It is the photographer’s art to emotionally convey the mood and light during a shot. This becomes all the more difficult the greater the differences between the location of the recording and the location of the processing. When we departed from Iceland, it was only 6 degrees Celsius with nice Icelandic sunshine. In Frankfurt on arrival and in Heidelberg on the following days it was 30 degrees and more.
So it is all the more gratifying when a photo, developed late in the evening, is selected to Flickr Explore after the first 2 days of work and dead tired in the evening at 11:30 p.m. This time it is the famous Black Church of Budir. For aesthetic reasons, I had removed an empty flag pole that belonged to the cemetery.
This year, for the first time, several of my pictures were selected. To keep an overview, I have arranged all the in explores into one album.
On the way to Boudir, we drove through the Hvalfjörður Tunnel, which went alarmingly deep under the ocean. After leaving the tunnel, the rain stopped again and again and the clearing of the thunderstorm clouds over the mountains appeared in the south.
This clearance of the clouds and the breaking of the light were good signs. We had left Keflavik paralyzed by quarantine and in continuous rain. A strange ghost ship at the exit of the village with a big hole in its belly was swaying back and forth, whiped by gusts of wind and rain.
On the very sunny day of our return to Keflavik 11 days later it was gone. As befits ghost ships.
You don’t go to Iceland to watch a solar eclipse. The visibility of the event is unlikely. Taking a solar eclipse with you as a by-catch on a trip has a different quality.
So we managed to record the early and late phases with a tripod, we had to miss the maximum due to heavy rain and dark clouds. Only a few minutes later than the maximum at 10:16h local time we drove off road into the wilderness and took this photo through the clouds.
With a picture like this in the box, every other photo of the day is a gift. The icebergs of Jökulsarlon were a cool attraction with reflections, sunshine and rain showers alternating.
After a short visit to the hotel we drove back to Diamond Beach, which is located right on the southern coast of Jökulsarlon. The many small ice blocks formed by the icebergs broken by the surf gave the beach its name.
It is a not too short distance from Arnarstapi to the Güllfoss in the heart of Iceland. The constantly changing weather is a stroke of luck, as are the long days. As a driver of a car, my pleasure increases with leisurely speed and music appropriate to the landscape.
Detlef and I have been going on astronomical adventures in different combinations for 10 years now. This time we’re going on our own for the first time.
Modern cars allow you to bring your own music with you via your mobile phone. This way we discover our preferred composers and musicians have a broad commonality.
Today it is Arvo Pärt’s turn, which has written music that could be taken to a planet that is still uninhabited or sparsely populated. This fits perfectly with the early plant settlements on the volcanic rock and the April weather of the island. With Arvo Pärt’s music, the rugged features of Iceland disappear and turn into gentle forms.
On the way to the hotel at the Güllfoss waterfall we come across Strokkur, a reliable geyser with the same blue colour of the water when it starts to rise driven by steam.
Ansel Adams was a pianist. There’s even an edition of recordings of him from the 30s. For a long time he struggled whether he should become a pianist or a photographer.
Reading his book “The Negative” not only gives me insight into the technical processes that the “analogue” photographers had to struggle with. His often short sentences or comments on the image evaluation are an inspiring source, which always evoke in me the image of a qualified musician from Ansel Adams. He didn’t loose the spirit of music when photographing or processing.
His comments on infrared photography inspired me to rework a color image of the northern part of the island of Sylt and to study the effect of different color filters on contrasts and tonality.
The contrasts in the color image are weaker, the color also distracts a little from the mood of an impending thunderstorm. A bit of luminosity or radiance comes out better in the clouds in the black and white image.
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 a 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.
The simple geometry of the lateral image of St. Severin calmed the increasingly wild sky.For a moment it looked like thunderstorms. A crack went through the clouds that reminded me of an old church song.
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.
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.
The basic question of the creative photographer is, wether the representation of a photograph is literal or a departure from reality as projected in his „mind’s eye“. An expressive image is photographer’s goal. When the interaction of the different factors of exposure, aperture and camera characteristics is well understood, creative freedom knows no limits. Positively speaking: the sky is the limit.
The scenario of an almost threatening thunderstorm cloud, which, however, is still in a protective distance, is sometimes surprising on the beach. The tetrapods on my image will protect the island from flooding, but not us from rain.
A colored picture blurs this impression completely. Black and white rendering clearly shows the energy inherent in a thundercloud. We came across this cloud at Hörnum and it accompanied us all along the beach.
Just a short time before, I managed to capture the impression of a constantly beautiful weather with a cool wind and gentle waves. A strong sun pushes away all dark thoughts. On the horizon, the clouds are raining a bit.
Many times we are waiting. We like to draw strength from contemplation. Time is passing by imperceptibly, almost a little too fast.
With color photos expressive images can also be created. The true brightness values of a color image like to deceive our eyes. Quantitative estimation with the help of Lab color display is a great help in the accurate determination of brightness values. To make an image look like I had it in my „mind’s eye“.
This image was shot when looking back on our way to the sunny southern beach. The area is located in the north of Sylt and is called “Ellbogen”. Shortly before, we had protected ourselves from a heavy rain shower by waiting in the car.
The path to northern beach was illuminated like by a spotlight, the dune next to it dark, the thunderstorm clouds even more dark. The raw image didn’t reflect what I saw during that short moment. The raw image was flat and without extremes. By processing I tried to restore my original impression.
I like to let my thoughts be taken by cloud formations on a journey into the indefinite. In order to emphasize the weight of the clouds in the following photo, I tried to present the relatively close parts in a clearer and more contrasted way. The RAW image had a lot of width, but without a center of gravity. The colours are rather pale and not very saturated, thus emphasizing the nordic look.
On the westcoast of Kampen, the Red Cliff, which contains oxidized iron ore and has therefore assumed a red color, offers a strong contrast. The erosion leads to washes that may be reminiscent of skin wrinkles. The picture is interesting if rendered in color or monochrome.
After a short climb we reached the upper edge of the cliff.
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.
It is always overwhelming to be on the road in Yosemite Valley. One is welcomed by silence and forest air. One of the points that provide an easily accessible overview is the former parking area for road construction machinery at the tunnel to the south: Tunnel View.
Everything slows down when you dive in there. The modern distractions are eliminated. The internet connectivity is so slow that you can’t present your pictures to anyone else while you are there. It’s a pity for those being at home.
Native americans lived in this valley and were given plenty of water. That has changed in the meantime. Precipitation is missing. An endangered jewel of this earth. It was a privilege to have been there with a friend and to be allowed to take pictures