Monochrome Madness 4-43

 

 

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

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Monochrome Madness 4-37

This week, I have more than one image for you. I’ve assembled a “Best of 2017 in monochrome” for you. Just like I’ve proposed last Thursday, when I showed my “Best of 2017” to you.

The images aren’t arranged in any particular order. Some of them were already published here in one of my weekly posts focussing on monochrome images. Others were unpublished until now.

Surprisingly, most of these images were taken in Zingst (8 out of the 10).

You know, I was twice in Zingst last year. In May I was attending the Umweltfotofestival and in October I was part of an bird excursion. The two images in the second row were my contribution to the festival exhibition and the right one, was acknowledged as one of the “Best of Festival” in the category “landscape”

 

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!

Throwback Thursday: 2017

During the last years I have put together a collection of the best 10 photos of the respective year at the turn of the year. Now, I’m continuing that tradition. 🙂

My yearbook consists of about 90 color images and 19 monochrome images. 13 of these are printed as a big wall calendar. So, I could simply pick 10 out of that 13 🙂 But, I didn’t. Instead, I looked through all of the developed images from 2017 again and picked my best ones, because I don’t have to follow a certain theme or common sense.

My top monochrome images will follow on Monday 🙂

Take care!

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.

I’m back …

2 beach chairs in the setting sun on the green beach of Friedrichskoog in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

… from the North Sea.

Sitting sun-kissed, mosquito-bitten, cooled down from rain while cycling and quite relaxed. That’s how I’m back to my desk at home. Most of the laundry is already done, fridge is full again and the pile of mail is worked through. During the last two weeks I was on vacation. Our vacation home was on the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein, the most northern state of Germany bordering south to Denmark. Schleswig-Holstein has two coasts: the North Sea to the west and the Baltic Sea to the east.

Fortunately, I scheduled my blog posts in advance as usual. It was our first vacation home without WiFi for very long time. I forgot to double-check the availability of WiFi in the vacation home while booking. To make it even worse, we were in a region with extremely bad coverage with mobile internet. Only few spots were usable to check emails or social media. The allowed data volume is consumed very quick under these circumstances. Even the local restaurants didn’t offer WiFi to their guests.

We were in the area called Friedrichskoog (a Koog named after King Frederick of Denmark, when it was created more the 150 years ago), a part of the grater area Dithmarschen. Dithmarschen is well known as being a source of vegetables and geese. We saw many, many fields growing different kinds of cabbage, carrots, chard, leek, onions, strawberries, potatoes, wheat and rye. While the rangers in the bordering state Lower-Saxon rise cows for producing milk, you can find here huge herds of sheep instead of cows (despite there are also cows here). Especially along the coast sheep are literally on every dike. I already wrote about the dike sheep and how near you can come to them in a past post. Although, that sheep were on the dikes in East-Frisia, which is part of Lower-Saxon. But, here’s the same – only the herds are bigger and there are more dikes. Btw. Dithmarschen is part of North-Frisia 🙂 wich is part of the state Schleswig-Holstein.

You might ask, why does Schleswig-Holstein have more dikes than Lower-Saxon? That’s because the locals tried to wrest additional land from the sea. You know, the North Sea consists of mudflats. During low tide the sea ground falls (nearly) dry, while high tide or flood the area is below the water again. This moving water brings silt and lays it down, where the streams are weak. So, people have started to put up rows of wooden piles in the mudflats called Lahnung (sing. / pl. Lahnungen). They are meant to give the mud some extra room get laid down. Over time, new areas of land were gained from the sea and parted by a new dike from the sea. This is called a Koog. The technique is quite similar to the Polder in the Netherlands. Because of the growing of the Koogs, there are some dikes one after another, just as the land grew. Nowadays, the still set up Lahnungen to gain new land (and save the dikes!!), but they don’t build new dikes anymore to part them from the sea. The new gained areas are left open to the sea as Salzwiesen (pl. salt meadows). Very special plants grow here. It’s also a breeding area for many sea-birds. And it’s a huge resting area during the biannual bird-migration in spring and fall. Thus, the salt-meadows are parts of the national park „Wattenmeer“ and thus under protection.

As usual, we picked our vacation home near the beach to be able to have an evening walk after diner alone the sea. It’s great to watch the sinking sun, the expanse of the sea (or the mudflat during low tide 🙂 ). Here we have that certain view, too. But the beach is different compared to other beaches. We have had to cross (climb up some stairs) the dike and walk down to the sea limit without having to cross sand or pebbles. We even does not need to climb over rocks. Here, the beach is green. It’s covered with grass. A strange experience. It looks like a lake or so, but not like being at the sea. It doesn’t make any difference. It’s the salty odour, the sound of the birds, the rolling waves and so on.

This land is quite flat. The highest points beside buildings are usually the dikes. This, and laying between two seas make the state the perfect land for producing electric power from wind. So, alone in the area Friedrichskoog, a small part of Dithmarschen, you can find over 90 wind farms with a total of  205 mega-watts, as I read in a local publication dedicated for the tourists.

It’s also a region ideal for biking. Fortunately, there were bikes in our vacation home included, so we didn’t have had to rent some. So, we rode around to see more of the environment. We also made a few trips to other towns nearby. That’s more to tell later :). I also was on the hunt for birds with my camera.

Stay tuned and see, what’s coming next 🙂

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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!