December 26, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Here we are, at the tail end of oh-ten, and it’s mightily cold back home in Germany. Makes for scenic views, though – both in the countryside...

...and in the city. Here’s Hamburg’s harbor on a particularly beautiful winter day. Sunshine in the middle of December – all too rare in this part of the world.

Flare Is Art.

Lots of ice floating in the harbor by the Baumwall subway station...

...and downtown on the Alster.

November 4, 2010

Roof With A View

A couple of San Francisco icons, as seen from neighboring rooftops: above, Coit Tower in North Beach, and below the famous Transamerica Pyramid.

November 3, 2010

Golden Glow

A slightly filtered view of the Golden Gate, with the polarizer bringing out the colors of the sky and the bridge basking in the afternoon sunlight.

October 31, 2010

Scary Pumpkin

Halloween, by way of Switzerland.

October 30, 2010

Floating Market

Here’s Seattle’s version of a farmers’ market: a “Farm Boat” delivering fresh produce from local growers to workers downtown, by way of Lake Union. Turns out the idea isn’t quite as novel as it seems – but nonetheless very cool.

October 24, 2010

Ellis Island of the West

Angel Island is bit unassuming, and much less famous, than its nearby sister Alcatraz, but no less interesting. For many years, the speck of land in the San Francisco Bay served as the point of entry for millions of immigrants coming to the U.S. – mostly from Russia, Latin America and Asia, especially China.

While today Angel Island is mostly enjoyed by hikers, bikers, and nature-seekers as a National Park, remnants of its history are still visible at the former Immigration Station.

You can even walk through the remains of the barracks which used to house personnel and immigrants. In World War II, Angel Island also served as a detainment center for prisoners of war.

For non-history buffs, though, the main attraction are clearly the many views of other parts of the Bay Area. Above, Treasure Island and the East Bay. Below, Tiburon.

And seeing San Francisco’s skyline from Angel Island is certainly worth the ferry ride across the Bay, not just during Fleet Week.
After a long walk, you can chill out in the picnic area right next to the ferry landing...
...or let your feet take a cool bath in the Bay.

October 22, 2010

Sailboats In the Fog

It’s comforting that even San Diego gets grey skies sometimes – and much appreciated if a few rays of sunshine break through the morning fog to accentuate the nicely photogenic harbor scene.

October 18, 2010

Celebrity Cypress

Among the many expressive trees along the 17 Mile Drive near Monterey, the Lone Cypress (above) is a stand-out, famous enough to be featured more than once in Wikipedia.

October 12, 2010

Big Sur

After all that technology, back to nature. Here’s a scenic view of Big Sur, one of California’s perennial sweet spots along Highway One.

October 11, 2010

Blue Angels, Golden Gate

They’re considered to be the highlight of San Francisco’s Fleet Week air show: the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s elite flight demonstration squadron. And while I’m not a big fan of military displays, the pilots’ precision and command of their planes certainly demand respect. On top of that, it’s a very photogenic show - if, naturally, rather risky. 23 pilots have lost their lives in 54 accidents since 1946.

 Four of the Fab Six flying in formation...

...before one of many break-ups.

“Fat Albert”, the C130 Hercules transport plane that announces the Angels’ arrival at the beginning of each show. Here on approach and over the San Francisco Bay.

October 9, 2010

Patriots Day

Fleet Week Saturday, observed from the deck of museum ship “Balclutha”, yielded a few nice views of the Patriots, an aircrobatics team from California, performing stunts high up in the sky...

...and right above the waterline, zipping past Alcatraz trailed by a cloud of smoke.

Boeing 747 captains typically are required to fly a little higher, too, but with United Airlines forking over sponsor money, Fleet Week organizers made an exception. Much appreciated.

October 8, 2010


The Blue Angels are in town, and it’s getting loud for Fleet Week weekend. You can either grab earplugs – or your camera and head out the door to enjoy the spectacle.

Here are four of the fab six performing one of their stunts over Alcatraz, flying in close formation.

Seen in direct sunlight, they almost seem to crack the sound barrier right before your eyes.

Still, there are others to whom flying comes a bit more naturally...

October 4, 2010

Ferry Tale

Once upon a time I took a ferry just like this one, and you wouldn’t believe what an incredible sunset I saw over the Golden Gate Bridge. Well, maybe you would. Here it is...

September 29, 2010

Beach Volleyball

It’s one of these glorious summer days at the end of September, and it would be perfect for some beach volleyball – if San Francisco had any beaches like this one (which you can find near San Diego).

September 28, 2010

Mr. Hi-Fi

Bose – you’ve probably heard the name. Here’s the man who founded the company: Dr. Amar Bose, a pioneer in all things audio. There was a big product announcement today, and it made me think back to my interview with Dr. Bose, back in 2007. You can find it at (and may have to feed it to Babelfish or Google Translate if you don’t speak German).

September 27, 2010


I’m a big fan of the Stars And Stripes. Not necessarily out of patriotism for my adoptive country, to be honest – it’s more that the U.S. flag can be stunningly photogenic in the right light, like here in downtown Boston, dangling from the storefront of the local Macy’s (fittingly, the company that sponsors the annual Fourth of July parade in New York City).

September 26, 2010

Ivy League Row

When you pay $100,000 or so for your college education, life tends to center around getting ahead – and at a place like Harvard that means you hop into a kayak for a bit of workout when you’re not busy studying for your A+ finish.

As a visitor of Cambridge, walking along the Charles River, you can see the students tirelessly paddling against the stream (and sometimes just floating along)... their eternal quest to beat their rivals at the next competition, once again. Watch out Yale. And better go practice.

September 20, 2010

This Is Bolinas – Please Go Away

Supposedly they don’t like strangers in Bolinas, a secluded community of hippies, surfers and artists a few miles north of the Golden Gate. According to local lore, Bolinians (if that’s the term) have a habit of taking down street signs pointing to the one road that leads into their little town of some 1,200 people.

True, it’s easy to overlook Bolinas when you’re driving along Highway 1 – but I’ve always enjoyed my stay and never felt unwelcome. The scenery is breathtaking and the road into town worth looking out for. Just don’t blink, or you’ll miss it.

September 19, 2010

Marina Bird

No idea what species this fellow belongs to – but I appreciate the picturesque posing in San Francisco’s Marina, right next to Fort Mason.

September 18, 2010

The Gate to the World

It’s a fairly safe bet that this ship passing underneath the Golden Gate Bridge picked up its cargo at the Port of Oakland, across the Bay. San Francisco’s lesser known, not-quite-as-pretty twin city handles 99 percent of all containers coming to and from Northern California by sea. The port has ten container terminals and is the fourth busiest in the U.S.

And while that’s certainly impressive, the prettier picture (sorry, Oakland) is still the passage through the gate to the world...