August 2014 print: Flooded summer meadow

First print 08/2014 (1)

Here is my print for August 2014 - for once a photograph that I have created very recently and not yet shown on my website (it has been added to the "nature details" gallery). Our summer has been unusually wet and many people have suffered not only psychologically, but also physically. In the composition above, the flowers of a summer meadow next to the Weitsee, instead of houses, have been flooded. Only the topmost parts of the purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) inflorescences poke out of the water, while the yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris) and all the grass and herbs are inundated. I really like how the cloud reflections, particularly in the upper third of the frame, add a mystic quality to the scene. In contrast, the foreground shows the weightlessly floating blades of grass in great detail.
It is the goal of my monthly print project to print at least one photograph per month in order to improve my printing skills and also to develop my appreciation for prints. If you have a favorite photograph of mine, you are welcome to suggest it as the print for next month (and to obtain the print free of charge). Also, check out the prints that I have created so far.

2014/08/30 by Florian Freimoser
Categories: , | Leave a comment

Flora: Wild tulip - Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Wild tulip (Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis)

Earlier this year, we went on holiday to the south of France and I had particularly envisioned  photographing spring flowers on this trip. The plant I was most interested in finding was the wild tulip. Most of us know tulips very well because they grow in gardens and appear in flower shops in a plethora of colors and flower shapes (examples were shown in earlier posts here and here), but there are several wild forms, some of which occur in Europe (even in Switzerland). However, I had never seen a wild tulip and on our trip we did not discover a lot of wildflowers except fir one particular afternoon. We had hiked all day long through the Gorges du Verdon, on the Sentier Martel, and had almost made it back to the parking lot at Pointe Sublime, when I stumbled upon the beautiful yellow wild tulip shown here; its scientific name is Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
The petals of Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis have a reddish line.

In the photograph above, the "classical" structure of a flower belonging to the lily family (Liliaceae; the group of plants the tulip belongs to) is easily recognized. It consists of three sepals (the outer ring of yellow "leaves") and three petals (the inner ring of yellow "leaves"), which look almost identical in most tulips. However, in the two photographs below you can see that the sepals and petals in this wild tulip differ in their color. Moving further towards the center of a typical lily flower follow six stamen, which are again arranged in an outer and an inner group of three. Finally, the stigma in the center is typically tripartite. This flower structure and also the overall shape of wild tulip plants closely resembles their cultivated descendents, but the wild relatives look like miniature versions of the bred cultivars. At least the specimen that we have encountered was much smaller, inconspicuous, and rather difficult to spot.

Sepals and petals of Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis.

Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis, the particular subspecies of tulip that we encountered and that is shown here, is one of over 70 species of wild tulips. Their natural range extends from Spain and Portugal all the way to China, while the largest number of different species are found in Central Asia. Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis is characterized by the reddish color on its sepals and petals, which can easily be distinguished in the photograph above. The outside of the sepals is covered by a reddish color, while the petals only have a thin red line. 

2014/08/24 by Florian Freimoser
Categories: | Leave a comment

Watercolors 5: Cloudy Rhône-Arve confluence

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Today's watercolor example is atypical for this series: It was captured from far away (from the Pont de la Jonction) and the striking colors are caused by the waters of the rivers Rhône and Arve in Geneva; not by reflections and distortions. At this point, the waters of the Rhône have just flown out of Lake Geneva and are therefore clear, while the cloudy waters of the Arve carry along silt and sand from the mountains in France. In this photograph, I particularly like the cloud patterns on the two rivers. On the Rhône (left), the cloudy sky is reflected, while the clear Rhône waters entering the Arve create cloud-like turbulence on the right.

2014/08/11 by Florian Freimoser
Categories: , | Leave a comment

July 2014 print: Prime Tower reflection 1

Prime Tower, Zurich, Switzerland

For once I am right on time with my monthly print. The photograph I have chosen as the July print has been shown in an earlier nearby contribution. It features an all-blue composition that combines the facade of the Prime Tower and its reflection. There are many things that I like about this photograph - the perspective, the confrontation of the "real" building and its reflection, the color, as well as the symmetry.
I really start getting used to and enjoying my monthly prints and think that it does me good in many ways. Have a look at the photographs I printed before or suggest a photograph to be printed in August!

2014/07/29 by Florian Freimoser
Categories: , , , | Leave a comment

My photo treasures: Eric Meola

Photograph © Eric Meola. Prismatic light in glass. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

The famous and well-known photographer presented today is Eric Meola, whose photography and articles I have discovered a while ago on The Luminous Landscape. By this, I have already admitted my photography illiteracy, because I had not known Eric Meola for his iconic advertisement shots, travel photographs, or portraits of Bruce Springsteen (also look HERE), but only discovered and became interested in his more recent, abstract photographs.

The colorful and abstract photographs of Eric Meola, are more about seeing and discovering compositions everywhere than about documenting iconic landmarks. The capture shown above, Prismatic light in glass, is a wonderful example. The subject of this photograph is "just" a glass wall in a Las Vegas restaurant that was transformed into this amazing color palette by reflections. If you look carefully, I think one can recognize parts of a table and chairs, but other than that there is not much hint of the location. Make sure to listen to the audio commentary accompanying this composition. Eric Meola tells the "behind the scenes" of this flashy and wild reflection photograph and you can even learn a thing or two about chromatic adaptation and how we see color under different conditions.

In addition to the strong colors and contrasts in the photograph above and in Eric Meola's photographs in general, I particularly like the way he composes, which I think is quite distinct. Instead of capturing scenes that contain interesting details, he zooms in on the detail that caught his interest. As a viewer, I know immediately what he discovered and wanted to show. The results are carefully composed, straightforward photographs with strong contrasts and colors and without superfluous elements. The tight composition detaches the subject from its surrounding and by this often renders ordinary subjects abstract.

For a long time I have disliked the keyword "abstract" to describe photographs, because, in my opinion, a photograph cannot show something which is truly abstract. However, after reading articles and interviews by Eric Meola, I have changed my mind (I recommend reading The black wall, for example). Photographs can very well be abstract in the sense that they do not aim at documenting an actual subject, but rather show an ephemeral quality - for example color under a particular condition, light and shadow patterns, or a tiny detail of a larger whole. It may be compared to a writer who  describes a particular character trait of a person independent of what that person looks like. In this sense, abstract photographs record character traits of a subject rather than its looks.

There is a plethora of interesting and educative texts by and about Eric Meola. Besides his homepage, including the audio commentaries to several other photographs, I particularly like his articles on The Luminous Landscape. I always find his explanations rich in content and full of insight and at the same time lacking any kind of dogmatism or boasting. They have a quality of humbleness, which I appreciate. His Legends Online site is very informative with short texts to many of his iconic photographs, Syracuse University, where he studied, has a long text about Eric Meola, there is of course also a wikipedia article, as well as many interviews such as the one by Chris Maher and Larry Berman, John Paul Caponigro, or FuseVisual. This is only a small collection of links; if you are interested many more websites and even books wait to be discovered.

2014/07/27 by Florian Freimoser
Categories: | Leave a comment