Tag Archives: Boats

3261 – Croatian Boats

The sea has always had a wonderous fascination on me. I was already 12 years when I first saw it, and when we were on vacation in Yugoslavia with my parents, it was a long and tedious journey that had to begin in the middle of the night.

Today from Villach I can take the highway to Italy and after 90 minutes I am at the sea in Grado. The other option is the highway through Slovenia and to the Slovenian coast. Two hours bring me to PortoroΕΎ.

The third option is via Slovenia down to Croatia. There I can choose between Pula at the southern tip of the Istrian peninsula, elegant Opatija near Rijeka, or via the bridge after Rijeka, the island of Krk. All of that can be reached within three hours. Sometimes I fear we don’t recognize how good our times are.

But then, not everybody is so lucky in this world.

2758 – I’m Gonna Go Fishing

For Croatia I re-packed my camera bag and used an all-zoom kit: Olympus 9-18 for wide-angle shots, Olympus 40-150/4.0-5.6 for some reach and of course the superb 12-40/2.8 used in this shot – for weight πŸ™‚

Hmm … really, on a sunny day with the DOF that I normally want, a minuscule Panasonic 12-32/3.5-5.6 would do just fine. 313 € via Amazon.de. 229 € sold used from a kit. Hmm … Would I use it? On sunny days? Yup. In dark churches? Probably not. Hmmm … still … πŸ™‚

And then there is the option to go ultra-heavy. This year, likely around Photokina, Olympus is expected to finally bring out a weather-sealed 40-150/2.8. It will be expensive and will weigh a ton, but it will make a damn fine companion for the 12-40/2.8. And then, next year, we will see the Olympus 7-14/2.8. Hmm … equivalent focal lengths from 14-300 mm at f2.8, weather-sealed in professional quality … I won’t be able to resist that lure either.

And … didn’t I say recently that I have way too many lenses? I wonder what will happen πŸ˜€

The Song of the Day is “I’m Gonna Go Fishing” by Dr John. Hear it on YouTube.

1789 – Song To A Seagull

Wow, it’s been a pretty long time since my last post! Sorry, I made images, more than I can currently show, but during the first few days I had connectivity problems, and then my server had an upgrade.

I have shelled out around 25$ for a “Faster Server Option”, and indeed the server feels faster now. During the transition I didn’t want to put up new content though, and so another two days were lost.

Add some work for our upcoming relocation in Villach and you see me busy for a week with no apparent output. But as I said, nothing is lost and today I’ll make a quick succession of posts in order to catch up.

These images are from a trip down to Italy, down to the sea. Carinthia had fine weather last week, but of course Italy is always warmer and we enjoyed a welcome continuation of summer.

I probably could have taken any of these images as Image of the Day, but I really like the seagull. It was such a perfect capture, so exactly the right moment, but of course it’s not planned. It just happened, I waited until it almost touched down, I already feared that I had waited too long, but it was even more than what I had hoped for. No merger between bird and building, the shape of the bird fitting right into the gap between the chimneys, and even the light and the sky were cooperating. A lucky shot that made me cheerful πŸ™‚

Two images have borders, two have none. The detail from the brakes of a bicycle is right out of the camera and was not processed in any way, the harbor night shot was, but I have used it as wall paper on my laptop, and white borders on wall papers are not such a good idea πŸ™‚

The Song of the Day is “Song To A Seagull“, the title song of Joni Mitchell’s 1968 debut album. Hear it on YouTube.

1349 – How Long Has This Been Going On?

Today is Tuesday and I am almost a week behind. Sorry, can’t help it. At least I am forced by chance to stay one more week in Carinthia, which gives me more time for working on images, than I would have had in Vienna.

Wednesday last week was mostly about Camogli, a small town north of the peninsula of Portofino, but on the way there we made a short stop in Rapallo.

With a population of around 30,000, Rapallo is more than just a small tourist center consisting mostly of hotels and restaurants. It’s a place where real people live, who don’t work in the tourism industry. The day before I had seen some places where I wanted to photograph, but in the end it was just this one with the biker and the scooter that remained. I like the movement in this image, and how the different directions of the biker and the scooter take up the zig-zag of the street decoration.

After leaving Rapallo, we crossed the peninsula and made a short deviation to its highest peak. From there, using the Nikon 70-300 VR, I took some images of Camogli below. Here is one at 84 mm, before and after processing.

It’s really challenging to get anything out of these images. We have fairly long distances, atmospheric haze, due to the heat twisting and bending light in fancy ways, low contrast and a blue cast in the distance, so I guess it is not too bad what I got out of post-processing. It’s more an illustration than a real photograph, but at least it illustrates something πŸ˜€

The next image is from the same point of view, zoomed further in, and finally with the Image of the Day we are all way in at 300 mm, an effective focal length of 450 mm on my D300.

