Category Archives: Germany

The 5 Day Black and White Challenge

My old friend Thomas Hendele recently nominated me for the 5 Day Black and White Challenge, a thing on Facebook where, after being nominated, you have to post 5 different black and white photos over the course of 5 days. I thought I’d share my entries on the blog as well, for everybody who doesn’t use Facebook.

1. Dom Sculpture

Dom Sculpture

I still had some photos on Disk that I hadn’t gotten around to posting on my Cologne Photoblog before I shut it down, so I processed one of those.

2. The Sun behind Hallgrimskirkja

The Sun behind Hallgrimskirkja

A moody shot from one of my first days in Iceland in 2013.

3. Gdansk Airport

Airport Gdansk

Abstract Architectural photo of the roof construction at Lech Walesa Airport in Gdansk, Poland

4. Breitling Jet Team

Breitling Jet Team

They had some pretty amazing aerobatics displays between runs at the 2014 Red Bull Air Race in Gdynia

5. Speicherstadt Schwarzweiss

Speicherstadt Schwarzweiss

For the grand finale, I actually went out into the cold to capture a new photo of my new home, the wonderful city of Hamburg.

I hope you enjoyed and if you like, you can find me on Facebook under my real name: Jan Hapke.

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.

Grainy Sunset plus Making Of

During my vacation on the Baltic sea, where we planted a tree, I also took some other photos. One of them was a beautiful sunset behind a field of grain and I thought I’d write a bit about what I did to get the final picture:

Grainy Sunset

About the only thing you can do on a camping trip during bad weather is sit inside and read books or visit Restaurants in the area. We had just returned from a dinner trip when the clouds opened up and the sun came through to mark the end of the day. I grabbed my camera bag from the car and the tripod from the tent and rushed towards the coast. I spotted the field of grains and immediately knew what kind of picture I wanted to take. The idea isn’t that original to be honest.

Behind the field, there was a group of trees with a gap in between. I moved around until the sun fit in the middle of that gap, dropped my tripod into the grains and mounted the camera with the Sigma 10-20mm ultra wide angle lens on it. An ultra wide angle lens can be positioned very close to an object and still capture a really big scene. This results in the grains in the front looking very large while the sky with the sun is still visible.

Continue reading

Making of “Blue Friday”

My photo “Blue Friday” became picture of the day at the Heise Foto Gallery. I like uploading photos there because the overall style of the photos uploaded by other users aligns with my own and because it’s not as crowded as other places. Anyway, I thought I’d write a little “Making Of” Post with a look behind the scenes of the photo.

Continue reading