December 11, 2011

Striped Foliage

Looking through whatever is in front of your subject may create interesting effects. The following image was caught looking out of a barn.

Outlook 29819_003

If you look at the large original (just click through the image and choose the action "View all sizes") you can see that the image is overlayed with a white fibre structure. That may give you a hint as to what the "filter" for shooting the foliage was...

December 05, 2011

Rust and green

As you already know I cannot resist rust. In this case the rusty wall was contrasted with some signs of life: some green leaves and a grapevine shoot. The texture of the wall was interesting as some layers seem to peel off - the ultimate state of decay. So I called this vista...

Peel the paint:
Peel the Paint 33065_56

It was captured in Venice - so salty moist from the sea might have aided in creating this aging wall. Processing was done to emphasize the texture.

November 09, 2011

Are photographs of abstract art abstract art?

I very much enjoyed my stay in Venice, where old meets new, modern art meets "classic art". Interestingly the question arises whether photographing abstract art in itself creates abstract art!? Naturally not, because a reproduction of someone else's art will never create art in itself. But...
What is a reproduction? Does a shot of a piece of abstract art constitute an "objet trouve"? Well, I'm pretty sure it depends. And as all this certainly contains some degree of self-reference I'm also pretty sure that if you do it "right" you could create some imagery that simply is publishable.
But enough of the theory, I just incidentally went on a tangent before presenting two images I captured because: they are images of other people's "art". We may now philosophize endlessly but in the end all that counts is: Are these images worth your time looking at it? I (at least) hope so. Enjoy!

Mural Art 33327

Abstract Art 33318

But to come back to the initial question: Are photographs of abstract art abstract art? In this case I really don't think so. But "objet trouve"? Yeah, well, maybe ;-)

September 24, 2011

Rust again...

I cannot simply walk by when I see "something" rusty! I makes me grip my camera automatically and put it to my eye. The result is just a small crop from a larger photo that I might one day reveal (see: "slow reveal" ;-)). It looks like multiple suns over a calm sea.
This study in rust shows (again) how powerful the orange/blue contrast is...

Lined up 4 31342

Quite heavily post-processed with curves and color-tuning, but still only emphasizing what was originally there.

September 07, 2011

Thoughts on reflections

The example of a reflective shot in the previous post show-cases some of the distinctive effects you can achieve by shooting into some reflective surface:
- The image acquires a tint from the color of the reflective surface. If strong enough the original colors are drained out and you get a two-toned image*
- the reflected image becomes structured by the uneven surface*
- you can use the frame of the reflector for creating a frame around your subject that's often astonishing, like a puddle after rain.
- you can play objects on the surface against the reflected image of the background in ways that are often not possible without the reflector (like your own person, or clouds that reflect in water or other wet surfaces)

And there are other quite interesting effects that do not show up in this specific example:
- Esp. when shooting against wet surfaces on ground level while standing on them you create the illusion of a "submerged" vantage point. For this effect to work properly it helps to display the image upside down so that the reflected subjects appear in their normal upright position.
- You can show the front and the (reflected) backside of a subject at the same time, sort of "bending the light" around your subject
- With curved reflectors (like Christmas tree balls) you get a strong warping of the subject
- Capturing the original and the reflected subject in one image creates symmetry
- Or you use the reflective surface simply to project additional (colored, structured) light on your subject. Which seems the least "intrusive" way of using a reflector.

Btw. If you want to find all my blogposts related to the topic of reflections simply click on the label "reflection" under this post or head over to the page "Use Keyword Search!" and click on the respective keyword there.
There you can find further examples of the effects described above.

*does not work when you use a mirror, so mirrors are not as interesting as other reflective surfaces.

September 06, 2011


Next-up will be some thoughts about the abstractifying powers of reflections:

Selfportrait with Mermaid 31258

I'm just posting this so you can enjoy one of the most interesting shots I did while visiting (again) one of the most beautiful cities in North-Holland: Alkmaar.
Will post some thoughts on the special effects of this image after a short break...

