Tag Archives: Volgograd

Volgograd, Russia: Stills/Video

I did a blog post about my travels to Volgograd some time ago, which you can read here: https://wernerpriller.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/volgograd-russia-the-past-and-the-present-part-one/ . One can´t believe that this city, formerly known as Stalingrad, has been destroyed by 95 % of its origin, and yet, has risen again, thanks to the unbreakable will of its inhabitants. I did this journey in Oct. 2012, honoring my uncle’s death for the 70th anniversary. All the years I thought that WW II has been such a waste of human life. Today,  I know that by giving their lives, they enabled us, the next generation, to live in times without war, for almost 70 years now.  I´m very grateful for that every day. I now know too (and realize), that this journey to Volgograd has been the beginning of my own journey into “within”. The old lady in the red dress had opened, just with a few words, my heart in a way I had experienced only once before. Like on a German documentary about Volgograd, the speaker said: ” To truly understand WW II, you have to come to Volgograd, to see and feel this place.” With this stills/video, I hope I can give you an idea about that. The song is by Metallica, called Nothing Else Matters – HD-button for a higher resolution. Enjoy!

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Valeriy Shtrykov, R.I.P.

I had met Valeriy Shtrykov Oct. 2012 while being in Volgograd, the former Stalingrad, looking for the burial ground of one of my fallen uncles during the battle of Stalingrad at WW II. My guide and organizer Mike (Mikhail Shuvarikov) made connections with Valeriy, knowing that this guy had helped the Volksbund (German organisation for finding and excavating fallen and missed german soldiers during WW II) and that only this guy would find the place where my uncle Martin has been shot dead somewhere along the still existing rail road tracks,  west of Volgograd. That day we picked up Valeriy at his house and he showed me all the stuff he had collected during the years he was digging and searching missing soldiers (he has also worked for a lots of other organizations and governments). We instantly became friends and on the way out to the fields/steppe, he drew me a sketch of the former burying grounds which were made during the war/fights and where soldiers only had been thrown in and left there with no trace. Valeriy knew all those places and we have spent the day out there in the steppe, digging and looking for relics of the war. I owe him that much for showing me that place, I can´t be  thankful ever enough. Early May, he got murdered by his own uncle in his house, for reasons unknown. Rest in peace, Valeriy, I´m very glad I have met you!!

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Valeriy in front of his house, Volgograd…

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The sketch Valeriy was drawing for me…

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Finding the way through the steppe…

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Let´s go searching…

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Valeriy and me with a piece of a human coccyx we just found…

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A piece of a human cranium and Valeriy´s tattooed hand…

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Valeriy along the rail road tracks…

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Me, Valeriy, Sergey and Mike, out in the steppe…

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Valeriy was digging everywhere, even if the sign says: “No Digging!”…

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2012 – A Year In Twelve Images

´A Year In Twelve Images` is a self-appointment which reflects in a subjective way the shots of the past year I like most. The real challenge of this deed is to narrow down all of the images and to select not more than twelve photos,  which you think of that they are ´worthy`. Having done that, you can send the list/blog post to Jim Goldstein´s blog, a professional photographer based out of San Francisco; more info here: http://www.jmg-galleries.com/blog/2012/12/17/blog-project-best-photos-2012/ . A lot of the pros I´m ´following` since two years now are participating too in this project and it´s good to know/to see what they are up to. This is my second year as a “full-time-hobby-photographer” and I´m very grateful that I can live this life – photography fuels my soul like nothing before. With this in mind: Do what you love and love what you do! Enjoy!

