August 03, 2007

Summer 2007

We are well into the summer 2007 and weather wise, we seem to be a bit unfortunate this year.

Although any meteorologist will have sufficient data to proof to us that this summer is well in the average boundaries of a "Normal" Hamburg summer, most people on the street will not agree.

With severe flooding in England, cold and rainy weather for most northern Europe and blistering heat in southern Europe, something just seems wrong. Is this the climate change or just an unfortunate summer for us here in Hamburg?

Last year was a perfect summer when it came to sunny days. The beautiful weather started just before the soccer world cup and lasted until October.

OK, enough complaining about the weather. The forecast for the next days is good, and we are all ready to do some catching up, chilling in the sun and enjoying the warm and long summer nights. I will try to capture some of the "Summer in Hamburg City" spirit for you.

June 14, 2007

Censorship in Liberal Germany?

As I was preparing for today's post about Hamburg, I noticed a commotion on Flickr. Flickr is the online photo platform I use to upload my Blog pictures. Maybe I should say "used to use"?

Here is what happened:

A photo was posted on Flickr that read: Think Flickr, think! Against Censorship!
This photo was all of a sudden uploaded by more and more people and the photo explanation read:

If your Yahoo! ID is based in Singapore, Germany, Hong Kong or Korea you will only be able to view safe content based on your local Terms of Service so won’t be able to turn SafeSearch off. In other words, German users can not access photos on flickr that are not flagged "safe" ... only flowers and landscapes for Germans ...Copy and upload this picture to your account - show flickr who we are!

Now, I am really surprised! Germany is one of the most liberal countries in the world when it comes to nudity. No, we don't run around naked all the time, but we have legal nude beaches. It is also very common for women to sunbathe topless even in public parks and advertising on TV and in magazines show partial nudity as no big deal. We are not talking porn here (which is also legal with certain age restrictions), but maybe partial nudity that is often shown in a very artistic way.

Why on earth is Flickr (or its parent company Yahoo!) censoring Germany? There are plenty of Photo Communities that do no censor legal photos. It certainly can not be against the law here, so why does Flickr / Yahoo! act this way?

Now you have some idea, how liberal Germany is in this respect and why I am so ticked off by this.

From now on, I will post the photos differently to the Blog. Maybe, if Flickr lifts the ban on Germany, I will go back to linking the photos from there.

But for now, I choose not to!

P.S. Thank you to the duck and the statue that were a perfect match for my little Photoshop work ;)

Yahoo! (the owner of flickr) has posted the storie in the Financial News:

This is Flickr's responds in their Blog and what others have to say about it:

June 10, 2007

Photograpers in Hamburg

As this is a Photo Blog of Hamburg, today's entry is about photographic activities in Hamburg.

Thanks to the Internet, there are many ways of finding fellow photographers in any city. If you are fortunate enough to live in a beautiful city, there will most likely be plenty of events scheduled such as outings and small competitions.

As Hamburg is a very picturesque city, we have plenty of activities around photography. Today was an event scheduled by the Hamburg! Flickr Group. It was a beautiful day. Sunny, no clouds at 30°C!

The assignment for this gathering was as follows:

Every participant meets at 11:00 a.m. at the central station with a digital camera and an empty storage card. Then you are given a topic or a theme for which you have 1 hour to capture a photo and then meet at a new location. At the new location you were given a new topic and so on. This procedure was repeated 3 times. At the end of 3 hours you should only have three! photos on your storage card and they are uploaded from each participant to the Administrators notebook.

What made this event so challenging and fun?

- You really had to think of were you will get the scene for the theme within 60 minutes!

- You are not allowed to do any outside of the camera post processing! That was a really tough pill to swallow.

- You were allowed to take as many photos as you wanted, but you had to erase them before turning the storage card in. Only ONE photo per topic!

Interested in what I came up with? Not really? Here it is anyway:

1. Topic: Black & White

I switched the in camera processing to black and white with the highest contrast. This will give you very sharp B&W contrast. I decided on an architectural scene close to the "Chilehaus" which I mentioned in one of my first posts. I wanted to give it some symmetry and dimension.