Camogli is really the most wonderful of places, a dreamland for any photographer. As you can see, it’s a narrow strip of beach, and then everything is built into the mountain. It takes quite some minutes down along the winding street, until you reach the lowest parking area. Most of the town consists of these long, high buildings, and in the center, the roads are narrow, many of them not accessible by cars, with the historic core a pedestrian area anyway.

The image of the little waterfall was taken down from a bridge between the area of the Hotel Cenobio dei Dogi, probably the most beautiful hotel that I’ve ever seen, and the old town.

The complex at the far end of the beach, as seen in this image on the left, that is the Cenobio dei Dogi. We didn’t stay there πŸ™‚

Actually I think that Camogli is an excellent place to stay for some days. Only don’t expect to leave very often. This town has everything: hotels, restaurants, a medieval center, art, a fishing harbor (last image in this post), enough beach, and everything is integrated with the past.

This is not your typical tourist town, some remains of the past, surrounded by an uncontrolled sprawl of bad architecture. Camogli has character, and I guess this is mostly because there was is no space to extend, no way to build modern roads. They would have had to tear down the whole town. Thankfully they didn’t, and so we can still enjoy one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Whatever you associate with the magic words “Italian Riviera”, Camogli has it, and in all its splendor it is not posh. Sure, the Cenobio is pure luxury, but there are all sorts of price classes here, and everything is in walking distance from the beach.

It’s a big difference between Camogli and Portofino, the latter being a former fishing village, now an overpriced and snobbish assembly of designer shops. Dior, Armani, Zegna, Ferragamo, Gucci, all are there, and upon entrance to Portofino, you are greeted by several juweler’s shops. The big 50 m yachts of Portofino, they are missing in Camogli as well, but the one thing that Camogli has and Portofino has not, that’s life.

I spent about one and a half hours photographing in Camogli. First I went along the beach, down to the church, using nothing but the Sigma 8-16, most of the time at 8mm. Then I changed back to the Nikon 70-300 VR for some images of the cliff-like facades. I took them from the farthest point, near the church.

Finally I changed to my most favorite lens, the Tamron 17-50/2.8 VC. At this day I really needed all three lenses. Believe me, in Camogli you have a Manhattan problem. Granted, the buildings are not that high, but this is made up by how narrow everything is.

Take the image on the right, of the people walking in front of these buildings. OK, the foreground is obviously exaggerated, but the buildings in the back, it would do absolutely no good to cut them off at the top. This is what you feel, this is what it looks like when you’re there.

Same thing with the church. Of course when you see those things in reality, you may see only part of them at any time, but the way our mind works, we put everything together, create one impression that is made up of so many images. That’s where the 8 mm help. Actually Camogli was the first time at all, that I felt a need for 8 mm.

Camogli. I could have spent much more time in this town, days even, and I think I may return one day, but for that afternoon I was completely exhausted. It was a hot day under a glaring sun, and when I returned after those 90 minutes of concentrated photographing, I was glad to give up and have a drink.

The title of this post and of the Song of the Day, Gershwin’s “How Long Has This Been Going On?“, is inspired by the long time that it took me to come up with it.

What did I do? Well, I have made about 1200 images, many of them documentary, the greater part made with SoFoBoMo 2010 in mind, many variants, and wading through all that costs me time. That’s the reason. But don’t worry, I won’t build up another post like this one. I hope to catch up soon.

The Song of the Day is a cover version by Jon Bon Jovi, taken from jazz harmonica player Larry Adler’s Gershwin album “The Glory Of Gershwin”. Singers include Sting, Elvis Costello, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Oletta Adams, Elton John, Cher, SinΓ©ad O’Connor and many more. Fabulous album, highly recommended. YouTube has the song.

1042 – Those Were The Days

At first I was not sure about these images, but the longer I see them, the more I like them. Today was just this: a beautiful and hot summer day. Hopefully there are more to come, but even if not, it will have been a great summer.

Searching for a Song of the Day I began with my newest CDs, and the title “Those Were The Days” stuck.

Recently, when I wrote “1019 – Both Sides Now” and searched for a video, I found out that this Joni Mitchell tune had been interpreted by countless people, among them Dolly Parton and Doris Day. This caused me to buy CDs of both of them, and today’s Song of the Day is the title track of Dolly Parton’s 2005 album of cover versions.

I also found a video on YouTube, and there disaster struck: Have you ever heard “Those Were The Days” by the Leningrad Cowboys and the Russian Red Army Choir? Live in Helsinki 1993?? The Total Balalaika Show???

