HDR photography of flowers with a light box creates the illusion of translucency, which is very attractive in itself. By fusing X-ray light and visible light in flower photography, one expands the photographic possibilities by reproducing the inner structures of the photographed plants or objects. The illusion of translucence is enhanced by the physical transparency of X-ray light. Even photographically non-transparent objects can be given the illusion of transparency by fusing X-ray light and visible light.
A publication by the dPunkt publishing house in „foto espresso“ gave me the opportunity to present this idea in the May 2023 issue.
In my mind, Egypt is associated with the friends and acquaintances from this country whom we have known for almost a lifetime. And with pyramids, sculptures, painting and literature, sailboats on the Nile and palm trees in oases. Last but not least, with a rising full moon behind remote settlement houses on the Nile. But one after the other.
Photographs of the pyramids of Giza like to show them with the desert as their surroundings. They appear to stand free under a clear, steel-blue sky. At the time these monuments were built, there must have been a strictly organised activity for the mummification of corpses and the documentation of their past lives. A lot of people must have worked there permanently, as scribes, painters, sculptors and not least as tomb architects and workers. Today we would call this an industry.
Modern Cairo is getting closer and closer to the site of the Giza pyramids. The city limits are only a stone’s throw away from the new Egyptian Museum. It is as if this structure is a last warning before the city finally swallows up the pyramids. If you look from the Citadel towards Giza, you almost think the skyscrapers are as tall as the pyramids.
The first step pyramid was erected between 2720 and 2700 BC by Pharaoh Djoser. As with many other ancient statues, its face was destroyed, probably by Christian fundamentalists who wanted to put an end to the statue’s possibility of having an effect on the population. Photographing these statues is only possible with patience, searching for the best perspective and a moment without visitors in the line of sight. Then you can imagine the grandeur and splendour that these works must have once radiated.
The ancient Egyptian museum houses a lot of ancient statues from the old empire. Fortunately, some of these works remained intact due to sand drifts. One can then see the earlier extent of the drifts before the excavations by the boundaries of the fundamentalist destruction.
The bust of the pharaoh Userkaf made of black stone is not only well preserved. Its presentation in the museum makes it reminiscent of a magician who does not want to be recognised. The bust was found at his sun temple at Abu Ghurab. Userkaf was the last king of the 5th dynasty. His pyramid, now ruined, is located a few hundred meters from the northeast corner of Djoser’s 3rd dynasty step pyramid at Saqqara.
From the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt by Pharaoh Mentuhoteb II in the years 2030 to 2021 BC, the pharaohs wore a larger headdress symbolising the two parts of the empire.
Less than 200 years later, the pharaohs intensified the cultivation of the Fayyum Oasis for vegetable production by diverting water from the Nile into the area, which was up to 45m below sea level. At that time, a huge lake was created. Although the area has been permanently settled and cultivated for almost 6500 years, sometimes the feeling of a precarious existence of a desert oasis still imposes itself.
There is a relaxing contrast to the oasis when you travel the Nile by boat. Then you are in the middle of the Nile as a lifeline with a green strip on both banks. Apart from numerous cruise ships, barges, sailboats and rowing boats also move on the water.
As the sun set one evening, the last full moon before the beginning of spring rose in Esna. Four weeks later it would be Easter because of this. The lighting conditions favoured a single exposure shot to get a satisfactory result. At 135mm focal length and f8 with ISO 3200, it took me what felt like a very long 1/30s to take the picture.
On Sunday we met with friends to walk in the castle gardens of Schwetzingen, especially to the cherry garden of the mosque, because the cherry trees are starting to blossom. Weak intermittent clouds created a diffuse light in the park with warm intermediate tones. The well-designed baroque grounds everywhere show the joy of technical possibilities to expand – or even deceive – the human horizon of experience.
There is a small section in the park with a trompe l’oueil designed to make infinity tangible. In summer, ivy grows along the tunnel-shaped lattice to create a tube view.
When photographing the following avenue of trees at the edge of the mosque, it was of course clear that the perspective should give the impression of a long path. I tried 2 days later to increase this effect by repeating the image in the picture, which can easily be done with digital photography and post-processing. After the second repetition, I think the eye is very well deceived and no longer perceives a real end.
Compare to the original here.
Yesterday I came across a piece of music through a noble advertising trailer of a French watch company with the wonderful actors Catherine Deneuve and Rami Malek directed by Guy Ritchie. I was almost magically drawn to the film because there was a time when I lived in Paris.
But the most exciting thing was the soundtrack „Lilies of The Valley“, which exuded such an incredible lightness. I hadn’t heard of the composer Jun Myiake before, but I did know Arto Lindsay, who added his inimitable vocals. Perhaps one cannot leave the cosmos of one’s own taste.
That’s why I quickly set off to get some lilies in town. They were to be white lilies, of which I could only get two. Red lilies in all stages of blossoming I then allowed myself to enjoy. So I took some pictures with a mixed bouquet of paradisiacal blooming lilies.
