The invisible rope

I couldn’t sleep that night after having caught a member of the society practice his secret arts. There had been rumors about it, talks that sounded like bed time stories but actually seeing it was a completely different thing. I was in my bedroom, my eyes closed and yet the questions kept coming back, no matter how hard I tried to fall asleep. Did I really witness magic? Was he a member of that society or just some wizard passing through our town? And if he was a member, what if he or some other member saw me take that picture?

The cry of a cat under my window made me sit upright in my bed, my heart racing, cold sweat drenching my cloths. It was answered by another call, that sounded like a crying baby and I listened to the sounds coming closer, my eyes wide open, trying to pierce through the darkness of the room as I expected the shape of a black cat to appear in my window and brake through the glass. Another cat joined the concert and then a fourth and a fifth until the night was filled with the sounds. I had moved back in my bed until my back was pressing against the cold wall and I was about to scream for mercy when the hellish concert stopped and there was only silence and my frantic heartbeat filling my ears like jungle drums.

Dawn found me with my back still pressed against the wall and I only dared to relax when the first morning light assured my feverish mind that were no cats at my window that tried silently to get into my room and ensure the societies secrets remain untold. I eventually found some sleep and when I saw my pale face in the bathroom mirror I tried to convince myself it had only been a nightmare, fueled by my all too vivid imagination.

The next night was quiet and so was night after it and after a few days I had successfully convinced myself that I had only witnessed some optical illusion and the terrifying sounds the night after were a pure coincidental concert of cats in heat. But still my sleep was light and I kept finding myself waking up before dawn with a strange yearning to go back to that place. For days I resisted but then I convinced myself that in order to find my usual deep sound sleep, I should go and face my fears and so I left my home on a sunny morning in June just after the sun started to bath the city in warm golden light and walked the empty streets. I crossed the river Limmat and went up the small streets to the small place, not sure what I wanted to see once I arrived there.

At first it seemed to be almost empty, just a few people sitting at the far end of the gravel covered place, watching the sun rise over the city. I stood close to a large tree, listening to my shallow breathing and my nervous heartbeat as I tried to convince myself that everything was normal. My eyes scanned the environment. The people at the far end seemed to be ordinary tourists, just sitting there and not doing anything special. The low sun was casting deep black shadows on the gravel covered ground and my eyes followed a black line on the ground connecting the tree i was standing behind with another one further away like the black shadow of a rope tied to the two trees.

Only that there was no rope tied to the trees.

I tried to understand what I saw when the black line suddenly trembled as if a weight was added to the end tied to the tree close to me. I watched the shadow of a man appear, balancing on the shadow rope taking a slow step. I almost cried out when the young man appeared behind the tree, walking on thin air, his arms stretched out to keep his balance, just like his shadow, as it took step after step. I watched him take step after step as I lifted the camera without thinking and I pressed the shutter.

It's magic
Walking on thin air

Click

A sound as loud as thunder.

He stopped and turned in one elegant, swift motion. Our eyes met as he stood there, a few feet above the ground, effortlessly held in mid air by his shadow balancing the shadow rope. His eyes were black, no white surrounding his black pupils as they pierced into my core, rendering me immobile like a snake hypnotizing a rabbit.

You came.

I turned and ran. I didn’t scream as I turned. I don’t know why I didn’t, as I felt like screaming, just to make at least one of us use his voice as he didn’t use his to talk to me. I ran away, stumbled franticly along the small alleys down to the crowded Bahnhofstrasse, his soft laughter in my mind as I bumped into strangers until I couldn’t run anymore. I stared at the blue glass walls of the Prime Tower, realizing I had been running for miles. His laughter had grown weaker, the further I got away from him until it was barely there anymore, but there was still his last thought he shared with me.

We know who you are.

Passes are open!

Oh joy, oh joy!

It’s June, and this means only one thing. I get on the motorbike and drive to the heart of Switzerland, where all the beautiful passes are strung together like pearls on a string.

You can start with Susten, then cross the Grimsel, head down the Vallais to the Nufenenpass which will bring you to the italian side of Switzerland. There you stop for a nice Capuchino and if you feel like it, you head south to the Lago maggiore and visit Locarno. I’m sure, you’ll find some nice spot by the lake to have yummy ice cream and then you head back north, using the old cobble stone road over the Gotthard and if you feel like adding one more pass on your way home, you simply add the Klausenpass. Although, this is a road I only recommend if you’re not afraid of heights….

It will be a very nice day and you will see some stunning landscapes on your way, not to mention beautiful roads that make your head go dizzy. It is basically a 500 kilometer roller coaster ride. Ideally you don’t go during summer holiday season and not on the weekend, that gives you empty roads (and fewer speed checking police officers).

Unless of course, mother nature decides to throw a few rocks down a hill and block the road as it happened to me last weekend. But hey, it was a nice ride never the less, even if I could not add all pearls to the string :)

Clouds over Klausenpass
Clouds over Klausenpass

Back to school

Turning back time ….

