history, landscape, nature, photography, seasons, travel, world

Travel Tuesday: the ferry is passing the beach

This ferry is called “Funny Girl” and used to sail between Cuxhaven and Helgoland during  the winters for many years. It’s retired and a younger, more modern, ship called “Helgoland” is sailing that route since summer 2016 during the whole year.

Because of an accident on Dec. 31st 2017 in the harbor of Helgoland because of very bad weather the new ship was replaced by the old one to repair it.

Here, the Funny Girl is coming back from Helgoland and  is heading to Cuxhaven harbor. The next day we entered the ferry for our trip to Helgoland 🙂

Jan. 14th, 2018

Take care!

 

abstract, art, culture, landscape, macro, photography

Monochrome Madness 5-14 / 220

Monthly theme: circles

This is my contribution to Monochrome Madness organized by Leanne Cole.

“Monochrome Madness” is now in its fifth year of existence. Look at Leanne’s site on Wednesday (Australian time), to see many more monochrome images created by many other talented photographers from all over the world.

I’d also encourage you to participate. The conditions are  published in each of her Monochrome Madness posts.

Take care!

art, culture, photography, world

Throwback Thursday: Let’s do the timewarp …

In 1982 I saw an image of star trails for the first time in a magazine (I still have that magazine in my bookshelf) and was blown away by its beauty. Starting from that moment I wanted to create my own image of start trails.

Some time later, I was in northern Germany with some friends for celebrating Easter together. One night, when all the others already were in their beds, I was still up. At that time we didn’t have a problem with light pollution as we have nowadays. Although, that region is still a quite dark region. But, all over Europe you have serious problems seeing the stars.

Back to my story. That one night, while all of my companions were sleeping, I sat alone in the dark beside my camera loaded with a slide film, mounted on a tripod and equipped with a cable shutter release to keep the shutter open for the next about 60 minutes. Back home, I brought the film to a receiving office to get the film developed. About a week later, I got the film back. Unfortunately,  the film was cut in small pieces by the laboratory: one for each slide. But, they assumed the one darker image as underexposed. So, they used that space for cutting the film improperly. So, I got a wonderful star trail image cut in two pieces: 1/3 and 2/3. You can’t imaging how angry and disappointed I was. When would I be able to have a second chance?

You need:

  1. a starry night
  2. no moon in the sky (new moon or an early moon set or an extremely late moon rise)
  3. no light pollution (a very dark region) about 70km away from the next city (even from the small ones – I tell you later, why)
  4. no clouds
  5. a camera with bulb mode
  6. tripod or something similar to give your camera a solid foundation
  7. a good lens without or disabled AF (in 1982 the first AF lenses appeared in the market)
  8. no image stabilizer (not invented in 1982)
  9. a fast lens (f2.8 or so)
  10. time (at least an hour exposure time)

I used a 28-70mm f3.5-4.5 zoom lens at 28mm. Not very fast, but ok.

Here in Germany, at least the weather will be happy to disturb you in your plans and send you some clouds when you don’t want them. So, I never had an opportunity to redo it. And, over time some priorities changed.

When I started with digital photography about 10 years ago, I still wanted to create a star trails image. In the meantime you were able to check online, where prosperous regions are. When looking on these maps, I got more disappointed: in Germany there is no location reachable from my home town. I’m living in the red to violet area. Even with a 200km drive it’s nearly impossible to find a location. Germany and middle Europe is very dense populated. So, only vacations would enable me to get such an image. Despite that, I checked some areas and even made some test images.

When I was on the Isle of Skye in April, per incident our talks went in the direction of photographing stars and the night sky during our last day. The weather that day was fine. Scotland is one of the darker areas in Europe and the Isle of Skye also. Everything I’d need was in my bag. I checked the weather every now and then after dinner and set my camera up at about 11 p.m.

The technique changed a bit during the last decades. Digital sensors overheat easily and the results get bad when having such a long exposure time. Instead, you have to take a series of images. All images with the same setting. Back home, you have to merge the single images into one to get your final star trails image.

In the image above, you can some clouds moving over the sky while I was photographing. Three planes (or satellites or the ISS) were passing by and in the right lower side you can see some light pollution from Broadford or Kyealakin (or both). The urban light spreads in all directions. Even the street lights are reflected by the road surfaces and send up to the sky and got reflected by the clouds. Because of the origins of the light and the kind of light this light is reflected in this ugly orange.

The light at the bottom in the middle is a house located on the other side of the Loch, about one km away, located directly at water level with the lights reflected in the water.

The above image is unedited. 29 images are merged. Each image got exposed for 30 seconds at f2.8, ISO 400 with a full frame sensor. I used a 14mm lens and a tripod.

When I saw the final result, I came up with the idea to create an animation from the images. My son was able to realize it and lay some relaxing music over the animation. Have fun!

Star Trails animation

Take care!

