• 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

    Snail shells X-ray fusion photos

    A friend handed me out some snail shells that he had in mind for a long time to lend me. Eventually, he found 5 beautiful shells when cleaning up the basement.

    The effect of the images depends strongly on the post-processing. Some of the results may not be combined in one presentation.

    Here I show three images of them as dark jewels with an intrinsic undefinable light. Maybe, we are thousand miles below sea level.

    X-ray fusion photo snail shells composition II © Julian Köpke

    Fusion imaging works with a light box. Without, too. It depends on your subject. The light images were taken with a Leica Q, pointing just in the same direction as the X-rays from below of the X-ray tube. The resolution and technology is completely sufficient for the color use.

    I designed a new composition, which should allow me to have different positions of the shells in space. The surrounding snail shells serve as supports.

    X-ray fusion photo snail shells composition III © Julian Köpke

    I wanted to take the yellow, quit radiopaque snail shell from above. So I had to rearrange the snail shells once more.

    When looking at my flickr stream you may find other representations in the preceding neighborhood of this image.

    X-ray fusion photo snail shells composition IV © Julian Köpke
  • Monochrome,  X-Ray

    X-ray photo of a ball from snail shells

    Today’s fun was the X-ray of a sphere of snail shells, which I found as decoration in my sister-in-law’s house. It was immediately clear to me that the spherical structure of the glued snail shells would become a great X-ray image.

    The original X-ray version with a black background is dark and strong. The whole thing looks like a picture of a virus. Nobody would ever think that it was a polystyrene sphere to which snail shells had been glued.

    X-ray photo of a ball from snail shells © Julian Köpke

    In the inverted version, the object comes to the fore much more as an independent unit. A flu virus ? A plant seed ?

    X-ray photo of a ball from snail shells L-channel inverted © Julian Köpke