• Iceland,  Landscape,  Long time exposure,  Travel

    Snæfellsness peninsula

    In the meantime, 0.8TB of photo data has accumulated. It will be a challenge to process all these photos. Fortunately, I am concentrating on a few compositions, each of which will be studied in more detail. The themes of geometry, lines and planes stand alongside the theme of colour contrast, which is easy to focus on in Iceland.

    The basalt rocks of Arnarstapi are ideal for this. With moderately homogeneous cloud cover, they lend themselves to long-term studies. The Phase One camera is able to do without the grey filter through frame averaging, which otherwise often leads to slight shifts in the composition.

    Arnarstapi basalt cliff. 2s, Automated Frame Average. LTE © Julian Köpke

    I’m still not sure whether the basalt rocks of Lóndrangar look better in colour or in black and white. We had drizzle and fog again and again, but also very brief sunny moments. Icelandic weather has returned to normal.

    Lóndrangar basalt cliff. 10s, Frame Average; LTE © Julian Köpke
  • Iceland,  Landscape,  Travel

    From Latrabjarg to Arnarstapi

    A low probability does not mean that something will not happen. For a brief moment, auroras could be observed at night at Hotel Latrabjarg. However, by the time the camera was set up, the phenomenon had already subsided. The night remained cloudless and starry, and the next morning the windows of our car were a little frozen.

    This very sunny day with cool air was the start of the return journey, which we shortened by taking a ferry in the evening from Brjánslækur to Stykkishólmur.

    The bird cliff at the headland of Latrabjarg was completely empty. Only a few seagulls were circling without landing anywhere. The puffins had already left for the Atlantic a week ago.

    Empty bird cliffs at Latrabjarg © Julian Köpke

    From this position you can see the rocks of the Westfjords of Iceland lined up one after the other.

    Westfjord cliffs seen from Latrabjarg

    Our lazy day ended in Brjánslækur. This is where the Vikings first wintered in the 9th or 10th century. A historical plaque refers to boathouses and storehouses that had been built. It must have been a Herculean task to dig depressions in this stony ground. A few tree trunks anchored in the ground are left this. In the background line up the mountains of Snæfellsnes peninsula.

    Landscape at Brjánslækur with a white house and historic poles © Julian Köpke

    Today there is a boathouse here again, with two old boats in it that nobody seems to want to use any more.

    Boat shed at Brjánslækur © Julian Köpke

    On a gentle hill, at the foot of a perhaps nameless mountain, stood another small church with a red roof. These buildings seem almost like a toy landscape when the mountains make them small.

    Waiting at Brjánslækur for the ferry boat to Stykkisholmur Brjánslækur. © Julian Köpke

    The ferry ride was sweetened by a multi-coloured sunset. We drove between the small islands via Flatey to Stykkisholmur. The clouds, however, were to prevent the Northern Lights from appearing when we arrived in Boudoir.

    On the ferry to Stykkishólmur © Julian Köpke
  • Iceland,  Travel

    Arctic Circle and Arctic Henge

    After this hot year, it’s starting to get cool, although Iceland is also uncharacteristically warm at the moment. With twists and turns we finally reach the hotel in Raufarhöfn via the 870 with stops in Raudinupur, Skinnalón and the Arctic Henge.

    To reach the lighthouse in Raudinupur we had to walk 6 km there and back. Just arrived, the sunny weather changed and a thick, icy fog surrounded us. We became unsure which would be the right way back. The chattering of the gannets did not stop.

    Lighthouse Raudinupur © Julian Köpke

    My personal highlight of the day is the abandoned farm Skinnalón. It lies at 66 degrees and 31′ north latitude, which is only 1′ below the Arctic Circle, just a few steps from the Arctic Sea. The area was closed off to vehicles, the footpath uneven and a strange smell drifted over to me the closer I got to the former farm. My eyes quickly became irritated and a headache set in, as if an allergic reaction was taking place.

    Abandoned farm Skinnalón © Julian Köpke
    Collapsed storerooms in Skinnalón © Julian Köpke

    The Arctic Henge has been under construction as a work of art since 2002 and is unfinished. Somehow the goings-on at the construction site are reminiscent of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, perhaps because the stone arches are irregular, but geometrically very precisely arranged.

