Umweltfotofestval “Horizonte Zingst”

This post is a translation from my German blog, where you can find a gallery with some images taken during the festival to give you an impression.

End of May, I was in Zingst attending the annual photo festival  “Horizonte Zingst”. It’s called environmental photo festival, because it is focused on our environment and how we treat it. I was there for the first time, but it was held for the tenth time.

Zingst is located at the German coast of the Baltic sea in the state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It’s a small seaside resort.

For one week, photography rules the town. Many, many exhibitions are held outside as well as inside. More than 120 workshops were organised on so many different topics. And everything took place in a very relaxed atmosphere.

The festival lasts for 8 days, starting on Saturday and lasting ’til next Sunday, while the main time is Thursday ’til Sunday. All days have a full loaded schedule where you can pick the topics of your interest or just sit on the beach and enjoy the great landscape.

Each day, there are several exhibition openings with speeches or at least an interview of the photographer. You can learn the idea behind the images or about her style of work. I’d recommend, visiting the exhibitions of your interest at least twice: first alone and for the second time when the photographer is there. Im my gallery I have some impressions of the exhibitions for you.

Each day there are also lots of workshops you can attend. There are workshops for beginners as well as for pros. You can learn the basics of photography or special techniques and sharpen your skills. In sum there were about 120 workshops held during the week.

On the beach they set up a big screen every evening to show a compilation of what happened during that day, called “Bilderflut” (image flood). In approximately 1 hour you can have a brief overview of  what happened during the workshops and see resulting images of the participants. It’s kind of a news show on television but with 2 anchor men standing life in front of the screen and the movies (short documentaries) are not the screen behind them.

You can attend it while either sitting in the sand, standing on the pier or (if lucky enough) sitting in one of the deck chairs of the beach club, set up only for supporting the Bilderflut.

the media team has a very hard job. 8 guys starting on 7 a.m. each day to film and cut the movies to bring them life in the evening. The result is not only played on the big screen on the beach, but also streamed to the internet. At Facebook (unfortunately nor on Youtube), you can follow the show, even when not in Zingst.

Central point of reference it the Max Hünten Haus. Max Hünten was a painter, born 1869 in Düsseldorf. During the 1920s he move to Zings after having visited The Darß, a wild forest between Zingst and Ahrenhoop. Nowadays the area is a preservation zone. That forest is untouched since many centuries.

Max Hünten also was a photographer. At the local history museum they have found 500 glass plates. It’s the same technique Anselm Adams has used. The 500 glass plates were taken during the 4 years lasting world travel of Max Hünten from 1910 to 1914. The treasure was the initial impulse to establish Zingst as a location for photography. It’s also the spectacular landscape and the special light here at the coast, that make Zingst a special location. So, the festival was founded and backed by some of the major companies in photography.

As a festival focused on the environment, you can see many images showing the beauty and the ruined beauty of our plant. Photo students, photo journalist as well as established landscape and nature photographers displayed there fantastic images. I really recommend having a look on the gallery in my German post.

Between Thursday and Saturday, the town became even more crowded than the days before. I guess, not only because of the very nice weather and the prolonged weekend (that Thursday we have had a public holiday, so that many took the Friday as a bridging day off). During those so-called core-days, they also have had a photo market in town. Lots of tents holding booths of dealers and the major photography companies. You were able to chat with sales engineers and expert adviser, try gear or even get some gear lent to test it outside in combination with your own gear. What a chance!

I guess, that this wasn’t my last visit in Zingst.

Here I have the “Bilderflut” of the last night (Sunday). It’s twice as long as the shows of the other nights. But, it gives you a brief overview of the whole festival. Even it is stored on Facebook, you can watch it without begin a member of Facebook. Btw. at minute 44:50 you can see on of my images as a part of “Best of Zingst” in the category “Landscape” as #3 out of 15.

Much of fun!

Monochrome Madness 3-52

Another year of “Monochrome Madness” is over. This was the third year and we have seen lots of interesting monochrome images taken by so many different photographers throughout the world. And, we have seen, the time of monochrome images isn’t over.

For this final post of the third year, I have looked through my images of the past 52 weeks and picked my 5 favourite images.

