I like to make things visible the naked eye isn't able to see. That's part of my profession as a radiologist, too.

  • Landscape,  Long time exposure,  Monochrome,  Motion Blur,  Travel

    Leaving in a rush

    I didn’t what would happen this rainy day. But the waves and surf on the mole was so beautiful, that I forgot the time.

    All of a sudden I got an  text without possibility to answer or to ask back. Transfer tomorrow cancelled. Nothing special in the world, but my friend was in need to reach Lucerne tomorrow.

    Heavy winds at Heligoland force us to leave earlier. © Julian Köpke

    Back in my hotel I got everything organized: a ferry boat at 6pm, a train to Hamburg tonight, 2 single rooms for Monald and me in a nice hotel at the harbor. And a gorgeous day for photographers extra in Hamburg. I could keep cool blood all the time. My allergic reactions to pollen had left me in Heligoland once more immediately. It’s been worth the break with a lot of travelling, having a good friend with me.

    Two short days and much recreation. We will have a lot of fun with the next waves to come this evening.

    Welkoam iip lunn - Pier Heligoland © Julian Köpke
    Pier Helgoland © Julian Köpke
  • Motion Blur,  reflection

    Expanding universe

    With these pictures, I attempt to take the water in a fountain the scale by using macro technique. Additionally, through different exposure speed the structure of the photographed water was changing at the same time, which made me think of the early phases of the expanding universe.

    By pure coincidence, there is a help for the scale, because a little blue tit passed by the fountain. The exposure was too long to get an unblurred image of the bird. With the size of the bird in mind, you can estimate the size of the fountain.

    Blue tit at my fountain reveals the scale of my fountain universe © Julian Köpke
    Reflections in a fountain: birth of a universe emerging from a black hole © Julian Köpke

    Blurry images look soft, the water more like a wad of cotton wool, the colors more like watercolors. The shorter the exposure speed was, the more the surface of the water appeared and the reflections from inside got more clear and distinct. Increasing structure reminded me of the early phases of our universe.

    At the end of this process I found a crystal, the water surface and the reflected color from inside structurizing it. I couldn’t stop admiring the structures that appeared to my eye when photographing the fountain.

    The increasing darkness during sunset interrupted my joy of discovery. Only the observation of the stars would still be able to mean an increase.

    Reflections in a fountain: Crystal structure © Julian Köpke
  • General,  Macro,  reflection

    Play of colors and light

    In our garden is a small fountain just beneath a hedge. A remarkable number of birds showed up to drink or to take a shower in it. The urge of the birds to bathe there was always stronger than the fear of our presence. What do they see in the fountain ? I couldn’t imagine an answer until today.

    Great Titmouse (Kohlmeise) © Julian Köpke
    Crow in our garden © Julian Köpke

    Today I made macro images of the fountain with a wide variation of exposure values to find a small world within it. Many of my fountain images remind me of the night sky and its wonders. Sometimes I had to think of our universe.

    The birds might see this ? I cannot be sure. But they are not blind, for sure.

    A macro of our fountain appears like a painting under many exposure conditions. A first glance of four images is presented here. 

  • flowers,  Macro

    Astilbe

    An Astilbe has an umbel-shaped inflorescence and therefore consists of countless small blooms. While blooming, its structure is extremely delicate and light. It looks as if spotted in the light that shines through everywhere. An Astilbe seems to be floating. What a delighting gift to get such a plant from my preferred flower dealer.

    Blooming Astilbe in a vase © Julian Köpke
    Blooming Astilbe © Julian Köpke

    I had planned to reproduce this impression photographically. The three-dimensional impression of the human eyes is a complete different reality than a two-dimensional photograph. My photographs didn’t seem as delicate and fragile as the original.

    The richness of the flower structure better unfolds in image crops. The resolution of my PhaseOne is high enough to have sufficient quality available in a cropped image.

    Blooming Astilbe © Julian Köpke
    Blooming Astilbe © Julian Köpke
  • Monochrome,  Travel

    Tree in the sky

    We went to see our daughter Melitta today on the occasion of a first service after the lockdown, supported by her singing. Well, there’s always enough room in a church for appropriate seating during the service. We were downstairs, she was in the gallery. Moving half-way up, I captured the following image with the morning light from behind. Doubt and fright are best transported with the help of a slight desaturation.

    St. Stephan Würzburg © Julian Köpke

    On the square of reconciliation in front of the church St. Stephan in Würzburg there are coarse stones arranged into a kind of bursting structure. They are supposed to represent an opening bloom, which was formed from building blocks of the Third Reich. Its title is „The March of the Blocks“. A conciliatory act in this time of 100,000 victories over the Nazis. 

    March of the blocks - monument of reconciliation. St. Stephan Würzburg © Julian Köpke

    Less color in the first image gives a more natural feel to the content. The play of light and dark in the second image reflects the severity and harshness of its subject.

    Having left the church and the square of reconciliation a symmetry of branches caught my eye. The composition was just right for me to pre-visualize a print. Color in this image didn’t make sense to me. That way I found my inner balance.

    Symmetrical branches © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Lightbox

    Staying at home

    Light is subject to permanent change. The transformations of light accompany us always. In the course of the day, we immerse ourselves in the light of various sources and their shaping unnoticed. In a photograph, too, the imperceptible shaping of light is our companion.

    The light in a photograph and its impression is shaped or transformed by postproduction. The changeability of the light by postproduction helps an image to its final expression. 

    What light do we see in our dreams ? What light do we see when pre-visualizing an image ? What light do we see when we get the idea to a photograph ? The latter light we experience like „a flash within a long night“. It is only after the completion of the work that relaxation may take place.

