During my recent trip to Denmark, I had the chance to visit the art museum called ARoS in Aarhus. It’s huge, apparently one of the largest art museum’s in Northern Europe. The museum displays all kinds of art on its 10 storeys and I’m sure it would take several hours to explore the museum in details, so our main target with our visit was the art work called “Your Rainbow Panorama” by Olafur Eliasson, a Danish-Icelandic artist who is known for his large-scale color, lights and water art works. This particular artwork sits on the roof of the museum, and is a 360° view of Aarhus, but viewed through tinted window panels in all the colors of the rainbow. It is truly a spectacular experience. Once inside the ring, the color changes as you walk around the art work, and your perception of colors changes dramatically. It was very weird feeling to see object that you for sure knew what color it was but was shown in a totally different hue. An absolutely spectacular experience – (did I say that already?). Should you be in the neighborhood, take an afternoon and explore this great museum. It is an art piece in it self.
Since the artwork is called a panorama, I attempted to shoot a pano. The pano above is combined from 5 shots through the clear glass of the entrance to the ring, so you might see some reflections in the pano. Below is a view of the art museum from the out side, and a few shots from inside the ring. The images from inside the ring are straight from the camera without any adjustments at all. You can click on the thumbnails for a larger view.
The next couple of posts will be from this, to me, extraordinary museum, which among other things is the home for the largest boy you can imagine. Stay tuned.
About 2 weeks ago I was walking around downtown looking for something to photograph, and as the sun was setting, it became so red like I haven’t seen in a long time. I believe last time was on a MC trip in Portugal, and it was more or less under the same circumstances – smoke pollution from forest fires. This time of year is fire season up here, and as the vegetation and soil dries out in the heat, it just takes a lightning strike to start a fire. There was about a 100 or so fires going a couple of weeks ago, and it turns out that the smoke from some of these forest fires in Northern Ontario was moving south and causing these amazing colors.
I underexposed the image quite a bit to get the deep red colors, it is also cropped very tight in post to eliminate power lines, communication towers and other junk that obstructs a clear view.
One of the spots I like to go shoot is about 1 hour drive from my house. I drive by this place just about once a week as part of my daytime job, so I can kind of keep an eye on whats going on there. It’s the Duchesney Falls in North Bay, Ontario. Being visible from the highway, it’s fairly easy to determine if there’s too much water going down or too little. Too much water, and you wont get the small interesting trickles or mini falls over or between the rocks – those are the ones I like to shot, it’s also a bit tougher and of course very dangerous to get to close to the falls. Too little water is just as bad.
Nevertheless, it’s still a great place to practice photographing water falls all year round.
The shot above could be an example on why it’s not such a good idea shooting water falls in direct sunlight. The foaming white water, the wet highlights are instant blinkies even at fast shutter speeds, and remember fast shutter speeds will not give you the silky look. This is shot with my new Nikkor 16-35 mm f/4 lens, and I did not have a 77 mm polarizer or ND filter to put on, so I decided to try some bracketing on this location. In Photomatix, I made 2 tone maps. 1 for the overall scene and then a shadow map for some contrast (see Rob Hanson’s blog for this very cool technique ). In Photoshop I combined the overall tone map with the shadow map, and masked in the water from exposure that looked the best.
To me, one of the coolest things in photographs are when there is a sense of movement, there is an energy or a power in the shot. Examples of that could be lightning, storm clouds, streaking cars or trains. Water does the trick for me. I love shooting running water and by playing around with long exposures you get some pretty neat effects. To me, a tag sharp image of water falling or running is less interesting than if there is a blur to the water. Water in rivers and creeks moves, sometimes fast, sometimes slowly usually depending on the time of year and to me that movement needs to be in a shot of, lets say, a waterfall. In order to get the sense of flowing water or that cool silky look, the shutter speed needs to be slowed down – way down.
Here are a few tips on how to achieve that look.
- Use a good solid tripod.
- Use a cable release or use the timer on the camera.
- Keep ISO low.