The repetitive nature of ... nature

I was after this shot for a long time. I knew this neck of the wood quite well and was always amazed by its ugliness: rows and rows of pine trees with little vegetation in between.
But I was looking after some special shot to exhibit the boring and repetitive nature of this type of vegetation, to bring the trunks of these trees together in an impenetrable wall of wood. Well, here it is:

Wall of Wood 31234

I was happy with the VR supported quality of the 1/30 sec capture at 70mm (=105mm equivalent on my D300) and used some post-processing to emphasize the blandness of the original.

Has this image some abstract quality about it? Well, I think the pattern (or if you like texture) and reduced color-palette makes for some degree of abstractification. But to be honest: I like it especially because it's still very close to original life impression that you'd get standing there at my view-point. That comes as a special shock to people that are normally not interested in the "abstract" side of pictorial art - but have to realize that there is some abstract quality inherent in their surroundings...

August 26, 2011

The Edge

This morning I had no hope of capture anything of interest. But as simply strolling around just felt strange, I slung the camera over my shoulder to give me at least the appearance of purpose ;-)
36 photos and a quick screening of the results later I saw one or two images with potential. Fortunately I had captured enough variations of the theme to pick the most fitting for my purpose. That means for me e.g. that the texture has to show (shot at f11) and not get lost in too shallow dof as was the case with the f2.8 and f5.6 shot. Then I went through some heavy post-processing even using tools not available in Lightroom (*shock*). Thus I created

The Edge:
The Edge 31203
Drawn to the dark edge, the air is sucked into the void...

What I like about this image:
- abstract, not easy to identify the "original". Makes you trying to solve the enigma
- not over-processed, so the original colors, textures and forms still "shines through"
- reduced color-palette, nicely complementary
- lines/curves leading to "the edge"

August 20, 2011

Rising, shifting, dancing in the night

Eureka! After going at the same subject again and again I finally distilled an abstract worth posting:
Rising Columns 31164

Processing was done to "hide" the original subject, although still with the basic tools from Lightroom.
What I like about this image: The patterns, the glowing bars of light, the rise from the dark, and the inherent organic movement.
Have a look at the largest size (just click through the image): there is a fine texture to it. And that might just give you a clue as to what was the source of these rising, shifting, dancing columns of light

August 13, 2011


Got this one when testing the new Nikon AF-S 28-300mm VR lens. Shot into the low sun and everything turned golden...

Golden Field 29719

Technically there was some shifting in haze/glare when I took the photo, which turned out to be influenced by the image stabilization: Obviously at a certain position of the VR lens-group veiling glare was more prominent than in another position. I tried to capture it with minimal glare. But this is hard, when shooting with the sun shining into your lens.
This is a clear example of abstractification through quite some reduction in the color palette. And that without the use of any trick, filter or post-processing. You just have to look...

August 10, 2011


Interesting how you start guessing what this is - because you have no hint of perspective. Someone asked me whether this was a burnt forest from an airplane. But no, this is it not:

Burnt Rubber 25680

I did some quite some post-processing on this one (at least for me) to make it more surreal. But the out-of-focus areas should have given you a hint that this was not shot from 1000 meters above ground but more likely is a close-up. Which it is!

July 13, 2011

No News is Good News?

Well, not quite! I've been testing the new Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G, which is quite a charming little lens. See the results from my two weeks worth of testing here. So that went well and I've only got the task left to translate the whole thing into German as I got the copy of that lens for the review from Nikon Germany. So I owe them one.
But on the photographic side things have been slow lately although I've been able to capture some shots I like. Well, it might just be that I simply have to make up my mind about selecting one or two and explain my choice(s).
But first I got to do the translation...

May 31, 2011

Finissage / Exhibition closing

Der letzte Tag meiner Ausstellung fiel mit dem Zeidler-Fest in Feucht zusammen und es gab viele, viele Besucher. So hat es dann zum Schluss noch einmal richtig Spaß gemacht und ich hatte das Gefühl, den Besuchern auch!
Für alle, die sich die Bilder noch einmal im Internet anschauen wollen, oder die keine Gelegenheit hatte, die Ausstellung zu besuchen, hier der Link zu allen ausgestellten Werken.
The final day of my exhibition coincided with the Zeidler-festival in Feucht. And there were lots and lots of visitors! So it was real fun - for me and also for the visitors.
For all those who'd like to have a look at the images here's the Link to all the exhibits.

