Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Willet

400mm  f/8  1/1600sec  ISO400
In Fall 2013 I was on a vacation to Southern parts of the US East coast, namely South Carolina's Atlantic coast. I enjoyed beautiful landscapes and idyllic beaches. At the Eastern end of Folly Island there was a small bay with a beautiful beach. It was an amazing place. After spending some time there I was ready to leave again and while walking along the beach I suddenly spotted this cute bird. With it's long legs it was walking along the water edge and the long beak was picking up food from within wet sand.

400mm  f/8  1/1600sec  ISO400
Fortunately I still had my camera ready. I sat down on the ground, stabilized my lens on my knee and let the bird pass by. Since I was moving very little the bird was not afraid of me and came a bit closer. It was very concentrated to the sand to not miss any food and I was very exited to be able to observe it. Unfortunately the light conditions were not that optimal. The bird was walking in the "wrong" direction so it's face was mostly covered in shadow.


400mm  f/8  1/2000sec  ISO400
For taking photos of animals I usually use my EF-S 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L zoom lens which is mounted on my EOS 500D. The Camera was switched into Av mode with a fixed aperture value of f/8. This setting provides enough depth-of-field for a clear shot of the animal but still created a nicely blurred background. ISO was at a fixed value of 400 to enable fast shutter speed. Without having any tripod with me I stabilized myself by sitting down on ground and resting my arm holding the lens onto my knee.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Illuminated Bridge

Some days ago I shared photos of our recently held bi-annual light arts event, called "Luminale". Today I want to publish further photos of that event taken at another night at a different location. The exhibits are distributed throughout many parts of our city. One location raised my attention a lot. It is a newly build bridge over our river. The exhibition flyer promised a colorful illumination and I was curious about what it would look like.

18mm  f/3.5  1.6sec  ISO400  -1EV
When I arrived at the bridge the illumination performance just started. The whole building was covered in intensive blue color. Light beams were swirling around. I positioned my tripod next to one of the arches to let it appear quite massively in upper front of the scene. While the color faded from shades of to pink to bright green I changed my position to nearly the center of the driveway. Fortunately the road was closed for the duration of that performance. Additionally I turned my camera by 90 degrees to portrait format to frame the bridge in a better way. This way the supporting arch appears even more massive.

18mm  f/3.5  1/6sec  ISO400  -1EV
24mm  f/4  .6sec  ISO400  -2EV
After crossing the bridge the road made a turn and offered a side view to the building. The illumination has changed to be very colorful. Light beamers were positioned at both sides of the bridge which were projecting colorful patterns onto the bridge and it's supports. That was an amazing sight and so beautiful to watch. This was my absolutely favorite scene. So colorful, so impressive, simply fabulous.

34mm  f/4.5  1sec  ISO400  -2EV

18mm  f/3.5  3.2sec  ISO400  -1EV
After some time I went back over the bridge and followed the river bank. I wanted to get a different view of the bridge and it's illumination. I found a spot with a nice view. The were trees and bushes which make the scene more interesting. From that lower side view, the illumination of the bridge supports was more clearly visible. The light beams appear more impressive from that location. And the colorful reflection at the water surface was amazing.


49mm  f/5.6  6sec  ISO400  -1EV
I went further up the river bank in search for a location where I get a clear view at the bridge and the city's skyline behind it. After taking the first shots I was impressed. The skyline at night is always beautiful but the colorful illuminated bridge in front of it made the scene even more amazing. From that point of view the reflection of lights in the river were more intense. That evening out to the bridge was definitely worth it. Besides the illuminated facade of our stock exchange building, this bridge was my highlight of this year's Luminale.

For taking all these photos I chose the following setup: My EOS 600D was equipped with a 18-55mm standard zoom kit lens. The camera was set into P mode and calculated aperture and shutter speed automatically. Usually this setting results in overexposed photos during night time. That's why I activated spot metering and used exposure correction to get a nicely exposed result. ISO was at a fixed value of 400 to get faster shutter speeds at low light. Since the camera was mounted onto a tripod I disabled image stabilization. To prevent camera shakes I activated mirror lock and used a remote release control.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Luminale 2014

Every second year in our city is held a light and art exhibition called "Luminale". It is always a great chance to get out in the dark and take beautiful photographs of spectacularly illuminated facades and buildings or interesting light installations in public places or galleries. Two years ago I was visiting this event for the first time. It was amazing and I've published my results here. Last week this year's "Luminale" was held and I was out again with camera and tripod.

25mm  f/4  1/6sec  ISO400
One of the installations I visited was our main train station. The facade of it's entrance hall was illuminated in various and ever changing colors. Unfortunately the lower part of the building was covered in scaffold which ruined the overall impression. But the upper part was quite nice. Especially the statue of Atlas carrying the Earth sphere looked beautiful because it was illuminated in different colors. I would have taken a closer shot of it but didn't carry the proper lens with me.

40mm  f/5  1/15sec  ISO400
The next exhibit I visited was a light installation on a public place called "Orchestrating the Depth of Light". I'm not that art guy, so I didn't understand, what it was about. But it looked interesting. A plastic object in organic shape was illuminated from inside. The challenge in photographing this object was the ever changing brightness. Most of the photos were either under- or overexposed. I did some wide angle shots with the surrounding place but I more like the closeups, like this one.


30mm  f/4.5  1/3sec  ISO400
A further light installation I was interested in was called "Twinkle Twinkle". It was a funnel shaped construction of glass bars. During day time the glass breaks the sun light and twinkles in rainbow colors. In the darkness the structure was illuminated from below. From time to time the light twirled around and together with a sound of breaking glass it created an impression as if the construction is collapsing. The object was installed on top of a water surface which created a beautiful reflection. I turned the photo into a black and white one to eliminate distraction by surrounding city lights. I think, this way it comes mor into focus.

24mm  f/4  1/8sec  ISO400
My absolute highlight of this evening's walk was the illuminated facade of our stock exchange. The building itself is always beautiful but with all the lights it looked gorgeous. Due to light and shadow the elements of the facade are heavily pointed out by strong contrast. The colors were amazing and intense. I've seen photos of that building in various colors but as long as I was there they didn't change. Unfortunately the space around is limited so I could not completely frame the facade. Standing in front of that building was fantastic. A dream in pink.

20mm  f/3.5  1/6sec  ISO400

55mm  f/5.6  .6sec  ISO400

For taking all these photos I chose the easy way this time. My EOS 600D was equipped with a 18-55mm standard zoom kit lens. This is an ideal lens for city walks but, as I mentioned, for taking some closeups of roof statues a lens with higher focal length would be necessary. The camera was set into P mode and calculated aperture and shutter speed automatically. Usually this setting results in overexposed photos during night time. That's why I activated spot metering and used exposure correction to get a nicely exposed result. ISO was at a fixed value of 400 to get faster shutter speeds at low light. Since the camera was mounted onto a tripod I disabled image stabilization. To prevent camera shakes I activated mirror lock and used a remote release control.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Iditarod 2014

In early March the biggest and hardest dog sledge race of the wolrd takes place in Alaska, named the Iditarod. This year 70 mushers participated from which about 50 reached the finish line. The trail starts in Anchorage and ends in Nome. The fastest team needed about 8 and a half days to get there. I have read a lot about the race and watched several TV documentations in the past so it was my dream to visit the start ceremony in Anchorage. This March my dream came true. It was a lot of fun and very exiting. I enjoyed both the ceremonial start in Anchorage on Saturday and the real start in Willow, some miles out of the city. Here are some of my best shots of this amazing event.