I like to make things visible the naked eye isn't able to see. That's part of my profession as a radiologist, too.

  • Architecture,  Travel

    Rialto bridge

    The Rialto Bridge, as we know it today, is made of white stone and was built between 1588 and 1591 and opened to traffic on 20 March 1591. It connects the Sestiere San Marco with the Sestiere San Polo, which are separated by the Grand Canal.

    The term „Rialto“ is probably the short form of Rivo Alto („high bank“) in Venetian dialect. There have been wooden bridges at this location since 960, with an uncertainty of 59 years. The earliest was called Ponte della Moneta, certainly a reference to the local market that has always existed and has survived to this day („moneta“ is Italian for „coin“).

    Staircase Rialto bridge © Julian Köpke
    Rialto bridge before dawn © Julian Köpke

    The early wooden bridges were repeatedly burnt down or collapsed due to overloading and therefore required constant renovation. Beside, the Rialto Bridge was the only footpath connecting San Marco and San Polo until the Ponte dell’Accademia was built in 1854.

    Night ends at Rialto bridge © Julian Köpke
    Ponte di Rialto with Acqua Alta © Julian Köpke

    In the early morning, when photographers are finishing their shots, a stream of pedestrians swells up, consisting of locals and first tourists. Somewhere, work is waiting for these Venetians you wouldn’t have expected.

    At the Rialto Bridge on the way to work © Julian Köpke
    At the Rialto Bridge on the way to work © Julian Köpke

    See more images in my Flickr album.

  • Landscape,  Travel

    Winter in Elmau Valley

    It’s been a long time since we’ve seen so much snow as in this small Alpine valley on the border with Austria: Elmau. A wonderful area in all seasons, in winter with plenty of peace and quiet and no tourist overload. Certainly not a destination for hardcore winter sports enthusiasts.

    Farewell to the Elmau Valley © Julian Köpke

    For us, it was perfect for a quiet time with walks in the countryside, swimming in wonderful outdoor pools, reading or taking photos. Few motifs are immediately apparent to the photographer. Repeated viewing or, better still, „sticking with“ a composition brings about the happiness of a better picture as if by itself.

    Wintery Elmau Castle with some sunshine © Julian Köpke

    The event of the week for me was a 4-day daily photography course for hotel guests, which focused on photographic composition. A topic in which I had been aware of my weaknesses for some time without having improved through reading.
    The central question of the course instructor Micha Pawlitzki was always: what does the picture do to you? This question is aimed at the emotions, which are a always good guide.

  • flowers,  Fusion imaging,  Lightbox,  X-Ray

    Transparencies

    HDR photography of flowers with a light box creates the illusion of translucency, which is very attractive in itself. By fusing X-ray light and visible light in flower photography, one expands the photographic possibilities by reproducing the inner structures of the photographed plants or objects. The illusion of translucence is enhanced by the physical transparency of X-ray light. Even photographically non-transparent objects can be given the illusion of transparency by fusing X-ray light and visible light.

    A publication by the dPunkt publishing house in „foto espresso“ gave me the opportunity to present this idea in the May 2023 issue.

    Two lily blossoms © Julian Köpke
  • Egypt,  Travel

    Land on the Nile

    In my mind, Egypt is associated with the friends and acquaintances from this country whom we have known for almost a lifetime. And with pyramids, sculptures, painting and literature, sailboats on the Nile and palm trees in oases. Last but not least, with a rising full moon behind remote settlement houses on the Nile. But one after the other.

    Photographs of the pyramids of Giza like to show them with the desert as their surroundings. They appear to stand free under a clear, steel-blue sky. At the time these monuments were built, there must have been a strictly organised activity for the mummification of corpses and the documentation of their past lives. A lot of people must have worked there permanently, as scribes, painters, sculptors and not least as tomb architects and workers. Today we would call this an industry.

    Pyramids of Gizeh © Julian Köpke

    Modern Cairo is getting closer and closer to the site of the Giza pyramids. The city limits are only a stone’s throw away from the new Egyptian Museum. It is as if this structure is a last warning before the city finally swallows up the pyramids. If you look from the Citadel towards Giza, you almost think the skyscrapers are as tall as the pyramids.