A huge “thank you” to Leanne Cole for all of her work to assemble a nice gallery every week during the last 12 months and certainly during the last 3 years, too.

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!

Adélie : Terre & mer – A book review

A brief look inside the two books. Enlarge by clicking in the image.

Recently, I stumbled upon a documentary on one of your TV channels. That channel is a cooperation among public TV stations from Germany and  France. So, we literally have two channels with the same programs, but one is in German and one is in French.

That documentary was about two french photographers (Vincent Munier and Laurent Ballesta) working for some time in the french research center in Antarctica. They were there for taking photographs of the landscape and the emperor penguins among others. One of the two photographers was focused on the white landscape and its habitants, while the other one was active below the ice as a diving photographer. Every now and then, there were standing images (photographs) shown in the documentary for a few seconds. Really fantastic images, taken in both areas: above and below the ice.

When the documentary ended, I did some research about the two photographers, to find out, if there is a book available containing these fantastic images. And fortunately I was successful to find it. It’s called “Adélie: Terra & mer” (meaning “land an sea”). It’s not only one book, but two of them combined in a box as a single product bound together as two aspects of a foreign world. Each photographer assembled one of the two books. Because of the origin of the two photographers, the entire book is in French. My French is very, very limited. So, it was kind of risky to order the book. There was no “look inside the book” or even sample pages available. Will I be able to understand anything inside of them? Despite all of these considerations, I ordered an exemplar. Two days ago, I received my box.

Inside a solid box, there were two books with 90 full-sized images distributed on 104 pages in each book. The books are sized a little bit bigger than DIN A 4 (35 x 25 cm) and very high-graded produced. The images are printed on a thick fine-art paper. The book by Vincent Munier is white and contains the images taken above the ice. Laurent Ballesta was the diver. His book is dark blue and contains the images taken below the ice. Although, it’s very pricey, it’s worth the money.

And yes, I’m very happy with the books. Fortunately there is only a short foreword in French. Next, there are all these fantastic images: one full-sized image per page without any disturbing text. At the end of each book you can find an appendix of three pages with thumbnail images and a (very) short description of the contents of the image. One can handle it with support of a dictionary. 🙂

Adélie: Terre & mer. (land and sea)

For the first time, photographers Vincent Munier and Laurent Ballesta have travelled together to discover the natural treasures of Adélie Land, in Antarctica.

Vincent Munier explored the ice field and the bird colonies, while Laurent Ballesta dove under the ice; one observed the emperor penguins and snow petrels in the open air, while the other dove with the Weddell seals and photographed the astonishing and unknown biodiversity of the Antarctic depths… Both have brought unique pictures from this exceptional trip, where the whiteness of the ice contrasts with the submarine blue.

« Adélie, Land & Sea » is the result of artistic and technique challenges, as well as a very fine object: it gathers two volumes (one white, one blue) in a beautiful slipcase.

Text in French only (very short – two poems by director Luc Jacquet)

source: publishers website

You can order your own copy via Amazon in France, Germany, UK, US (and several others, too) by following my link above and simply changing the “.de” in the URL to the TLD of your Amazon store (i.e. “.co.uk” , “.fr” or “.com”)

Take care!

2016 – A review in images

dsc_6129-e_wToday, we have the first day of 2017. 2016 is definitely over. 2016 has had 366 days, because it was a leap year. What happened during these days?

First of all, I’m alive, healthy and full of plans for the future. Although, there are a few little things, where I’m able to feel, I’m not 20 anymore 🙂 On the other hand, I was very, very busy for the last 2 months. A bit more than usual. I miss the time to be able to have a look at my friends blogs. I hope, this will change soon in January.

Since this late spring, I’m posting more often on Instagram and I also reactivated my accounts at 500px and Viewbug. Up to now, there is nearly no overlapping with this blog. But, I reduced my activity at G+, because of the huge changes in how to create posts and upload images. In my opinion, it’s way to complicate now, to publish at G+.

