3868 – Castle and Cathedral

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May 232017

The hill with castle and cathedral is Hradčany, or actually that’s the name of the quarter connecting on its western side. From Petřín Lookout Tower I took the way down towards north-west to Strahov Monastery.

This image at 24mm (48mm effectively) has a very natural perspective, this is what it looks like to be up there. Nice.

3362 – Lookin Down from Castelo de São Jorge

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Jan 022016

After my visit to the National Pantheon (and a fine meal in a nearby restaurant), I finally found my way to the castle.

This is the center of old Lisbon, a place where originally a Moorish castle stood.

Only the outer walls of the castle are left, and as far as I know, much of it is a reconstruction from Salazar’s time.

Still, it’s one of the best views in town and it is probably the only place from where you can see almost all of Lisbon’s vast expanse.

By the way, speaking of expanse, the population of Lisbon is only slightly more than half a million, with a total of around three million for the greater area. I don’t know why, but Lisbon somehow looks much bigger than it is. Maybe it’s only the abundance of incredibly rich buildings. In any case, Lisbon definitely looks like the metropolis of a former empire of global scale.

Jul 312015

We are back to Castello Estense, the magnificent castle at the center of Ferrara, and this time we come at night.

The moat and the multitude of reflections along with the convenience of a well stabilized long lens, that makes for a satisfying and relaxed shooting experience.

As to the two B&W images, the one of the underside of the balcony had no distinct colors anyway. Going to B&W gave me the option to stretch contrasts in a much more dramatic way than would have been possible in color.

The other image was taken at ISO 1600, but was pushed at least two stops in the shadows.

Hmm … churches and fortresses, superstition and violence, that’s what drove architecture. I wonder.

You know, one of the most interesting questions in Science Fiction is, how an encounter with an alien race would turn out. Well, given our history as a species, I ask myself if they’d have any other option than to strive for our extinction? Our earth is heavy with the bones of peoples who didn’t survive contact with our “civilization”. Peaceful aliens would hardly fare better.

Jul 172015

Not only has Ferrara a largely intact wall, it also has a castle right at its center.

A real castle with a real moat, filled with real water. This is the Castello Estense, named after the family d’Este, the long-time rulers of Ferrara.

Inside of the castle there is a gallery currently showing an exhibition with the works of two famous painters, Giovanni Boldini and Filippo De Pisis, both born in Ferrara. Boldini normally has his own museum in Ferrara, but it is closed since the earthquake in May 2012. Unfortunately that’s only all too common at the moment. You can’t visit the synagogues, you can’t visit certain chuches, all closed for restauration. And of course money is scarce these days.

I’m very interested in paintings, but I have to admit I didn’t know Boldini nor De Pisis before we came to Ferrara. Boldini’s portraits I found nothing but breathtaking, De Pisis pictures, well, … not so much.

Anyway. There’s also a big model of baroque Ferrara inside of the castle. Here is an image showing a part of it, with the Castello to the left and the Cattedrale to the right.

Oct 212012

This is an odd collection of images. The motivation for the Image of the Day should be clear, but why the other two? Do they have something in common?

It turns out yes, and that commonality was actually the reason to take the images at all.

What they have in common is, that they both were taken with the Olympus 40-150, in both pictures carefully set to a focal length of 74 mm. That’s one millimeter of from where I wanted it to be.

I never had a lens with an effective focal length of 150 mm, and I was desperate to see how it looks like, what kind of crop it cuts out of my field of view. I wanted to see if I like it … and I do … which may bring a bag of problems, or better, a bag problem 🙂

The Song of the Day is “It’s A Fire” from the 1994 Portishead album “Dummy”. Hear it on YouTube.

May 032012

It seriously looks like I’m going to buy Lightroom as soon as the release candidate is expired. Why? Well, you can do a lot with very minimal effort.

Take for instance this image. To the right you see the original JPEG, straight out of the OM-D. The sky is clearly overexposed, but due to the tremendous contrast the camera had little choice. It did its best to record the whole dynamic range, but of course there is no way to do that in a JPEG.

To the left you see the result of a pretty simple conversion in Lightroom. Applying automatic levels brought back the sky and the roof, and it did so perfectly. Of course now the shadowy foreground was much too dark. Therefore I’ve used a gradient local adjustment, using it to brighten the foreground and at the same time to warm up the shadows.

Finally I’ve brought the image into Photoshop, enhanced the foreground patterns and local contrast in the the walls with Topaz Adjust, removed the dark spots on the walls (because they perversely looked like clumsy manipulations), added some vignetting, etc, but if you look at it, 80% of the work was done in Lightroom, using maybe 20% of the time. That’s not bad.

The Song of the Day is “The First Cut Is The Deepest” from Rod Stewart’s 1993 album “Unplugged….And Seated”. Hear another live version with a funny start on YouTube.

Sep 082010

As usual I am a little behind on schedule. Let me show you one image taken on Monday afternoon in the park of the imperial castle of Schönbrunn. The building is an over-sized pavilion on top of the hill overlooking the castle. It’s called “Gloriette”.

Light on Monday was brilliant, the air was clean, and so it cost me quite some work in Photoshop until I arrived at this HDR-like interpretation. It’s not HDR though, it is simply one image taken through different versions from RAW, Topaz Adjust (or Detail? I can’t remember) and some other tricks.

The Song of the Day is “Empire” from David Byrne’s 2004 album “Grown Backwards”. I’ve uploaded it to YouTube, successfully one more time 🙂