May 28, 2011

Lajos Keresztes

Yesterday I visited Lajos Keresztes' exhibition "Materie am falschen Ort" (Matter at the wrong place) in Nuremberg. His work is based on photographs of garbage and ranges from the (almost) realistic to the totally abstract. This exhibition is part of a project "Art protects Earth" and is very inspiring. He does quite a lot of work in post-processing and when you see what an artist like him can produce based on photographs of a pile of rubbish you'd be amazed.

His web-site is here. Unfortunately the images from his latest exhibition are not (yet) included. But it is planned to tour through Europe, so if you have a chance to attend: highly recommended!

Below is his image "Windspiele" published at Galerie-Treppenhaus:

May 05, 2011

Artikel zur Eröffnung / another article

Heute kam noch der folgende Artikel von der Eröffnung im "Boten". Da er (noch) nicht elektronisch verfügbar ist habe ich auf einen Scan verlinkt. Den Artikel von letzter Woche habe ich auch noch einmal als Scan beigefügt.
There was another article in the local newspaper today, which I have uploaded as a scan under the link above (also attached is the scan of the article from last week).

May 04, 2011

Artikel zur Ausstellung / Press coverage

Hier ist ein Artikel, der in der Zeitung "Der Bote" erschienen ist zur Ausstellung.
Und ich hoffe, dass noch ein Bericht von der Eröffnung erscheint.
An article was published in "Der Bote", the local daily around here and I hope that another article will be published with a report from the opening.

April 30, 2011

Fertig / Ready to go!

Alle Bilder sind nun aufgehängt nach einigen Überlegungen, was wie zusammengestellt wird und wohin kommt. Hat fast den gesamten Freitag gekostet. Die Beleuchtung ist ziemlich unterschiedlich in dem Raum und die unterschiedliche Länge der Ausstellungswände war auch eine Herausforderung.
Aber jetzt bin ich ziemlich zufrieden.
Hoffentlich wird die Eröffnung morgen ein Erfolg!
All images are now placed after much deliberation about what belongs where. That took the better part of last Friday. The illumination is pretty different in the room and the different lengths of the exhibition walls posed quite a challenge, too.
But now I'm pretty satisfied.
Hopefully the opening tomorrow will be a success!

April 14, 2011

Traurig / Sad

Es stimmt uns sehr traurig, dass unser armes altes Hundle in die ewigen Jagdgründe eingegangen ist. Das Alter und ein schwaches Herz haben unserer Ira den Rest gegeben. Sie lebt nun nur noch in unserer Erinnerung und in Photographien.
Hier ist ein Bild von ihr. Ich würde als Titel nun "Go West..." verwenden.
Sie wird einen Platz in der Ausstellung bekommen.

It's our sad duty to announce that our poor old doggy Ira has passed away. Old age and a weak heart finally has got the better of her and she now lives only in our memories and the pictures that we have.
Here's one of them. I would now change the title to "Go West..."
Ira 22468
She'll have her place at the exhibition.

April 13, 2011

Auswahl / Selection

Endlich ist die Auswahl der Bilder für die Ausstellung getroffen! 48 sind natürlich viel zu viele, aber beim Aufbau der Ausstellung wird dann final entschieden, welche an die Wand, und welche Bilder in die Mappe kommen.
Inzwischen sind auch alle gedruckt und die meisten gerahmt - jedenfalls die, die sehr wahrscheinlich aufgehängt werden.
Übrigens: Eines der letzten Bilder, die es in die engste Auswahl geschafft haben war das Selbstportrait unten. Nun mag man sich fragen, was das mit "Natur - inspiriert" zu tun hat? Ja, ich bin tatsächlich kein großer Freund von Selbstportraits, aber der Schatten auf dem Acker in der tief stehenden Wintersonne und dieser seltsame Wirbel um meinen Kopf verbunden mit der Zwei-Farbigkeit befriedigte meine Suche nach "natürlicher Abstraktion". Also, wer wissen will, wie ich in Natura aussehe, der muss mich schon in der Ausstellung besuchen kommen...

