Senad Grosic rides his bike over a bridge in Gablenz, Germany.
Image Credit: Photograph by Lorenz Holder/Red Bull Illume.
Senad and I were on the way to a different location early in the morning, when we passed this scenic spot. We saw a sign from the street and I had some pictures in mind that I’d seen from this bridge on the internet.
When we got there the sun was just above the trees and it was lighting up the full color-spectrum of the autumn leaves in a very soft way.
One thing that was a little annoying was that the lake was covered with leaves which had fallen from trees, so the reflection of the bridge in the lake was just not there.
But sometimes you just need a bit of luck – I had been on a fishing trip some days before and still had my fishing-boots and a net in the car. So got the stuff and tried to clean the lake by hand. It took a while until it was almost perfectly clean – at least where it was relevant for the picture.
Luckily the sun was still very soft, so we had good light for the shot.I’d chosen a very low camera position to get an almost perfect mirrored scene on the water surface. The bridge looked like a perfect circle and the light was still very good.
When Senad was on the bridge, it took us two or three tries to get the shot. There was also no more time for another try because the wind came up and the perfect reflection on the water was gone.
We jumped back to the car and drove towards our originally planned spot. It was an awesome feeling to have shot this picture with more or less pure luck.
Without the sign next to the road, we would have passed one of the nicest photo scenes.
The Nebra Sky Disk photographed in Basel, Switzerland, in 2006 – Dbachmann via Wikipedia
Henry Westphal is tired. It’s July 4, 1999, a Sunday. He and a friend are climbing the Mittelberg or “Central Hill,” a small mountain near Nebra, in central Germany.
Both men know of ancient ruins located here. Equipped with two metal detectors, they hope to find something of value.
Westphal stops to rest for a couple of minutes. It’s a hot day and he’s out of shape.
Suddenly his metal detector starts beeping wildly. He brushes some leaves aside with his shoe but can’t make out anything. The detector’s display reads, “OVERLOAD.”
With a pick, Westphal scrapes at the dry ground. Under a few inches of soil, the pick hits something hard several times.
Together the two treasure-hunters dig a small pit. They find several objects: two decorative swords, two ax heads, a chisel, and two bracelets. The objects are piled beside a large, round disk oriented upright in the ground.
Through the dirt sticking to the disk, a faint golden shimmer is visible.
The men take the objects, cover up the hole, and drive home. That night they go to a bar to celebrate the unusual and obviously valuable find. What neither of them knows is that the dirty disk would turn out to be a one-of-a-kind, 3,600-year-old artifact, later declared to be one of the most important finds of the 20th century.
After soaking the disk in a bathtub filled with water and dish soap for several days, Westphal sells it together with the other objects to an art dealer for 31,000 Deutsche marks (about 19,000 U.S. dollars at the time).
The dealer knows the items are worth more and tries to sell them to several museums. The museums decline, realizing that trading in this ancient find is illegal. The disk ends up on the black market.
In May 2001, Harald Meller, the new state archaeologist in Saxony-Anhalt, hears about the disk. Photos show it’s in bad shape; Westphal had accidentally damaged it with his pick and inexpert cleaning.
Meller, the State Criminal Investigation Office, and other officials come up with a plan to get the objects back. Like Indiana Jones, Meller knows that a find like this belongs in a museum.
The item of interest, now known as the Nebra Sky Disk, is a five-pound* plate of bronze inlaid with dozens of gold symbols. The gold figures include a lunar crescent, a large circle, and 30 small circles.
After studying the disk for many years, archaeologists have concluded that it is the oldest and accurate diagram of the sky ever found. The disk was a carefully made map used both for practical and religious purposes.
One of the most important components of the disk is a tight group of seven stars placed between the lunar crescent and the large circle denoting the full moon.
They represent the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, a cluster of stars visible with the naked eye to people in the Northern Hemisphere. The Pleiades were known to, depicted by, and followed with interest by ancient cultures around the globe.
Sketch by Albrecht Durer, 1511, probably drawn from memory.
Tools shown on the cheek of the press are the same Y-shaped tool shown in the Ascensius press marks, and a pair of dividers.
Durer’s sketch. although it shows the screw running in the wrong direction, seems to be done from observation. (Durer was the godson of Nuremberg printer and publisher, Anton Koberger, and had a press in his home.)
In the well-known 1628 copperplate engraving published in Haarlem by Peter Scriverius, the scissors, dividers and paste-brush are shown again on the head of the press. In this engraving, called “the first accurate representation of a press,” the mysterious tool of 1520 is not shown.
A hammer or mallet is shown hanging from the left cheek of the press, used of course for planing the form and setting the quoins and sidesticks.
Sidesticks were strips of wood or metal; when wedged against quoins, they secured one side of a locked-up page.