Archive for the 'Germany' Category

28
Aug
10

8/28/2010: Good Night Wetzlar

One last shot from old town Wetzlar. The stone bridge, gables, and lighted shop windows, with the gloomy drama of the sky above. Without HDR treatment this shot would be impossible. To me it totally captures the feeling of the rainy evening as I headed back to the hotel, and says something about old town Wetzlar that I have felt, but never captured before.

Two shots with the Canon SX20IS separated by 3EV, and then tone-mapped blend in Photomatix. Final adjustments in Lightroom for Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpen. Perspective and distortion correction.

From Germany and England 2010.

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27
Aug
10

8/27/2010: The Dom and the Bridge

It got later and later on my rainy evening walk through old town Wetzlar, but the evening light lasts a long time in Germany. I was headed back to the hotel when I made a last stop for this classic shot of the Dom above the stone bridge over the Lahn. Once more a shot I have taken many times, but never in this light, and never with HDR in mind. The drama of the cloud cap, the last light, the moisture in the air softening color and prespective, and elegant arches of the bridge set in rustic stone, the pastel gables of the old houses, and above it all the tower of the Dom (and that anachronistic blue polyester tarping). Quite a shot, even without the fairy light of the fountain on the trees at the right. Smile

Two radically different exposures allowed me to capture the light of the foreground and the gray of the sky, and Photomatix Lite put them together for a pretty remarkable effect (if I do say so myself).

A little help from my usual Lightroom routines (Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpen), and some perspective and distortion correction, and there it is.

Canon SX20 IS.

From Germany and England 2010.

26
Aug
10

8/26/2010

The Dom: Wetzlar, Germany

There is an interesting story, of course, behind the Dom…the not quite cathedral of old Wetzlar. The original church was built in the 1300s, but as the city of Wetzlar grew (salt and iron), the town fathers found the ambition to be a cathedral city, and began to build a new church around the walls of the old. That’s how they did it then…they literally built the new building with the old one inside it. Before it was completed, Wetzlar fell on hard times, and construction was abandoned. It was restarted, as I remember the story, 3 separate times in the next 200 years, as the fortunes and ambitions of the town and the town fathers waxed and waned, each time with a new architect and a new style.  It never was finished. There were supposed to be two towers, and inside the church there are doorways half way up blank walls where new floors had been planned and never installed. And yet, because of that, it is one of the most interesting churches in Germany, containing as it does, written in stone, a record of the changing styles in church architecture over almost 3 centuries.

Sitting high on the hill on which old Wetzlar is built, the Dom dominates the skyline from any direction, but it is actually not easy to find a good spot for photography. This is a classic distant shot, taken from the long park along the River Lahn, beyond the stone bridge, again on my one rainy late evening of photography on this trip to Wetzlar. In this light, and with that sky, it certainly has drama. What you see is a Photomatix HDR rendered from two Canon SX20IS wide angle exposures. (The blue on the tower is not a lens or sensor flaw. There is scaffolding the full height of the tower where they are repairing and reinforcing the walls, and it is, characteristically, covered in bright blue polyester tarps.)

After blending and tone-mapping in Photomatix Lite, I did my usual Blackpoint adjustment, added Clarity and Vibrance, and sharpen in Lighroom. Some perspective adjustment was also applied.

From Germany and England 2010.

25
Aug
10

8/25/2010

Giessen Backyard

Still rainy days in Germany when I took this shot. I visited a colleagues home in Giessen in the early German evening, and while he discussed roof repairs with his contractor, I looked around for photo options. This is taken straight down from a balcony on the second floor. I like it as an abstract…the contrast of colors and textures and forms.

Canon SD4000IS at 28mm equivalent field of view @ f2.8 @ 1/100th @ ISO 200. Programmed auto.

Adjusted Blackpoint, added Clarity and Vibrance, sharpen, and auto white balance in Lightroom.

From Germany and England 2010.

24
Aug
10

8/24/2010

Half-Timber Wetzlar

The Old Town section of Wetzlar has buildings dating from the late 1300s to the present. Many half-timbered buildings from the 14th and 15th centuries have been lovingly restored. You can see the progression of building…the oldest buildings are the straightest, as they still had access to tall timber. As the town grew, they had to rely on shorter timbers and build one story on top of the other. Over time the various stories have leaned different ways, giving the the 15th century houses a unique, slightly crazed, character. When you add brightly painted carved detail, and filled flower boxes the effect is pretty amazing.

City photography is always a challenge, due to perspective and wide angle lens distortions. We are used to seeing buildings leaning crazy directions, but in the case of Wetzlar’s half-timbered houses part  of  the lean is reality. The building on the right above is a classic example. No one is going to believe the lean of the roof peak, but is, in fact, reality. Correcting distortions for a more natural view is never easy, but the new tools in Lightroom 3 are nothing short of amazing, and, for the first time I was able to pull the half-timbered shots back to something very close to the way I see them with my naked eye.

All the shots here are with the Canon SX20IS. The top shot is an HDR using two exposures in Photomatix Lite, using the exposure blending mode to keep the sky more natural. The other two shots are straight-forward single exposures processed in Lightroom with my usual mix of Blackpoint adjustment, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpening. In both cases the image was cropped for composition and to eliminate distractions, and adjusted using the distortion controls for more believable perspective.

From Gemany and England 2010.

23
Aug
10

8/23/2010

Gables

This is one of my favorite views of Wetzlar. I love the jumble of gables and the scatter of skylights. I have taken this shot many times…but never on a late rainy evening, and never with HDR in mind. This is again, two exposures separated by 3EV combined in Photomatix. I had to turn the strength of the blend way down, or the sky went way dramatic.

To my eye that is a bit over the top, though it does make a statement.

After processing in Photomatix, both shots were taken into Lightroom, where the first challenge was correcting the vertical perspective distortion and some lens distortion for a more natural look. Then I adjusted Blackpoint, added Clarity and Vibrance and used the Sharpen narrow edges preset.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. ISO 200.

From Germany and England 2010.

22
Aug
10

8/22/2010

Window Light

Happy Sunday!  I am composing this on a Thursday morning in England, as Sunday morning will find me at the British Birding Fair already at this time. This is another shot from my late rainy evening stroll through old town Wetzlar. One of the reasons I like the old town is that it is full of little corners like this one, along a narrow (10 feet wide at most) cobbled street between half-timbered buildings dating from the 1500’s. I like the contrast of the blue wall, with its interesting texture and the bright red and green geraniums. The golden glow of the light behind the pebbled glass window completes the picture for me.

Windows are always interesting to me as photographic elements, and I have noticed among photographers  a similar fascination (among my flickr friends at least…one of my most visited images is a window shot).

For me it is about what they reveal and what they hide. They are meant to provide a view from within and light from without, for those who live inside. But they also. of course, provide a view of the life within to those who are outside. Jesus has something to say about that…about eyes as windows, and about the light that should shine out of them. The title of my SmugMug site comes from one of those passages. I hope my windows show at least such a golden glow on a late rainy evening…even if they are too often, just as obscuring as this one.

This took considerable distortion and perspective tweaking in Lightroom since I shot it an odd oblique angle (to chatch the light in the window). Then my standard Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance and Sharpen.

From Germany and England 2010.