Of bovines and alpine meadows, in Oberbayern’s Hausberg

It’s a bright autumn afternoon in Oberbayern (Upper Bavaria), and the cogwheel railway is on the descent from Zugspitze, returning to the valley base in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

The train slows on approach to station “Garmisch-Partenkirchen Hausberg”, a short one- to two-kilometres southwest from the twin towns.

Loisach valley, east to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bayerische Zugspitzbahn, fotoeins.com
Loisach valley, east to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bayerische Zugspitzbahn, fotoeins.com

Loisach valley, east to Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Train station, Garmisch-Partenkirchen Hausberg, fotoeins.com

Train stop “Hausberg”

Stepping out at Hausberg

Doors to the stuffy train compartment open out to the breeze riding down the Loisach river valley. Deep breaths expand and fill my lungs with the slightest hints of hay, fresh cut grass, cow dung, and woodsmoke. Brightly illuminated pastures beckon me forward, one foot in front of the other. Blank looks from the “bayerische Kühe” sprawled out on the grass suggest a possible course of action. Except for the part about the blank faces …

I’ve already seen a number of people in the valley as the train weaved its way down from the summit. Couples are out on their walks. Their slow gait is not representative of age or condition; their easy stroll reflects years- and decades-long familiarity with the area.

With a smile, I’ll greet passersby with “Grüss Gott”. I’m in small conversation, proceeding typically in one-way flow: “where are you from?”, “how did you learn German?”, “how long are you here?”, and “do you like the area?” My final answer often surprises them most: “ich würde hier lange bleiben, wenn ich könnte.” (I’d stay here longer, if I could.)

Standing in an illuminated river valley surrounded by the Alps on a queit afternoon, idyll has another name. Hausberg belongs right here in the now.

Loisach valley, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen Hausberg, fotoeins.com
Loisach valley, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen Hausberg, fotoeins.com
Loisach valley at Hausberg, fotoeins.com

Loisach valley, at Hausberg, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Ausserfernbahn DB train, to Reutte in Tirol, fotoeins.com

Deutsche Bahn “Ausserfernbahn” train, to Austria’s Reutte in Tirol

Tracks shared by Bayerische Zugspitzbahn and Ausserfernbahn, Hausberg, fotoeins.com

Tracks shared by Bayerische Zugspitzbahn and Deutsche Bahn

Bovine residents at Hausberg, fotoeins.com
Bovines, meadows, Alps: Hausberg, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, fotoeins.com

Simple things in Bavaria: cows, meadows, and Alps

Reaching Hausberg

Visitors staying in Garmisch-Partenkirchen can easily walk the short distance from either of the twin towns; hop on the regional “Ausserfernbahn” train from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Reutte (in Tirol) and request to disembark at Hausberg; or disembarking from the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn cog railway on the way back from the Zugspitze summit. The flat stretch of Loisach river valley is easily walkable on the paved pedestrian path from Garmisch-Partenkirchen on the way to Grainau, Eibsee lake, and beyond.

I made all of the photos above on 9 October 2011. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

Fotoeins Friday: early snow over Eibsee lake in Oberbayern

My progress with Canon, from 450D to 6D

I seemed to have skipped a step, as I’ve moved from a triple-digit camera model to a single-digit model.

For over five years, I owned an entry-level Canon DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera. Carrying the EOS 450D (XSi) along for the ride, I traveled over one million miles in the air and I made over 75000 exposures.

Canon EOS450D (XSi), by Dr.K on Wikimedia

Canon EOS450D (XSi), by Dr.K on Wikimedia

The shutter finally failed to close properly about a year ago as I stood in front of the television tower in Prague’s Zizkov. I made do with an aging iPod Touch for another five months. When the calendar flipped over to 2014, I’d been missing photography with a camera by a very large mile.

Leaping up to the 6D

I picked up the Canon EOS6D in mid-January under the banner of post-Christmas post-New Year’s sales. I already have the EF 50-prime and EF 70-300 lenses, and I wanted to take advantage of these great lenses with a full-frame camera body; I had the idea of purchasing only the camera body. The bundle with the preferred 24-70mm L-series lens was too far, but the package deal with the more affordable 24-105mm L-glass including an additional padded camera strap, a padded camera carrying case, and an extra battery was a decent compromise.

Canon EOS6D, by Dave Dugdale for Wikimedia

Happily, I’m no longer concerned with the 1.6 crop factor; that is, a shot with the 450D at 50mm focal length has the same imaging area as a shot with the 6D at 80mm focal length. I’m enjoying the camera and I’m a big fan; here is a shortlist of ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ with the camera.

