• Landscape,  Monochrome,  Sylt

    Departure from realism II

    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.

    Thunderclouds near Hörnum © Julian Köpke

    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.

    Tetrapods at Hörnum © Julian Köpke

    Many times we are waiting. We like to draw strength from contemplation. Time is passing by imperceptibly, almost a little too fast.

    Clouds near List © Julian Köpke

    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 great help in the accurate determination of brightness values. To make an image look like I had it in my „mind’s eye“.

    Thunderclouds above pastureland at Ellbogen, Sylt © 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.

  • Macro,  reflection

    Darkroom studio II (glasses)

    My darkroom studio is convenient for flower photography and high contrast, especially white. Today I tried out glasses with reflections and a nearly complete homogenous white vase. The only variations are reflections imposed on it from little light leaks of my improvised studio.

    White vase © Julian Köpke

    A photograph of a glass in a more documentary style is the following. The representation of the glass cutting is realistic. The stem out of the focal plane is appropriate for the focus of the photograph.

    Glass cutting © Julian Köpke

    The combination of black and green thrilled me in the composition with traditional wine glasses for regional white wine. Unexpectedly, I got some copper allusions with some warmth in the transparent glass.

    Wine glasses with green stem © Julian Köpke

    A more cool representation is the following composition with more glasses, including a tasting glass for Whisky. Is it the morning after a roaring party ? No leftovers can be seen so far …

    Glasses with white and green stem © Julian Köpke

    A more detailed view ist the following photograph, which is more on the warm side. The glasses get a copper-like appearance.

    Details of glasses © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Macro,  Monochrome

    Darkroom studio

    The darkroom was the centre of analogue photography. In a darkroom were created the copies of a picture on photo paper, which had been planned when shooting with camera and film.
    The “digital darkroom” is in a way the continuation of the darkroom from analogue times. Nowadays, the role of the film is taken over by the RAW image. The development of the film was linked to chemistry, intentional light and shadow effects and fine feeling. Each print was unique.
    The “digital development” or postprocessing is non-destructive, repeatable and delivers a result, which at least theoretically can be printed as often as desired. In the digital workflow no print is unique anymore.

    With a dark background and systematic shading of daylight, my photo studio became a darkroom where could photograph flowers. Exposure times became longer, almost like a long-term exposure at night outside. The saturation of the colors came out surprisingly strong.

    Anthuria on black © Julian Köpke
    Red gerbera and fern © Julian Köpke

    The creation of a floating cloud with the help of white tulle did not require shading to achieve the effect of a darkroom. As my friend Lorenz mentioned, looking closer you can see nice interference patterns (Newtonian rings). I’m happy with this image idea: the image got two days later a Flickr in explore.

    White cloudy glow of a piece of fabric © Julian Köpke

    The soft variations of light and shadow fit well to a soft vetch.

    Vetch on white fabric © Julian Köpke
    Vetch and white fabric © Julian Köpke
  • General,  Macro,  Monochrome

    Fibonacci numbers

    I wanted to study shadows of simple bodies again today. It all started with an egg last week. The shadow of last week’s egg photo was ring-shaped. I noticed that, but it didn’t bother me. Could the ring shape of the shadow be overcome by skillful selection of light and would the backside of the egg lie entirely in the shadow? This assignment was given to me by a school friend, who himself is a professional photographer.

    Shadow cast of an egg © Julian Köpke
    Shadow cast of an egg © Julian Köpke

    The shadow looks better today, with a little help from Photoshop.

    A neighbor had given me simple bodies, which I placed like an egg on the white background. First of all as a play with form and shadow, where I had to think of the X-ra image of a human hand.

    Shadow cast of building blocks on white © Julian Köpke

    The small  wooden blocks were wonderfully colorful. Unfortunately, I didn’t have as many as my imagination would have liked. Arranged in concentric circles, they are delightful to the eyes. At the suggestion of a friend, I arranged, the number of blocks into Fibonacci numbers. The processing of the shadows leads to an exciting image, similar to solarization. Since it is a kind of negative, I named the picture after the impression it makes: „Flow of light“, although in reality it was the shadows of the blocks.

    Shadows around building blocks sorted in circles of Fibonacci numbers © Julian Köpke
    Shadows around building blocks sorted in circles of Fibonacci numbers © Julian Köpke
  • Macro,  Monochrome

    Light and shades of grey

    Shades of grey in interaction with light: this is a theme for monochromatic images. For a long time I wanted to photograph an egg against a white background. The idea was stimulated by photos, mostly of people I know personally. Geometric, white-colored bodies from the mathematical collection would also be fun for me. Unfortunately, access is not as easy for me as with an egg.

    Light and shades of grey © Julian Köpke

    On the left side the egg is brighter than the background, on the right side it is the other way round. The background itself loses a little brightness from the left to the right, but is brighter than the the egg on the right. The contrast changes. There is no clearly defined shadow for this setup. The same is true in the next photograph.

    White egg on a white background © Julian Köpke

    With the help of a simple light source whose color temperature does not matter after conversion into a black and white image, a soft shadow can be achieved if the source is not point-shaped.

    Shadow cast of an egg © Julian Köpke
    Shadow cast of three eggs on white © Julian Köpke
  • 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,  Monochrome,  Yosemite National Park

    Yosemite Valley

    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.

    2020 Tunnel View and Bridalveil Fall © Julian Köpke

    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

  • Macro,  Monochrome,  X-Ray

    Chestnuts X-ray mammography photo

    I hav been looking forward to the mammography of these chestnuts a whole week. It was almost too late to find some specimen that had not yet been trampled or eaten. Once again it was helping hands that made this picture possible for me.

    It was difficult to get an attractive composition. Indeed some skills have to be developed to place the chestnuts – because they really hurt. The sensor was too small to x-ray the whole composition at once. The solution was a mosaic with two tiles.

    The result is convincing to me. The viewer may feel the thorns looking at the image. 

    Chestnut X-ray mammography photo © Julian Köpke
  • Monochrome,  X-Ray

    Loaf of bread

    Our universe has to some extent a structure like a foam. How to image this ? Computer simulations did already some successful representations.

    Doing X-rays on a freshly baked loaf of bread I got some features of a foam. My loaf was bigger than my X-ray sensor, so I had to stitch two tiles. Photoshop did a really good job to merge the X-rays.

    The image looks more like a interstellar object than a loaf of bread.

    Loaf of bread mosaic X-ray photo © Julian Köpke