Category Archives: Zürich

Kids Parade at Sechseleuten

Sometimes I love these public events, specially the ones that are not hugely crowded. Here in Zürich we have two major events, the first one is Sechseleuten, where we burn a snow man to officially welcome Spring and the other one is the Streetparade, which is sort of a ravers mardi gras in summer.

However, with the Sechseleuten event, there is also a smaller parade on Sunday, which for kids to do an official parade in historic costumes and feel important.

Here are a few shots from the event, enjoy! All shots were taken with the Leica Monochom, which is of course the perfect camera for a colorful event like this one 🙂

Leica Monochrom, Philipp Weimer, Streetpixels
A jester, making huge bubbles for the kids. Bubbles!!

 

Leica Monochrom, Philipp Weimer
Up on Lindenplatz, I found this Blacksmith, making bells. Of course I tried not to interfere with his hammer 🙂
Leica Monochrom, Philipp Weimer
I really wonder what she was telling her friend 🙂

 

Leica Monochrom, Philipp Weimer
The moment he realized he lost his lucky charm was way more important than the parade 🙂

 

no parade is complete without a brassmand :)
no parade is complete without a brassmand 🙂

 

Leica Monochrom, Philipp Weimer
I know chinese dragons are not typically Swiss, but who cares if they have fun?

 

Leica Monochrom, Philipp Weimer
Proudly representing her organisation. Very proudly, and very beautifully
Leica Monochrom, Philipp Weimer
Don’t worry, I managed to dodge the drum 🙂

 

Back to the roots

It has been a while since I posted shots from the street, hasn’t it? Did you miss it?

Ah, you’re too kind! And I have to say, it still is nice to walk the street with a camera, looking around and taking shots of things that catch my eye. To go to places I have not been for a while and have another look. Going back to the roots is an interesting way to look back, as it allows to have a look at your progression.

I realize I take shots differently now, at a slower place. I even work the scene now, taking several shots.  For once the shots were about the city itself, not people on the street. I guess that’s the influence of all the landscape photography I did last year. After all, isn’t a city simply another landscape, one that is made by men?

I think I might explore the city again a bit.

Prime TowerPrime Tower in Zürich. Finally found a way to shoot it without looking completly boring.

Prime TowerPrime Tower and its reflection. hmmm…. Still a boring building

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe city is changing. To the better? May be, but it is definitely less colorful.

Resistance is futileSome places try to resist change while new buildings are reaching for the sky to the left and right. But… can one resist change?

 

How to do Nightphotography

Night photography. The type of photography that makes cities shine, plays with light and even makes the most dull corners of your town look romantic. Sounds like simple photography, doesn’t it?

Well, it actually is, if you follow a few guidelines 🙂

15 minutes of glory

One thing to keep in mind though is that time is not your friend. Too early, and the sky is too bright and the city lights are dull. Too late, and the city lights are very nice, but the sky is black. You only have about 15 to 30 minutes if you want the city lights to sparkle in front of a dark blue sky like diamonds on a satin sheet. And because you want to use these few minutes for taking pictures you should:

Scout the location during the day

Get there early while the sun is still up. Decide where you want to take the shot, what you want to have in your composition and what not while you can see everthing. Decide for your lens, snap a few test shots. Just make sure that when the sun is gone, you know what you want to shoot and how you want to shoot it.

Shoot the dark side first

Nope, we’re not talking star wars here. But if there is more than one spot you want to take pictures of, take the shots facing east first, then those facing west. If you take the shots in the morning, do it the other way around. Reason is, that those 15 minutes of glory are first in the east in the evening and quite a bit later in the west. If you’re well organized, you can squeeze about 30 to 45 minutes of dark velvet sky out of one sunset.

Use spot metering

Even with the sky going dark, you will still be facing a very contrasty scene. Use the spot metering of your camera to find the brightest spot in the scene and then overexpose / push this spot as far right in the histogram as you can. Best tool for this is an external light meter with a spot meter. I use a Sekonic L-758 and it makes figuring out a good exposure really a walk in the park. In the shot above, all I had to do in post work was to pull the highlight slider to the left to get the details back in the store windows I metered for.
On most modern digital cameras you can push this bright spot up by 3 stops, on a modern sensor even 3.5 to 4. Provided of course, that you shoot RAW.

