abstract, art, culture, flowers, food, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #112 – “Pick a Word…”

Ok, Leya, I picked my word from your list. I’ve chosen simply the first one “comfortable”.

Although it’s still summer (according to the calendar), it feels much more like a fall. The apples in our garden are ripe and we picked already some of them to eat them, make juice, and apple purée. Also, the blackberries are ripe to make juice, jam, crumbles, and liqueur.

Much of rain, cold winds even the first November storm (I know, it’s still August) rushed over the land. When the sun comes through, the air stays cold. Soon, the t-shirts have to make room for the thick pullovers.

But, that’s the time for cozy evenings at the fireplace, if your house has one (ours has not). Otherwise, you could put a DVD with a movie of a fireplace in your DVD player. Enlight some candles and some joss sticks. Take a cup of coffee or tee and take a seat. Watch how the wind plays with the fallen leaves.

 

I took this photo a couple of years ago when I was in Brittany with some friends. We had rented a former farmhouse with 6 rooms, a large kitchen, and a nice garden. But, we didn’t use the house that much, because we were a lot outside for discovering the country, taking photos and visiting the beaches. We were there pre-season in June and enjoyed the evenings with the fire.

Take care!

animals, bird, nature, photo-of-the-day, summer, travel, wildlife, world

Throwback Thursday: arctic terns

You know, in June I was in Iceland and came back with a bunch of photos. So, I’m selecting and editing many images at the moment. Yesterday, I stumbled over the above image of an arctic tern at the parking ground of Dyrhólaey near Vík í Mýrdal in southern Iceland. I have tons of images of these elegant birds. But, they are also very brave and quick-tempered. Their nests are simply on the ground, hidden between grass and they breed in big colonies. To defend their nests and their breed they start-up very easily to chase away the intruder.

At first, they fly to the intruder and stand above him in the sky crying and trying to expel him that way. If this behaviour does not help they start to attack the head of the intruder. While these attacks in the beginning are only mock attacks, they come nearer and nearer with each attack. In the end they will hit the head with their beaks.

I already knew this from my first trip in 2014 and how to behave correctly. But, when arriving in a not closed parking ground and being greeted by angry birds, you can’t evade. But, moving away calm but swiftly, they let you go unharmed because that was their goal. It seems to me from my , the alert distance is about 50 meters from the nest.

While on the roads, every now and then I spotted this traffic sign beside the road: “Attention, angry bird are going to attack you. Be prepared.” And they do! Definitely, they do. They even attack passing cars. In 2014 a couple of bird hit the car roof with the beaks.

 

As I said, the arctic terns are building their nest on the ground. So, it’s not easy to recognize a nesting ground. But, when your distance is too short, they will notify you. I even spotted a group of young adults (I guess, they were Icelanders), getting attacked while passing a breeding ground. But, instead of simply moving away one of them started to fight back. He flew his pullover to drive out the birds, but with no effect. They even got angrier and followed them further attacking the head of the young man with the pullover. The arctic terns are able to descide between people. Although, the group wasn’t far away from me, I was save. No bird came up to me, despite they had to pass me.

 

Take care!

 

landscape, nature, photography, postprocessing, software, technic, travel, world

adding details from your own memory card to your landscape photos

In July, I was accepted as a guest blogger at nikonrumors.com. Here’s the full post for you, too.

When traveling, I love to be at the sea. I love the uneven coasts more than sandy beaches. I can spend hours photographing waves rolling in and the water sputtering between the rocks. These sprays, unfortunately, appear in different places but never together at the same time. So, I end up with many, many images of the same scene, but with differences in the details. Wouldn’t it be nice, combining these images?

When having taken the single images by using a tripod all of the frames are identical and could be merged by using an HDR- or DRI-software like i.e. Photomatix or AuroraHDR. But, these programs automatically remove those parts changing from frame to frame. So, what else can be done now?

In the early years of digital photography, the dynamic range of the sensors wasn’t as good as it is nowadays. To increase the dynamic range one took a series of identical frames by using a tripod with different shutter speeds to get images where certain parts were exposed correctly and accepting other parts either underexposed or overexposed. After a mild development in the digital darkroom and exporting the images in TIFF format to preserve the most possible information, the frames were imported into a group of layers in i.e. GIMP, Photoshop, or similar software able to work with layers and layer masks to create the final image. You usually don’t need to create your images with a higher dynamic range this way anymore, because of improved sensors and special software taking over the hard work for you. But this workflow is still useful.

In case, your kind of discouraged now, because I’m talking about layers and masks, don’t stop reading. It’s easier than it seems to be 🙂

I’m describing the necessary steps by using The GIMP because everyone can download the software for free from here (http://gimp.org/downloads). It’s available for macOS, Windows, Linux. For Photoshop the steps are nearly identically.

First, create a folder on your disk and put the original images in this folder. This step isn’t necessary but eases the process and makes it more clear. I took three images for creating my final image, but you can include as many as you want to merge, at least two. Keep in mind, the details you want to reveal shouldn’t overlap.

Now, you can start GIMP and click on “File” and choose “Open as Layers”. In the next dialog, navigate to the folder, you created in the first step and select all images in this folder, you want to merge. Now, you have a pile of images, but you only see the one on top of the pile. When clicking on the eye icon left to each image you can make a single (or more than one) image visible or invisible. You can always see only the uppermost one of the pile with the eye icon switched on. I recommend to re-sort the images now, so that the image with the most details you want to

preserve is the bottom image. For all of the other images, you have to add a mask: the layer mask

 

There are two kinds of these masks: white (= full opacity) and black (= full transparency). What does this mean? Think of a sheet of paper you would lay on your photo. What do you see? Right, you only see the sheet of paper, but not the photo. Now, imagine taking scissors and cut a hole in the paper and lay it back on your photo. You can still see the while paper but through the hole, you can see a part of the image underneath the paper. That’s the principle of the layer masks. White means cover-up while black means the holes in the cover.