2. Topic: abyssal / way down

60 minutes was too short to go up a church or tall building, so I decided on a very long escalator in one of the subway stations. I put the person in the bottom out of focus to make the photo appear deeper.

3. Topic: Pirates

This was probably the most difficult one to capture, as the room for interpretation is limited. I could have gone to St. Pauli and capture one of the Pirate flags that are a team symbol, but I wanted a "real" pirate. Then I remembered the most famous pirate statue. Well, actually the statue is not really famous, but the person was. His name was "Klaus Störtebecker" (Stoertebecker) and is said to have lived between 1360 and 1401. I remembered where his statue is located and jogged there. It was a total of 4 miles I had to cover in 60 minutes, but I liked the idea of taking his picture.

Have you ever tried a photographic challenge like this? I can really recommend it to you, as it boosts up your creativity as well as it will allow you to meet some fellow photographers in your area.

June 06, 2007

Globalization, G8 and Hamburg

Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

With the G8 Summit starting today in "Heiligendamm" about 100 miles away from Hamburg, the eyes of the political world are yet again on on Northern Germany. Hamburg has a very long history of trade, commerce and manufacturing. And this paid off in terms of wealth for the city. Most visitors are astonished how green and beautiful this city actually is. Although, most parts of the city were destroyed during World War 2, a lot of effort was put into making Germany's second largest city a very livable place.

Hamburg is the city with the most Millionaires, but it is also the city with the most charitable foundations in Germany. It is part of the "Hanseatic" style to give back to society.

I hope that the G8 protesters will get their points across peacefully and that the violent hooligans will not ruin their efforts. I don't want to get too political about the G8 Summit, but I wish for the outcome to be a consensus on protecting the environment and helping the people in need even more, than these nations already do.

June 03, 2007

Coffee Shop War?

Starbucks vs. Balzac
Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

As the world seems to be inhabited by more and more caffeine junkies, getting your daily dose of "Arabica or Robusta" beans in its liquid stage becomes almost vital to ones happieness.

Drinking coffee in traditional cafes has a long history in Germany. But until 1998, "Espresso coffee chain franchises" were pretty much unknown to Hamburgians. This changed in 1998 when a small local coffee chain opened their first coffee shop in Hamburg. It was called "Balzac Coffee". Up untill 2006, this was the major coffee shop chain in Hamburg.

Just in time for the Soccer World Cup in 2006 the world leader of coffee shops entered the market... "Starbucks"! Somehow, before then the major coffee shop empire had not targeted Hamburg as a potential lucrative market.

Today, the local chain of Balzac operates 34 shops in Hamburg, Lübeck, Berlin and Hannover. The Starbucks label appears on over 13.000 Coffee shops world wide.

Decide for yourself (if you get the chance), which coffee shop is your favorite in Hamburg. I already have my personal favorite :-)

May 31, 2007

Hamburg Beach!

Hamburg Beach!
Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

So you think that a Metropolitan City that is not located directly on an Ocean does not have a beach? Then you should sit down now as you might look at the world differently from now on!

OK, maybe it is not such a big deal for you, but it is for us "Hamburger" (since I started this blog, I have been wondering if I should rather call us Hamburgians? What do you think?)

Anyway, there seems to be a rumor floating around that the weather in Hamburg is pretty crappy. And yes, there were Summers in the past where one could have argued, that we are very fortunate to live in such a beautiful city - but God must have wanted it to be not too perfect. I admit that the sun does not shine as much as we would like it to. Although the past few summers have been awesome (to my recollection anyway) in Hamburg, sunshine is really celebrated.

Hamburg has probably the highest density of convertibles of any German city. So at temperatures just above freezing and a few sun rays, you will see some nuts people driving with their tops down in their convertible!

