Looking Back And Ahead
Special moments of 2019 and photographic goals for 2020
Maybe you know it, that free time between Christmas and New Year where you’re not quite sure which day it is. Where you only get up at 11 o’clock in the morning and lay on the couch for the whole day without a bad conscience. This time is not only perfect to binge-watch all the Harry Potter movies or to stuff your tummy with all those scrumptious Christmas leftovers. It also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past year, on all the good things that happened and helps us to set goals for the year to come.
That’s exactly what I’m doing with this blog entry. I rummaged through my photos and could show you thousands of moments that captivated me in 2019 but let’s leave it at five:
Because Winter didn’t really find its way to our neck of the woods in Germany, Philipp and me hopped into our car and drove all the way to the Gastein Valley in Austria. Our boot packed with our snowboard gear we had a week full of snow (and Kaiserschmarrn) ahead of us. Snowboarding, and I guess you skiers will feel the same way, is like medicine.
You take the gondola up the mountain, get off at an altitude of 2,000 meters, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, the cold wind blowing into your face and all of a sudden all your problems seem so small and petty. If you’re lucky you catch a bluebird powder day and once you rode your board through deep, soft, fresh snow you’ll know what flying must feel like.
Every once in a while we all experience that bittersweet sensation called Fernweh – the yearning for far away places. We want to get out of our familiar surroundings, see something new and escape all the troubles of everyday life. But it doesn’t always take a long flight to switch off and go on a little adventure.
Sometimes it’s enough to just visit the woods and meadows that are closer to home. Take the Sauerland for example: it’s about an hours drive from my hometown and offers an abundance of hiking trails. In Spring you’ll enter forests that couldn’t be any greener and if you take a really deep breath you will appreciate the work every single tree is doing for us and our Planet even more.
Tranquility. Not a soul in sight. When you’re dealing with colleagues, phone calls and visitors every single day at work it’s only normal that one day your head wishes for someone to press the mute button. That’s why that early summer morning at Lake Eibsee, Garmisch was so good for my soul.
The pale blue sky was cloudless and the sun sent her warm rays of light through the foliage. We left behind all the nature lovers who, like us had woken up in the small hours to relish the early morning light and kept on walking around the lake until it was only the two of us. The lake was quite calm, only a little duck family sent gentle ripples across its surface.
It was almost preposterous to jump into the cool water but can you really blame us? (If you want to know where we went afterwards head over to my blog post about Summer in Lana for some more mountain goodness.)
There’s another early morning that stands out. On that particular morning I dragged my Dad out of bed at 5am so we could ride our bikes to a nature reserve called „Steinhorster Becken“ to watch the sunrise. It was a rather cool morning and if the sun hadn’t appeared behind the tree tops soon we would have been really cold. One could think that at this hour everything would be silent but the birds had different plans.
All around us they broke out in song, singing at the top of their lungs, welcoming the sun with us. Wild geese, ducks, herons – they all had gathered to begin a new day and only fell silent when the early morning faded and more people arrived.
The big second-homesickness takes over at least once daily and in October 2019 I couldn’t resist any longer. Three years after my last visit I finally got the chance to go back to Aotearoa, New Zealand.
One thing was different this time around though. This time I had Philipp in tow! Finally I could share all the joy and excitement that travelling around New Zealand brings with someone from home. For three weeks we explored the South Island in our campervan, braved the rain, hiked up mountains and wholeheartedly took in the most beautiful of all landscapes.
For me it was like coming home: I got to see some of my friends again, who are more like a family to me and ventured out on hiking trails that I already know like the back of my hand but desperately wanted to show Philipp. There was also heaps of time to explore new trails and places and to realize that even in a 100 years you wouldn’t be able to get to know all the wonders of New Zealand.
All these were incredible day trips and journeys that made my 2019 special, that helped me to leave the stress of everyday life behind and to concentrate on the present moment. But then there are all the little things, the moments close to heart, like joking around with my brother or solving crossword puzzles with my grandma. Most of the time it’s moments like these that make us smile the brightest and if you’re lucky you happen to have your camera at hand to freeze that moment forever.
In 2020 I want to capture more moments like that and also make more time to be outside. I want to see more sunrises and go on many hikes because there’s so much inspiration to be found in nature that always takes me a step further in landscape photography. And I have made it my mission to not only capture the big picture but to document all that makes a journey unique: the little but not less significant moments in between the epic peak experiences, sweat and tears included. My camera and my Sigma 24-70mm F2,8 DG OS HSM | Art lens (a superb lens by the way which I don’t want to miss anymore when it comes to landscape photography) will have loads to do and I’m really looking forward to it.
Now it’s your turn to think about your 2019! What made you happy and what can you change in 2020 to put the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae that is life. A little advice: In 2020 write down everything that makes you happy on little scraps of paper and collect those moments in a jar. And not only the big ones but also the smaller moments: a stranger smiling at you, a heartfelt thank you. There will come a time when you feel down and upset, like life is just made up of too many annoying things (which is ok, we all go through periods like that because no ones life is perfect). That’s the moment when you grab that jar, tip it over and look through these little snippets of joy and realize that it’s not too bad after all.