Town & CityPhotographic Portfolio
Cities are the main source of income for many people these days. Agricultural jobs in the countryside have been all but replaced by large, partly automated machinery in turn destroying many other cottage industries due to technological advances. For photographers like myself, cities offer innumerable creative possibilities through architecture, exhibitions, cultural events & street life to name but a few.
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Meaning “Father of the Gazelle” Abu Dhabi is the largest of the seven Emirates and second most populated after Dubai.
Abu Dhabi is in contrast to its neighbour Dubai still earning much of its revenue from the oil business but has in recent years like Dubai begun to turn its attention more to tourism. I took a bus from Dubai to see if there is a comparison to be made between these two rival cities on the Arabian Gulf & found that in contrast to Dubai’s very liberal way of life by Arabian standards that Abu Dhabi still holds some traditional values & hasn’t sold its soul to commercialism just yet.
Amsterdam’s canal system is second only to that of Venice and by sunny weather the traffic on the water is almost as busy as on the motorway.
My visit to Amsterdam was short & unfortunately the weather wasn’t too kind to me but as it generally is we travel photographers have to make the best of every situation. At least the rain stayed away most of the day so it could have been worse. I spent most of my time on the canal boats and a short walkabout in the old town center.
Bruges in the Flemish Region of Belgium hat many attractions and is undoubtedly an important World Heritage Site of UNESCO.
The city’s not just known for its beer and chocolate, it is also known for its lace and makes some of the most intricate in the world. It is possible to produce such large quantities of fabric for the lace due to the vast amounts of Flax flowers that are grown in the Flanders region.
I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the architecture in Belgium’s capital city.
I had the privilege of working for a couple of weeks in our Vilvoorde office just 10km north of Brussels & stay in a quiet little town called Grimbergen. Little did I know beforehand that Grimbergen makes some of the best Beer on this planet. Belgium is world renowned for good beer of course & I enjoyed my stay there to the full, met some super locals there & am always glad to open & enjoy a bottle of Grimbergen Blonde back in Munich whenever I can find it.
The city has become symbolic for its modern skyline & the worlds highest building the Burj Khalifa.
The drying up of the oil reserves within the next twenty years has meant that Dubai has had to turn its attention towards other means of obtaining income to sustain its existence. Dubai 2012 has made an impressive start by turning its attention to two other important areas of business, tourism and commerce. Through huge investment in mass tourism, large hotel complexes are being built everywhere to accommodate the following generations of tourists seeking fine sand beaches, perfect weather & a good environment to relax & enjoy all the luxuries that one wishes to indulge in on holiday.
Edinburgh is home to many events and festivals including the world famous Royal Military Tattoo at Edinburgh castle.
Many people I know have said to me at some point that they too would like to visit Scotland but the weather plays a great role in deciding not to visit. Well all I can say is whoever decides to visit is normally surprised how good the weather can be, not always but where is perfect weather guaranteed here in Europe these days? The German weather is just as unpredictable as that in the UK but nonetheless many travellers choose other destinations for the weather & miss out on a country that through its history & jaw dropping scenery just has to be on that bucket list of places to experience & a visit to Edinburgh is definitely a part of this experience.
Frankfurt is the central hub of Europe what business, freight handling and travel connections is concerned.
I lived almost 15 years in the Frankfurt suburbs & met my wife there too so it can’t be that bad but Frankfurt itself just doesn’t belong on the bucket list of places to visit in one’s lifetime. It is well known for its financial centre & skyline but quite honestly if you were ever in the States then you would laugh when you see the skyline. Frankfurt is a super transit city with an airport that serves as the European hub for flights. World acclaimed is the Book Trade Fair as is the car trade fair IAA (International Automobile Ausstellung) but from a photographers point of view Frankfurt has little to offer in my opinion.
Located in the East Flanders province with its largely intact medieval architecture certainly one of the prettiest towns in Belgium.
Ghent is a real jewel in the list of European cities. Known for its well preserved medieval architecture, the city also has a good nightlife too. I enjoyed Ghent on two separate occasions, once during daylight hours & a second time just for the evening ambiance. I can strongly recommend an evening tour during the summer months, but don’t forget the tripod.
Germany’s busiest port can also be proud of a very interesting city with many highlights.
On a family visit to the north east coastal town of Travemunde in 2016 I was lucky enough to take in Hamburg’s annual Hafen Geburtstag (Harbour Birthday). As it was my first visit I was very excited & had packed my complete kit for a marathon day out working through without a break until the following morning before taking the train back to Travemunde at 6 o’clock. It was a very long day & night with lots of walking carrying 6-7 kg of equipment with me & a tripod leaving me absolutely exhausted by time I arrived back home but it was definitely worth the effort although my feet would probably tell a different story. The weather was perfect & the event itself was packed with exciting moments in particular due to the introduction of Aida’s new cruise liner Aida Prima with closing firework display later in the evening which made for the perfect finale. During the early morning hours I spent my time shooting material in Hamburg’s historical red brick Warehouse District.
