Archive for September 2013

Carcolors 33: Spacy Space Needle

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

This is only the second carcolor composition that I have taken outside of Switzerland (Carcolors 9 was the first one) - Carcolors is definitely a nearby theme. Before we went on holiday this summer, I envisioned a carcolor composition of the Golden Gate Bridge or of the Space Needle. While the conditions in San Francisco were not very favorable (it was foggy and cold), Seattle welcomed us with blue sky and sunshine. A small parking lot is conveniently localized at the base of the Space Needle and several nice and shiny cars were waiting for their drivers (who were probably enjoying a dinner with a view). How many "copies" of Space Needle do you recognize? Other carcolor examples are shown in the carcolors gallery or the previous carcolor posts.

2013/09/27 by Unknown
Categories: | 1 comment

In memoriam of Leo

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Our inquisitive and intelligent dwarf rabbit Leo is no more - he was a funny little creature.

2013/09/26 by Unknown
Leave a comment

Holiday photography: Crab shells on the beach

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Crab shell lips, Olympic National Park.

I have mentioned the photographer Scott Cahill Rude, whom we have discovered on our recent vacation. Of course, we have also seen plenty of natural and man-made beauty that I sometimes tried to capture in photographs. I would like to show you some of these compositions in this and in upcoming blog posts.
Pursuing photography while traveling with your family is on one hand very easy, but on the other hand also much more challenging than you may first realize. The large majority of the photographs are of course rather documentary and private. We look at these pictures together, include them in our family year or holiday books and use them as time machines to bring us back to our five weeks of camping, hiking and enjoying the outdoors (unfortunately the photographs have so far only brought back memories - I am still waiting to be physically beamed back in time). In summary: these captures are not meant to be shared with “everybody” and I rather refer to them as pictures than as photographs (even though some of the portraits are very nice). Photographs, on the other hand, are deliberate and conscious compositions that I create according to my vision and which I consider worth sharing here.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Crab shells and sand pattern.

One of the difficulties with family holiday photography is of course that you spend only a limited amount of time at a particular location. Often you will not be at the right place at the right time (which is the reason why nearby photography is fulfilling and very satisfactory). A possible solution is not to photograph famous landmarks, sunsets, or sunrises, but rather to pursue themes that depend less on the time of day, or a particular weather condition, but may be discovered everywhere. For example, during our holiday I did not even think about a “real” photograph of any of the huge Sequoias, the Yosemite valley or the Golden Gate bridge (to name just three) - a picture is clearly enough at these places. Instead, I had planned to delve into flower photography (but hardly ever felt inspired to do so during our trip), looked out for new carcolor compositions, discovered exciting facades and buildings, took many new photographs of water (an ongoing project that I will show sometimes later), and created a collection of beach photographs - a type of photography subject completely lacking in Switzerland (unfortunately). The beach photographs shown here show the remains  (exuviae) of crabs, which we found in huge masses on Kalaloch beach in Olympic National Park. Piles of crab remains are nothing to be worried about: Similar to animals such as snakes or lizards, crabs have to molt as they grow. Since this can happen quite synchronously, some beaches may become littered with crab shells and parts at certain times of the year. It seems that we have been lucky (as the last photograph indicates - it is only added for illustrative purposes and not part of the natural beauty collection). The species of crab is most likely a Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister), but I am not a specialist and therefore not entirely sure.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug 1 Right-side up, 4 upside down.

I have been enticed to take these crab carapace compositions because of an abstract theme that I have been working on for a long time already (I refer to it as "outlier" - the photograph above is an example). While looking for ever new crab carapace arrangements, I have found new angles and compositions that did not fit the original idea any more and I ended up with a small collection of, as I think (but less so my wife), beautiful crab shell photographs. I particularly like the first example because it is a rather unexpected view of a crab carapace, because the light shines so beautifully through the shell, because of the interplay between focus and out of focus, and because the shape of the shell looks like a mouth with lips (to me). I would also like to emphasize that the carapaces were not touched let alone arranged in any way. The photographs show the crab remains as I found them washed upon the beach and after the next wave or high tide everything was different again. The photographs are stored under in my natural beauty section within the nature detail gallery.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Crab remains on Kalaloch beach, Olympic National Park.

2013/09/20 by Unknown
Categories: , , , | Leave a comment

Nearby: Prime Tower Zurich 2

Prime Tower, Zurich, Switzerland

This new nearby composition of the Prime Tower Zurich is, like the earlier photograph of this building shown here, an expected view that belongs to the reflections gallery

2013/09/14 by Unknown
Categories: , , , | Leave a comment

Carcolors 32: Windscreen - roof - facade

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

A tripartite carcolor composition that I have discovered nearby. This photograph illustrates the different focal planes of the reflection and the actual car surface. I focused on the reflection, which was far "behind" the car body. In the photograph above I really like the colors and the hidden details that you can discover by looking carefully. The car body, the building and the reflection are obvious, but you can also recognize a few features of the car interior and even look through the window of the car at the building behind. As in the earlier shown Carcolor 29, I like how the reflection fuses into the actual feature that is being reflected. If you have not done so yet, have look at the carcolors gallery or the previous carcolor posts.