- Use aperture mode and choose a small aperture like f/16 or f/22
- Shoot at dawn or dusk, or on an over cast day.
- To cut even more light use a polarizer, which not only remove reflections and boost colors, but also eats at least one stop of light – slowing down the shutter speed even more..
- Or you can use a ND filter also called natural density filter. The will usually reduce the light between 1 and 10 stops depending on which one you buy.
- Your goal is to end up with a shutter speed at around 1/10 sec or slower. It depends on how fast the water moves of course, but generally at that shutter speed the magic starts to happen and you get that silky smooth feel of water running.
Try it out next time you are out shooting running water, it’s very rewarding. Btw, the shot above is from Moose Creek, Levack, Ontario.
I was out doing a bit of Geocaching just outside of town, around mid May this year, there where still no leaves on the trees. One cache took me to the top of one of the peaks – about 985 ft ~ 300 meters above sea level. Great look from there over one of the lakes. While I was logging the cache, the skies just got really dark to the right on the image, which is roughly over the down town area and you could see the rain coming down – probably pretty hard. At the same time, the sun was shining through a thin layer of clouds to the left of the image. I had to shoot it because it started to look really cool and dramatic. I was kind of hoping that the B/W conversion would convey that.
The skies here in Northern Ontario are usually one of two things. Grey skies, or no skies at all. Occasionally we get lucky and get some pretty spectacular stuff but that is rare. I wish we would get something like this or this - both shot by Scott Ackerman. Another great cloud shot is this one by Mike Olbinski – amazing stuff. Well, I got to work with what we get up here, so the next couple of posts will be feature skies and clouds from my neck of the woods.
We took a walk friday night after a small rain storm had passed. As the dark clouds were moving on leaving just blue sky behind, the sun all of a sudden peeped out beneath the cloud cover. A quick shot at f/22 to get the star burst effect. In LR a gradient adjustment to lighten the sky at the top of the image. My vantage point was not the best but I’m glad I at least had my camera with me.
Today’s image is not really spectacular in itself, just a view from a hill in Denmark, and frankly, it looks like I could have shot this with almost any wide-angle lens. However, this image is a 17 frame panorama stitched together in Photoshop. A bottom row of 8 and a top row of 9 images (don’t ask why the odd number…). I shot two rows to get some more sky in the shot. Every time I make a panorama, it always amazes me, just how well PS photomerge works. Very rarely do I have to do anything at all after Photoshop is done merging the images.
Anyway, after the rendering, the image was cropped, a bit of color contrast enhancement was added and then I desaturated a few selected colors. Mostly the blue and green which was got a bit too hot after the contrast adjustment. Back into LR where I fixed a few highlights.
Btw, to shoot a panorama:
- Hold the camera in portrait mode, your image will be higher after the final crop, you may have to shot more frames to get the scene you want.
- Make sure your exposure is locked so it’s the same throughout the scene.
- Make sure your white balance is locked in as well.
- Focus on the main subject in the scene, switch to manual focusing or use your AF-L button to lock focus, reposition for the first frame and shot.
- If you use a tripod, make sure it’s perfectly level, as well as your camera otherwise you will have to crop out a lot of good pixels in post.
- If you shoot hand hold, get a solid stance with your feet pointing in the direction of the first shot. Take a few shots and re-position your body and feet and shoot again. Don’t over twist your body, because that will actually mimic an un-level tripod. Basically as you move through the scene, your camera will get lower and lower the more you twist your body, and you lose good pixels when you crop.
- Make sure you overlap each frame by min. 20%.
You don’t buy that do you? I probably have about 20 versions of this image, and I have wanted to post one of them for a long time – well at least since I started this blog. Most of my versions are B/W with different levels of blurred back ground. Then the other day I was playing with this image again, I moved the temperature slider in LR3 by mistake instead of the Exposure slider, and I really liked what the blue cast did to the image, sort of like a moon beam hitting the rocks in the lake, so explored that a bit more from there, and this is what I came up with. I like this image a lot, and it’s probably one of those shots I going to make a 18×12 print of and hang in one of my bed rooms. I’m just not totally sure if I’m finished with it.
