Personal Favorites 2020

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (35mm, f/4, 1/1400 sec, ISO200)

With all travel locations out of reach I got the time to look back.

It is not something that comes naturally because I prefer to look forward. I always did. I think a lot of the things I’m going to do when the world finally opens up again. But we are not there yet and I can’t post images that I’m going to take in the future.

So I look back to my personal favourites. I start with 2020.

The first image I took from my hotel room in Tokyo. On a cold but sunny morning in February 2020. Back then Japan reported the first Covid-19 cases outside of China. Most of them trapped on a cruise ship in the port of Yokohama. But even though I was in Japan at that time Covid-19 was still far away from me. One month later it was a completely different story. But this is not about Covid-19.

This trip was my seventh business trip to Japan and while I traveled in between Tokyo and Osaka by train on every single trip I never saw Mount Fuji. The train passes Mount Fuji rather close but it was always hidden behind the clouds. I started to joke that I doubt that Mount Fuji exists. But on that beautiful morning on my first day of the trip I saw Mount Fuji right from my hotel room. I was lucky that I got a room that faces Mount Fuji and also that my hotel room was on the 34th floor. When I returned from Osaka two days later my room was in the 25th floor so my view to Mount Fuji was obstructed by another sky scraper.

So if you ever stay in Tokyo make sure to get a room that faces Mount Fuji and that your hotel is high enough. I recommend the Park Hyatt from the movie “Lost in Translation” that can be seen on the right side of my picture. But the last time I checked a room was close to 1.000 USD per night. So maybe better stay in a cheaper place and get some nice things instead.

And here is one taken on the train back to Tokyo two days later.

Apple iPhone XS (6mm, f/2.4, 1/800 sec, ISO16)

SONY DSC-RX100M4 (8.8mm, f/2.2, 1/60 sec, ISO125)
SONY DSC-RX100M4 (8.8mm, f/3.5, 1/100 sec, ISO125)

The next two images are “Covid-19 images”. One was taken on a mountain bike ride and the other one shows my backyard in full autumn colours. They are somehow special because with all the traveling that I did in the last couple of years I often missed the beauty of autumn. Even though my trips are seldom longer than a week or two sometimes that is enough to miss spring bloom or autumn peak season.

Well not in 2020 where I stayed home most of the time.

The image below shows my new record player that I got just before Covid-19 changed life dramatically. Nowhere to go for a long time or a lot of time in my home. This fancy turntable from Germany replaced my 21 year old turntable that still worked but from time to time you just need something new and feel the itch to upgrade. To put those 21 years in perspective: 21 years ago I still shot slide film with my Nikon F100 and my youngest colleague in the office wasn’t born yet.

This turntable has giving me a lot of pleasure in those challenging times. I literally rediscovered my records with it.

FUJIFILM X-H1 (19.4mm, f/2.8, 1/70 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-H1 (37.6mm, f/8, 1/600 sec, ISO200)

2020 wasn’t the year to travel for obvious reasons so instead of the USA or another foreign country we stayed in Austria. In September we went for a hiking trip in the mountains. Just a couple of days. We hiked, we rented e-bikes and on the last day we drove up the GroƟglockner alpine road. That’s the highest mountain in Austria with its 3.798 meters. The road goes up to an elevation of 2.600 meter. I went up there twice with my road bike which was an amazing experience but it’s also not bad if you drive up with your car.

2020 was a good reminder for me that Austria is a very beautiful place too.

The last image is from Japan again. It’s take in the famous Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. Maybe the most crowded tourist attraction in Tokyo. If you visit early morning your will be fine but if you come too late it will feel like Shinjuku station at rush hour. I complained about that here previously but now I can’t wait to join the endless stream of visitors again when this nightmare is finally over.

I even consider to ride the subway at rush hour when I’m in Tokyo again. That is how much I miss other people right now.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (23mm, f/4, 1/640 sec, ISO200)