landscape, nature, photography, travel, world

a bit more from the highlands

600_3587-e_wFrom Landmannalaugavegur our path led us further east and back to the coast. When looking back, our next destination was  absolutely the highlight of our trip. But, more on that later.

While driving east, we passed again so many different landscapes and mountainous regions. And again, we made a lot of stops for taking photos of these breathtaking landscapes. Although, we were only about 600m above sea level, it looks like being way further up in the mountains.

Every now and then, there are small areas beside the street parted only by somewhat bigger rocks. These are parking grounds. Also the streets in the highlands are packed with these kind of bigger stones.

Take care!

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art, landscape, nature, photography, seasons, travel, world

Monochrome Madness 2-08

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As I wrote in my last posts, spring has come. Almost two weeks with beautiful weather have past and the mid-term forecast isn’t that bad. The sun brings people to become more active outside again. Tennis courts are being prepared for the summer time, the first people are using the golf courts, people start again with motor-biking, jogging, nordic walking and biking.

Unfortunately I live about 300 km from the coast (Belgium 290, Netherlands 260, Germany 350, 400 northern France  all as the crow flies). So I picked this photo, taken last year at the Belgium coast, for this weeks Monochrome Madness by Leanne Cole.

Take care!

art, flowers, nature, seasons, world

after the rain

610_4203-e_wor even between the rain.

Here we have a very old song, that still nearly everyone knows: “Wochenend und Sonnenschein” (translated to “Weekend and sunshine”). It’s recorded back in 1930 by the Comedian Harmonists, a male a-capella sextet. They sing about a trip to the forest with their darling. (you might find a recording on youtube – either the original recording, a snippet from the movie Comedian Harmonists or at least from Max Raabe, who is very good in their special singing style).

A sunny weekend is also very welcomed by a photographer. But, also a rainy day gives some opportunities to a photographer. Thus, yesterday I was out when the rain finally made a pause. I got my macro lens to capture a few of the wet blossoms. Although I used a macro lens with a focal length of 105 mm I have a least distance of 10 cm between the front lens and my subject. That’s quite ok in most circumstance, but not always.

What can I do, to come closer to my subject, or in different words, how to get the tiny blossoms a bit bigger into my frame.

There are at least two different ways. First, you can get a Close-up filter and screw it in front of your lens, or you can get extension tubes. An extension tube (usually they come in a set of three, each with a different size of 12, 24 and 35 mm) is to be mounted between you camera body and the lens. They don’t have any optical parts inside. They only enlarge the distance between the sensor and the front lens. While doing this, they also shorten the minimum distance between front lens and subject and enlarge the reproduction scale – says: your subject will be enlarged! Great, goal reached! (btw. there is also a flexible version of these extension tubes available: the bellow)

On the other hand, this has also a downside. In the same time, the reproduction scale is enlarged, the focal depth, that’s the size of the field that is sharp in you photo, is reduced.

This brings us to the most important part of doing macro photography: you need a sturdy tripod!

Moving your lens for only a millimeter can ruin your photo. This can be done by a heartbeat, a breath or simply by the usual (and normal) jitter of your muscles. When using the big screen on the back of your camera (live-view), the problem becomes even worse. To cope these tiny movements, use a sturdy tripod, disable the Image stabilization and use a remote shutter release.

When putting your camera on top of a tripod, the Image stabilization technique will result in unsharp photos.  Why? There are slight moments inside the camera to compensate the human’s slight movements I mentioned above. When the camera is mounted on a sturdy tripod, than there are no movements to compensate. So, this results in unsharp photos.

Using a remote shutter is also meant to keep vibrations away from your camera. If available, you also should activate a small wait between folding up of the mirror and opening the camera shutter. This is also meant to keep vibrations away.

Enjoy the spring and take care!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion

This weeks photo challenge at The Daily Post is called “motion”.

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When our youngest son was about 2 or 3 years old, he was addicted to speed. Not the drug, but fast driving cars or carousels / merry-go-rounds. Every time, when we drove on the motorway to my parents, he sat in the back of our car and called ‘faster, faster’. Later he used a scooter, a skateboard and now a moped.