Your input and advice is always appreciated.
Mike Olbinski announced yesterday that he is organizing a Photo walk in downtown Phoenix, AZ on June 10th. Man I wish I could go. Judging from the pictures on the blogs I frequent, Arizona certainly has a few gems, just waiting to be photographed.
A couple of days ago, Brad announced on Scott Kelby’s blog that the 3rd annual World Wide Photo walk will take place on October 1st & 2nd 2011 So with all the talk about photo walks, I thought I make a post about it. I have participated in both SK WWPW, and as it happened both took place while I was on vacation back in Denmark, so I joined the city that was closest to my hometown. You might already have seen a shot from the first Photo walk on my blog, it’s the post here, from Odense, Denmark. I did not submit that one though, I just like the shot, and I had a great time walking around with the other shooters. Last year was in Aarhus, Denmark, and I had the honor to make it to the final 1112. True story, – I still can’t believe it. Anyway, it’s the shot you see above. Just a guy sitting by the harbor front doing a little fishing.
Todays image was shot last year in late July while on vacation. It is one of two old identical front doors to the Aarhus Theater, located in Aarhus, Denmark. I wish I have had the time to stay after dark when the building just comes to life as the light inside shines through the painted glass panes. Looks pretty amazing I tell ya.
The title of the image is part of a rough translation from a slogan used by the Royal Theater in Copenhagen. Actually the real slogan would be “Not Just For Fun” but I had fun processing this one, so I cropped out the “Not”. Usually the slogan will be accompanied by two masks one sporting a smiley face and one a sad face. Sort of like a global theater logo.
So I was out shooting with my buddy Ken Bennison last Sunday at Killarney Prov. Park, Ontario. Absolutely beautiful place. Lots of rocks, trees and lakes.
On a day with ideal conditions, killer shots are there for the taking.
Well, last Sunday was not one of those days. It was way to windy to get any good shots of the lake (I have to get me a 10 stop ND filter). The trees were all over the place. The light was not really playing ball either as it got hazy late in the evening. We had hoped the wind would die down and the light to improve, so we could start shooting, but it never really happened. So instead of admiring the view, which we had already done for some time, I decided to wander off into the bush to see if I could find something else to shoot.
I saw this shot as an opportunity to practice some HDR. As you can see its just a pile of rocks with an old withered piece of wood leaning up against it. I shot a few sets of brackets and moved on. It was not until tonight when I imported the images into LR that I realized what I had shot. I thought it was kind of cool looking, and I also kind of hope you see what I see.
You don’t, huh? Darn it…
Well, lemme splain. I was whipping pretty fast through all the shots in LR because I did not expect to have anything worth sharing. But something made me go stop and go back to take a second look at the brackets I shot at this spot. Then I realized that the piece of wood looked like a fossilized head and neck of an old prehistoric bird. The shape of a bird’s head was there, it had the eye in the right place, the beak was in the right place too and it was long and slightly open. It even looked like it had something in its beak for crying out loud, maybe a small fish. – Cool!
The green mos on top of its head looked like it belonged there. Something I totally did not expect. Needles to say, if I go back there and it hasn’t been disturbed, I’m going to try to get some different angles and apertures on this “old bird”
It is not a spectacular shot in any way but it was a huge surprise to discover this, and since our outing was pretty much skunked as Ken put it I thought it could be fun to process the brackets and post the result here. As it turns out, looking through the rest of my shots, I found another rock feature that has the shape of another animal. Maybe I’ll post that later.
Let me know what you see.
Thanks for looking.
A new post is way overdue. That’s what happens when work takes up all your free time.
This shot was taken in Espanola, Ontario. Same day as my last post, but earlier in the morning. Its a silhouette of the towns paper mill which dates back to 1899. With all that history, there must be some gems hidden from view that just begs to be bracketed. I wish I could go explore the plant, but that’s not gonna happen anytime soon.
