Category Archives: Inspirations

A great Wildlife Photographer

I have to give credit to Google Plus, as it got me in touch with quite a few outstanding photographers. The one I want to present you today is Anette Mossbacher, a very dedicated wildlife photographer.

She is doing what I dreamed of doing when I was a little child, she ventures to places I yet have to visit and takes stunning pictures of wildlife and the places it lives in. Not to mention she is a great sport and fun person to hang out with.

So, if you like really stunning photos of nature and care about the environment as much as you should, I highly recomend you visit and subscribe to her blog.

Seriously. And to keep you from getting lost, you’ll find her blog here

Oh, and I love her last article about polar bears!

 

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Magical moments

Well you know, most people consider Switzerland to be quite boring. Beautiful mountains, nice little cities and very clean streets, but also boring. And to be honest, we probably are.

That’s why it is the more exciting when a burst of extraordinarity strikes. (This is a word… is it?) I was hit by such a moment completely out of the blue when our boss invited us to come to Berne and have a look at “Rendezvous at Bundesplatz”. To be honest, I actually accepted the invitation because we would then meet at his place to have some cheese fondue. mmmmm….

Asking what this is about, he said “It’s a light show, they project pictures on the house of parlament. It is actually quite nice.”

Well, this was probably the understatement of the week. It’s extraordinaire. Stunning. A fairy tale is told with light and music. I actually don’t remember what it is about, because I stood there, mouth open, a victim of total visually sensor overload.

I remembered to take pictures now and then, but they are only a very weak representation what happened there.

If you happen to be in Berne in the month of November, go there. They show it twice each evening at 7 PM and 8:30 and entrance is free.
If you can’t go there and want to see it in motion, it will most likely be on YouTube, just search for “Rendevous Bundesplatz 2013”

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Why photowalks are a good idea

So you probably think, photography is a lonely hobby. After all, who wants to tag along with you and watch you stand at one place for an eternity while you are waiting for the light to change? Your significant other? Hmmm… lucky you!

Or then you tag along with him or her, constantly wishing you had more time, to just go over there oh, and if only you could talk with her about your passion!

See? This is where photowalks with other folks sharing your hobby and passion come in handy. Hours and hours with like minded people, talking gear and sharing stories. And chances are, you probably might learn one or two things as well. Or you do things you usually don’t do.

Like me this weekend, when we agreed weeks ago to meet on the Kleine Scheidegg in Switzerland and spend the night there to do some evening, night and sunrise photography. And of course on Friday, the weather forecast for the mountains was less than ideal, with the weather guy talking about 60 mph winds and loads of snow coming in.

But hey, we agreed to meet (and I had paid for the accomodation) and so I went there, not knowing how much luck we would have with the weather

And did things I normally don’t do. Like getting out at 9 PM into the storm, just to try shooting stars, knowing the clouds would hide them soon.

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Or to get up at 6:30 on a Sunday, getting out into the howling cold wind, hoping the clouds would not come in before the sun got up.

Eigernordwand

Stormy Sunrise

Of course, there is always a downside. All that talk about thegear makes you aware of the shortcomings of your equipment and the gear aquisition syndrome starts whispering sweet promises into your ear.

But you can resist, can’t you? 😉

But maybe I need a heavier tripod. After all, most star shots were blurred due to the wind. And – a camera with better low light capabilities would not hurt either.

How many rolls do you need to learn photography?

You know, I’m still dabbling in black and white film photography. And so I took the good old Leica M3 with me to the States, together with a few rolls of film (of which I used exactly one).
And I’m still struggling to get the look I want, i.e. more contrast. The film I used is Kodak TMax 100, together with a yellow filter.

And so the question of the day is: How many rolls of film did you need to get the look you wanted?