    Arctic Henge in Raufarhöfn. Wikipedia tells: "The Arctic Henge is an Arctic monument planned in 1996 by the artist Erlingur Thorodsen, which has been under construction since 2002 and is up to 11 m high. The name Arctic Henge is based on the name Stonehenge. The Icelandic name is Heimskautsgerði." © Julian Köpke

    In the early evening, a fog began to settle over the place, so we went to Arctic Henge again at nightfall. For a long time I looked at the arch as a gate with a little moving person in the background. Only during post-processing did I recognise a stone.

    Nocturnal deception in the arctic mist at the Arctic Henge in Raufarhöfn © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Lightbox,  Macro

    White and purple orchid

    My LED ceiling light, which I use as a light box for flower photography, can be dimmed and the color temperature is adjustable. The cold and extremely bright light can be tamed and turned into faint, warm light. Together with my tent of linen, I manage to control the light.
    With LiveView, the composition is created and the focus is worked out. The camera is controlled by cable connection via laptop (tethered shooting) and the recordings are made with mirror triggering. The colors become better and the impression of the picture more natural and vivid.

    White and purple orchid © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Macro

    Floral experiments

    Changing colors in flowers are attractive, especially if you approach them closely. A group of 3 flowers looks like communicative group. With targeted overexposure and instant images on the laptop, the compositional decision is easier and the colors become more picturesque, without too much processing with the computer.

    Yellow and red gerbera © Julian Köpke

    A curtain over the illuminated background behind the focal plane creates an effect reminiscent of nebulae in the night sky.

    Red and yellow gerbera © Julian Köpke

    Photography of flowers in a vase in an exposure series (HDR) is complicated by their light sensitivity, which causes a change of position in short time scales. Plants constantly rearrange their leaves and blossoms. This results in blurring, which can be compensated for e. g. by repeating the shot series, shorter exposure time series or tools for aligning the images. Or you can do your image without HDR, because the dynamic range of the camera data is sufficient.

    Bouquet of red and yellow gerberas © Julian Köpke

    The center of a Gerbera blossom is richly structured. Due to the high resolution of the camera back (150 MP), it is possible to crop out the center still in good resolution.

    Inner circle of a red and yellow gerbera © Julian Köpke

    The transparent representation of the petals is achieved by using a light box. The light should be relatively bright, but does not have to be fully homogeneous. The heat of the light does not matter, it is adjusted using RAW format in post-processing. More informations about this method see web-pages of Harold Davis, who invented this method.

    Yellow gerbera © Julian Köpke
    Yellow gerbera on a lightbox © Julian Köpke
  • General,  Landscape,  Travel

    Meeting friends

    After 2 years of FaceTime and telephone conversations we see each other again, friends from Lucerne and us. Meeting point halfway between our two residences, near Hinterzarten near the Feldberg and Titisee. After more than 30 years of friendship, the time of hard separation due to borders and infection management had also been painful now and then.

    With photography, we have approached in a new way, each with its own approach. With Monald the wildlife and landscape photography, with me the stars, the landscape, the portrait or macro photography. This weekend we used the few hours in the morning and evening for the countryside around the Feldberg, never letting ourselves be stopped by rain or marshland.

    The picture at the beaver dam got an explore on Flickr.

    Autumn rain and fog at Titisee © Julian Köpke
    Reflections at beaver reservoir Reimartihof © Julian Köpke

    At sunrise we placed ourselves with a view of the Titisee just below the Feldberg. Sunrise and fog alternated in rapid succession. Only for breakfast at 9 o’clock we were back in time at the hotel.

    View on Titisee at Feldberg with clouds © Julian Köpke
    Morning fog near Feldberg © Julian Köpke

    The trip to Todtnauer Hütte was longer than expected. Unfortunately, we did not find the hoped-for fog in the valley. There were plenty of autumn trees for this, the sun early behind the clouds.

    Autumn at Todtnauer Hütte © Julian Köpke

    The Hexenlochmühle had been located by a lake in my memory. Totally wrong. Two large mill wheels are driven by water and the water of the mill stream flows into the Wutach.

    Dark side of Hexenlochmühle © Julian Köpke

    My friend’s strong wish was an evening image of the Rhine valley at sunset. Above St. Mägen near Turner we found a parking lot and some meadows with a splendid view down.

