Archive for 2016

Happy new year 2017!


We wish you all a happy, interesting, healthy, informative, wonderful, exciting, and lucky new year 2017!




2016/12/31 by Unknown
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Happy holidays ...

... and merry Christmas if this is what you are celebrating. If you have to work or do not celebrate, I hope you can still enjoy all the sparkling lights and shiny decorations.

2016/12/25 by Unknown
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More frosty grass

 Morning frost, Zurich, Switzerland

This post is last week's weekly text and thus really belated. To compensate, I include three additional morning frost compositions from last week's short excursion to a freezing cold meadow. Together with last week's photograph, these are four compositions, out of almost 60 exposures, that I intend to keep. Do you have a preferred version?

I hope you enjoy today's photograph and wish you an unstressed and enjoyable "before-christmas-week"!

 Morning frost, Zurich, Switzerland

Morning frost, Zurich, Switzerland

2016/12/19 by Unknown
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First frost

 Morning frost, Zurich, Switzerland

The weekend is almost over, so it is high time for my weekly contribution. Today I would like to show you the first frost composition of this season (it is still "warm", from yesterday). The picture is also linked to a plea: if you see a strange person kneeling or lying on a frosty meadow on a cold morning, please do not draw any wrong conclusion and just pass by inconspicuously (you may be ignored anyway). He is neither dead, nor drunk or otherwise sick. It is likely just a photographer (maybe me) searching for frosty compositions that are hidden close to the ground, among the blades of grass.

I hope you enjoy today's photograph and wish you a good week!

2016/12/11 by Unknown
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Autumn leaf muddle

 Autumnal maple leaves, Zurich, Switzerland

A melange of red and yellow maple leaves - photographed at the same place as last week's composition. I tried to compose the frame with leaf shapes in the fore and background, while only one leaf is sharp and the "center of attraction" for the eye.

Have a nice Sunday (so far it is grey and cold here in Zurich)!

2016/12/04 by Unknown
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The last leaf hanging

 The last autumnal maple leaf, Zurich, Switzerland

This time it is not two, but only one leaf. Close to where we live, there is a square with a collection of small maple trees that turn beautifully red and yellow in autumn. Usually on the weekends, I pass by and create a few photographs; often of the same leaf every week. Most of the trees are bare now, but a few leaves are still hanging. Just today I have been searching for new fall color compositions among those trees and leaves, but the lonely leaf above was already captured a few weeks ago.

I wish you a good Sunday and a nice week!

2016/11/27 by Unknown
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2 x 2 beech leaves

 Autumnal beech leaves in a small creek, Frillensee, Inzell, Germany

There is not much to say about these two photographs of two beech leaves. I enjoy walking along and in rivers and creeks in autumn to search for stranded, colourful leaves that are bathed by the flowing water. I hope you enjoy and wish you a good week!

Two stranded beech leaves in the Frillensee creek, Inzell, Germany

2016/11/20 by Unknown
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2 Autumn color compositions

Bud and red petioles surrounded by autumnal leaves, Zurich, Switzerland

Now that it is almost winter, cold outside, and most of the leaves have fallen, I finally start showing fall photographs. I have promised autumnal compositions for this weekend, but they are/were not ready for display. So here are two very different examples that I just developed for you speedily. Although the two photographs are both a kind of close-up view (and both are in portrait format), they are as different as can be (also with respect to how they were taken). I hope you like at least one of them and wish you a good week!

Stranded yellow maple leave, Siegsdorf, Germany

2016/11/13 by Unknown
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Iceland nature details

 Morning light in the mountains of Pakgil, Iceland

As promised last week, here is another, last post with Iceland photographs. This time it is not landscape compositions in the classical sense, but rather closer views that I label as "nature details" (sometimes such photographs are also designated "intimate landscapes"). For me, these are photographs that are neither true landscapes (with a horizon and at least some sky), nor close up or macro photographs, but something in between. Another composition from this category was shown in the Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon post (the second photograph) and I do have a few more that will appear in the future in the nature details gallery. If you want, you may also have a look at a few birds we managed to photograph during our trip in the animals gallery (the first eight photographs are from Iceland).
Next week, I hope to start showing new fall color compositions from this season. Until then, have a good week!

