Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Let's end the halloween posts on a light note. Betty Boop all dressed up, as seen in a toy shop in the small Dutch town of Muiden. Isn't she lovely?

Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture: f/6.3
Focal Length: 63 mm
ISO speed 400
Post-processing: Photoshop 7.0 (oval shape), Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Halloween

What better moment to start a new topic in my blog: movie posters worth noticing. This one is of course John Carpenter's 1976 Halloween with Jamie-Lee Curtis making her debut. In this case the movie itself was not bad either: far more subtle than many of its successors in the slasher genre. The poster is very effective with its suggestion of knife movement. Poster design by B.D. Fox Independent, artwork by Bob Gleason. More on this movie in the IMDB article linked to below.

Friday, October 30, 2009

To the Sea of Ghosts

To set the mood for a series of Halloween posts tomorrow, here we have an older image on Flickr that I came across just recently. Fellow Flickrite Eric Vondy transformed a seaside shot taken near San Diego into an awesome haunting shot with a perfect title.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

A gentleman's excuse me

The title track of former Marillion singer Fish' first solo album Vigil in a wilderness of mirrors from 1990 is amazing, but the soft ballad called A gentleman's excuse me is also quite worthwhile. Fish combines a touchy melody with sophisticated lyrics about a couple where the down-to-earth man is tired of the romantic woman's fantasies - for a while I thought that the lyrics could have a double meaning and hint at suicide ("Can't you get it inside your head, I'm tired of dancing"), but I have not been able to find anything on internet to support that. The piano play and orchestration are exquisite.
Art Rock score: 9/10 (very strong song, one of 650 best songs of all time)

YouTube

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Falling apart

The original title is Portrait, but I improvised something a bit more standing out in the topic list. This gem is by fellow Flickrite PamAnna, a beautiful example what a creative artist can do with a camera and photoshop.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Modern Art Museum

One of my own favourite photographs of the year. I shot this in the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris, a perfect example of using the frame-within-a-frame composition technique. My 31st photograph to reach Flickr Explore, the 500 most interesting shots of the day.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.025 sec (1/40)
Aperture: f/2.4
Focal Length: 7.2 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Monday, October 26, 2009

Slivers of darkness still escaped sometimes

One of my top 10 photographers on Flickr is my Flickr friend kate mellersh. She sees opportunities no-one else sees, more often than not leading to abstracts that are simply beautiful. This one is a clear example of her style. Even better when viewed on a completely black background.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Uncertain smile

An interesting cover for a single by an interesting band. The The is the group formed around Matt Johnson. Their 1983 debut album Soul mining was received well, although it was relatively simple compared to some of Johnsons later experiments. The highlight off the album is the love song Uncertain Smile, with its bouncy drum beat and sparkling guitar countering the sweet-but-sour lyrics like "As street lamps pour orange coloured shapes through your windows - a broken soul stares from a pair of watering eyes - Uncertain emotions force an uncertain smile". Unfortunately, the record company butchered the single version. The album track has one of the most impressive piano solos of all times in rock music to close out the song... so they cut that from the single to replace it with some lame flute sounds. But it does have a great cover. More about The The on the linked wikipedia page.

Rage

The last few days of our recent trip to France we spent in Rouen, where we lived from mid 2002 until end 2004. Whilst we were there, we collected about 30 paintings of my wife that were still hanging in the office building where I worked at the time, paintings we had left because she was not particularly satisfied with them. It was a pleasant surprise to see them again, and realize that for several of them that judgement had been far too harsh. This abstract, an early example of her more expressionist style, is a case in point. Glad we got it back.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Time is running out

For over a year, the Flickr group Life thru a Lenz has been sporting a monthly assignment on a selected theme - and this is the first time a shot of mine is amongst the winners. The September theme was "Chaos" and my entry landed on the second place. I shot this at a market in Montmartre. It is actually a coffee table decoration, which raises the question whether I can claim this as my shot in the first place. Still, I chose the angle, the crop and the post-processing, so I am giving myself the benefit of the doubt.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.001 sec (1/1600)
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 16.1 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

By the light of the moon

My admiration of the creations of the Spanish architect Calatrava is well documented in this blog, but this may be the single most impressive photograph of them that I have seen so far. Fellow Flickrite Unai Redondo captured this stunning view of Calatrava's City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain, bathed in gorgeous moonlight.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rust abstract with leaves

Let's do one more on the autumn theme - here is a gorgeous shot I faved just a few hours ago. My Flickr friend tina_manthorpe spotted this beauty at a rusty digger at Greatford. Wonderful combination of colours and shapes, and perhaps the best fall shot I have seen.

All rights retained by the photographer (tina negus).

Flickr

Kicking leaves

And what better way to follow up a song about dead leaves than posting this recent Flickr favourite by my Flickr friend Frogzone1? I love how this shot feels like an impressionist abstract, which in itself is of course an anachronism. Wonderful colours to boot. And yes, that was an intentional pun.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Les feuilles mortes

It's the time of the year to play this magnificent classic of French chansons - Les feuilles mortes (the dead leaves), better known throughout the world as Autumn Leaves. For this year's post I have chosen the defining version, by Yves Montand. The video is moving in its simplicity.

