• flowers,  Lightbox,  Macro

    Callas and pink fern leave

    For a short time the winter kept us still. Nature offers many motifs, the effect of which depends on the time of the day.

    Disturbing scene of ice formations (skull) © Julian Köpke
    Arbre japonais © Julian Köpke

    Shortly after, the snow has said goodbye to us. Still very, very cold cloudless nights, more and more often glorious sunny days let you catch your breath.

    Quarry at Schauenburg ruin Dossenheim © Julian Köpke
    Early spring sun throws light on pampas grass © Julian Köpke

    Yesterday I came across Calla lilies and rosé-fixed fern at the florists’s. „Expensive“, she told me. But I was already determined wether the many possibilities I had in mind.

    Through a chemical process, the fern has received a fixation and new color. That would make it durable for many compositions ….

    Pink fern leave © Julian Köpke
    Red callas in a white vase © Julian Köpke

    The next day, I combined the callas and the fern to a single composition. With a background the image looks soft and dreamy. This texture puts a kind of patina over the image.

    Red callas and rosé fixed fern © Julian Köpke
    Red callas and rosé fixed fern II © Julian Köpke
  • General,  Macro,  Monochrome

    Fibonacci numbers

    I wanted to study shadows of simple bodies again today. It all started with an egg last week. The shadow of last week’s egg photo was ring-shaped. I noticed that, but it didn’t bother me. Could the ring shape of the shadow be overcome by skillful selection of light and would the backside of the egg lie entirely in the shadow? This assignment was given to me by a school friend, who himself is a professional photographer.

    Shadow cast of an egg © Julian Köpke
    Shadow cast of an egg © Julian Köpke

    The shadow looks better today, with a little help from Photoshop.

    A neighbor had given me simple bodies, which I placed like an egg on the white background. First of all as a play with form and shadow, where I had to think of the X-ra image of a human hand.

    Shadow cast of building blocks on white © Julian Köpke

    The small  wooden blocks were wonderfully colorful. Unfortunately, I didn’t have as many as my imagination would have liked. Arranged in concentric circles, they are delightful to the eyes. At the suggestion of a friend, I arranged, the number of blocks into Fibonacci numbers. The processing of the shadows leads to an exciting image, similar to solarization. Since it is a kind of negative, I named the picture after the impression it makes: „Flow of light“, although in reality it was the shadows of the blocks.

    Shadows around building blocks sorted in circles of Fibonacci numbers © Julian Köpke
    Shadows around building blocks sorted in circles of Fibonacci numbers © Julian Köpke
  • General,  Macro,  reflection

    Infinity

    Everyone has an idea about infinity. Infinity always confronts us with the question of wether we can see or recognize it at all. Modern mathematics knows that infinite series of numbers may well have a finite limit. The ancient greeks had realized that Achilles will always outrun a tortoise, but they couldn’t prove it. For the solution remained hidden.

    Photographing a single, well reflecting steel sphere I got on the surface pointing to my macro lens a distorted image of the surrounding. One can see the tree in our garden, the lens and the tripod of my equipment, even the photographer’s legs are visible. That’s why I think it’s sort of a selfie.

    Photographic world on a steel ball © Julian Köpke

    Immediately, I thought of my friend Harold, who had worked a lot on photographing water drops and who had made a book about the photography of water drops. In the juxtaposition of several water drops the environment is displayed several times side by side in the drops.

    Well, this happens as well, if you place two well reflecting steel balls side by side. So far, there is nothing unexpected.

    On closer inspection, the opposite sides of the spheres show further images of the surroundings slightly outside the original image, well visible on the tree. These images of the tree become smaller and smaller lying within the circular image of the first reflection.

    An infinite series of images in one picture is created by the reflection on the surface of two adjacent steel spheres. As the reflected images become smaller and smaller, the total area of the image is finite. A similar effect is known with water drops as well.

