Tuesday, December 13, 2022

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Germany 2022 - Stuttgart & Tübingen

A big meeting of nearly the entire extended Mander family happened in Stuttgart. We first visited the cemetery where my uncle Kurt is buried and met three of my cousins and their families, as well as an uncle, to pay our respects. Then it was off to a big lunch get-together, where a few additional family members joined us. All in all, we were about 17 people if I recall. After lunch, we all visited the 217 meter tall Stuttgart TV transmission tower, with a viewing platform 150 meters up.

Then the next day, we drove to Tübingen to visit the Mountain Cemetery there, the final resting place for Franziska's ashes, my fathers partner of 9 years after my mom passed away from cancer in 2008. Franziska passed away in early 2018 after having a bad stroke. The cemetery is beautifully set in a forest, although Franziska's urn is buried in a very low-key area, her location unmarked and her resting place only noted with an engraving on a small stone tower. The last photo in the gallery shows Franziska and my dad during happy times together in 2017.

Show: All blog postings from my 2022 Germany trip

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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Germany 2022 - Burg Herzberg



Gallery (60 images): Germany 2022 - Burg Herzberg

Today, while my dad spent the day being interviewed for the book by his friend in Frielendorf, Emily and I drove to the wonderful and scenic old castle ruins of Burg Herzberg. Amongst other things, there is a tiny little chapel, with some lovely stained-glass windows that add a beautiful splash of colour to photos of its interior. There was a restaurant with lots of outdoor seating and we had a tasty lunch there, albeit one that was constantly disturbed by hungry and obnoxious wasps!

Show: All blog postings from my 2022 Germany trip

Thursday, November 10, 2022

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Germany 2022 - Burg Hohenburg (Homberg)



Gallery (25 images): Germany 2022 - Burg Hohenburg (Homberg)

On the second day in Germany, we arrived in the small town of Frielendorf, visiting a friend of my father's, who is also writing a book about his rose hybridizing endeavours. In the evening we all visited the nearby small town of Homberg, where there are some castle ruins up on the hill overlooking the town. The old tower was very photogenic, with its old and weathered stone masonry construction, just full of texture and detail. The evening light filtering in through the windows and doorways cast a wonderful warm glow in spots. The view of the surrounding countryside from the top of the tower was also spectacular.

Show: All blog postings from my 2022 Germany trip

Sunday, October 2, 2022

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Germany 2022 - Kassel, Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe

Gallery (80 images): Germany 2022 - Kassel, Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe

This year, my father and I, as well as my partner Emily, finally managed to get back to Germany in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally my father and I were slated to go in 2020, but had to cancel our plans. This year we went in early August for two weeks and I borrowed a Fujifilm X-T4 since I knew its in-body image-stabilization (IBIS) was going to come in very handy for many dark interior shots. My X-Pro2 came along as a backup but was never used. I also used my iPhone 13 for a few selfies with Emily.

I know I was in the midst of working on my 2018 Germany trip galleries, but I'm going to focus on this latest trip and then go back to the 2018 trip afterwards.

This is the first day of shooting and exploring, where Emily and I wandered through the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe in the city of Kassel. "Bergpark" means a mountain park, and indeed, a central feature of the park is a 500 meter mountain, with a statue of Hercules at its peak. In the summer, every Wednesday and Sunday there are Wasserspiele, which literally means "water play," where water is released from a large reservoir at the top of the mountain. This gravity fed water flows down over a multitude of cascades, rapids, waterfalls and a reconstructed Roman aqueduct, ending in a large fountain in a pond near the main Wilhelmshöhe Castle. The gravity fed fountain is powered by a second reservoir about half way down the mountain and a person has to manually pull open a valve at the right time.

My father grew up in Kassel, right next to the park, and his father -my grandfather- was the park's groundskeeper. The park is an absolutely wonderful place to spend a summer day, with lots of shade, walking and hiking paths, and many things to see. In the latter part of the gallery, we visited the gothic Löwenburg Castle, although we came too late to get a tour inside.

Show: All blog postings from my 2022 Germany trip

Monday, June 6, 2022

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Germany 2018 - Idar Oberstein & Herrstein


On this third day in Idar Oberstein, we visited a historic gemstone grinding shop, the Historische Weiherschleife, where all the huge grinding stones were powered by a waterwheel and a system of large belts and pulleys. We also visited the associated gemstone mine, the Edelsteinmine Steinkaulenberg.

Afterwards, we drove a few kilometres and wandered around the historic town of Herrstein, where we joined in with a tour group and marvelled at all the very old buildings, a large number of which are many hundred of years old and of original construction. My ultra-wide Laowa 9mm lens got a lot of use in the cramped little town! All of Herrstein's charming streets and alleys are constructed from very well worn cobblestones, with grass and plants forcing their way up between them in many areas.

This was the last day in Idar Oberstein and from there, we drove to the small town of Frielendrof where we visited some old castle ruins, Burg Herzberg, the following day.

Show: All blog postings from my 2018 Germany Trip

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

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Germany 2018 - Idar Oberstein - Day 2


On the second day in Idar Obertsein, we visited two more museums. First was the "Deutsches Edelsteinmuseum", or German Gemstone Museum, and the second was the "Industriedenkmal Jakob Bengel", or Jakob Bengel Industrial Monument. The Jakob Bengal museum has displays of Art Deco jewellery and a large array of fascinating machinery that automates the tedious process of making necklace chains. Somewhere I also have a video showing this process, which I may add to this posting in the future.