Oh my, speak of definite versions πŸ™‚

It caused me to immediately order the CD (get the double CD from Amazon.de!!) and the DVD. The DVD contains only half of the concert, but the problem is, you really have to see them. Unfortunately “Those Were The Days” is not on the DVD, but of course YouTube has it πŸ™‚

And while you’re there, don’t forget to see some of the other songs from this concert. Basically you find the whole concert among the “Related Videos”.

953 – Come Away, Fellow Sailors

I had all kinds of plans for Saturday morning: I would quickly post Friday’s images, then I would work a little on my SoFoBoMo book, would go out into the bright, sunny day and shoot some nice images and …

I rose at 6:30am, and at 11:30 I had my blog post written. That’s for time management :-/

I had stayed in Vienna, we had opera tickets for early evening, and in the afternoon we met with friends in Ufertaverne, a restaurant at the shores of river Danube. A wonderful place to eat fish, the Image of the Day was shot from its upper terrace where we sat.

And then the performance. Of all recordings of Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” that I have, I like William Christie’s best. With his ensemble, Les Arts Florissantes, he is consistently among the best performers of baroque music, and somehow his interpretations constantly match my idea of perfect tempo. Couple that with an always admirably performing, rich choir, a fantastic staging, and then you have yesterday’s “Dido and Aeneas”. Christie’s current approach to the sorceresses is rather humorous, not demonic as on the record, but both approaches work well.

The Song of the Day, “Come Away, Fellow Sailors“, is from the beginning of the third act. YouTube does not have the Christie version, but Hogwood is certainly more than a substitute πŸ™‚

815 – Southbound Again

Well, these two weeks in Carinthia were quite a roller coaster ride. Up the mountains, down to the sea, deep snow, no snow at all, and this time it’s the sea again.

These are images of Monday. For various reasons it took me a while to get them processed, but now it’s done. It’s almost 3:30am though, tomorrow (well, technically today, but I’d still like to get a cap of sleep) I’ll have to work again, thus we’ll keep this short and sweet πŸ™‚

Lots of new highways have been built in the last years. I remember, when I was a child, it took us 8 hours to get down to the Croatian isles, while Monday it were no more than 2:40 hours from Villach to the island of Krk.

Of all the Croatian islands, Krk is the most accessible, because it can be reached via a bridge from near Rijeka, and it is the most northern island in the Kvarner archipelago.

Incidentally this was my first “real” visit to Krk, though I had crossed it in July 2007 on my way home from Mali Losinj. The island is rather flat. I can’t find any exact information right now, but I honestly doubt that the highest point, the village Vrh (which means summit) is even 100 meters above sea level.

The first two images were taken in Punat, one of the biggest yacht harbors in the Adriatic, but otherwise not overly exciting. Opposite of Punat, in the middle of an almost circular bay, lies the small island of KoΕ‘ljun with its Franciscan monastery. As far as I know, it can be visited, but for lack of time I have not even tried.

The main town on Krk is called Krk as well. It has been a bishop’s see from at least the 6th century, it’s still partially walled, and the bishop’s palace is one of the biggest buildings. The image to the right is part of the town wall.

The town of Krk is really cat territory. Just sit down anywhere, and slowly but steadily one cat after the other will come and inspect you, beg for food or simply some affection. I can’t remember having seen so many of them in one place.

This image is particularly dear to me, because it needed a lot of affection as well, and after a good dose of post-processing, I guess it is quite OK. It was my first candidate for the Image of the Day, but finally the scooter won for its warm colors that so perfectly capture the feeling that I had, when I escaped from Carinthian frost to a sunny land by the sea, where it’s winter as well, but where the winter is 15 centigrades warmer πŸ™‚

Of course warmth is relative. When the sun went down, I took some last images and then left. I could have stayed longer, but due to its orientation, Krk is not a very good place for a sundown. In fact, not even the “summit” Vrh is, because even there the sun vanishes in the mountains of the western island of Cres. The sky did some pretty things though.

When I crossed the border between Croatia and Slovenia, the temperature had fallen below freezing, and there was again snow.

The Song of the Day is “Southbound Again” from the 1978 self-titled Dire Straits album. Hear it on YouTube.

That’s it for today. Did I say something of “short and sweet”? Oh well! As for the images of today, I’ll try to catch up tomorrow. Have a good night.

802 – The Lure Of The Sea

It’s 17 months now since the last time that I’ve been to Savudrija, a fabulously picturesque fishing harbor in Croatia. Honestly, I have no idea why I keep my visits so sparse.

From Villach, it takes about 2.5 hours to get there. It would even make sense to enter the car in the morning, spend most of the day swimming, and return in the evening. After dinner, of course, and probably at another time of the year πŸ™‚

Yesterday, with all holiday business past, the lure of the sea was strong, and it was a good feeling to get out of the snow, into a mediterranean landscape that even in winter keeps its southern charm. This time it was not nearly as warm as last time (see “142 – A Trip to the Sea” and “164 – I Remember Croatia“), but that did not take away from the experience.