White Balance

White balance is a tricky thing in night shots and you will most likely want to tweak it to get the mood you’re looking for. The lights in the scene will have their light temperature all over the place and there simply is not one single white balance that fits all the lights in the scene. So be prepared to use that white balance slider in Lightroom quite a bit. Once you found a setting you like, just apply it to all other shots taken of that scene.

Other stuff to remember

  • Use a tripod. You know why
  • Use the lowest ISO your camera offers. You want as little noise as possible in your shots
  • Shoot in RAW format. You want all the flexibility you can have in your postwork
  • When in doubt about the right exposure, bracket your shots.
  • Wear warm cloths. Yes, once the sun sets, the cold creeps in
  • Don’t be afraid of werewolves. They don’t exist. However, robbers and thieves do, so consider the location you take our shots and maybe better don’t go there alone.
  • Evening is usually better than morning. Many cities only illuminate buildings in the evening and turn the lights off later to save energy (which is a good thing)

Oh, and while you’re on location, waiting for the sun to go down, just be prepared to get some nice sunset shots. Even if you’re there for night shots, don’t be single minded 🙂

Zürich-Lucy-2013-12-07 (1 of 3)

Christmas lights

Ahh Christmas time. The sound of bells, pretty lights, White Christmas being played in the radio… Is there a better time in the year?

Not if you’re a kid. This is the time where you write down your wishlist and send it on it’s way to the north pole, so that Santa Claus knows what to push down the chimney. And you hope he get’s it right this year, as you really can’t remember having asked for that hand knitted pullover.

Not so much if you’re not a kid and you still haven’t done your christmas shopping yet. As you, you know it’s not Santa who gets all the presents, oh no. Santa does not have to go to town and fight with other parents over that last Playstation 4. That’s you. And you can hardly wait to start with christmas shopping.

And so I decided to help you. Just look at these Christmas lights. Aren’t they pretty? Don’t you want to go to town and look at them? And maybe get some nice, hot spiced tea? And while you’re there, why don’t you go into this lovely store and get those presents?

Just don’t knit another pullover for little Timmy. He… he really is not appreciating it.

Christmas-Lights-1

Christmas-Lights-3

Private Pool

Now imagine, just for a moment, you’re a little duck. Actually, just hatched from your egg. And as a duck, you’ll have to learn how to swim. I mean, unless you’re Scrooge McDuck, you’ll have to organize you’re food yourself, don’t you?

Now let’s expand this mental picture and imagine you’re not born near a nice, cozy litte pond in a park, but at a huge lake. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little pool to learn how to swim? Guarded by your caring, loving mom?

Well now you know why this is the most happy little duck in the world 🙂

Happy little duckling
Happy little duckling

Winter it is

Me and my big mouth. Rambling about how this winter is too warm. Remember? Just two weeks ago?

Well, it looks like the ice queen heard my ramblings and sent some ice trolls down our way, just to show me who’s the boss. They may be ugly beasts with greenish grey long hair, but, when it comes to decorating a town, they do have a nice taste.

So, grab your whiskey, gin or whatever your favorite drink is and come over to visit Zürich. We have more then enough ice for your drinks!

Ice Queen's revenge

Shot with the Leica M6 and a Zeiss Sonnar 50mm on Kodak 400 Tri-X developed in HC110 dilution E

On the run

Folks on Google Plus often tease me for shooting a manual focus camera. You know, like they hope the glacier doesn’t move too fast for me, when we did the Aletsch Glacier walk.

And that’s where zone focus comes in. This is a nifty little trick, where you set the distance before you even lift the camera to your eye. You also use a rather small aperture, usually f8 or smaller, so you get a nice deep field of focus. And then, all you need, is either to walk up to your subject or wait for your subject to come towards you.

WHOA, not so fast pal!

This works of course best with old manual lenses as they have markings for the distance as well as for the field of focus for each aperture. So all you need is a quick glance to know what your settings are. Modern autofocus lenses unfortunately don’t have these marks. But they don’t need them, as they have fast autofocus. Which usually locks on the same subject you want it to 😉

By the way, the glacier didn’t move too fast for me, and the longer the walk went, the more jealous looks my light, little camera got 😉