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,  Monochrome,  Texture,  Travel,  Yosemite National Park

    New workflow

    The eye is easily deceived. Especially when working at a screen. Early printing, starting with low contrast, simultaneous editing of several images, pausing is part of Charles („Charly“) Cramers recipes. The necessary development times in the analogue laboratory, not least the drying process, always forced the photographer to interrupt. Brain always takes some time to understand.

    And he gave strong arguments against the prejudice, analog photography meant no image manipulation. In contrary, every image processing has always been manipulation.

    Bridal Veil Creek © Julian Köpke

    This day ended up with 100 GB of RAW image data. Work for a year to process them. With some winds below Bridal Veil Fall there was a movement of the camera that can be seen.

    Bridal Veil Fall © Julian Köpke

    So often I had good photo opportunities at Valley View. So it was today. A golden light from the setting sun shone for us, lit some bushes and warmed up the rocks.

    Light on bushes at Valley View © Julian Köpke

    The rise of a full moon took place at sunset. Only with a 9 EV HDR the light could be captured. It was a wonderful evening. Only hunger could us make driving back to our lodge.

    Full Moon at Valley View in Yosemite Valley © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel,  Yosemite National Park

    Meadows

    Exceptional light conditions characterize Yosemite Valley. The unspoiled nature is over. There isn’t a square inch of floor that isn’t full of footprints, mine included.

    The large rock faces reflect the light into the valley before the sun has risen, the wide trees and the meandering Merced river do their part. In broad daylight, it makes little sense to trace or search for nuances of light. Nevertheless it is beautiful, wonderfully bright, pleasently warm. As soon as the sun stops sending its warm rays, it becomes unpleasantly cool.

    As attendees of the conference Out of Yosemite we  gather on the different Meadows of the valley or banks of the Merced river, which can also be called beach. This morning we’ve been to Tahiti Beach.

    Reflections El Capitan (Tahiti Beach) © Julian Köpke

    The afternoon session was with Harold at Cathedral Beach. Some ice on Merced river, few warm reflections of El Capitan. Some inspirations of Charlotte Gibb in mind I took some shots there. The cotton trees were my favorites.

    Yosemite Valley Cotton trees at Merced banks © Julian Köpke

    Like in a forest of a fairy tale you might stumble over monsters:

    Tree mimicking an animal. © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel,  Yosemite National Park

    Fire and Ice

    First field session this morning with Charlotte Gibb and Michael Shainblum. Few spots around Sentinel Bridge, starting at 6:45h and ending 9:45h. Well-known views as well as more intimate compositions. Impressive was a rainbow in Upper Yosemite Fall, burning like flames when viewed as time-lapse.

    Flaming rainbow at Upper Yosemite Fall © Julian Köpke

    Warm reflections came over to Merced river from the granite walls. Together with blue ice and a pine cone this was quite appealing.

    Cone on ice at Sentinel Bridge © Julian Köpke

    In the afternoon we ended uo at Cooks Meadow, now far from our lodge. I worked out a structure containing trees in sunlight and some in shadow.

    Trees © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Monochrome,  Travel,  Yosemite National Park

    Yosemite Valley

    We are one day earlier in Yosemite Valley, meaning two days extra in this beautiful spot. Yesterday has already been a gorgeous afternoon. Lower Yosemite Fall had been our first walking destination.

    Lower Yoemite Fall © Julian Köpke

    This morning we made a short tour to Valley View, Tunnel View and Bridal veil fall. 

    Valley View Yosemite Valley © Julian Köpke
    Tunnel view at Yosemite Valley © Julian Köpke

    After recovering from carrying around lots of gear I expected the Moonrise to be at 4 o’clock. Just a 2 minutes walk down to the banks of Merced river were good to reach a wonderful spot.

    Moonrise in Yosemite Valley © Julian Köpke

    At the end of the day there is usually a total break down of any WiFi connectivity here in Yosemite Valley. Like this evening.

  • Travel,  Yosemite National Park

    Berkeley

    Berkeley is my first stop. Here I meet my friend Harold and his wife Phyllis. Last decisions to take. After a very long day with a pleasant flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco the night was interrupted by short wake-ups due to time shift.

    As breakfast was not included in my hotel room I went around with a camera at my hand. The morning sun just came over the hills. Small signs explain the advantage of succulents during the increasing drought of the region, because so much water can be saved.

    Succulents © Julian Köpke

    As I move on, I am increasingly surrounded by students who have left for lectures. A lot of homeless people catch my eyes. One of them stands there with his pants half pulled down and shouts at everything and everyone with an aggressive tone of voice. He is near the globe with many layers of complex surfaces that I want to photograph. I’m glad I can disappear.

    Many layers on the globe in Berkeley at Shattuck Avenue © Julian Köpke

    An hour to sunset: we climb up the Berkeley Hills that show a splendid view on Golden Gate bridge and San Francisco downtown. Many young people drinking and smoking drugs up there.

    View on San Francisco downtown at sunset © Julian Köpke
    Sunset Golden Gate bridge © Julian Köpke
  • Travel,  Yosemite National Park

    Yosemite during the winter

    On my own I’ve been twice to Yosemite Valley and once with Harold to Yosemite National Park. This valley is small and a dream of light and nature for visual artists. I’ve never been able to see this little patch of earth with realistic eyes. I wasn’t really serious about that either.