The Image of the Day was shot with the Sigma 10-20 and put through quite some Photoshop treatment, the other image is from the Sigma 50/1.4 at f2.8 and straight from the camera. I came back with 170 images and should probably process some more, but I really want something posted now, and those two may well give you a feeling.

The Song of the Day, “The Lure Of The Sea“, is once again by The Beautiful South, a band that commentary on Amazon.com describes as

“… a band whose obstinate Englishness earned them enormous popularity in the U.K. and a decade’s worth of total obscurity in the U.S.”

The song is from their 1999 album “Quench”. Unfortunately I have found no video, but at least Amazon has a sound sample.

764 – Good Day Sunshine

Villach was a good choice after all. I moved only about 20km to the west, but the weather is remarkably better here. Much less fog, much more sun.

Yesterday I spent insane amounts of time processing that image of a silly sign in Vienna, building layer upon layer until I was at 28. Stupid, huh? Well, my only excuse is that I didn’t have any other image and was curious if I could make it at least remotely usable. I may have managed that, but certainly not more πŸ™‚

When I finally left for shooting, it was around 3pm, a sunny afternoon with about one hour to go. So far I don’t know all those convenient places around the corner, undoubtedly to be discovered soon, thus I sat into the car and played safe.

I took the street down south, about 10km by car, about 6km line of sight from home, over some hills and through a forest, and then reached Drobollach, a village on the northern shore of Faaker See, one of the many beautiful lakes in Carinthia. The village is situated on a small hill, overlooking the lake, and behind that, Mittagskogel, the most prominent mountain in Villach’s surroundings. You’ve seen it many times before, the last time here, but now we are much nearer and it is the pyramid shape as seen from Villach, that is normally associated with this peak.

From the very same point one has another interesting view, and yesterday the light was extremely favorable: To the north-east, prominently sitting on top of a mighty rock, there is the small parish church of Sternberg, another landmark that you have seen, once in a slightly tilted image.

Both images so far have been taken with the Nikon 70-300 VR at 300mm. I really love the effect that the compression has on the hills, especially under this dramatic light.

Maybe less than a kilometer further on, the street leading around Faaker See touches the lake, and for my convenience there is even a place to park the car. Small wonder that when I arrived, I found a woman taking pictures.

I changed to the Sigma 10-20, the sun was almost down behind the mountains in the west, and I had to hurry. For this image I climbed over the guard rail and crouched down almost at water level. The mountain in the background is Mittagskogel again. Quite a difference between 15mm (equiv) and 450 mm (equiv)!

From that slightly dangerous vantage point there was not much more to get, at least not with this lens, thus I got back up to street level and took some bracketed exposures of boats and landings during the sundown. I still have my tripod in the apartment (maybe I should get a third :), and it probably would not have done me much good anyway. I only had some minutes left and needed to go as near as possible to the fences, in order to get them out of view.

I took these images with the intention to run them through Photomatix Pro 3.1 and Essential HDR 1.0. Photomatix claims much progress in automatic alignment and the elimination of movement artifacts, while Essential HDR points to its superior tone mapping algorithms.

Of the five bracketed shots I have only tried the one that ended up as Image of the Day, and both programs failed. Both did a good job in aligning the handheld shots, but Photomatix produced ugly tone mapping results (at least when you don’t like the “typical” HDR look), and Essential HDR, while much better at tone mapping, introduced hard to remove artifacts at extreme highlights, where even the darkest exposure had burned out.

This is not a general criticism of these two programs. Both can produce extremely good results and have done so for me in the past, but under these exact conditions both failed. No problem when you have a fallback strategy.

I ended up developing the five images in DxO Optics Pro, letting the program correct lens distortions, and then combined them as layers in Photoshop CS3. The first step was to select all five layers, use “Edit / Align layers …” and crop the result. Then I have applied masks manually, added some saturation and contrast and cloned out a lens flare. Not so bad, I guess.

The Song of the Day is “Good Day Sunshine” from the 1966 Beatles album “Revolver”. Hear it on YouTube.

732 – Happy Birthday II

Another year round! These are two images from Tuesday, the actual birthday, and I’d like to thank all my readers. Some of you have been with me almost from the beginning, some for a long time, and some have joined only lately. I hope this will go on and you will continue to come in for some visual food.

Janine was so kind as to give me a present, a funny, crazy birthday bicycle found in Amsterdam. Can you imagine a bicycle jumping with excitement?? Head over to her blog to find out πŸ™‚

The Song of the Day is again Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday“, originally on the 1980 release “Hotter Than July“. The video on YouTube that I’ve linked to last year has been removed, another one is not available in my country (Gosh, this industry is so stupid!) but of course there are countless other versions like this concert video.