• 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
  • flowers,  Monochrome,  X-Ray

    X-ray photos of grapes and sunflowers

    Grapes as an object of X-raying have been inspiring me for a long time. Their structure remind the doctor of the azini of a gland or lung. The phycisist likes very much the partial and complete overlays alternating with free positions. As an artist I get an unbelievable freedom of image design.

    My first X-ray imaging attempts with grapes were carried aout in October 2017. I’d forgotten !

    Can something succesful be repeated ? Can it be deepened ? What is the power of the composition ?

    Grapes picture in Hologic calendar September 2019 © Julian Köpke
    Grapes - creative representation of an X-ray with Lab color © Julian Köpke
    Grape X-ray photo © Julian Köpke

    Two days ago I tried toput my creativity into the composition. Two pictures were taken from grapes which differ only slightly. Their X-ray view on our monitor had a clearly different effect.

    Grapes X-ray photo X-ray mammography photo © Julian Köpke
    Grapes composition II X-ray mammography photo © Julian Köpke

    My colleague by chance showed up with a bouquet of small sunflowers with long stalks. Amazing opportunity !

    I dedicate this X-ray of a bouquet of sunflowers to my colleague Dr. Arendt. © Julian Köpke
    Bouquet of Sunflowers X-ray photo © Julian Köpke
  • Monochrome,  X-Ray

    Vegetables X-ray photography

    Harold implanted the idea of X-rays with onions in me. Although more than covered with professional requirements, I tried my hand at vegetable x-ray photography.

    I can say it’s fun. Although a defective screen had to be replaced at the beginning. And you need some patience. Not every shot shows its beauty from the beginning. Some have to be developed first.

    Let’s start with a corncob. It has many outer leaf layers, which lie close to it. X-rays look through and show the layers at the edge of the bulb as fine lines.

    Corncob X-ray photo © Julian Köpke

    Here is a comparison of X-ray on the left side versus Mammography on the right side. A Belgian endive and a lettuce show much more contrast and fine structure in a mammography whereas X-ray gives more the impression of softness. Which goes well for a salad.

    Chickory (Belgian endive) and lettuce X-ray photo © Julian Köpke
    Chickory (Belgian endive) and lettuce mammography X-ray photo © Julian Köpke

    Onions have a lot of liquid and are therefore radiopaque. I was curious to see which method  would make it better to reveal the layerstructure of the onions. To my surprise mammography did a pretty good job.

     

    Onions mammography X-ray photo © Julian Köpke
    Onions mammography X-ray photo © Julian Köpke

    Conventional X-ray offers more mystery, especially when you stack onions.

    Stacked onions X-ray photo © Julian Köpke

    Some kind of layered structure also has fennel. I got two specimen that looked like mittens.

    Fennel © Julian Köpke

    This year we had so many apples in our garden. They are red and look juicy. I had the chance to take two of them to my X-ray machine. With the help of two different orientations an interesting picture succeeds, because on of the apples still has a small branch.

    May be there is some truth in the saying: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But as the dentist would say: no teeth, no apple.

    Sleeping beauty's choice © Julian Köpke
    An apple a day keeps the doctor away © Julian Köpke
  • General,  Monochrome

    Thundercloud vortex

    Has the future ever been read from the migration of the clouds ? Their forms and movements have always been exciting and inspiring for me. A vortex of clouds immediately creates a vortex of emotions.

    That is why clouds have long been the subject of my photographic interest and I have created a considerable collection of cloud images. 

    Last night a long heat wave ended with a thunderstorm. Above our house the clouds were swirling, lightning sometimes closer, sometimes further away. Islands of brightness changed rapidly in a threatening sea of black clouds.

    Swirling Thunderclouds © Julian Köpke
    Swirling Thunderclouds. Before the rain starts © Julian Köpke

    In some ways, these clouds remind me of interstellar gas clouds in our galaxy. In the example below the colors of the panorama image of M8 (or „Lagoon Nebula“) are suppressed to better recognize the structure.

    M8 Lagoon Nebula Panorama of 6 tiles © Julian Köpke