another grey, rainy morning

Melancholy

There are these days when I wakes up and just feel… grey.

It’s still dark in the room and I wonder why I feel that way. So grey and bland. And then I finally get up, almost more tired than when I went to bed and have a look out of the window and I know why I feel that way.

It’s another rainy day.  I don’t know, but I imagined July to look different :)

another grey, rainy morning
another grey, rainy morning
Jack Sparrow

Meet Jack

I call him Jack Sparrow. I hope Disney doesn’t mind me using the name, but hey, he’s just that, a sparrow, so I think it will be ok.

So a few days ago, I had some bread left over and decided to put a slice of it on the balcony, just to see what happens. And well, the next day it was gone! I did it again, and every time, it was gone, but i had no clue who it was.

So I decided to lure them with some healthy flakes and see if I can take pictures of them. And hey, it’s a whole family :). I guess I’ll continue to feed them now and then because the are …

Awwww… aren’t they cute?!

Checking for his family if it's safe
Checking for his family if it’s safe
We have to work on the table manners
We have to work on the table manners
Meet Jack's wife, checking if it's safe to bring the kids along
Meet Jack’s wife, checking if it’s safe to bring the kids along
And the family
And the family arrives!
The laziest kid in the world!
The laziest kid in the world! Sitting in the food and too lazy to pick it up….
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Welcome to the caribbean

No, I didn’t change travel plans, but the southwest of England sure has some corners, that make you forget you’re in a country that is suposed to be all rainy, dull and grey

a nice sandy beach...
a nice sandy beach…

Although… I guess if you dare to jump into the sea and take a swim you will be loose that impression of being on a caribbean holiday pretty quickly.

But hey, it’s a nice illusion!

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City of Reims

First step: crossing France

France…. you realize how big it is when you have to cross it in order to get to the Channel which separates it from England.  I decided not to use highways on this trip and so it took me a little bit more than two days to get to the channel.

The first day was a lovely drive to the place where my sister lives who welcomed me with open arms and a lovely dinner. She’s really a good cook, I assume living in France for such a long time has it’s side effects. Thank you very much!

Next day I headed north, to visit the cathedral of Reims. Really a marvelous piece of architecture and one could probably spend a day looking at all the details and figurines. It was there I realized I probably don’t have a wide enough lens for the trip. These things are huge!

Architecture in perfection
Architecture in perfection
City of Reims
City of Reims

Venturing further towards the channel, England decided to send a little welcome delegation for me. I saw it from the distance, an impressive sight of english weather and after taking a photo I shrugged my shoulders and soldiered on. After all I was only about half an hour away from St. Omer

The english weather welcomes me in France
The english weather welcomes me in France

St. Omer is a lovely town and I found a cheap hotel close to the city center. So I grabbed my umbrella and left the hotel on the hunt for dinner.  While waiting for the main course I looked out of the window, grabbed my camera and ran out side. The waiter probably thought I’m about to run without paying the bill,  but hey, one never knows how long light like this will last!

Perfect reason to interrupt a dinner
Perfect reason to interrupt a dinner
3 wochen Motorrad

The art of packing

Who doesn’t like to go to a vacation? Leaving home, visiting new places, meet new people and just having a good time. We all love it, don’t we?

But we always have to face the same dilemma: What do we bring along and what does stay at home? And so the suitcases get filled to the brim and one of them turns into two, then two and a small one …

I now do journeys on the motorbike for 27 years. And I remember the first time I packed for two weeks to France. Two side cases, a huge top case and a duffle bag. The bike handled like a bitch. Over the years, it got fewer and fewer and now, every thing fits into one bag.

Now, to be honest, being a man helps, as we get along with one pair of  jeans, two sweatshirts and a couple of t-shirts. I also recommend high tech underwear and socks, you know the stuff you can wash in the evening and that dries over night so you can wear it again the next day. Talking of underwear: I’m sure you have socks and undies you are about to throw away right? Take them with you and throw them away in the hotel. It’s always nice to get lighter as you travel along :)

For the next journey, it is this bag and two basically empty side cases on the bike. One case is for storing the helmet when I visit a place and for the camera bag should I get into heavy rain. The other one is for a second pair of gloves, a bottle of oil, tripod and souvenirs. And it is basically the same for a one week trip, or three week like now.

Oh, and get one of these magical bottomless bags. They are really useful :)

Mary Poppins would have been proud of me

Mary Poppins would have been proud of me

The guest from Rostock... it tries to blend in :)

Is it art?

Art…  No matter what it is about, when you look at it, you either love it or hate it. Or even worse, you look at it and go “Meh”, you couldn’t care less.

Well, “Meh” definitely won’t happen with this piece of art the city of Zürich got itself here. For once, it’s simply too big to be over looked. It is – a huge, massive, rusty crane.

When I first heard about the project, I was surprised and like a lot of people had my doubts. After all… It won’t come cheap, an old crane isn’t really a piece of beauty and it definitely isn’t art.

But coming from Rostock, a big harbor,  it is a symbol for one longing everybody in Switzerland has, a symbol for the one thing this beautiful little country is missing. There is no sea at our borders. And god, do we love to be at the sea! This endless horizon. That smell.  And the ships vanishing in the distance…

And now it is here.  A little, well, not so little symbol of our desire. It is bit, it is rusty, it is ugly but you know what?

I kinda like it :)

Waiting for big ships
Waiting for big ships
It's really too big to be ignored :)
It’s really too big to be ignored :)

 

Corrected version using XRite Color Checker Passport

Color profiling your camera – why it matters

Pretty flower, isn’t it.

But this post isn’t about flowers. It is about color management and what you can do to get your shots closer to “right”. And it is an advertisment. Yes. And I’m not sorry.

So how did I take this shot you ask? Well, the first two steps were what many of you do anyway.

  • I got a custom white balance using a white balance card. That’s the first important step to get the colors right.
  • I used an external light meter to get the exposure right

And this got me this picture:

Tulip SOC

 

The red look much more washed out right out of camera, right? So, how did I get from this to the shot above?
Have a look again, side by side, the uncorrected version on the right side

Side by side before and after applying color profile
Side by side before and after applying color profile

You could of course spend time in post production trying to get the colors right and if you’re good you can do it.Or you create a custom color profile for your camera, using a tool called Color Checker Passport from Xrite. And once you created the profile, its just once click in lightroom. Just apply the color profile in the camera calibration tab of the development module.

And unlike white balance, you don’t need to create a profile for every shooting. You just need to create one per light source, i.e. one for sunlight, one for tungsten etc. After importing the photos into lightroom, you apply the profile that matches the light situation to the first shot and then synchronize the settings. That’s it.

If you want more details, check out their website or have a look at this video, it explains the whole process.

Oh and here is what this little marvel looks like. And it even comes with a white balance card on the backside :)

xRite Color Checker Passport
xRite Color Checker Passport

Pictures and thoughts from someone exploring photography

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