culture, landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants, seasons, winter

Monochrome Monday 9-34

Happy New Year!

The calendar says it’s January now. January means we’re in the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere and winter is related to snow.

Freshly fallen snow lays on the ground like untouched and clean linen. The same is true for the first day(s) of a new year. Everything is still unclear and uncertain. Although some topics might already have been planned, everything still has to happen.

Take care!

 

animals, mammal, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants, wildlife

Monochrome Monday 9-32

 

 

Take care!

 

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Excire has started its Christmas Promotion. 
Anyone who purchases Excire Foto between December 16th, 2022, and January 6th, 2023 will receive the Excire Analytics extension as a gift (worth 39€).
Excire Analytics is a great added value for your customers. By using it they can gain exciting insights into their photographic work. 

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nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants

Monochrome Monday 9-20

 

 

A “detail” from the inside of a wooden windmill, initially built in 1706. Here, you can read more.

Take care!

 

<ad because of affiliate links>

In addition, I want to share some news on Luminar Neo with you. The latest update is capable of working with raw files from OM-1, EOS R3, and Lumix DC-GH6. There’s also another extension announced. So, five of the 7 extensions are already available

1) HDR

2) Noiseless AI

3) Upscale AI

4) Background Removal AI

5) Fokus-Stacking

6) will be announced in October

7) will be available in December

Focus stacking is a technology where a couple of images taken with different focus points from exactly the same place are merged to get images with a much bigger field of depth than possible with a single shot by closing the aperture. Up to 100 images can be merged that way. This is extremely interesting for macro photography, but also in certain fields of landscape photography, this is really useful. Many of the more recent cameras already support capturing such a series of images by automatically shifting the focus point through the scene. Luminar Neo supports you with the necessary functions to merge those images into a final one with a huge field of depth.

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nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants

Monochrome Monday 9-18

 

 

My last vacation with my wife and my grandson (nearly 6) surprisingly gave me the opportunity to explore an old wooden windmill, a so-called smock mill. A few years ago, I already was there, but wasn’t aware of the option, to tour the windmill. The souvenir shop held me away.

The windmill was initially built in 1706 and reconstructed after a fire in 1920/21. It’s still in use as a flour mill. In the basement of the windmill is a shop offering natural products as well as souvenirs. While in the shop, my grandson asked quite loudly (as kids of that age do), if he could go upstairs and see the inner parts of the windmill and the owner answered (instead of us), that it would be possible when paying an entrance fee and at least one of the adults would accomplish him. So, I’m glad, he was with us and talking that loud.

For a long, I wanted to visit an old windmill with my camera. It was fantastic to see, how everything was constructed. It was amazing to see all this old technology and that it remained the centuries and wars.

The windmill has 4 floors. All of them offer only very few free (unused) room to roam around. I even had to leave my backpack on the first floor to be able to climb up to the upper levels. While my wife and my grandson only claimed up to the second floor and were frightened to use the steep ladders further up, I made my way up to the top. Fortunately, no one else was there at the same time. The next visitors arrived on level 2 just when I came down again from level 3. In my image above, you can watch down the ladder connecting levels 2 and 3.

Take care!

nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants

Monochrome Monday 9-17

 

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Have you ever been to Iceland? No? But you want to? Great! This is your chance. Grab a ticket by clicking this link. It’s your opportunity to participate in the Luminar Photo Camp. Unfortunately, I already have other responsibilities at the same time. But, you can use my promo code SOLANER to save some money

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Take care!

 

nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants

Monochrome Monday 9-15

Europe is currently suffering from a big drought. For weeks, we didn’t get enough rain. It’s the fourth drought during summer in a row. Last week, the official meter of the river Rhine, one of the big streams of Europe, in Emmerich near the border to the Netherlands reported, that the meter sunk under zero! That’s possible because level zero was declared at some time in the past and never before did the river has a lower level. Shipping is still possible but the ships are half-empty and have to sail at very low speeds. The middle of the river is deepened to being a road for the ships.