    The first step pyramid was erected between 2720 and 2700 BC by Pharaoh Djoser. As with many other ancient statues, its face was destroyed, probably by Christian fundamentalists who wanted to put an end to the statue’s possibility of having an effect on the population. Photographing these statues is only possible with patience, searching for the best perspective and a moment without visitors in the line of sight. Then you can imagine the grandeur and splendour that these works must have once radiated.

    Statue of Pharao Djoser. Old kingdom, ruling 2720 - 2700 BC. Builder of the first step pyramid. Nose cut off presumably by Christian fundamentalists in ancient times. © Julian Köpke

    The ancient Egyptian museum houses a lot of ancient statues from the old empire. Fortunately, some of these works remained intact due to sand drifts. One can then see the earlier extent of the drifts before the excavations by the boundaries of the fundamentalist destruction.

    The bust of the pharaoh Userkaf made of black stone is not only well preserved. Its presentation in the museum makes it reminiscent of a magician who does not want to be recognised. The bust was found at his sun temple at Abu Ghurab. Userkaf was the last king of the 5th dynasty. His pyramid, now ruined, is located a few hundred meters from the northeast corner of Djoser’s 3rd dynasty step pyramid at Saqqara.

    Bust of Pharao Userkaf found at his sun temple at Abu Ghurab. Userkaf was the last king of the 5th dynasty. His pyramid, now ruined, is located a few hundred meters from the northeast corner of Djoser's 3rd dynasty step pyramid at Saqqara. © Julian Köpke

    From the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt by Pharaoh Mentuhoteb II in the years 2030 to 2021 BC, the pharaohs wore a larger headdress symbolising the two parts of the empire.

    Statue of pharao Mentuhotep II © Julian Köpke

    Less than 200 years later, the pharaohs intensified the cultivation of the Fayyum Oasis for vegetable production by diverting water from the Nile into the area, which was up to 45m below sea level. At that time, a huge lake was created. Although the area has been permanently settled and cultivated for almost 6500 years, sometimes the feeling of a precarious existence of a desert oasis still imposes itself.

    Group of palm trees in Fayoum © Julian Köpke

    There is a relaxing contrast to the oasis when you travel the Nile by boat. Then you are in the middle of the Nile as a lifeline with a green strip on both banks. Apart from numerous cruise ships, barges, sailboats and rowing boats also move on the water.

    Ships on the Nile © Julian Köpke

    As the sun set one evening, the last full moon before the beginning of spring rose in Esna. Four weeks later it would be Easter because of this. The lighting conditions favoured a single exposure shot to get a satisfactory result. At 135mm focal length and f8 with ISO 3200, it took me what felt like a very long 1/30s to take the picture.

    Moonrise at Esna, Egypt © Julian Köpke
  • General,  Heidelberg,  Landscape

    Infinite avenue of trees

    On Sunday we met with friends to walk in the castle gardens of Schwetzingen, especially to the cherry garden of the mosque, because the cherry trees are starting to blossom. Weak intermittent clouds created a diffuse light in the park with warm intermediate tones. The well-designed baroque grounds everywhere show the joy of technical possibilities to expand – or even deceive – the human horizon of experience.

    There is a small section in the park with a trompe l’oueil designed to make infinity tangible. In summer, ivy grows along the tunnel-shaped lattice to create a tube view.

    Trompe l'oeuil at Schwetzingen Palace Garden © Julian Köpke

    When photographing the following avenue of trees at the edge of the mosque, it was of course clear that the perspective should give the impression of a long path. I tried 2 days later to increase this effect by repeating the image in the picture, which can easily be done with digital photography and post-processing. After the second repetition, I think the eye is very well deceived and no longer perceives a real end.

    Compare to the original here.

    Infinite avenue of trees in the Schwetzingen Palace Garden (virtual reality) © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Lightbox

    Lilies of the Valley

    Yesterday I came across a piece of music through a noble advertising trailer of a French watch company with the wonderful actors Catherine Deneuve and Rami Malek directed by Guy Ritchie. I was almost magically drawn to the film because there was a time when I lived in Paris.
    But the most exciting thing was the soundtrack „Lilies of The Valley“, which exuded such an incredible lightness. I hadn’t heard of the composer Jun Myiake before, but I did know Arto Lindsay, who added his inimitable vocals. Perhaps one cannot leave the cosmos of one’s own taste.
    That’s why I quickly set off to get some lilies in town. They were to be white lilies, of which I could only get two. Red lilies in all stages of blossoming I then allowed myself to enjoy. So I took some pictures with a mixed bouquet of paradisiacal blooming lilies.

