28 February 2012


Hamburg, Germany.
February 2012.

Lay down on a sandy beach
It's a bad world, no place for us to be

(Miranda Lee Richards - Breathless)

Now the season's over and I feel it getting cold
I wish I could take you to some sandy beach
where we'd never grow old

(Bruce Springsteen - Wings For Wheels)

There might be just a bit too much going on in this picture - bright colours, reflections, waves. However, this isn't supposed to be one of my best long exposures (like this one for example)... I took this picture so that those of you who have never been to Hamburg could get an idea of what it's like to stand there and take in the view. It's amazing. 

There's a bar called 20up (it's located on the 20th floor of the Empire Riverside Hotel) - when I went there, I liked neither the bartenders nor the waitresses working there, because they were arrogant and boring... I didn't like most of the customers neither, because they were stuck-up snobs - but the view was amazing.

I need to get some sleep now; I've got four days of work coming up.


- Dom

27 February 2012

Life Boat

Hamburg-Blankenese, Germany.
February 2012.

Sail across the ocean, the ocean deep and wide
The storm will bring you to the other side
Freedom, my love, is a double-sided coin

What have you done to earn your keep?

It's no longer a dream...

(Miranda Lee Richards - Life Boat)

These photographs were taken when the tide was high. If you look close enough, you can see shipwrecks in both pictures. Click here and here to view pictures taken at low tide.

Click here if you'd like to see more pictures of shipwrecks.

The song quoted above is one of the tracks on Richards' album "Light Of X", which is a wonderful soundtrack for rainy days, sunny days, happy days, sad days, and pretty much anything else you could possibly think of.

Just one week ago, I stated that it was more likely I'd be going to visit the U.S. this summer than going on the trip up to Scandinavia, as I had originally planned. The situation has changed completely for a number of reasons:
- I have just learnt that my current car, a Volvo V40, is going to fail the TÜV (the German version of what we call MOT in the UK) this coming April, due in part to bodywork damage, which in turn resulted in damage by water, and a few other things.
- A few of my good friends here in Hamburg are planning to rent a house up north in Denmark for a week or two in August or September and asked me if I wanted to come along.
- I definitely need a trip somewhere - anywhere - but when I made plans to go on a road trip around the American Southwest I thought that I was going to keep my car for another year. 
- Denmark is just a four-hour-drive away from Hamburg, and since I'd be going with a group of people, I'd save the money for a hired car and avoid the current high petrol prices, and since we'd be sharing a house, I'd be spending a lot less money on accommodation, too.
- The money I'm going to save will contribute to the budget for my next car, which is most likely going to be a BMW. Then again, I love the Volkswagen T2 and T3 vans... well, I'll have enough time to think about that.

This is the final decision. The American road trip that I was talking about will be one of my future travels, just like the Scandinavian road trip.

I'm not yet sure if I'll come along to Denmark, but I do know for sure that I'm planning to go on a few short trips to other places in Europe - preferably one or two destinations in Portugal or Spain.


- Dom

Not Fade Away

Hamburg-Övelgönne, Germany.
February 2012.

Övelgönne is part of Othmarschen, which is a quarter of Altona, which in turn is one of the seven boroughs Hamburg is made up of. It's complicated, I know. Anyway, Övelgönne is beautiful and the view is amazing (click here for an aerial view). I went there a few times last summer. There's a beach bar called Strandperle, which is a great place to hang out. Yes, you heard that right! There is a beach in Hamburg.

Blog post title taken from the song of the same name by the Grateful Dead.

Have a great week!

- Dom

26 February 2012


Hamburg, Germany.
February 2012.

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung,
Would you hear my voice come through the music,
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken,
Perhaps they're better left unsung
I don't know, don't really care
Let there be songs to fill the air

Ripple in still water 
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

(Grateful Dead - Ripple)

No work today... no inspiration to write an essay for university either... so I decided to gear up for a hike along the banks of the Elbe river. 

Links I like: Joana Rosa Bragança's photostream on Flickr (I love these sets of photographs: #1; #2) and the English Shop - there's a British Shop near the coffee shop, but I don't like their extortionate prices. Now I must admit that the English Shop is rather expensive too, but I just can't go without a number of products that I'd like to recommend to you in case you've never tried them: Galaxy Ripple, white Maltesers, Yorkie, and of course custard cream biscuits.


