Nuclear power is here to stay in Bulgaria


After the 2013 change of government in Bulgaria it looks like nuclear power is going to remain a major factor in the country’s energy mix.

Kozloduy NPP
The nuclear power plant in Kozloduy, northern Bulgaria with the two active reactor blocks (Image Copyright Johann Brandstätter/ JB Photography)

The image shows the NPP Kozloduy near the Danube in northern Bulgaria. The two round structures are the reactor containment buildings for blocks 5 and 6, each one delivering a tad over a thousand megawatts.

Since late last year the Bulgarian government is in negotiations with the US energy giant Westinghouse over the construction of one, possibly two, more reactors at Kozloduy. Moreover, plans to revive the abandoned construction of another nuclear power plant near Belene are openly discussed  in parliament.

Bulgaria is already the largest exporter of electric power in the Balkans.

See more energy images website .

(Image Copyright Johann Brandstätter/ JB Photography, no image may be used in any way without express permission. Please contact me for licensing)

Ultra Large Container Ship M/V COSCO England


Johann Brandstätter:

Images from a morning shoot on the River Elbe at Brunsbüttel, Germany.

Originally posted on Ships & Ports:

ULCS M/V COSCOEngland

(All Images Copyright Johann Brandstätter/ JB Photography)

The COSCO England is one of eight so-called ultra large container ships (ULCS) of the COSCO-B elgium-Type. So far, three of these vessels were delivered to the owner COSCO Container Shipping, the others are to follow this year (2014).

Vessel details:

IMO 9358905
Length over all 366 m
Beam 51 m
Draught 12 m
Deadweight Tons 156,605 ts
Container Capacity 13,386 TEU

With its more than impressive dimensions she is well beyond New PANAMAX size, that means even when the extended Panama Canal gets operational, she still won’t fit in!

In the images above she is seen soon after leaving Hamburg Port, just passing the west entrance of the Kiel Canal (of course sho won’t fit into that one either)

To get an impression of the size, click on the image where COSCO England overtakes the Heluan.  The…

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The ‘Bridge to Nowhere’


Over a hundred years after the idea was first discussed, the bridge across the Danube between Calafat (Romania) and Vidin (Bulgaria) was finally opened in the Spring of 2013.

(please click in the images for larger view)

Only a few months after the opening, the international press began to call it Bridge to Nowhere because rail and road infrastructure is in no condition to tackle the increased traffic.

As the chief supervising engineer put it when I interviewed him in May 2012, ‘They’ll get a few kilometers of high-speed railway with 160 kph top speed and everywhere around the trains can’t go much faster than 30.’

For more images check out the gallery on my website .

(All Images Copyright Johann Brandstätter/ JB Photography, no image may be used in any way without express permission. Please contact me for licensing)

Pic of the Week: Early Morning at the Coal Mine


Strip mining machinery at the Maritsa Iztok opencast coal mine in southeastern Bulgaria

Machinery in the Maritsa Iztok coal mine, seen through the morning mist
Machinery in the Maritsa Iztok coal mine, seen through the morning mist

The Maritsa Iztok mining complex supplies brown coal to the three thermal power plants in the vicinity (Maritsa Iztok 1 – 3). The burning of brown coal in such huge amounts is also the reason that the air in the region is highly polluted; Stara Zagora, some 35 kilometers to the northwest, has the highest rate of lung diseases in Bulgaria.

On the day I took that picture my main goal was to shoot for a documentary project in the nearby town of Kovachevo. But passing by the coal mine I could not resist shooting the machinery that looked like a gigantic steel dinosaur.

See more images of Maritsa Iztok on my website .

(Image Copyright Johann Brandstätter/ JB Photography, no image may be used in any way without express permission. Please contact me for licensing)

Three Kinds of Light: ‘Shooting’ the President


On 17 December I was with Guardian journalist Dan Boffey during his hour-long interview with Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev

The president’s palace is not exactly the kind of environment I am usually shooting in, so apart from having to dress up the light situation kind of caught my by surprise. Frankly, it was a b…., err, difficult.

Not only was it unavoidable to shoot against the windows (giving lots of diffused natural light), the room was also lit by fluorescent lights and for half the shots I had to use flash. The alternative – setting the ISO to 6400 – didn’t look too great, so with most of the images I was battling white balance for quite a while.

Eventually I managed not to give the president a skin tone like a zombie, but it sure wasn’t perfect. The Guardian ran the shots anyway, but for use here on my blog I transformed them into b&w (with the added benefit that nobody is going to steal them ;-) )

(All Images Copyright Johann Brandstätter/ JB Photography, no image may be used in any way without express permission. Please contact me for licensing)

In Memoriam: Remembering the Photographers We Lost in 2013


Johann Brandstätter:

Time Magazine: In Memoriam – Remembering the Photographers We Lost in 2013

Read more: In Memoriam: Remembering the Photographers We Lost in 2013 – LightBox http://lightbox.time.com/2013/12/16/in-memoriam-remembering-the-photographers-who-died-in-2013/#ixzz2no87oSaA

Originally posted on LightBox:

There are some who would argue that every picture a photographer makes is a self-portrait, whether they intend it to be or not. What did this photographer mean to show us of themselves with a particular picture? What did another one unknowingly reveal? These questions resonate most fully when recalling the photographers we’ve lost each year — some better known than others, but all worthy of remembrance.

For photographers, the camera is a tool of existential negotiation. Regardless of the genre in which they work, they use the camera to mediate what is before them with what lies within. The best pictures are not a statement of fact, but a fully formed and articulated opinion. “Every man’s work,” wrote the English novelist and critic Samuel Butler, “is always a portrait of himself, and the more he tries to conceal himself the more clearly will his character appear in spite of him.”

The…

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Pic of the Week: The Largest Thermal Power Plant in the Balkans


The Maritsa Iztok 2 power plant near Stara Zagora in Bulgaria

Smog over the Maritsa Iztok 2 thermal power in southeastern Bulgaria
Smog over the Maritsa Iztok 2 thermal power in southeastern Bulgaria

Maritsa Iztok 2 is the largest thermal power plant in the Balkans, with a total of eight turbines and an installed power of 1430 MWe. The power plant is fired with brown coal mined in the nearby Maritsa Iztok mines.

See more images of Maritsa Iztok 2 on my website .

(Image Copyright Johann Brandstätter/ JB Photography, no image may be used in any way without express permission. Please contact me for licensing)

photojournalist & documentary photographer

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