• flowers,  Lightbox,  Macro

    RAW stocks

    A small stock of raw footage is always lying on my laptop. My florist had been able to give us a few flowers, some of which were sacrificed after a couple of days on my lightbox. These days in a hospital I benefit while the healing remains to be seen.

    Poppy blossom on a lightbox © Julian Köpke

    Is it possible to retain the idea of a picture for a long time ? What happens to the colors when you no longer have the originals in front of your eyes ? The blossom of the peonies looked like a living eye staring at me, not necessarily a human, maybe an animal.

    Yellow peonie © Julian Köpke

    The tulip offered a wild confusion of petals. Unfortunately, it was monochrome orange.

    Orange tulip © Julian Köpke

    The amaryllis showed an incredibly intense red. I managed to show the intensity best on a black background than on a white one. I use the inversion of the L-channel in Lab color mode.

    Red amaryllis on a lightbox with a black background © Julian Köpke
    Red amaryllis on a lightbox © Julian Köpke
  • General,  Heidelberg,  Landscape,  reflection

    Snow and sunshine

    It is a nice experience to walk the same path under changing light conditions at daily distance. In winter there is not much botanically happening, only the snow can be more or less – or the fog. The possibilities of imaging with a camera essentially change with the extent of the available light. A sunny day shows a maximum of available light.

    Does sunlight make a picture atmospheric ? With cloudy skies or even some fog, the conditions for background and foreground change substantially and pictures without sunlight can be be very varied and gain a special depth of expression.

    Sunlit snowy branches © Julian Köpke

    The above image shows: shadows during a day with a blue sky are blue, too.

    The detection of expressive light situations without a tripod and without HDR technology requires a limited amount of light that the sensor can still process with out blown-out lights or drown depths.

    Snowfall in the clearing © Julian Köpke
    Winter walk in the snowy forest © 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
  • flowers,  Lightbox,  Macro

    Lockdown flower shots

    Our flower shops are sold out or closed. There’s nothing new to buy. Thank God. This allows me to take a closer look a t the seasonal flowers we have at home.

    Photographing a white amaryllis against a white background I found particularly attractive in the last few days. Because it also contains many colors that you can bring out.

    Concerning color a less courageous image is the left one, only shadows and some etheral green from inside the flower. Using Lab color mode and some ideas of my friend Harold Davis this image can get more pizzazz, as shown on the right hand side.

    White amaryllis on lightbox © Julian Köpke
    The colors of a white amaryllis on lightbox © Julian Köpke

    The plant broke off and had to be placed in a vase, but there it developed surprisingly well and even quite symmetrically, giving me the impression of antennas that listen into space because they look similar tho those with which Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered the cosmic background radiation. A lightbox as background is easy to realize with a LED for the ceiling that you can get in any hardware store.

    Floral symmetry with white amaryllis © Julian Köpke

    The blossoming red amaryllis has two sides, so I had the chance to photograph them both. In my eyes, one side resembled a dinosaur’s head and upper neck as it is about reach for food. Loosely based on an Arabic proverb: „If you see the dinosaur’s tongue, don’t think he’s smiling“.

    Budding Amaryllis © Julian Köpke
    Budding Amaryllis © Julian Köpke
  • Heidelberg,  Landscape

    Staying at home

    This year we spent 5 weeks of our holiday involuntarily in Heidelberg. with the light of a late winter afternoon just before the winter solstice and some mist in the air, dreamlike impressions arise. We didn’t have to cover a long distance. In the hills above the town there is a plateau within walking distance with a farm, commemorative cemetery and a forest all around. Had it not been tor the photo equipment, we would have really been on foot up the mountain.

    Two trees above Bierhelder Hof © Julian Köpke

    Going closer to the fence that surrounds the dairy cattle, you will see straight into the foggy valley. No roofs, no industry, no highway, no noise. Just a wooden house in the forest like in a fairy tale. The colors blur into a monochrome something.

    Valley view in Heidelberg above Rohrbach © Julian Köpke

    Perhabs we feel invited to sit by a bench in the woods. When the seat is dry really ….

    Bench in the woods © Julian Köpke

    At the end of the short walk we step on a Tori, which in the backlight shows us the lightness of Japanese beauty.It is probably to be assigned to the Heidelberg twin town Kumamoto on the southern most Japanese island Kyushu.

    Tori in Heidelberg (Kumamoto) © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Lightbox,  Long time exposure,  Motion Blur,  Texture

    Time fusion tulips

    Longtime exposures hold a special appeal for me. Again and again I try do do it. I found the idea for this picture in a book about modern photography. The photographer took a picture of flowers in a vase with a specially built camera for many days until the first petals fell. The passing of time, which often cannot be experienced directly by us, can thus be illustrated by a photograph. Due to the new corona virus we had plenty of time at home to make flower photographs.

    With my macro lens I can only realize the aperture value f/32, which means that even at ISO 50 the exposure time dose not rise above 15s possible when the lightbox is turned on. As an approximation to a true long-time exposure, I started a series of 23 HDR images at irregular intervals over the course of 4 days, just as it became apparent that my tulips would rise wide.

    Time fusion tulips in a vase © Julian Köpke

    Each HDR image was created from6 shots at f/32 and ISO 50 with exposure times of 0.5s, 1s, 2s, 4s, 8s and 15s. The biggest difficulty was to block off a part of our living room before Christmas so that the exposures could always be done in the same way. Furthermore, the camera was not allowed to be changed by switching it on and off, changing the exposure times or removing the memory card.

