• Landscape,  Long time exposure,  Travel

    Test results

    It was impossible for me to sleep really long. The long day in Iceland and the tension about when the test result would arrive kept me awake. In the end, it was 12 hours that we waited. We spent the quarantine in the car on the way to the hotel as indicated. After12 hours of tiring waiting, the result a negative test -was as text message on our mobile phones.

    The weather was constantly changing on the way. In addition to great photo opportunities, there were also boring sections with rain or dull views. At the end we arrived in Arnarstapi. Again along day with excursion to the basalt coast with finely distributed rain.

    Black basalt coast at Hellnar (Arnarstapi) © Julian Köpke
    Despite the unpleasant rain, the sky was full of interesting light conditions that the eye was not accustomed to correctly estimate.
    Snaefellsjökull © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel

    Eternal day

    Our flight to Iceland started in Germany with summer darkness, which was far from reaching its maximum. To the north over Germany and to the northwest over Scotland, th edusk could be seen in the west, and after not too long already the dawn in the east. The topology of the sphere allows us to see the evening in the left plane window and the morning in the right plane window.

    Red clouds, sometimes dense, sometimes filigree, hovered over an almost closed cloud cover over the sea. Seeing the sun was reserved for the captain of the flight.

    Sunrise after take off © Julian Köpke
    Sunset and sunrise © Julian Köpke

    After a Covid test, we had to go into quarantine. Outside it was still bright as in our home on a winter afternoon at 4 pm. Everything was deserted, so I took a photo session at the harbor without violating the purpose of the quarantine. I was greeted by a strong eruption of the Krýsuvík-volcano system in the Fagradalsfjall mountains, for which I was only partially equipped in camera technology.

    Eruption © Julian Köpke

    In the morning I was able to see the volcanic region again from the pool of the hotel. A half-full wine glass was on the edge. In the night three young mermaid have had loudly their fun in this pool.

    Sleeping volcano under clouds. Krýsuvík-volcano system © Julian Köpke
  • Monochrome,  Sylt,  Travel

    Oh, island in the sun …

    Ansel Adams was a pianist. There’s even an edition of recordings of him from the 30s. For a long time he struggled whether he should become a pianist or a photographer.

    Reading his book “The Negative” not only gives me insight into the technical processes that the “analogue” photographers had to struggle with. His often short sentences or comments on the image evaluation are an inspiring source, which always evoke in me the image of a qualified musician from Ansel Adams. He didn’t loose the spirit of music when photographing or processing.

    His comments on infrared photography inspired me to rework a color image of the northern part of the island of Sylt and to study the effect of different color filters on contrasts and tonality.

    I am feeling rewarded that this picture was chosen for the group in explore by Flickr this morning.

    Land's end near List, Sylt © Julian Köpke

    The contrasts in the color image are weaker, the color also distracts a little from the mood of an impending thunderstorm. A bit of luminosity or radiance comes out better in the clouds in the black and white image.

    Land's End near List (Ellbogen) © Julian Köpke

    My others in explore pictures are here.

  • Landscape,  Sylt,  Texture,  Travel

    Heavy winds

    In the evening in Keitum we went after dinner in a pub a little walk. The light of the sunset was special and it changed continuously with the cloud train. After all, there was quite bit of wind to be felt. Within less than 1 hour I took many pictures, leaning on fence posts to be less shaky.

    Initially, there were phases with almost homogeneous cloud backgrounds.

    Church St. Severin, Keitum, Sylt © Julian Köpke

    The simple geometry of the lateral image of St. Severin calmed the increasingly wild sky.

    Church St. Severin, Keitum, Sylt © Julian Köpke
    For a moment it looked like thunderstorms. A crack went through the clouds that reminded me of an old church song.
    Tearing open clouds over St. Severin church, Keitum, Sylt © Julian Köpke

    However, the threat of an approaching thunderstorm dissolved without a single drop of rain and the setting sun colored the clouds before we got back into the car for the drive home.

    Evening clouds at Keitum © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Sylt,  Travel

    Clouds of Sylt

    Expressive pictures on Sylt seem to be easier to achieve with clouds. The last days, first in black and white, now increasingly in color. The cloud structure of the sky reminds me again and again of Emil Nolde’s oil paintings.

    First I edit the RAW images with Capture One. This allows me to determine the light and dark parts as well as the contrasts and colors. Then I erase the unavoidable stains, either from the sensor or from the optics. At the end a few filtering in Photoshop with Topaz or Nik Collection. All filters masked out and painted in at some homeopathic dosage.

    Church St. Severin in Keitum © Julian Köpke
    Dyke Rantum and clouds © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Monochrome,  Sylt,  Travel

    Departure from realism

    An idea of Ansel Adams regarding the reality of a photo keeps me captive. His best photos, as he writes in hisbook “The Negative”, are often described by viewers as truly realistic. But they’re not. On the contrary. These would often have been the most intensively worked on by him.