There are more kids like this. Look in the photo above. How focused the kid is and how it tries to drive fast enough to beat her opponent to win the duell in this card box car race.

As long as they live their love for speed in a controlled environment and with the necessary care, everything is fine. But, never let them run in illegal street-races or stock car races without the necessary safety.

Take care!

(as always: click on the photos to see them in a bigger size)

culture, landscape, photography, travel, world

Landmannalaugavegur downhill

600_3333-e_wToday I have the second part of our hike in Landmannalaugavegur for you: from the fumaroles back down to the parking ground.

This part of our hike also led us through fantastic landscapes. As you can see in the images, the landscape sometimes looked as it won’t be from this world.

600_3353-e_wThese landscape not only are fantastic, they are also huge. Look at the single image I’ve chosen for the cover image of this post. See the ants hikers on the ridge walking uphill one behind the other. How tiny they are. I used a 400mm telephoto lens for this shot. So, you have an idea, how far the that part was away from me. The other photo below shows the whole valley. Nearly in the middle (shortly after 12 o’ clock) you can find the scene from the photo above. This one is taken by using a wide-angel lens at 32mm. The two small white spots are quite characteristic and thus easy to locate. They are just like eyes left and right of a long nose. Maybe the remaining parts of a buried troll? 🙂 You know, you can click on the single photos to see them bigger.

Take care!

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art, landscape, photography, technical

EOS

Eos is the name of the ancient greek goddess of the dawn. She was assumed to be the summoner of helios, the god representing or represented by the sun. I don’t want to bore you with these old stuff, but I love watching her rise at the early mornings horizon.

During the last week I enjoyed her rise each morning while commuting to work. You know, starting from December 22nd the sun rises 4 minutes earlier each morning until June 21st and from June 22nd until December 21st the sun rises 4 minutes later each day. Midsummer and midwinter or summer solstice and winter solstice. So, I have had to wait for that single day, when being at the right time at this certain place.

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I took this photo on Monday morning at 5:45.

ISO 800, f5, 75mm, 1/5s, hand-held, post-processing in Capture NX2.

I also tried a second software for post-processing: MacPhun Intensify Pro. Although, I’m very satisfied with the above results, I tried Intensify and was wowed by the results. I already knew, my camera has a very good sensor with a very good handling of the dynamic range in a photo.

 

610_4087-i_wIn my opinion the results by Intensify Pro are a bit more neutral and the darkness brightening is really remarkable. But, the gradience in the sky is, in my opinion, not so good. And, while bringing back the structures in the dark areas I also got lots of noise. Thus, I have had to give it to Noiseless Pro for eliminating the noise.

When looking on both results, I like the first one most, because it hat a way softer mood. The morning fog in the dales and behind the trees at the of the field ‘feels’ more real in my opinion. What do you think?

Anyway. Not everyone can use Capture NX2 and it’s discontinued, unfortunately. So, if you don’t have it already, Intensify Pro is a very good option. It really does a great job!

Take care!

flowers, nature, photography, seasons

Hanami

610_3960_wYou know, yesterday I posted several photos with tree and bush blossoms taken the day before. In the same post, I was complaining about the overcast sky during the day in opposite to the weather forecast. But, in the late afternoon, not only the sun came through, also the clouds vanished mostly and leaving the sky nearly perfectly blue. Thus, I picked my camera for a short trip in my home area and walked along the streets only a few hundred meters.

I used my macro lens for several blossoms, but also my long telephoto lens. Some of the blossoms are high up in the sky and it was kind of hard to get a sharp shot. As you can see, the sprays are very thin and carry lots of blossoms. So, they are quite heavy laden and thus begin to swing easily at the lightest wind. And there were many squalls.:-(

I don’t know all the names of the blossoms, bushes and trees. But, you can find in my gallery below: flowering cherry, magnolia, forsythia, silver birch sprays and beech tree sprays.

Enjoy the spring!

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flowers, nature, photography, seasons

finally spring arrived

610_3904-sfc_wAs I wrote before: the sun changes everything!

In this context, the sun brought spring. Trees and bushes are getting their leaves and blossoms. Time for Hanami. Many flowers are blooming as well as the trees. Only two weeks left until may-day.

