My Favorite Images Of 2018

Though I have been to a lot of countries in 2018, some of my favorite shots happened just around the corner of my home turf (Lower Bavaria, Germany). Narrowing down some +10k images into a set of 12 takes some time, but showing them off in a community with like-minded photographers is more than rewarding. If you want to be a part of it too, head over to: https://www.jmg-galleries.com/blog/2018/12/16/blog-project-photos-2018/ and say Hi to Jim Goldstein, who is putting up this project every year. Enjoy!

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Solitude @ Ofenpass, Suisse Alps, Switzerland…

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Mercury (bottom) and Venus (center left) being watched, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Good Friday´s Full Moon rising, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Along the Isar River, Upper Bavaria, Germany…

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Pano of 26 single shots taken with a 8″ Meade telescope and a 24mm Hyperion eyepiece, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Total eclipse of the Moon, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Stargazing with my teenage daughter at my brothers farmland, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Colle del Nivolet, 2612 m, Italy…

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Pano of 20 single images, Little St Bernard Pass, 2188 m, looking towards France…

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On top of Mont Chaberton, 3131 m, France…

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Crescent Moon and the hopfields of the Hallertau, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Camp under the stars with my grown-up sons, Theth National Park, Albania…

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Mont Chaberton

Is there a more weirder thing than a fort on top of a 3130 m high mountain? While coming across images of Mont Chaberton late 2017, the destination for my next trip was set for the French Alps in August 2018. After a week of touring, I arrived in Fenils/I on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The weather forecast looked promising, so I packed my 20 kg backpack and hit the track around 06:00 pm, to avoid the hot afternoon sun. My plan was to arrive late at night on top of Mont Chaberton, to photograph the stars and the Milkyway and of course to spend the night up there. Around 10:00 pm, the weather started to change; clouds moved in, thunder and lightning followed. The benefit of traveling on your own: you don´t have to ask anyone where or when to go, what to do or what not to do. The downfall: you can´t ask someone for advice in a situation like this while being completely on your own. When the rain started at Clot des Morts at 2457 m, after four hours of hiking, I was still confident that the storm would pass as quickly as it came. The thunder was far away, some 25 seconds counting, and heading back was no option. But the further I went on, the rain got heavier and the thundering intervals shortened. So what to do?! Though this situation brought me to my limits, mentally speaking, I closed my eyes, and I decided: whatever would come to my mind first, I will do. And of course, some praying will help to. My intuition was to further go up and to find a spot to get shelter from the storm. Around 11:00 pm, I arrived at Col du Chaberton, 2650 m, the pass underneath Mont Chaberton. As I looked the way back, I saw clouds moving in up from the valley floor, dropping the sight down to zero within minutes. I thought everything is lost now. Luckily the clouds moved away as quickly as they came in and the same moment I spotted the ruins at Col du Chaberton, probably the remains of the former barracks of the fort. What a relief, just in time. I found a small shelter where I could change my cloth and meanwhile the thunder counting dropped down to three seconds. The place has been too small to lay down and sleep, so I had to wait another hour, around 12:00 pm, till the storm dispersed and I could put up my mat and sleeping bag on a flat spot around the ruins. At 04:00 am I got up to hit the last batch of the Mont Chaberton trail, just in time to witness the sunrise with its magical light. A night to remember for sure. Enjoy!

PS: I met some french fellows up there in the morning. One of the guys goes by the name of Ce Dric. I´m sorry, but I couldn´t find you on social media. If you ever come across this post, please drop me a note. Cheers!

View from Col Lauson, 2497 m, towards Mont Chaberton…

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On track, late evening…

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Looking back at sunset with the clouds coming in…

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Shelter from the storm…but also a preferred spot by hikers to relieve oneself…

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Thunder and rain passed, the stars came out…

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Bivouac for a couple of hours after the rain had stopped…

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Greeted on top of the mountain by a camp fire and some french fellows, minutes before sunrise…

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Belt of Venus and Earth Shadow indicates the upcoming sunrise on the opposite side…

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The artillery battery on top of Mont Chaberton…

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Sunrise…

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Artillery battery, Mont Chaberton…

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Facing north-west @ sunrise…

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Facing south @ sunrise…

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Facing south-east @ sunrise…

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Enjoying the show…

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Can it get much weirder? A flattened mountain top with artillery batteries…

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Forte Chaberton, 3130m…

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Inside the fort…

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Memorial stone, Mont Chaberton…

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Memorial stone, Mont Chaberton…

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Heading back on a sunny Monday morning…

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Col du Chaberton, 2650 m…

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Clot des Morts, 2457 m…

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Col du Chaberton to the left…

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The “Cracked Rock” to the right, along the old military road (start of construction 1898)…

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One last look back, before the track hits the forest again…

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Where the fun started: 14 km and 1500 m difference in altitude all the way up to Mont Chaberton, from the italian side at Fenils…

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Albania: From Dusk Till Dawn

Some nighttime impressions from my latest journey to Albania, joined by my two grown-up  sons, late September/early October 2018. What can I say…Albania might be the least known country in whole Europe, some unchartered territory, wild and untamed, enchanting in its own unique way, with very helpful and heartwarming people. Albania is on the list for becoming a future travel destination and will hopefully find its balance and keep its spirit, serving adventurers and tourists alike. Enjoy!