    He repeatedly insists in this book that the best images would have been those in which he left reality in the processing to show what he wanted to show or felt.

    I am often impressed by the clouds passing by or the play of clouds in the sky. In a colored picture, I don’t quite succeed in directing the weight of the picture to the clouds in the sky. Despite the use of filters with and without gradients, the color image is beautifully colored and bright, but the desired focus is lost. With black and white pictures, it seems to be easier.

  • Landscape,  Sylt,  Travel

    Flotsam and jetsam

    The Braderuper Heath is a northeastern part of the island of Sylt, with a white cliff of kaolin. While walking we came across an eviscerated duck that was suddenly lying in front of our feet. The head was dark or black, the throat was flabby, the internal organs were probably used for food. Maybe some dog owners had become angry already about their naughty four-legged friends.

    That’s not enough. A short distance later we came across shipwreck whose hull with the upward-facing edges offered the same aspect as the duck’s disemboweled body with its ribs. Since the tide was low, we were able to approach the mortal remains of the ship without water running into our shoes. We just sank a little into the tidal mudflats.

    Wreck in the mudflats of Braderup. © Julian Köpke

    We could have made bets on the age of the ship and the cause of the accident. The three-masted grain schooner was moored as an unauthorized party ship off the coast of Braderup and sunk due to a fire in 1981. The cause of the fire was never determined.

    There are many places with a white cliff. This one is part of the same geological structure as the cliff in Morsum.

    White cliff at Braderup © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Sylt,  Travel

    Cliff at Morsum

    In Morsum one finds a cliff on the northern shore at the border to the Hindenburgdamm, shaped some 120.000 years ago, which is national geotope. It is a soil structure formed by northern European glaciers with red (limonite), yellowish and white(kaolin) sands. These sands itself had been deposited 7 – 11 million years ago. More detailed information can be found in a Wiki (English oder German).

    The image is an HDR of 5 exposures, intentionally overexposed and combined manually and one processed with software (HDR Efex Pro 2). Doing so no traces of a technically generated HDR image are recognizable. The resulting HighKey image looks natural. I adopted this way of processing HDR images from Harold Davis.

    View of Morsum cliff in eastern direction. © Julian Köpke

    The layer structure only detects at close range. These layers are like loose sandstone. Unfortunately, they got knotted. Some layers a pretty coarse.

    North Sea is rough and versatile. The water comes close to the cliff. It was low tide today when we passed by. So we didn’t get wet feet.

    Patterns of deposit layers at Morsum cliff © Julian Köpke
    Patterns of deposit layers at Morsum cliff © Julian Köpke

    It is spring on Sylt, during the year everything blooms later than in the South.

    Willow catkin © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Long time exposure,  reflection,  Travel

    Beach Westerland

    The German philosopher Karl Jaspers described in his memoirs the boy’s experiences with the sea. The sea, he noted, is a symbol of philosophy, because it makes infinity present to us.

    Is a photo on the beach enough to bring us closer to the infinity of thoughtMaybe at that moment, I think, when we stop thinking focused when we look at the photo.

    Different motifs are able to change our inner view. They don’t have to be pictures of the sea. But with these, our feeling is often more evident.

    Technically I did three longtime exposure of 15s, which is a sort of time fusion. I used a 6EV Lee filter to photograph these three stones at the beach short after sunrise. You can see the colourful reflections of the morning sky in the sea and on the damp beach.

    Colors of waves. Early morning near Westerland, Sylt. © Julian Köpke
  • Heidelberg,  Landscape,  Motion Blur,  Train window,  Travel

    Train ride

    Lockdown drives us crazy. Official measures increasingly breathe the spirit of decay. The Age of Enlightenment is over. It is no longer a reasonable reflection that counts or thoughts, that are discussed. Politics behaves more like a war management. The first victim of a war is the truth. That’s more and more disturbing.

    This morning I stepped over an enigma. A structure in the roof of our Main Station in Heidelberg. As an image, there are many ways this structure could be thought of: a top-down bowl, a flying saucer – or a light dome. As it was still dark about 6 o’clock the windows appeared in a dark blue, like the adjacent ceiling.

    Other perspectives show a content that could be seen as a china plate. I couldn’t stop to photograph this dome.

    Longtime exposures made from a train window have a look and feel of their own. Perspective loses its sense. A moment loses its meaning. But these images are inspiring.

    How to photograph the feeling of eternity ? Can there really be a feeling of eternity or are we subjected to a deception when we perceive it ? Does time fusion help although a finite process ? The following image was captured with the Slow Shutter app on my cell phone with 8 seconds.