Teufelsberg is an artificial hill in Berlin, Germany, located in the Grunewald area of former West Berlin. It rises approximately 80 meters above the surrounding Teltow plateau and 120.1 meters above sea level. It was named after the Teufelssee (Devil’s Lake) in its southern vicinity. The hill is made of war debris and rubble, and covers an unfinished Nazi military-technical college (Wehrtechnische Fakultät). During the Cold War, there was a US listening post on the hill, Field Station Berlin. After the Cold War the field station was abandoned and many of the inhabitants of Berlin expressed themselves by painting on the structures. Today, the place is a cold post-war hovel and a very special place with a lot of street art.
First of all, the view is fantastic from Teufelberg. As it is the tallest point in the area, you get a 360 degree witch alone is worth the trip.
Then you get to see the structures and it’s history
Old machinesOld machinesAmazing street artTorn down walls on the highest domeOther domes and more street art
And finally, all the amazing pieces of art
The entranceA special atmosphereFantastic piece of artYou face larger and larger pieces of art as you move alongThe contrast of cold war and modern city
During, and after, the Second World War, many acts of war were carried out in Berlin. The city, and the country for that matter, have moved on, but they will never forget what once happened. In Berlin, there are many reminders of just that. There are a number of other sights in Berlin, but here is a small selection of the ones I think were worth visiting.
The Berlin wall
The Berlin Wall was a wall built by the East German authorities in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) to separate West Berlin from East Berlin and the rest of the GDR. The wall was 45.1 kilometers long and was erected on August 13, 1961. The main purpose of building the wall was to prevent a growing number of refugees from the GDR from crossing the border. The wall was a physical barrier made of concrete, barbed wire, and electric fences that spanned 155 km in total. The wall was demolished on November 9, 1989, during the democratic revolution against the dictatorship in the GDR. Today, there are few traces left of the wall, but it can be seen in some places, such as at this memorial.
The Berlin Wall
Checkpoint Charlie was the most well-known crossing point of the Berlin Wall between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War. It was named by the Western Allies and became a symbol of the separation between East and West. The checkpoint was located at the intersection of Friedrichstraße and Zimmerstraße and was used by diplomats, military personnel, and foreigners to cross between the two sides. The checkpoint was also a site of tension during the Berlin Crisis of 1961 when Soviet and American tanks faced each other at this location. Today, there is a museum at the site that provides information about the history of Checkpoint Charlie and its significance during the Cold War.
The sign at Checkpoint CharlieThe reconstructed guard booth at Checkpoint Charlie
Berlin holocaust memorial
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a memorial in Berlin that commemorates the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The memorial is located near the Brandenburg Gate and is one of the city’s most impressive sights. It consists of an undulating field of 2,711 concrete steles that can be passed through from all sides. While walking between the columns of different heights and the labyrinthine corridors, visitors may experience a brief moment of disorientation, which should open up space for discussion. Beneath the memorial is the Information Centre, which documents the crimes of the Nazi era in themed rooms. The field of steles and the place of information complement each other and together form the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
Inside the memorial it is cold, the ground is uneven and the columns are not in levelThe memorial seen from one of its sides
Gleis 17 is a memorial located at the Grunewald train station in Berlin. It commemorates the thousands of Jews who were deported from this platform by trains of the Deutsche Reichsbahn to concentration and labor camps during World War II. From autumn 1941 to spring 1942, approximately 10,000 German Jews were deported from this platform to concentration and labor camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau and Theresienstadt. Of the more than 50,000 Jews in Berlin, over 30,000 were deported from the Moabit freight yard and nearly 10,000 from the Anhalter Bahnhof. The memorial was designed by architects Nicolaus Hirsch, Wolfgang Lorch and Andrea Wandel and consists of 186 steel-cast plates embedded in the railway gravel. These plates list all the deportation trains from Berlin in chronological order with their destinations and the number of Jews deported. The vegetation between the rails is a symbol that no train will ever leave this platform again.
For me, this memorial was the one that made the biggest impression. It is so simple, yet so strong.
Entrance explanationThe stairs leading up to the platformThe platform and the overgrown trackThe steel tiles with the deportation date and numberFresh flowers at the memorial plate
I was given the opportunity to visit Berlin and of course I joined. For me, Berlin is a city with a lot of history but in this post I will focus on Berlin itself. There will be stand alone posting of the war history from the city.
My hotel was close by Alexanderplatz, one of the squares on Berlin. From here it is easy to get to most of Berlins areas as it has a station that covers underground, busses, trams and railways.
One of the many train stations in BerlinOne of the many underground stations in BerlinA tram going down one of the streets in BerlinA tram waiting for signal in Berlin
With Alexanderplatz as starting point, I went in loops at about 7-8 kilometers. Perfect lengths to cover most of the city center areas.
