Mother Nature

I often wonder why we are so afraid of change, when on one hand we yearn for novelty and on the other we fight the process when faced with it. Nature doesn't discern. She freely accepts change and executes no prejudice.

She bears beauty in most unlikely places and does well in solitude.

She knows no adversity and freely merges with it.

as she reflects upon herself.

Historic Impressions

Being here, walking the grounds of medieval Germany, my love for history is rekindled. It is not so much the architecture that fascinates me, but the resonance human beings leave behind. I cannot help but feel all the souls that have walked these ancient grounds

Part of a medival section in the town of Gernsbach

One of the medieval cities that takes me back in time is Gernbach. First mention in 1219 the city thrived with timber trade. Some of the buildings here were standing when Luther wrote Ninety-Five Theses. In 1517 Martin Luther (1483-1546) rejected the claim by the Catholic Roman Church that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He sought to reform the Roman Catholic Church which he felt had been corrupted.

People who embraced his ideas were burned at the stake. These same people walked these alleys, and were perhaps prosecuted for their most valued beliefs. Today, cafes and cute shops leave almost no trace of the horrors that happened here in the dark ages.

City Hall, Gernbach

But traces of history are not only prevalent in larger cities with architecture. Small villages, such as the one I was born in have a long history as well. My hometown (first records from 991) for example is more than 1000 years old, when people roamed this place along the River Rhine.

Bietigheim/Baden

Bietigheim has two churches. The old Church (called the Chapel) dates back to 1150, where the new church was built in 1863, one hundred years before I was born.

Churches were the center of every village. The church bells were a way to know the time, know if someone died, man or woman, if there was a wedding or church service. The chime of each town is unique and it is the very first sound I hear when I return. It puts me back immediately to a time of ease and wonder.

Fields Muggensturm, Germany

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Wiesen und Wälder

Meadows and woods, that is what surrounds this area in the south of Germany, very close to the border to Alsace, where storks breed on church rooftops and the world has not moved much from where it was one hundred years ago.

Bietigheim | Baden

Remanence of the old world are still visible, in the fields, the fertile ground still bears importance in the lives of the inhabitants who have lived here for hundreds of years. Time is told by how high the corn has grown, if hay has been rolled or by the appearance of certain wildflowers.

Canola fields

Huge blankets of yellow, like a beacon in the rainy months of April give light to the summer months to come.

Canola fields in the rain

The smells of my childhood are ever present especially riding my bike through the woods, where the temperature drops by 10 degrees and a musty smell becomes ever prevalent. I don't remember seeing as many brooks before. A decade ago many of the streams were put into their natural state and biotopes made it possible for wildlife to return to its former glory.

Brook through the woods

Memories of the Black Forest

Living on the most Northern part of the Black Forest it seems natural to have childhood memories. But one in particular had more to do with a watercolor that hung in my families home that my mom had done when she was young.

Forbach Bridge Watercolor

It was that of a young woman using a sichel to gather flowers on a bridge near Forbach that was build in the middle ages. I always imagined that it was indeed my mom as a young woman in the picture.

Today, I drove across the bridge and found the spot from where the pictures was taken.

Forbach Bridge | Black Forest

With a very good feeling, I drove up into the mountains where there was still snow and fog. I finally found my single birch tree that I have been looking for.

Birchtree in the fog | Black Forest

Mai-poles were abundant on my drive as every village had their own version.

Gernsbach Altstadt | Black Forest



Feeling alive

It seems pointless talking about feeling alive. The very notion that one tries to explain it is contradictory. Yet, why is it so rare that we truly feel alive? It seems we are caught in a web of expectations, pressures and the noise of "life". But is it life? Or is it white noise, chatter, an idea of what life should be? When I am out in the field shooting, I feel that aliveness come up and I am in awe. My mind becomes quiet, and nature determines what life is.

Flow
The road less traveled

Water and Earth

Walking along the dam gives rise to a sense of safety, where none exists. Even though there is no imminent danger, one feels grand atop two worlds.

Dam | Neuburgweier

There is a feeling of vastness on either side, either the forest or the still waters on the other side. Trees are reflected in the stillness of the wetlands, a perfect reflection of self.

Refection |Aue

Suddenly a pounding sound down stream. Another boat approaching beside the ones anchored beside me with chains.

Wooden boats anchored

A world less known between Water and Earth.

Stomping through wet grass

I got up at 4:30 to get up for a misty early morning shoot. It was not, but the grass beneath my feet contained all the moisture I wanted to see in the air. My shoes were soon soaked through to my socks. I saw wild fowl, rabbits and dear roaming around the meadow outside of Muggensturm. I remembered the words of Michael Kenna, "you’re giving something to the landscape, it’s giving something to you". You can become one with your landscape if you immerse yourself in it.

Rauental

That morning I went down streets I never went before, just to see what was there. Often I am surprised and never disappointed to go the road less traveled.

Traindepot Rastatt