In 2016 the weather has had big impact on the country. In late spring and early summer we have had more than 4 weeks of very hard rain. Many region were over-flooded for some time. Houses, cars, streets, acres and lives were destroyed. Later, in summer, the rain was missed were hard in some regions and the lack of rain endangered the harvest. Fortunately, the weather conditions changed to the better. So, the harvest in sum wasn’t thus bad. Although, some farmers have had a very, very bad year.

Over the year I was on several trips. I assembled the best images in a short movie (30 MB), just like I did in the last two years. I put it on my other webspace, to save the available room here on WordPress. Just follow the link. It will open in a separate window of your web-browser

  • In January, I was on Helgoland for seeing the seals.
  • In February / March I was in northern Norway for the Aurora Borealis
  • In May I was in East-Frisia at the Germany North sea coast
  • In August / September I was in Brittany for the summer holidays
  • In November / December I was in the Erzgebirge

The image above is a symbol. Assume, each foot print as a station, a mark or an event of the past year. Assume also, the sand is your life. So, everything happens during a year leaves a mark on your life. Although, you’ll forget several things which happened, many of them stay in your memory and will change you forever. I’m collecting these memories with my images. This blog helps me to remember as well as the photo-books I create after an important trip or at least the yearly review book containing about 50 – 70 image from the whole year.

I encourage you to review your images from the past year. How to do so, I described in one of my tech-posts: “how to select your best photo from the bulk“. Now, take the best of your images and put them together in a folder on your disc. Copying them instead of moving. Now bring them in an order you like: i.e. oder them by theme (landscapes, people, animals, ….) or order them by date. Do so, by renaming them! That’s important to ease the handling in the next step. Give them a numeral prefix 000, 010, 020, and leave room between the prefixes to insert further images between them later.

Now, when having your images sorted properly, go and find a company making a book from your images. I guess, there are some where you live. Usually the companies printing your images are also able to produce books. They will offer either a web form or a dedicated software to be installed on your computer (or even on your mobile / cell phone). Now, follow the advice given by that kind of software to upload your images and distribute them in your book-to-be-created. I’m usually creating landscape shaped books, because the majority of my images is taken in landscape mode. I almost always put only one image on a page to fill the page. For portrait images I put two of them on a page.

The uploaded images are put in a pool area to be used for the pages. The pool is already sorted because of the work I did before uploading them. All kinds of book creation software I know (web-apps as well as installable software), have an option to hide already used images from the pool of unused images. So, I can simply fill one page after another and the book creating process does not last unnecessary long 🙂

The last step is to review and proof the created book. Usually the automated process does some quality checks and maybe even with some basic spell checking. The results of these check are warnings i.e. images are placed out of a page or the image resolution is too low for a selected size. Try hard to eliminate all of the warnings before finishing the book design and placing the order. Don’t forget, to give the book an appropriate name on the cover and the spine (i.e. “My Year 2016”). Below, you can see my yearbook 🙂

In case, you need some more details, help or examples, drop me a note.

Starting this week, I’m changing my schedule a bit. Instead of 3-4 posts a week, I’m trying to publish 4-5 times a week from now on. And I changed the order a bit, too.

  • Monochrome Monday (until now on Tuesdays)
  • Travel Tuesday (an in detail post from a current trip – until now on Thursdays)
  • Wordless Wednesday (simply an image; regardless of current or from the past – unchanged)
  • Throwback Thursday (something from the past; maybe a reminder – new)
  • My Friday post is following the theme “Weekly Photo Challenge” by “The Daily Post”, as far as I have the time for this post. (as before)
    I usually write my posts on Saturdays in advance and schedule them for the proposed time. But, the Fridays post is always ‘live’. So, when I don’t have the time for the post on Friday evening, I’m skipping it.

 

Take care!

img_3554_w

Photokina 2016 – a review

610_7383-s_wPhotokina 2016 is over now. Yesterday was the last day of Photokina in Cologne. Although it’s the biggest fair related to photography, there were less exhibition halls occupied this year. And fewer visitors, too. At least this was it my feeling while being there. You were able to touch and test some gear, talk to sales representatives or some technical staff. Not only camera and lens produces exhibit their produces. You can also find the companies producing the big studio lights, filters, albums, photo-books, canvas prints and lots more. Unfortunately, the booths were distributed over the exhibition halls very badly. Instead of organising the halls by grouping the companies according their kind of business, as they were over the last years, they were distributed following the chaos principle this year. Very annoying. You really have to visit each hall to find all the booths you’re interested in – and have a very good chance to miss some booths you’d be interested in. I.e. I missed visiting Thinktank 😦 This year it was essential, to plan your visit in advance and work strictly with the fair plan or the smartphone app. But, even with these tools it was hard work to visit all booths of interest. 😦 very sad!

