Wordless Wednesday: vintage car

Take care!

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Review: Aurora HDR 2018

For a few days the latest version of Aurora HDR from MacPhun is available. This new version is not only for Mac, it’s also for Windows. I got a review version for testing.

Yesterday, while out with my photographers roundtable, I visited a former coal mining building, now a museum. That mining buildings are notable because of its wonderful architecture made from brick-stones. The mine was open from 1899 – 1955.

Most of the time I was inside the machinery hall, a very modern building for that time, but with an unusual architecture style for a mine. Many parts inside reminded me to the movie “Metropolis” by Fritz Lang from 1927.

Being inside a quite dark building on a dark and rainy day gave me the opportunity to take some images by using bracketing. That is a technique where you’re taking one image just the way the light meter says, but two (or more) additional images with exposure correction (+ and – i.e. 1 or 2 EV) to develop them later with HDR or DRI software like Aurora HDR. Often HDR or DRI images have over-saturated bonbon colours, which I don’t like. So, you don’t see many of them here in my blog.

While the user interface of Aurora HDR did not change much and the preset sections are also still available, I won’t waste too much time on these parts. Have a look at my last review.

I want to focus on the new results and an unexpected feature I discovered: distortion control. The export results are much better in quality, than in the original version. I like the resulting colours more and the results don’t have so much noise in it. The auto-alignment feature works quit good. But ist’s still better to have exact aligned images by taking them with a tripod instead of free-hand. The distortion control feature is nice. I’m using DxO Viewpoint for distortion control. The results are great. Compared to Viewpoint, Aurora is too complicated. Here they have some work to do.

When you own some other tools from MacPhun, you can use them as plugins inside Aurora HDR and vice versa. They are also available as plugins inside Photoshop.

Monochrome Madness 4-21

 

This is my contribution to Monochrome Madness organized by Leanne Cole. Look at here site on Thursday (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!


 

 

500px Global PhotoWalk 2016

610_7248_wLast Saturday, the Global PhotoWalk organized by 500px.com took place. In many different locations local photowalks participated and all of these formed the GPW. Now, each photographer has many, many new pixels on his or her camera storage card. A small selection of my images is attached to this post as a gallery.

For an additional challenge I only have had 1 lens with me: a 35 mm prime lens for my full frame camera. No zooming, but carefully selecting the frame.

I was host of the locate photowalk in Duisburg. We walked up the bast furnace of a given up steel plant, now a park. Here you can legally visit a ‘lost place’. But, it’s not really lost, because many people visit the location regularly. But, nevertheless, it’s always interesting to see all the chances since your last visit. I was there at least 5 times during the last years. And, it’s never boring.

13 participants came with me. The youngest was a baby in her stroller. Unfortunately, the planned track was not suitable for a pushchair or stroller. So, she went on her own in park while we climbed up the blast furnace.

From the uppermost platform we have had a fantastic view over the surprisingly green environment, a part of the Ruhrgebiet where once only dust, pollution, smog and dirt were dominating the air. Despite, we only climbed up to 79m, we needed about an hour. That’s because photographers always need much of time for taking photographs, searching the right angle of view, experiencing with different focal lengths and so on. And, certainly, lot of chatting 🙂 When we returned to our starting point, we have had a pause at a beer garden for eating a piece of cake or some fries and drinking something while further taking. This lasted until the rain started. What a pity.

But, tanks to all participants.

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Creating a photo collage the easy way

cubacars2Earlier this week I published a collage containing my top 10 images from last years Monochrome Madness, an open competition with only monochrome images. I got a few questions, how I was able to create it.

As usual, there are several options to create such collages. Some of the options might be Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, GIMP* or  Scribus*. (* these apps are open source and available for free legally!) I uses something completely different: Collage Factory Free. This is the light version of a software specialized for creating collages. The light version does not have all features of the complete version. Thus you might call it CrippleWare! Despite this, it has enough features for me.

First of all, you select a template. You can always modify the collage by adding further images, delete place holder or re-arrange them. You can also change the size and the angel simply by clicking on one of the blue dots in the edges of a frame and pull it or click on the red dot above the frame and spin it around as long as you like it.

Next, you select your images and pull them in the free space on the left. From here, you distribute them manually with your mouse or click on one of the automatic buttons in the upper left area (“fill random” and so on) I usually distribute them on my own.

Now, you can add a text box, if you want to. You can use every installed font. The software goes you some effects to add, like shadow, border or fillings.

Not everyone like the default background. That’s ok! You can change it. the app comes with many different option for the background: simple colors, color gradients, patterns and background images. You can even chose your own image for the background.

The last step is choosing the image size for the final image ind jpg format. Here we have the strongest restrictions in the software. There are only very few sizes available in the free version. For me, it’s enough. But, decide on you own. Don’t forget to save the creation in the edible format of the app, too. So you can change parts later, if you don’t like your original creation. The file format is a structure, that contains even the selected image. So, you can even move the edible file i.e. to an external storage and won’t loose one of the used images.

I attached screenshots from the app of a complete workflow. I created a collage from my Cuba images.

If you try the software on your own, please let me know, if you like it and, maybe, you can publish your creations somewhere and leave me a link to it. I’d like to see your creations!

Enjoy!

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Visiting an olive soap manufature

610_7743_wToday, I have another craftsman for you: a soap maker. He produces soap from olive oil following a traditional receipt. As he told us, ones there were many of them on Corfu and everywhere in Greece. He told us, he is the last one on Corfu and there were only 5 more in Greece. What a pity.

He explained the whole process of making the green olive soap for the body, the more sensitive soap for the face and the (white) curt soap for washing the clothes.

The small soap tower in front of him are soap bars from different age. The lowest one is a fresh bar and every next level above is an additional month older compared to the level below. Do you see, how the structure and the color changes? In the gallery blow, there is an image of the whole tower, where you can see it much better. The bar on top of the tower is a cut-through-bar, so that you can see the inner parts. You can see, in the middle the bar is still green and not ripe to be used. A fresh bar of olive oil soap can’t be used. It has to ripe for at least half a year.

In the image above, you can also see two of his tools: the hammer to stamp his seal in each bar in the right and in the left a tool to cut the whole soap plate in smaller pieces. Both of them are also in the gallery below in detail. The cooked hot soap is poured in the rectangular flat mould. After cooling down for some time, the hammer prints the seal in each future bar and then is is cut in pieces. He has to wait for the right moment. If he waits too long, the soap is too brittle and might break. Behind him to the right you can see one storage shelf for the rising process. These shelves are also in the gallery a little bigger.

In the gallery you can also find images of his shop and how the soap is sold.

Stay tuned!

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