A lot of things are falling apart these days. We feel how fragile we are. How do you show fragility in a picture ?
Entering the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, a new, modern entrance area has been created. Light and shadow in rapid succession through concrete door arches.
The arches are unadorned, yet the eye clings to them. Despite – or due to ? – the simple concept, every perspective offers a new impression.
A still life painting (not „life style“) may be irritating by its compositional elements, like objects at the edge of a table top. Just these elements evokes a feeling of fragility. The next image is a photograph I made in the museum without tripod as indicated. The painting by Willem Claeszoon Heda was about 1635. It is a Vanitas theme, 13 years before the end of a 80 years long war in Netherlands, the end coinciding with the 30 years long war in Germany 1648.
A sunny day in winter without training or weekend obligations: we can let ourselves drift a little. The Hermannshof in Weinheim with its botanical garden attracts many visitors, especially those with cameras. Many kneel or lie down on the floor to gain a beautiful perspective. You don’t notice dirty trousers. Rather, trousers like that ennobles the wearer.
First light welcomes a crocus when the sun shines abundantly and the joy of photographing is written on the face of all visitors.
Winter residual flowers in the first spring light: Helleborus
At the end of our sunny stroll we sat down in front of a café for a tea. We met this Siberian Husky in front of our café. It took me a while to recognize three legs and a shaved fur on her right hip. Due to a chondrosarcoma her owner had decided to have an operation on the dog. She did quite well, as far as a human may understand.
Changing colors in flowers are attractive, especially if you approach them closely. A group of 3 flowers looks like a communicative group. With targeted overexposure and instant images on the laptop, the compositional decision is easier and the colors become more picturesque, without too much processing with the computer.
A curtain over the illuminated background behind the focal plane creates an effect reminiscent of nebulae in the night sky.
Photography of flowers in a vase in an exposure series (HDR) is complicated by their light sensitivity, which causes a change of position in short time scales. Plants constantly rearrange their leaves and blossoms. This results in blurring, which can be compensated for e. g. by repeating the shot series, shorter exposure time series or tools for aligning the images. Or you can do your image without HDR, because the dynamic range of the camera data is sufficient.
The center of a Gerbera blossom is richly structured. Due to the high resolution of the camera back (150 MP), it is possible to crop out the center still in good resolution.
The transparent representation of the petals is achieved by using a light box. The light should be relatively bright, but does not have to be fully homogeneous. The heat of the light does not matter, it is adjusted using RAW format in post-processing. More informations about this method see web-pages of Harold Davis, who invented this method.
The most surprising thing this year was the selection of many of my pictures in the Flickr Explore stream. My best picture in 2021 is again a black and white, this time of the Bernese Alps with a view of the mountain chain Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The picture was taken on the Schilthorn when I fled the permanent James Bond exhibition.
The end of the year had some surprises in store for both of us. We drove to the Black Forest and hoped for snow to cool off. The snow did not come immediately and a red dawn on January 2nd seemed dangerous and not calming.With plenty of snow, alternating sunshine and snow drift, there were beautiful moments in the countryside in Breitnau near Hinterzarten.
With the help of some tips from a photographer friend I was in school with a long time ago, I tried to improve my photographic technique and post-processing. This includes the trick of placing a piece of newspaper in the sharpness plane of the lens in order to speed up the focus. Very effective.
I’ve been experimenting with macro shots or portraits that have a black background. For this I reduce the roomlight with the help of the electric shutters, the exposure time and the ISO value are increased. To improve the quality of the shots, I also used the method of frame averaging to get the RAW image with a single shot and sufficient quality.
Yesterday I was able to admire my friend Harold in a tutorial how he created LowKey HDR macro photographs using an exposure series from -4 EV to 0 EV. I tried all paths today with my Amaryllis, which I had bought 2 days ago.
The exposure series can be performed for LowKey pictures and HighKey pictures. Through the systematic under-exposure one can create a beautiful black background. The use of a surface spotlight creates transparencies with HighKey effect.
The LED lightbox can be placed vertically on the wall. With two clamps you attach the black velvet as a background and loosen the clamp gently to create the HighKey image after switching on the lightbox.
A series of exposures with 5 shots between -4 EV and 0 EV is sufficient to capture the set in high quality.
After 2 years of FaceTime and telephone conversations we see each other again, friends from Lucerne and us. Meeting point halfway between our two residences, near Hinterzarten near the Feldberg and Titisee. After more than 30 years of friendship, the time of hard separation due to borders and infection management had also been painful now and then.