Red spot, Krysuvik on Reykjanes peninsula, Iceland

Rocky reflections, Snaefellsnes peninsula, Iceland

Smoky mountain, Krysuvik on Reykjanes peninsula, Iceland

Cottongrass (Eriophorum) near Raufarhöfn, Melrakkaslétta peninsula, Iceland

2016/11/06 by Unknown
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3 more Iceland landscapes: mountains, sea and sun

Cloudy southward view from Pakgil towards the coast and Hjörleifshöfði, Iceland

These three typical Iceland compositions, showing lush greens and mountains, grey and menacing clouds, but also bright and sunny views, conclude the series of Iceland landscape photographs that were captured during our summer holiday. Next week, I will show a few compositions of more intimate Iceland details and then move on to fall color photographs. Have a nice Sunday (it is grey and cold in Zurich)!

Crater lake Grænavatn on Reykjanes peninsula, Iceland

Strip of light, Snaefellsnes peninsula, Iceland

2016/10/30 by Unknown
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Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon

Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon, Iceland

Just as the coast near Arnarstapi, Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon is a touristy Iceland destination that attracts flocks of photographers (even more so than the former). We have also been there at an appropriate hour (sunset), but I am rather unhappy with my photographs from that landmark. They are all somewhat boring; mostly because I could not decide whether to concentrate on details or the overall view. I may also have been biased by the many glacier lagoon compositions that I had already seen and did not start photographing with a clear vision of mine (which is not a good idea, of course).
This is a landscape composition that I find worth sharing. I like the moving ice in the foreground, which adds dynamic to the composition, and the bright, greenish-bluish iceberg in the centre was the most attractive icy sculpture in the entire lagoon.
The icebergs on the beach next to the lagoon were a similar case: photographed a million times in the best possible ways. My compositions are rather modest, but I am somewhat amused by this iceberg smiley. Maybe it will also conjure a smile on your face.

Iceberg smiley, Jökulsarlon, Iceland

2016/10/22 by Unknown
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Gatklettur stone arch near Arnarstapi, Iceland

Gatklettur stone arch near Arnarstapi, Snaefellsnes peninsula, Iceland

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and in particular the coast near Arnarstapi, was one of the (not so few) places in Iceland with too many tourists, for my taste. This is why I sneaked out of our room early in the morning, while the rest of the family was still sleeping, and went to see Gatklettur all by myself (and with my camera and tripod). The scene was beautiful: the sun had just risen, the wind was blowing, it was raining only far away, and I was the only person there. Although I am not particularly fond of my landmark photographs, I am rather satisfied with this composition; also because for once I was "there" at the right time.
You should be able to see this photograph much larger than usually. Last week I have lamented the small display, in particular of panorama compositions, on my blog and website. While the width of my blog template is still restricted (and will stay that way), the website should now display full size photographs - much more impressive than before! Please go and have a look at the landscape gallery; and if you want let me know what you think.

All the best and a good start in the new week!

2016/10/16 by Unknown
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Sunset in Svinafell, Iceland

Sunset panorama in Svinafell, Iceland

The sunset panorama above is a stitch of 15 photographs and thus in reality HUGE. I should probably work on the layout of the blog and the website; it is not amenable for such wide photographs. The single portrait composition below is, in my opinion, better suited for display here. It was taken about two minutes before the ones used for the panorama above. I could not decide wether I prefer a single portrait composition featuring the impressive cloud formation at the top or the entire panorama.
Otherwise there is not so much to say. It is of course not a particularly exciting point of view or composition; "just" a landscape photograph. The wide and open view and vast skies of Iceland are really a landscape photographer's (any photographer's) delight. I have created more landscape photographs during our three week Iceland holiday than throughout the rest of the year. Therefore, you will have to endure a few more such photographs in the coming weeks.

In the meantime I wish you an enjoyable weekend!