Saturday morning, I went to our state capital Düsseldorf. At this location, the river usually should be about 400m broad. You see, I’m standing in the riverbed and the river is missing about 7-8 meters of water here according to my GPS measuring at the current water level and at the regular water level visible on the ground.

You see the clouds in the sky. During the night from Friday to Saturday, some rain fronts passed in from the Atlantic Ocean. For a few hours, we got some rain for the first time in the last weeks (months). When I got up, most of the front already passed and only some drizzling remained.

In Bavaria and Austria, they got more rain than the soil could cover. Some landslides are the result and cause severe problems. I assume, most of the water will go to the river Danube and not to the Rhine 😦 But, a few kilometers east of us, they also got flood-rains. Train tracks are damaged by the masses of water. The railway company announced the repairs would also least last about 24 hours. On the pro side, we can say, that water will help fill the rivers around and the Rhine.

Take care!

abstract, landscape, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants, seasons, winter, world

Monochrome Monday 8-48

 

 

I took this image on Saturday before last. It’s already early April, and just like the old farmer’s rule says, April does whatever she wants. Just like last April, we got snow in die mid of spring. But, fortunately, this time most of the fruit trees didn’t have their blossoms so early. Over the last weeks, the weather was very nice and sunny, but cold. But, the magnolias (tulip trees) were affected again. It started snowing Friday at noon and until nightfall, we had a quite solid snow cover on the ground. Saturday morning, I had approximately 15 cm of snow on my car. Although the snow was nearly completely gone by Saturday noon, nearly all petals of the magnolia blossoms were already on the ground. What a pity. The already short period of magnolia blooming time was cut even earlier.

The tree in my image is a white-pink blooming magnolia tree all covered by snow.

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It’s sometimes hard to find images fitting to a certain challenge. For these tasks, I’m using the help of Excire Foto. I told the software where my image library is located and it starts analyzing the images. It recognizes the main colors in the images as well as the contents (what is in the images) and tags them automatically. Later, I can use the user interface to search for images with certain tags. Currently, you can save a few bucks when ordering Excire Foto, because it’s on sale. With coupon code Eggcire22, valid until 18.04.2022, you can save 22%.

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Take care!

abstract, landscape, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants, seasons, winter, world

Monochrome Monday 8-47

I took this image two weeks ago. The trees were still without any leaves. So, the sunlight was able to reach the ground and paint interesting patterns on the ground. You can enlarge it, when clicking on the image, as usual.

 

<ad>

It’s sometimes hard to find images fitting to a certain challenge. For these tasks, I’m using the help of Excire Foto. I told the software where my image library is located and it starts analyzing the images. It recognizes the main colors in the images as well as the contents (what is in the images) and tags them automatically. Later, I can use the user interface to search for images with certain tags. Currently, you can save a few bucks when ordering Excire Foto, because it’s on sale. With coupon Code SPRING-30 you can save 30%.

When using this link, new customers can get Excire Analytics for free when buying Excire Foto before March, 31st. After clicking the link, put both products (Excire Analytics is visible in a separate tab after clicking on Excire Foto for seeing the details) in your shopping cart and use code AnalyticsDeal during checkout and the total decreases by 39€.

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Take care!

landscape, meeting, photography, plants, review, spring, travel

Throwback Thursday: I’m back … and LAPC #188 “A Special Place”