    Before I fly to the ambitious conference „Out of Yosemite“ tomorrow, I’d like to review some older images.

    Already my first visit began with a surprise. Just arrived, the hotel wanted to send me back immediately in December 2016, as the electricity had failed and there was no heating. After a short back and forth I was allowed to stay and the heating went on again at 10 o’clock in the evening. 

    Internet connectivity was terrible. No images could be uploaded for those who stayed at home. I really don’t expect it to be different this time. The following images might give a foretaste of what awaits us.

    Half Dome in winter © Julian Köpke

    Many spots are known to photographers all over the world. This time I have the chance to meet experienced photographers that share their knowledge. Harold is one of the instructors.

    When leaving Yosemite Valley, before the road hits Pohono bridge at the entrance, there is a spot called Valley View, which in fact looks back where the glaciers came from long ago.

    Valley View in the morning. Ground fogs can be seen.

    During construction time of the road up to Glacier Point the road workers had a storage area for construction equipment, located in front of a tunnel. This is why the spot is also called Tunnel View. It is a parking lot today. The image I took was honored in Flickr in Explore. A nice view is also some steps above the tunnel !

    I took 9 EVs for this HDR at Tunnel View in Yosemite Valley. No tripod ! You can see here the glacial origin of the U-shaped valley. In former times there was a lake. © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Monochrome,  X-Ray

    Snowdrops X-ray photo

    I’ve never waited for snowdrops before. Inconspicuous and boring flowers. Strength of marsh mallows. The colors of a cold green and opaque white.

    From my father-in-law’s garden we just dug up some freshly flowering specimen of snowdrops, at the roots the soil of his garden, which he can no longer cultivate.

    My technician and I made a mammography of it, with low Voltage and lots of photons. The whole afternoon I could breathe in the scent of these flowers while working.

    Snowdrop X-ray photo © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Long time exposure

    Time fusion tulips

    Inspired by a photography of german photographer Michael Wesely, I tried to superimpose the movements of orange tulips in a white vase to create an equivalent to a longtime exposure image. A longtime exposure with 3 or 4 days exposure time was unfortunately not possible for me. Therefore I took 35 pictures with my camera at irregular intervals dictated by occupational requirements whose pixels were to be averaged. Here 4 examples of the highly active flowers in a vase:

    Each RAW image has a file size of 125 MB, after RAW conversion this was 580 MB per image as TIF. The entire stack had a size of 21,5 GB. The image of the average then becomes 580 MB again. The pure mean value image was interesting to me but not exciting. Therefore I took this image and layered in parts of original images. The result became convincing:

    Time fusion tulips © Julian Köpke
  • Texture,  X-Ray

    Pile of oranges X-ray photo

    This Monday arrived my new oranges from Valencia, Spain. They are sweet, juicy and just delicious. I shared half of the delivery with my employees who had also been waiting for it for a long time. We eat or drink them. Some were x-rayed for artistic reasons.

    There is already a routine in doing these X-rays with food. But sometimes an X-ray machine has a life of its own. The first images are taken to check the exposure before we venture into a composition. The aperture of the X-ray tube may become narrower and unwanted images like the following may be produced.

    Oranges in a frame X-ray photo © Julian Köpke

    This image was created by playing with textures and colours:

    You can easily imagine a stack of oranges with the fruit lying on top of each other. The perspective of this X-ray image is from above, so that the effect of translucency is created. Because of the triangular arrangement of the oranges, one would think that the apex of the triangle would indicate at the top. In fact, the center of the triangle is at the top.

  • Fusion imaging,  X-Ray

    New X-ray fusion photo compositions

    New year, new ideas. A superbe bowl of fruits inspired me to do more X-ray fusion photography today. I got a bundle of bananas, lots of lychees, two pears, figs, an apple and a pomegranate.

    I changed my technique a bit. There is no chance to get a transparent banana image using a photo. But mixing the colors of the photo with the X-ray is also a fusion image. To my opinion, the bananas came out lovely, especially the color of the trunk.

    Fusion X-ray photo of bananas © Julian Köpke

    I like stills. They often come with a fruit bowl. My first attempt was a fruit bowl without lychees. The structure of an orange or a pomegranate is known to me from earlier X-ray studies. And I liked the grain of the wooden bowl.

    The following fusion image is resulting:

    Fruit bowl X-ray fusion photo © Julian Köpke

    This is the first time I tried to x-ray lychees. I piled them up in my wooden bowl. That way it was a bit less complicated to transport them for photography. They shouldn’t move at all between X-ray and photography session. I was lucky.

    X-ray fusion photo of lychees in a wooden bowl © Julian Köpke

    Combining lychees, bananas, a pear and two figs in a fusion image yields a color explosion in the fusion image.

    X-ray fusion photo of lychees and fruit in a wooden bowl © Julian Köpke

    Last but not least an X-ray fusion photo of all fruit. Color explosion by means of Lab color. The dark blue at the image edges  is a good counterweight to the intense yellow of the pears and bananas.

    Fruit X-ray fusion photo © Julian Köpke

    See also my FAQ section to learn more about fusion imaging with X-ray and photography.