Going back to the “good old times”, making all these memories come back and see them turn from memories to reality. Wouldn’t that be nice? I don’t know what time you would pick if you’d happen to stumble across a time machine, but for many, it would be back to university. That great time in our life, when we were no longer a teenager but also not yet grown up with tons of responsibilities. It was the time we felt it would be totally possible to conquer the world and change it, it was the time when we, beyond the shadow of doubt, were sure that our dreams would come true.

Now, I haven’t found a time machine yet, but thanks to a good friend I visited the university of Zürich and spent a bit of time there, soaking in the atmosphere and reviving that feeling of being back to school. I was there in the evening after work and the halls were rather empty, missing the bustling life that probably fills them during the day. On the other hand, nothing distracted from the grandeur of these old walls and there were still enough people sticking around adding a human touch to the white walls.

Later in the evening I left the building and went to the square where you have a very nice view over Zürich and found the students, having a bit of a party and hanging out. Just like we did it the old days. Some things probably never change. Although, when I was in school, there was always someone around playing the guitar. Or is that one of these deceiving memories as well?

Oh, you wonder what time I would visit if I had a time machine? Hey, I’ve read my Calvin an Hobbes. I would of course visit the dinosaurs! And on my way there I would probably do a short stop to shake hand and have a coffee with an old Gentleman in Germany

I watched the guy for a while, wondering what he was watching or who he was waiting for
I watched the guy for a while, wondering what he was watching or who he was waiting for
The building is huge and I was quite glad having a person in the frame, helping to see the massive size of the stair
The building is huge and I was quite glad having a person in the frame, helping to see the massive size of the stair
I think i might start to like architecture, if I continue to discover these nice shapes :)
I think i might start to like architecture, if I continue to discover these nice shapes :)

The secret society

Most people don’t know about it as it is not a very well known fact. Actually, its a rather well kept secret. Mostly, because if people knew about it, they would not understand it, it might even cause great harm to the members of the society. After all, it is less than 250 years since the last member of the society has been publicly executed. To the public, they don’t exist. Well, there are of course tales about them, but if you ask people on the streets of Zürich if they have heard of them or believe in what they practice, you’ll get a puzzled look and if you insist, people will probably look at you as if you’ve lost your mind.

After all, nobody believes in magic these days and to insist that magic exists and is practiced within our city is puts you on the doorsteps of Burghölzli, Zürich’s infamous asylum. And yet, the little signs are there, if you walk the city with open eyes. People who remain dry when it’s raining. Or the old woman you watch on a full moon night, who vanishes the moment you look away and the only living being you see crossing the moonlight street is a black cat.

Though sometimes, they drop their guard and can be caught practicing their art. Either, when they think they are alone and nobody will see them or when they get incautious while playing with their kids. Needless to say they don’t like being caught and more than one person has vanished from the face of the planet after having seen things she or he was not supposed to see. After all, they are a secret society and the really prefer keeping it that way.

I think you might now understand my surprise when I caught this magician practicing his telekinesis spell. At a first glance, it looked as if he would, like anybody else, give the person on the swing a push, but a closer look revealed, he actually never touched the swing! Don’t ask me, how he did it, but boy, did he make that swing fly! As you can see, he didn’t use a magic wand to practice his art (so much about that, Harry Potter) nor did he whisper mysterious words. He was simply standing there, his hands pointing a the swing and made it swing so violently that I was afraid the chain holding the seat might brake and make his friend fly across the place.

To witness such an even and even more, being able to take a photo is an event that is rather unheard of and I consider myself being lucky to have done it. Or maybe not so much, should he ever find out I saw it and am crazy enough to show it to the world…

Sunsets in black and white?!

“I’m gonna shoot a sunset in black and white”

“You’re gonna do what?!”

Yeah, I know, sunsets are not a typical subject for black and white photography. And neither am I too fond of climbing up on high towers. Not that I would be afraid of heights. Not me, now way. I just don’t like these stairs, Ok? Can we please change topic?

Thank you.

So, shooting sunset’s in black and white is a rather pointless thing one might think. After all, sunsets are all about these beautiful colors, fireworks in the sky, and a good sunset looks like a LSD trip. Not that I would know how THAT looks like, trust me. That’s the reason why I didn’t bring the Monochrom with me when I went to the Albis Pass a couple of weeks ago to look if I could get a nice sunset.

So I hiked to the tower and climbed it. When I was on top, I realized it would be dark once I had to climb down. I checked in my camera bag and guess who forgot the flashlight at home? Right . I know, the best way to get rid of your fears is to face them, but that was getting ridiculous. I mean, hypothetically. Not that I would be afraid of heights. But we’ve been there, so lets continue, shall we?

The evening was rather cold and the despite the few clouds that were there, the sky didn’t light up as much as I hoped. The view from the tower is actually quite nice, but to my disappointment, isn’t ideal for sunset photos as there is not really a good foreground to the west. It might be a better location for sunrise in winter when the sun will rise at the far end of lake Zurich.

