanned the aisles for supplies I might need when I discovered an odd bottle of Grapefruit Wheat Beer. I frowned. I like beer. Real, simple, straightforward beer. I’m even ok with a beer and lemon soda mix, a standard low alcohol drink you can get anywhere in Germany. But now the food industry is messing with wheat beer too? Isn’t anything sacred anymore? Is this drinkable? At a closer look I discovered that beer was made in northern Germany. What do northern Germans know about wheat beer? They make fine Pilsener, but wheat beer is something totally Bavarian. Curiosity got the better of me and I took a bottle home.

I have lived in Bavaria for many years now, but I am from northern Germany. It is very audible to the people I meet when I talk and noticeable in small cultural differences. I actually never wanted to move to Bavaria, I ended up here accidentally and the culture took quite a bit of getting used to. I don’t really plan to get used to everything, but some Bavarian traditions are just great. “Brotzeit” is one of them. It is a cold meal eaten at any time of day accompanied by beer (or soda) and the savoury alternative to Germany’s ever-present favourite “Coffee and Cake” (a meal, not dessert).

Usually a Brotzeit plate comes with a selection of breads, meats, maybe cheese, pickles, mustard and maybe vegetables. I decided on radish sandwich to go with my semi-genuine beer. The bread is pure whole grain rye, my favourite. The radishes are salted, so they will start to “cry”.

But back to the beer. If you have never poured a wheat beer, you may not know that this is an art form all of its own. You cannot just pour it like a soda or barley beer, because after a moment the glass will fill up with foam that’s not going anywhere for quite some time.

You need to pour a little warm water into the glass, then you make sure the inside of the glass gets all wet. And yes, it helps to use a proper wheat beer glass, like the one above. Next, you pour the beer down the side of the tilted glass, start out holding the glass nearly horizontally and then gently turn it upwards as you pour. When the bottle is almost empty, stop, swivel the remaining liquid in the bottle to stir up and dissolve the leftover yeast at the bottom of the bottle and pour the last swig into the glass. Ideally, you should end up with about an inch of foam. As you can see, it didn’t quite work out here today. Partly because I am out of practise, partly because the mix is less foamy than pure beer.

Once I had successfully transferred the beer to the glass, I though: “Oh, looks almost normal, except for the slight orange tinge.” Then I tried. Um. Not normal. Sweet. I only drink soda when I have an upset stomach or, sometimes, in the movie theatre. My memory might not be reliable and the drink may be a lot less sweet than regular soda, but it’s too sweet for me. The bitter grapefruit flavour helps. Overall the drink is refreshing. Or was, since it is gone by now. It was worth trying, but next time I go to the market, I’ll get a pure wheat beer, because I haven’t had one since last summer.

My new camera is here!!! / Die neue Kamera ist da!!!

It was delivered this morning

First things first, I opened the package, found the battery and charged it

Next I unpacked everything else and carefully tested, if I could put my old Minolta lenses on the new camera. It worked!

Then I installed the software that came with the camera wondering how much of it I’ll unistall again soon and began to read the manual. It’s a big manual. Sigh. I made tea and lunch and waited for a full battery.

Finally it was time for some rather mindless test-photgraphy in the garden. Just to see if everything worked properly. I tried all three lenses and was happy with the results. When I had seen those, I went for a short walk in the neighbourhood to take bad photos with a camera I don’t understand yet. I quite like learning by doing. Below I are the presentable shots I was able to make.

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Meine alten Minoltaobjektive passen auf die neue Kamera, alles funktioniert technisch einwandfrei und ein klein wenig geübt habe ich auch schon, wie ihr unten sehen könnt.

While the battery was still being charged, I received another package which contained a memory card

I think this was the second photo I took. The insect is about 2mm long and was modelling on a daisy for me.

I’m not sure why the neighbours dump the pine cones under this tree, but it looks kind of cool.

Another lady bug, this time on a stinging nettle which kept me at some distance.

I’m getting better at botany and was able to identify this plant as Creeping Thistle (Ackerkratzdistel) all by myself.

A quick look at the sky.

A visit to the neighbourhood church to see how the camera does in poor light.

Here, I should have tried automatic HDR, but forgot.

An extraordinarily posh Citroen CV2 by the road. In German it is called “Ente” which means “Duck”.

And finally a portrait of a little singer.

Considering that I shot all these photos with a totally unfamiliar camera, without much thought and just altered them slightly before posting them, I am very, very pleased with the results.

I am also very, very starved. If you’ll excuse me, I have to make supper now.

Greater Knapweed / Skabiosen-Flockenblume

This is not so obviously the big sister of the cornflower. I mistook it for a thistle, which proves just how clueless I am when it comes to botany, but I am learning … My next posts will be devoted to subjects I know more about though. Wait and see.