Finally the selection process for the images has come to an end! 48 pictures are too much, naturally. But the final decision as to which ones will find their place at the wall and which ones will end up in a portfolio will come when we set up the exhibition room.
All images are now printed and most of them framed - at least those which have a high probability of being displayed on the walls.
By the way: one of the last images that made it on the short list was this self-portrait:
Shadow 20939
You may ask what that has to do with "Inspired by Nature"? Well, I'm not normally into self-portraits, but my shadow on the earth and the strange maelstrom around my head captured my eye and the natural two-tonedness aided my quest for abstractification. So if you want to know how I look in reality, you have to come to the exhibition: I'll be there!

April 10, 2011

Horst Schäfer

I had the chance to meet Horst Schäfer in person at the opening of the new exhibition "eyes wide open" in Erlangen, where some of his images were shown alongside other local photographers. He was the senior there and I very much liked his images.
Horst Schäfer was born 1932 and started as a photog in Düsseldorf (just like me, in Düsseldorf I mean). He soon went to New York and made his career there and at other places in the US in the 20 years between 1961 and 1980. After that he returned to Germany and now works and lives in Nuremberg (just like me, again).
I asked him how he goes about catching the images that made him famous, most of them not studio work. He replied that he just captures the moment, not planning what to shoot and seldom returning to a scene to wait for better light or other changes in conditions.
That sounds like a photo-journalist to me and while some of his images in the exhibition clearly show this freshness and spontaneity many photos have a "planned" and well thought-out look. But that only shows that the real photographic artist can combine the spur of the moment, the one-time chance, with the professional eye for perspective, framing and a feeling for "the moment it clicks".
Great work!
Horst Schäfer's Website is here.

Below is an image by Horst Schäfer:

April 06, 2011

Natur - inspiriert

For English version: see below!
Endlich ist die Entscheidung für den Titel der Ausstellung im Zeidel-Museum gefallen:
"Natur - inspiriert"
Als Photograph begeistert mich vor allem die Natur: Bäume, Blumen, Landschaften, der Himmel, die Wolken – aber auch die Spuren, die der Mensch hinterlässt.
Hier kann man jeden Tag Neues entdecken: das Licht ändert sich, das Wetter, die Jahreszeiten – und natürlich die Natur selbst!
Ungewöhnliche Perspektiven bekannter photographischer Themen zu entdecken, das Spiel der Farben oder des Lichtes einzufangen und in der Abstraktion auf das Wesentliche zu reduzieren, sind die Elemente meiner Arbeit.
Von daher war es am Ende einfach, den Titel für die Ausstellung zu finden. Inzwischen läuft auch der Druck der Einladungen, als Key-Visual habe ich übrigens dieses Bild verwendet.
Und die Auswahl der Bilder ist auch fast schon fertig, der wesentliche Teil schon gedruckt und gerahmt.

Die Spannung wächst...

----English version--------------------
I've finally come to a decision regarding the title of the exhibition at the Zeidel-Museum:
"Nature - inspires" or if you like "Inspired by Nature"
These are both correct translations of the German title and I like the small ambiguity of that.
As a photog I'm inspired especially by nature: Trees, plants, landscapes, the sky, the clouds – but also the traces of human "intervention".
Here you can discover a new angle every day: The light changes, the weather, the seasons – and nature itself naturally!
To discover unusual perspectives of well known photographic topics, to capture the play of colors or of the light and to distill the essence through abstraction are core elements of my work.
So in the end it was easy to find the title of the exhibition. Currently I'm printing the invitations using this image as key-visual.
And the selection of images is almost done, too, as well as printing and framing most of them.

The anticipation grows...

