I was asked to a conference in Cologne and whilst doing the necessary preparation for work, I also get ready and planned my photographic journey for the trip. When researching photographs of Cologne a few areas were highlighted. The Cathedral and the River Crane Buildings were prominent in the Google pictures search. The journey fro Birmingham was plane to Dusseldorf and I arrived into Cologne over the railway Bridge that spans the Rhine. As the train passes over the large steel bridge into the station you get glimpses of the cathedral and the markets. As soon as you leave the station, you walk into a square and the camera has to be taken out. The cathedral takes your breath away with its grand structure.
There were Christmas markets around the Cathedral. These were very pretty selling many different gifts from stars to wooden puppets. The markets were lively with music, laughter and singing. They are nestled in pockets around the narrow streets of the city.
Having has a brief look in the cathedral where mass was taking place, I headed out over the steel railway bridge looking for the classic view of the city. A feature of the bridge is all the padlocks that have been added to the fencing between the railway tracks and the pedestrian footpath. It is a twinkling mass of brass and quite something to see. Eventually I arrived at the promontory on the far bank where there is a large statue of Keiser Wilhelm I. It is here where I set up my camera to take the “classic” view of the cathedral as you look back over the Rhine. I used my Sony DSC-RX100M5 on manual to take the picture. I rested the base of my camera on my handkerchief as there was a low stone wall to use as support.
The settings were as follows
- shutter speed 10 seconds
- focal length of f/2.5
- ISO 100
The slow shutter speed allowed for the intercity train moving over the bridge to blur and line up with the other leading lines of the bridge. The water from the Rhine began to have a slight silky appearance to it. The contrasting colours came out well with the silver of the cathedral and the gold of the steel bridge. I was pleased how it turned out.
The conference took place at the University of Cologne and after two days of an intensive workshop, we had a few hours spare before travelling back to Dusseldorf airport. First off it was the cathedral and the inside architecture is a sight to see. The long imposing nave leads to the Relics of the Three Kings. It is difficult with the camera to do justice to all the wonderful stained glass windows and other structures that are present in the cathedral. I will have to return again.
Also I wanted to see the three skyscrapers on the Rhine called the River City Cranes. They looked spectacular from pictures on the web. They were half a mile south from the train station but well worth the walk. On the way I passed another Christmas market as well with all the people activity going on. Getting close and personal to the large structures allowed for some great architectural views of them. They reminded me of a Star Wars troop carrier with the anterior leg supporting an outstretched flat structure. There were many opportunities for pictures and the wide angled view from the iPhone allowed for some rather good distorted views. I walked out onto the nearby bridge to get a better view of the structures. They were fascinating.
Then it was back along the riverfront to take pictures of the picturesque houses with various local people taking in the end of the day. The houses were set back from the river and the cathedral spires over looked them. They were a popular place for locals to stroll along the river or sit back and people watch others.
Overall verdict, an interesting city to photograph and one to which I will return.