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

Weekly Photo Challenge: descent

600_6394-ep_wThis weeks photo challenge at The Daily Post is called “descent”.

I picked this photo, taken in Castillo del Morro / Castillo San Pedro de la Roca above the entry to the Bahia de Santiago de Cuba, because of the nice view from above. This is the view, the Spanish soldiers have had, when on guard to watch for the pirates of the Caribbean in order to prevent attacks.

Take care and beware of the pirates!

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

The Christmas Front of La Sagrada Familia

600_7419-e_wThe Christmas Front was the first of the four fronts, to be finished.

This is one of the side entrances to the church. This entrance is for guided groups. The entrance for the common people is on the opposite side.

I really advise you, to buy your tickets in advance to avoid the enormous queues at the cashier desks. When we arrived at about 8:30h the queue already surrounded one side of  church, approximately 300-400m. (And we were there on early March!). Our tickets were for 9:00h, so we passed the queues and went straight to the entrance on the Easter side, opposite to the Christmas side.

I’ll show some more details from the Easter side in my next post. The Christmas front is rich decorated with small and filigree details. Very hard to take photos of these details because of its size and the distance.

The both finished fronts are completely different. Not only in their theme, but also in the sculpturing style. Both of them are fantastic.

Antonio Gaudi was inspired by organic structures. Leaves, animals, shells, trees, fruits, flowers and many other organic structures gave him ideas for modeling his buildings. You can find all of those structures in nature.

Take care!

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

Monochrome Madness 35

600_2312-he-scbx_wIt’s Tuesday afternoon and thus it’s time to prepare for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness.

Today I have a beautiful photo for you, taken last week in Belgium. It’s taken near sunset while low tide. As you can see, the off-running water left some poodles and moisty sand. Not much water, but enough to be a mirror to the sky.

For this photo I took two shots with a difference of two EVs. Although the sensors of current cameras are highly developed and cope with high contrasts and high dynamic ranges very good, they are weak compared to analog film or the human eye. I found a post on an Austrian web site on this, saying: While our eye is able to cover a range of about 14 f-stops, the (professional) SLR reach 10, high-quality Point-and-Shoot cameras 8.5 – 9 and a print only 5 f-stops. The dynamic range of analog film differs a bit from 8 to 10 depending on the manufacturer and the film type (negative film or slide film).

So, this technic (called bracketing) helps me, to capture the highlights as well as the lowlights. this means, I get, in this case, two photos covering the whole range. Now, the two photos have to be integrated into one.

First I developed both photos in CaptureNX2 (my RAW-Converter), made my usual adjustments and exported them to TIF. Next I assembled the two TIF-Files with HDR efex for not loosing any of the highlights or the darks. Here comes another export to TIF. Next I converted it twice with MacPhun Tonality Pro basing on different presets. Although I liked both results, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the results. So, I decided to add another step and made a pseudo HDR from both of the monochrome TIFs, by keeping the ground from the first conversion and the sky from other one. The last step was the conversion to JPG.

Take care!

Btw. I’d encourage you to give it a try. You can download a trial version for free and you can also use a 10% discount by using this code: solaner10

art, General

A new theme

Today I changed my blog theme after 1,5 years.

Instead of ‘notepad’ I now use the theme ‘Abel’. I like a clear style with columns. And I also like having all those buttons below each post and always accessible for the reader. On the other hand, neither the buttons, nor the categories and tags should eat up notably room. The content is the main part of each post, and not the administration data and metadata.

As far as I can see, all the functionality is still there, but the look is fresher. Both columns changed position, to give more room to the content in the main column, when the browser windows gives the space.

What do you think? Do you like the new style?

