January 6th is a holiday in our region, commemorating the three holy kings or three wise men, who had been probably astronomers. The Orthodox Churches celebrate Christmas. In the United States of America, a reigning madman with his mob is degrading his country to a banana republic. Looking at this rises questions about our German history 87 years ago.
I spent the whole night absorbing the latest news. Sleeping was almost difficult if not impossible. This morning a bug in the Flickr software ? A picture of mine with so many views and favorites ? Well, that was the good surprise this morning after all: an in explore for a picture I had been thinking about for a long time and that I repeatedly failed: taking tree trunks in landscape format.
This time it worked out better than expected. Christa and I started a late walk up at Posseltslust to see some people riding sledges. We took a forest trail away from the slopes. The twilight was already advanced, the SIO high and the aperture only slightly closed. A pleasant winter light surrounded us. Between the tress it became bright, the tree trunks covered with snow below. This image got an in explore.
Not far from there, I made a second attempt of the scene, which seems a bit more delicate in my eyes. I posted it two days later.
Winter forest looks a it like a fairy tale to me. That is why color is also important, which additionally stimulates the imagination. Even a tree trunk presumably struck by lightning becomes a sight to behold. It works with the color even if there is only little light.
At the end of the forest path, a light shines like in a cathedral, in which the faithful are moving. Is there the light at the end of the tunnel ?
It is always overwhelming to be on the road in Yosemite Valley. One is welcomed by silence and forest air. One of the points that provide an easily accessible overview is the former parking area for road construction machinery at the tunnel to the south: Tunnel View.
Everything slows down when you dive in there. The modern distractions are eliminated. The internet connectivity is so slow that you can’t present your pictures to anyone else while you are there. It’s a pity for those being at home.
Native americans lived in this valley and were given plenty of water. That has changed in the meantime. Precipitation is missing. An endangered jewel of this earth. It was a privilege to have been there with a friend and to be allowed to take pictures
In our vicinity there is a quarry that shone over to us in the afternoon with its warm colors. Loading the car with the heavy photo equipment, I drove there to try a few shots. The grounds were not as welcoming a I had imagined. Concrete paths and many closed gates that hindered a free study of light conditions. A remarkable amount of people on the road, often with dogs.
The quarry named Referenz was used to mine for quartz porphyry, a red stone similar to granite, either used for road construction or e.g. statues. One rock formation was outstanding, with trees on it and a warm and yellow surface.
On a mountain north of river Neckar through Heidelberg that was used spiritually by different subsequent cultures, there is a ruin of the monastery St. Stephan, with an arch that has probably bee reconstructed. It was already pretty dark when I got there. For the following shot it took me 2 minutes exposure time and 2 more minutes for noise reduction. You don’t see it.
The Heidelberg Castle is always a great sight. It was almost too late to find a balance between the decreasing daylight and the electrical illumination. Nevertheless, with a single 90s shot at ISO 400and f/8, the basis for this image, which is a kind of negative, was achieved. The dark Heidelberg Castle dominates the scene.
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.
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.
Looking at the red channel displaying the reflections of the red laser light, monochrome images show deep vessels behind the retina.
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:
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 ….
I hav been looking forward to the mammography of these chestnuts a whole week. It was almost too late to find some specimen that had not yet been trampled or eaten. Once again it was helping hands that made this picture possible for me.
It was difficult to get an attractive composition. Indeed some skills have to be developed to place the chestnuts – because they really hurt. The sensor was too small to x-ray the whole composition at once. The solution was a mosaic with two tiles.
The result is convincing to me. The viewer may feel the thorns looking at the image.
Our universe has to some extent a structure like a foam. How to image this ? Computer simulations did already some successful representations.
Doing X-rays on a freshly baked loaf of bread I got some features of a foam. My loaf was bigger than my X-ray sensor, so I had to stitch two tiles. Photoshop did a really good job to merge the X-rays.
The image looks more like a interstellar object than a loaf of bread.
With flowers we create feelings and express feelings. With flowers we want to elicit feelings. If they aren’t just a comfortable souvenir, that is not suitable for the wall or the shelf.
