• flowers,  Lightbox,  Macro

    Callas and pink fern leave

    For a short time the winter kept us still. Nature offers many motifs, the effect of which depends on the time of the day.

    Disturbing scene of ice formations (skull) © Julian Köpke
    Arbre japonais © Julian Köpke

    Shortly after, the snow has said goodbye to us. Still very, very cold cloudless nights, more and more often glorious sunny days let you catch your breath.

    Quarry at Schauenburg ruin Dossenheim © Julian Köpke
    Early spring sun throws light on pampas grass © Julian Köpke

    Yesterday I came across Calla lilies and rosé-fixed fern at the florists’s. „Expensive“, she told me. But I was already determined wether the many possibilities I had in mind.

    Through a chemical process, the fern has received a fixation and new color. That would make it durable for many compositions ….

    Pink fern leave © Julian Köpke
    Red callas in a white vase © Julian Köpke

    The next day, I combined the callas and the fern to a single composition. With a background the image looks soft and dreamy. This texture puts a kind of patina over the image.

    Red callas and rosé fixed fern © Julian Köpke
    Red callas and rosé fixed fern II © 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
  • General,  Macro,  reflection

    Infinity

    Everyone has an idea about infinity. Infinity always confronts us with the question of wether we can see or recognize it at all. Modern mathematics knows that infinite series of numbers may well have a finite limit. The ancient greeks had realized that Achilles will always outrun a tortoise, but they couldn’t prove it. For the solution remained hidden.

    Photographing a single, well reflecting steel sphere I got on the surface pointing to my macro lens a distorted image of the surrounding. One can see the tree in our garden, the lens and the tripod of my equipment, even the photographer’s legs are visible. That’s why I think it’s sort of a selfie.

    Photographic world on a steel ball © Julian Köpke

    Immediately, I thought of my friend Harold, who had worked a lot on photographing water drops and who had made a book about the photography of water drops. In the juxtaposition of several water drops the environment is displayed several times side by side in the drops.

    Well, this happens as well, if you place two well reflecting steel balls side by side. So far, there is nothing unexpected.

    On closer inspection, the opposite sides of the spheres show further images of the surroundings slightly outside the original image, well visible on the tree. These images of the tree become smaller and smaller lying within the circular image of the first reflection.

    An infinite series of images in one picture is created by the reflection on the surface of two adjacent steel spheres. As the reflected images become smaller and smaller, the total area of the image is finite. A similar effect is known with water drops as well.

    Close look of an infinite reflection on a steel sphere © 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
  • flowers,  Lightbox,  Macro,  Texture

    Alstromeria

    With daylight and a lightbox I took the cut off flower of an Alstromeria. With the lens I’m able to approach the bloom on approximately 20 cm. The blossom then fills almost the entire sensory. The ratio of the mapping is thus approximately 1:1. 

    The quality of the RAW images is convincing in itself. The creation of the finished HDR takes place in a combination of manual and automated steps.

    RAW conversion is done using CaptureOne, HDR processing is done manually in Photoshop. Further, I generated two automated HDR developments using HDR Efex Pro 2 and Photomatix Pro 6 and layered them in. Some of the original color is transferred from the daylight image with the lightbox switched off.

    Alstromeria (Peruvian lily) © Julian Köpke
  • 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