travel

In the air again

1/100 sec | f/5.4 | ISO 5000 | 63mm

1/100 sec | f/5.4 | ISO 5000 | 63mm

I’m back in the air, crossing the Northern Atlantic Ocean on my last trip to the Pacific Northwest. For this year, that is. I’m glad I’m flying directly to Portland from Amsterdam,  saving me the hustle of a connection somewhere in the US, which would have been most likely problematic, given the winter weather that has hit many parts of America in the past days. We left Amsterdam with a ninety minute delay due to the late inbound flight from NYC, but will be catching up most of the time, which will put me on the ground in Rose City around noon and in the office around 1:30pm for a good half day of work, before I will hit the pillows after another 24 hour day. But there will be some incentives on this trip, like visiting a Blazers game tomorrow night and spending the weekend on the Oregon coast.

The photograph for this post I took with my OM-D E-M5 with the 14-150mm F/4-5.6. If you look at the image specs (1/100 sec @ f/5.4 and ISO5000), you can imagine that the image was taken in less than ideal light conditions, given the high ISO I needed to dial-in in order to generate the 1/100 sec shutter speed I needed to freeze the action. Can you guess what it is? Let me know in the comments. I will eventually post the solution there…

Wish you a great Tuesday!

Marcus

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Takeoff from PDX

Takeoff from PDX | 1/1000 sec – f/8 – ISO 200 – 100mm

Back home from yet another week in Portland. The week itself was uneventful and just work. But my flight back, unfortunately once more with my “favorite” airline United,  provided for another bad experience, just two weeks after my United disaster on my way to Memphis. This time all seemed perfect. Initially. Our Airbus A320 was perfectly on time, already out of the gate at PDX airport, when suddenly the captain came on and said we need to go back into the gate, as the aircraft was imbalanced due to improper loading, so they would need to unload bags from the back and put them into the front.

For sure I was happy the pilots found out while still on the ground, but then, fixing the screw up of the ground ops team cost us 45 minutes. Which is not good when my connection time in Chicago was just 55 minutes, which is already on the short side for such a big airport. I asked the flight attendant if they have any information on the connections, if they hold the plane or if we get rebooked. The answer I got was that they have no information and can’t get in touch with anyone on the ground. Comfortingly she said that they normally don’t hold planes and even try to get the international flights out on time and helpfully suggested that I could check the inflight magazine in the seat pocket for the fastest way to get from one concourse to the other. But she did offer me a red wine to help relaxing.

I had a window seat, and at least I got treated to some nice aerial views of Mount Hood, the barren landscape of Montana and of the Chicago skyline during arrival. For those photographs and how the story ended, continue after the jump…

(more…)

StoNur on the Road – Graceland

Tribute to the King's Music

Elvis Presley’s Memphis

He was one the greatest performers of all times. He, the King of Rock and Roll. Elvis Aaron Presley, born on January 8th 1938 in Tupelo, Mississippi. His family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, when he was 13 years old.  A passionate musician from young years, Elvis Presley pioneered the rockabilly music genre, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. His first single “Heartbreak Hotel” became a number one hit in 1956. With regular appearances on TV and in radio shows, Elvis Presley quickly became the leading figure of Rock and Roll. He also started a career as actor, with his first leading role coming in “Love Me Tender” in 1958.

This was also the year he bought Graceland Mansion outside Memphis, Tennessee, the home for him and his family until his death in 1977. During his short but stellar career, he published 24 albums, 17 soundtrack albums to his films,  and he played in 33 movies.

While in Memphis last week, I had to stop by this memorable place while on my way to the airport (Graceland is just a ten minute drive from MEM airport). For all the photos and more info about the King and his house continue after the jump…. (more…)

My FedEx Experience

Fedex 01

The job that pays the bills comes with some perks. One of them is that, occasionally,  I get to visit the headquarters of other corporation. This week I visited FedEx in Memphis, Tennessee. The global courier delivery services company that pioneered overnight shipping services and a system that could track packages and provide real-time updates on package location, was founded just 47 years ago (in 1971) by Frederick W. Smith, who to this is the President & CEO. Today the  company employs 425.000 people, owns a fleet of 670 aircraft, more than 185.000 vehicles and processes 14 million shipments each day.

After a day of meetings and great talks (among others with one of the right hand people of Fred Smith) we got treated to a tour of the FedEx Superhub at Memphis Airport, one of the largest logistics facilities in the world. For a bit more info, some pictures and the link to an interesting video about the hub continue after the jump…. (more…)

Travel Day (14)

1/160 sec - f/1.8 - ISO 1600 - 17mm

1/160 sec – f/1.8 – ISO 1600 – 17mm

Yesterday I did pass through my favorite airport passenger walkway again, the tunnel between between concourses B and C of Chicago O’Hare’s Terminal 1, with its ever-changing light show. I was connecting through ORD on my way to Memphis for a one and  a half day workshop.

The thing is, the colorful photo (Olympus PEN-F, 17mm f/1.8 prime lens, image specs 1/160 sec @ f/1.8 and ISO 1600) does not properly reflect my mood after spending a day in the fangs of United Airlines. It should have been pitch black high contrast monochrome picture.

First there was the 8h 40 min flight from Frankfurt to Chicago on an aged Boeing 777. That product (and I flew business class) is a total disgrace, from both the seat comfort as well as the service (both from flight attendants as well as the food quality, which was just plain bad). Totally sub-par, when compared for example to Delta Airlines and Air France that have similar rates (and similar old planes).

But it didn’t stop there. The worst was still to come. The flight from Chicago to Memphis. We left ORD with the five (5) hour delay. Initially, the flight seem to leave on time, the United Express plane was at the gate and we were getting ready for pre-boarding. Then came the news that there is maintenance required for some kind of ventilation system. We waited one hour, waited two hours. The expected departure time shifted in 15 minute intervals, so we were required to wait at the gate. Then they said the need to tow the plane to the hangar to get it fixed. After three hours the announcement was we get a replacement plane that will be brought to the gate shortly. Another hour passed, there was no plane. Then came the announcement that also the replacement plane had a technical issue they found out during the trip from the hangar to the gate and needs to undergo maintenance as well. ARE YOU KIDDING ME, UNITED AIRLINES??? ONE PLANE BREAKS DOWN AND THEN ALSO THE REPLACEMENT PLANE???? Then we had to wait another hour until they finally managed to conjure a functioning aircraft, and all of this at their principal hub. We left O’Hare with a five-hour delay. And all we got was a simple “sorry for the delay”. THIS DAY WAS A TOTAL DISGRACE, UNITED AIRLINES!!!!  I hope the return trip does turn out better. Every time I swear that this would be my last flight with that outfit. I hope that at least they get me home safe.

And at least I got to do some shooting in my favorite airport tunnel. For more photos continue after the jump… (more…)

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…)

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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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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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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