- Dom

24 February 2012

The Promise

Schaalsee, Germany.
April 2011.

Rügen, Germany.
September 2010.

If you think of me
If you miss me once in a while

Then I'll return to you
I'll return and fill that space in your heart

I'll find my way back to you
Please say you'll be waiting

(Tracy Chapman - The Promise)

Fellow blogger Jenny Woolf has awarded me the so-called Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you very much Jenny! I really appreciate it. Now, I'm supposed to share seven things about myself...

The reason I love long exposures is that - contrary to split second exposures - they show not only a moment in time, but rather a period of time, e.g. capturing clouds passing across the sky (1st picture), a river's flow, the incoming tide (2nd picture) or the headlights of a car passing by. This being the case, I believe that long exposures have an almost philosophic quality about them. Sometimes when I've got nothing better to do, I think about such things.

I'm a music lover and there's probably a thousand songs I love and hundreds I know the lyrics to, but if I had to narrow it down to ten favourite songs, they would be - in alphabetic order - Don't Stop Believin' (Journey), Nightswimming (R.E.M.), Raglan Road (Luke Kelly), Ripple (Grateful Dead), Stand By Me (Ben E. King), The Crossing (Johnny Clegg), The Fire Inside (Bob Seger), Thunder Road (Bruce Springsteen), Tupelo Honey (Van Morrison), Walking In Memphis (Marc Cohn).

The first girl I have ever loved had freckles and red hair. Ever since, I have favoured redheads. At the moment, however, I've got  a huge crush on a beautiful blonde who comes into the coffee shop with a huge smile on her face and orders a lactose-free Vanilla Latte.

My favourite place in London used to be Richmond Hill Terrace. One of my favourite places in Hamburg is a bar called Down Under. It's a lot more cosy than the Irish pubs around here. The food is amazing. Another thing I like about the Down Under is that the bartender and the waitresses recognise me. My other favourite place is a restaurant called Hollywood Canteen. It looks exactly like the diners in old American movies - black and white tiles, chrome chairs with red upholstery, a jukebox, rock and roll music. It's where I'm having lunch with friends on Tuesdays. Their veggie burger with potato wedges and sour cream is the best meal I've ever had, and it tastes perfect every time.

I never run out of quotes from films or songs, and I've got a quote for every occasion.

My favourite authors are Cormac McCarthy and Ernest Hemingway.

Beverages are one of my passions. VB would have to be my favourite beer. My favourite ciders are Bulmers Original, Scrumpy Jack and Woodpecker. Forget all those fancy, multicoloured cocktails - there's nothing better than classic highballs such as Cuba Libre or Mojito.

Have a nice weekend.

- Dom

22 February 2012

Bonjour Tristesse

I'm going to work the evening shift today, so I'm at home now... there's nothing to do and no reason to go outside. The sky is grey, it must've rained tonight, and I probably won't see the sun at all today. There's enough time to watch a movie, "Bonjour Tristesse" (starring the absolutely gorgeous Jean Seberg and David Niven in his prime). I also went through my photographs from last summer. Below are three previously unreleased pictures taken in a beautiful valley in France's Jura Mountains. If you'd like to see more pictures, click here. Freddy still hasn't sent me a copy of his travel journal, so all I can say is that the pictures were taken somewhere along the way from Besançon to Avignon. It took us eight hours to get there because we avoided the motorways, and it was a lot of fun going up and down narrow rural roads like the one in the last picture.

September 2011.

Have a nice day!

- Dom

21 February 2012

Fast Car

You got a fast car
And I want a ticket to go anywhere
Maybe we can make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Anyplace is better

I remember we were driving, driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged

(Tracy Chapman - Fast Car)

Band photo session.
Hamburg, Germany.
Autumn 2011.

I haven't published a lot of portraits last year. If I remember correctly, all of them were self-portraits. However, that doesn't mean I'm not taking any portraits no more. I'm still doing photo shoots. Just not as many as I used to back in the days when I wanted to make a living as a photographer. I don't get paid for the photo shoots I do now; I do my friends a favour, and in turn they invite me to their concerts or they give me T-shirts for free (I'm also the photographer for a friend's clothing line). 
I'm a lot more happy that way than I used to be three years ago. There's no pressure. No pressure to satisfy clients, no pressure to get enough assignments to earn enough money to make it through the month.
My advice to any other young person with an interest in a creative job would be to keep doing what you love as a hobby, and find yourself a day job that you're passionate about. It certainly worked for me. 
I'm going to keep studying until I get my Bachelor of Arts degree because it'll be an accomplishment to be proud of, but now that I'm working in gastronomy again, I've realised that it's what I want to do for a living. I'm going to work my way up - in a couple years I might be the manager of a coffee shop - and someday, I might own a café or bar.

