Leica D-Lux 4

Don’t be Silly!

Don’t be silly?  You want to know what that means?  It’s the answer I’d have for someone if they asked me if I would ever be willing to stop photographing urban environments, particularly disused urban spaces.  Not on your life!  I’ll stop shooting such places when they pry my camera from my cold, dead hands!  And, if I can’t make it to an actual abandoned site to shoot, I’ll find something that looks like it very well might be abandoned.  It’s just something to which I’ve become rather addicted.  Why?  Because it speaks to me.  I ponder all that these spaces have seen over the years, whether an abandoned building, an empty alley, or something like this metro tunnel.  I think of all the people who have passed to and fro through this place, and I wonder what it has seen: day and night, dark and light; children and the elderly, the strong and infirm; cops and crooks, priests and prostitutes, life… yes, life… and death too!  These halls have seen it all, and, thanks to my camera, forever too will I!

Don't be Silly!!

It’s gettin’ dark…

…too dark to see!  A line from another of my favorite songs, and the word’s that inspired today’s photograph.  You probably don’t need to read any further to recall that these lyrics are from Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, another Bob Dylan classic.  So many performers have performed versions of this song, and my four favorite versions are those performed by Dylan himself, by Eric Clapton, by Avril Lavigne, and by Guns n’ Roses!  I listened to all four before I went out shooting, and again while processing.  I’m listening to the Guns n’ Roses version (probably my favorite, right after the Avril Lavigne version) as I write this.

Since I already knew the theme for today’s photo, the only thing I had to do was find the appropriate subject to shoot.  I had just about given up for the day, when I came across Käthe Kollwitz sculpture: Mother with her Dead Son.  To me, the sculpture, the space and the lighting speak as loudly as the song’s lyrics.  “that cold black cloud is comin’ down… feels like I’m knockin’ on Heaven’s Door…”

...too dark to see

All along the watchtower…

Had a chance today to do a little bit of exploring in Berlin today, when I came across this lone tower, one of three remaining East German watchtowers in Berlin.  I immediately thought of the amazing Bob Dylan song, All Along the Watchtower (oh, you thought it was a Jimi Hendrix song).  It was the first two lines of the song’s lyrics that really spoke to me for this shot:  “There must be some kind of way out of here, said the joker to the thief.”

The government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) called it the “Antifaschistischer Schutzwall” (Anti-Fascist Protection Wall), a supposed barrier to protect the people of the GDR from the evils of the West.  Make no mistake; the Berlin wall was meant to keep the people of the GDR in!  In the photograph I’ve created for this blog, I show you a wall and a watchtower.  Those familiar with the Berlin wall may notice something odd about this particular wall; this wall is actually the inner wall on the East German side, the initial barrier that one would have to cross on the way to the taller wall almost 100 meters across what was known as the “death-strip”.  The death strip, which you can see if you peek through the gaps in the wall, was exactly what it sounds like: a no-mans land laden with sensors and landmines, and guards, in towers like this one, with orders to shoot to kill.  On this side of the wall were thousands no doubt thinking “there must be some kind of way out of here…”

"There must be some kind of way out of here..."

I miss you already!

Some of you know that I recently had to deliver Christine, my beloved Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, to Nikon Service Point (NSP) Berlin for urgent care, following a mishap amongst the ruins of the abandoned sanatorium of Beelitz-Heilstätten.  Well, she came back to me last week, truly better than new.  NSP Berlin (actually they ended up sending the lens to the Nikon GmbH in Düsseldorf) so impressed me, that I decided to give them Nikki (my trusty D700) for a good once over.  To be honest, I have had her as long as the D700 has been out, and she has never been in for maintenance (routine or otherwise).  Even though I regularly clean my sensor and mirror box, there Nikki really needs to be seen by a qualified Nikon service person to ensure she is in top running order, so I can keep delivering tasty HDRs!  In the interim, I will be shooting with my pocket camera, Leila (my Leica D-Lux 4, Safari Edition – love the color).  So, without further ado, here is what Leila helped me deliver to you today.  And, as for you, Nikki, I miss you already!

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