    Valley view at St. Märgen (Rhine) © Julian Köpke

    The sunset plunged our spot into a red light that became more and more intense. The sun was slightly dazzled and diffused by clouds. Many people came to our parking lot, which is obviously well known to the locals.

    Tree St. Märgen at sunset © Julian Köpke
    Sunset near St. Märgen © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel

    Mürren

    The peace in Mürren is almost intrusive. It is not disturbed by traffic noise. Only the occasional buzzing of the cable cars is reminiscent of normal life. The starry sky is great because at night very few lamps illuminate the village.

    Jupiter Moon Saturn over Alps (Mürren) © Julian Köpke

    Autumn is already more advanced in Central Switzerland thanin Ticino. Temperatures in the shade are well below 10 degrees Celsius. The sun has a lot of power at 1600m, you can easily sweat when walking.

    While searching for a location for my tripod slowly upwards, meet individual hikers or groups of two. The large groups take the cable car to the summit and do not appear on the hiking trails. Surprisingly many fly into the valley by paragliding.

    Early autumn in the Alps © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel

    Valle Verzasca II

    In the morning it is very cold in the Verzasca valley. Two hours earlier on site than the day before saved me the search for parking lot. Two photographers were just at their last pictures. Again, I was relatively late.

    First the rocks of Lavertezzo with the church, then the many puddles in the rocks with their reflections.

    Church Lavertezzo and reflection © Julian Köpke
    Early autumn in Lavertezzo © Julian Köpke
    Rocks and water colors © Julian Köpke
    Rocks and water colors © Julian Köpke

    After many photographic attempts to gain momentum from the waterfall, I took one last picture in which I look at it flowing down into the valley. Note the sun’s rays in the tree on the left, as the clouds slowly move away.

    Verzasca downstream behind Lavertezzo © Julian Köpke

    The bright house near Motta had already noticed me the day before. As good as it is preserved and as beautiful as it stands, it might be a holiday home.

    Bright house in Verzasca valley above Lavertezzo © Julian Köpke

    Waterfalls can be seen everywhere, in some places several waterfalls from different directions converge into large one.

    Waterfall near Motta, Verzasca valley. This image is slightly irritating. © Julian Köpke
  • Long time exposure,  Motion Blur,  reflection,  Travel

    Valle Verzasca

    The valley of the Verzasca is famous for its clear water, which makes its way through rocks and takes on characteristic green colour. Correspondingly, many people are attracted to it. Actually, you’re here for hiking. The Postbus stops at manyplaces and spits out large groups of hikers.

    The first day I wanted to try out different locations to see what to expect.

    The bridge, named Ponte dei salti,  with the two arches is from Roman times and is good for many selfies. With a long-term exposure one can see the arcuate construction with its reflection in the water. And the many visitors who flock on the bridge are miraculously invisible.

    Arcuate reflection of Ponte dei salti, Lavertezzo © Julian Köpke

    Swirling water can be found everywhere, in a natural way picturesque photographs are created.

    Verzasca water play © Julian Köpke

    To my surprise, the sun was seen and felt in the valley for along time. It got really hot. Only in the evening, when the rocks gave off their heat, did it become less agitated.

    Light and shadow in Verzasca Valley © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel

    Valley view of Upper Rhine

    Two weeks ago I went to Lake Constance for business reasons. At 7 o’clock in the morning I could see a red sun rising in the fog between trees. That’s why I made a stopover at Lake Constance to take pictures there in the evening and in the morning.

    The morning drive two weeks ago might have made you think of ghosts and of course there is literature on this subject from the area. The evening when I arrived was wonderfully sunny and fogless. By car I made an “ascent” to Hohenklinge Castle in Stein am Rhein, to see the valley from above. The view reminded me of Renaissance painting.

    Sunset over rhine valley near Stein am Rhein © Julian Köpke

    There is no repetition for the landscape photographer. The natural light will never be like that again when you go back to a place. Where the sun was supposed to rise it was not foggy. It was cloudy. From here the Upper Rhine begins.

    Early in the morning, all of a sudden, two women drifted in the river. The two of them wished me from below a “good morning.

    Morning at Stein am Rhein © Julian Köpke

    Here in Stein am Rhein ends Lake Constance, which lies between the High Rhine and the Upper Rhine. Before sunrise you could see some discoloration of the sky, along with very little ground fog.

    End of Lake Constance at Stein am Rhein © Julian Köpke