architecture, culture, history, landscape, photo-of-the-day, photography, seasons, travel, world

Monochrome Madness 31

600_3897-scb2_wToday’s photo for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness was processed in this quite antique style primarily last year, when I developed all my photos taken in Cuba.

In my opinion, this style fits wonderful to the old car in the foreground and the iconic metal decoration of Che Guevara, here at the Ministry of the Interior in Havana.

Take care!

culture

An unexpected symbol

anniversary-1xWhen I checked my blog a few minutes ago, I got aware of a new symbol in the upper right corner, where usually a white star or a white bubble underlayed with orange waits for me and notifies me about likes or comments.
This time the symbol of a goblet got my attention. It was the notification of the 4th birthday of my blog.

Over the years I wrote 444 posts (this included). 289 people are following my blog here at wordpress.com and left 1,183 comments and much more left likes. Many others are also following and commenting on Facebook or on Google+, where my posts are cross-posted and there is an unknown number of followers via RSS. I also received some award nominations. Thank you very much!

Thus, I want to thank you, my dear followers, for your feedback and your loyalty. That’s what motivates me keeping this blog running and writing new posts on a regular basis.

Take care.

art, culture, people, travel, world

Street Art in Duesseldorf

600_0815-c_wYesterday afternoon I attended a very interesting guided tour on local street art. I got aware of this offer a few days ago and decided to go. The tour was led by an artist with detailed know-how on the certain kinds of art, as well as the artists, people like  Pixelpancho, Mayo Brothers, Findag or Harald Naegeli, the sprayer from Zurich.

Street art is much more than simply polluting walls with ugly colors. Indeed, graffiti is a certain part of street art, but there is much more.  Some pieces are very big and are to oversee, other small and hidden. Some are made of spray colors, other similar to wallpapers, others of plastic foils and some woolen knitted art. So, interesting.

I attached a (quite big) gallery. Although I reduced the selection, it is still big. My aim was, to show different kinds of art as well as different artists and a few details from the facade paintings.

I knew some of the facade paintings before, and I know, there are some more. It’s kind of hard to find them again, after passing by without taking a photo. So, I took the opportunity to see some more and I wasn’t disappointed. I hope, to find some more on my own soon.

As usual, you can click on the photos to enlarge them and browse through easily.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

architecture, art, landscape, photo-of-the-day, photography, travel, world

Weekly Photo Challenge: nighttime

dsc_0332-e_wFor this weeks photo challenge at The Daily Post Ben called for night shots.

I really, really love night shots, thus I have lots of them and it’s kind of hard for me to pick one, and only one to show here.

Take care!

architecture, art, culture, meeting, people, photo-of-the-day, photography, seasons, travel, world

Casa Batlló

600_7240-s_wCasa Batlló is another building constructed by Antonio Gaudi and not far away from Casa Milà. Although it’s definitely worth a visit from inside, I wasn’t. One of our group, who already knew Casa Milà, visited Casa Batlló, while we were in Casa Milà.

Although all entrance fees are high in Barcelona, Casa Bathlló has the highest fee of all. Be prepared, to spend a lot of money on entrance fees.

– Palau de Música 18,00€
– Casa Milà (La Pedrera) 16,50€
– Casa Batlló 21,50€
– La Sagrada Familia  16,30 + tower 3,00€ €
– Park Güell  8,00€

And, although the entrance fees are so high, they are full of people. So, you better come early and be in place before opening. You also better buy your tickets in advance, wherever possible. The most crowded place was La Sagrada Familia, where the queue in front of the cashiers was several hundred meters long. Also at Park Güell, where we had to wait in queue for an hour or so and only got tickets allowing to enter about 1,5 hours later.

We were here in early March. How about in typical travel times? I won’t imagine this.

Take care!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

architecture, history, landscape, photo-of-the-day, photography, seasons, travel, world

Monochrome Madness 30

 

Silver Efex Pro (Stand Alone)
Silver Efex Pro (Stand Alone)

Another Tuesday and another photo for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness. I picked this photo of hazelnuts I took last week. Currently we have lots of hazelnuts in our garden. Most of them are already laying on the ground waiting to be collected.