Take care!

photography

macphun Focus for free

Yesterday evening I got aware of an interesting offer for photographers:
macphun is giving away their Focus for Mac (standard, MAS version) for free this week & till the end of October.
You can do a lot with Focus. Easily highlight the most important subject in your photos, add a professional look to portraits, enhance landscapes, create miniature masterpieces & more.
Mac users should visit www.macphun.com/getfocus and order a copy. Everything is quite simple and straightforward.
Focus is also good as a stepping stone for an upgrade to Pro or the Creative Kit Plus at a reduced price. So, don’t miss your chance!

art, culture, landscape, Music, people, photo-of-the-day, photography, travel, world

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art

lp_wThis weeks photo challenge at The Daily Post is called “Cover Art”.

This time, they ask for our creative mind. Everyone should create a book-, magazine- or record cover. Every now and than I do so with one of my model photos just for fun. Thus I already have some photos in my box, that would probably fit in here. I decided for this record cover and I hope, you all like it.

Take care!

architecture, art, culture, history, landscape, photography, travel, world

La Sagrada Familia

600_7409-s_wThis iconic cathedral is, although not finished, probably the best known symbol of Barcelona.  It’s also designed by Antonio Gaudi and, in my humble opinion,  his real masterpiece! This church is really adorable! I’ll show more of this fantastic building in my next posts.

This photo is taken from one of the two small parks beside the church. We were on location early to get a good spot. But, unfortunately they forgot to switch on the lights in time. Instead of getting photos of the illuminated church at twilight, we only got them at black night. How disappointing.

Antonio Gaudi died in 1926 because of an accident. The people at Barcelona tried to finish the cathedral, but without plans and the genius architect, it was nearly impossible. Thus, the works stopped quite often and were stopped completely in 1935.

Although many people voted to leave the ruin alone or to remove it completely, they started another try to finish the cathedral during the preparation for the 1992 Olympic Games. And it makes a good progress. Entrance fees are used to continue building the cathedral and back in 2010 they reached a point, that the cathedral was able to be sanctified.

There is a hope, to get it finished until 2026 (the 100th anniversary of Antonio Gaudi’s death), because of the good progress. We will see.

Take care!

 

art, culture, landscape, photography, travel, world

I’m back …

600_2370-e2_w… from the beautiful Belgian coast in West-Flandern.

OK, those of you familiar with the Belgian coast might say – uhhh, ugly, all those high buildings right next to the beach. And they are right. But every now and then, there are big holes between the building rows, where you have natural dune areas. The beach itself is everywhere broad and equipped with fine sand.

Although we have fall now and weather is becoming worse. Hard rain and strong winds are preparing us for the upcoming winter with darkness, coldness, ice and snow. So, why going on a beach trip in this season? I love the ocean, the beach, the special light and clearness in the sky at a shore and the sound of waves, wind and seagulls.

Here we have a kids story of some mice. They all live together and work together. They are working hard during summer and fall to collect fruits, nuts and other seeds to stock them for the winter. But, one of the mice didn’t work. She sits around and watches the sky and the sun, listens to the birds, the bees, the crickets and the soft wind in the grass. During fall she also watches the colorful leaves. She was asked by the others, what she is doing. She was supposed to help collecting stocks for the winter. But, she answered, that she is working. She is collecting colors, smells, noises and memories. And when the winter comes, she is the one who is able to tell the other mice about spring, summer and fall. She entertains the other ones and keep their memories fresh. She also encourages the other mice to endure until next spring.

I also catch memories. I catch them in my photos.  Many of them are here in my blog. Feel free, to click back in time to see them. Nearly every single post has several of them.

Back to Belgium: I already developed a few of the photos. So, today I can show you some of them. I picked the most colorful ones for you and hope, you like them as much as I do.

All theses photos were taken during the last bright hours of the days. I started at about 6 p.m. and lasted until around 7:30 p.m with a sunset at around 6:55 p.m. Most of the photos were taken with a tripod and a ND-filter.

Take care and remember, there is always a sunny day after the stormy ones.

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: refraction

600_6708-e_wThis weeks photo challenge at The Daily Post is called “refraction”.

Water, plants, ice, volcanos or earthquakes  are natural cases, that have huge refracting powers.

I picked this photo from Iceland for this challenge to show the power, nature has. It’s a valley made by tectonic movements. The small black dots right to the river are hikers!

