Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The 24th of July has come and gone. The Third Annual Worldwide Photo Walk is over. In Stuttgart we had 18 walkers and a lot of luck with the weather.
In the morning it was drizzling. In the afternoon it poured. Things were not looking good. Then around 4 p.m. the rain stopped. By the time we headed over to the Mercedes Museum, it was cool but clear. There was even a bit of blue to be seen on the firmament!

Everyone was there on time, so after brief introductions, Jim Palik took a group photo as the wind whipped around his tripod, threatening his Canon 5D.

We retreated into the museum, where the modern architecture, bright colors and dim light offered as many photographic challenges as interesting motifs. Fortunately, there is quite a vast area of the museum that one can visit for free, so we disappeared into the concrete, steel and glass cylinder for 20 minutes. 

When we re-emerged, the wind had died down, the sun had begun to dry up the puddles and we headed off past the soccer stadium to the Carl Benz Center. I had tried to contact the organizers of Christopher Street Day in Stuttgart, but without success. Would the red carpet for the gala opening of the festivities be outside and, above all, would it be a spectacle worth photographing? We would have to wait and see. Fynn took a rest and photographed the rest of us.

It turned out to be more of a semi-intimate champagne reception just outside of the center and I didn’t feel comfortable crashing that. Most of us ended up reveling in the light and lines between the Porsche Arena and the Carl Benz Center, while some walked around the crowd looking for photo-ops.

Then one presented itself to us in living color! Bärbel, a transvestite who leads the CSD parade and is otherwise a spokesperson for gays and lesbians in Stuttgart, came and posed for us as soon as she saw our cameras. This is what I was expecting to see more of, but it seems the flamboyant, “look-at-us-already”, outsider days are nearly over for today’s gays. Mainstream, here they come!

As we approached the Wasen, Fynn informed me that, yes, that was the music of Ich + Ich, a group that he and Fiona enjoy listening to. Walking across the bridge in front of the Schleyer Halle, Thomas pointed out a nice view of the Gaisburg Lutheran Church.

When we got to the top of the church tower, I took a picture back down the street.

The all-day concert was in full swing, though the 60,000 music fans that the agency had hoped for did not show up in full force as they did last year. The estimated 15,000 fans enjoyed the surprisingly good weather, milling about the Wasen, where the musicians could be heard and seen. This was pretty much a perfect people-watching place, so it was difficult to round everybody up - much less get them up off the ground - and head across the Neckar River into Gaisburg.

Since it is verboten to take your own drinks into the concert arena, collectors stand ready with their shopping carts to collect the deposit bottles. This also happens before the soccer games.

The beautiful street up through the seedy corner of Gaisburg provided a nice place for photos with its diverse facades and steep steps. Again, low-angle shots were the order of the day.

Although Fynn looked up for a nice perspective that most of the rest of us missed.

Once we got up to the neo-baroque church, we trooped up the tower despite a couple of cases of vertigo. When we opened the door and threw back the pigeon netting, we were greeted by a gorgeous view which turned into an even more gorgeous carpet of light over Stuttgart-Ost.

And although we were late for our appointment at the Schweinemuseum, we just didn't want to miss this sundown. When you are writing with light (photo grafia), you can't stop while the ink is flowing!

But everyone was hungry or thirsty - or both - and it was time to head downstairs.

We arrived too late to photograph inside the museum, but we were too tired for that anyway. The Lange Ost Nacht will also have to wait for us until next year. We sat for two hours together outside the restaurant at Schlachthof and enjoyed a chill down. And imagine: only one Softbox popped out during the entire evening!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Worldwide Photo Walk in Stuttgart, July 24, 2010

This year our walk will take us through the picturesque East End of Stuttgart. In the late afternoon (5:45 p.m.) we will meet on the steps of the Mercedes Museum.

After gathering and introducing ourselves, we'll take the museum with us 12 million pixels at a time as we walk along the Mercedes Strasse past the soccer stadium, which is currently under construction.

So those of you who like photographing architecture will have your fun bending the lines, capturing the light and stretching the limits of your imagination as we wander on to the next building, where a spectacle awaits us: The Gala Opening of Christopher Street Day in Stuttgart.

A red carpet such as this one will be filled with flamboyant figures from Germany's colorful gay and lesbian scene as they enter the Carl-Benz-Center for an evening of entertainment. After our paparazzi descent, we will move on past more eye-catching architecture toward the Neckar River.

The Neckar provides us with a contrast, showing its natural colors and curves as we cross the bridge that leads to Gaisburg.

Entering Gaisburg, we will pass the landmark of Stuttgart-Ost, the 50-year-old 102.5-meter tall gas holding tank.

When we will pass through a colorful part of town known for its slaughter houses. Walking up an ancient-looking stairway, we will see the heavenly Gaisburg Lutheran Church around the corner at the top. With its beautiful organ and world-class organist, the church serves Stuttgart as a popular place for concerts. The new pastor promises to bring some life to the Sunday services. The view from the tower at sunset is a sight to behold.

Finally, we will work our way back down the hill from the church to the beer garden of the new Schweine-Museum, which is housed in the old slaughter house. During the World Cup, fans filled the beer garden. When we arrive, the museum will open especially for us so that we can  photograph the interesting exhibits inside.

We will turn off our cameras and retire to the beer garden for a well-earned rest.
For those who still have the energy, the Lange Ost-Nacht will present bands and other events throughout this side of town until late into the night.