Their color is not enough to stimulate our emotions. It’s also their shape and a composition. I took a friend to my favorite florist to design a bouquet from the available flowers end of September. The central component were two specimens of a cockscomb, one in red and one in purple.
A not insignificant part of the enjoyment is the creation of the composition, together with a sensitive florist. At home I photographed the bouquet with the horizontally aligned, rectangular Lightbox in the background. It’s, of course, an HDR image, combined of shots with the Lightbox switched on and off. A final greeting of the noticeably farewell summer.
Farewell has always been a theme of flowers. Without color, subject only to the effect of light, exposing a feeling for the original color, the black-and-white image of a flower becomes intensified. The same day at sunset, with an exposure speed of 6 minutes at ISO 50, I obtained the following picture, which made me immediately think of The Godfather: I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.
Looking for a photo opportunity I stumbled over a burial site which is not far from the part of Stuttgart I grew up for several years. I had the chance to test a back for my Phase One. So I visited the grave monument of Württemberg commissioned by Wilhelm I. for his beloved wife Queen Catharina Pavlovna.
On a sunny day at noon each cam works nice. Hence, for a testing opportunity, the decision to photograph the vault or crypt was made quickly. And she paid off.
The central hall is covered by a dome roof, which makes a clear allusion to the Pantheon in Rome. The top of the dome in Rome is open. As a result, the influence of the weather is directly perceptible within the sacred space. In Swabia, with lot of rain and occasional snow, a glass dome was chosen as the end.
My 35mm lens is on my Phase One equivalent to 22mm full frame sensor. The following image is a single shot without a tripod. No HDR technique was applied.
In the tomb one floor deeper, the main person of this burial site is presented with a bust on which a fresh flower had been draped laterally. The delicacy of the flower and its color was impressive. Who put the flower there ?
Bright electric light bulbs were placed in front of the sarcophage of Catharina and her husband so that a visitor could read the inscription. Dark corners are present as well as moderately bright spots.
It was hard for me to leave the building, which had given me so many different and actually tricky light conditions, so close beneath together. Each image was obtained handheld, without tripod or flash, of course.
A walk with friends in a shady valley on a particularly hot day led us to a large oak tree. At the end of a strong branch I discovered some acorns under young leaves. While trying to find an adequate translation for my text, I came across a special text:
„The faded oak leaf in that silent book is the memento of a friend, the school friend who was to remain a friend for life.“
No author to find.
I ripped off a nice branch from the tree and took it home to X-ray it the next day.
In the digital world there is no longer an original.
The representation on the left hand side appears to look close to a clinical diagnostic X-ray. Somehow familiar to our eyes when dealing with fractures oder bowel problems.
The right hand side image shows a certain airiness or lightness that draws you into the picture. And there is some appeal of a shine through effect, especially at the leaves.
A quite inconspicuous photo of this composition nevertheless contributes to an increase of the appeal when it is merged with the X-ray image to a fusion image.
The oak leaves are the memento of a friend, like the old school friend who was to remain a friend for life.
Melitta was looking for an image in her new kitchen. She felt a fusion image of a fruit basket to be too dark. The fusion image technique is not restricted to black and white or monochrome (FAQ: Fusion imaging). With only few structural content in the X-ray of the fruits I better inverted the background of the image and sponsored a golden backdrop like an ancient greek icon. You still can see some X-ray properties looking at the lychees or the bananas. As a print its appearance was best.
Also appropriate for a kitchen would also be an image of an artichoke. If I put it on a lightbox, there is always some resemblance to a copperplate print, which I like personally. This blooming artichoke is a type of a food image, if you spend some phantasy.
A little change of perspective gives more direct access to the blooms. Every image shown in this blog entry is a combination of manual HDR and software assisted HDR. That way I get best results. The background helps to create the look and feel of ageing and simulating a print.
The artichoke presented above has some resemblance to a thistle. By chance we have a place not far from home with lots of them. Old railroad tracks had been removed and converted into bike trails nearby our house. So we went this morning by bike to get a thistle of the former track bed for an image.
As there is so much structure in these images, I felt tempted to convert my artichoke and thistle images into monochrome. To some extent they resemble images of Karl Blossfeldt.