    Pros:

  • GPS, for automatic geotagging of my photographs
  • WiFi, for direct upload onto my iPod Touch (or future smartphone)
  • Much better low-light performance; higher ISO range
  • Large range of RAW and JPG sizes
  • Video capability, though I haven’t used video much at this stage
    Cons:

  • Body heavier and more cumbersome; already knew this for full-frame camera
  • Internal GPS can be slow to connect with satellites
  • Battery drains quickly with GPS and WiFi usage
  • Could use an extra card slot
  • Still no focal length displayed with aperture, exposure time, ISO

At the Digital Photography Review website, you can compare side-by-side an entry-level Canon DSLR with a full-frame Canon DSLR. For example, select and compare the 500D (T1i) against the 6D; the 450D is so ‘old’ it’s unavailable in the listing. You can do your own intrabrand or interbrand comparison(s) here.


8 with the 6D

With this post, I’ve already made in eight months over 9000 exposures with the 6D, edging ever closer to turning over the four-digit image-number counter for the first time. Below are photographs over the first eight months of the year.

(F)Light of the Columbidae, Vancouver City Centre, Skytrain station, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

“(F)light of the Columbidae”, Vancouver City Centre – 17 January 2014

Chinatown Plaza, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

“C is for Chinatown”, Chinatown Plaza – 23 February 2014

Caught in a web of TED, Vancouver Convention Centre, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

“Caught in a web of TED” (by Janet Echelman), Vancouver Convention Centre – 20 March 2014

Parking lot in English Bay, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

“Parking lot in English Bay”, West Vancouver – 13 April 2014

Drive by, Harbour Green Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

“driveby”, Harbour Green Park – 6 May 2014

Mother and daughter, sister and niece, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

“Mother & daughter, sister & niece” – 12 June 2014

Holiday sunrise over Burrard Inlet, Canada Day, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

“Holiday sunrise”, Burrard Inlet – 1 July 2014

Downtown Vancouver, construction, urban commentary, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

“… at the right price”, Downtown Vancouver – 22 August 2014

What camera are you using? Have you bought a new camera this year or will you be buying a new camera soon? Please leave your questions or comments below!

I made all of the photos above in Vancouver, Canada. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

Fotoeins Friday: Scotland’s Referendum – Leave or Stay?

The Antarctic flyby, QF63 SYD-JNB

On a plane again: it’s either a prayer or a curse.

I summon the sleep gods on this 14-hour flight, and going over this very large body of water seems like an eternity.

Over the last few years, I’ve become accustomed to 10-hour “shuttles” between Chile and the United States, and I’ve trained mind and body to divide 10-hour flights into three easy-to-digest chunks between take-off and landing: (1) dinner; (2) an attempt at sleep, movies, or reading; and the final third that is (3) breakfast.

But it’s always been the case that the extra flying hours beyond the 10 mark can be a big mental block.

Sometimes, the goal is the motivation. On this 14-hour flight, Cape Town is the destination.

Qantas flight 63 is a non-stop flight from Sydney, Australia to Johannesburg, South Africa, and it’s at the latter where I’ll transfer onto another plane to Cape Town.

Grazing Antarctica over the Indian Ocean, QF63 SYD-JNB, fotoeins.com

Grazing the continent (Instagram)

This ‘marathon’ flight takes place mostly over the Indian Ocean, the third largest on the planet.

On a flat surface, the shortest route between two points is a line, but on a curved surface, the shortest route is a curved path (i.e., great circle). QF63’s flight path takes us over the South Indian Ocean, and the plane skirts past the edge of Antarctica, on the side opposite to South America.

About halfway into the flight, I’m standing in the rear galley of this jumbo jet plane, and I’m looking out the window. The optics through the window are weird, giving a weird warped view of the world outside. I’m leaving nose prints on the interior plexiglass screen.

Sure enough, there it is.

Grazing Antarctica over the Indian Ocean, QF63 SYD-JNB, fotoeins.com

Grazing the continent (Instagram)

Peeking under cloud cover is a hint of land below.

Under the rippling deck lies the great southern continent of Antarctica.

That’s what the plane’s in-flight displays say, too.

Our plane’s path glances over the continent of Antarctica; the display helpfully supplies geographic information, locating Argentina, Brazil, and Chile as well.

How do I feel?

Nostalgic.

There’s loss, too. I’m not going to see Antarctica on this trip, and I have no plans to do so in the near future.

After 5 years in Chile, what I miss most are the people with whom I worked, my friends and colleagues. Perhaps this “near miss” is a reminder, that I should return to South America sometime soon in the future.

Approaching South Africa, I’ve just departed Australia, after ten weeks among friends in some of the most beautiful spots around. I feel loss and separation from friends and country.

As sure as I’m moving forward on this around-the-world journey, I’m confident I’m coming back someday soon.

On board Qantas flight QF63 SYD-JNB, I made the photos above on 10 October 2012 with a 4th-generation iPod Touch. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

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