Duisburg expo nr.1 - January 2008
First the plan was to go to the Rotterdam harbour. Then the plan was to go to Antwerp harbour. Finally we settled for Duisburg, because Ruben knew it well and he promised it would be exciting. It certainly was!

Look here for Duisburg expo nr.2.

The moment Kaspar and I drove into Duisburg we thought “Wow!” There was steam, there was smoke, there were huge chimneys, there was black steel - this looked very good!

When Ruben suggested going to the Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord I was a bit sceptical. This would be a legal expedition to an industrial monument. And wouldn’t it be sterile? Why not explore the working industry and try to find entrances into that?

But once we entered the location all my scepticism vanished. After eating the last “bratwurst” and last portions of fries the kiosk had - it closed soon thereafter - we took a first tour of the premises. It was huge, it was rusty, it was almost all freely accessible! Instant UE paradise!

The first problem was - where to start? There was so much to see. Should we just roam around? Or explore one building in detail? Ruben told us this was his 5th visit here and he still hadn’t seen it all.

I was struck by the many art-lookalikes we passed on the way.

Had someone tried to copy the famous skeletons of Harald Nägeli?

And the block, wasn’t it a nice copy of a stone sculpture by Ulrich Rückriem, or some other conceptual artist? And it took us some discussion to decide whether the zebra was a Banksy or not. We decided on NOT : Banksy doesn’t prepare his surfaces using latex paint and a roller.

But most of all I was struck by this sexy lady, hidden away in an inconspicuous spot. It certainly isn’t art, but who took so much trouble to draw her and what were his private fantasies? (It must have been a “he”, don’t you think?) Or was he just showing off his drawing skillz to a group of friends?

Kaspar was trying out his new camera and he took loads of pictures. He got a lot of practical advice from Ruben, who is a professional photographer (that’s just one of his three jobs).
From left to right: Ruben, Tijmen and Kaspar. They were doing all kinds of tricks with diaphragm settings, exposure times and HDR to get a good picture of the mystery train inside a very dark building. I didn't even try.

Everything was connected by huge pipes, ducts and gangways. Like a space colony ready for takeoff. Freezing weather added extra reflection to every pond.

The high point of the day was climbing the 70 meter high blast furnace, meanwhile passing a lot more space technology. On the way up we passed a very photogenic couple of gothics who were taking fashion photographs. The male model had to strip into a very thin black shirt and pose with an elfin dagger, and that in -2 degrees. Uncomfortable, but it certainly looked good.
At the top we froze our fingers and ears off, but we enjoyed the magnificent view and we took the inevitable panorama shots.
No this is not a panorama shot, I don't have the patience for that. This is just maximum zoom with a cheap digital camera. Doesn't that highway make a wonderful curve?
As darkness fell we drove through the active industry sites and found a most wonderful tunnel with a fire-spitting chimney in the background. The dusk, industrial lighting and flames were again ideal for HDR experiments and soon the “tripod gang” assembled and started shooting.

A stop at the dark riverside was the last part of this expedition. Added bonuses were: learning how to start a car with a dead battery (mine) and a nice meal in Raststätte Hünxe, that was worth the detour. We immediately made an appointment to return as soon as possible. Look her for expo nr.2

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© Petr Kazil

January 2008