I guess, photokina has a problem, as the whole photography business has. Common people don’t use cameras anymore, but their cell or mobile phones instead. So, we produce more images than ever a year. But the market shrinks. The attackers are from the movie making gear such as copters from VR and certainly from the cell phone segments.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still need for good cameras and lenses, but there is not much ‘new’ gear. Even the big players did not have new ideas to present. The only new products they have are enhancements of already available products.

I won’t complain. I don’t need crowded exhibition halls with long queues at the booths before me and hindering me testing something. So, for me it was OK.

The most interesting product were, in my opinion, the lenses by Laowa. I tested the f2.8 12mm lens. It’s a complete manual lens for full frame cameras and has a fantastic outcome.

I also was at the Samyang boot for testing their f2.8 14mm full-frame manual lens. It didn’t convinced me. It was extremely hard, to find a sharp spot, although my camera supports me to focus, even when using manual focus.

I also tested the lenses from Lensbaby: Lensbaby Composer PRO II with Edge 50 and Edge 80 as well as Lensbaby Composer PRO II inkl. Sweet 35. The composter is similar to a filter holder, where you can plug in the optic. They are very interesting from a creative point of view. I guess, I won’t need one.

Another interesting lens, I tested, was the Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2. In my opinion, the AF is a bit too slow to be used for photographing birds. At least inside the exhibition halls and the available light inside of them. The stabiliser works fine. But, when looking at the EXIF data, you can see, how dark exhibition halls are, even our own eye does not feel the darkness. Here you can see, how much better the dynamic range of our eyes compared to camera sensors is. A free-standing hand-held test image taken at ISO 1600, f6.3 (open aperture) with 600mm (full-frame) resulted in a quite good image.

I also tested the Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD. I was impressed by the results. Most remarkable was the ability to zoom inside the lens. So, the length of the lens does not change. Neither while zooming nor while focussing.

I also collected some paper samples for printing images at home. I tried an on-camera GPS devices, that might replace my Garmin devices next year.

Beside impressions from different booths and a few of my test shots with the tested lenses.

On each photokina, there are also several photo exhibitions. I included some images taken at the different exhibitions, to give you an impression.

Have fun.

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The 2015 Selection

You might remember my post two days ago, when I put a movie online containing the essence of my year 2015. For today, I put these images in the sieve again and distilled the (IMHO) best shots from a technical and / or creative point of view. This post is also my submission to Jim Goldstein’s blog project. He asked us, for reviewing our own images taken during the past year and select the top 5 to (max) 10 images. For doing so, he gave us some strategies by directing us to his 10 rules published on dos a few years ago.

I guess, it’s always a good idea, to review your own images every now and then. You can learn from the mistakes you’ve made, as well as from the top results. Don’t hesitate to review your best shots from the years before, too. You probably won’t pick the same images again, because you’ve made some progress in your photography skills. Reviewing your old images from a technical and / or creativity perspective can help you, to make some further progress.

Here are my top 10 images – the 11th image was chosen by friends and runs out of competition.

By clicking on one of the images, you can see them bigger in a gallery ans scroll through them more easily with your mouse or by using the cursor keys of your keyboard. For this preview they are downsized, as usual.

I’d also encourage you, to leave me a comment in the box below.

Take care!

 

 

My personal review in images

It’s December 31st again. Another year is over.

Sylvester is the perfect time for a review. I picked my personal highlights from the last 12 months and assembled a small movie for you. It’s a bout 3 minutes long and contains my favorite images taken during the last year in a random order. So, have fun!

(btw, I have a hint for you: in the lower right corner of the movie player you can find an icon for enlarging the movie up to 1080p)

I’m looking forward for some more interesting adventures. You, too?

And now: A happy new Year. See you in 2016.