For now, there is a huge gallery of 155 images showcasing many of the amazing displays of gemstones, both raw and cut, Art Deco jewellery as well as shots of the town of Idar Oberstein and also the famous Felsenkirche, or "Cliff Church", which is literally built into the cavern near the top of a cliff.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

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Gallery: 2018 Germany Trip - Flight & Idar Oberstein

Gallery (120 images): Germany 2018 - Flight & Idar Oberstein

I'm going to call this my the first "official" posting from the Germany trip that I went on with my father in the summer of 2018. I had posted a few galleries previously a couple of years back, from the middle of the trip, but since I am now using new software to process my images (Capture One Pro instead of Adobe Lightroom), I will be republishing those galleries in the appropriate order and reprocessing everything I had already done.

The above gallery contains images mainly from a mineral and gemstone museum, called Deutsches Mineralienmuseum (or German Mineral Museum), in the town of Idar Oberstein. The town is famous for the processing of rocks & gems, lapidary and jewellery manufacturing. There are many rock and gemstone museums, and in a future posting, I will be showing photos from another spectacular one, as well as some others I took during a tour of a local gemstone mine. This is a long gallery, 120 images, but there are so many fascinating displays of minerals and gemstones, as well as some sculptures, that it was hard to pare it down.

There is one photo of my dad (photo 28), standing next to some giant crystals. The above blog post photo also shows some massive amethyst geodes, amongst others, most of which stand taller than my dad as well. In the middle of the gallery, photos 100 to 105, there are some shots showing UV fluorescence of some minerals, with pairs of shots, one in regular light and the next in UV light.

I am way behind in my image processing, and I am not going to promise that I'll get through all these quickly, but this is the first of many more galleries to come from my 2018 Germany trip!

Show: All blog postings from my 2018 Germany Trip

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

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Gallery: 2021 Island Trip - Victoria & Saltspring - Days 7-9



Gallery: 2021 Island Trip - Victoria & Saltspring - Days 7-9

This final gallery of our 2021 Island trip has photos covering the last few days of our vacation. After the long 460 km drive from Port McNeill down to Victoria, we stayed at Marketa's B&B. The stay was wonderful in this large Edwardian style home, with very cozy rooms and an absolutely delicious breakfast in the morning. We had a room with its own large Jacuzzi tub, and it was wonderful to soak in it after a long day of driving! The next morning we visited Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria, which features tons of colourfully painted floating shops and house boats.

After a delicious fish&ship lunch at Fisherman's Wharf, we headed off to Schwartz Bay to catch the ferry to Saltspring Island, where we stayed for three days at my friend Ted's place. The first evening on Saltspring was great, nice and clear but the following days, the smoke from all the wildfires in BC and Washington finally got pushed out far enough to severely affect the visibility there too. In the last few shots in the gallery, you can see the smoke and haze, and the orange and red sun which was nearly blotted out completely. It was really too bad that the amazing views from Mount Maxwell were all hazed out. Oh well... we will definitely be visiting there again in the future, hopefully with clearer skies next time!

That's it for this trip, summer number two of the COVID-19 pandemic. Next year, Emily and I really hope to be able to visit Germany with my father! Crossing fingers the pandemic is under control by that time finally...

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2021 Island Trip

Monday, September 13, 2021

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Gallery: 2021 Island Trip - Alert Bay - Day 5


Gallery (45 images): 2021 Island Trip - Alert Bay - Day 5

Unfortunately the weather did not improve much and our day over at Alert Bay was pretty much overcast the whole time, with a smattering of drizzle occasionally too. We took the ferry from Port McNeill to went over to Alert Bay on Cormorant Island first, staying for maybe three to four hours, then caught the ferry back to Port McNeill, and stayed on to get to Sointula on Malcolm Island.

By that time it was evening, we were both hungry and as it turns out, absolutely nothing was open in Sointula anymore, save an ice-cream stand. It was also drizzling and the prospect of spending about three hours wandering around there, getting damp and hungry, didn't seem appealing. Emily and I looked at each other and decided to quickly walk back to the ferry before it left. We managed to get on and headed back to Port McNeill.

Alert Bay was very scenic though, with lots of colourful buildings, a great walk through the ecological preserve, as well as a visit to the interesting and educational U'mista Cultural Centre, where one wasn't allowed to take any photos however. Hopefully the next time we visit the area, the weather will be better! We'll also have a better idea how long it takes to explore and can optimize the timing of our visit...

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2021 Island Trip

Saturday, September 11, 2021

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Gallery: 2021 Island Trip - Telegraph Cove - Day 4

Gallery (35 images): 2021 Island Trip - Telegraph Cove - Day 4

The weather improved slightly the day after our three night stint in the ever so relaxing school bus, and after photographing the bus in detail in the morning (seen in my last gallery), it was off again, driving further north up the east side of Vancouver Island, first to the small historic community of Telegraph Cove, then further on to the town of Port McNeill. We stayed in Port McNeill for two nights and after a ferry ride, spent most of the next day over in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island, with a very brief stint to Sointula on Malcolm Island. That will be in my next gallery...

Telegraph Cove was wonderful visually, with brightly painted old buildings right at the seashore built upon pilings, weathered floating docks and lots of history. We didn't take any whale watching tours but spent some time with binoculars searching the ocean off in the distance for any signs of large sea mammals. Sadly, we only spotted boats, kayakers and birds...

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2021 Island Trip