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Earth shadow and belt of Venus appear about 15 min. after the sun has set on the opposite site @ Albanian Alps…

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Stars and the Milkyway appear @ the end of astronomical twilight, Albanian Alps…

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Full Moon setting over the serpentine of Rrapsh, about 20 min. before sunrise, with some Earth shadow and belt of Venus, Albanian Alps…

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Earth shadow and belt of Venus, Theth National park…

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Camp @ Theth National park…

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The two brightest dots in the image are Mars (left) and Saturn (right), using a Cokin diffuser…

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Just before sunrise @ the Albanian Alps…

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Tirana @ night…

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Arriving late at a most beautiful spot to stay for the night, everyone does what needs to be done…

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Terrestrial lights against celestial lights…

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Not much is spoken while enjoying the show…

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Jupiter (top left) and Venus (lower right) @ nautical twilight…

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Looking north @ the Ionian Mediterranean Sea…

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Arcturus (center), the brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere…

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Single shot of the towering Milkyway, using the Polarie…

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Just before sunrise…

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Tour de Balcans

Back home since three weeks, but still stoked about our 14-day journey around the Balkans. Joined by my two older sons, we started our tour the last week of September, crossing Austria, Slovenia, Croatia/Bosnia-Herzigovina/Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, and again Croatia, Slovenia and Austria. By doing this loop, we traveled more than 4300 km in two weeks time, just camping in the car and enjoying life at its fullest. It is pretty though squeezing all the experiences and adventures into one single post and would go beyond the scope of it so I might come up with some more posts about this topic in the near future. Especially about Albania, the main reason we did this tour and of course a post about something like: “From dusk till dawn in Albania”. Enjoy!

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Stopover @ Mali Alan Road, Croatia…

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The fertile plains of the Neretva delta, Croatia…

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Dusk at Kotor Bay, Montenegro…

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Lovcen Memorial Lookout, Montenegro…

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View from Mt. Lovcen towards Shkoder Lake, Albania…

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After three days of straight driving, we hit the border of Albania…

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The Albanian Alps, notice the road down at the valley…

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Shepherds everywhere along the road, Albania…

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Albania’s downside: great landscapes but also lots of trash everywhere…but I can´t blame the Albanian people…looks like some Germans got nothing better to do than leaving their tags…

Theth National park, Albania…click on the image to go full screen…

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The Pyramid of Tirana, Albania, the main reason I initiated the Tour de Balcans…more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_of_Tirana

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Camp at the Ionian Mediterranean Coast, south of Vlore, Albania, with the setting Moon…

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View towards Llogara pass, Albania…

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South of Himare, Albania…click on the image to go full screen…

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Ionian Mediterranean Coast, Albania…

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View from the town of Nivice, Albania…

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The island of Corfu, Greece, out in the Mediterranean Sea, Albania…

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Syri i Kalter, the Blue Hole, Albania…

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Albania´s East, an untamed beauty…

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The Vjosa River, East Albania…

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Overlooking the plains at Korce towards Ohrid Lake, Albania…

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Along the way at Macedonia…

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Treskavac Monastery, a hidden gem in Macedonia…the paintings in the church looked like a full body tattoo…

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On the way through Serbia…

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Heaps of field burns along the way through Serbia…

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Leaving Serbia and entering Croatia, the party started while one of the Croatian customs officers stated my Sprinter not as a camper van but as a truck…?!

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Vukovar spomenik (monument), Croatia…more info: http://www.spomenikdatabase.org/vukovar

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The wounds of the Croatian-Serbian War from 1991-1995 are still there…

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Back home sound and save after a long drive on the last day…

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Crescent Moon, 12th Sept. 2018

Some more images from the Hallertau, the world largest hop planting area, featuring the Crescent Moon, Venus and Jupiter on the third night after New Moon. Enjoy!

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Venus (lower left) and Moon over a hop field…

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Venus, Moon and hop plant…

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Moon over St. Alban church, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Moon in between…

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Crescent Moon on the third night after New Moon…

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Jupiter (left) and Moon over the Abenstal, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Touring The Western Alps

Here is a random set of images from my recent 14 day journey through the Western Alps, the border region of Italy and France. It will take some time to go through the pile of images, even more I will be away again in two weeks time, heading down to the Balkans…Enjoy!

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Colle de Nivolet, 2612 m, Italy…

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Milky Way @ Gran Paradiso NP, Italy…

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Colle del Gran San Bernardo, 2469 m, Italy…

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Crescent Moon @ Colle del Picollo San Bernando, 2188 m, Italy…

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Fort @ Colle de Finestre, 2176 m, Italy…

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Shelter for the night after an unexpected thunderstorm @ Col du Chaberton, 2671 m, France…

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Camp for the night after rain and thunder passed away @ Col du Chaberton, 2671 m, France…

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Sunrise @ Mont Chaberton, 3136 m, France…

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Sunset @ Col de Finestre, 2176 m, Italy…

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Dusk @ Col de Finestre, 2176 m, looking towards Valle di Susa, Italy…

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Abandoned bunker from WW II @ Colle de la Bonette, 2715 m, France…

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Chamois @ Col de la Lombarde, 2351 m, Italy…

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Somewhere along the road @ Parc Naturel Regional du Queyras, France…

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Camp for the night @ Crete de la Lausetta, 2371 m, Italy to the left, France to the right…

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Looking towards Mont Blanc (covered by clouds, to the right)…

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Flock of sheep along Col de la Bonette, France…

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Zen at its best, between Saorge and Tende, France…

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Rainbow @ Col de L´Iseran, 2770 m, France…

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Bunker @ Col de la Bonette, 2715 m, France…

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Fort @ Colle di Tenda, 1908 m, Italy…

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