One of the more spectacular sights on the Industrial Heritage Trail in Germany’s Ruhr Valley is the Henrichenburg Ship Lift, located in the small town of Waltrop. I visited this place on a sunny afternoon in January, and here are the photographs I took on this day.
The Industrial Heritage Trail
I find the term “Industrial Heritage Trail” slightly misleading because the word “trail” implies a path that people walk on. However, the Industrial Heritage Trail is not a footpath at all. It is more of a large set of old industrial sights in the Ruhr Valley. For more information, visit the Industrial Heritage Trail website (German only, unfortunately).
Things to see at the Henrichenburg Ship Lift
The Henrichenburg Ship Lift offers several interesting elements: A small museum covering river shipping and the work of the ship lift, the ship lift facility itself, a small shipyard for maintenance repair, and an equally small ship graveyard. The following photographs are not meant to be a complete representation of the site. They show what caught my eye and what I found interesting. I tend to work without preconceptions. Usually, I don’t visit a place like this with specific goals in mind. I just go there and shoot whatever strikes me as exciting and worth exploring. Often (but not always), the images are not primarily about the things they show but more about the stories that this composition of visual elements inspires. On this shoot, some of the images don’t even have industrial subject matter.
In and around the museum
The small museum features, among other things, an exhibition covering the ship lift, the channels of the area, and the everyday life of the inland skippers. It is an interesting, albeit somewhat dark and moody place. With the exhibits being quite close and often quite large, I focused on detail shots. Here is what I got.
This old bulb was hardly illuminating anything of the skippers’ everyday items in the small chamber where it was situated. I found that the texture of the protective metal bars surrounding the bulb was crucial to bringing out its rugged nature.
The next photograph shows a logo of the manufacturer of some big machine. Unfortunately, though, I was not able to find out the name of the company.
These two gauges were situated at a different place of the same machine. Thanks to the large aperture of f/1.8 and my camera’s image stabilization, and its tilting screen, I was able to take this shot with my arms stretched out above my head. Thank you, Nikon!
In the corner of the museum, there were several stacked chairs with shiny metal legs. I gladly seized this opportunity for some semi-abstract experimentation.
With the buildings being more than 100 years old, even the massive wooden doors provided an opportunity for an interesting detail shot.
When I left the museum to walk to the ship lift itself, I found this composition. The subject matter is simple enough. It’s just the footpath to the ship lift. However, I found the rails provided an interesting enough leading line for the image to work nonetheless. The photo was quite challenging in terms of dynamic range. However, the Z6 mastered the challenge wonderfully. I was able to retain all the detail I wanted in both the shadows and the highlights.
The ship lift itself
A facility that serves as a lift for complete inland water vessels is, of course, impressive to behold. I did my best to capture the essence of the ship lift and its remarkable construction in the following eight photographs.
Old ships with rusty hulls are an opportunity no black&white shooter can walk by without taking a few frames. They are interesting not only for their visual appeal but also for the stories they can tell viewers with an open mind.
The last (but certainly not least) images I would like to share with you today are two abstract photographs that I found in the water. I have a soft spot for abstract photographs, which is why these two are among my favorites of this outing to the Henrichenburg Ship Lift.
If you like what you saw here, please feel free to like this post or write a short comment. If you are interested in seeing photos from other site on the Industrial Heritage Trail, check out these posts from the so-called LaPaDu or the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex.