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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Terra Monochromia 3

Baby sheep - or at least a hint of them. Not sure if this is a spring thing or if you can see this year around in Iceland. Probably just in spring, but then you can see them pretty much everywhere where you can find green grass. That's also the time when you for sure get attacked by birds when stepping into their breeding territory, but that's another story.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sitting Surfer

During the period when I photographed New York City I sometimes got to hear requests to finally start photographing something else. Those voices got pretty quiet when I started photographing the beaches over here in California, but now it starts again from other sides: "enough with the beaches", etc. I guess you have to deal with it until I move to Europe. This will be in less than six weeks.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Some Kind of Burner Portrait

This is a portrait of a burner, however I didn't take this at the festival. The story is that my visit to Burning Man seems to have a much longer lasting effect then I would have expected. Because of my pictures, more and more burners get in touch with me. Now if you are not familiar with BM, you probably don't know what this means. I'm happy to share my impressions: the people you meet there are people of the most creative, kindest, and entrepreneurial kind - 50,000 of them. This has all been very interesting to me so far. The lady in the picture is a photography student. She contacted me on Facebook and then "booked" me for a 1-on-1 course to learn about my approach to picture-taking.

In the picture below you see Alex and Yanina. Alex and Yanina got married at Burning Man. I didn't know about them until their best friend Laurent contacted me to ask about the Bliss Dance photo. In a virtual way, I accompanied Laurent during his quest seeking for the best way to make a wedding present out of it. The result is a print on metallic paper behind 1/4 inch Plexiglas. Receiving this photo kind of made my day. Not sure how to explain this. I very much enjoy looking at the contrast between the day I took off to the dessert not knowing what to expect, and today, when looking at the positive ripple-effect it still has.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Terra Monochromia 2

Taken on a super stormy night at the southern coast of Iceland.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Terra Monochromia 1

This might be my new thing. Without HDR and turned into strong contrasty black & whites, many of my Iceland pictures start to look very exciting. At least to me. What do you think?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sixth Ave

Was about to jump a fence for this one - until I saw the open gate.

Washed Out

Most important things to have for such pictures are a neutral density filter and a heater to dry your shoes later on.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Moonlight Delight

Saw the moon last night? Down here in San Diego the sky was so bright, it seemed like a never ending magic hour - or whatever you call the minutes right after sunset. The dark blue night sky made me walk through my neighborhood a little, and this is what I brought home. You might not expect it, but this picture is not an HDR. It's the combined light from the moon, passing cars, and street lamps. All captured within a single exposure that lasted 30 seconds.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nuclear Winter

Sorry for the harsh title, I didn't mean to irritate you. But then again, there are a few possible outcomes everybody should be always aware of. In that sense, I think it's perfectly appropriate to make each other feel uncomfortable at times.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Now I'm Ready to Start

Now I'm Ready to Start

My mind is open wide

Now I'm Ready to Start

Not sure you'll open the door

To step out into the dark

Now I'm ready!

Find out which song these lines belong to and win a free spaceflight!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Burner Portrait IV

You can find more Burning Man images here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Photo Walker

A picture from yesterday's photo walk in La Jolla. The weather wasn't typical California style which even made some people cancel. However the weather was perfect for HDR. I was pretty impressed how curious everybody was to learn the technique. It all ended in a Photoshop session where I showed my processing workflow to my most eager students. Lots of fun - thanks guys!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

City in Fog

I'm getting ready for the photo walk tomorrow. I hope some of you are able to join.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My 2011 Wall Calendar is Here!

It's finally here - I'm excited about this. This is the New York City wall calendar for 2011 with 12 of my best New York images. All images are from the HDR series.

After going through various print-on-demand companies, I decided to go with RedBubble.com as I really like the quality and design they are offering. They also present themselves a bit more artsy and serious, but less gimmicky than most other companies that offer similar services.

In case you want one, you can order it right here, and I think you can pretty much get it from anywhere in the world. So far it got mostly ordered from people who work around my desk. I received it today and pretty much at the moment I took it out of the box I got the first buyers.

Once you are on RedBubble you can choose your currency.

- The US price for example is $27.17 per copy.
- If you order from Europe, you pay €18.59 per copy.

There are rebates for those who buy more than 2.
Note that the prices do not include shipping. The shipping costs vary depending on where you are.

Buy art

Let me give you a quick tour (you can click on the photos to see more details):

The cover

The calendar is printed on beautifully thick 200gsm satin art paper. Colors come out very nicely.

The design is modern simplistic

I hope you'll enjoy it, and feel free to send me your feedback!

Buy art

Thursday, October 14, 2010


This beast is 200 feet (60 meters) high.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Burner Portrait III

She was dancing into the sunrise to some chill electronic music.

The first two Burning Man portraits are here & here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Midnight Diner

Diners...don't you love them? You guys have something like a favorite diner movie scene? Would love to read about it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Icelandic Farmland

Not sure what to write to this picture, except maybe that I hope you're enjoying the rest of your weekend. See you next week!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

La Jolla Photo Walk - Oct. 17

Anyone going to come out and join my photo walk on Sunday? Photographers of all levels are welcome.