2013/09/10 by Unknown
Categories: | Leave a comment

Florian's Photos update!

A snapshot of the revised and updated Florian's Photos homepage (it will look different when you visit - it is constantly changing).
This is only a short administrative update. While we were on holiday, SmugMug, my photo hosting service, released a completely updated interface. For a while, I feared the thought of moving my site and tried to ignore the changes altogether. However, eventually my curiosity won and I started a hesitant first look at the new SmugMug (an excellent preview mode allows redesigning the new site while the old design remains visible to the world). Soon, I could not stop tweaking the layout and experimenting with the plethora of customization options. Since last week I have spent countless hours migrating and redesigning Florian's Photos on the new SmugMug site. I have just pressed the "UNVEIL NEW SMUGMUG" button, confirmed and reconfirmed my intention to unveil the site, and now there is no way back. I hope that you like the revamped site (I am particularly satisfied with my new homepage) and that all "old" links still work (as promised by SmugMug). If they do not and you spot a defect link or a missing photograph, please let me know via the contact form (which is also much better integrated on the new site). 
So far, my experience with the new SmugMug has been very positive, although it took me a while to figure out how to navigate and use the new system. The customization options are greatly extended and the whole system is built more hierarchically and therefore logically. It is now much easier to change the layout of the entire sites, a sub-category of sites or only one webpage, and a professional-looking site is achieved with less time, effort, and complicated customization (although a few lines of CSS code were still required here and there). 
Is there a reader who is interested in a more detailed description of my experiences? If this is the case, let me know! Also, just in case you are in search of a photo web publishing service, consider SmugMug. It is not free, but offers endless customization, unlimited photo uploads and an astonishingly fast and friendly customer service (among many other features). Signing up for an account with THIS LINK will earn me a credit and add not costs to you at all :-) 

2013/09/09 by Unknown
Categories: | Leave a comment

My photo treasures: Scott Cahill Rude

Most people travel in order to visit, experience or photograph new and foreign places - I do too. However, during our recent holiday I not only discovered photography subjects, but also a new photographer (which is not very difficult - I do not know a great many). While wandering through Pike Place Market in Seattle, my wife discovered a sign directing us to booth 316 entitled "REFLECTING ON SEATTLE - Urban photography." I have very much appreciated the photographs in this little shop straightaway and even the children have enjoyed our short visit.

REFLECTING ON SEATTLE is a wonderful little shop filled with small and large Seattle photographs by Scott Cahill Rude (he is also on facebook if you are interested). You should not expect the usual touristy kinds of picture postcard photographs, but rather unexpected, creative and inspirational views of Seattle details. As the name of Scott Cahill Rude's shop indicates, many of the photographs are reflections - again not the usual kind but rather hidden reflections that were discovered in puddles or other wet surfaces (apparently it rains a lot in Seattle, even though it was mostly bright and sunny while we were visiting).

Scott Cahill Rude emphasizes that he does not need a big and expensive camera and most definitely does not resort to photoshop to generate the sometimes unexpected effects (and of course no other digital manipulation neither). He only applies one little trick: He displays many compositions upside down. You will be amazed how rotating a photograph by 180° can change everything! If you move the mouse over the image you may be able to see a version that is rotated by 180° (if the html code works as intended in your browser). Which one is the "correct" one? Which one do you think looks more interesting? As Scott Cahill Rude puts it: "Life is all about perspective!"

The more I photograph myself and look at photographs, the more I appreciate photographers who pursue a limited number of themes over an extended period of time. REFLECTING ON SEATTLE is a fantastic, creative, themed project and I am glad that it seems to work out and is displayed in its own little shop in the real world (as opposed to "only" electronically). Most of all, I also find the self-limitation - both equipment-wise and location-wise - highly commendable. As I have tried to argue myself, I think that nearby photo subjects are in many ways the most rewarding and pursuing the discovery of beauty in our everyday environment can be a source of happiness. Scott Cahill Rude argues similarly (and more eloquently than me) and also sees simplicity and a positive perspective as keys to happiness.

2013/09/06 by Unknown
Categories: | Leave a comment

Tilt-shift: Cinder cone shift panorama

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I have been and am busy with many different things and thoughts at the moment and therefore continue to update this blog only occasionally - and only with shorter posts (among other things, I have been combating a virus this week - I won). As promised in the last tilt-shift blog post, I am showing you here the first shift panorama that was taken with the tripod mount and the Mirex tilt-shift adapter.
Above is a far away photograph (for me, 9065 km away) taken on top of Cinder Cone in Lassen Volcanic National Park. What a fantastic (and hot) place! The panorama consists of five photographs (full 15 mm shift, 10 mm shift in both directions, no shift), but three would have sufficed. Instead of the 12 million pixels of each individual photograph, the composite image has almost 33 million pixels! As you can see, there is some vignetting, but despite the 15 mm shift, the whole frame is covered (however, when I added a polarizer, there were black bands on both sides), suggesting that the 20 mm Voigtländer lens used in this particular case has a larger image circle than 24 x 36 mm (unlike the Canon 70-200 mm L / f4 at 200 mm). 

2013/09/01 by Unknown
Categories: | Leave a comment