March 03, 2011

Nikon 35mm madness

Having had the chance to test all three current 35mm Nikon primes on a D300 and a D700 did throw quite a spanner in any other photographic work I would have liked to pursue. I'm still not through with writing up all the results from the various tests, raking up almost 900 shots in the course of the action! But I can now at least show you some concise comparison of those three lenses. Have a look, you're in for some surprising results!
As 35mm is sort of an universal focal length that comparison was pretty important for me. It confirmed that my choice was excellent, and I'm looking forward to putting the new gear to good use - after I've written up the rest of my findings...
If you're interested in all my lens-reviews, have a look here.

February 17, 2011

My first (solo) exhibition

Woohoo! I've been scheduled for my first solo exhibition at a museum: The Zeidel-Museum near Nuremberg which is mostly about beekeeping but has a large room set aside for display of various local artists too. The exhibition will be in May. I'm thrilled and excited!
Now the most pressing concern is about which images to display...
...and what title to give to the exhibition...

February 13, 2011

Traces of light

Saw this just today and grabbed my camera. It was too strange looking to pass.
Pure traces of light on a very simple background: white tiles.

Strange Object 28838

Can you guess what this is?

January 30, 2011

Redesign: more space for images

Just discovered that there is a (new?) design for this blog that gives some additional 100px in width for the main content area. So images can now be posted at a total of 500px width which gives you a better view on the photos on display here.
Hope you enjoy!
Unfortunately I had to re-edit each post to accommodate the new width :(

January 28, 2011


While testing the new Nikon AF-S 85/1.4G with a Canon 500D close-up filter I ran into another opportunity of sunflowers in the (new) snow.

Trompe 28682

One part of the fascination with this subject was the form and the warm evening sun peeking through the split structure. But the other was the duplicate form built from the snow that at one time must have been attached to the flower.

January 07, 2011

Slow Reveal

Inspired by some reading of Michael Freeman's "The Photographer's Mind" in the chapter "The Reveal" I tried to set up a slightly puzzling image with one of my favorite subjects: Trees.
Found an opportunity today while strolling along the bank of an old canal with an alley of trees on the other side. The snow on the fields and the ice on the canal got some battering as temperatures rose almost to +10°C and everything was wet and glistening.

Captured with the new AF-S 35/1.4G (but I think that hardly mattered ;) ) and some post-processing in LR3

Mirror Wood 1:
Mirror Wood 1 28161

Mirror Wood 2:
Mirror Wood 2 28163

January 05, 2011

For gear head over here

I've finally collected all my lens reviews on an extra page in my blog from where you can easily head over to the respective Camera Labs thread. There you can read about my findings and the comments from others, post questions or participate in discussions.

January 04, 2011

Love is all around...

Found this Spanish inscription on a rusty old sculpture:

Solo el amor se queda:
Solo el Amor 27962_0B25

Did some heavy (at least for me) post-processing on this one to emphasize the texture of the background without overpowering the inscription. The final step was giving the words some extra glow. A combination of HDR Efex and Lightroom processing.

I've submitted this image to the chairman's challenge on the theme "Time" over at Nikongear. I like the contrast between the central message of the inscription about the lasting power of love and the lichens slowly encroaching on it. I personally have a clear favorite of who is winning the battle between lichens and love :)

Hope you like it!
After January 9th I will know how many voted for my entry...

January 02, 2011

Objet trouvé

Mostly I stumble across interesting vistas large or small. And then I look for an appropriate angle and camera/lens-setting and shoot. And don't arrange anything on the set. So is this by definition "found art" or an "objet trouvé"?

Red 27956_00

Btw.: There is only little post-processing in this image.

January 01, 2011

Is it the Sky, the Sea, or the Earth?

Many have commented on the similarities between the deep sea and the deep sky: both have been barely explored and are expected to contain mysteries to be yet unveiled.
The interesting thing is that you can come face to face with some 170 Mio. years old piece on earth that contains structures from the sea and shows geometries from the deep skies. That inspired me to process the image in a way that it resembled more an underwater shot or an image from space.

Dark Matter 27811_005

You are looking here at the polished surface of some dark marble containing ammonites (resembling spiral galaxies) and belemnites.
An interesting mixture of chaos and order.

Happy New Year!