Other ways to appreciate the sun include hanging out and playing soccer in one of the countless public parks, sitting at the city lake "Alster" (or on one of the many other smaller lakes) barbecuing or going to the beach. Now, with the Baltic Sea and the North Sea so close, you can have saltwater touching your feet and sand accumulating in your shorts as quick as an hour drive from Hamburg (go to Timmendorfer Strand for example). But if you find it too much of a hassle to be stuck in the big "Beach rush" on the Autobahn, you might as well walk, bike or go by bus to the "Elbe Beach". If you don't mind looking at the worlds 8th largest Container Port at work across from your beach towel and Astra (Hamburg brewed) beer, this could actually have a very unique charm.

If you like it a bit more hip and loungy, there are also a few beach clubs with pool, hammocks and all day "Cafe del Mar" tunes accommodating your chilled drink of choice.

You are planning a beach holiday in the near future? Maybe Hamburg during the summer time should find a place on your list :-)

May 29, 2007

FC St. Pauli

FC St. Pauli
Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

The eyes of the world were on Hamburg this weekend for the ASEM conference.

But there was something else that moved us at least as much locally. The chronic underdog and almost always on "the brink of bankruptcy" second soccer team of Hamburg advanced to the second division of the german "Bundesliga"!!! The FC St. Pauli is for many Hamburger the team of hearts. Although not as successful as Hamburgs first team, the Hamburger Sport Verein (HSV), the FC St. Pauli has charm and determination. The fans are one of a kind and the stadium (Millerntor Stadium) as old and rotten as it is, has been called the "cathouse" of the Bundesliga. Many renown teams, such as the FC Bayern München, have lost in the past against St. Pauli in the Millerntor Stadium. It is said, that at St. Pauli different laws to soccer apply. The team has next to the official flag (shown on the photo) also the "Pirate - Skull and Bones" flag as symbol.

I am excited to see how the Pirates of the second Bundesliga will perform and stir up the next season :-)

May 28, 2007

Spacestation Hamburg?

Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

Today is a national holiday in Germany. I was all excited to go out and take some nice photos for my blog, but Murphy and his highly annoying law came in my way! It has been cloudy and raining the whole day long :-(

My only chance for "dry" photography was indoors or actually undergrounddoors. I have been wanting to take a photo of the Gaensemarkt (Gänsemarkt) Station for a long time. To me, it always looked like the hallway of a space station. Thanks to the bad weather it was very empty and therefore a perfect location for me and my Canon. Eat that, Murphy!

If you care to see a map of the Hamburg subway, tube or underground lines (what ever you call them) click on the photo below for a nice and big view of it.

May 27, 2007

Dangerous weekend?

Dangerous weekend?
Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

This weekend 46 delegations meet at the Asem-Foreignminister Conference in Hamburg.

In the past two days, there have been thousands of policemen patroulling the city and guarding places, where these ministers stay and meet. I have never seen this much police scattered all over the city of Hamburg before!

There are some protests in town, but over all, it is very quiet and peaceful. The police force shows presence, but does this in a very friendly and low key fashion. I talked to some of them, and they were very friedly and communicative.

I fell a bit sorry for them, having to sit in their patrol cars all weekend. Especially during this long pentecost weekend with Monday beeing a national holiday.

This photo shows a police van in front of the "Vier Jahreszeiten" (Four Seasons) Luxury Hotel in Hamburg. I would guess that some important people live there ;-)

I am adding two more photos from today, showing the Cityhall and the security around it.

May 25, 2007

Prayer for Peace

Prayer for Peace
Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

This memorial statue is one of the many found on the church grounds of the St. Nikolai Church.

I thought this would be a good one to post for Pentecost weekend.

May 24, 2007

St. Nikolai Memorial Hamburg

St. Nikolai Mamorial Hamburg
Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

The St Nikolai Church was build and sanctified to the 'patron saint for seaman' the "Holy Nikolaus"

The first St. Nikolai Church was build in the 1350's but burned down a few times in its history.

Todays church (or what is left of it) begun to be build in 1846 and finished in 1863.

