Month: September 2018

Instant Inspiration (27) -Alternative Postcard Shot

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1/20 sec – f/4 – ISO 1600 – 100mm

“Instant Inspirations” is my series for you if you look for something to overcome “Photographer’s Block”  or simply want to shoot something that you have never tried, or at least not recently. Episode 27 is for you, if you are tired of taking the same “postcard” photographs of famous attractions that everybody else shoots.

When in Berlin the other week, we stepped onto Alexanderplatz where the famous huge TV tower is situated. Affectionately called “Spargel”, with its height of 368 metres (including antenna) it is the tallest structure in Germany, and the second-tallest structure in the European Union! Located in Berlin Mitte, you can take a lift 207 meters up and have a 360 degree view of the German capital! On top there is also a bar and a restaurant where you can eat and enjoy the fantastic view while sitting!

First reflex would be to take a photo of the big tower, maybe combine it with the red Berlin City Hall or the bell tower of the Nikolai-Church. The Postcard Shots. Which of course I have taken as well during prior visits. There is nothing wrong with Postcard shots. Everybody back home would be disappointed if you don’t have the classic shot everybody knows from magazines and coffee table books. So take one. But then, to satisfy your creative genes, go look for slightly different perspectives. For some ideas continue after the jump…. (more…)

Not always “on”

Social Media | Berlin | 2018 | 1/40 sec - f/2 - ISO 2000 - 12mm

Messaging | Berlin | 2018 | 1/40 sec – f/2 – ISO 2000 – 12mm

Most of us photographers don’t only shoot solely for our own archives, but share our work on our blogs and social media accounts (Instagram, 500px, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter). To find recognition, collect likes and comments.  And who doesn’t like to receive positive feedback?

But it shouldn’t turn into an obsession. I’m picking up my camera because I want to create art. If I shoot an image that visually pleases me, I’m totally happy. And if some of you like it as well, after I post in on my blog, that’s even better. My blog posts are automatically posted on my facebook pages, but I have to admit I rather infrequently check my facebook, be it my feed or comments/notifications. Flickr I hardly use anymore, on 500px I’m practically a no-show.

On Instagram I have two accounts  – Travimago for my travel images, streetsofnuremberg for the street photography. I have days where I post regularly on Instagram, followed by weeks where I am not active. Probably that shows in my followers there, only about 100 and 200 respectively. It spikes a bit when I post, then drops again to that level. I don’t see Instagram as an outlet that brings much benefits for me, also because I like to share some info with my photography, that I can do only in a limited way on this platform. And that probably no-one reads anyway, as Instagram is a swipe and like only medium. So as I’m not on a hunt for  likes and followers, I feel there is no real need to invest much time on my Instagram accounts. I mainly use it as a picture archive that I have on my phone where I can quickly show particular images to other people I talk to face to face about my photography.

So my main outlet is this blog, that requires already much of my time, preparing posts and photographs, writing, answering comments and browse to my feed from the many blogs I follow myself. Generally, the interaction through blogging beats anything I find on other social media channels.

As I mainly restrict myself to blogging, I’m not constantly “on” to check all social media channels, checking my likes and count my followers. Instead I use the time to pick up my camera and create art which is much more gratifying.

The above image was taken with my Olympus PEN-F with the mZuiko 12mm F/2. Images specs are 1/40 sec @ f/2 and ISO 2000.

If you look for tips and inspirations around photography and want to use the weekend to pick up your camera, check out my Learning Center.

Wish you a great weekend!

Marcus

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The Way Home

Ghostly Encounter | Berlin | 2018 | 1/5 sec - f/18 - ISO 1600 - 12mm

Ghostly Encounter | Berlin | 2018 | 1/5 sec – f/8 – ISO 1600 – 12mm

Sometimes I feel like I’m gliding through this world like a ghost. Here, there, everywhere. Constantly changing places, changing tasks, seemingly always on a whisk, not able to properly plant a foot. The glory of business travel. After ten days in the Pacific Northwest I’m on my way home, currently at Zurich Airport, waiting for my last flight of the trip back to Nuremberg (this time my routing was PDX-SFO-ZRH-NUE). And hey, I got to catch at least a glimpse of San Francisco while approaching the Bay Area.

