• General,  Landscape,  Travel

    Meeting friends

    After 2 years of FaceTime and telephone conversations we see each other again, friends from Lucerne and us. Meeting point halfway between our two residences, near Hinterzarten near the Feldberg and Titisee. After more than 30 years of friendship, the time of hard separation due to borders and infection management had also been painful now and then.

    With photography, we have approached in a new way, each with its own approach. With Monald the wildlife and landscape photography, with me the stars, the landscape, the portrait or macro photography. This weekend we used the few hours in the morning and evening for the countryside around the Feldberg, never letting ourselves be stopped by rain or marshland.

    The picture at the beaver dam got an explore on Flickr.

    Autumn rain and fog at Titisee © Julian Köpke
    Reflections at beaver reservoir Reimartihof © Julian Köpke

    At sunrise we placed ourselves with a view of the Titisee just below the Feldberg. Sunrise and fog alternated in rapid succession. Only for breakfast at 9 o’clock we were back in time at the hotel.

    View on Titisee at Feldberg with clouds © Julian Köpke
    Morning fog near Feldberg © Julian Köpke

    The trip to Todtnauer Hütte was longer than expected. Unfortunately, we did not find the hoped-for fog in the valley. There were plenty of autumn trees for this, the sun early behind the clouds.

    Autumn at Todtnauer Hütte © Julian Köpke

    The Hexenlochmühle had been located by a lake in my memory. Totally wrong. Two large mill wheels are driven by water and the water of the mill stream flows into the Wutach.

    Dark side of Hexenlochmühle © Julian Köpke

    My friend’s strong wish was an evening image of the Rhine valley at sunset. Above St. Mägen near Turner we found a parking lot and some meadows with a splendid view down.

    Valley view at St. Märgen (Rhine) © Julian Köpke

    The sunset plunged our spot into a red light that became more and more intense. The sun was slightly dazzled and diffused by clouds. Many people came to our parking lot, which is obviously well known to the locals.

    Tree St. Märgen at sunset © Julian Köpke
    Sunset near St. Märgen © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel

    Mürren

    The peace in Mürren is almost intrusive. It is not disturbed by traffic noise. Only the occasional buzzing of the cable cars is reminiscent of normal life. The starry sky is great because at night very few lamps illuminate the village.

    Jupiter Moon Saturn over Alps (Mürren) © Julian Köpke

    Autumn is already more advanced in Central Switzerland thanin Ticino. Temperatures in the shade are well below 10 degrees Celsius. The sun has a lot of power at 1600m, you can easily sweat when walking.

    While searching for a location for my tripod slowly upwards, meet individual hikers or groups of two. The large groups take the cable car to the summit and do not appear on the hiking trails. Surprisingly many fly into the valley by paragliding.

    Early autumn in the Alps © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel

    Valle Verzasca II

    In the morning it is very cold in the Verzasca valley. Two hours earlier on site than the day before saved me the search for parking lot. Two photographers were just at their last pictures. Again, I was relatively late.

    First the rocks of Lavertezzo with the church, then the many puddles in the rocks with their reflections.

    Church Lavertezzo and reflection © Julian Köpke
    Early autumn in Lavertezzo © Julian Köpke
    Rocks and water colors © Julian Köpke
    Rocks and water colors © Julian Köpke

    After many photographic attempts to gain momentum from the waterfall, I took one last picture in which I look at it flowing down into the valley. Note the sun’s rays in the tree on the left, as the clouds slowly move away.

    Verzasca downstream behind Lavertezzo © Julian Köpke

    The bright house near Motta had already noticed me the day before. As good as it is preserved and as beautiful as it stands, it might be a holiday home.

    Bright house in Verzasca valley above Lavertezzo © Julian Köpke

    Waterfalls can be seen everywhere, in some places several waterfalls from different directions converge into large one.

    Waterfall near Motta, Verzasca valley. This image is slightly irritating. © 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
  • Travel and break

    The changeable weather is a great blessing for the photographer, who is constantly surprised with new lights. In fact, there are wet days with lots of gray and humidity from all directions. Atmospheric images are best created in the transition phases to sunshine.

    The appearance of a parhelion on the beach of Reynisfjara indicates finely distributed ice in the upper layers of the air. The high humidity after a rainy day makes the light warm and soft in low sun. The photographic image approaches a painting.

    Colors of parhelion (Reynisfjara beach) © Julian Köpke
    Evening at Dyrhólaey © Julian Köpke

    Through fog one even reaches a conclusion of the composition in the distance.

    Vík í Mýrdal © Julian Köpke

    Most of the rainy Wednesday we spent indoors. Around 3 pm we got up the courage to drive to Dyrhólaey again, before it was closed again at 7pm because of the birds that were brooding on the ground. A finely distributed wetness at pleasant, but cool temperatures set us down without getting into us. With winds from the south, the sky suddenly turned bright and blue again.

    Lighthouse Dyrhólaey © Julian Köpke

    Our mood brightened up and we were hardly willing to go indoors again. In Vík í Mýrdal, the church stood on a gentle hill sheltered from the forces of the sea in the sun.

    Church of Vík í Mýrdal © 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
  • Fusion imaging,  X-Ray

    New X-ray fusion photo compositions

    New year, new ideas. A superbe bowl of fruits inspired me to do more X-ray fusion photography today. I got a bundle of bananas, lots of lychees, two pears, figs, an apple and a pomegranate.

    I changed my technique a bit. There is no chance to get a transparent banana image using a photo. But mixing the colors of the photo with the X-ray is also a fusion image. To my opinion, the bananas came out lovely, especially the color of the trunk.

    Fusion X-ray photo of bananas © Julian Köpke

    I like stills. They often come with a fruit bowl. My first attempt was a fruit bowl without lychees. The structure of an orange or a pomegranate is known to me from earlier X-ray studies. And I liked the grain of the wooden bowl.

    The following fusion image is resulting:

    Fruit bowl X-ray fusion photo © Julian Köpke

    This is the first time I tried to x-ray lychees. I piled them up in my wooden bowl. That way it was a bit less complicated to transport them for photography. They shouldn’t move at all between X-ray and photography session. I was lucky.

    X-ray fusion photo of lychees in a wooden bowl © Julian Köpke

    Combining lychees, bananas, a pear and two figs in a fusion image yields a color explosion in the fusion image.

    X-ray fusion photo of lychees and fruit in a wooden bowl © Julian Köpke

    Last but not least an X-ray fusion photo of all fruit. Color explosion by means of Lab color. The dark blue at the image edges  is a good counterweight to the intense yellow of the pears and bananas.

    Fruit X-ray fusion photo © Julian Köpke

    See also my FAQ section to learn more about fusion imaging with X-ray and photography.