• 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

    Winter is coming

    The drive from Flateyri to Latrabjarg is in sunshine with intermittent light cloud. Winter is coming: warm autumnal colours dominate. In Iceland, you walk at sea level and look at glaciers or year-round snowfields.

    Flateyri autumn colors. White hut. © Julian Köpke

    The cloud formations change more every day, appear dishevelled, a thin sun shines, the land no longer gets warm.

    Looking back to Flateyri (Arnarfjord) © Julian Köpke

    The second visit to Dynjandi made us stay down. The colours of the sea were strongly reminiscent of the Caribbean, still warmly outshone by the land in the late morning light around 11am.

    Sunrise at Dynjandi fjord © Julian Köpke

    After the short second visit to Dynjandi in the morning on the way through, we came across the well-known shipwreck of the whaling ship Garðar BA 64. The weather cleared incredibly quickly and we were able to capture the rusting material as HDR. With a fisheye lens, the wreck deformed slightly in an arc under the circularly arranged clouds.

    Wahler shipwreck Garðar BA 64 © Julian Köpke

    Shortly before the turnoff to our accommodation at Hotel Latrabjarg, the path led us to a red sandy beach. There are at least two of these, the other is on the south coast near Vik with the grave of a young Viking around 18.
    The red beach is called Rauðisandur in Icelandic. It lies far in front of the sea. Between the beach and the mountains is a marshland with farms, siels and cows.

    View from Rauðisandur to Snæfellsjökull © Julian Köpke
    Saurbæjarkirkja near Rauðisandur © 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
  • flowers,  Macro

    Dahlia, my love

    Dahlia, my love. Flowers that make us forget the burden of a moment. Photographed each of them alone and as a pair. I tested HighKey shots instead of HDR, in the background different white tones.

    The result did not leave me alone. Afterwards I wanted to try my hand at photographing a hen’s egg to study shades of different white (basically grey and yellow) tones. Unfortunately this did not happen today due to an emergency examination.

    Red Dahlia II (single shot) © Julian Köpke
    Two Dahlias in a white vase © Julian Köpke

    More flowers to be seen in my Flickr-Album Flowers.

  • 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
  • Long time exposure,  Monochrome,  Travel

    Origin and destination

    On the penultimate day of our Out of Yosemite conference in Yosemite Valley, the Bridalveil Fall with Charlotte Gibb as instructor was on the agenda that Saturday morning at 6am. I hoped that by participating in her workshop I would gain a less technical or more creative approach to photography of waterfalls.

    She gave us the topic of long time exposure in the preliminary discussion. The spot offers little freedom of movement. There was not much room for all of us, and on top that there were every now and then some people walking around in our compositions.

    Bridal Veil fall © Julian Köpke

    Bridalveil Fall shows a strong variability of location due to the influence of air movement. Especially at sunrise you can clearly feel the rising winds. So you don’t have much time for camera setup. An ensemble of stones in the waterfall can all of a sudden become dry and the composition becomes useless. In return, the neighbouring region becomes dripping wet and appears in a new light.

    Bridal Veil fall © Julian Köpke
    Bridal Veil fall © Julian Köpke

    I know pictures from long time exposures with moving water. They’re interseting sometimes. I rarely find them really good. Often they exhibit a strong technical assessment and their message ist not really accessible to me.

    I begann to study sections of the waterfall, which meant that the rock formations in the composition always showed a new character. That way many compositions can be made.

    Bridalveil Fall © Julian Köpke

    Probably an image that expresses changeability and constancy is best suited to make us think about the origin of the world. Planets orbiting their central star are a well known example for this. Or stars that orbit the black hole of our Milky Way in 11 years.

    My last picture of Bridalveil Fall, with its interplay of light and dark, of flowing and solidification, steps and flow, forms and dissolution of forms, shows the coexistence of changeability and constancy. That’s what makes it so attractive to me.

  • flowers,  Monochrome,  X-Ray

    Snowdrops X-ray photo

    I’ve never waited for snowdrops before. Inconspicuous and boring flowers. Strength of marsh mallows. The colors of a cold green and opaque white.

    From my father-in-law’s garden we just dug up some freshly flowering specimen of snowdrops, at the roots the soil of his garden, which he can no longer cultivate.

    My technician and I made a mammography of it, with low Voltage and lots of photons. The whole afternoon I could breathe in the scent of these flowers while working.

    Snowdrop X-ray photo © Julian Köpke
  • Texture,  X-Ray

    Pile of oranges X-ray photo

    This Monday arrived my new oranges from Valencia, Spain. They are sweet, juicy and just delicious. I shared half of the delivery with my employees who had also been waiting for it for a long time. We eat or drink them. Some were x-rayed for artistic reasons.

    There is already a routine in doing these X-rays with food. But sometimes an X-ray machine has a life of its own. The first images are taken to check the exposure before we venture into a composition. The aperture of the X-ray tube may become narrower and unwanted images like the following may be produced.

    Oranges in a frame X-ray photo © Julian Köpke

    This image was created by playing with textures and colours:

    You can easily imagine a stack of oranges with the fruit lying on top of each other. The perspective of this X-ray image is from above, so that the effect of translucency is created. Because of the triangular arrangement of the oranges, one would think that the apex of the triangle would indicate at the top. In fact, the center of the triangle is at the top.