Archive for December 2011

Red blueberry carpet

Red blueberry carpet, Cherryfield, Maine, 2011

Ever since the wonderful sunrise and blueberries photograph by Christopher Burkett I wanted to see the blueberry barrens in their autumnal dress myself. During our New England fall foliage holiday in October 2011, we therefore made a side trip to see this wonder of nature, ironically in the vicinity of Cherryfield in Maine
I am very happy with this photograph and really like how the reds, oranges and yellows shine and lead into the photograph and towards the prominent summit on the horizon. I have just made my first printing trials and had this red blueberry carpet printed on classical photo paper with a laser exposure system. Seeing the photograph on classical, shiny photographic paper is even better than on the screen! I like these prints so much that I purpose to create a more extensive portfolio of printed photographs - kind of my photography-related new year resolution for 2012.
I wish you all an interesting, challenging and satisfactory year 2012 and hope that you regularly return as a visitor of my blog. Please let me know if you have any comment, question or topic for discussion.

All the best,

2011/12/31 by Unknown
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A camera buying prevention guide

It is the goal of this blog post to provide you with a few thoughts that may liberate you from the urge to contemplate new equipment incessantly. I have observed that the more I photograph the less I think about equipment and vice versa. Of course, I find it a pleasure to use a well-built camera or lens. But a camera or lens is just a tool. What I really like about photography is the discovering and capturing of natural and man-made beauty in my environment. If I subscribe to all photo rumor sites (I am subscribed to a few), constantly think about what new camera or lens may allow me to take better photographs (to which I may succumb to more often than I should), it is unlikely that my photographs will improve and become more satisfying. What I try instead is to observe my environment consciously (a word I like a lot) and to see photographs irrespective of whether or not I carry a camera. I try to practice my art of seeing as much as I can! 
When I think little about taking photographs (which happened to me during the last weeks, for example), I start to think more often about equipment. Besides heading out and taking photographs (which I just did today) there are recurring thoughts that prevent me from buying in impuls. All these thoughts relate to the question whether or not I really need camera X or lens Y. In my opinion, three factors are important to decide whether something is a need: How often do I potentially use an item, what does an item provide (quality/new type of subjects) and how much an item costs. The decision tree depicted below represents what you may call a "camera buying prevention guide" that summarizes these three areas of thought. I think you should answer all three questions with "yes" before buying whatever piece of equipment. 

Let's imagine a possible scenario. I assume you own a reasonably advanced interchangeable lens digital camera with probably 10 or more mega pixels. The camera may already be a few years old, but it works perfectly fine and if you are honest, you are not using it often enough to warrant a replacement.  In truth, you many not even exploit your camera's full potential. 
The last couple of months, maybe even years, you may have been working a lot and did not think much about taking photographs let alone actually taking photographs. Therefore, your "photography" has been limited to the reading of your list of photography blogs and websites. This is where you fell prey to the elaborate marketing machinery of the photography industry and to consumerism. The incredibly rapid product cycles, constant announcements and rumors all try to convince you that your camera is way outdated and that you absolutely need a new camera. But do you really need a new camera? The decision tree above implicates that you should only start thinking about buying a new piece of photography equipment if 1) you photograph regularly and really use the tool you want to buy, 2) you are limited by not having the item you want to buy and 3) you think that the added functionality and use justifies the price of the item (and of course that you can afford it). I am quite sure that following this scheme conscientiously would drastically reduce photography item sales and would be very bad for the industry. But there is no danger, because consumerism is very powerful. However, I am sure that the few who manage to stick to these rules will actually feel relieved and liberated (and save a lot of money)!
Based on my self-observation, I believe that the desire to buy photography equipment, also called compulsive camera buying syndrom (CCBS), is a substitute action for photography. CCBS is a manifestation of both, compulsive buying disorder (CBD) as well as obsessive-compulsive photography disorder (OCPD) and similar to the latter the best remedy for CCBS is to take photographs. Do you regularly photograph? Try to take your camera on photography walks at least once a week, start to photograph things in your house or flat, start a "photo a day" project. Call up your creativity by thinking about photographs and by taking photographs as often as possible. 

2011/12/24 by Unknown
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Shattered window reflection

Reflection in a shattered glass door on Max Bill Square, Zurich-Oerlikon, Switzerland

I have not posted anything for a while because we have just moved and our apartment is a complete chaos. Today, I managed to get through to our computer again (the first time since Monday!). Although it is neither at all seasonal and nor in tune with the current weather (it is cold, raining and snowing), I would like to show you this photograph of a reflection in a shattered glass door. It is also from the reflection gallery, like the last post, and was also taken around where I live (with a simple point-and-shoot camera). The entrance door to a shop on Max Bill Square (Max-Bill-Platz) was shattered, which rendered the reflection of the surrounding buildings much more interesting and unusual. Max Bill Square is located in the north of Zurich, in Zurich-Oerlikon, and is distinguished by an interesting geometric pattern of the paving tiles, which generate a 3D effect.

I hope that you enjoy and wish you a nice day! 