When adding a black layer mask to all image layers expect the background, you can only see the background. Make sure, all images are taken from a tripod and are neither cropped nor re-balanced along the horizon in post-processing. Otherwise, you must rearrange them now to make sure, they are laying exactly one over another. There are tools available to do so. Adjust the opacity of the upper (= moving) image and switch to the 100% view to do so. There are tutorials available online explaining these steps in detail, so check them out if necessary. I recommend leaving these steps to the final image and do as little as possible to the source images.

the toolbox

Pick the brush tool from the toolbox and select a white color. Click in the black layer mask and paint the white color, where you want to make an additional detail visible. Do this for all details and on all layers masks. Simply paint the white color where a certain detail is located you want to discover and be included in the final image. You only need to paint upon the detail included in the image where you’re working on the layer mask. In case, you painted too much and want to revert it, change the color to black and paint over the white, or use the eraser tool. Imagine of doing a collage where you cut out different parts of other media and stick them on a background image.

before and after

After discovering all the details you want to include in your final image, save your work file as XCF (the native file format of GIMP) or PSD and then export it to TIFF. Despite you could also merge all layers to one and work further with this file, I recommend exporting and do the final work on this resulting TIFF file like removing dust spots with the stamp tool, balancing the horizon, and cropping the image. So, you could come back and adjust your work without the need of starting from the beginning.

When everything is fine, export it to JPG and you’re done!

the final image

 

Take care!

abstract, art, culture, flowers, food, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #111 – “everyday objects”

This week it’s Patti’s turn to challenge us and she has chosen the topic “everyday objects” because she recently started unpacking stored things packaged about two years ago.

So, let’s try and have a look, what I found in my archive.

 

Children are eager to pick them, but adults usually don’t pay attention on chestnuts on the ground, especially when wet.

This is a carder wool bee. We don’t notice them while they are working. But, we’re happy when we get fruits as a result of their successful work.

We’re also happy when all of our machines work properly. We only pay attention, when something goes wrong.

 

Have you ever seen straws like this??

What do you see? It’s a toy for very small kids. The can learn to grasp.

Insects are annoying. But, did you ever saw their beauty?

When you’re going in the city, have a look up along the buildings. It’s often interesting how they are constructed.

 

 

Everyone is every now and then waiting at a bus stop. See, how the night can change the appearance. Light changes everything. Open up your eyes and see!

 

Guess, what I have here for you!

Five eggs in their box. Were you right?

A candle enlights a room. But, what happens when you blow out the flame?

 

 

You’re sitting in front of a computer, right? See, what’s inside of it!

Fall again. The hazelnuts are ripe. Without color, it looks unfamiliar, right?

 

Did your eyes follow the pipes? Do so. Look, where they will lead you!

Old buildings usually have beautiful staircases. Count the floors and wonder!

A straightened light works out the shape of the keys.

You can have so much fun when looking carefully at the surroundings. Change the way you look at them. Change the light and / or the position of your eyes.

A very special kind of seeing the world around you in a different kind is converting your camera to ‘see’ either infrared or ultra-violet.

Take care!

animals, mammal, nature, photo-of-the-day, summer, wildlife

Throwback Thursday: river Rhein

In August 2018 I was in Switzerland for a couple of days. It was the first heat-year. Temperature raised up to 39,8°C. for months there was no rain. You know, the source of the European stream, river Rhein, is located in Switzerland. Here, we have a view of the young steam. It’s nearly completely dried-up. Only a runlet remained.

Take care!

 

abstract, art, culture, flowers, food, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #110 – “creativity in the time of COVID19”

Covid19 – a term, rising memories to the pest epidemics from the medieval ages, where town became nearly deserted.

The current pandemic is kind of worse. An epidemic is limited to a certain region. A pandemic, instead, is worldwide. Here in Europe, the pandemic started end of February, that’s more than half a year ago. In the beginning, our government ordered us to stay at home. Only the most necessary or essential leaves were allowed. We were ordered to go into lockdown.

You know, I’m meeting with other photographers once a month for our monthly roundtable. Certainly, this wasn’t allowed. So, we had to start something else. We needed to become creative for coping with the new situation. Tina Shell asks this week for the Lens-Artists Challenge to show such creative ideas. Here is our (my) answer.

Instead of meeting in a certain location and doing our photo-walk as usual (the location is always negotiated online in the week before the meeting), we met online in a conference call for talking about 2,5 hours. To have a relation to our normal main topic (photography) I had a special idea. I own a deck of inspiring cards. Each of these cards has a special idea and is meant to train creativity in photography. This time, I picked one card for each participant in advance of the meeting and sent a photo of the card to them. One week, each of us had to think about the content and find a solution for presenting up to 5 images during the meeting. It was a great success!

My topic was: backlit (others were: hot, cold, yellow, from below, from above, from behind, blue)

Here are my results:

 

moss, about to start blooming very soon equipped with some dew drops (macro)
oil drops (macro)

 

product image of a collectible bottle

 

star magnolia in the garden

 

amaryllis petals in our living room

 

white tulip blossom in a vase on our kitchen table

 

oil drops (macro)

 

All of these are photographs! During raw development, I only adjusted the lights and the darks slightly and did some post-sharping.

Take care