South of the pass is a small lake, Lake Aegeri if I’m not mistaken.  On a clear day, you can have a lovely view of the mountains surrounding Lucerne just behind that small lake. Waiting for the sun to get lower, I enjoyed the view in the company of two puppets somebody had left on the tower. You know, I’m really not afraid of heights, its just the stairs leading up I don’t dig. For a few minutes, the low sun created some faint god rays that were barely visible but I took a shot, hoping I would be able to intensify them a bit in postprocessing.

Turns out, you actually can shoot sunsets in black and white :)

Sunset in black and white? Sure, why not
Sunset in black and white? Sure, why not
Little puppets keeping me company. Isn't it a lovely hug? :)
Little puppets keeping me company. Isn’t it a lovely hug? :)

The old tree

The old tree looked at the metal structure that slowly rose next to the place he was living and sighed. He had been here for many years, not as long as the mountains that surrounded him but long enough that even the oldest of the people who lived nearby only remembered him as an old tree. The tree of course remembered how they arrived many many years ago, first only a few and how they only stayed for the warm summer months, but then they stayed for the winter as well. He watched them cut down his neighbors, old friends and family members to build the structures they lived in until the forrest was gone and he was the only tree standing and sometimes he wondered ,why they had not cut him down as well.

He didn’t mind the little people gather old branches that fell off like old hair and carry them to the houses, but one day, when he watched a small group of men approach him with saws and axes, his heart sank. They came closer, looking up at him and discussed, as the old tree told himself that maybe, it would not be so bad to meet his old friends and family soon again. To it’s amazement, one of the men started to climb up his body and out to his many arms and started to cut away those old aching branches that hurt so much when the cold winter winds howled from the icy mountains.

And so, over the years, the little men and the tree became something similar to a family with children playing in his shadows at day and lovers whispering words about eternal love at night as they kissed and he spread the branches and leaves to keep them dry when rain started to fall.

L1017118

He watched them change the wold around him, houses grew and roads started to cover the hills like cobwebs, one after another, connecting the houses to each other and the outside world. It amazed him how these little beings were able do all this, first slowly, as men worked using only the strength of their arms and little tools, but soon they invented machines and they changed the land like children playing in the sand. He sighed again. He definitely preferred the gentle, slow way mother nature changed the world.

While he had been pondering what happened to the world around him, the metal structure had been built and now it was as tall as him if not taller, a slim metal tree with cold steel cables connecting it to it’s neighbors. In a strange way it was majestic, but it was also without life, as everything the little men had built. The old tree tried to talk to it, after all, it looked like a tree and maybe they could become friends but the metal tree never answered. The old tree sighed. Sometimes he felt very lonely, being the only tree standing.

L1017124

Then, one day, a wind swept across the land from the mountains. It was the warm wind from the south, the old tree new it well, as it always liked how the wind played with his leaves. Sometimes the wind was a very strong, rough wind and the tree had to dig his roots firmly into the ground, but this day it was a gentle wind, playing with his leaves like a lover plays with his dearest soft hair. The leaves rustled in the wind, giggling and chattering like little children.

The old tree suddenly got aware of a sound he had never heard before. It was a soft humming sound, faintly first but as the wind grew stronger, it changed and to the old trees amazement, the cables hanging from the metal tree started to sing. He listened to them and as a sudden gust made all his leaves laugh loud, the cables answered with a deep, humming sound. The wind chimed in, adding his howling voice and the sounds filled the night as the old tree and the power lines slowly began to learn each others language. As the sun rose, the wind ebbed, retreating to the mountains heights it came from and the world was silent until birds welcomed the new day.

The old tree looked at the metal structure that stood cold and silently next to him and smiled lightly. He knew the wind would raise again soon and he and the cables would sing again and he would listen to the stories they would tell him.

Welcome back Spring!

I know, I intended to shoot only black and white this year. But I admit, I just couldn’t resist taking a few colorful shots of Spring. I tried in black and white, and I’m sure I’ll get some good black and white springy shots eventually, but right now I simply wanted to capture the beauty of Spring :)

Blue sky, warm sunshine, pretty white flowers and yes, Jack is back :) Maybe he will introduce me to his new family again this year, we’ll see.

Jack, checking if everything is tidy and nice. I know I will have to do a bit of cleaning to get his approval...
Jack, checking if everything is tidy and nice. I know I will have to do a bit of cleaning to get his approval…
Flowers! No clue what kind, but they are pretty and that's all I ask for :)
Flowers! No clue what kind, but they are pretty and that’s all I ask for :)
Just a few more weeks and we will be able to jump into the water again! Of course, with some screaming, shivering and goosebumps, but hey, it's well worth it!
Just a few more weeks and we will be able to jump into the water again! Of course, with some screaming, shivering and goosebumps, but hey, it’s well worth it!

Pictures and thoughts from someone exploring photography

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