This past weekend, I went to see the film "Intouchables", the second most successful French film of all time. It's a wonderful film indeed - I promise, it's a must-see - and the soundtrack is amazing as well; the music was composed by Ludovico Einaudi, who also contributed a track to the soundtrack of "This Is England". 


- Dom

19 February 2012

Sunshine Highway

Golden Gate Bridge.
San Francisco, CA.
June 2009.

It seems like the chances are good that this summer will see me returning to the United States for my first visit since 2009. It's far from likely that me and my best friend (one of the guys with whom I drove around France last summer) will visit Norway and Sweden this year. We had a great route planned which would've lead us from Denmark's capital Copenhagen over to Malmö, along the coast to Göteborg, Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen, all the way across Scandinavia to Stockholm, then driving down south to Norrköping and finally Ystad. We're still hoping that if we really don't find a way to make it happen this year, we'll be able to go on that trip once Freddy's graduated, which would be 2013.

I don't have a route for my trip yet. The names of the national parks / national monuments I would like to visit for the first time are ArchesBryce CanyonCanyonlandsDeath ValleyWhite SandsYosemite, and Zion perhaps - in addition, I want to visit Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree again - aside from the national parks, I'd love to visit Antelope Canyon, El Mirage Lake, Havasu Falls and Horseshoe Bend - last but not least, far away though they are, Crater Lake and the Teton Range are both high up on the list of temptations I might not be able to withstand. 

These are my favourite links of the past week: The world's largest rope swing; an awesome cover of an awesome song; a beautiful cottage; a smart design for a small apartment; nature paintings and sketches by Cathy Johnson; some great Flickr photostreams (#1 - #2 - #3 - #4); a series of photographs of vans; the five best things about returning to civilisation, according to several adventurers.

Is anybody else employed in gastronomy? Maybe as a professional barista like yours truly? Even if you don't work in gastronomy, you might enjoy watching this video of a professional barista at work.

Blog post title taken from the song by Dropkick Murphys.

Have a nice weekend!

- Dom

16 February 2012

Free Fallin'

Gonna free fall, out into nothin'
Gonna leave this world for a while

Now I'm free, free fallin'
Yeah I'm free, free fallin'

(Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Free Fallin')

Hamburg, Germany.
February 2012.

I went on a nocturnal tour around the city with my friend Michal, who's just recently found out how much fun taking long exposures is. Fortunately, he brought some beer along. I wasn't really happy with most of the pictures I'd taken, but apart from the great time we had, I finally got to take a photograph I'm happy with when we came across this spider, which is located near central station. It's a sculpture called "Maman", by artist Louise Bourgeois. I instantly recognised the spider because there's another one in front of Tate Modern (my second-favourite museum in London - the British Museum has always been my favourite); there's another famous specimen located outside the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (Bilbao and nearby San Sebastián have long been on my list of places I'd like to visit).

Speaking of my travel plans, the current political situation in the Near East, especially the conflict between Iran and Israel, has lead to me making the decision that at the moment it's not safe enough to visit Israel, which, as I had mentioned in a previous blog post, was my alternative in case my best friend would be unable to join me on a road trip to Scandinavia this coming summer. Now I'm inclined to go on another American road trip instead. There's still so much I haven't seen on my previous trips... and there are also two gorgeous ladies waiting for me to come back to Los Angeles. 

I'm going to meet my friend Rachel tomorrow... took the day off from work... for some reason, she never visits me in the summer, but the weather's been good lately, so I hope it's going to be a great day.


- Dom

06 February 2012

I'm Shipping Up To Boston

Well, I'm not really shipping up to Boston, but I've been there and I like the Dropkick Murphys and three of the four pictures in this blog post have been taken while I was aboard a ship.
Anyway, today is my only day off this week, and since I knew the temperature would be way below zero (it turned out to be -14° centigrade this morning), I also knew that there wouldn't be any clouds in the sky. Wearing two pairs of socks, thermal underwear, a sweater, followed by a North Face vest and a Carhartt ranger jacket, I left around 6 o'clock in the morning, looking - or at least, feeling - like an Eskimo.