Sunset in Svinafell, Iceland

2016/10/08 by Unknown
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Under the rainbow in Iceland

Rainbow and shadow self-portrait near Pakgil, Iceland

Another impressive weather composition (or rather two) from our summer holiday in Iceland; the land of rainbows. Both photographs are again composites and as you may see, it was raining again (overall we had only very little rain during our three weeks though). However, the sun was shining at the same time and thus created this impressive rainbow - and the less impressive shadow of the photographer and his son (in the example above).
When the rain approached and we realised what spectacle may follow, we were still below, next to the river that you see in the photographs (on the other side). We crossed the river (it was freezing cold), run up the hill, and arrived just in time for this view. The sun and rain changed constantly and the whole show was quickly over. We only managed two capture enough photographs for two panoramas. As you can see, the version below does not have our shadows and the lighting is very different; without the sunlight in the foreground and the rain and rainbow are further back. I prefer the version above, even though I am not sure if I like having our shadows in the photograph. Do you mind them?

In either case, thank you for looking and reading and have a nice weekend!

Rainbow near Pakgil, Iceland

2016/09/30 by Unknown
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Storm front in Iceland

Storm frontStorm front near Dettifoss in Iceland

A photograph from our summer holiday in Iceland. We were most impressed by the weather; not because it was raining very often, but rather because we always saw rain somewhere (else). This scene was encountered and photographed moments before we did get wet (and the view had disappeared), but the car was close by. The photograph was actually composed as a panorama - it is comprised of seven individual photographs that were stitched.
I thank all of you who are still "stopping by" at this blog despite the erratic posting rhythm and wish you a nice week (I try to return to a weekly blogging interval ...).

2016/09/26 by Unknown
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Allium ursinum photographic studies

Springtime forest with bear leek, Zurich, Switzerland

This is not a regular "Flora post" because I spare you most of the botanical details about Allium ursinum (which has many common names such as wild garlic or broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, or bear leek). The reason for showing all these photographs is rather to illustrate how I see and approach a subject. The first photograph depicts what is obviously visible at first sight (and can also be smelled) when I walk or ride my bike through many springtime forests around where I live. The overall scene is nice and all, but if I am interested in a scene, I want to look closer and find new, hidden, unexpected compositions. The sequence of photographs that follows below tries to illustrate this approach; the getting closer and more intimate with a subject. In this process, I have even discovered tiny, secret inhabits of these stinky plants - colorful collembola (springtail; visible on at least two photographs, if you look closely). The photographs have been created on several photography trips and over at least two years. I hope you enjoy!

2016/07/26 by Unknown
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Bird photography adventure with the Panasonic Leica 100-400 mm lens

Little stint (Calidris minuta), Amrum, Germany

This blog post is long overdue; it has its origin back in April, when I have (again) obtained a piece of equipment for testing and using from Panasonic Switzerland (I cannot stress how friendly and helpful their employees, most notably Ms. Alfaro, are).
As mentioned, it was April, the new Panasonic Leica 100-400 mm lens was not yet available (at least in Switzerland), and we were about to go to the island of Amrum - a birders paradise at that time of year. Would't it have been great to try out the 100-400 mm lens for bird photography? So I asked Panasonic if they already had that lens and if I could try it out for two weeks. Shortly after, a package with an early version of the lens arrived.

Two greylag geese (Anser anser) hiding in the reed, Amrum, Germany

Bird photography is a kind of childhood dream of mine, but in reality I have never seriously delved into this discipline and therefore I am not really used to follow quickly moving birds, let alone capture flying birds. Nevertheless, we carried the lens along on all our outings and photographed whatever birds we encountered (and that did not immediately fly away). Most of the time, a tripod was used, a few shots were taken handheld (mostly of the birds in flight), and sometimes even the children tried their luck pursuing the tiny and incredibly swift little stints on the beach.

Common shelduck (Tadorna tadorna), Amrum, Germany

The first impression of the lens was very positive; it is solidly built and compact; even a little like a real, old Leica lens (of which I own only one). I would never ever buy or carry around an 800 mm lens (in full-frame terms), just because of the size, weight and price. The Panasonic Leica 100-400 mm (200-800mm in full-frame terms) is more in the size of a 70-200 mm f4 full-frame lens; so easily portable even on extended hikes. However, the lens is clearly bigger and heavier than the Panasonic 100-300 mm lens, which is, in my opinion, miraculously good considering its age, dimension and price (and if used properly - with a tripod collar and on a tripod). Where the 100-400 mm lens excels, again in my opinion, is the range (we used it mostly at 400 mm), and the overall operability: everything is smoother, autofocus is faster (I doubt that we could have captured terns in flight with the 100-300 mm lens), and manual focus is much more accurate (main complaint about the 100-300 mm lens).

Ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), Amrum, Germany

I am not doing any kind of scientific testing of lens quality, but was interested enough to do some test shots for myself. As far as I can tell, there is not much difference in image quality across the zoom range, I would not close the aperture further than f8 (if maximal detail is the goal; as for any lens that I have "tested" so far). At least for my eye, it is difficult to discern a clear difference between the 100-400 mm and the 100-300 mm lenses in real world photographs; particularly at 100 mm. After having compared the two lenses, I know that both lenses are good enough for my need and it is possible to create perfectly nice, sharp, and contrasty photographs under the right conditions. However, it is easier to obtain technically great results with the Panasonic Leica 100-400 mm lens. The 100-300 mm lens is particularly tempting for somebody like me who only photographs birds and animals occasionally and usually carries along food, drinks, and clothes for myself and children when hiking. On the other hand, the 100-400 mm lens is really a bird photographers dream and in comparison to all other options it shines especially with respect to its versatility, size and weight. It is very likely that I will buy the 100-400 mm at some point, but not right away; simply because I would not use it enough to justify the expense.
I am glad that I had the opportunity to test this great lens and hope these personal experiences are helpful to some. More "Amrum photographs" taken with the Panasonic Leica 100-400 mm lens are found in the animal gallery.

Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), Amrum, Germany

2016/07/22 by Unknown
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Alpenroses and photography on family trips

Alpenrose (Rhododendron ferrugineum)Alpenroses (Rhododendron ferrugineum) above Niederenbach, Glarus Alps, Switzerland

I have been a lazy writer lately, but I still photograph regularly, usually on weekends. Last weekend seemed particularly promising, because a trip to the mountains - hiking and climbing with the family - was planned. However, contrary to my expectation and "own" plan for photography, I ended up taking only one "real" photograph (several exposures, but only one motive); besides the (many) family pictures. I am torn between enjoying the fact that the family liked the climbing in the mountains and a kind of regret because of all the photographs that I have not taken. 

The first photograph was initially my preferred composition of these Alpenroses (Rhododenron ferrugineum) high above the Niederenbach. Thanks to the fog (and rain) the scene was evenly lit and the grey filter prolonged the exposure time to several seconds so that the river in the background became all blurry. In this version, I like the fact that the viewer is close by the subject and the red flowers and buds run diagonally across the entire frame. The second version, in portrait format, was actually the first composition and taken without the grey filter. It was still more foggy when this composition was created, but nevertheless this framing and composition keeps growing on me. The river winds through the frame much longer and I am particularly amazed by the detail that is revealed upon close inspection (probably not noticeable in this web version). Do you have a preference for either of the two? Or for none? I am of course strongly biased and like this motive because it was THE MOTIVE!

There was no time for more compositions, trials and errors; the family was cold and wet and wanted to head back to the hut. However, it must also be mentioned that these photographs were only made possible because our children insisted on continuing our hike when we offered to return earlier. So even though I could not take some of the photographs that I had envisioned, I managed to find this unexpected scene thanks to the family. "Real" photography during family trips requires a lot of flexibility (which is often not my strength)!

Alpenrose (Rhododendron ferrugineum)
Alpenroses (Rhododendron ferrugineum) above Niederenbach, Glarus Alps, Switzerland

2016/07/07 by Unknown
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More springtime flowers: Anemone hepatica

The common hepatica is a beautiful and interesting plant that would deserve an extensive description of its classification (botanists do not agree on its official name), ecology and distribution (it is rather rare and prefers calcareous, alkaline soils), or its slightly poisonous metabolites. Nevertheless, here I am only honouring this early bloomer with five photographs that were recently taken on a hike in the Randen-region, in the north of Switzerland. Anemone hepatica is one of my favourite flowers; I think because of the pale blue (sometimes slightly purple), large flowers (a colour that I like a lot).

Anemone hepatica

Anemone hepatica

Anemone hepatica

Anemone hepatica

Anemone hepatica

2016/04/20 by Unknown
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