Las Vegas, USA
Sin city as it’s also known due to its offerings in all things adult entertainment is an oasis for the rich and famous in the heart of the Mojave desert.
I could feel the nervousness mounting as we landed in Las Vegas airport, it was my first visit to the USA & I had never driven an Automatic before. Luckily I arrived at around midnight I thought but as I left the car rental station & headed down the “Strip” to my room at the Treasure Island Hotel I realized just how busy the city is even at this time of night. As it turned out driving an automatic is a breeze & the hotel had a super view. The next morning I woke to a beautiful clear orange/pink sky & knew I was in for a great time.
London is a fascinating city steeped in history & full of architectural and cultural highlights.
As a kid I was always excited to visit my Grandmother at Christmas who lived in a high-rise flat on Charing Cross Road, 10 minutes walk from Trafalgar Square. She lived on the 8th floor with admirable views across north London towards the Post Office Tower. I can imagine that my general interest for city skylines today originates from these earlier experiences. Although landscaping is my foremost passion, cityscapes on the other hand are also subjects that time & again capture my interest. London is a fascinating metropolis, steeped in culture & history & where the phrase “Multicultural Society” is ever existent in every facet of daily life.
This isn’t the pulsating stress filled place, more of a laid back village atmosphere where people like to chill out & be seen at the weekend.
Home to the worlds second largest church organ, a quaint Gothic and Baroque town centre plus 2 rivers that converge with the river Danube.
Due to its location on the German-Austrian border, and in the south-east of the country, Passau has become a major migrant entry point into Germany. Especially in recent years refugees and economic migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa who have reached Europe, often enter Germany through the city and surrounding area.
Prague, Czech Republic
Most of us earn our daily bread by working & living in a town or city thus such settlements have built up over centuries of time developing into the beehives & melting pots of mankind.
Prague is witness to the most compelling transformation of “New” Europe. It’s easy to forget, just 20 years on, that Czechoslovakia emerged from the fall of the Iron Curtain with a once-jailed dissident as president, inspiring the world. Especially with Prague’s current appearance: modern software company offices, chic fashion boutiques, pretty model types – often with young, business types in tow – compressed into a peerlessly restored Medieval & Baroque architecture & cobbled lanes of the Old Town.
Laying claim to be the worlds most northerly capital, Reykjavik is home to around 200,000 of Iceland’s 330,000 population.
No other country has captured my imagination more than Iceland. Its natural beauty is impossible to put into words & to do it justice with pictures can be a real challenge at times too. The island’s capital city Reykjavik is small with just 120,000 inhabitants. The Icelanders themselves are a very friendly & cultural people, their hospitality world renowned. My couple of visits to the city have been after a few weeks exploring the more uninhabited parts of the island where you can go days without seeing another person, where provisions are bought from isolated gas stations rather than from huge supermarkets, where the sleeping bag & tent are the 5-star hotels along the way.
Salt Lake City, USA
Founded in 1847 by Brigham Young and a group of Mormon worshippers Salt Lake City is today the HQ of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints although less than half of the city’s population are followers.
Located on the south eastern shore of the Great Salt Lake, Salt Lake City or SLC is probably best known as the seat of the Mormon followers & the city was actually first established by the Mormon leader Brigham Young & is also known as a very popular skiing resort since hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Seattle is not only home to the Seahawks & the Space Needle but also to big names such as Microsoft, Amazon and aviation giant Boeing.
After spending some time in the Seattle Center park around the base of the Space Needle it was time to go up and enjoy the view from this 605 ft (184 m) tower built in 1962 for the World Trade Fair. On a clear day you can get a tremendous view of Mount Rainier just 54 miles (87 km) south-southeast of Seattle. Unfortunately due to a quite thick layer of haze I didn’t have the luck needed to experience that but nonetheless the view over the city and its port are well worth the visit.
Nobody can deny the qualities of this unique city especially regarding its historical & romantic attributes.
Venice in August isn’t really advisable due to massive overcrowding & the intense heat but after a last minute change of plan to visit Val d’Orcia in Tuscany I had instead just four days at hand & decided on a short trip to Venice with the bus from Munich. From those four days I slept just once in a Hotel on the island of Certosa while the rest of my time was spent shooting material day & night, especially at night where the lagoon city is so peaceful.