With photography, we have approached in a new way, each with its own approach. With Monald the wildlife and landscape photography, with me the stars, the landscape, the portrait or macro photography. This weekend we used the few hours in the morning and evening for the countryside around the Feldberg, never letting ourselves be stopped by rain or marshland.
The picture at the beaver dam got an explore on Flickr.
At sunrise we placed ourselves with a view of the Titisee just below the Feldberg. Sunrise and fog alternated in rapid succession. Only for breakfast at 9 o’clock we were back in time at the hotel.
The trip to Todtnauer Hütte was longer than expected. Unfortunately, we did not find the hoped-for fog in the valley. There were plenty of autumn trees for this, the sun early behind the clouds.
The Hexenlochmühle had been located by a lake in my memory. Totally wrong. Two large mill wheels are driven by water and the water of the mill stream flows into the Wutach.
My friend’s strong wish was an evening image of the Rhine valley at sunset. Above St. Mägen near Turner we found a parking lot and some meadows with a splendid view down.
The sunset plunged our spot into a red light that became more and more intense. The sun was slightly dazzled and diffused by clouds. Many people came to our parking lot, which is obviously well known to the locals.
The nights in Ticino and now in Mürren were starry. The winter constellation of Orion is near sunrise in the south, which allows a “late” rising. This morning I was able to capture Orion with the red color of its nebula in the center of the dagger. So dark was it on the local helicopter landing site of Mürren. Somewhat to the left of the top of the Jungfrau one could see a faint zodiacal light.
With the first cable car to the Schilthorn I started at 7:40 am in Mürren. Unfortunately, as a tourist I couldn’t go up earlier. On the terrace of the mountain station there were two cardboard figures with shooting irons in hand, which appeared to me on the pictures of the webcam as strangely motionless guests. The temperature at 0 degrees Celsius was not friendly for the hands, so I was mostly alone on the platform.
How do you photograph mountains ? At distant mountains the colour disappears into a dull blue, which is why I prefer black and white in these cases. Then a gripping dynamic may develop that draws you into the image.
The technical side of a cable car has always fascinated me. A cable car is a workplace for drivers, technicians, engineers and many others. The first ride in the morning is a cheerful encounter of these people, who have known each other for along time and take turns doing some work on the machines. That’s why we were allowed to listen to music for the morning gymnastics during the drive uphill.
In fact, the construction of a mountain station on the Schilthorn before it became the location for the 4th James Bond movie starring George Lazenby was certainly controversial and economically questionable. After the movie, everything was clear. Today you can admire many scenes and their making of on a separate floor, as well as 10 minutes of impressive films about the local landscape and the film.
It was only while processing the images that I noticed the many airplane tracks in the sky that had not been there for so long.
The mountain range of Eiger (left), Mönch and Jungfrau also looks better in black-and-white technique. The imminent change of the weather is already clearly visible on the image.
The peace in Mürren is almost intrusive. It is not disturbed by traffic noise. Only the occasional buzzing of the cable cars is reminiscent of normal life. The starry sky is great because at night very few lamps illuminate the village.
Autumn is already more advanced in Central Switzerland thanin Ticino. Temperatures in the shade are well below 10 degrees Celsius. The sun has a lot of power at 1600m, you can easily sweat when walking.
While searching for a location for my tripod slowly upwards, I meet individual hikers or groups of two. The large groups take the cable car to the summit and do not appear on the hiking trails. Surprisingly many fly into the valley by paragliding.
My hotel 1900 (Novecento) in Muralto was rebuilt by the new owners 20 years ago. Breakfast organic and with vegan spreads, a lightness of being. The house has a nice garden, where tea is served with freshly harvested sage. The only thing they didn’t consider was the Internet. Therefore, my blog or video communication was hardly to think about.
On the last day I wanted to photograph the birch forests near Brione. The parking lot the day before was so crowded that I had no chance to park the car safely. Arriving at half past ten o’clock there were no problems. Even a tree was allowed to provide shade.
You only have to search a bit to find an exit to the banks of the river Verzasca. You’re not the first to try. If you make it, you will be rewarded by the photographic options with magnificent water between diverse and colourful boulders.
The selfie has many variations. A variant shows the pride of the photographer on location. Or a shadow selfie.
The rocks in the water change their color with the daylight and the water color they reflect. This makes these objects interesting and varied photo motifs. Once you find a hungry shark, who has already taken one or the other photographers. Or in the shadow, a white stone that looks almost metallic.
I couldn’t reproduce the delicate colorfulness of an autumn birch forest, the distance over the river was too great for that. The sun was still too high, it vanished far too soon behind a ridge, and the valley lay in the shade. Maybe you can still guess early autumn.