Although, rock and stone seem so solid, but they have to give room, when mother nature comes and forces it.

Take care!

architecture, art, culture, history, landscape, meeting, people, photography, seasons, travel, world

Park Güell – Inside the monument zone

600_7681-e_wAs I mentioned in my last post, I focus on the monument zone of Park Güell in Barcelona.

We started at the terrace and enjoyed the fantastic view over the city down to the ocean. Although it was extremely crowded we were lucky enough to get a free spot on the bench that surrounds the terrace.

It was also very hard to get a chance to photograph the tiled lizard fountain, the well-known emblem of the park. The pillar halls, planed for being a market place, were less crowded. Most people were interested in the tiled terrace bench and the lizard fountain.

For me, it was nice having been there and a fulfillment of a long-lasting dream. But, I won’t go again. It’s small, expensive and crowded. A Barcelona visit won’t be complete without this visit. But, there are other spots being worth a second visit, this not – sorry!

So, decided yourself!

Take care!

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art, history, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, travel, world

Monochrome Madness 33

dsc_8847-e2_wbIt’s fall here. Leaves are getting colorful before falling down and making the street slippery.  Mist is able to give landscapes a certain dreamy and unreal atmosphere. Having these ideas in mind, I picked this photo from may archive. It’s taken at the beach in Belgium 3 years ago in the evening hours of a hot and sunny summer day. It is one of the passages to the beach.

Photography is literally painting with light. Different light situations result in different color moods in the photos. Although post processing is quite easy nowadays, compared to the situation back in film days, you can’t modify the ambience and the mood freely. You still depend on the natural light conditions and have to keep the impact on the final photo  in mind.

For this photo I have had a low standing sun in my back to the right giving me long shadows and wonderful enlightened dune grass. The sky in the background was covers slightly with fleecy cloud. The slightly overcasted sky gave me distinct, but not hard, shadows. Combined with the small field of depth and the decreasing grass in the background I got a nice looking evening photo of the dune with a feeling of great depth.

But, this is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness. Thus I took the photo back to the lab and processed it again. Because of the already existing mood, I felt, a slightly overexposed processing (called highkey) would perfectly support this mood and here we are.

I used MacPhun’s Tonality Pro for this photo. The base was a preset called “overexposed” from the Base-Group of presets and from that starting point I modified the settings, to get my final image. I hope, you like it!

Take care!

art, culture, history, landscape, people, photography, seasons, travel, world

My Iceland calendars are also available at the stores

uk-cover

There are also calendars available with photos taken on Iceland. Here are the ISBN numbers for ordering the 2015 calendars showing some impressions of the fantastic landscapes of southern Iceland. They are available in 4 country editions: Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

According to the publishing house, the ISBN numbers are internationally valid, and you should be able to get your copy by ordering it at a bookstore where you’re living. At least you can order them via amazon.de (*), amazon.at, amazon.ch and amazon.co.uk. At amazon.de you can also find an option for global delivery. so, take you chance!

UK:  Traveling the South of Iceland

Format DIN A4 wall:  978-1-325-00809-4
Format DIN A3 wall:  978-1-325-00808-7

Germany: Unterwegs im Süden Islands

Format DIN A4 wall:  978-3-660-96550-6
Format DIN A3 wall:  978-3-660-96549-0
Format DIN A2 wall:  978-3-660-96548-3
Format DIN A5 table:   978-3-660-96551-3

Austria: Entdecken Sie den Süden Islands 

Format DIN A4 wall: 978-3-660-97076-0
Format DIN A3 wall: 978-3-660-97077-7
Format DIN A2 wall: 978-3-660-97075-3
Format DIN A5 table:  978-3-660-97078-4

Switzerland: Impressionen aus Islands Süden

Format DIN A4 wall:  978-3-660-97081-4
Format DIN A3 wall:  978-3-660-97080-7
Format DIN A2 wall:  978-3-660-97082-1
Format DIN A5 table:   978-3-660-97079-1

(*) this link brings you to an amazon partner shop, showing a certain subset of the regular basket of goods at amazon.de. You get the regular amazon.de prices, but I’m able to compile only these certain products for you.

uk-back

at-back ch-back de-back

art, culture, history, landscape, people, photography, seasons, travel, world

My Cuba calendars are available at the stores

cuba_calendarDo you remember the Cuba calendars with photos of mine? They are back for 2015 – yeah!

