Scent Of An Evening*

Click HERE to read the article with the full set of photographs

As I wrote this, the rain clouds were forming over Berlin and in about an hour or so, the wonderful summer-like weather that enraptured the city for the last four days vanished. It almost felt like home again, with temperatures in the 30s and elevated humidity. In Manila I probably would have turned on the electric fan by now, or perhaps even the air conditioning unit. Here in my river alcove I am comforted by the gentle river breeze. The night temperatures sink dramatically to a point where a light blanket is needed if sleeping with the slightly open window.

I looked out the window and the boats docked in front of the building bobbed up and down to the wind. The calm waters that all the rowers and leisure sailors enjoyed over the weekend have retreated, and the water fowl took shelter elsewhere. The regular visitors such as the Swan Family and the obnoxiously loud but entertaining grey goose who likes to patrol the area (I have nicknamed him Baron Mecker von Gans (Baron Grumble Goose), bestowing him a royal title because for all intents and purposes, in spite of his loud mouth, he is elegant and very noble, and behaves every bit like the lord of the manor, or in this case, the river baron.

While cleaning the apartment I realized that a broom was rather useless for the job this time. All the dandelions have transformed from bright yellow buttercups into while fairy bombs, sending out their fluffy presence all over the place. Walking through the fields I initially wondered what all the strange white moss was, only to discover that it was the accumulated residue of the exploded dandelions. The winds carry them into the homes, and just about everywhere else, and if they get stuck on spiderwebs, your corners looks dirtier than they actually are and everything gets stuck on the broom. So, out came the vacuum cleaner, and from what I hear from my neighbors, I’m not the only one busy with the vacuum.

Common European Ash ©MTHerzog

I thought I would miss the sultry Asian afternoons with glorious sunsets and the scent of Jasmin, Frangipani or Lady of the Night (Rathkirani or Dama de Noche) that conjure up wonderful memories of bygone days. But when I opened my windows the other morning the scent of the flowering ash tree (Fraxinus Excelsior) in front of the building floated in and conquered the entire flat.


It was simply intoxicating, in the most positive manner! It was the most comforting and inspiring experience that day, and the only way to celebrate was with a glass of rose wine. Since my shipment hasn’t arrived yet, the only glasses available at the moment are those that I inherited with the flat, and they happen to be beer glasses! Oh well, it’s the substance that matter, not the appearances. It’s just a pity that the flowering period of these trees is so brief, but better than none at all. There is no drama with the ash tree, unlike the more flamboyant and exuberant cherry tree, but there is something soothing about it and the closest scent I can associate it to is jasmine or ylang ylang.

Blue Hour is normally my favorite time to photograph, regardless of what country I happen to find myself in. Manila Bay has it’s spectacular moments, and if you know where to stand in Florence, it can be one of the most magical moments to witness. Not to be left behind, Berlin has a lot to offer in terms of sunset shots. I was simply too reluctant to leave my flat at that hour, so I shot from the balcony and decided to fiddle around with a few shots of the crescent moon. Sometimes it pays off to be patient.

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