    Paradisiacal bouquet of blossoming lilies © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Lightbox

    Spring Dance of Tulips

    Today the sun shone warmly, almost too warm for a day in mid-February. A few tulips given as gifts were getting older in the vase and one started to hang its head. They had delighted us with their colourfulness for many days.

    So I decided to do a photo series with tulips on my lightbox.

    Tulips are best suited for scenic representations because they look like a human person against a light background. Dance is the most obvious association I have then. The leaves become whirling arms. The flower is the head. The legs are not really needed.

    Spring Dance of Tulips © Julian Köpke

    If the tulips lie close together, you get the impression of a tapestry. The light from the lightbox penetrates well enough to create an airy effect.

    Spring Dream of the Tulips © Julian Köpke

    Here they show themselves in a formation like a dance group.

    Folk dance group from tulips © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Fusion imaging,  Lightbox,  Macro,  Texture

    Amaryllis

    The format for recording an image can be very variable when fusion imaging is involved. In the example below, the image on the left is taken with a Phase One IQ4. The sensor size is 44mm x 55mm. The X-ray image on the right was taken with a Hologic mammography system with a detector size of 24cm x 30cm. The aspect ratio of both images is 4:5. The pixel size of the IQ4 is 6.5µm, the pixel of the mammography is 70µm long. Nevertheless, the images can be fused well.

    Amaryllis Lab color inversion photography © Julian Köpke
    Amaryllis X-ray mammography photogram © Julian Köpke

    I added some texture to the fusion image because it made it more appealing. Due to the fusion of the image from „visible light“ and the image with „X-ray light“, the definition of whether it is a medium format image or a large format image is no longer meaningfully applicable. It is simply an image.

    Amaryllis X-ray mammography fusion photography texturized © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  reflection,  Travel

    Intimate Verzasca Valley

    Intimate landscape photography is a term I can’t translate literally, although intuitively I think I immediately understand what it’s about. Historically, Eliot Porter (1901-1990) is considered the founder of this style of photography. I came across this style through an article by Charlotte Gibb, whom I had the pleasure of meeting personally in Yosemite Valley in February 2020.

    The photographer’s gaze does not seek to capture the whole scenery of a landscape, but is concerned with a closer look at parts of the landscape. The sky is usually not part of the picture in this style and the light dynamics, which are often dramatic due to the sky, are greatly reduced. The tension in the picture is created by the arrangement and relationship of the objects. Reduction and simplicity become important components.

    Rocks below Ponte dei Salti at Lavertezzo, Verzasca Valley © Julian Köpke

    The church of Lavertezzo has become known from many photographs, especially its reflections in the Verzasca between the peculiar rocks. Unfortunately, the main building was completely scaffolded for renovation in November 2022 and not photogenic. I planned the following shot because of the beautiful, sometimes almost flowing rock formations that make the Verzasca appear as if it were lying in a fountain basin. The church tower is somewhat blurred by the movement of the water surface. While processing the shot, the colour selector showed me what a bath of colour had been created by mixing the colours of vertical rocks and horizontal water.

    Lavertezzo Verzasca Valley reflection of church tower © Julian Köpke

    Not very far from the last picture, I had been walking around on the rocks and found this shot. Climbing can be very arduous on the rocks of the Verzasca. The rocks are of course slippery when wet, but even the dry rock does not always give the grip you want or expect. Everywhere you can read the warnings about this problem: 10:21h selfie, 10:38h search action begins. Expressed in typically Swiss terseness. It pays to take your steps carefully.
    A large part of the spectrum is present in the photograph. The green of the Verzasca was not as emerald here as it usually is. The rocks in evening blue. A rock in stronger red. Golden shimmers a reflection down from the ridge. I only noticed the sea serpent when I was post-processing.

    Water snake at crocodile rock, Verzasca Valley © Julian Köpke

    At a certain point, there was no more water for a composition. The stones there speak to me through their colour and their shape and their relationships to each other.
    I could not express it in words. Even weeks later, I can’t express it in a sentence. It is beautiful in any case.