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Wie man nicht gleich sieht, ist das hier die große Schwester der Kornblume. Ich hab’s erstmal für eine Distel gehalten, ich versteh halt nix von Botanik, aber ich arbeite daran. In meinen nächsten Posts gehts es aber um Dinge, von denen ich mehr verstehe. Lasst euch überraschen!

Red Tailed Bumblebee on Bird’s Foot Trefoil / Steinhummel auf Hornklee

Three cheers to the biologist who identified both species with somewhat incomplete information! I promise, I’ll be better at providing more detail in future photos. (Note to self: don’t forget the leaves.) I think it’s funny the Latin name of a bumblebee is Bombus, it has something playful to it. It was apparently also rather difficult for physicists to determine how bumblebees can fly. Given the ratio of their wings to their bodies it is rather surprising they can. Below is the soundbite that goes with the article.

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Ein Hoch auf die Biologin, die beide Arten trotz mangelhafter Informationen korrekt identifiziert hat! Ich verspreche in Zukunft mehr Details zu liefern. Wie konnte ich nur die Blätter vergessen? “Bombus” ist doch ein schöner lateinscher Name für Hummel, oder? Offensichtlich ist es den Physikern nicht leicht gefallen, herauszubekommen, wie Hummeln fliegen können. Wenn man sich mal anschaut, wie klein ihre Flügel im Verhältnis zum Körper sind, ist es überraschend, dass sie es überhaupt schaffen. Unten gibt’s Hummelflug zum anhören und angucken.

Dianthus / Nelken

My biologist and I have not been able to find a common English name for this little beauty from outer space. Below is another dianthus. I wasn’t able to determine the exact species, there are just too many of them. Don’t let the pictures fool you, the blossoms are different in size. The blossom below is just the size of a coin, the top one is quite a bit bigger. None of those hairs are visible without a magnifying glass.

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Na, wer hätte das jetzt für eine Nelke gehalten? Die obere Blüte, eine Prachtnelke,  ist tatsächlich viel größer als die untere. Ohne Lupe sieht man keine Härchen.

Yarrow with Hoverfly / Schafgarbe mit Schwebfliege

While I am anxiously waiting for my new camera, I put together the nice, still unpublished pictures of the past few weeks. Since I won’t have to wait for sunny skies to take pictures anymore, no need to keep any for a rainy day.

Afterthought: Just as I thought I might not work much on my photos today, I discovered that my image hoster changed settings and things are not working the way I want anymore. All the incentive I needed to reorganize my photo collection.

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Während ich ungeduldig auf meine neue Kamera warte, suche ich mal alle schönen, noch unveröffentlichten Bilder der letzten Wochen raus. Da ich ja nicht mehr auf gutes Wetter zum Fotografieren warten muss, brauche ich ja keine Bilder für schlechte Zeiten mehr zurück zu halten.

Nachtrag: Gerade dachte ich, dass ich heute nicht viel über Fotos nachdenken würde, da habe ich festgestellt, dass mein Fotohoster seine Einstellungen geändert hat und jetzt nichts mehr klappt, wie es soll. Jetzt organisiere ich meine Onlinefotosammlung um.

Rose 5

I didn’t even mean to go to the park the day I took that picture, but I was early for an appointment and had just enough time for a few pics. We had had a thunderstorm the night before and the flowerbeds looked gorgeous. For occasions like these, my little compact camera permanently lives in one of my backpack compartments.

Over the past few weeks I realized I was a very unhappy SLR-less photographer and therefore chose a new camera today. It will be my third SLR, albeit the first digital one. After a fair amount of research and playing around with various brands in the store, I picked a Sony SLT-A55, predominately because I will be able to use my old, fine Minolta lenses with it. It meets all my other expectations which are: fine sensor, fine lenses and auto HDR. With a little luck the camera will be here in time for the large city festival this weekend.

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Eigentlich wollte ich an dem Tag gar nicht in den Park gehen, aber ich war für eine Verabredung zu früh dran. Am Abend zuvor gab es ein Gewitter und die Blumen sahen einfach klasse aus. Für diese Gelegenheiten wird meine nette Kompaktkamera weiterhin in einem Rucksackfach wohnen bleiben.

Während der letzten Wochen ist mir klar geworden, das ich ein sehr unglückliche spiegelreflexlose Fotografin bin, deswegen habe ich mir heute eine neue Kamera ausgesucht. Es wird meine dritte Spiegelreflex sein, jedoch die erste digitale. Nach ausgiebiger Recherche und Rumprobieren im Laden, habe ich mir einen Sony SLT-A55 ausgesucht, hauptsächlich weil mit der meine schönen, alten Minoltaobjektive weiter nutzen kann. Sonst erfüllt die Kamera auch alle meine Erwartungen: guter Sensor, gute Objektive und automatisches HDR. Mit ein bisschen Glück ist sie bis zum Bürgerfest am Wochenende hier.