North east is Prenzlauer Berg. Walking the main street from Alexanderplatz is a quick way to get there. If you want to go even faster it is possible to take one of the many busses, trams or even the underground. Once you enter the area, you should search for one of the smaller side roads and less trafficated streets will appear.
DDR SpeisegaststätteCafe Neue LiebeA beautiful street in Prenzlauer Berg
My goal for the walk was Mauerpark. It is an interesting place where Berliners went out and planted flowers and trees when the wall was torn down. I had envisioned a more sprawling park, but it was very systematic.
On my way back I went past Zionskirckplatz. The church standing there is quite a building
The tower of ZionskirckeZionskirckplatz
The next day I went on a bigger trip south and west. There is a good deal of war history here, which I will come back to in a later post. Nevertheless, there is much else to look at here. What might be worth mentioning is Brandenbruker Tor, the Reichstag and the river that runs through Berlin.
Brandenburger TorReichstagThe river
One of the biggest advantages of living near Alexanderplatz is that Berlin’s TV Tower is located here. If you’re a bit lost, it is very easy to aim at the tower to get back. You can see it from most parts of the city.
The Berlin TV tower is seen from most parts of the city
I went to Trondheim to see if I could find something to capture with my Infrared camera. Bright sunny days with some scattered clouds will create dramatic scenes.
Vår Frue church
Vår Frue church
An old rusty bike
An old rusty bike
One of the many buildings in Trondheim
The IR camera get at different kind of black and white look. I find it quite unique. Compared to a regular black and white image it has more contrast and some elements reflect IR light different than regular light.
I’ve started to explore the possibilities with infrared photographies. Some subjects will be quite different, but others are almost equal to a normal black and white image. Infrared waterfalls are one of those subjects that are almost the same, but not quite the same still. The contrasts are a bit different. Especially the parts of the water that are transparent in normal vision will be almost black in infrared. It is really interesting to see the world through an infrared camera. You should try it once.
During the winter, the colours turn more monochrome and many pictures also turn slight blue due to the snow reflecting the sky. Many cameras reads this wrong and end up setting the colours profile to cold.
One way to avoid this is to adjust the profile in your camera manually. An other way is to set the camera in black and white settings. If you have a mirrorless your electronic viewfinder will be black and white as well.
I’ve taken this to a new level by converting one of my cameras to infrared. I’ll give some more details of the actual work involved in a later post. Infrared is a light that the human eye don’t see. The image sensor of a camera is normally filtered to not see this light, but with a little surgery the camera can convert this light to something visible to the human eye. The result is a deep black and white image with a lot of contrasts and some unexpected contrasts.
One morning I was out with my dog and fortunately I brought my camera. As the moon was dipping the horizon and the sun was on its way up, the mist also arose from the close by river. All together it was a magical morning.
Morning mist and the moon
The moon lit by the sunrise
The morning can be quite challenging to capture. Especially when parts of the scene is lit. My camera got a in body stabilisation and paired with the right lens with stabilisation it really helps on low light scenes like these. If you don’t have a camera with these features you could use a tripod. These images are captured at 1/40s, f/8 and ISO400.
The weather has been nice for a long time now. Crystal clear nights and some clouds in the horizon during the day. But since the days here up north are pretty short (only 6 hours at the time of writing this post) the temperatures will be creeping downwards. Right now it has stabilised at approximately -18C.
I went out to the local river and the breeze that comes together with the water flowing is extreme. The last rays of sun had just faded and the blue hour started. Mist arose from the river and created a magical, but cold, moment.
During these hours you might be able to catch something special.
It’s been a while now, but I thought you might wanted to see a bit of my latest project. When I swapped out my Canon gear for the new Fuji, one of the lenses I was most exited to get my hands on was the 100-400, witch on a Fuji X-mount equals about 150-600mm.
My first experiment was small birds on a bird feeder. I made one from old branches that were cut of a fallen tree. I wanted to have a natural background so I installed the feeder in my back yard.
Sitting on a little chair in the back yard waiting is a game in it self. It really takes patience, but the birds eventually showed up.
Norway is still affected by Corvid-19 and it is strongly advisable to stay at home or close to your home. Since we live on the countryside its possible to move around a bit, but not too far. My family live in a valley called Orkdal and the hills surrounding this valley is mostly covered in forest and farmland. One evening I was out biking and I came across this beautiful little area with some old trees and rocks. I always bring a camera with me, but my M100 was not capable of capturing all details in those trees.
A couple of days later I went up there again with my big camera (Canon 5Ds) and my 24-70mm lens. I’m really pleased with the result.