/// Photo tour Hamburg
A photo trip to Namibia was originally planned for early September 2021, which I had been preparing and looking forward to for almost a year. Due to Corona, the trip was reasonably canceled. For me, the right decision on the part of the organizer as the Covid situation in the country did not improve. So, as an alternative, I decided to take a little trip in my own country, to Hamburg. It’s been almost 30 years since I was last there. It was a great experience all round. Visiting friends and how else could it be to explore the city with my camera at my side.
Even if I have photographed it countless times, it was the first time for me to stand there on the Poggenmühlenbrücke to photograph the famous moated castle in the Speicherstadt at the blue hour. The largest historical warehouse complex in the world can be found in the port of Hamburg and, like many other buildings in the city, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991.
There is the impressive Elbphilharmoie, which imposingly dominates from all directions from afar. The closer you get, the more impressive their effect. With its unique architecture, it impresses with its unusual and modern style.
Photographed countless times, I found it really exciting to find a location with which I wanted to immortalize the Elbphilharmoie for myself. So it occurred to me to take my picture with a 70-200mm from the opposite side of the North Elbe at sunset. One of the ways to get to the other side of the Elbe is to cross the old Elbe tunnel with a length of 426.5 m at the St. Pauli Landungsbrücken. Now only passable for pedestrians and cyclists. At the other end you reach the Elbe island of Steinwerder, which can also be reached by a ferry that shuttles back and forth between the banks.
But then I quickly realized that I liked the view of the Elbphilharmonie from the bank side, directly at the exit of the Elbe tunnel, but I wasn’t convinced for a photo. So I tried to walk around a large area for another access option on the shore. There still seems to be an opportunity to take photos from the Stage Theater, where the musical “The Lion King” is also being performed. Unfortunately, the access was blocked there, also due to Corona.
So I decided to go back to the other side of the Elbe and see that I could at least get to the plaza of the Elphilharmnie, which gave me an evening panoramic view of the harbor and your city from a height of 37 meters. For this I booked 2 individual tickets (1 hour each) directly online, which allowed me to stay on the platform from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on the same day.
A wonderful view of the HafenCity, even if the sun had set just before 8 p.m., rewarded me and my photographer’s heart. It’s also great that taking photos from a tripod wasn’t an issue here. You know that differently. I stayed until the end, only a few people shared this evening sight. Even though I decided not to take any more pictures after 9pm because of the darkness, I still enjoyed my time up there. The calm and this graceful atmosphere with really pleasant temperatures didn’t want to end. In any case, I already had my picture on the chip.
Of course, I couldn’t get my plan from the day before to photograph the Elbphilharmonie out of my mind.
Not far from my accommodation are the Magellan Terraces in Hamburg’s warehouse district. From there, the view leads you through the beautifully landscaped traditional ship harbor, running to the right and left, you stroll past modern architecture with a typical harbor atmosphere, directly to the Elphilharmonie. In the hope that the morning light will put the Elphilharmonie in the right light, I planned to go to the local waterfront the evening before. Cleverly, I had set my breakfast time at 9:30, so I was quite free in time and was able to use the early light for my composition.
So, out at 5:00 a.m…. it was almost 15 minutes on foot… choose a location, set up a tripod and align the camera. One or two test shots and now just wait patiently for the light, which turned out to be more and more of a real win with the beginning of the sun not yet rising. It’s wonderful to linger here in this early morning, in harmony with the surroundings and the mood of the light. So I was able to capture my desired picture in peace and quiet before sunrise, during the blue hour.
Early in the morning I was out and about photographing the mirror house. That’s when I noticed the photographer standing under the Oberhafenbrücke, taking his pictures with a tripod. Giovanni Mafrici ( http://giovannimafrici.com/ ).
Interested as I was, I approached him and spoke to him. I immediately had the opportunity to watch a professional photographer doing his commissioned work. The background to his work was to take many pictures at certain short intervals from the same perspective, without moving them. However, since the position of the sun changed every minute, the incidence of light also brought with it a constantly shifted cast of shadows. An additional challenge arose to take the busy underpassing street without cars, mopeds, bicycles, scooters or people in the picture. In addition, there is a route for DB train traffic above the bridge, which caused considerable vibrations for the photographs with longer exposure due to the trains constantly driving over it. All images lined up as a video sequence were intended for a video clip to see how light and shadow play.
Refined!!! I was thrilled and thank you for the great insight and the interesting exchange. Again I learned something great, a point of view that I had never seen before. Thank you Giovanni for the very pleasant and insightful encounter. Until next time in Hamburg!!!
So I went to the Oberhafenbrücke a second time to see if this early morning put the mirror center and the adjacent buildings in the right light. Because the first time I was a bit late, the sun was already too high.
On the extreme right you can still see something of the „Deichtorhallen / das Haus der Photographie“, to the left a little behind you can find the headquarters of „alesso SE“. The „Frankfurt School & Finance“ and the „Chanel Academy“ are located further to the left next to the Spiegelhaus on the Ericuspromenade. In front you can see the old customs house, built in beautiful brick, which borders the Brooktor Promenade.