Here are the ISBN numbers for ordering the 2015 calendar showing some of the fantastic vintage cars from Cuba as well as some insights into the old town of Havana. They are available in 5 country editions: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USA.

According to the publishing house, the ISBN numbers are internationally valid, and you should be able to get your copy by ordering it at a bookstore where you’re living. At least you can order them via amazon.de (*), amazon.at, amazon.ch and amazon.co.uk. At amazon.de you can also find an option for global delivery. So, take you chance!

German Edition:

 2015 La Habana / Havana Havana Portrait Cuba Cars
Wandkalender DIN A4 978-3-660-71359-6 978-3-660-71493-7 978-3-660-69920-3
Wandkalender DIN A3 978-3-660-71357-2 978-3-660-71491-3 978-3-660-69919-7
Wandkalender DIN A2 978-3-660-71360-2 978-3-660-71494-4 978-3-660-69921-0
Tischkalender DIN A5 978-3-660-71358-9 978-3-660-71492-0 978-3-660-69922-7

US-Edition:

2015 La Habana / Havana Havana Portrait Cuba Cars 
wall calendar DIN A4 978-3-660-90709-4  coming soon
wall calendar DIN A3 978-3-660-90708-7  coming soon
wall calendar DIN A2 978-3-660-90710-0  coming soon
table calendar DIN A5 978-3-660-90707-0  coming soon

UK-Edition:

2015 La Habana / Havana Havana Portrait Cuba Cars 
wall calendar DIN A4 978-1-325-01576-4 978-1-325-01516-0
wall calendar DIN A3 978-1-325-01577-1 978-1-325-01517-7

AT-Edition:

2014 La Habana / Havana Havana Portrait Cuba Cars 
Wandkalender DIN A4 978-3-660-90700-1 978-3-660-90488-8
Wandkalender DIN A3 978-3-660-90701-8 978-3-660-90489-5
Wandkalender DIN A2 978-3-660-90699-8 978-3-660-90491-8
Tischkalender DIN A5 978-3-660-90702-5 978-3-660-90490-1

CH-Edition:

2014 La Habana / Havana Havana Portrait Cuba Cars 
Wandkalender DIN A4 978-3-660-99897-9 978-3-660-99845-0
Wandkalender DIN A3 978-3-660-99896-2 978-3-660-99842-9
Wandkalender DIN A2 978-3-660-99898-6 978-3-660-99843-6
Tischkalender DIN A5 978-3-660-99895-5 978-3-660-99844-3

(*) this link brings you to an amazon partner shop, showing a certain subset of the regular basket of good at amazon.de. You get the regular amazon.de prices, but I’m able to compile only these certain products for you.

 

 

 

architecture, art, culture, history, landscape, meeting, people, photography, seasons, travel, world

Park Güell

600_7626-e_wThis park is divided in two parts: the public park and the monument zone.

The idea for this area was, to create a closed urban quarter with houses for the rich surrounded with walls and guards. Some infrastructure buildings were set up in advance and one house. Unfortunately no-one was interested in buying one of the estates.

Later the area was converted into a park and donated to the public. It’s a nice park and freely accessible expect the monument zone. Although the entrance fee is quite high for such a tiny area, it is really a magnet for the people.

When we arrived, we first climbed up the left hill for getting an overview. Than we walked over to get our tickets for the monument zone. After waiting for nearly an hour, we got aware of an access limitation: Access in about 90 minutes! Because of this limitation many people in the queue before us, started walking away. And we used the meantime for visiting other parts of the public area.

