Trip Notes

Eleven years after the Berlin Wall was felled, we visited Berlin. Our introduction upon arrival, slightly lost on a cold, frosty, dark, quiet night, having driven through a large dark wood,

Hardware and Software

The Canon S10 digital camera. 64mb Compact Flash memory card. Rechargeable battery and charger and a simple plug adapter for Germany and France (newer outlets

Panoramic Nighttime Christmas Market


was the black and whiteness of the bridge crossing over from Wannsee to Potsdam. Spies. Intrigue. A quiet seriousness.

The next four days we spent rummaging around the old and the new Berlin. We stayed in the former East, the hip, revitalizing Oranienburger area, parts dangerous-looking, parts too cool for school.

The incredible power of the very recent past, focussing on Niederkirchner Strasse (once called Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse), is where they have left standing a block-long stretch of the former Wall and that Wall stands directly above the ruined foundations where the headquarters of the Gestapo once stood. Built right into the brick foundations is an exhibit called the Topographie des Terrors

in both countries being the same). Toshiba Tecra 8000 laptop with a gig of available harddrive space; USB cable for camera to computer; Compact Flash card PCMCIA adapter.

This particular photo (above), for example, uses the automatic settings in the camera for nighttime photography. The resultant auto settings are f/2.8 with a shutter speed of 1/20 sec and an automatic white balance.

There is help for "stitching" a panoramic shot; this one is a composite of three images using assistance from the camera and, later on the laptop, software supplied by Canon; a little mentally challenging, but essentially effortless, and extremely fun to use.

Topographie des Terrors
The 19th c. Prussian Chamber of Deputies, far left and across the street; the Berlin Wall, sidewalk level; below ground level the foundations of the headquarters of the Gestapo and the exhibit.

Topographie des Terrors

which follows the uses to which buildings were put during the Nazi regime. Many were concentrated on this one block in Berlin, where they are now building a museum over the existing cellars and foundations of the headquarters and prisons of the Gestapo, the SS and the SA.

And, by the happenstance of political boundaries, there now stands one of the remaining segments of the Wall and the reminders of the continued "spiritual and physical terror" of yet another regime.

The fully recharged battery lasts well over one full day, when at the most I would take up to 80 photographs (with 105 available), all at the default resolution of 1600x1200. (It was very important to learn that Lithium Ion batteries appear to be depleted when too cold and so I am always aware of keeping the camera "warm," carried in my inside coat pocket, safely against my breast.)

The software supplied by Canon isn't throw away stuff, including the above-mentioned "stitching" software (PhotoStitch 3.1) and a "browser" / storage program (ZoomBrowser EX Although I believe the supplied software includes the home version of Adobe Photoshop, I use Photoshop LE 5.0.

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all content, verbal and photographic rights:
Tom Howard
December 2000