Photo Essay: The Best of February 2015

Back in 2012 when I started this blog, I began researching what kind of blog series I should have. Because apparently, a blog needs a weekly series, right? At least I seemed like that to me.

Basically every blog I’ve been following has, or has at least used to have, a weekly (photo) series. For many of us bloggers, this was how we got used to editorial calendars and the pressure of having a certain kind of blog post published on a certain day of the week. From Sunset Sundays, to Travel Tuesdays, to the (indestructible) Photo Friday, there’s basically no weekly series that has not been invented yet.

Being a newbie blogger, I had no doubt that I needed a weekly photo article series, but I quickly understood that I couldn’t always deliver what I promised. I started feeling guilty for not posting on time, sometimes I was really shocked when I realized it was “the” day and I hadn’t had a post idea yet.

Like many other bloggers, I gave up on my weekly series after a while and instead started writing photo essays whenever I had great photos to share, and only when I felt inspired enough to write such a post.

Two and a half years into blogging though, I recently realized that I actually love reading weekly wrap-ups that are more than just random photo collections. I follow blogs when I want to follow the person behind it. I like seeing what they are up to, I like little glimpses of their personal life, I like reading about the up and downs.

And obviously, there’s no other blog post category I like more than recaps: Week recaps, year wrap-ups, trip reviews, you name it. I like how simply words, numbers, and photos can provide such a great impression of certain time span.

And if my love for reading and writing wrap-up posts weren’t enough, I’ve also noticed that I take so many photos all the time, but I actually share so little of them.

In the first two months 2015 alone, I’ve already taken more than 1,700 photos even though I haven’t even been anywhere exciting yet. I know, way too many photos, and definitely not all good photos. But besides the hundreds of photos I’ve taken during my portrait sessions (currently trying to build a little career out of this), I also photograph little pretty things: My tea and book on the couch on a cozy Sunday, or a ray of sunlight on the basil in my kitchen window. But sadly, I rarely ever do anything with these images.

Tea, books, and a laptop in Germany

I’ve always thought I’d one day write a blog post called something like “A Photo Essay of the Forgotten Images”, or “Best Left-Over Photos from 2014” — but I just recently came up with a better idea: Sharing the pretty little moments in a monthly-photo-essay-kind-of-personal-wrap-up-post.

This way, I can add a somewhat regular post to my editorial calendar which is otherwise too very depended on my mood and daily inspiration. Plus, I have a reason to share the prettiest photos of the month and at the same time force myself to produce more pretty photos even when I’m busy with other things. And hopefully, I have a chance to get my thoughts straight and reflect once a month — at least on paper screen.

So without further ado, here comes the best of my February:

Writing

I lacked a bit of inspiration in the beginning of the year, but the eventual February sunshine and the vague light on my kitchen table helped me finding my words again. I’ve learned to write down any thoughts that cross my mind immediately so I can turn them into a blog post eventually. Winter always gets me thinking about life a lot, so my posts were rather personal and intimate lately, but I love being honest and sharing the things that make me struggle, because I feel like so many people out there can relate.

Blogging in Germany

Tea and blogging in Germany

Coffee

I love going for coffee dates, but when I’m not traveling they mostly happen in the not-too-picturesque cafeteria at work. That’s why I’m trying to have at least a few pretty coffee encounters to photograph each month. In early February, I was thrilled to hear from a new friend (who just got back from a London stint!) and meet up with her in the cutest café here in Göttingen. Seriously, what’s better than vintage suitcases, heart-shaped cookies, cappuccino, and chatting about travel?

Coffee shop in Göttingen, Germany

Coffee shop in Göttingen, Germany

Coffee shop in Göttingen, Germany

Life

As you know, winter in Central Europe is always giving me a hard time. I’m fighting my annual dooming winter depression with as much tea and warm socks as possible though. And I’m always bringing my sunglasses with me when I leave the house just to pretend there might be hope for a sudden burst of sunlight.

Tea inside on a cold winter day in Germany

Actually, this February was not even nearly as bad as I expected it to be: It was sunny every other day and even though I’m pale like a white wall (not even kidding), at least I got to soak in a few rays of sun every now and then. You wouldn’t even believe how much better my mood gets as soon as the sun’s out!

Snow  drops in Göttingen, Germany

And as February came to an end, it finally started to feel like spring is just around the corner in Germany! On the last Saturday in February, I could finally leave the house without gloves and my extra thick scarf to go for a sunny walk by city lake. After months of darkness, the colors are slowly returning and every little snowdrop makes me squeak with excitement (that I’ve been doing since I was three years old).

February days in Göttingen. Germany

Julika in Göttingen, Germany

Swans in Göttingen, Germany

Besides weekend strolls in the sun, I also put quite the effort into planning upcoming trips this month, which really helped to brighten up my mood. I have several international trips planned for the next months, and I seriously can’t wait to tell you what I’m up to!

Art History 

Even though I write all my blog posts from my geeky art historian perspective, I share little of what I do in my daily life working as a medievalist. I still won’t go into detail telling you about everything I research, but this month I went to Hannover, the capital of Lower Saxony, twice to hunt down a few art historical treasures. Despite spending so much time with historical artifacts, I actually spent rather little time in museums, so I was glad to have a really good reason to leave my desk and photograph all these pretty things — and call it work!

Museum treasures in Hanover, Germany

Painting details in Hanover, Germany

Museum scenes in Hanover, Germany

Museum scenes in Hanover, Germany

Photography

I upgraded my camera equipment with quite an expensive portrait lens (that I’ve been wanting to buy for over a year) in January, and it has basically changed my life! I shot several portrait sessions this month, and I’m slowly becoming more confident as my newly discovered photographer self. I’m also falling more and more in love with the art of photography and photos that capture light and emotion. The more portraits I take, the more convinced I am: A photo can say more than a thousand words!

Portrait photo taken by Julika in Göttingen, Germany

My second (yes, second, as if one wasn’t enough) website is still a work in progress, but if you’re curious about my portrait photography and the backup career I’m trying to build out of it, stop by my photography Facebook page — I’d love to hear your feedback!

On Instagram

I take phone photography almost as seriously as real-camera-photography and I love the instant feedback that the Instagram community provides. So including my best (aka most liked) Instagram photo in a monthly wrap-up of creative achievements and glimpses of my everyday life was pretty much without question. I’m thrilled that the most liked photo this month also turns out to be my personal favorite as the light in this shot was just the most beautiful that February had to offer!

February light in Göttingen, Germany

If you want to see more of my everyday life and my continuous attempts to find the prettiest light in Germany, follow @JulikaSarah on Instagram.

Coming up in March 2015

Despite hopefully a whole lot of glorious spring days in Lower Saxony, I always have quite a few travel plans for March as well: A trip to my beloved capital B to meet up with so many of my travel blogger friends at the world’s largest travel trade fair. I’ll only be in Berlin for two days, but I can’t wait to see how many pretty flat whites I can squeeze into 48 hours.

And I have another trip coming up, an international this time: I will only say so much — I’ve been wanting to visit this city for more than a decade, and it’s actually a shame that I haven’t been yet and call myself an art historian. Any guesses which city this might be?

I’d really love to hear your opinion on this new monthly article series! I know I don’t have an exciting dating adventure expat life, but I’d love to know if you’d still find it interesting enough to follow a German art historian and wannabe photographer around in a monthly wrap-up? Let me know what you think!

What have you been up to this February?