Looking at waves captivates us just as much as looking at an open fire. Digital photography provides us with very short shutter speeds or exposure times static, better: frozen images of the ups and downs of water movements.
There are no creative limits when trying to extend exposure times (or shutter speeds) instead of further shortening them, at most technical ones. Longer exposure times merge several moments of water movement and thus paradoxically have a dynamic effect, meaning a look and feel of a movement.
There is no right or wrong exposure time. There is a special impression for each exposure time in the fusion image of several moments.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. By experimenting with a neutral density filter of 10 EV I managed to get at a not too long exposure time of 1/4s to 1/3s making waves look like painted. With only economical digital post-processing worth seeing images were created.
Always changing weather conditions is normal on Sylt, the northern most island of Germany. Heat, winds and rain alternate continuously. Just arrived I had to go straight to the beach, where clouds and sun welcomed me at the same time.
The on average better weather awaits one in the north, the so-called elbow, a peninsula near List. A lot of unused beach chairs with low numbers are standing there.
Some 40 km south one finds the south tip of Sylt with its characteristic lighthouse. Many lighthouses can be found on this island, which is surrounded by sandbanks and often changing flow conditions of the water at low or high tide.
A beach walk is accompanied by many birds, seagulls mostly, but also cormorants or sandpipers. Sometimes you flush them out unvoluntarily and they fly wildly confused.
Cyclists become tiny like ants against the seemingly overpowering clouds. Without mountains one loses any scale.
Experimenting with longtime exposure my first results of waves at the beaches are not yet convincing. Three seconds turn out to be a vivid interval of the time fusion on my sensor.
The last hot summer days are noticeably less hot. Autumn shows up on my rose hips, which are still fed by the water of a vase. Over the course of the days her leaf green became increasingly discolored in autumn. I don’t want to believe it.
Looking for a photo opportunity I stumbled over a burial site which is not far from the part of Stuttgart I grew up for several years. I had the chance to test a back for my Phase One. So I visited the grave monument of Württemberg commissioned by Wilhelm I. for his beloved wife Queen Catharina Pavlovna.
On a sunny day at noon each cam works nice. Hence, for a testing opportunity, the decision to photograph the vault or crypt was made quickly. And she paid off.
The central hall is covered by a dome roof, which makes a clear allusion to the Pantheon in Rome. The top of the dome in Rome is open. As a result, the influence of the weather is directly perceptible within the sacred space. In Swabia, with lot of rain and occasional snow, a glass dome was chosen as the end.
My 35mm lens is on my Phase One equivalent to 22mm full frame sensor. The following image is a single shot without a tripod. No HDR technique was applied.
In the tomb one floor deeper, the main person of this burial site is presented with a bust on which a fresh flower had been draped laterally. The delicacy of the flower and its color was impressive. Who put the flower there ?
Bright electric light bulbs were placed in front of the sarcophage of Catharina and her husband so that a visitor could read the inscription. Dark corners are present as well as moderately bright spots.
It was hard for me to leave the building, which had given me so many different and actually tricky light conditions, so close beneath together. Each image was obtained handheld, without tripod or flash, of course.
A walk with friends in a shady valley on a particularly hot day led us to a large oak tree. At the end of a strong branch I discovered some acorns under young leaves. While trying to find an adequate translation for my text, I came across a special text:
„The faded oak leaf in that silent book is the memento of a friend, the school friend who was to remain a friend for life.“
No author to find.
I ripped off a nice branch from the tree and took it home to X-ray it the next day.
In the digital world there is no longer an original.
The representation on the left hand side appears to look close to a clinical diagnostic X-ray. Somehow familiar to our eyes when dealing with fractures oder bowel problems.
The right hand side image shows a certain airiness or lightness that draws you into the picture. And there is some appeal of a shine through effect, especially at the leaves.
A quite inconspicuous photo of this composition nevertheless contributes to an increase of the appeal when it is merged with the X-ray image to a fusion image.
The oak leaves are the memento of a friend, like the old school friend who was to remain a friend for life.