… from another trip. Thanks to the relaxations from the COVID restrictions it was a quite comfortable trip. Sanitizing hands and wearing a mask during transportation, in closed rooms, and wherever a proper distance can’t be kept is quite easy to follow and a level of restriction easily can be kept. Either way, we were able to enjoy the Mediterranean sun for a couple of days. This year’s destination for our carnival escape was the beautiful Balearen island of Mallorca.
We used Port d‘Alcúdia as our base for exploring some parts of the island. Nearly all of us were in the past already on Mallorca, but partly already decades ago. From Germany, this island is reachable in approximately 2 1/2 hours. Thus, it‘s also one of the most attractive destinations for party people. When talking about Mallorca as a vacation destination, you’re most probably faced with one of the bad images of this island. To name two of them, we have an island of the cleaning ladies (because traveling to Mallorca is quite cheap and requires in many parts of the island no knowledge of Spanish, so anybody can go there). I already named the other group, party people. Because it is so easy to reach Mallorca, and so many flights start each day from every German airport, even young people can travel to Mallorca and have a vacation with nearly guaranteed sunshine.
It’s a shame, people travel to Mallorca only to go to parties and get drunk. The island has so much more to offer. Wonderful landscapes from the sandy beaches with low water and only little tides, nice old town, restaurants with very good and tasty food, a mountain range, that parts the island in the northern part from east to west. These mountains are quite steep and craggy and up to 1.445 meters high. The island, located 170 kilometers off the Spanish mainland,  is about 98 kilometers in an east-west direction and 78 kilometers in a north-south direction. The mountains are approximately 90 kilometers broad with the 15 kilometers broad Tramuntana mountain range as the most important part.  The airport is located near the west coast in Palma, the capital of Mallorca as well as of the Spanish region of the Baleares, a group of islands where also Ibiza, Menorca, Formentera are part. Heading east with our rental cars, we needed approximately 45 minutes to reach Port d‘Alcúdia.
You can find a couple of towns twice on the map, because some towns are located at a safe distance from the sea, have founded a second town centuries ago at the sea to make it easier during the fishing season. The names of these towns start with the word „Port“. Nowadays, most of the hotels are located in these towns located at the coast, while the similarly named town located away from the sea has the Old town. So, when coming to Mallorca, never forget to visit the towns inland.
Unfortunately, the people have committed construction sins starting from the 1970s. So, we find many huge hotels along certain beaches. These concrete mountains mutilate the beautiful landscape. This is also the reason for becoming the most preferred vacation destination for generations of people, especially in Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries. Over the last 2 decades, people from the former Eastern bloc countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, or Ukraine also learned to love that Island.
It‘s very sad, that this island has such a bad reputation. Besides the beautiful landscapes, beaches, and towns, you can find a lot of tasty products like wine, olive oil, cheese, or gin. Also, the cuisine is very tasty. Besides seafood, you can also get rabbit, lamb, goat, and beef. When paying attention to the restaurant, you can be sure, all the products are local.
When we started last Friday, alone from our starting airport there were 6 flights to Mallorca, 4 of them run by the same airline. And, that’s end of February. You could say, it‘s off-season, and you’re partly right. It’s too cold to go swimming. During the days, the temperature went up to 26 degrees centigrade, but the air is certainly much colder, only 15-17 degrees centigrade and around 4-7 degrees at night. That’s enough to see the island less crowded and enjoy the landscape while going hiking or cycling. Many hotels are prepared for giving cyclists and their bike room for the night. The people are generally very friendly and helpful. In the big hotels, you can find always someone speaking some German or at least some English. But, as always when traveling to a foreign country, it’s much better to know some words and sentences in the local language.
For this trip, we had a small list of planned visits:
– rough Northern cost around Soller / Port de Soller
– neighboring town Pollença (the market at Sunday morning) / Port de Pollença
– Cape of Formentor (the lighthouse at sunset)
– the center of the milky way
– Palma, the capitol, with Old town, cathedral, and a bit of shopping for the ladies
– hiking along a small part of the southern coast
– an old fisherman’s town
As well as a few optional destinations. But, our main motivation to go to Mallorca at this time of the year was seeing the blooming almond trees. And we did. Huge fields of white blooming trees. It was amazing.