Here is the plan: We are going to explore beautiful La Jolla - that's the northern part of San Diego. I thought about it for a while and figured out that this is the very best place for a nice walk. It has a very pretty downtown-ish area and a few steps from there is the ocean front. At the beach we have rocks and cliffs with wildlife including seals, so you might wanna bring your telephoto lens. However, as my mother has proven to me recently, you can also take great pictures there with a pocket camera.
We will meet up at the Living Room Cafe at 4:30, stroll around, and will seek out good positions to shoot the sunset over the ocean at 6:30. I'm looking forward to meeting you and help out in case you have any photography questions.

Who: Photographers of all levels.
When: Sunday, October 17, 4:30 pm
Meetup at: the Living Room Cafe, 1010 Prospect Street La Jolla, CA 92037

I also created a Facebook event for that. Yay!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scarf Dance

Do you mind if I photograph you?
I don't mind, but I think I have a cramped muscle.
And I have only 14 frames left on my memory card.
We are a good match.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

5 Ways to Improve Your Halloween Photography

No matter if you are at a party, a parade, or attempt Halloween street photography in your hometown, the following five advices will help you shoot in a way that captures the mood of the haunted night.

1. Leave your flash at home and shoot with high ISO instead
Unless you really know what you are doing, I recommend that you not bother using your flashlight. This might come as a surprise to you since most of your Halloween shots will take place in low light situations. However, if you consider how brutal flash lights are when carelessly set, you can probably imagine that not much of the spooky Halloween mood will be left in your photographs. There are experts who know how to do this right although I have yet to see many examples where it was done nicely. This is why I recommend you choose another path: if not much light is available, try to increase the ISO of your camera as much as you can.
When it comes to ISO, you need to know your camera and at which setting it starts to produce image noise to an extent that is unbearable. Once you figure this out, simply stay below this number. Generally, compact cameras with very high resolution tend to show a stronger increase in image noise with increasing ISO numbers. Besides many other things, larger camera systems such as SLRs do a much better job in the ISO department. Keep in mind that each camera has different characteristics. With a few experiments or by studying the EXIF data of the pictures you already took, you can quickly figure out which ISO is useful for you.

2. Use a fast lens
A fast lens is a lens with a large aperture. Such lenses are built to let in large amounts of light into your camera body. How much light your lens is letting in at a time will be a crucial factor when you are out there during Halloween night. The more light, the shorter you can set the exposure time. The best practice is to set your camera to aperture priority mode. This mode allows you to choose the aperture so that you can set it to the largest possible (the smallest f-number). In this mode, the camera automatically chooses the right exposure time for you, which is very convenient.
If you have a little bit of experience, you also know that a large aperture can help you to isolate your subject from the background. This is an important cornerstone for appealing portraits regardless if you shoot at day or night. To give you some numbers, I have successfully been using prime lenses on the streets at night. These lenses had focal lengths between 30mm and 85mm, and maximum apertures between f/1.4 and f/1.8.

3. Shoot RAW
Using the camera’s RAW format over the processed and compressed JPEG format is particularly a good choice when you want to post-process your images. The reason is simply because there is more information in each pixel of a RAW image. In many cases, you might not see this difference when comparing a RAW to its JPEG counterpart with your bare eyes. However, your computer sees much more in these pixels than your eyes. When you process your image, the computer has more material to work with, therefore giving you more freedom when pushing the sliders of your software. The kind of processing I mostly do on nightly Halloween pictures is the use of noise reduction filters and exposure compensation to brighten up the scenes.

4. Move around
Because you won’t use a flash light, you are very dependent on the light that is available. By changing your position and experimenting with angles, you will eventually find light that is good for the sort of images you want to create. Once you find something good, stay there and keep shooting for a while. Take good advantage of the spot you find, but at some point, move on to another one. By changing your position your images will show changing backgrounds. This will not only keep the viewers of your images entertained, but also yourself in the process of taking them.

5. Dress up and become part of the crowd
Here I’m giving you an advice I haven’t followed myself yet. However, I will say that your subjects will look the best and most authentic when you become part of the crowd rather than being perceived as an observer. If you are able to interact naturally with your subjects, they will also appear natural in your photographs. Dress up, be funny, and have fun!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Now Leasing

Steffi and I were on the fishing pier in Ocean Beach yesterday. There are so many people with huge fishing rods, it makes it easily to keep a low profile when walking with a fully extended tripod.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Merchant of Venice

Venice Beach that is.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Foggy San Diego Morning

You don't get such a sky here often, however, on Wednesday night we had in fact a thunderstorm - which is pretty weird. The morning after I had to drop my family to the airport which led to the rare event of me seeing the sun rise.

Now in case this picture confuses you, let me tell you that San Diego is full of little hills with nice homes spread all over the landscape. It allows you to photograph the city in many interesting perspectives. All you need to know is where to go. This one was taken from Mount Soledad.

San Diego Photo Tour?
Because San Diego has so much beauty and so many facets, I'm thinking of offering a photo tour across the city showing you some exciting spots. That would basically be a free event for photographers of all levels to enjoy and photograph the city together. I'm just not sure if anybody who is up for it is reading this. Let me know if you are interested.