Gear Upgrade: Tripod Top

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I realize there hasn’t been much activity on my blog during the past couple of months, but I assure you that it isn’t dead yet and I still keep on doing Photography.

You can find my recent pictures both on flickr as well as 500px. I will also start utilizing the blog a little more in these upcoming weeks, since I plan to do more long exposure shots and (subtle) HDR shots again.  For that very reason I just purchased a new tripod and a fitting ballhead, both from Benro. After some research I decided to go for the Benro B-3 head on a A3580T tripod.

The Benro head arrived already and I’m eagerly waiting for the tripod now, since I can’t wait to try them out on the first shootings. Stay tuned, more details and pictures are on the way…

RC car shooting Top

RC Car

A friend of mine, Ansgar, brought along his RC car. He had wanted some pictures of it for quite a while, so I took my camera along and did some shooting. It proved to be more difficult than I had expected, because the sky was overcast, the car (despite it’s 1:8 scale) still somewhat small and with 70km/h extremely fast.
I had to shoot with f2.8 at ISO 1000-4000 to get a sufficiently fast ISO, but f2.8 at 200mm resulted in a seriously small depth of field.

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New camera, starting fresh Top

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I jumped the gun and finally made the switch to a full frame DSLR, namely the Canon 5D Mark III. I currently use 3 lenses on it, the Canon 24-105mm f4 L IS, Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS USM, Canon 50mm f1.4 USM.

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Portrait Session with Ivo Top

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Today my friend Ivo and I went out for a quick photoshoot. We were just after a few quick shots, so I brought my flashes, one stand, an umbrella (which we only used in a few pictures, as it was too windy) and my trusty camera. The picture above is a simple single light setup with a flash on a stand from up above. It makes for a very 3 dimensional look, but it’s not for everybody.
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Hamburg – Part 2 Top

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This is quite a large ship under development in the docks. It is an enormous ship, being lit at night makes it just all the more impressive.

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Those are two completely different shots. One is being shot at the docks of Hamburg again, displaying a bridge you take down to the port in order to board the ships – while the other has been shot in Bremen, during the night – almost at morning. It is a long exposure shot, in actual fight it was by far not as bright at the time. Still, the banks of fog looked tempting to me, so I had to set up the tripod and go for a shot – not without being disturbed a lot by my friends.

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This is right in the center of Hamburg, at the Alster. It shows a nice view across the well lit city. It is by far not as busy during in the evenings of a weekday as you would expect. Nonetheless a brilliantly beautiful city view.

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At last two shots that are more passerby shots. I happened to find those rather interesting at the time, so they aren’t planned out at all but merely snapshots. Nonetheless, snapshots I enjoy looking at.

Being in Hamburg Top

Recently I got a job offer as a freelancer in Hamburg. Of course this allows me to explore the city during the weekends, especially with my camera. So the past 2 days I went out with my bike and tried to discover a couple of interesting angles.
I managed to get 4 pictures that really appealed to me.

The first one has been taken at the river Alster in the evening. The Hapag Lloyd building is illuminated very nicely at night and giving off nice reflections.

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The next two pictures have been taken on my way back. I stopped a couple of times to take pictures and also encountered a number of other photographers. Among them an old man on a bike that took great caution in riding his bike behind me, as to not get into the frame, telling me “Don’t worry, I’m a photographer too!” as he was passing by. The Heinrich Hertz Turm, a radio and tv tower located in the midst of Hamburg, was a subject that I intended to shoot when I first arrived in Hamburg already. Even that evening I had to try out 3 different perspectives to get this picture done.

The picture on the right was more of a snapshot though. I was cycling back home when the golden hour kicked in and this building was lit nicely – in contrast to the building in the background and the leaves in the foreground. The picture looks a little too crowded, but remains interesting nonetheless.

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Last but not least the Hamburg exhibition halls with the setting sun. I had to play around with the RAW file quite a bit to get the clouds nicely exposed without making the overall picture too dark (if the picture gets too dark, the silhouette look doesn’t work anymore). I think this turned out to be pretty well.

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The last picture was shot right at the Alster again. It is a somewhat interesting building because of its facade, which has quite a unique structure. The sun was reflecting nicely on it, but the picture truly shines in black and white. I’d say this was a fairly successful photo session.

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Short trip to Spain Top

As I had to sort some business out, I went on a short trip to Spain – Mallorca to be precise.
Unfortunately I barely had the time to relax or shoot any pictures, but I managed to get a few at least.

Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma

This is an HDR shot that I did by balancing the camera on a stone. I didn’t take my tripod with me (as I was only travelling with hand luggage and it’d been too heavy), but this worked out quite well nonetheless. So I used the auto bracketing feature with -3 to +3 EV and put together the HDR with Photomatrix Pro.
Afterwards I edited it a bit more in Photoshop, specifically the colors, a little CA correction and de-noising.
I’m quite happy with the result here.

Seagulls Into the dusk

Those two were shots that I shot while the sun was setting. I was on my way to the hotel, passing by a busy beach when there were lots of seagulls soaring through the air. Naturally I tried to capture a few – not as easy as it amy seem.
I particularly like the composition on the left picture, but the right one is quite pleasing as well. The first picture barely needed any editing, I could get away with changing a couple of settings when developing the RAW file and a little de-noising.
The second picture on the other hand needed a little more playing around with the colors. It was too saturated and didn’t feel right. So I had to adjust the colors quite a bit, de-noise the picture and add a little vignetting.

Thunderstorm at night Top

Thunderstorm

Yesterday there was an amazing thunderstorm with a rather high frequency of lightning. So before going to bed, I decided to go out for half an hour and try to catch some.

With a long exposure of about 15 seconds, I managed to get a nice flash right in the center. I cropped this to 16:9 format to discard some of the empty blackness and changed the white balance, because on auto WB the picture had too much orange – which is not at all how it looked at the time. After fixing that and a quick de-noising, this is it.

 
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