It was worth it, though - I reached the Landungsbrücken-area before sunrise. I had planned to take some long exposures while it was still dark, but even with the many layers of clothing I had been wearing, I was still freezing and so I hurried to get into the warmth of a coffee shop for a little while. As soon as the sun started to rise, I went on a bit of a sightseeing trip down the River Elbe aboard one of the harbour ferries. 
If you're planning on visiting Hamburg as a tourist, this website offers useful information how to get from one place to another. Also, I would say that reading the Wikipedia article and a good sense of direction are all it takes for you to spend a great long weekend in this city - you need not bother reading pretentious articles like the one recently published by the New York Times, which was so poorly researched that I won't even link to it.

Hamburg, Germany.
February 2012.

Days like this deserve an awesome soundtrack.

Two and a half years ago I took a picture from the same point of view as the first photograph, while aboard a ferry from Sausalito to San Francisco. Here's the link.
The fourth photograph may look familiar... I've taken many pictures of this building over the last three years: #1; #2; #3; #4; #5.

Let me share some inspirational links: Holeshot Design Studio photostream; Sandra Dieckmann's art; Terry Fan's art; Helen Frankenthaler - an abstract expressionist whose work reminded me of Jackson Pollock's; a photo gallery on National Geographic called "Global Fashion"; and - last but not least - an amazing, one-of-a-kind, heavily customised Triumph Bonneville.

Have a great week, drive safely, and talk to you soon!

- Dom

04 February 2012

Always In My Heart

Hamburg, Germany.
February 2012.

I think of you and I together
I picture you and I as one
When we sit there in
The firelight baby
When we wake to the morning sun
And though you may leave me
We're never apart
You're always in my heart

When you're standing at the window
With the moonlight in your hair
And you turn and smile
My favourite smile
I just have to stop and stare
And babe when you hold me
I go off the chart
You're always in my heart

(Bob Seger - Always In My Heart)

The picture above was taken from my balcony, which is where I sat in the summer and enjoyed my beer. Now, it's a little too cold for that. When I moved into the apartment last July, that was the third or fourth time I relocated since I left England, and I might move once again, into another apartment, this coming summer. My idea of the perfect place to live in is a timber cottage out in the woods, by a lake, with little people around... but that's my vision for the future. As of now, I'm still looking for the perfect apartment to live in with the budget that I have. 

Ten days from now, my good friend Rachel will visit me here. We went to school together. All those years ago we didn't always get along, but since then, we've grown rather close and had some great times together. It's been a year since I last saw her, so I can't wait for her to come around. 

It's ten degrees below zero in Hamburg tonight... a little too cold for me to head out and take long exposures, and I'm working from 10 to 5 this Sunday. I have Monday off, however - maybe I'll be in the mood to get up before sunrise and take some pictures for you to enjoy. 

I hope you all have had a nice weekend so far, and may you enjoy what's left of it, too.

- Dom

01 February 2012

The Fire Inside

There's a hard moon risin' on the streets tonight
There's a reckless feeling in your heart as you head out tonight
Through the concrete canyons to the midtown light
Where the latest neon promises are burning bright

Then you walk to the window and stare at the moon
Riding high and lonesome through a starlit sky
And it comes to you how it all slips away
Youth and beauty are gone one day
No matter what you dream or feel or say
It ends in dust and disarray

Like wind on the plains, sand through the glass
Waves rolling in with the tide
Dreams die hard and we watch them erode
But we cannot be denied
The fire inside
The fire inside

(Bob Seger - The Fire Inside)

HafenCity ("Harbour City"), Hamburg, Germany.
January 2012.

The HafenCity quarter, located on the Elbe River, is the largest rebuilding project in Europe. Click here to view a model of what the place is supposed to look like upon completion.

While I love modern architecture (one of my favourite architects alive today is Frank Gehry, and I also love a lot of what's been built in Australia at the moment - take a look at this cool house), it's not my goal to be able to afford an apartment in a building such as the ones in the picture. What I would love to call my home is a cabin like those: #1; #2. I live in the city, but I love the great outdoors. There's a blog called Exploring Our World, which captures the spirit of nature perfectly, thanks to hundreds of awesome photographs being posted on there.

One more website I'd like to share is this collection of photographs taken by John Vachon in the 1940's.


- Dom