    Close look of an infinite reflection on a steel sphere © Julian Köpke
  • Macro,  Monochrome

    Light and shades of grey

    Shades of grey in interaction with light: this is a theme for monochromatic images. For a long time I wanted to photograph an egg against a white background. The idea was stimulated by photos, mostly of people I know personally. Geometric, white-colored bodies from the mathematical collection would also be fun for me. Unfortunately, access is not as easy for me as with an egg.

    Light and shades of grey © Julian Köpke

    On the left side the egg is brighter than the background, on the right side it is the other way round. The background itself loses a little brightness from the left to the right, but is brighter than the the egg on the right. The contrast changes. There is no clearly defined shadow for this setup. The same is true in the next photograph.

    White egg on a white background © Julian Köpke

    With the help of a simple light source whose color temperature does not matter after conversion into a black and white image, a soft shadow can be achieved if the source is not point-shaped.

    Shadow cast of an egg © Julian Köpke
    Shadow cast of three eggs on white © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Lightbox,  Macro,  Texture

    Alstromeria

    With daylight and a lightbox I took the cut off flower of an Alstromeria. With the lens I’m able to approach the bloom on approximately 20 cm. The blossom then fills almost the entire sensory. The ratio of the mapping is thus approximately 1:1. 

    The quality of the RAW images is convincing in itself. The creation of the finished HDR takes place in a combination of manual and automated steps.

    RAW conversion is done using CaptureOne, HDR processing is done manually in Photoshop. Further, I generated two automated HDR developments using HDR Efex Pro 2 and Photomatix Pro 6 and layered them in. Some of the original color is transferred from the daylight image with the lightbox switched off.

    Alstromeria (Peruvian lily) © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Lightbox,  Macro

    RAW stocks

    A small stock of raw footage is always lying on my laptop. My florist had been able to give us a few flowers, some of which were sacrificed after a couple of days on my lightbox. These days in a hospital I benefit while the healing remains to be seen.

    Poppy blossom on a lightbox © Julian Köpke

    Is it possible to retain the idea of a picture for a long time ? What happens to the colors when you no longer have the originals in front of your eyes ? The blossom of the peonies looked like a living eye staring at me, not necessarily a human, maybe an animal.

    Yellow peonie © Julian Köpke

    The tulip offered a wild confusion of petals. Unfortunately, it was monochrome orange.

    Orange tulip © Julian Köpke

    The amaryllis showed an incredibly intense red. I managed to show the intensity best on a black background than on a white one. I use the inversion of the L-channel in Lab color mode.

    Red amaryllis on a lightbox with a black background © Julian Köpke
    Red amaryllis on a lightbox © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Lightbox,  Macro

    Lockdown flower shots

    Our flower shops are sold out or closed. There’s nothing new to buy. Thank God. This allows me to take a closer look a t the seasonal flowers we have at home.

    Photographing a white amaryllis against a white background I found particularly attractive in the last few days. Because it also contains many colors that you can bring out.

    Concerning color a less courageous image is the left one, only shadows and some etheral green from inside the flower. Using Lab color mode and some ideas of my friend Harold Davis this image can get more pizzazz, as shown on the right hand side.

    White amaryllis on lightbox © Julian Köpke
    The colors of a white amaryllis on lightbox © Julian Köpke

    The plant broke off and had to be placed in a vase, but there it developed surprisingly well and even quite symmetrically, giving me the impression of antennas that listen into space because they look similar tho those with which Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered the cosmic background radiation. A lightbox as background is easy to realize with a LED for the ceiling that you can get in any hardware store.

    Floral symmetry with white amaryllis © Julian Köpke

    The blossoming red amaryllis has two sides, so I had the chance to photograph them both. In my eyes, one side resembled a dinosaur’s head and upper neck as it is about reach for food. Loosely based on an Arabic proverb: „If you see the dinosaur’s tongue, don’t think he’s smiling“.

