Blue Hour At Hamburg Harbor

APRIL 2012 – Ships are being unloaded at night at the Tollerort Container Terminal in Hamburg, Germany. Photo © by Mark Zanzig/

The story behind the image

This image has actually two stories.

Let’s start with some background: We did a weekend trip to Hamburg and did not want to bring the whole gear. Instead we opted for our small Ricoh CX1, a very capable point and shoot camera. It captures just 9 megapixel, but these are pretty well captured considering the cost, dimensions and weight of the camera. Back in 2002 this quality would have easily competed with 100 ASA slide film.

In the evening we met a friend and went dining in one of the better restaurants in Altona at the Große Elbstraße, next to the harbor. We had a table at the window, looking directly at the wide Elbe river and at Tollerort, one of the huge container terminals of the city. The view was fantastic – ships were coming, ships were leaving. And then the Blue Hour did its magic, aided by the bright lights of the terminal. I grabbed the tiny Ricoh, ran to the patio, put the tiny camera on a solid ground and took a few shots at 1 sec exposure time. At home I was once more pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the image. Sure, you can spot some noise and it is not as crisp as a DSLR with a good lens would have been be. But it was satisfying enough for me, and I did not have my gear with me.

And here comes the second story about this image. A while ago I started to submit some photos to Unsplash just to see how it is to be active in that community. I did not post super commercial stuff, rather photos I’d consider second or even third choice. Just for fun. And this was one of the shots. I thought, well, maybe someone somewhere might be able to use it to illustrate Hamburg harbor or even any harbor. Guess what? The Unsplash Bot (!) rejected this image and deleted it from my stream. Yes! Their bot did it! At first I was angry (and thinking about it, I still am, as you may notice), but then again this moment sparked my desire to re-open! Yeah! Running my own site enables me to publish exactly the images I want to publish, without some bot telling me it’s not good enough (to be a free photo). So I actually thank Unsplash for this. Funny, eh?

P.S.: I’ve stopped uploading to Unsplash and will keep just very few images in my feed.

The high resolution image

Capture Date & Time29-APR-2012, 21:26
LocationGroße Elbstraße 49, Hamburg, Germany
CameraRicoh CX1
Exposure1 sec at f/4.7
Digital Image Source FormatJPEG, 24 bits/pixel, sRGB
Edited Image FormatJPEG, 24 bits/pixel, sRGB
Edited Image Dimensions3422 x 1925 Pixels
Copyright© by Mark Zanzig/


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