Jan 232011
 

Well, you’d have to be a very regular reader of this blog, to remember the series of waterfall images, that I did early on. It started with “80 – Quake in a Gorgeous Gorge” and was followed up by “85 – Down Again“, “86 – Probing Deeper” and “87 – Substitutions“, all from the same location, a gorge in the forest.

I don’t live there any more, but it is not far away and because I had business in the area yesterday, I thought, why not go down for half an hour? I left my bag in the car and took only the Sigma 8-16, which restricted me slightly, but made climbing up again an easier task :)

Again I have used a border, although I feel that a thin white border is more appropriate this time. Hmm … it probably would have done without as well. Call it a fad :)

Btw: the situation looks more dramatic than it actually was. The camera was only an inch above the water, so I ran no risk of getting wet. The lens though did :D

The Song of the Day, “Remember The Last Time”, is from another album, that I have wanted to link to for ages. It’s “The Bleeding Edge” by “The Revelations featuring Tre Williams”. This particular song is not on YouTube, so let me link to a series of four other songs from the same album instead.

Nov 142010
 

We had a beautiful and warm day today, and although it couldn’t make me forget my computer troubles, it still made life much easier :D

File this image under “Found Waterfalls”, because I didn’t look for it, it was just there, around the bend, on a steep forest road.

The Tamron 17-50/2.8 VC is ideal for that kind of images. It’s wide enough to capture the scene, and with stabilization turned on, I can go down to 1/4s, and that already makes the water smooth and silky. Sure, you may need more than one attempt, but hey, a waterfall doesn’t run away, does it?

The Song of the Day is one more time “Waterfall” from the 2008 James album “Hey Ma”. Hear it on YouTube.

Update: I normally don’t modify Images of the Day after they have been published. This time I do it. The image as you see it now, is a new version. I have made it in Vienna after I saw the original on a big monitor. To the left you see the image as it was originally published. In my opinion the water was too blue, the image too cool and generally lacking contrast. I like it much better now, but decide for yourself.

1410 – Flow

 Nikon 50/1.2  Comments Off
Aug 252010
 

Being without my 17-50/2.8 is extremely inconvenient at times. I have really begun to rely on this ability to adapt to different crops of the scene. Of course it was similar with the 18-200, but as a lens that was much more of a compromise.

The Tamron 17-50/2.8 is not, at least not that much. At f2.8 it is already reasonably sharp, and that is not so much slower than most primes. Consequently I miss it a lot.

In everyday situations I rely most on the Sigma 28/1.8 these days. At effective 42 mm it is slightly wider than normal, it is sharp, fast if I need it, and walking a few steps forward or back does not hurt. Still, at the moment I feel constricted.

Feeling so yesterday, I thought, hey, why not go a little further that road, use something exotic, and so I did. It made this image in yesterday’s early evening, using my Nikon 50/1.2. Fixed focal length, manual focus.

Wow, I really should do that more often. It somehow frees you. You set an aperture, for instance f4, and off you go. Not much worry, you just let go with the flow. I probably wouldn’t want to travel like that, but whenever I shoot that style, I enjoy it wildly. I only forget too easily about it :)

The Song of the Day is “Flow” from the 2000 Sade album “Lovers Rock”. Hear it on YouTube.

Jun 292010
 

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 :D

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 :)

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, Sinéad O’Connor and many more. Fabulous album, highly recommended. YouTube has the song.

Jul 262009
 



Yesterday afternoon we’ve been to Slovenia again. The idea was to take the “Triglavski cesta”, the small road from Mojstrana, a village between Kranjska Gora and Jesenice, south-west into the Triglav National Park.

I didn’t have the time to take a long walk or even climb up Slovenia’s highest mountain (2,864 meters), thus for us the road ended rather anticlimactic on a parking area in a forest, but actually that didn’t bother us at all.

The valley and the river along the road are incredibly beautiful, the water is icy cold and crystal clear, and as a bonus, I got to see one of the more impressive waterfalls.

The first image shows it from down by the road. The image was taken at an equivalent focal length of 24mm, which is quite wide-angle, and all the water in this fuming creek originates in the fall alone.

The Image of the Day was taken from the side, behind the fall, and it was pretty impossible to keep the polarizer dry for only just a second.

