After Dark in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt

Since I only stayed in Hamburg for 2 nights and met with friends every evening, I didn’t have much time to take night photos. But one place I definitely wanted to see this time was the old Speicherstadt. I had seen many photos of it online and wanted to explore it myself.


On the first day, I was already walking to the subway to catch one of the last trains home when I passed by the Nikolaifleet. I had seen it during the day and it didn’t look very interesting. But at night, everything changes. The darkness and the artificial lights make it look like a different city. The cloudy sky reflects the light from the city below and glows in purple. The water moves slightly but gets a silky-smooth shine thanks to the long exposures. And all the colors stand out so much more.
I hastily set up my tripod because I figured I’d have maybe 5 minutes to get a picture – and that’s not much when each exposure takes 30 seconds. After I was done, I had to run the rest of the way in order to catch the subway, camera in one hand and the half folded tripod in the other. But I made it.


There is special illumination in the entire Speicherstadt at night. The only problem is that it is switched off around 23:30. And during the summer, that doesn’t give you a lot of time to take night photos because the sun is up pretty long. Also I didn’t know about that during my first night. So when I showed up to take a photo I was a bit surprised how dark everything was. To compensate, I used longer exposures. For some reason I have never been able to understand, the maximum exposure time you can enter into a camera is 30 seconds. But there are external timers you can connect to a camera that allow you to use longer exposures. Here I took photos at 30 seconds, 1 minute and 2 minutes and combined them into an HDR picture. If you look closely, you can see the length of the star trails and how it is interrupted after a short, a medium and a longer time.

Ducati 750

It is well known that great artists steal. While I am far from a great artist, I still steal a lot. I found a photo on that I thought looked interesting and decided to visit the same place and see how I would see the scene.
When I arrived, I immediately noticed a beautiful red Ducati 750 motorcycle parked right in front of the bridge I wanted to capture. It was clear that I had to include it in the frame. It took a few attempts to get the framing right so I was a little worried the whole time the owner might show up and ask me what the hell I was doing. But it didn’t happen.

Looking back, I think I could spend an entire week taking photos in the Speicherstadt at night. One of the reasons I believe Hamburg is the most beautiful city in the world.

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