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

Monochrome Madness 5-13 / 219

Another image from Scotland. Eilean Donan Castle located in Loch Duich, next to the Skye-Bridge connecting the Isle of Skye to the Scottish main-land.

This is my contribution to Monochrome Madness organized by Leanne Cole.

“Monochrome Madness” is now in its fifth year of existence. Look at Leanne’s site on Wednesday (Australian time), to see many more monochrome images created by many other talented photographers from all over the world.

I’d also encourage you to participate. The conditions are  published in each of her Monochrome Madness posts.

Take care!

architecture, art, cityscape, culture, landscape, photography, seasons, street, travel, world

Backlit fountain

Monochromia

I came across this wonderful backlit fountain, when I was in Dresden in October 2015. The low standing sun enlightened the water in such a wonderful way, so that I couldn’t resist to take some photos.

Full-Frame (35mm, FX), focal length 14mm

More of my images can be seen at my own blog.

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animals, art, flowers, insect, macro, nature, photography, plants, seasons, world

Throwback Thursday: A hover-fly and an Ad

APS-C, f16, 1/1000, ISO 2,800, 105mm (~157mm FX)

Today I have not only an image for you, but also a special offer. Skylum is offering their software Luminar 2018 with a special discount. The offer is starting today and valid until Sunday.

The above macro image shows a hover-fly on an Echinacea blossom. It’s taken by using a 105mm macro lens attached to a camera with an APS-C sized sensor in the early evening hours. Afterwards it’s developed from raw by using Luminar 2018.

Insects are very quickly moving animals. Additionally, their movements are nearly unpredictable. Even when sitting on blossoms for having a meal, they are constantly moving around. So, you have to use very short shutter-speeds when taking photographs beside a quick auto-focus. When using a macro lens for taking photos from small or tiny things like insects, you have to use a small aperture (= high number) to get images that are sharp for more than a tiny area. You know, the size of the field of depth depends on the focal length and the f-stop as well as the distance between your lens and the subject: the smaller the aperture, the bigger the field of depth and the longer the focal length the smaller the field of depth.

Both of these have an impact on the resulting image: a short shutter-speed only lets the light reach the sensor for a very short moment, while the small aperture limits the amount of light. So, what can we do to get properly exposed images? Right, we must increase the ISO, the sensitivity of the sensor. But, increasing the sensitivity also has a con: the digital noise in the image also increases and the fine structures might vanish. You might ask, why do I tell you all this technical stuff.

The reason is, nobody wants to look at noisy images with no structures. So, you have to use a software for developing your images, which is capable of eliminating the noise but preserves the structures.

In this image I still have all the structures: the fine hairs, the structures of the facet-eyes and the pollens. I also got rid of the noise from the background. So, Luminar did a great job again.

You can download a free demo (fully functional for 14 days) and test it on your own computer with you own images.

Take care!

(this post contains affiliate links)

architecture, art, landscape, nature, photography, travel, world

Monochrome Madness 5-12 / 218

This is my contribution to Monochrome Madness organized by Leanne Cole.

“Monochrome Madness” is now in its fifth year of existence. Look at Leanne’s site on Wednesday (Australian time), to see many more monochrome images created by many other talented photographers from all over the world.

I’d also encourage you to participate. The conditions are  published in each of her Monochrome Madness posts.

Take care!

animals, art, flowers, insect, macro, nature, photography, plants, seasons, world

Throwback Thursday: A special guest

hummingbird hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) / Taubenschwänzchen

When I was out for photographing butterflies, I suddenly recognized a fast-moving subject in the flowers beside me and when I watched it with my eye, I knew at once, that I was seeing a big butterfly. I’ve never seen such a butterfly before. I encountered a for me unknown species. Fortunately, it stayed long enough to fetch my camera and even got a few frames. One of them was pretty good.

During the next two days I saw it again. Always very fast-moving and only for a few moments stopping on some of the blossoms just like the other butterflies. But, instead of sitting down on the blossoms it was ‘standing’ above the blossoms in the air, just like a hummingbird, and putting the trunk inside the blossom to suck some nectar.

My researches resulted in the fact, I was faced by a hummingbird hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum). The hummingbird hawk-moth is one of the few day-active moths. They are strong flier and wander a lot. So, they come up from the Mediterranean area north to middle Europe and even Scandinavia and Russia during summer. You can find them from Portugal in the West to Japan in the East and also in North-Africa and India. Up to now, it’s not known, that they are able to overwinter in Middle-Europe, Scandinavia or Russia.

Their wingspan is 40–45 millimetres (1.6–1.8 inch) while the moth is 36-50 millimeters (1,4-2 inch) long. Their flying speed is up to 80km/h (50 miles/hour) with 70-90 wing flaps per second. They are know for conquering distances of up to 3,000km (1,875 miles) in less than 14 days.

And the only food they use, is nectar! Fascinating!! How much energy they are able to get from that food.

Take care!