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Star trails over the Dolomites @ Passo di Giau, 2300 m/7600 ft., -10°C/14°F, Italy…

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A so-called Sun Pillar showing up during sun set, Upper Bavaria, Germany…

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Moving clouds and still visible stars during nautical twilight/early morning, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Sunrise and the transit of Venus, 06/06/2012, over the ridge of the Bavarian Forest, Germany…

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The Milky Way, reddish hydrogen-alpha nebulae and green airglow @ Großglockner Mt., Austria…

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Lunar occultation of Jupiter, 07/15/2012, from center to top: Venus, constellation of Taurus, Crescent Moon, Jupiter;  seen from Bologna, Italy…

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Star trails over the woods of Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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The stars and the Milky Way reflecting in a pristine mountain lake, South Tyrol, Italy…

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The stars and Venus are shining bright over the Dolomites early morning, while the city lights of Auronzo lying under a blanket of high clouds, Italy…

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A view of the Milky Way, with the constellations of Cepheus and Cygnus and its reddish hydrogen-alpha nebulae, on a clear September night, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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The setting crescent Moon, accompanied by Mars (next to Moon) and Antares, over the city of Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, Russia…

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Twilight at the end of the day @ Passo di Giau, the Dolomites, Italy…

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Always Good Light, Cheers!!!

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My Favorite Images Of October 2012

It´s November already and  after selling my property in February (home and workshop, and finally getting the money after a six months long-lasting lawsuit), and after the death of my mother in July, things are getting back to normal, well, some sort of. The debts are paid, I got myself some new toys to play with and a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for traveling/cruising around. I´m still able to do what I like to do, with the back-up of my  fantastic wife and family, who are supporting my new “life-style” at 100%. The month of October was under the sign of my journey back into the past – to see the place where one of my uncles had fallen during WW II around Volgograd, former Stalingrad, Russia. Enjoy my favorite picks from October!

Hopfields of the Hallertau, Bavaria, during twilight…

Conjunction of Venus and Regulus…

The Moon and fall colors…

Morning dew all around…

“Mother Russia is calling” statue on Mamayev Kurgan Memorial Site, Volgograd (notice the ´blurred` persons to the left)…

The crescent Moon (the sign of the Islam) setting over the Orthodox Church at the Mamayev Kurgan Memorial Site…

The Orthodox Church with its five spires, representing the five wounds of Jesus Christ; the faint stars to right belong to the constellation of Sagittarius…

The setting Moon over Volgograd, accompanied by planet Mars (below) and the bright star Antares (below to the left)…

The Milky Way is faintly visible over the illuminated statue of “Mother Russia”; some may find the so-called ´Summer Triangle` with the stars: Deneb, Altair and Vega…

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“Dreams can become  reality if you are prepared to have a go!” 

(Denis Bartell, Australian Adventurer)

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Volgograd, Russia: The Past And The Present, Part One

“What the fuck am I doing here?!” was my first thought as I was arriving at the Gumrak Airport in Volgograd (the former Stalingrad), on the 13th of October. The flight from Munich to Moscow and then to VOG was delayed and the cold, windy and dreary weather did the rest to my lonesome journey into the past. The one and only reason to get here  was the death of one of my uncles, Martin Priller, during one of the most fiercest battles of WW II, the fight for the city of Stalingrad. While booking my flight a couple of weeks ago, I did not realize then, that my intended travel time from the 12th-19th of October coincided with the 70th anniversary of the death of my uncle – the 16th Oct. 1942! Just five days before I had left home, I have found a website of a local travel agency, and after making contact via Facebook, I had a very reliable, english speaking tour guide – thanks again Mike (Mikhail Shuvarikov). While touring with him, there is no car rental in VOG, I got around places I could not even have dreamed about before. Like having a “scout” who knew all the former cemeteries of the German soldiers and doing some digging there, getting in touch with a patriarch of a once bombed orthodox church or an old lady who were talking about the bombings of Stalingrad of the German Army when she was a child. So many doors opened up, again and again, and time went by like there would be no time at all. Even the weather was cooperating and I had a fantastic last night, spending it at the Mamajey Kurgan Memorial Complex. To be continued.

