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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up, on to the wall!

Hey, you like to go out and taking photographs? You brought back (and bring back at least occasionally) a card full of great photos? Raw-development is also already done? And now? Only using up several giga-byte of storage on your computer?

How often do you look on your photos stored on your computer, usb-stick or cell-phone? Do you show them around? How do you do it? Do you put them online to a web-forum, your blog, at g+ or at flickr? Isn’t there more? What else could you do with your photos?

Many years ago, when photos were taken on film, you’ve had to bring the film to a lab for development. A few days later you got your developed film back via postal service or fetch it from a store. According to the order you placed with the film, you also got at least one print in 9x13cm (3,5×5 inch) or 10x15cm (4×6 inch) from each photo.

Nowadays you can find self-service print stations in supermarkets, drugstores and small photo shops. These might be the replacement for the ordered prints I mentioned above. I guess, this is used mostly for photos taken at family events like birthdays, christmas or weddings. Photos taken during a vacation might end in a self-designed photo book. According to the ads, they seem to be very popular. But is this all? No!

There are also labs around, that are offering prints in bigger sizes. I ordered some of such prints in 30×45 cm (12×18 inch) or 40×60 cm (16×24 inch) to put them on a wall. What a great impression. I put them with a passepartout in a wooden frame behind a sheet of glass. Thus, the print is saved well. But, the glass is mirroring. Especially in quite darker parts of the photo. Nevertheless, such a big photo not only reminds you to that special situation, it also can motivate you.

Transportation

Up to DIN A4 (20×30 cm / 8×12 inch) prints are distributed in a hardened envelope and transported by the usual mail service. Bigger sizes prints, instead, are distributed rolled in a cardboard tube and transported by a parcel service. Furling such a print is easy for distribution, but has a big problem: the print memorized the time being rolled and tends to roll up again after being unrolled. Additional, you are in risk of kink or bend the print while pulling it out of the tube. These kinks often are irreparable damages.

Alternatives

For some time, there are also a few alternatives available: Canvas prints, metal prints (composite materials) and Acrylic prints.

Canvas

A few weeks ago I ordered two canvas prints sized 60x80cm (24×32 inch) to test the quality. They came in a parcel as expected. Each frame wrapped in air bubble film separately and together in a stable cardboard box. Despite their size, they are surprisingly lightweight compared to a conventional framed print.

Interestingly, both canvas prints have an impression of depth and three-dimensionality. It seems for me, as if I could really touch the subject in the image, when looking at them.  That’s a very different experience compared to conventional prints. Maybe, that’s a result of the structured surface of the canvas material.

Unfortunately, on all four sides you’re losing parts from your image. That’s because of the canvas is pulled over the wooden frame and fixed at the back. Depending on the thickness of the frame, you lose several centimeter / inches. Therefore, make sure, you don’t have any necessary content in these border parts. Some (if not all) print shop know about this problem and face it with different options to choose from. The simplest option is accepting the loss. Or, you can add extra space for the wrapping in white, black or fitting to the image. Now, it’s up to you, to choose the best option for your purpose.

You don’t need a picture frame or a gallery system necessarily to put such a canvas on the wall. Simply put needles in the wall and use the wooden frame inside the canvas for hanging your picture up.

Acryl

I also ordered an acryl print. It’s much more expensive than a canvas print. The look-and feel is similar to the conventional prints mounted behind glass and you don’t have any losses and the borders of you print. Delivery is also in a flat cardboard box. The surface is sensitive for scratches. Thus, it comes with a protective foil, that you have to remove after delivery.

For this kind of print, you definitely need a clamp behind your print to hang it up. Not every print shop includes it per default. So, look carefully for it.

Storing

I like to change my prints every a few times a year. Thus, I have to store them somewhere. Storing conventional print is easy. They don’t need much room. I take them out of the frame and store them in a folder, I bought in a store for artists (painter). It’s a cardboard map big enough for A2 prints. Usually it is used by art students to collect their works. And, my photo prints are save inside, too. It’s also quit easy to reach them when I want to change one.

Canvas prints are way bulky. You also have to take care of them, while storing them. The material is quite sensitive for pressure. You have to avoid, that something else lays on top of a laying canvas frame or might press an edge from the side while storing them standing upright.

Acryls are also not so easy to store. OK, they are not as thick as canvas and less sensitive for pressure. But, you have to save the surface from scratching and, most importantly, handle the jutting clamp on the back.

Conclusion

For me, each of these different materials has its own pros and the quality is very similar. At the moment, I like the canvas print most, because of the mentioned feeling of depth.

But, I don’t want to conceal a drawback. You can only use the predefined formats for your print.Usually, the print shop offers his products huge variety of formats you can choose from. But, supposed you have i.e. a panorama in a format, not available at any print shop. In this case, you can print is on paper and cut off the unnecessary parts, cut a passepartout and build a frame on your own. This is not possible with the other materials.

I’d like to get your comments. What do you think about hanging your own photos in i.e. your living room or your hall. Have you ever tried, hanging up your own photo? What kind of material do you like most and why? Are you interested in printing you own photos now, if you didn’t do so before?

 

Monochrome Tuesday: Cochem

 

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btw. click on the photo to see it in a bigger size

Cochem is a town at the river Mosel. Above the town, you can find an old castle: Reichsburg Cochem.

The term Reichsburg (empire castle) is from the medieval Holy Roman Empire, a time, where the imperator has had to move around in his empire constantly to control and to govern it.

This castle was founded in the late 12th or early 13th century and reconstructed in the mid 17th century. Thus it is a good example for the neo-gothic architecture style.

Take care!

 

Monochrome Tuesday: blowball

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btw. you can click on the image to see it a bit bigger!

You’re a regular reader and you’re surprised seeing a different topic as usual on Tuesdays? Don’t wonder. Leanne Cole, the organizer of Monochrome Madness, is currently on vacation. Though, she pauses for a few weeks. But, I put a monochrome image online for you, anyway.

Summer’s nearly over, now. Meteorologists declare September 1st to be the first day of fall, although the astronomical start of fall is tomorrow. I hope, you enjoyed your summer (in case, you live in the northern hemisphere, like I do) or your winter (in the southern hemisphere).

September 23rd is the day, when day and night are of the same length, just like on March 20th. This happens, when the sun crosses the equator. Because of the tracks of our planet through the universe is not exactly balanced with the earth rotation, these moments can differ a few hours. Thus, it is i.e. 23rd in one year and 22nd in the other. The same is true for the crossing in spring.

Take care!