    Budding Amaryllis © Julian Köpke
    Budding Amaryllis © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Lightbox,  Macro,  Texture

    Lockdown flowers

    Yesterday was a chance to buy flowers for my lightbox before a new virus induced „lockdown“ takes place. Flowers on a lightbox exhibit an illusion of transparency when photographed either as HighKey image or HDR bracket sequence.

    I prefer to process my bracketed photographs manually, because there is no possibility to learn how automated HDR software really works. On top of my layer stack I put one up to three HDR software results to layer them in if appropriate.

    Yellow gerbera HDR on an lightbox © Julian Köpke

    Photographing flowers is a way to cope with the situation being locked in in a house instead of traveling or meeting friends. Our house looks like a flower store, every now and then we find new compositions. At the end, there is a print.

    Red chrysanthemum and yellow gerbera © Julian Köpke

    A composition of flowers often suggests something, not with the eye, but with the inner vision. That’s the fun of it. There are so many compositions yet undone.

    Bouquet of yellow gerbera © Julian Köpke

    My friend Harold is using petals for compositions. I often shy away from cutting off the flowers or tearing out the petals. I was happy to do it today with a fading dark red rose.

    Red rose petals © Julian Köpke

    Christa, my wife, loves tulips. They may resemble a dream on a lightbox, like balloons taking off for flight. To catch the whole composition I’d either had to climb up a ladder with my 120mm macro lens or change the lens to a 80mm focal length (which I did).

    Dream of tulips on a lightbox © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Macro

    Dahlia, my love

    Dahlia, my love. Flowers that make us forget the burden of a moment. Photographed each of them alone and as a pair. I tested HighKey shots instead of HDR, in the background different white tones.

    The result did not leave me alone. Afterwards I wanted to try my hand at photographing a hen’s egg to study shades of different white (basically grey and yellow) tones. Unfortunately this did not happen today due to an emergency examination.

    Red Dahlia II (single shot) © Julian Köpke
    Two Dahlias in a white vase © Julian Köpke

    More flowers to be seen in my Flickr-Album Flowers.

  • General,  Macro,  Monochrome,  reflection

    Reflection II

    Most of what we do see with our eyes is a reflection. Any light from a bouquet of flowers is just reflection. Looking through a bottle shows beside reflection some refraction.  The only exception, where we don’t see reflected light is e.g. offered by an open fire or a light bulb. The sight of a star also shows direct light, which is usually subject to refraction due to the atmosphere.

    Our eyes seem to absorb the light when we see. In fact, they can also reflect the incident light. We know this phenomenon from cat images that we have mistakenly photographed with a flash light. 

    Sitting in front of me my right eye is on the viewers left side and the left eye is on its right side. The instrument uses a red and a green laser at a harmless energy dose.

    Fundus of right eye seen in red and green laser light © Julian Köpke
    Fundus of left eye seen in red and green laser light © Julian Köpke

    With different wave lengths of a laser an ophthalmologist is able to see different structures of the fundus and uses this property for diagnostic purposes. Looking at the green color only that stems from the green laser, the result is a monochrome image that shows vessels of the surface of the retina and smalls nerves joining the papilla.

    Fundus of right eye seen in green laser light © Julian Köpke
    Fundus of left eye seen in green laser light © Julian Köpke

    Looking at the red channel displaying the reflections of the red laser light, monochrome images show deep vessels behind the retina.

    Fundus of right eye seen in red laser light © Julian Köpke
    Fundus of left eye seen in red laser light © Julian Köpke

    Beside the medical point of view there is an aesthetic one, too. Dr. Gösele, to whom I owe these beautiful pictures, confirmed to me the impression of an astronomical night shot, which other viewers also feel. With a courageous crop you get there:

    At a certain crop the fundus of a human eye seen in laser light resembles and emission nebula with a star in its center. © Julian Köpke

    This is how the central part of my sensor looks like when creating photographs or X-rays. My wife immediately urged me not to fall into a narcissistic trap ….