Unfortunately, some of the plans were unable to realize:
– Cape Formentor was unable to reach because of a closed road. The only road going to the lighthouse was closed for road construction works about 5 kilometers away from the lighthouse. Too far to walk because we would have walked back in the dark and not knowing if we would have passed the closing by foot.
– photographing the Milky Way had to be skipped because we were unable to find the proper place. Mountains were hindering us from looking in the right direction. Ok, the island is quite big, but also has a problem with light pollution as soo many other parts in Europe too, and we only had a small time frame between rising of the Milky Way at about 4 a.m. and sunrise at 7:30 (twilight starts much earlier). How annoying!
– visiting Palma was also a disaster. That day the Day of the Baleares was celebrated. Ten thousands of people were in the streets, but shops and the
cathedral were closed. Instead, many tents were set up to offer street food, wine, olive oil, and so on while in other places music groups, dance ensembles, sports clubs, and other artists were entertaining the masses. So, the streets were extremely crowded and we left early.
– the planned hike along the coast also raised a problem. One of us was wearing sports shoes instead of tracking or hiking boots. He also is a little bit over-weighted and the path was a natural path and not a paved one. After about 1 kilometer (which lasted approximately 45 minutes) we turned back. The whole round track would have been 8 kilometers long. Nearly impossible under these conditions. Very sad.
– another lighthouse was fenced so that we were unable to get to the right spot.

Our trip even had a bad start. As I told you, there are at least 4 regular flights from our departure point scheduled to Mallorca: 6:00, 8:30, 11:00, and 16:50. While the majority of our group booked for 8:30, two had to take the flight at 16:50 because of their working hours. The day before our take-off, we got a short notification about our flight at 8:30 was postponed to 12:10. After a little investigation, we got aware, this was due to a warning strike of the security personnel. When getting to the airport, we noticed only the 8:30 (postponed to 12:10) and the 16:50 flights were supposed to be operated, while the others were canceled. Phew! Blessing in disguise. Our airline was able to get everything managed as well as possible and was very organized to make the best out of that situation. So we finally arrived at Mallorca with a couple of hours delay, but we did!

Nevertheless, I don’t want to complain. It was a very nice trip and it was so great to see the sun again, not to mention the joy of being outside wearing only a T-Shirt. I was writing this while sitting in my plane back home. This morning, I was getting up while it was still dark and -4 degrees to start working. Each vacation comes to an end and almost always it feels like days were shorter when on vacation.

 

All of my images are still in the camera, so I only have a photo of blooming almond trees taken with my smartphone for you. It’s edited by using the AI module from Luminar Neo for removing the power lines between the palm trees and some of the almond tree twigs automatically with only one click. The other click was to automatically correct the verticals. Great job! <ad> you can try this with your own images, head over to Skylum, and get your own copy. As always, you get a 30-days money-back guarantee. </ad>

This post is also part of the LAPC hosted this time by guest host Karina from Murtagh’s meadow. Thanks for this challenge!

Take care!

macro, photography, plants, review, seasons, winter

Throwback Thursday: frosting

Last week, I found a couple of images taken right before Christmas on the memory card of my camera.

One small hint: When using code HAPPYVALENTINE during checkout, you can save 15% when buying Excire Foto before Feb 20th, 2022. Excire Foto is the perfect tool to find certain images on your disks by searching with keywords either from EXIF data or by the results from the artificial tagging engine. Do you want to know more? There’s already a post here in my blog. Although the post is quite old and talks about version 1.0, the last update to version 1.3 was released in December 2021.

Second hint: when you’re in the US you can benefit from code CNFL-56 and save 43%, because Excire US celebrates the Super Bowl (advertising because of the affiliate link)

 

Take care

 

 

animals, astro, bird, landscape, nature, night, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants, star, travel, world

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 178: “My choice: a small Namibia selection”

Today’s host for The Lens-Artists Photo-Challenge is Tina. Her topic for today is “you choose” 😊 How funny. From her comments on my post last week I know, she’s quite eager to see some images from Namibia. Thus, I made a tiny selection from the images taken there.

I’m still in quarantine. Because I’m working from home, the two past weeks didn’t look different than the months before. Nevertheless, I was able to develop a couple of images. I’m not done developing my images from Namibia, but there are some I can show right now.

As usual, click on an image to enlarge it.

Take care!