Return to Dresden

Dresden's Zwinger Palace

[…Gasthof Loschwitz, 7:20 a.m….]

‘Woke up 6:30 this morning. The bright morning sun fell through the cracks of the drapes, landed on my face, and woke me up. My shoes are on the radiator, drying, as I type. They got soaked last night in the Elbe river when I purposely went in to get closer to the reflections. The river level is much higher this time than it was last summer when I was here the first time.  I did not have time to take my socks and shoes off — you don’t think of those things when you’re in the middle of blue hour. So I said to myself  “What the heck!” and went into the water, shoes and all.

I decided not to shoot twilight this morning for a couple of reasons, but mainly because I felt tired. It was a six-hour drive to Dresden and I did not get much sleep the night before that. I was also wary that the lights might not be on at the promenade this morning, or maybe I was only wishing they weren’t on to justify my laziness.

I looked at my pictures from last night and from the LCD it didn’t look too bad. I started shooting at the right bank of the Elbe, and I was pleased the city turned its lights on early. There were young folks sitting on the tall grass by the river, drinking beer, playing fetch with their Golden Retriever, enjoying the night. They did not bother me much.

The day started out really overcast, and I was surprised to come out from shopping at 6:30 p.m. to find that the sun actually came out. It was an unbelievably nice evening weather-wise; it almost did not feel like Germany. About 10 minutes after I started shooting, I noticed the moon – big, bright, full. It shone on top of the promenade although too further left than I had hoped and was too low on the skyline. I could not get a nice angle and was a little too late into the night to get a good exposure on it. I was more concerned about getting to my planned route as it was a bit of a walk from the bottom of the bridge to the Zwinger palace.

There were, as usual, my usual bunch of hecklers who approached me as I was finishing up in the middle of the Hofkirche and the Semperoper. I did not understand what they were saying anyway so I turned my back and walked away — pretty much my usual response. Then they laughed sarcastically until their arrogance spilled through the top of their big heads. This time I did not feel the least bit threatened because there were still people around even at 10:30. There’s something happening in Dresden, not sure what it is, but the hotels are booked and there are hordes of tour groups walking around.

I am starting to get the feeling that drunks and hecklers are becoming part of my photography work routine. It’s like, every time I take photos at night, I follow this routine: Focus, compose, refocus, dial exposure, press shutter, ignore hecklers, walk away — in that order. I am now wondering if any of the female photographers out there are experiencing the same thing, or am I just that vulnerable to this group of people?

It’s nice to back here in Dresden, my favorite German city. When they turned the lights on early last night, that only confirmed how much I like this place. As far as I’m concerned, cities who care about how their famous landmarks look in great light, are cities that respect and appreciate their history and heritage. Not to mention, they satisfy the need for photographers like me.

[…4:30 p.m….]

Back at the hotel for a  brief rest. There were thunderstorms earlier which was strange because right before that, the skies were bright and blue with big puffy clouds. The rain has settled down a little bit now, and in a few minutes, I will be off to Moritzburg castle for my night shoot.

I was at the bookstore earlier and was happy to see my photo on the cover of one of the travel books. A few months ago, a book publisher based in Berlin bought my photo of the Elbe promenade to use as a cover for their travel book. It was also part of the Frankfurt book fair in October. It was my first-ever published photograph, and seeing it on the bookshelves today brought on a nice proud feeling.

I went to three bookstores today. Apparently, one store wasn't enough to convince me there's a photograph of mine on the bookshelves. Happy to see it.


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