Today the sun shone warmly, almost too warm for a day in mid-February. A few tulips given as gifts were getting older in the vase and one started to hang its head. They had delighted us with their colourfulness for many days.
So I decided to do a photo series with tulips on my lightbox.
Tulips are best suited for scenic representations because they look like a human person against a light background. Dance is the most obvious association I have then. The leaves become whirling arms. The flower is the head. The legs are not really needed.
If the tulips lie close together, you get the impression of a tapestry. The light from the lightbox penetrates well enough to create an airy effect.
Here they show themselves in a formation like a dance group.
The format for recording an image can be very variable when fusion imaging is involved. In the example below, the image on the left is taken with a Phase One IQ4. The sensor size is 44mm x 55mm. The X-ray image on the right was taken with a Hologic mammography system with a detector size of 24cm x 30cm. The aspect ratio of both images is 4:5. The pixel size of the IQ4 is 6.5µm, the pixel of the mammography is 70µm long. Nevertheless, the images can be fused well.
I added some texture to the fusion image because it made it more appealing. Due to the fusion of the image from „visible light“ and the image with „X-ray light“, the definition of whether it is a medium format image or a large format image is no longer meaningfully applicable. It is simply an image.
Intimate landscape photography is a term I can’t translate literally, although intuitively I think I immediately understand what it’s about. Historically, Eliot Porter (1901-1990) is considered the founder of this style of photography. I came across this style through an article by Charlotte Gibb, whom I had the pleasure of meeting personally in Yosemite Valley in February 2020.
The photographer’s gaze does not seek to capture the whole scenery of a landscape, but is concerned with a closer look at parts of the landscape. The sky is usually not part of the picture in this style and the light dynamics, which are often dramatic due to the sky, are greatly reduced. The tension in the picture is created by the arrangement and relationship of the objects. Reduction and simplicity become important components.
The church of Lavertezzo has become known from many photographs, especially its reflections in the Verzasca between the peculiar rocks. Unfortunately, the main building was completely scaffolded for renovation in November 2022 and not photogenic. I planned the following shot because of the beautiful, sometimes almost flowing rock formations that make the Verzasca appear as if it were lying in a fountain basin. The church tower is somewhat blurred by the movement of the water surface. While processing the shot, the colour selector showed me what a bath of colour had been created by mixing the colours of vertical rocks and horizontal water.
Not very far from the last picture, I had been walking around on the rocks and found this shot. Climbing can be very arduous on the rocks of the Verzasca. The rocks are of course slippery when wet, but even the dry rock does not always give the grip you want or expect. Everywhere you can read the warnings about this problem: 10:21h selfie, 10:38h search action begins. Expressed in typically Swiss terseness. It pays to take your steps carefully.
A large part of the spectrum is present in the photograph. The green of the Verzasca was not as emerald here as it usually is. The rocks in evening blue. A rock in stronger red. Golden shimmers a reflection down from the ridge. I only noticed the sea serpent when I was post-processing.
At a certain point, there was no more water for a composition. The stones there speak to me through their colour and their shape and their relationships to each other.
I could not express it in words. Even weeks later, I can’t express it in a sentence. It is beautiful in any case.
The Königstuhl in Heidelberg is a popular destination at any time of year and in almost any weather. It can be reached via many routes on foot or by bicycle, by car, by bus or by mountain cable car.
The first plans for a transport system were made in 1873 as a rack railway. Two years later, agreement was reached on a cable car, which was completed in 1889. It reached the castle and a viewing hotel higher up, but not the Königstuhl. It was not until 1907 that the Königstuhl mountain station was completed, which made it possible to travel all the way to the top with a change at the level of the lookout hotel. The difference in altitude to the valley station is 436m.
The building of the mountain station is a mixture of half-timbered house and the same red red sandstone as town houses in the city or the castle, which originates from the area. A flat is included above the operating level.
The noise of the valley does not penetrate up here. The snow provides further reassurance. The house stands here as if fallen out of time. Only the weather station on the roof and the flagpoles on the right indicate modern times.
The position of my photograph was on an icy footpath with icy steps. I didn’t fall, but I was standing very unsteadily. The shot nevertheless radiates a lot of calm, the house in warm tones, the landscape wintry cold.
The drive to Narni took us from San Gemini through beautiful landscapes that we did not expect. The overcast sky offered rich variations of composition. With a series of HDR shots, more expressive images can be achieved later. An abandoned house became a harmony of cold colours.
In Narni, it was the old town that interested us first and foremost, with alleys and archways, already devoid of tourists and being prepared for winter.
Famous is the Via del Campanile, which you automatically come across when you ascend the city from the car park.
4 bars of chocolate were meant as a reward for a calendar of the year 2023. To eat, of course. However, it is a special pleasure to subject them to an X-ray examination with the mammography before opening them. After three attempts, I placed them on top of each other, which is why their penetration with radiation required 20% more energy so that the image was not underexposed.