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The Magical Forest

Some forests are different.

To step into them is to be suspended in time.

These are the magical forests.

They breath, they watch, they collect stories and somehow store history which they share with who is willing to listen and watch.

They aren’t without time, but the one used is more organic than human time.

Here the mechanical movement of hands on the clock face is irrelevant.

The scale by which time is measured is the progression of light.

No hour is quite like the one before or the one following.

Time here is physical, a flowing around and teasing of the senses.

No tangible ticking or linear path.

There is purity in these forests that does not exist elsewhere.

In centuries of existence the changes are constant.

They are determined by the light.

An ancient forest in Billerbeck as seen during the evening light in the Muensterland, Germany
An ancient forest in Billerbeck as seen during the evening light in the Muensterland, Germany.



I worried about the light – I needn’t have

Before arriving in Germany I had some anxious moments worrying about the quality of light I would find in Germany.

Some popular opinion amongst friends said that there would be no blue skies, the light would be lacking contrast and that the weather would be decidedly average.

I needn’t have worried.

The light where I’ve been so far has been just as varied and amazing as the light found in New Zealand. Different for sure, but just as interesting.

The images below were taken in Fuerstenberg, which is in the Weserbergland region of the state of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony).

Stunning scenery, a question of being in the right place at the right time.

Late evening brings golden rays of light to Fuerstenberg, Weserbergland, Germany

Late evening brings golden rays of light to Fuerstenberg, Weserbergland, Germany
Late evening brings golden rays of light to Fuerstenberg, Weserbergland, Germany.

Wind turbines – mechanical giants that overshadow the German countryside

It is easy to walk around the German countryside and imagine oneself back a century or two.

While one can expect change in a country over a quarter of a century, some of what has happened is at odds with itself.

In many parts of the country nothing appears to have changed. The same country lanes, forests, fields and age old buildings that have stood for centuries.

Yet in my travels across varying regions of Germany one recent addition stands out like the proverbial sore thumb.

The wind turbine.

It seems that everywhere there is a small rise in the land – a hill, ridge, mountain side – there is a wind turbine.

In some areas there are so many it is difficult to count them.

At first I wasn’t sure what to think.

The turbines are oddly sculptural and there is a certain aesthetic to them when viewed in the right light. The gentle and concerted movement of the many blades first struck me as meditative and somewhat mesmerising.

But they are completely out of context with their surroundings, and they make a decent racket when cutting through the wind.

Having lived with these constructions for a month I’m convinced they’re ugly and a blight on the landscape.

I’d be surprised if the (generally) environmentally aware Germans would have easily allowed the infestation of these things without some significant protest.

The turbines must  have crept up in a slow but steady manner to catch the population off guard. Or there must have been some very good arguments by the government to convince people to let the landscape be changed in this way.

I guess with many Germans being anti-nuclear it is  easy to see the government being able to present wind energy in a positive and less threatening light.

But if this is supposed to be environmentally friendly and green technology then I’m personally wondering if the material for construction, industrial energy and manpower needed to make and install these things has been calculated into the carbon/energy foot print.

What about the visual pollution? I assume it doesn’t count if it can’t be measured?

I’m truly glad that New Zealand has an anti-nuclear policy, but I hope that the government will have a close look at the German countryside before adopting a widespread distribution of these ugly machines. Perhaps there are better alternatives.

Otherwise New Zealand’s search for renewable energy might lead to a wholesale destruction of significant parts of the New Zealand environment.



Personal project 3 – Germany

Those who have visited my blog in the past will be aware that I have two New Zealand based personal projects to which I add images whenever I can.

The below image is the first from a new project to which I plan to add over the next 6 months.

The project won’t be broken into specific categories at this stage but will include all kinds of images from my current stay in Germany.

In the past I have concentrated mainly on black & white people photography when spending time in Germany. This time I will begin with colour landscapes.

I have a fondness for trees.

Therefore my first post from this new series will be of trees in an ancient German forest that carries the aura of having been there a very long time.

This particular forest invites one in to spend time, but it never feels like a ‚right‘ to be there.

Our presence seems at the discretion of the trees, and I can imaging the ambience within the forest quickly changing if our presence weren’t approved off.

A mixed ancient forest near the renaissance town of Bad Karlshafen, Weserbergland, Germany
A mixed ancient forest near the renaissance town of Bad Karlshafen, Weserbergland, Germany.



The German connection

For those who don’t yet know, I’m German.

A while ago I decided to take time out from my job and life in Christchurch to go on an extended Germany trip until the beginning of next year.

Here I am, in Germany, a country I’m afraid to say I know rather little about these days.

I was born here of course and lived here until my 23rd year. But when young I was always drawn to more exotic destinations and eventually left Germany without seeing or knowing much about my home patch.

I’ve met Christchurch kiwis who’ve never been to the West Coast. For me Germany is on that sort of level.

Luckily I have a wonderful travel guide at my side and plenty of time. So in I wade, enjoying the adventure and all the new and exciting things I find.

Tomorrow I’ll have an experience the consequences of which I’ll have to live with for the next 6 weeks.

I’ll have my first German haircut in a quarter of a century.

And I’m excited. Not sure the cut will be success, but I’m sure it will be entertaining and maybe even a bit funny for those who have to look at me. Me, I’ll turn around the mirrors and get on with life.

Here’s the gist.

I’m in a small rural town. The local barber has a sign that states „…kurz, mittel, lang…“. For those not versed in German this means short, medium, long.

Interesting limitation of options as there is no mention of any style, special treatment (not that I take those anyway, I’m the wash and shake kind of a guy) or any other kind of refined choice.

So I assume that I’ll get the relevant pot for my head and out the clippers come.

I’ll post a picture if the result is particularly interesting or funny. If not I’ve learned that German hair technology has moved into a new era.