Monday, January 25, 2010

Car Soundtrack / North Island, New Zealand, November 2008

One of one million beautiful spots just beside the road in the Waikato area. Click on photo to view on Flickr.

During some long car drives on the North Island I shot short movies out of the car window.
Actually I did it because the green hills reminded me of the Shire out of Lord of the Rings so much. The whole landscape looked like the desktop background image with the green hills you might still know from Windows XP.

While browsing through the movies a few days ago I realized that the music I was listening to is hearable in the footage.
I was using a little FM transmitter to listen to my iPod music via the car radio.

I was smiling when I heard the songs again because I really connect them to my New Zealand trip.

Usually my music is a bit more Indy-like with some loud noise involved. Here it was completely different.

I prepared a little compilation of some car-video-snippets to give you an idea of the landscape on the North Island and of my music as well. If you listen closely you can even hear me whistling in one scene.

Trips without music wouldn't last that long, would they?

Here is my video

PS: Driving on the left side of the road is scary, isn't it? Luckily the roads in New Zealand are almost empty.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tongariro Alpine Crossing / New Zealand

The volcano is 'Mount Doom' of Lord of the Rings (Mount Ngauruhoe)

If you are in New Zealand and not a complete ignorant of nature and outdoor activities you can't miss one specific hike: The 'challenge' is to cross a mountain range in a full-day tour and it is called 'Tongariro Alpine Crossing' in Togariro National Park near Turangi on the North Island.

The trek is 19 kilometres (12 miles) long, one has master more than 800 metres (2600 feet) of altitude difference and it takes 8 hours to get to the end of the path.

The interesting thing is that you cross different kinds of vegetation from small waterfalls and Scotland-like green hills over volcanic areas up to rocky grounds and snow on the highest point. The downward slope passes very blue lakes and ends in a lush rain forest.

The fact that you get all of the above in one single day makes this crossing one of the most popular hikes in New Zealand and you can imagine what that means regarding the number of hikers. This is especially true if you do the crossing on the first sunny day after a 4 day period of rain.

One can find a waterfall for every natural break ;-)

I managed to avoid the crowds and to hike on my own most of the day. The nature just blew me away.

I met a group of girls from my hostel and we walked some parts together. It was a good combination of talking and silence and it was perfectly ok to separate again after a while.

Emerald Lakes

After the highest point, the Red Crater, the Emerald Lakes came into view. Although the photo above is a HDR image the colors of the water are untouched - that's why the lakes are called Emerald Lakes. My lunch spot was in the shadow of a rock overlooking one of the lakes - in solitude.

Crossing several creeks and the clouds.

Rain forest at the end of the hike

When you look back to a vacation you might find some days you consider as very intense, positive or amazing. The memory of such a day is usually long lasting - no doubt.
But wouldn't it be even more intense to realize the extraordinary attitude of the day while you are living it instead of recalling a memory afterwards? For some reason it is sometimes hard for me to do so.
The day on Tongariro was one of the rare situations when I realized already in the morning that it was a special day. I enjoyed every single breath, almost every step, all the different shades of green, the ugly smell of the volcanic fumes and my sore muscles. It felt like a constant pressing of the 'Record' button inside my memory.
Right now in this second it is not 'Record' but 'Replay'. I am a super lucky guy, ain't I?

Monday, January 18, 2010

iArt / Nuremberg, January 2010

Click on photo to view it in different sizes on my Flickr account

What the heck is Art? Do you know? I don't.

I used to think that art can't be explained or defined or described.

Last Sunday I visited a exhibition of the photographer J├╝rgen Teller in Nuremberg. He seems to be kind of famous because of his photos of celebrities like Kate Moss without Make Up. Big deal.

One room in the museum was just filled with photos from his vacation in Japan. Actually it was just a bunch of third class blurry photos of enfants with flash-red eyes and people from familiy gatherings in front of tilted horizons.

I was about to think that it might just be an provocation of Teller to confront the visitors with prints that are absolutely non-artsy on the first glance. But then I read the booklet that described the room.
The curator wrote about Teller playing with intimacy and nearness with great expertise.
Oh boy, it sounded like a huge pile of Art-bullshit-bingo.

Immediately afterwards I looked up 'Art' in Wikipedia on my cell phone because I was wondering what categories art in museums has to follow.
Apart from the fact that I didn't understand the sophisticated words I realized again that art is nothing to be described by words - neither in Wikipedia nor in exhibition booklets.

In a nutshell something is art for me if it touches and inspires me and the photos of Teller definitely didn't. Not at all. I have no idea why this guy is considered a great photographer.

Wow, it feels good to be ignorant.

Oh I just noted that this posting is doing just the one thing I just questioned: Categorizing or explaining art.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lead Role in a Cage / Germany, January 2010

A small detail from my current life

Did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
And cool comfort for change?
Did you exchange
A walk on part in the war,
For a lead role in a cage?

It has been a while since my last posting, hasn't it?
Well, I just didn't feel like posting recently.
Let's see whether this will change a bit in the future - ready to go for my fourth year of blogging.

If I roll back one year from today, January 13th 2010, I found myself in India close to the border to Pakistan in a small city called Jaisalmer. Wow, my current life is lightyears away from those Jaisalmer days.

A scene from my life exactly one year ago in Jaisalmer