Today’s post is a little bit different, because I let different kind of imaging software run against each other. So, who are the competitors?

First of all: my regular raw developing software Capture NX2 for the color image. It’s the source for this comparison and you can see it at the end of this post.  I also used it for a first monochrome conversion, although I usually don’t use this feature of Capture NX2.

Next, my favorite bw-tool Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. In this comparison I used it twice: the plugin for Photoshop CS6 and the standalone version.

The third competitor is (at least for me) the new kid on the block: MacPhun Tonality Pro, that is also usable as a stand-alone software and as a plugin for Photoshop.

The last competitor is Photoshop CS6 without any plugin.

There are really huge differences between the competitors. While Nik can only work with TIF or JPG-Images, Tonalitiy Pro is able to handle Photoshop PSD files as well as native Nikon and Canon Raw files. So, you don’t need another kind of software for your raw development. Another pro for Tonality Pro is the native file format, that stores your complete history with layers just like Photoshop would do. Silver Efex Pro depends on Photoshop for this. Thus, running the standalone version is only a quick-fix-tool. For a straight workflow you definitely need Photoshop and run Silver Efex Pro as a plugin.

Native Photoshop is in my opinion the weakest conversion. Silver Efex and Tonality, both produce very good results with only minimal differences.

Both, Silver Efex Pro and Tonality Pro, come with a bunch of presets organized in several groups. And both can save your own presets. But only Tonality Pro can handle RAW files, can save your editing history and does not depend on Photoshop.

Just in case you want to produce high quality monochrome versions of your photos, I’d recommend giving Tonality Pro a try. There’s a demo version available for free.

 

600_0331-s_w

Take care!

 

landscape, photo-of-the-day, photography, travel, world

Weekly Photo Challenge: endurance

This weeks photo challenge at The Daily Post is called “endurance”.600_9867-ec_w

From the beginning of this planet and as long as it remains, the sky will endure.  Oceans might drain and mountains fall and decay when men go on with their disastrous behavior. The air might be contaminated and polluted, but the sky will remain.

Take care!

photography, technic

Photokina 2014

foto_wEvery other year, the whole photo industry looks to Europe. Come a little closer and see, they are looking to Germany. Over there, in the west-north-western part of Germany is a big city called Cologne. Here, in the Cologne fairground is the Photokina held every other year for a week. This year they are also celebrating 175 years of photography.

This was my  third visit in a row.  After 2010 and 2012 I’m here again, walking through the huge fair halls looking at the new products. Cameras, lenses, tripods, bags, software, monitors and other gear is presented to the public. It’s always very interesting, although it was very crowded as usual.

As always the big companies i.e. Nikon, Canon, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, Hasselblad, have huge stands filling nearly half of a hall each.

Many companies offered presentations. Some presented their software, other have had invited famous photographers telling where and how they shot the photographs used in the companies advertising using that certain gear. Other have had organized show shooting, when a photographer demonstrated the gear in a commented live shooting on the stage where the results were instantly displayed on a huge screen to the audience. And again, many stands were equipped with beautiful female models to be a subject to be photographed for the people.

In my opinion, this years fair is quite lame.  None of the big companies has something really new to show. No really new products, no new trends. Even some stands of the big companies were empty and you were able to touch and test some of their products. I guess, the fair was also a bit smaller than the last times.

The only new trend I was able to recognise was the lack of printed brochures at the stands of nearly all major companies. Instead, there  were QR codes printed beside the products to direct the interested people directly to the corresponding material available online. A good choice for the environment and a good choice for the carrying shoulder.

As usual on an outside area they had birds of prey and let them fly free.

I put a few impressions in my gallery below.

The fair lasts until Sunday. So, you still have a chance to have a look on your own.

Stay tuned!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

architecture, art, culture, history, people, photography, technic, travel, world

Visiting an Art Nouveau apartment

600_7187-s_wThe period from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century is called Art Nouveau. It featured by very distinct kind of ornamenting. Design was very bloomy and used many floral elements. In most European countries it came to an end with the beginning of World War I in 1914.

In this context Antonio Gaudi was a child of his time, but he was very different and on his own with his style.