The flight across the big Ocean on a United Dreamliner B787-800 was kind of special, as, for the second time in not more than a few weeks, I had my Flight Captain retire on me. Like the first time back in July on a Delta Amsterdam to Portland flight, there was a big party organized by the crew, complete with a big sign in front of the cabin signaling the final farewell. Myself flying in seat 1D, I was surrounded by the pilots family, ready to embark on a European vacation after the final landing of an accomplished career at Zurich airport. Isn’t this a happy retirement in style?

The photo above was taken with the Olympus PEN-F and the mZuiko 12mm F/2. Image specs are 1/5 sec @ f/8 and ISO 1600. I had dialed in a slow shutter speed of 1/5 sec, perfect to capture the ghostly appearance of the passing shoppers on a Berlin evening. I loved the lighting of this shop window, the texture of the decoration. Then it was a matter to wait until two pedestrians passed each other in front. I shot in the monochrome mode of the PEN-F, intending a black&white image from the beginning.

Wish you a great Friday!

Marcus

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Choices

Ice Bar Lobby Color | Berlin | 2018

I believe every photographer, when editing the day’s harvest, would for some images ponder the decision whether an image would look better in color or monochrome. For me, this happens mainly with photographs that have a high contrast range, like this scene I took in the Lobby of the Ice Bar Berlin (ever had a drink in an arctic environment?). I was attracted by the harmony of the colors, in addition to the playful lighting effects), so I shot this in color with my PEN-F and the 12mm f/2 prime lens (image specs 1/80 sec @ f/2.2 and ISO 2000). When processing the photo in Lightroom CC Classic, I was seeing the potential for a monochrome conversion, and applied a high contrast preset, that also introduced some grain, mimicking an analogue film (as you see above, the PEN-F has no noise issues at ISO 2000, at least if you keep the image at a reasonable size). I like both version, but if I need to pick one I tend to take the colored version. I would be interested in your views, please comment below.

Ice Bar Lobby Monochrome | Berlin | 2018

I’m back in the Pacific Northwest, but this time for work again. It has been a busy week, thus the lack of posts and opportunities to venture out and shoot in the streets. I’m heading to Seattle for the weekend, so this will change 🙂

Wish you a great Friday

Marcus

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Finally Weekend

Ball Python | 1/80 sec - f/4 - ISO 1600 - 57mm

Ball Python | 1/80 sec – f/4 – ISO 1600 – 57mm

You also have those weeks where the job that pays the bills gently surrounds you and gradually turns on the pressure in order to suffocate you? Like a majestic Ball Python (aka Royal Python)? Well, I did make it into the weekend, although barely. The Significant  Other and I will head into the mountains to visit good friends. Looking so much forward to it!

The photo of the snake I took just the other week when visiting the Biosphere in Potsdam. I post-processed it in Lightroom Classic CC to a high contrast black& white image to be added to my fine art wildlife series (I blogged about the how-to here).

Hopefully I find some time on the weekend to catch up with blogging!

Wish you a great weekend!

Marcus

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Football is back

Cathedral

Cathedral | Texas | 2015

Football is back! Last night, and most Sunday nights (consider the time difference, the early games will start 7pm our time) in the next couple of months, Big Boy and myself will enjoy father-son game nights. The setup is as follows: On our big flat screen TV we’ll have the game of the week broadcasted by  a German television station. On Big Boys laptop he’ll be streaming the 49ers game (his team since he likes football) of the weekend or the Red Zone Channel if they play at another kickoff time. On my MacBook I’ll be streaming the Dolphins game (my team for 34 years) or any other that I find interesting. So we watch three early games in parallel and then three late games. On our smartphones we keep track of the fantasy football stats, as Big Boy runs his own fantasy football league with some friends and his old man. Call us crazy 😉

The Fairest Of Them All

The Fairest Of Them All | Texas | 2015

These photos I took during my last visit to an NFL games, when I saw the Patriots play the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Dallas in 2015. But the three year drought of  love football will come to an end in just in less than two weeks, when I will see the Dallas Cowboys again, this time visiting Lincoln Financial Field and the Seattle Seahawks. I can’t wait for the game in this iconic stadium. So bright times are ahead.

I just need to figure out which camera to take to the game. The NFL (as the NBA) has become quite restrictive about bringing cameras with interchangeable lenses into a stadium. I nearly got turned away with my PEN-F when visiting a Portland Trailblazers game earlier this year. It took me quite some talking and pulling off the “I’m a tourist – I didn’t know – you can’t send me away – don’t have a place to put the camera” number to finally get admitted.  So I think I will bring the old Panasonic TZ-61 from The Significant Other (that she put aside for good in favor of doing only iPhoneography), it’s got a 30x optical zoom with 720mm full frame equivalent. Image quality is not on a level with my m43 system, but it will have to do. The results will be posted here after the game on September 23rd, so check back if you are interested.