2011/12/22 by Unknown
Categories: | Leave a comment Location: Max-Bill-Platz, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland

Red square

This is a
Red square reflection, Zurich-Oerlikon, Switzerland

This red square reflection was photographed about a year ago rather close to where I live. There are several elements that I like about this photograph: the color combination, the reflection, the geometric pattern and the diagonal direction and as well as the square format.
On first sight, it is a simple photograph. However, I think that it is a little bit more subtle than may be expected on first sight, which is the main reason why I like this photograph. The red square is a reflection of a red building opposite this glass facade. I carefully positioned myself and the camera so that the red is exactly confined by the borders of the windows in the lower left corner. This specific point of view left very little room for the remainder of the composition. I know that the perspective is not corrected, but I like the diagonal direction that is thereby introduced. At least for me, this composition makes the eye move to the bottom left, to the red square. Another interesting detail  because usually the eye is guided from the front to the back, from the bottom to the top. Is your viewing experience different?

Enjoy and have a nice day!

2011/12/14 by Unknown
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My treasures: Rudolf Mirer

Friendship - Love ("Freundschaft - Liebe", Rudolf Mirer)

Again, I would like to use the occasion of a current exhibition to share a treasure (not a photo treasure) with you. Rudolf Mirer is one of Switzerland's most well-known contemporary artists. The exhibition at the Galerie Nievergelt in Zurich, is very diverse and includes paintings, drawings as well as rare lithographies that are all beautifully presented and framed. I particularly like the ink drawing entitled "Friendship - Love." Although on first sight it may not appear particularly amiable and mellow, I somehow enjoy how the two owls share an eye. Maybe Rudolf Mirer wants to tell us that sharing an eye or rather seeing with the same eye is what friendship and love is about (the drawing is still available and costs 8'200 CHF). 
Much of Rudolf Mirer's work seems inspired by the nature and culture of the mountainous environment of Graub√ľnden, where he lives and works. The subjects, owls (a recurring subject), animals or human beings, are often shown abstractly with clear lines and contrasts and strong colors. The subjects almost seem like icons or symbols for the themes that are important to Rudolf Mirer: creation, friendship, home, human beings, love and nature. Below, you can see two lithographies (Chamois, Quest for Hope and Peace) and a drawing/painting (Colorful Owl) that I also like very much.

Chamois, Rudolf Mirer

Quest for Hope and Peace (left), Colorful Owl (right),  Rudolf Mirer

Rudolf Mirer's style is unique and authentic and there are many works with a similar character that I appreciate. In addition, Rudolf Mirer also illustrated several books and designed wine labels. If you happen to be in the surroundings of Zurich until the end of December, I encourage you to visit the nice exhibition at the Galerie Nievergelt. The place is very easily and quickly accesible from the center of Zurich by a short train ride (7 min) and walk (5 min) and also features a book shop and a stationary shop.

2011/12/07 by Unknown
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My photo treasures: William Neill

I am not sure anymore when and where I have first encountered the photography of William Neill, but I think it may have been the article Thinking in Themes on the Luminous Landscape. "Dawn, Lake Louise" is the first photograph in that article and is one of my most preferred (intimate) landscape photographs ever. I think that I have a weakness for blue, but the peaceful atmosphere and masterly composition really make this photograph special and unique. The slowly disappearing rocks in the foreground pull my eye into the photograph and the dark ridges on both side lead it to the bright and shiny line in the background. A wonderful photograph that is also enclosed in William Neill's wonderful coffee table book "Landscapes of the Spirit" and that is also shown here.

Photograph © William Neill, "Dawn, Lake Louise, Banff National Park

William Neill is a very well-known and much acclaimed photographer whose work has been published in numerous magazines and received many prizes. I very much appreciate his simple and often minimalistic compositions that highlight subtle details and patterns in nature. I believe that many of the photographs have been taken in the surroundings of Yosemite National Park, where William Neill lives since a long time. However, they do not feature well-known and much photographed landmarks, but rather reveal hidden treasures. William Neill's photographs represent an intimate view of the beauty of his surroundings and of nature and convey a tranquil and quite mood. To me, William Neill shows that fantastic photographs do not need vast vistas and spectacular scenes but that the spectacular and beautiful can be found everywhere; in the details of nature that are to be discovered and explored even in your backyard. This is also emphasized in William Neill's photographer statement:

"The reason I photograph is to experience the beauty of Nature, of wild places. I explore the essential elements of rock and tree, of cloud and rushing water to discover the magic and mystery of the landscape. My search for beauty is romantic and idealistic. It is the spirit of the land I seek-be it in a small piece of urban wildness or in vast wilderness."

Below is a very nice movie recording of William Neill talking about and giving background on the capture of fifteen of his photographs ("Dawn, Lake Louise" is number 11). If you would like to view more of William Neill's photographs I encourage you to visit the portfolios on his web site. In addition to spiritual and intimate landscape visions, there is for example the more experimental portfolio entitled impressions of light and the tryptych series showing changing light or moving clouds in series of three.

2011/12/06 by Unknown
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