The 1st of May has a very distinct meaning here for centuries. I’ll tell you more of this, soon.

We have had a fantastic week. Many sunny hours during the day, although the nights were still cold with temperatures slightly above the freezing point. Today, the sky is gray again and covered with thick clouds. Thus, I’m not outside as I have had planned. Instead, I’m sitting here at my computer and writing this post for you.

The weather forecast proposed a cloud-free sky. But they were wrong, at least here, where I live.

Take care!

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photo-of-the-day, photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird

dsc_5676-ec_wThis weeks photo challenge at The Daily Post is called “Early Bird”.

Whenever possible, I get up late. But, getting up early almost always pays back with beautiful sights and wonderful experiences. Especially during spring and fall you can find wonderful scenes in the morning hours. Sky is clean, the sun gives a wonderful, warm light and when you are lucky enough, you’ll get boring fog, that make the landscapes magic. But, even without the fog the light is magic and pays back.

Take care!

To give you some more examples, I also attached a small gallery:

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(as always: click on the photos to see them in a bigger size)

culture, landscape, photography, travel, world

Landmannalaugavegur uphill

600_3232-e_wIn Landmannalaugavegur you can start for various hiking trips through the Icelandic highlands. Fantastic panoramic views to each side of your path. As you might remember, we were there around July 1st. But, we still found snow beside our path uphill.

The parking ground is at an altitude of 612m. Because of the weather conditions, we only made the small round trip, that led us up to an altitude of 706m, following a narrow path not wider than about 3 feet broad. Thus, you have to be very carefully, when someone else is coming downhill.

Everywhere you can see results of volcanic activity: fumaroles, obsidian rocks and tracks of sulfur. And, of course, a certain slight, but distinct, smell of rotten eggs.

While this post focused on our way uphill, my next post will introduce you to our way back to the parking ground. You can ‘see’ the parking ground in the photo above. 🙂 It’s just around the corner, behind the dark land tongue at the left.

Take care!

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art, flowers, nature, seasons

Magnolia

610_3823-spc_wOnly a few sunny days are able to change the world. Although the calendar says, it’s spring, the nature doesn’t think so. The trees and bushes still don’t have leaves, but blooming time for crocus and snow drops is already over. Narcissuses are blooming everywhere, although their booming time also is coming to its end. But that’s all. The air is still cold and every morning the ice cover has to be removed from the front window of my car.

Last week we have had sunny days and Friday was, according to the weather report, the ‘hottest’ day of 2015 until now. Some regions got up to 20°C in the sun. Whoa!

The sun is the power, that is able to change nature. Yesterday, while I’m preparing this post, we have had a cold, cloudy and rainy day again, just like the weather forecast proposed for the whole weekend. (Although, today we have a cold, sunny day – what a surprise).  Temperatures around 10°C. Nothing is left from the sun and the warmth we have had last week. Enjoy the magnolia blossoms I photographed on Friday late afternoon 🙂

It’s a Magnolia stellata, sometimes called the star magnolia native to Japan blooming in white and a Magnolia liliiflora (variously known by many names, including Mulan magnolia, Purple magnolia, Red magnolia, Lily magnolia, Tulip magnolia, Jane magnolia and Woody-orchid) native to China blooming in purple.

While the star magnolia is covered by many blossoms, the purple magnolia only has a few blossoms until now. But, we expect to see more during the next days. I really like the magnolia blossoms, unfortunately their booming time is so short,

Take care!

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culture, landscape, photography, travel, world

Passage to Landmannalaugavegur

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Landmannalaugavegur was the starting point for our next hike. It’s located in the middle of nowhere and the passage is really an adventure. When going to Landmannalaugavegur, pay much attention to the roads and calculate plenty of time. The landscape along the roads is really amazing. You definitely want to stop very often for looking around and enjoying the fantastic landscape.

Don’t expect paved roads and don’t expect bridges. In my photos below you can see the quality of the roads. You definitely need a four-wheeled off-road vehicle.

Landmannalaugavegur has a camping site, a snack-bar (inside the green bus), a hot pool, a parking site and lots of fantastic landscapes. More from that hike in my next post.

Take care!

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