My stroll through beautiful Hamburg brought along a number of photo opportunities in addition to the most beautiful weather, which I consciously preselected but also spontaneously seized. Countless motifs can be discovered, just as luck would have it when I was out and about in Hamburg’s Neustadt district between Jungfernstieg and Axel-Springer-Platz.
Ideally on foot, or, if required, with one of the many e-scooters or bikes, which can be activated quickly using the appropriate app. It’s nice if you don’t have to walk around a few kilometers with heavy photo luggage. Because I just can’t resist being well-equipped without flexible photo luggage. This includes two bodies, usually three lenses, filters, some small items and usually never without a tripod. So I have to move a lot of weight. The background is also that since I’m usually on the road all day, I wish for my technical flexibility for the most diverse situations.
Along the Grosse Bleichen there is enough handsome architecture to please the eye. However, photographing buildings in their entirety requires not only the necessary space but also the right focal length and, ideally, maybe even a tilt-and-shift lens in order to achieve a correct representation of the image format in the end. If you don’t have something to hand, look elsewhere. So I passed the building of the Hypothekenbank founded in 1871 on the initiative of Otto Hübner. The rather inconspicuous entrance made me curious when I saw the interestingly tiled floor covering that led inside. Entering the foyer, a handsomely elaborately tiled floor inspires. Provided with fine tiles of different ornaments, which are getting on in years and therefore adorn the floor in slightly faded black and brownish cream colors.
My curiosity is piqued and I step into this feudal and historical oasis, which for me is a masterpiece of interior design and the choice of materials, speechless. Even the subsequently modernized elevator is integrated into the impressive ambience in a strikingly fitting manner. Here I am more than enthusiastic and feel the irrepressible feeling of photographing my impression and taking it home with me.
As soon as I enter the vestibule, I discover a porter who inspects people who are coming and going, who helps them to enter or leave the building and who will certainly also provide information.
My interest in this house could not be hidden. So I asked and the story about the building is already bubbling out of his mouth. Finally, my question as to whether it would be permitted to photograph this impressive foyer in all its glory. A few seconds of thought erupted on his face, then, thankfully, turned out to be a resounding „yes.“ What I hadn’t mentioned yet, the floor in the entrance area was covered with a gray rug. In order not to demand more from the tiles, a gray runner, a good 4.00m x 2.50m in format, covered the floor, which had already been heavily walked on in the past. My request to roll up this runner for the moment of the photograph did not necessarily trigger spontaneous enthusiasm from the porter at first. I explained that the visual effect and splendor of the stairwell would be ruined by this runner. That convinced him, and he let me exercise without restrictions. So I set up the tripod and camera and found my ideal position. In the end I was overjoyed. On the one hand a wonderful experience with a very friendly person who made this possible for me in the first place, many thanks to the porter. On the other hand, I’m so impressed because I was allowed to take my impression home with my own picture.
Epilogue: After the bank discontinued its business interests here, the brasserie & bar „THE BANK“ was established in the building. Unfortunately, however, the company had to file for insolvency during the first pandemic-related closure in spring 2020, which meant the end for good.
Everywhere in Hamburg there is handsome and artistic architecture, such as the Sprinkenhof, here with a view upwards. The nine-story Kontorhaus in the style of Brick Expressionism and part of Hamburg’s Kontorhausviertel was built in three construction phases by the builders Hans and Oskar Gerson and Fritz Högerin from 1927 to 1943.
In any case, a truly successful architecture. I was particularly impressed by the extraordinary facade of the entire building complex.
I found it striking that countless people are out and about in Hamburg on bicycles and e-scooters. It is certainly true that the motorways around Hamburg are often dense, but in Hamburg itself I had the feeling that the traffic density I experience in the cities of the Ruhr area was much more subdued. Mobility, leisure or health, the bicycle has been back in fashion since the pandemic.
Near my accommodation is the Neuerwegsbrücke, which cast a nice shadow due to the incidence of the midday sun. Matching the many bicycles in the picture. For me a suitable motif for today’s theme day. I needed my time for this shot, to photograph her superficially without people. People were constantly walking back and forth across the bridge, or they lingered for several minutes in front of an information board at the end of the bridge and didn’t really fit my image at all. I would also have liked to be able to do without the car, but this creates a nice contrast to the majority of non-motorised means of transport.
Taking photos outdoors when the sun is at its highest is known to be a bit of a challenge, as bright light simply reduces any contrast and tends to fade colors in a number of subjects. But not when it comes to indoor photography like this.
So it occurred to me, as I caught this glimpse of a carpet dealer’s premises in passing, that I thought of capturing this delightful view that went straight across the room and out on the other side to the opposite facade of another warehouse. I was happy to be allowed to take photos by the owner.
Not far from my accommodation in the Speicherstadt I visited the Nikolaifleet. From my point of view, on the „wooden bridge“, the view leads along the waterway, past historical as well as newer architecture, to the Elphilharmonie.