Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Balance Beam

Maybe this is "old hat" to the rest of you but when Christina and I were out-n-about last Friday in Hannover's City Center, I saw something I had never seen before.

Yes, I actually got down close to the ground to take this pic. I couldn't believe such a big truck was levitated off the ground like this.

Christina said some people walked around me and paid no attention. Others clearly wondered what this crazy old lady was doing while the men above were taking down the Christmas lights!

Now here's the funny part. After my picture taking, Christina and I continued down the street for another 2 blocks. Just before entering a store, a man ran up behind us and started asking all kinds of questions. In German, of course. Christina, in her fluent German, explained to him that this was my hobby--taking photos.

Once I got the drift, I said in my intermittent English/German, with many hand gestures, "Hobby [pointing to my camera]. Ist gut? Okay? I've never seen that before! Photo okay? Sehr gut?"

And in the mix, Christina asked him (at my prodding) why the truck was levitated? He said it makes the truck more stable when the hydraulic lift is being extended. Okay then.

We chuckled afterwards and wondered if he thought we were taking pics for the newspaper without their permission. But it does raise the point that you do have to be careful when taking photos "without permission." And here I thought there were only two guys way up in the air who weren't paying attention to me!

Thankfully, I got my education AND my photos!


  1. That is funny but yes I have seen it before...

    I'd continue doing what you are doing because the worst they can do is either make you stop taking photos or ask that they are deleted... No harm done..

  2. How bizzare. More stable huh? Looks are deceiving then because it would seem like it'd be more prone to problems being lifted like that.
    I'm often self conscious when taking photos in public like that. A few times I've taken photos inside shops and they'll let you know immediately if you're not allowed. I apologize and smile and say something about it being my hobby, too. But there have been times when I've wanted to capture something and couldn't break out the camera because I was too self conscious.
    Hurray for brave photography! Kudos, Ginnie. :)

  3. ET: I am learning to ask permission when it seems feasible. Otherwise, I simply take the risk of having my hand slapped! In this case, it never occurred to me that I needed to ask permission, esp. since the only guys I saw were way up on top of the lift! Obviously I was wrong.

    Mad: Well, I have those moments, too! Sometimes it really IS inappropriate to pull out the camera. The way so many people are getting around that today is by using their cell phones and people think they're looking at text messages. Of course, the pic may not be as good. Sigh. Decisions, decisions.

  4. That's funny. I didn't think that this particular situation would have caused such excitement. I mean, it's not like you were taking pictures of a top-secret mission being carried out. Hmm. Maybe it was?? ;-)

  5. I think we both learned something that day! I asked Bernd about it later and of course he knew, but he's sort of in that business so he would have to.

    After a bit of consideration I came to the conclusion that those men may have been concerned that you thought they were violating some kind of safety standards (they may well have been, what do we know?) and were taking pictures as proof. There's Germany for ya.

    But now they're getting some pretty good advertising on your blog so they should be happy. :-)

  6. CS: HA. You're so right. I feel like I got two things for the price of one!

    Christina: Well, then! Isn't it funny how quickly we get defensive and think WE'RE the guilty party! Wouldn't that be nice if you are right. :)

    And yes, lots of advertising, if you ask me.

  7. Wow Ginnie, I have never seen that before! I would be on the ground taking pictures, too! Trust the Germans to come up with something so smart (and odd)! About your questions on my post today - yes, I think you have it all figured out, congratulations! ;)

  8. Ginnie,
    I must admit I was rather confused when seeing your first picture here. What's the big idea?
    But the next pictures revealed the whole secret: Stabelizing.

    btw. No stormy weather forcast for the Oslo-area. Only Central Europe this time. Hope to be online from home during the weekend, else I'll walk on the wall.

  9. RRD: So glad to know I'm not the only one who had never seen this, Stacey. :) And I'm glad I figured you out. :)

    Tor: Good to know you'll be spared the storm in Norway. Landlady Uschi told me to make sure I don't go outside this afternoon or evening because they're expecting trees to fall down. Sounds like a mini-tornado, if you ask me. Hopefully it won't keep us from flying home tomorrow!

    And for your sake, I trust your Internet is working this weekend. :)

  10. So glad Uschi advised you to stay inside, Ginnie. It looks like this could be a bad one. Stay safe!

  11. Thanks, Christina. I just found out from Donica that her flight from Amsterdam to Paris was cancelled and she'll now be flying straight from Amsterdam to Atlanta tomorrow, arriving about the same time as her original flight from Paris. I'm glad for her because now she'll have just one flight instead of two!

    In the meantime, while in an IM chat with Amy a few minutes ago, we had a hail storm here in Hannover--for maybe 5 minutes. Exciting stuff. :) I hope I don't miss MY flight to Stuttgart tomorrow before the longer flight to Atlanta. Cross all your fingers and toes for me. :)