• 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.

  • General,  Landscape,  Monochrome,  Travel

    Ups and downs

    January 6th is a holiday in our region, commemorating the three holy kings or three wise men, who had been probably astronomers. The Orthodox Churches celebrate Christmas. In the United States of America, a reigning madman with his mob is degrading his country to a banana republic. Looking at this rises questions about our German history 87 years ago.

    I spent the whole night absorbing  the latest news. Sleeping was almost difficult if not impossible. This morning a bug in the Flickr software ? A picture of mine with so many views and favorites ? Well, that was the good surprise this morning after all: an in explore for a picture I had been thinking about for a long time and that I repeatedly failed: taking tree trunks in landscape format.

    This time it worked out better than expected. Christa and I started a late walk up at Posseltslust to see some people riding sledges. We took a forest trail away from the slopes. The twilight was already advanced, the ISO high and the aperture only slightly closed. A pleasant winter light surrounded us. Between the tress it became bright, the tree trunks covered with snow below. This image got an in explore.

    Tree trunks in winter near Posseltslust in Heidelberg © Julian Köpke

    Not far from there, I made a second attempt of the scene, which seems a bit more delicate in my eyes. I posted it two days later.

    Tree trunks in winter near Posseltslust in Heidelberg © Julian Köpke

    Winter forest looks a it like a fairy tale to me. That is why color is also important, which additionally stimulates the imagination. Even a tree trunk presumably struck by lightning becomes a sight to behold. It works with the color even if there is only little light.

    Broken tree in the forest near Posseltslust in Heidelberg © Julian Köpke

    At the end of the forest path, a light shines like in a cathedral, in which the faithful are moving. Is there the light at the end of the tunnel ?

    Walk through the forest in winter near Posseltslust in Heidelberg © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Long time exposure,  Motion Blur,  Travel

    Island in the sun

    Always changing weather conditions is normal on Sylt, the northern most island of Germany. Heat, winds and rain alternate continuously. Just arrived I had to go straight to the beach, where clouds and sun welcomed me at the same time.

    On the beach of Westerland © Julian Köpke

    The on average better weather awaits one in the north, the so-called elbow, a peninsula near List. A lot of unused beach chairs with low numbers are standing there.

    Beach at so-called ellbow near List, Sylt © Julian Köpke

    Some 40 km south one finds the south tip of Sylt with its characteristic lighthouse. Many lighthouses can be found on this island, which is surrounded by sandbanks and often changing flow conditions of the water at low or high tide.

    Lighthouse at south end of Sylt (Hörnum) © Julian Köpke

    A beach walk is accompanied by many birds, seagulls mostly, but also cormorants or sandpipers. Sometimes you flush them out unvoluntarily and they fly wildly confused.

    Seagulls at Hörnum (Sylt) © Julian Köpke

    Cyclists become tiny like ants against the seemingly overpowering clouds. Without mountains one loses any scale.

    Clouds hanging over the dike at Rantum polder © Julian Köpke

    Experimenting with longtime exposure my first results of waves at the beaches are not yet convincing. Three seconds turn out to be a vivid interval of the time fusion on my sensor.

    Time fusion waves Dikjen Deel (3s), Sylt © Julian Köpke
  • 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