Also, in his style of designing houses. Each room has at least one window. The windows of the owners rooms, like dining room, living room or office are to the street, while the kitchen, bathroom or laundry room have their windows to one of the three atriums. Even the sleeping rooms for the servants got a windows – extremely rare for that time.

Beside the door you can find a phone, connected to the door in the street, to speak with a visitor without opening the door and – most surprisingly – open the door remotely.

Also, have a close look inside the bathroom and the equipment you can see: a bathtub, a water toilet and a bidet. On the other hand pay attention to the equipment of the laundry room.

Don’t forget, the house was built from 1906 – 1910.

Take care!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

culture, landscape, meeting, photography, travel, world

weekend paddling

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday I was paddling on a small river with a few friends.

One of our friends is about to get married next Saturday, so we donated him a bachelor farewell trip.

this habit seemed to develop over the last years, maybe only in certain regions – I don’t know. I knew about the habit from colleagues coming from another region. I’ve never heard about this here in my region before.

The story is, the (to be) groom is taken out by his male friends and invited. The whole trip is paid by the friends. Some go on drinking trips, other give the groom funny and often awkward tasks to do: i.e wearing a funny costume and trying to sell condoms to passersby.

We decided to behave more conservative and went on that boat trip and later to a restaurant. The only challenge ha have had to pass, was wearing a t-shirt saying on the front side “I know the secret of a good marriage” and on the back “yes, my dear”. The other thing he had to pass, was cleaning a few steps from waste with a children’s broom.

One habit for men growing 30 and still being unmarried is, to clean the steps of the city hall in the night of his birthday. So, we modified that idea a bit. I guess, all of this wasn’t that embarrassing and thus acceptable. At least, we had a nice trip with perfect weather.

I only took along my old waterproof Olympus µ1030SW. I use this one only once every other year. This only pro of this cam is, being waterproof. And you can see easily that the cam was unable to cope with the light situation. I hope, you like them anyway.

Take care!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

culture, meeting, people, photo-of-the-day, photography, travel, world

Weekly Photo Challenge: humanity

600_4234-s_wThis weeks photo challenge at The Daily Post is called “humanity”.

Funny enough, I send my post unfinished. Accidentally I forgot to write the right title and left ‘adventure‘ from last weeks challenge. But: I guess ‘adventure’ also fits to ‘humanity’. Living a live as a human being always means, living the adventure of live on you own.

Take care!

architecture, art, culture, history, people, technical, travel, world

below the enchanted roof of Casa Milà

600_7148-e_wMy last post focused on the fantastic decorations at Casa Milà, the famous apartment building created by Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona. While my last post showed the rooftop and one of the entrances I take you now on layer down: under the roof.

An elevator brings you from the tourist (visitors) entrance to the roof top, the attic and the floor containing the untenanted apartment. But, you can also take the stairs down from the roof top and follow the path back to the street.

When entering the attic you’re faced with a model of the complete house. Here you can get an overview and an ideo, how all the parts fit together. Following the round track, you’ll get back to the stairs bringing you down to the apartment.

Take care!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

animals, food, landscape, photo-of-the-day, photography, seasons, travel, world

Monochrome Madness 28

dsc_7704-s_wThose of you, already following me for some time, know about my love for the ocean, the beach and the coastal areas. And again, I picked a photo taken at the sea for Leanne Coles Monochrome Madness.

Her you can see some (now empty) sword razor calms. I found them at the beach in Belgium. They have sharp edges at their shells. So, be prepared to watch the ground to avoid cutting the sole of your feet.

Take care!

culture, landscape, meeting, people, photo-of-the-day, photography, seasons, travel, world

Weekly Photo Challenge: adventure

600_5908-ec_wThe photo challenge at The Daily Post is called “adventure” this week.

What does adventure mean? Is it the challenging crowd in a mega city? Or is it covering the wilderness? Maybe it is something you haven’t done before.

Here you can see three guys on a hike upwards in the icelandic mountains. Look on the pebbles on the ground, look on the landscape, look on the weather, look on your equipment, food and water.  And, don’t forget the time.

Each adventurer has to plan his or her trip very carefully to came back in good shape. So, you too.

Take care!