As I went out Wednesday morning, I began shooting when I walked down the stairs. I shot plenty more images that day, mostly documentary, and this is what stuck with me.
It’s late Friday evening, these are the images for Wednesday. Let’s see how far we get tonight. This first image is of a view that I’ve seen thousands of times in 24 years. Morning light falling through my living room window in Vienna. It’s a tad on the yellow side, isn’t it? Uuhh … yes. This is the JPEG from the camera, and I had left it set to “cloudy” white balance from the day before. You know, normally I’d have corrected the white point, brought in a tad of color variation, increased contrast, etc, and I shortly tried, but … it completely ruins the shot. Some images are not meant to be “optimized”.
Wednesday was traveling day, and when I am packed with my big camera backpack and an extra bag, I normally use public transport and most of the time that means the Underground. Not so this day. I decided to ride by tramway for some stations, and then go the rest of the way to work. When I left the tramway in Josefstädter Straße, the sun was shortly gone. I used the light for some images of tulips and came up with this. Did you know that all tulips originate from Kazakhstan?
Later on, at work, I used the opportunity for another portrait of Erich. He was very concentrated and left me the time to focus the 50/1.2. Never be sloppy with this lens, because, when using the focus indicator LED, it is crucial to set the focus point to exactly where you want it. At f1.2 the plane of sharpness is so thin that it becomes apparent that it is no plane at all. It is curved, just like the lens. Forget any focus-and-recompose technique, it won’t work. You’ll never get sharp images.
The last one, the Image of the Day, was taken shortly after the tulips. The sun had come back and I used a polarizer to get rid of the reflections on the peeling paint.
Now, why is this a “miss by one”, you ask? Well, the thermometer shows 18 degrees Celsius, which is quite nice for 8am, but I had hoped for 17. Missing it by one made me reconsider the title. You know, I really had to have “17 Again” from the 1999 Eurythmics reunion album “Peace” as Song of the Day one time 🙂
I absolutely adore Annie Lennox. She has such a wonderfully powerful voice and the end of this song is … special. If I remember well, they have performed the song to an overwhelming reception in the morning of New Year’s Day 2000 at a concert in London’s Trafalgar Square. I really would have given a lot to not only see it on TV 🙂
The Song of the Day is “This House Is Empty Now” from the Anne Sofie von Otter / Elvis Costello collaboration “For the Stars“. Video-wise I don’t have this version, but I have found one of Costello’s collaboration with Burt Bacharach. See it on YouTube.
The snow had finally gone away by today’s late afternoon, though it was a bleak and dreary day, and I had not gone out photographing at all. And then, in the evening it began to … snow? Not exactly what I call an easter weekend 🙂
In the evening, when I really should have been desperate for an image, this one just happened. I went up the stairs to the first floor, when I saw the light glowing through the window of glass bricks, painting a pattern of light and shadow on the landing. This is a 10s exposure from the tripod. Nikon 18-200 VR at 44mm and f8.
“Meet Me In The Dark” is maybe the most beautiful song on Melissa Etheridge’s 2004 album “Lucky“. It’s unbelievable that until two years ago this wonderful singer has completely escaped my radar. Well, not so any more. See the video on YouTube.
Today was the warmest 24th of February in recorded Austrian history, a clear day for a difference, and what did I? I sat at the computer, edited yesterday’s images and talked to robots about my blog 🙂
Anyway, this is a view out of my window. Sort of.
It’s 6:30 in the morning, not much time to write now. After this I’ll still be a day behind. I haven’t even had a look at yesterday’s images yet. It’s a little tight at times.
OK, here we are, this is for Tuesday, it was late in the afternoon and I was in Kaiserstraße, very near home, using the Nikon 18-200 at 200mm. I use this lens a little more often now. It’s my longest telephoto lens at the moment, and sometimes I long for details or, as here, compression.
As regards the Song of the Day, it’s “On The Sunny Side Of The Street” again. We had this once by Cyndi Lauper (and that was a fantastic version), but now we are back to real Jazz: Italian born singer Roberta Gambarini, now living in NYC I believe, has an absolutely divine version on her debut album “Easy To Love“. The second album has been out some time now and I just ordered it 🙂
I felt better today. Not completely well, but better. Good enough for a trip to the city of Speyer, a short while south of Worms, and another city with a big and famous cathedral. This is not the cathedral though, it’s one of the streets leading up to it, a street that curves a little. I took the image with the Nikon 18-200 VR.
I found nothing applicable for the Song of the Day, so Bill suggested “Inside – Looking Out” on The Animals’ “Retrospective” album, whereas Rick Orrell voted for Melissa Etheridge’s “Come To My Window” from her 1993 album “Yes I Am“. Thanks Bill, thanks Rick.
Not a great day, photographically. I took some shots of insects in the garden, and later in the afternoon I tried some landscape shots. The light was not right, I was already in a hurry and all that kept my inspiration low. I had already decided for a very tight crop on a grasshopper.
Then, in Velden, waiting for the train, I saw the wall of the station building (I guess from the 1950s), the window and the cart. I see them every week, I have even taken some photographs, but this time I decided to use them.
I’m glad I did. Velden is one of the glamorous tourist centers on Wörther See, and more so since the new luxurious hotel in Velden’s castle with its apartment complex has opened. But of course the guests who stay there don’t come by train, and so Velden’s train station radiates the sleepiness of the province, the charm of the 1950s, static and slow.
And so is this image. I have dabbled in RGB again, taken the blue channel and overlaid it in “Soft Light” blending mode for contrast with a mask on the window and the cart, did some color adjustments and in general brought detail from the highlights into the mid-tones. The whole method is pretty old-fashioned, just as the whole subject.
The Song of the Day, “Waiting For A Train” has been sung by many people in the country scene. We go for a Southern touch here and therefore it’s again the venerable Dr. John on his 1983 album “The Brightest Smile in Town“. He has extended the traditional lyrics a bit (or he sings the original?), so what you hear in the sound sample, you won’t find in the lyrics that I’ve linked to, but it’s still that song.
Around noon I had to fetch something from the basement, and turning to the window facing east-south-east, I saw the cobwebs behind the window illuminated, interspersed with fallen rose petals. I knew I didn’t have much time, ran, fetched the camera, found the contrast impossible to cope with, ran again, fetched the tripod and, well, here we are with another HDR image from seven bracketed exposures.
The approach was different this time. I used two different exposures as layers and an HDR image tone-mapped with Photomatix as base, duplicated some layers and threw in some blending modes and a mask.
Basically, the idea was to map with Photomatix to an extremely flat image with not much light smoothing, an image that would hold maximum detail everywhere, and then use the other layers to modulate this detail base in different blending modes and opacities. There are endless possibilities and the result is somewhat random. Effectively I used what finally looked good.
I had not known Lambchop until last fall when I saw them in Vienna’s “Konzerthaus”. Well, I guess you have arrived at respectability once you play there 🙂