• Architecture,  Monochrome,  Travel

    Surprising light

    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.

    Burial site of Catharina Pavlovna Stuttgart © Julian Köpke

    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.

    Dome roof a the burial site of Catharina Pavlovna Stuttgart © Julian Köpke

    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 ?

    Bust of Catharina I, Queen of Württemberg © Julian Köpke

    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.

    Sarkophage of Catharina and Wilhelm © Julian Köpke

    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.

    Leaving the chapel on Württemberg © Julian Köpke
  • Fusion imaging,  Monochrome,  X-Ray

    Oak leaves with acorns

    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.

    Oak leaves with acorns X-ray photo © Julian Köpke
    Oak leaves with acorns X-ray photo L-inversion © Julian Köpke

    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.

    Oak leaves with acorns X-ray fusion photo © Julian Köpke

    The oak leaves are the memento of a friend, like the old school friend who was to remain a friend for life.

  • flowers,  Lightbox,  Macro,  Monochrome,  Texture

    Artichoke

    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.

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

    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.

    Blooming artichoke © Julian Köpke

    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.

    Blooming artichoke © Julian Köpke

    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.

    Blooming thistle at the former railroad tracks © Julian Köpke

    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.

    Blooming artichoke © Julian Köpke
    Blooming thistle at the former railroad tracks © Julian Köpke
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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,  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,  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.

  • 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,  Monochrome,  X-Ray

    X-ray Xmas floral arrangement

    Today was a day of dense work and many technical problems. The day before I had made some flower arrangements for Christmas from my preferred flower dealer. A technician took me some X-rays so I could study the exposure values when my wirk was finished.

    The following two I liked most.

    X-ray Xmas floral arrangement photo © Julian Köpke

    The vase on the right side seems to hover over the ground.

    X-ray Xmas floral arrangement photo © Julian Köpke