Mules on the way

Big Rock, Small People

Dead Wood

Just as a comparison, two shots I took at the same location, same day. One on film, the other on the M9 and then using a yellow filter in Silver Efx.
It illustrates quite well what I’m missing I think…

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USA 2013 Vue 8

Full moon rising

I’m living in this apartment since more than 10 years now. And it is now more than 10 years since I saw a full moon rise over the lake for the first time. I was stunned, loved the view and took a picture with a crappy cell phone. Never since I saw it rise over the lake again. I either missed it, or wasn’t at home, or it was cloudy.

I don’t think the full moon rises like that first time very often. It seems to happen mostly in Winter that a full moon rises over the lake during the blue hour. End of December, I was in my apartment, looked out of the window and saw a dramatic full moon between fast moving clouds. I scrambled for my camera, but by the time I had it ready and mounted on the tripod, the mood was hidden behind clouds.

The next evening, I was at the lake with camera and tripod, only to learn lesson number one of moon photography. The time when the moon rises shifts dramatically from day to day. And by the time it was up, blue hour was long gone.

So I went to the internet to find out the next date this would happen and found a webpage, which shows the sun’s and moon’s path for a given location as well as the time they rise and set. It even tells you when the golden and blue hour start and end. Neat, isn’t it? You’ll find this marvel here: http://jekophoto.de/tools/daemmerungsrechner-blaue-stunde-goldene-stunde/index.php

So it was decided. Sunday January 27, 2013 it would be. I watched the weather forecast, afraid it would be foggy or cloudy that day. And guess what, it sure predicted overcast weather for this evening, so I decided to give it a try a day early. The moon would not be completely full yet and it would rise almost an hour before the blue hour started, but at least it would be visible.

And so I was at the lake, waiting for the moon to rise. And then it silently rose over the hills. For the first time in more than 10 years, I saw it rise over the lake. Only this time I was there with a decent camera, trying to capture the moment.

On that evening, I learned some more lessons about moon photography.

  • This thing is bright! I mean, daylight bright. The only way not to overexpose the moon was to shoot it at 1/2 second, f11 at ISO 160 as it was rising and on a clear night, once it is fully up, you want to shorten exposure time even more.

 

  • The moon is a fast moving object. For one shot, I took four exposures, a short one for the moon, one at 16 seconds, one at 32 and one a bit longer than a minute. It took me maybe 4 minutes to take the shots, but if I flick through the pictures on the computer, I see the moon move through the picture! So forget about HDR, you’ll need to blend these exposures manually.

 

  • Finally, it is bloody cold when you are out shooting the moon in January. So next time, I’ll be wearing gloves. I really will.

 

Rising

Between trees

Moon over lake Zürich

Best of 2012… or so

Well, the year is over and it is time to look back what has been done, isn’t it? I know it should be done before the year is really over, but hey, this is my blog, so I do it when I think of doing it 😉 Just my personal collection. I could have gone to Google Plus and have a look which ones were the 12 most liked pictures there, but I feel egocentric today and give you my favorites.

Best Animal
First prize goes to the snail for it’s firm believe that the grass is greener on the other side, and it’s determination to find out if that is true.

Best Animal 2012

Best Landscape
I’m not that much of a landscape photographer, so this might be an area of improvement. I took this shot this fall when I had taken a few days off to capture fall colors and found winter. One of the few color film shots I really like 🙂

Best Landscape 2012

Best Analog
2012 has been the year I dived into film photography, struggling with getting the colors right when scanning color negatives and still learning how to see light well when shooting black and white film. I think I won’t dive much deeper into color film, but I’ll definitely continue to learn black and white film. This one may not be a technically brilliant shot, but it gives me huge giggles.

TriX400 Zürich Vue (22)

Best Black and White
I don’t have that many shots that are basically not more than a study in black and white. Not much more to say here, other that I took it in a place where one is not suposed to take pictures – again.

Anita

Best Streetshot
This one has been a tough call, as I have tons of street photos. But I actually like this one best for how it looks in black and white, the way the lens took care of the out of focus area and I think he’s just a strong character (Although I don’t have an idea who he is)

Best street 2012