Today’s image is from late October 2010. It is shot in Espanola, Ontario. Espanola is a small town of Hwy 17 and it’s known for its paper plant – and by outsiders, unfortunately also the at times unbearable smell that is associated with paper manufacturing.
Usually when I’m in Espanola, I stay on the main road, but this time I decided to go down a side road that would lead to a pick-nick area by the lake.
So late October, early morning around 9:30, no wind what so ever. The fog is so thick that its hard to even see the side of the road I’m driving on. I get to the pick-nick area, and all of a sudden the sun peeps through clouds. The water is a mirror and with the fog slowly lifting it reveals this dock/boat house and the reflections from the trees and skies in the water. It was a great surprise because I did not know what I could expect at this location and I guess I got there just in time. 10 minutes later and I wouldn’t have gotten anything like this. So I quickly setup my tripod and camera and got some shots. Minutes later the wind was picking up and with the sun out, the fog was gone. I’m really happy I got this shot you see above. I have made many color versions of it, but this B/W version is my favorite.
First off, thanks to every body who took time to check out my new blog and for leaving some nice comments. It’s been a great experience so far and I have in return come across some pretty cool sites that I probably wouldn’t discovered on my own. It has definitively made me want to post more of my images, so thanks again for the “push”.
When I’m out shooting, I like to look for patterns or symbols. I also like to shoot water, and water and patterns makes some really cool combos and/or reflections.
I went shooting last fall with my good friend Ken Bennison, around Massey, Ontario. We took Ken’s truck, and I was so smart (read: really really stupid) to leave my tripod in my car. (Whats more important on a shoot – Lunch or the tripod?- Well, I obviously choose to bring my lunch…) When I realized what I had done, it was too late. We were too far up the road. So hand holding a camera became a great exercise that day. Hand holding is not a huge problem until dusk comes around, that’s when it gets pretty tricky.
At the time of this shot, we were about 90 min up a gravel road, and I noticed this rock had a familiar symbol or pattern to it. It reminded me of a teacher I had a long time ago that drew eyes like that. The V shape on the side and the curve to complete the eye. Here the reflection in the water mirrors the crack and the semi-circle in the rock and completes the “eye” – twice. It looks almost like an ancient Egyptian symbol you would find on the pyramids.
It was a great outing that day, even though I was without a tripod. I have a couple more shots from that day that I will post later.
Be sure to check out Ken’s images. He has some pretty amazing stuff on his blog
They say that visitors shoot more than 10 million pictures at Niagara Falls every year. So I thought I would join the fun and shot some images while I was there anyway. I was in Buffalo for “The Flash Bus Tour” with David Hobby and Joe McNally. (Absolutely amazing event. I hope you got a chance to check it out). Anyway, when you go to Buffalo, you gotta go see the falls. Its going to cost you a dollar to cross the bridge, so it’s a cheap place to go for a spectacular view. Its been 10 years since I last went there, so it was nice to be back.
In early April the Maid of the Mist is still in the dock, but they still light the falls at night which what i hoped for and what I wanted to capture. So after a bite at the Red Inn just up the road from the falls, we went to back to check out the light show. Amazing.
The light changes colors, and I was fortunate to get a shot of the red on the American Falls. The big red blob in the shot is ice, which looks really cool with layers of different colored ice.
Okay, so this is the first post of my new website. I still have tweaks to make, but that will come over time. In the mean time I welcome any feedback you might have. I do realise that I’m writing this mostly for my self to read, but I have to start somewhere. So I’ll kick it off with an image I shot in Denmark in the summer of 2009. Reason for the pick, Im Danish, and its was already processed to my liking. Looking back, I wish I would have done some brackets to attempt a HDR. I went back to the same beach the year after, but this boat where nowhere to be seen. A glass fiber boat just isn’t the same – I tried it.
I follow quite a few photographers, and I’ll try to feature them here on my blog as times goes. I also like reading about photography, and the editing tools that goes with photography, so my book shelves are getting pretty full. A list and an occasional review of a book will most likely find its way on this blog as well.
Well that’s it for now. See you around.