    I processed the layer stack of 23 TIF images in two ways. First straightforward as a smart object and then change the stacking mode in Photoshop as an average. Or fade out the layers after the start shot using black layer masks and gradually paint in interesting parts of the later images with a soft brush to create an overall impression. This approach was more promising to me than averaging the layer stack, which in my eyes expresses the flow of time too weakly.

    Just to do the math: each image of my camera has 151 million pixels with a file size between 125 and 180 MByte in RAW format and 866 MByte after a RAW conversion to a TIF file. The total size of the project is something above 300 GB. 138 RAW files sum up to nearly 21 Billion Pixels. The final image has 159 million pixels due to some added background at the top of the result.

  • Heidelberg,  Landscape,  World at night

    Earthlight, Jupiter and Saturn

    The sun is setting in the west. The Moon moves east and setting in the west, too. If one compares the position of the Moon relative to the prominent planets Saturn and Jupiter, because they appear close to each other, it is no longer below the two, but to the east next to them.

    Yesterday, crescent moon right below Saturn and Jupiter © Julian Köpke
    Today, Moon east of Saturn and Jupiter © Julian Köpke

    Temporarily there was much less haze today, so that the earthlight (in german: aschfahles Mondlicht) of the moon in the right hand image is very well visible. Yesterday you could only guess. With the spotting scope the crescent moon shows up well detailed.

    Waxing crescent moon, 72h old © Julian Köpke

    The spotting scope allows to photograph the two planets Saturn and Jupiter with a full frame camera in a single field of view at lowest magnification (x30, which is about 800mm focal length). The structure of the planets ist better outlined with short exposure times (see insets), the Galilean moons of Jupiter need a longer one.

    Saturn and Jupiter, 4d before Great Conjunction © Julian Köpke
  • General,  Landscape,  World at night

    Great Conjunction

    Thanks to the hint of a friend, I was again aware of the rare constellation of the approach of the two planets that I had observed during the summer. The 21st by December, Jupiter and Saturn were to be only 6 arc minutes apart. Unfortunately, the weather forecasts are not favorable, which is why I hardly figured out a chance to see anything about it at all.

    Unexpectedly, the clouds disappeared during the day to retreat th the edge of the Rhine Rifle, where we were allowed to see them in the evening. At the beginning of our photo session we watched the Rhine Valley with our bright and long reaching optics.

    Power plant Mannheim © Julian Köpke
    Nightfall over Cathedral of Speyer, distant view with my spotting scope. Every now and then birds were flying through the scene. © Julian Köpke

    First Lorenz discovered the crescent moon in the clouds. It could have sunk our courage, in fact as darkness fell conditions steadily improved.

     

    Waxing crescent moon, 48h after New Moon. © Julian Köpke

    At the time, it was still too bright to see the planets.

    Waxing crescent moon, 48h old. We were watching out for the planets Jupiter and Saturn that are close by 6' these days (Great conjunction). © Julian Köpke

    Finally we managed to take pictures of the crescent moon with the the planets Jupiter (the brighter and bigger one of both) and Saturn close to each other before the increasingly yellow moon disappeared in the dark clouds. There was even a little of the ashen moonlight to be seen. Wonderful.

    Yesterday, crescent moon right below Saturn and Jupiter © Julian Köpke
  • flowers,  Lightbox,  Macro,  Texture

    Lockdown flowers

    Yesterday was a chance to buy flowers for my lightbox before a new virus induced „lockdown“ takes place. Flowers on a lightbox exhibit an illusion of transparency when photographed either as HighKey image or HDR bracket sequence.

    I prefer to process my bracketed photographs manually, because there is no possibility to learn how automated HDR software really works. On top of my layer stack I put one up to three HDR software results to layer them in if appropriate.

    Yellow gerbera HDR on an lightbox © Julian Köpke

    Photographing flowers is a way to cope with the situation being locked in in a house instead of traveling or meeting friends. Our house looks like a flower store, every now and then we find new compositions. At the end, there is a print.

    Red chrysanthemum and yellow gerbera © Julian Köpke

    A composition of flowers often suggests something, not with the eye, but with the inner vision. That’s the fun of it. There are so many compositions yet undone.

    Bouquet of yellow gerbera © Julian Köpke

    My friend Harold is using petals for compositions. I often shy away from cutting off the flowers or tearing out the petals. I was happy to do it today with a fading dark red rose.

    Red rose petals © Julian Köpke

    Christa, my wife, loves tulips. They may resemble a dream on a lightbox, like balloons taking off for flight. To catch the whole composition I’d either had to climb up a ladder with my 120mm macro lens or change the lens to a 80mm focal length (which I did).

    Dream of tulips on a lightbox © Julian Köpke
  • Fusion imaging,  Texture,  X-Ray

    Calendar 2021

    This year there was a complete silence on the part of the equipment manufacturers. That’s too bad. Now the calendar sheets 2021 are finished in own production. This year at the suggestion of or daughter Marlies with the topic food.

    Fusion imaging does not wirk int the same way with food as with transparent flowers. But the deep structure of the food nevertheless leads to interesting results. It worked surprisingly well to depict a smoked trout with its bones. And squashes exhibit nearly artistic features.

    Trout X-ray fusion photo © Julian Köpke
    Black swan: pumpkins and fir cones X-ray photo © Julian Köpke

    The calendar sheets are finished now in portrait format 60cm x 42.6cm and can be viewed here.