I suppose the fall is about 20 meters high. The enormous amount of water hits a deep pool where it constantly vaporizes and drenches the photographer more than 10 meters away. The pool then overflows and runs down the hill in form of the creek that we’ve seen in the first image. It’s utterly impressive to stand there within the roaring thunder. Wet, but impressive :)

The Song of the Day is “Waterfall” from James’ 2008 album “Hey Ma”. See a video on YouTube.

Jan 082007
 



Same as yesterday, I was back in the gorge. It was an easy calculation:

We live on about 660 meters. The valley ground is at probably 400 meters. The photos from yesterday were made at maybe 520 meters. The terrain is steep. Go figure. There must be waterfalls!

Sure enough there were, and when you go in at the right places, the gorge is even quite accessible.

Time to go to bed now, but let me first add an administrative note: I may not be able to post an Image of the Day for one, probably two days. So, don’t worry, I won’t be dead :)

85 – Down Again

 Sigma 10-20  Comments Off
Jan 062007
 



Today was a nice, sunny day. No fog, not even in the morning. I could have gone anywhere, I could have enjoyed the sunshine, but no, I went down again, down into the gorge. The one with the quake, you know, only this time without a quake. Not that I’ve missed it :)

This time it was easy and not at all dangerous to climb down. When you look a little, there is even kind of a path.

I had to do some cleanup when I was there. Mostly branches, but a plastic bottle as well. The rest, removing some big piece of ice that simply looked wrong, was done in Photoshop.

Jan 012007
 



The quickest way from where we live down into the valley, especially when you want to drive via “Sankt Jakob im Rosental”, is down from Franzendorf to Selkach and there over the small bridge. The road between Franzendorf and Selkach begins narrow, but as soon as you get into the forest, it becomes curvy and steep as well.

I have driven this road maybe 20, 30 times a year for more than 20 years, but it never occurred to me that the gorge at the left side of the street could be a good place for taking photographs. Well, it is :)

Today, in order to fill the urgent need for an Image of the Day, I parked the car not far after entering the forest and climbed down. It is not exactly dangerous when you are careful, but it was quite exciting nevertheless. While I was down there I felt something and had the impression of a “bump” as well, and, sure enough, seconds later I got a call from home, inquiring if everything was OK and if I had felt the quake.

This was the second earthquake that I have witnessed in my life, the first one having been the catastrophe in Gemona, Italy in 1976. This time of course it was completely harmless. Still, when you are down in a narrow gorge between all those boulders, it is a little intimidating.

63 – Lost a Head?

 Sigma 10-20  Comments Off
Dec 162006
 



One day late. It happens most of the time now and it annoys me, but it seems I can’t help it. It is amazing how much time I spend post-processing my images. There are days when it’s quite clear that I have only one choice for the Image of the Day, but on days like yesterday there can easily be five or six, and processing them all takes its time.

I currently have the trial version of Nikon Capture NX installed, just to help me in cases I like the original JPEG that came out of the camera, but have to fine-tune it in only certain aspects, e.g. lighten up some shadows or darken and saturate a certain color. Is it only me or is this a general problem with Adobe Camera RAW to match exactly what the camera did?

Normally I don’t care about the original and matching it is no concern at all, but what if I do? This is where Capture NX shines. The default it produces, matches exactly what came out of the camera. Of course the program is terribly slow and the decision to write it in .NET/C# was a bad one (not that Java would have been better), but for those things I’ve mentioned, it is a real time saver. Well, of course they should have implemented at least a clone stamp. Or do I miss something?

Yesterday I have been slightly north of Mooswald (home of Franz Klammer, one of the most famous Austrian ski stars of the 1970s), at an incredible viewpoint overlooking Millstätter See, one of the three big Carinthian lakes. Afterwards I drove along Millstätter See to Millstatt, up north to Obermillstatt, to go for another waterfall called “Ortnerfall”. I had to ask my way around, one time for the general direction, and the second time, already in Obermillstatt at the farmhous “Ortner” (I figured there could be a connection and, small wonder, there was) for fine-tuning. I found it around sundown, it was rather small and a trickler, but picturesque anyway.

For a change, this time I used the Sigma 10-20 again and exposed for 25 seconds at f16 and ISO 100.

Can you recognize the thing in the lower left corner? It’s a head. I could not recognize from which kind of animal, I have no idea why there is only a head and nothing more, but that’s what it was.