In a time long, long ago in a land far, far away. A fairy tale could start like this. The feeling of a fairy tale creeps me more and more when I think back to the time in February with my friend Harold photographing in California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona.
Without doubt, distance is not a purely physical matter. The physical distance is increased by the impossibility of visiting him due to a microscopic being that causes overwhelming damage in his country. Not only the health of many is affected, but also the economic prospects are terrible.
Harold and I had after a 5 days workshop in Yosemite Valley a peaceful evening in the fields near Caliente (CA). It was silent, only little noise penetrated our ears. The smell of meadows wafted somewhere. We were still protected and did not know.
Melitta was looking for an image in her new kitchen. She felt a fusion image of a fruit basket to be too dark. The fusion image technique is not restricted to black and white or monochrome (FAQ: Fusion imaging). With only few structural content in the X-ray of the fruits I better inverted the background of the image and sponsored a golden backdrop like an ancient greek icon. You still can see some X-ray properties looking at the lychees or the bananas. As a print its appearance was best.
Also appropriate for a kitchen would also be an image of an artichoke. If I put it on a lightbox, there is always some resemblance to a copperplate print, which I like personally. This blooming artichoke is a type of a food image, if you spend some phantasy.
A little change of perspective gives more direct access to the blooms. Every image shown in this blog entry is a combination of manual HDR and software assisted HDR. That way I get best results. The background helps to create the look and feel of ageing and simulating a print.
The artichoke presented above has some resemblance to a thistle. By chance we have a place not far from home with lots of them. Old railroad tracks had been removed and converted into bike trails nearby our house. So we went this morning by bike to get a thistle of the former track bed for an image.
As there is so much structure in these images, I felt tempted to convert my artichoke and thistle images into monochrome. To some extent they resemble images of Karl Blossfeldt.
I didn’t what would happen this rainy day. But the waves and surf on the mole was so beautiful, that I forgot the time.
All of a sudden I got an text without possibility to answer or to ask back. Transfer tomorrow cancelled. Nothing special in the world, but my friend was in need to reach Lucerne tomorrow.
Back in my hotel I got everything organized: a ferry boat at 6pm, a train to Hamburg tonight, 2 single rooms for Monald and me in a nice hotel at the harbor. And a gorgeous day for photographers extra in Hamburg. I could keep cool blood all the time. My allergic reactions to pollen had left me in Heligoland once more immediately. It’s been worth the break with a lot of travelling, having a good friend with me.
Two short days and much recreation. We will have a lot of fun with the next waves to come this evening.
With these pictures, I attempt to take the water in a fountain the scale by using macro technique. Additionally, through different exposure speed the structure of the photographed water was changing at the same time, which made me think of the early phases of the expanding universe.
By pure coincidence, there is a help for the scale, because a little blue tit passed by the fountain. The exposure was too long to get an unblurred image of the bird. With the size of the bird in mind, you can estimate the size of the fountain.
Blurry images look soft, the water more like a wad of cotton wool, the colors more like watercolors. The shorter the exposure speed was, the more the surface of the water appeared and the reflections from inside got more clear and distinct. Increasing structure reminded me of the early phases of our universe.
At the end of this process I found a crystal, the water surface and the reflected color from inside structurizing it. I couldn’t stop admiring the structures that appeared to my eye when photographing the fountain.
The increasing darkness during sunset interrupted my joy of discovery. Only the observation of the stars would still be able to mean an increase.
In our garden is a small fountain just beneath a hedge. A remarkable number of birds showed up to drink or to take a shower in it. The urge of the birds to bathe there was always stronger than the fear of our presence. What do they see in the fountain ? I couldn’t imagine an answer until today.
Today I made macro images of the fountain with a wide variation of exposure values to find a small world within it. Many of my fountain images remind me of the night sky and its wonders. Sometimes I had to think of our universe.
The birds might see this ? I cannot be sure. But they are not blind, for sure.
A macro of our fountain appears like a painting under many exposure conditions. A first glance of four images is presented here.