So, you can find photos of both sides of the public park as well as some taken at the main entrance of the monument zone. The monument zone has three entrances: the main entrance is at the lowest part of the monument zone, while the other two are in the upper part to the lest and the right.

I’ll show some of my photos from inside the monument zone in my next post. Stay tuned!

Take care!

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culture, General

Liebster Award!

wpid-liebster2-2Last week I got a notification from a fellow blogger, Rashmi Kashyap. She nominated me for an award: Liebster Award

Although I don’t know the origin of the word ‘Liebster’ in this particular case, I assume it is German, because it is a German word meaning ‘most beloved’ and can mean a person as well as a thing or a place. In this context, this award could be donated to a blog, that the donator loves most. So, I’m very honoured by getting this award. Thanks you very much, Rashmi.

As the other awards, this one is connected to some rules:

Here goes the rules of this award, let me do the needful:

1. Link and thank the person who nominated you   – done

2. Answer the questions they asked you – done, scroll down

3. Pick eleven awesome bloggers to nominate ( preferably those with less than or around 200 followers ) – done

4. Ask them eleven questions – done

5. Let them know by commenting on one of their posts  – done

 

These are my answers on Rashmi’s questions:

What was your reaction to this award nomination?

As I wrote above, I’m very honored and pleased by getting the nomination.

 

Why people  should visit your blog?

See some photos taken in interesting places showing the beauty of nature and differences in culture. Get in touch with interesting places.

 

Share with us your most happiest moment.

There are so many memories of very happy moments in my life. I guess, the happiest moment was when I held my first-born child in my arms.

 

What prompted you to become a blogger?

The usual photo galleries don’t allow to write more than a title for a photo and my aim was to write a bit more on them, thus a wordpress blog became the appropriate platform.

 

Given an opportunity to pursue your hobby, what it would be?

No choise: catching light with my camera. 🙂

 

What do you prefer? A loner, lost in your own dream world or a popular bee surrounded with fans.

I like to be in company with a few good friends, but I’d prefer being alone with the beauty of nature, than being surrounded by dull and annoying blatherers.

 

Which has been your most successful post so far?

This one

 

Which is the first thing you look for as soon as you log in to your blog?

I don’t give much on statistics. I respond to every like or comment, at least I check every likers blog. But, my usual login is for writing a new post. I have a shortcut bringing me directly to the editing page.

 

Do you need prompts to motivate you? If yes, which was that?

No. As long as I have enough stuff for my regular schedule, I don’t need such prompts. But I like the weekly photo contest organized by The Daily Prompt, because I get a different view on my own portfolio.

 

Have you ever experienced writer’s block? How did you deal with it?

No. I usually write about trips. Thus, the photos and / or the locations give enough to tell.

 

Which is your favorite book and why?

There are a few of them:
amongst others

– The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
– The mists of Avalon by M. Zimmer-Bradley- World of Tiers by P.J. Farmer
– World of Tiers by P.J. Farmer
– Shogun by J. Clavell

All of these have in common, their authors were able to invent a complete independent world following its own rules and creating a kind of addiction. They describe their worlds so three-dimensional that I feel, being part of the story. Not only a reader, but also a character inside the story: to be in the thick of it instead of near by!

 

Here are my eleven questions:

1. What was your reaction to this award nomination?
2. Why people  should visit your blog?
3. What prompted you to become a blogger?
4. Do you need prompts to motivate you? If yes, which was that?
5. Which is the first thing you look for as soon as you log in to your blog?
6. Given an opportunity to pursue your hobby, what it would be?
7. Have you ever experienced writer’s block? How did you deal with it?
8. Would you like to be someone else (alive or death)? And if so, who?
9. What do you lack most in your skills?
10. Which of your skills do you like most?
11. Which advise do you have for a new blogger?