    Inner light in a red rose © Julian Köpke

    Having learned how to do focus stacking on my PhaseOne camera, I made two series of 20 macro images with a rose on a lightbox, the box switched on and off for the two series. Combining the two light situations made this image possible.

    You may find more roses here.

  • Long time exposure,  Monochrome,  Travel

    Origin and destination

    On the penultimate day of our Out of Yosemite conference in Yosemite Valley, the Bridalveil Fall with Charlotte Gibb as instructor was on the agenda that Saturday morning at 6am. I hoped that by participating in her workshop I would gain a less technical or more creative approach to photography of waterfalls.

    She gave us the topic of long time exposure in the preliminary discussion. The spot offers little freedom of movement. There was not much room for all of us, and on top that there were every now and then some people walking around in our compositions.

    Bridal Veil fall © Julian Köpke

    Bridalveil Fall shows a strong variability of location due to the influence of air movement. Especially at sunrise you can clearly feel the rising winds. So you don’t have much time for camera setup. An ensemble of stones in the waterfall can all of a sudden become dry and the composition becomes useless. In return, the neighbouring region becomes dripping wet and appears in a new light.

    Bridal Veil fall © Julian Köpke
    Bridal Veil fall © Julian Köpke

    I know pictures from long time exposures with moving water. They’re interseting sometimes. I rarely find them really good. Often they exhibit a strong technical assessment and their message ist not really accessible to me.

    I begann to study sections of the waterfall, which meant that the rock formations in the composition always showed a new character. That way many compositions can be made.

    Bridalveil Fall © Julian Köpke

    Probably an image that expresses changeability and constancy is best suited to make us think about the origin of the world. Planets orbiting their central star are a well known example for this. Or stars that orbit the black hole of our Milky Way in 11 years.

    My last picture of Bridalveil Fall, with its interplay of light and dark, of flowing and solidification, steps and flow, forms and dissolution of forms, shows the coexistence of changeability and constancy. That’s what makes it so attractive to me.

  • Landscape,  Travel

    Gone with the wind

    The title of the novel „Gone with the wind“ comes from a half line of the poem „Cynara“ by the British poet Ernest Dowson, who spent most of his life in France. His verses were translated to German by Stefan George. Arnold Schönberg and Frederick Delius set selected poems to music.

    The author of the novel, Margret Mitchell, was well-read and knew the melancholy character of „Cynara“. The reception of her novel in the 1930s saw a resilient and admirable Scarlett O’Hara and a wonderful life in the southern states before the war. The ambivalence of the protagonist’s character and the unhappy end of the novel faded into the background. By the filming 1939 this neglect was still solidified.

    The new translation into German from 2020, based on the 1936 edition (The Macmillan Company), adapts the author’s original intention of a clear and simple language. With a sometimes cruel relentlessness, the work depicts an American condition of life: the shaping of personality through money. This opens the reception of a realistically written development novel about a young women from the American South who is exposed to strongly changing living conditions before, during and after the war from 1860 to 1872. 

    My friend Harold led me on our way to The Pinnacles and Trona to a spot with several freight trains on sidings. Around us a sometimes close and then again distant sandstorm. From above the midday sun in a dusty haze. Immediately I felt the disaster of a broken economic cycle, which affects the entrepreneur and the workers alike.

    Trains on sidings © Julian Köpke
    Trains on sidings © Julian Köpke

    Eventually, these trains will be gone with the wind, too. A straight ahead leading track made me the illusion of a still running business, because the switch was set correctly. And a railroad crossing was also present.

    Tracks, points and siding © Julian Köpke
    Railroad crossing Mojave © Julian Köpke

    I really don’t know what goes on with these trains. Maybe, a private company runs them to mine rare earths. Or, they are standing there for 30 years doing nothing. No money to make with it. Has this sight been a premonition of the current crisis that could leave us in a state of disintegration and decay ?

    Trains on a siding © Julian Köpke
  • flowers

    Sadness never ends, but luck

    Tulips have become an attraction to me. For a long time I found them extremely boring and meaningless. That has changed over many years. Should I have become older because of that ?

    We also have many tulips in our garden. A group of red tulips at the edge of then planted tomato bed is particularly beautiful. But is this beauty also photographicable ?

    The beauty in a vase is the epitome of transience. In the meantime, changing light conditions trigger a feeling of tension and happiness in me. This bouquet of tulips has been staying with us for a week now.

    Tulips © Julian Köpke

    With my iPhone I took a shot in our living room. Filter apps help me to get a presentable result.

    Tulips imagination iPhoneography © Julian Köpke

    Today I wanted to try out the same light with the tulips, which spoils my eyes every day with the orchids.

    As one can see, our tulips in the living room get already weaker. They are old guys now. Fresh water doesn’t really help. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. How sad is that.

    Bouquet of pink tulips © Julian Köpke
  • flowers

    Orchids

    For more than a year I observed a special light condition in our bathroom, where orchids usually lead a more or less varied life. During the last weeks new blossoms showed up. I felt a sense of a gleaming white. Would it be photographable ?

    White Orchids © Julian Köpke

    Our lives have fundamentally changed during the last 5 weeks. There is more time now for private life. Fortunately we have a small garden to enjoy the sun. And we talk to friends in video sessions like FaceTime. But still 3 Weeks of quarantine is a challenge.

    How wonderfully soft these orchids caress me in their shimmering light ! They shall accompany me through this time. 

    Yellow Orchid © Julian Köpke

    A print is different from a posted image on a website. The expression of precision and painting in some cases is created in print better through a background. I prefer a print, because a print starts a personal communication with an image.

    White Orchids with background © Julian Köpke
    Yellow Orchid with a background © Julian Köpke