A few days of heavy rain often have some severe effect on Munich’s river Isar: high levels and flood.
Munich is situated at the end of a large bed of gravel which results from glacier movements during the last ice age.
Massive rain in the bavarian alps always leads to a swelling of the main river which transports the waters down – the Isar.
After the Sylvenstein barrier was completed in the 1950ies, the danger of the real Munich flood was banned.
Nevertheless, the sudden swelling of the Isar is still an impressive sight.
Munich flood in August
After some heavy showers and thunderstorms, Munich’s officials decided to block some of the benches of the Isar around the 5th of August 2020.
The local press decided to exaggerate the story slightly. As it happens, I live very close to the river – but didn’t notice anything.
Reading online that Munich had turned into some kind of dystopian nightmare, I decided to have a closer look.
Of course, I took my camera with me – and my Helios 44. This Russian vintage 58mm prime lens is known for its bokeh.
But that was not what I was after. I wanted to test its available light capabilities and video looks. So I went on my e-scooter down to the river.
And guess what I found? Water. Lots of it, but the scene was far from wastelands. Or was it?
Shocking only the absence of any social distancing
Crowds everywhere, people enjoying the evening sun, party feeling. Which would be perfectly ok, if we wouldn’t face rising infection rates again.
But what should I do? Taking it as it is I decided to keep my personal safety space and do what I came for.
So enjoy the pictures and the video of the “Munich flood”.
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Thanks and stay safe.
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. Dolly Parton
A garden in the rain
Well, right she is. The meteorologists claim that we’re facing more and more droughts. I don’t doubt that – but at least this year, Munich is far away from turning into a desert. Rain is a constant companion these days, thunderstorms alike.
As a person who defines outdoors as “out of the door” much more than “putting on the hiking boots and go where no human has ever been before” I’m neither in the possession of heavy rain-proof equipment nor willing to spend serious money on something which would fit a mountain goat but not me. On the other hand: there’s gear lingering on my desk that wants to be tested. And the urge to shoot is always given.
So I chose during a thunderstorm the golden middle in between staying at home and developing amphibia assets: my garden. Outside enough to get some beautiful pictures, inside enough for my comfort. As ist was the golden middle, the session turned more or less into a meditation on dripping rain an wet leaves.
Enjoy the silence.
When I started with photography back in the stone ages there was a natural brake to experiments, at least for me: the cost of the film. As a teenager, I simply couldn’t afford to shoot dozens and dozens of pictures to get one right. But that would’ve been my only way into night photography. So I clung to the somehow limited range my Pentax MX offered for exposure measurement. And kept my finger away from the magical BULB setting, even if it twitched like hell. Times were changing, digital cameras came creeping in (believe me, my first digital, a Kodak, was creeping and creepy at best). Suddenly, the cost of the film vanished. Not so noisy. I’ll never forget the first results of long-time exposure with these toys. But to be fair, my first real good digital, a Nikon D100, was not better in this discipline. Pure noise, colors washed out, simply unusable, even by the standards of the early zeros.
But now, oh goddess of light, I got my new Lumix G9. Weather was nice, lockdown over, things don’t feel as spooky as a few weeks ago. So I went out at night, avoiding gatherings – and shot for the first time with a capable camera long-time exposures. I don’t want to exaggerate, but it felt like my first black and white prints in a bowl with the developer. Simply amazing, down to the waiting for the camera to finish the de-noising process. I love it! Suddenly there is no instant gratification – but results worth the wait.
So, shoulder your tripods, get out into the dark, use the available light, and enjoy the bokeh unfolding.
Some things are priceless: summer, a mild and clear night – and of course proper gear in the camera bag. So I went to one of Munich’s most iconic landmarks: the Friedensengel. Next to the Isar, Munich’s river, it provides not only scenic views but also a very well known spot for instantaneous partying. After some low light shots, I decided to give my DJI Osmo Pocket a hard ride on one of these rental e-scooters. All along the Isar homewards.
E-Scooter and filming – does that work?
Holding the camera in my left hand was at first a real funny feeling. An e-scooter is obviously not meant for single-handed operation. But photography comes always first, so I wrenched my fist and kept the Osmo as stable as possible. Which worked exactly until the first pothole came along. Ok, holding the camera just in my hand was not the best idea ever, but it was spontaneous. And furthermore, a real hard test for the gimbal abilities of the Osmo Pocket. I guess next time I’ll use a harness or something similar to decouple the camera from the e-scooter. But for now, it was a proof of concept – and good fun to edit the video! So get yourself an impression of the results and feel free to leave some comments. More about Tier e-scooter: https://www.tier.app/
Some lenses come with the delivery service from Amazon. And some come with a story. So does my nifty-fifty 50mm Pentax M 1:1.7. That’s the lens that got me seriously addicted to photography. Mounted as a kit lens on the very first SLR in my life – a Pentax MX – I fell in love with it. Ok, I had no option, it was THE lense. The ONLY lense. Nevertheless, this little mighty manual focus glass showed me for the first time the world through the finder. It stayed with me and on my Pentax until it got nicked. Straight from my checked baggage somewhere between Bangkok and Moscow. That was during the nineties, everybody was into APS, digital was a promise for a bright future, so I didn’t care too much. Until I got back to vintage lenses. And found my childhood love again on the world’s largest dating platform for camera nerds: eBay.
Sure it’s priceless – but you can get this beauty for around 30 € as she’s not as popular as her radioactive 1.4 sister.
If you’re interested in the inner values: there are plenty of descriptions out there. I’m much more interested in the results, that’s what I’m shooting for. A perfect fit with an PK adapter on Micro Four Thirds. It feels so good in the hands. Solid metal, smooth rings, a certain weight. So let’s go for a walk down to the river and let’s see what it can do in 2020.