 

And finally here are my nominees:

1. Leanne Cole from Australia

2. Léa from France

3. Emerald Wake from Poland

4. Odile from France

5. Stéphane from France

6. Sharika from South Africa

7. Jeff Sinon from the US

8. Mark Kertesz

9. Robert from Germany

10. Liz from the UK

11. Lignum Draco from Australia

 

All of them inspire me with their photos. They are all very talented photographers, each on his/her own field.

Thank you all for inspiring me.

Take care!

 

art, history, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, travel, world

Monochrome Madness 32

600_4007-eb3_wThis time I picked another photo from Havana for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness.

This black and creme-colored car was polished for shiny luster. Thus it got my attentions. It was parked in a row, right next to the Capitol, waiting for passengers.

I liked the shape and the reflections in the flood light showing the theater and the reflection of a passing by car in the wing.

Because of the color of the car, I converted the photo to monochrome and the warmth of the sepia tone, in combination with the reduced look reached by the bleaching of the lighter tones by remaining the shape of a car makes this photo to be something special for me.

Take care!

600_4007-e_w
architecture, art, culture, landscape, meeting, photography, technic, travel, world

photographers monthly roundtable

600_1313-s_wYesterday we have had our monthly roundtable a.k.a photo walk, because we usually don’t sit around, we walk around. At a beautiful sunny afternoon and a mild evening we walked little and photographed more.

The Ruhr area is well-known as the source of the coal and steel industry for many decades. Beginnig from the  1970s  the industry a downturn started. Many coal mines, coke oven plant and steelworks closed. Some of them were removed, some were turned into a museum and others were used to give home to other companies. One of the steelworks was turned into a park and gives home for leisure time. People can play games on big free grass spaces, have a barbecue, use the old coal bunkers and other parts for climbing or even walk up the former high oven and watch, where workers used to cook steel. In the evening parts of the steelworks are illuminated.

I like that park as a destination for taking photographs every now and then. As always I’m a bit upset, when seeing the huge amount of light pollution in the air. The reddish sky, instead of a blue or black, is the result of this light pollution. Light from the streets and the houses goes up in the sky and is reflected by the dirt and the moisture in the air.

I hope, you like them anyway.

Take care!

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flowers, landscape, photography, seasons, technical

fall colors

600_1039-e_wIt’s fall in the northern hemisphere and you can see it everywhere. The colors of the leaves changes from green to brownish, yellowish or reddish tones. Dead leaves, chestnuts and acorns are laying on the ground and mushrooms are popping out of the soil. Ripe berries are hanging on the bushes and a few late blooming flowers are completing the scene.  An ideal time for taking photographs.

Yesterday we have had our national holiday and beautiful sunny weather. That was a good opportunity to go out with my camera and my macro lens.

That place I went to isn’t big, but with a macro lens you can explorer many, many small and tiny details. Although you usually should use a tripod when taking marocs, I left mine at home. Instead I have had a beanbag with me, but it wasn’t that useful. The gras was too high to use it. I hope, the good weather condition continues for at least tomorrow, to go on that trip again. But, this time with my tripod.

A tripod is very important when taking macro photos, because of the tiny depth of field. Often the distance of less than a millimeter decides, if a photo is sharp or not. It’s nearly impossible to be a human stone. Every breath makes a movement and standing sturdy means slightly pumping movements of your muscles. All of that results in movement of the camera and can ruin a photo. Thus, use a sturdy place for you camera. This can be the ground, a beanbag or a tripod. Don’t forget to disable the stabilizer, in case your camera has one, because the stabilizer would try to work against a not existing camera movement and will ruin the photo, too. Use your camera remote or at least the self-timer, because any touch can also result in vibrations.

Take care!

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

On top of Montjuïc

600_7296-ec_wMontjuïc is one of the 2 hills beside Barcelona. On top you can find a botanic garden, an old castle and a wonderful sight on the harbor, the see and the city. Your ticket for the public transportation allows for the funicular and the ropeway to come to the top easily. You can also walk uphill or take one of the busses. We had to take the funicular first and then the bus, because the ropeway was closed for service. What a pity.

Later we walked downhill. Every now and than you can get another interesting view of the city.

Take care!

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