If anyone is interested in doing a photo tour to VOG, please let me know; I could arrange something like that. Going out to the battlefields and do some digging, visiting the German and Soviet Soldier Cemetery at Rossoschka, doing a city sight-seeing-tour and spend an evening/night at the Mamajev Kurgan Complex. Enjoy!

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The battlefields of Stalingrad, out in the steppe; the supposed area where my uncle has died/was shot; the positions and emplacements are still there, also you can still find – without digging – relics like bones, bullets, shrapnel, buttons of cloth and tents….

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Bones, buttons and shrapnel…everything is still there…

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One of the very few buildings that got out from WW II; some 95 % of former Volgograd was destroyed (bombed)…

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The Orthodox Church at the Mamajev Kurgan Complex during twilight; the stars belong to the constellation of Sagittarius…

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The crescent Moon, Mars and Antares over the city of Volgograd; Mars is about 1.7° separated of the setting Moon…

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The Mamajev Kurgan Memorial Complex at night; the statue “Mother Russia is calling”, standing 85 m tall, is the main attraction, while “The Lake of Tears” smooth surface is reflecting the lights…

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“You must be the change you wish to see in the world!”

(Mahatma Gandhi)
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My Favorite Images Of September 2012

As you may have noticed, this blog tends to become more and more “nocturne-sided”. I cant help myself, but I´m somehow addicted to the stars and the universe itself. That´s the kind of stuff that fuels my soul, my inner motor, my vision. Since we are made out of that stuff, the so-called star-dust, I think it´s some kind of normal  being addicted to the cosmos. The digital area gives us so many new possibilities for capturing the stars in a way that wouldn´t have been possible some time ago. These days I even plan my journeys on the phases of the Moon, and the first images I process when I´m back home are the ones of the night sky. There is a saying that gear doesn´t matter, it’s the person behind the lens that matters. That´s right – except for one term – when you are shooting night-scenes. There is an interesting article by Michael Frye on his blog about gear – check it out: http://www.michaelfrye.com/landscape-photography-blog/2012/09/27/photographing-the-milky-way/ . 

I´m heading to Volgograd, Russia on Friday,12th Oct. – Friday, 19th Oct., to see the grave of one of my fallen uncles during WWII. I´d planed this trip on the phases of the Moon (New moon 15th Oct.), not knowing until later, that my uncle Martin was fallen 16th Oct. 1942; that makes it exactly 70 years, for one of the Priller-clan to visit his graveyard….This time I´m traveling by airplane; here are links when I had tried this by car in 2010: https://wernerpriller.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/dealing-with-russia-part-i/ , https://wernerpriller.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/dealing-with-russia-part-ii/ , https://wernerpriller.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/dealing-with-russia-part-iii/ , https://wernerpriller.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/dealing-with-russia-last-part/ 

Enjoy!

Dramatic clouds during nautical twilight…

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A so-called Fireball or Bolide hitting the MilkyWay…

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Backlit clouds over the Austrian Alps with the so-called Venus Belt (pinkish line) and Earth Shade (the grey line above the ridge)…

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The stars shine over the Austrian Alps; notice the light dot at the middle of the ridge-this is where the Großglockner-High-Alpine-Road leads to (2504 m)…

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Long-time exposure of the MilkyWay; though the foreground gets blurred, this single shot contains that much information…

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The MilkyWay above Gr0ßglockner Ridge, 3798 m, with the Pasterze-glacier to the right…

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20 min. single startrail shot; notice the light track (center) – mountaineers still descending from the summit of Großglockner Mt., 3798 m…

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Stars and Venus above, while the city of Auronzo lies beneath a cloud cover, the Dolomites, Italy…

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The Dolomites, the city of Misurina and the stars…

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The Dolomites, just before the stars become visible…

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3-image pano: Venus (left), Procyon (center) and Sirius (right); the city of Auronzo shines through the clouds/low stratus, Italy…

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Startrails above the ridge of the famous Tre Cime mountains, the Dolomites, Italy…

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“When god created the world, he took the Dolomites as example.” 

(Author ?)

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