During World War 2 (July 28th, 1943) it (the nave) was hit by an allied bomb. The church tower stayed intact though and was partially restaurated. It stands today as a memorial for World War 2 and Hamburger as well as visitors are reminded at the destructiveness and horror of war. It really makes you think, how much different the cities who were affected by war would look like today. Makes the world much prettier without war in many aspects...

There are many statues on the churchground that deliver a peace message. I will post one of these statues in my next post.

May 22, 2007

Mast meets Seagull

Mast meets Seagull
Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

When you visit Hamburgs Harbour, you should not only look at the water, but also look up at the sky. Plenty of seagulls sailing along masts to spot.

These are the masts of the "Rickmer Rickmers" which was build 1896 ans is made out of steel. Since 1984 it sits at Hamburgs "Landungsbruecken" and is a public museum.

May 20, 2007

City Hall Hamburg - The "Rathaus"

Rathaus / City Hall Hamburg
Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

The old City Hall in Hamburg burned down in the "great fire of 1842"

To find a new location, deciding on the architect and actually completing the new City Hall took over 50 years!

The picture shows the current City Hall of Hamburg (Rathaus in german) wich was finished building in 1897.

The square in front of it is usually full of people. When the weather is nice, many "Hamburger" will enjoy their lunch break in front of the "Rathaus". There is also a restaurant in the basement and a Café in the courtyard inside the town hall.

If you happen to see a group of younger people, dressed in funny clothes, drinking alcohol and one of them sweeping the ground with a broom, you are witnessing an intereting tradition. The person sweeping has just turned 30 years old and he is not married, yet. His friends drag him to the town square and make him sweep the ground, untill a virgin girl kisses him and he is released of the sweeping duty ;-)

May 19, 2007


Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

Today, another photo from the Harbour. In order for the huge vessels to maneuver in the rather narrow port of Hamburg and the Elbe river, tugboats are needed.

One of those Tugboats has approx. 3000 hp!

May 17, 2007

Hamburg Harbour 100 years ago...?

Hamburg Harbour 100 years ago...?
Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

This is how a barge traffic jam could have looked like 100 years ago in Hamburgs harbour. Although the barges would have been powered by charcoal and steam instead of diesel engines.

I tried to compensate for it by giving this photo a sepia style.

You can take a harbor tour on one of these barges. To tell you the truth.... I have not been one one for many years! But know that I have said this, I think I might go on a harbour tour in the near future :-)

May 16, 2007

Hamburg trough the Re(ar)view Mirror

Hamburg trough the Review Mirror
Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

Hamburgs heart (at least the economical one) is its over 800 years old port.

I find this photo to be quite representative of seeing the past and the future of Hamburg with the port in the picture.


Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

Another architectural Highlight are the "Alsterarkaden" close to the Town Hall.

Neatly placed along the connection river between the city lake "Alster" and the River "Elbe" you will be able to enjoy a cup of coffee and a cake in one of the cafes underneath the aches while watching small boats go by...

Luxury Reflections on a Porsche

Reflections on Porsche
Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

Hamburg can be considered as a pretty wealthy city. Luxury stores, luxury houses and luxury cars are present all over the city.

In this photo, I captured all three:

A luxury car
A luxury house
A luxury store (at least the entrace) ;-)

May 15, 2007

Tower 1.0 meets Tower 2.0

Tower 1.0 meets Tower 2.0
Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

Hamburg has many towers. Ancient, technological and religious. These two can be seen from the Town Hall square.

Chilehaus Front

Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

Hamburg has many unique architectural highlights.

One of the oldest and most outstanding buildings is the Chilehaus. It was finished in 1924 after a consturction time of two years. The architect was Fritz Höger.

I am sure you will see more photos of this architectural gem on this page, soon.

HamburgCam Photo Blog is born...

Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

OK, maybe that title is a bit.... cheesy..... but that was the best I came up with ;-)

Having been inspired by some photo blogs from around the world in the past years, technology has finally caught up with me, and I will put this plan into action.

I will focus on photography from Hamburg, Germany. But when I travell, there will be an occasional photo and some thoughts from arounf the world.

Hope you enjoy this and feel free to comment, criticise or post suggestions of what you would like me to add.