467 – Postcards, My Take

Oops! That’s a bunch of images today! Seems like I had a lot of time yesterday 🙂

Ted Byrne has recently stimulated a discussion about “Fabulous Fotos You Could Have Bought On A Postcard” (here on his blog and there in the Radiant Vista forums), and I thought, what the heck, I’m going to add some postcards of mine :))

Yesterday was a beautiful day and I’ve spent an hour in the late morning and an hour in the late afternoon driving around and taking images. All these images, apart from one, were taken with one of my most favorite lenses at the moment, the Sigma 70/2.8.

Normally, with auto white balance, on the D300 colors come out quite exactly as I see them, but using a polarizer (as I did on all these images) tends to make colors warmer than I like. Therefore I have adjusted white balance later.

Of all eight images I had to choose an Image of the Day, and it was not an easy job. My first impulse was, to go for the most simple image possible, but when after some editing I found new opportunities, I finally settled with this one, actually the first of the bunch.

It was taken with the Sigma 70/2.8 at f11 and ISO 280. Why a short telephoto lens for landscape shooting? Isn’t the wide-angle a much better choice? Yes and no. This image is a good example for the wonderful effect that the compression has. Just look at the meandering road and at how majestic the snwo capped Mittagskogel sits in the background.

Now this is a real postcard, bad as can be, is it? And again it is the 70/2.8 that makes the shot. I just love the centered composition here. The mountain squats there, big and fat, and the scene is just like a big arena with snow gods on the ranges.

At the end of the morning session, when I returned home, I took just one more image of these tastefully arranged stacks of lumber. They are at the beginning of the side road up the hill, that leads to our house. The fascinating thing is, that you can shoot from countless angles and still find new ones to explore. It’s something in the way they lie in small heaps and different orientations, and then of course it is this wooden fence in the background. This spot featured in “128 – Rural Quietude“, and we will see a detail from there next day.

This wayside cross was shot at the beginning of the afternoon session. I used f2.8 to best separate the subject from the background. The focus is on the stem of the cross, and in fact the front of the roof is already slightly out of focus. I wonder how anybody could manually focus an 85/1.4 like the one from Zeiss? I absolutely love my 50/1.2 for its optical qualities, but it already is extremely tedious to focus. Well, not always are the good old things the best choice 🙂

Next comes the first example of an image that mainly appealed to me by its abstract geometry. It was my original choice for the Image of the Day and it, although far from being perfect, exemplifies how I like to think about landscapes today.

This is my only image shot with anything other than the Sigma 70/2.8. I went up that hill and loved what the fading light did to the different levels. When I saw the image, I was not really satisfied. Better would have been to be much further up the hill and shoot down with a much longer lens. On the other hand, apart from the fact that 200mm was my longest available focal length, by walking up I probably would have lost the light altogether. Second best can still be best some times.

This is my most simple image of that day, and I had already labeled it as Image of the Day, before I finally returned to #1, if only for its cinematic quality. This one is simple geometry, nothing more, and it’s another example of what I think is the best in my landscape photography.

And this brings us to the last image, the image that was also the last of this day. Again it’s not perfect. The stem of the tree is too high before it branches, the shadows on the right side of the road are complicated and irritating, but don’t you love that massive triangle on the left? And of course there is the road that vanishes behind the bend, with the radiant mountains looming at the back. Once more the compression of the short telephoto lens is on our side.

Now that’s it. Eight landscapes, eight postcards. What would have been your choice??

The Song of the Day is “Postcards” from Faithless’ 1999 release “Sunday 8pm“. Hear a long high-quality sound sample on mp3skyline.com.

2 thoughts on “467 – Postcards, My Take”

  1. Andreas, I don’t think it’s even remotely justified to use ‘postcard’ in a depreciating sense, therefore I dare to say that I like this shot. I see harmony and beauty as autotelic values responding with certain layers in our soul.

    Taking ‘postcards’, as Ted ranted about, can only become a problem if that is all one can do. But not taking ‘postcards’ I see as an even bigger problem as this could mean that one isn’t able to communicate with ordinary people through pictures any more.

    Just my 2c…

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