Brady Bunch

Brady Bunch | Texas | 2015

Friends

Friends | Texas | 2015

What I admire about US sport in general that fans from both teams mix and mingle without getting into fights (something that is seemingly impossible in European Soccer) and sharing the love for the game. I love the atmosphere around NFL games with the tailgating parties before and after the game around the stadium. I wish we had this here in Europe.

Oh and by the way, my Miami Dolphins, notoriously success less in the past 30 years, won their opener. Due to two lightning delays of two hours each it turned out to be the longest NFL game ever played. It started at 7pm my time, and finished at 2:10 am in the morning. It was a short night 😉

Wish you a great week!

Marcus

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Weekend Rush

Weekend Rush

Weekend Rush | 2018 | 1/200 sec – f/3.5 – ISO 1600 – 12mm

Who says people aren’t in a rush on the weekend? Example of walk-by street photography. I kept the camera (Olympus PEN-F with the 12mm F/2 prime lens) in front of my chest and just snapped away at interesting looking people. I set the shutter speed at 1/200 sec, kind of the minimum required to “freeze” moving people, especially when I’m moving myself.

Obviously there is a lot of hit and miss in this approach, but actually I’m enjoying this “hunt” as a kind of photographic challenge to myself. You need to know your camera pretty well, as just a slight tilt in the wrong direction will result in chopped-off heads or people only half visible in the frame. I used the 12mm (24mm full frame equivalent), so this is as wide angle as it gets in the streets. And it means I need to be awfully close to my subjects to fill the frame.

Try it yourself, there is a lot of fun in this type of photography, and trust me, no-one will notice you snapping away, as long as you are moving as well. Obviously, having a small, inconspicuous looking camera like the PEN-F helps.

Check out my free Learning Center for many more tips about Street Photography.

Wish you a great Sunday!

Marcus

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Nuremberg Explored (6) – Historic Waterway

Alter Kanal 05

Historic Lock near Schwarzenbach

This post falls under my category “Nuremberg Explored”, although the Ludwigskanal is a bit outside of the city, just a few kilometers from our house. After yet another warm and sunny Saturday The Significant Other and I decided for a late afternoon trip to our favorite little Beergarden (Gaststätte zum Ludwigskanal) in Schwarzenbach for some food and a sunset beer. Just in case I decided to bring a camera, so I grabbed the PEN-F with the 12mm F/2. After dinner and just before sunset, we took a small walk along the historic Ludwigskanal, a now abandoned historic canal. For a bit of history and a few more photographs continue after the jump…

(more…)

Wordless Wednesday

1/200 sec | f/13 | ISO 500

Taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the 12-100 F/4. Image specs 1/200 sec @ f13 and ISO 500.

Wish you a great Wednesday!

Marcus

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Blue Hour

Blue Hour | Berlin | 2018

We’re back in Nuremberg after a great weekend in Berlin where we visited close friends. Besides spending real quality time together I also got some street shooting done when we headed into city center after we did a fun tour riding a rail trolley (Draisine) in the afternoon.

This street photo I took during the blue hour near the Alexanderplatz. I loved the color contrast between the blue light outside in the street and the yellow light in the shop window. Then I merely waited a few seconds until a subject arrived on the scene (didn’t have more, as the others in the party, already starved, where rushing towards a nearby Vietnamese restaurant that we always visit when in Berlin).

The photo was taken with the PEN-F and the 12mm F/2. Image specs are 1/250 sec @ f/4 and ISO 1600. When shooting people in the blue hour, don’t even try to get the white balance right in order to get correct skin tones. That’s why it is called blue hour 😉

Monsieur Vuong | Berlin | 2018

Monsieur Vuong | Berlin | 2018

That’s “Monsieur Vuong”. Same camera/lens combo, specs 1/20 sec @ f/4.5 and ISO 1600. As I’ve written many times on this blog, instead of complaining about cars parked in the wrong place in front of your subject, use them to your advantage. Have I mentioned I love reflections?

There is more to come from our Berlin weekend, stay tuned!

Wish you a great Sunday!

Marcus

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