YouTube

Abstraction in metal tones

And that's 30 - this recent shot of mine made Flickr Explore too. It is a close-up of a metal art work exhibited in Tours, France. The art work itself is rather boring - two life-size contours of the human body with the idea that visitors would stand inside them - but it made for a series of interesting abstracts by going for close-ups (this is actually the second one I posted on Flickr).

Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 28 mm
ISO speed 400
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Rockpommel's Land

The seventies' German progressive rock band Grobschnitt is one of the more interesting lesser known bands of the genre. One of their best is the 1977 album Rockpommel's Land, which also has an interesting cover, very much representative of the progrock of the decade. The painting used for it is actually by Volker Kahrs (Mist), the keyboard player.

All Music

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wave

An intriguing variation on a theme I have used myself. This building (The Wave) is located 15 minutes walking from our home, and I have posted my own take on it before in this blog. But I love how fellow Flickrite Sigrid Klop has approached the subject, with an extreme tilt that makes the building look even more surreal. Very imaginative and a brilliant result.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

A fairly good time

The latest greatest band from China. Pink-In, a trio from Shenyang, won the very first Chinese National TV Pop Idols conquest and are ready to conquer the world with their first album in English, with the delightful title A fairly good time - makes you wonder whether someone botched a translation there. The album itself is a pleasant surprise. Make no mistake, these girls can really sing and have decent pop material to work with. Especially Nanjing nights and Love me forever are strong tunes that should get a lot of air play here as well. Not essential, but good pop music.

The idea of this little game is to create an album cover for an imaginary artist/group, as well as an imaginary review, following these instructions:

[1] The artist/group: go to the wiki random page generator. The first random Wikipedia article obtained this way is the name of the band or performer. In this case, I ended up with Pink-In.
[2] The title: go to the random quotations site. The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of the album. The random quote that came up was by Edith Wharton: There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there's only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running round after happiness. If you make up your mind not to be happy there's no reason why you shouldn't have a fairly good time.
[3] The illustration: pick a suitable one from my Flickr collection. My picture, Say cheese, can be found here on Flickr. The on-line editing was done with the programme On-line image editor, the font settings selected were CrazyHarold 85 Pink and Fortuna Dot 45 Pink, respectively.

Note: this is a variation on the "Debut album game" that has been making its rounds around bulletin boards and blogs for some time now - the original version called for a random Flickr Explore photograph to be used as the cover. I have been trying to find out who had the original idea, but so far no success.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Orchid world

This is the first time that my Flickr friend sannesu features in my blog, and I don't think it will be the last time. A highly original take on the overpopular flower macro theme, this close-up of the heart of an orchid convinces with beautiful colours and an eye-like centerpiece. Exquisite shot.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

One year since the restart

It has been a year since I decided to purge the whole blog and make a new start. I hope you enjoyed the blog's new life as much as I have. The image above I created using images retrieved from here and here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Water reflections gone wild

A shot I took last week near our home, where an exhibited painting's reflections in the water around the restaurant caught my eyes. I always like water reflections and this easily is the best one I have taken so far.
EDIT: and it became my 29th shot to make Flickr Explore, the 500 most interesting shots of the day.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/320)
Aperture: f/8.0
Focal Length: 200 mm
ISO speed 200
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Composition part 6: cropping

The sixth in a series on basic composition rules to further enhance the quality of your photographs if you are not aware of them yet - the first one, dealing with the rule of thirds, can be found here, the second one, dealing with the background choice, can be found here, the third one, dealing with framing within the frame, can be found here, the fourth one, dealing with leading lines, can be found here, the fifth one, dealing with viewpoint can be found here. I am using an article on the site Amateur Snapper as a guideline here, but providing examples from my own stream. This is the first of two contributions on the subject of cropping, and will focus on the amount of space around the main subject, either determined directly during the taking of the photograph, or in hindsight when editing the shot in suitable software. Many beginning amateur photographers tend to include too much of the surrounding, whereas the shot can be far more powerful if the main subject fills a large part of he frame. An example from my own stream (Up close and personal) is shown above. The trick is not to go overboard and leave insufficient breathing space around the subject - as a guide line, 10-15% space on each side will usually be a good compromise. Note by the way how this image also fulfills previously discussed rule: the head follows the rule of thirds, with the eyes practically on an intersection point, the background is contrasting without being too much of an attention drawer, and the viewpoint is lower than many people would use. In the next part of this series, I will focus on cropping into unusual shapes of the photograph.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Autumn in Bavaria

There are few artists who had more effect on the development of modern art than Russian painter and art theoretician Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), who pioneered the now so popular art of abstracts. He was a late bloomer, started to paint at the age of 30, and was 45 when he made substantial impact as co-grounder of the expressionist Blue Rider movement in Germany. The painting I selected here is from 1908 and is in an early expressionist style. More on Kandinsky in the wikipedia article linked to below.

In his own pool

The final one of a series of four rather different photographs I recently faved on Flickr. And of course, no series of Flickr favourites would be complete without my friend aftab. Another souvenir from his Africa trip, this unusual elephant shot is simply wonderful in terms of composition and shades of blue.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Morning sky

The third of a series of four rather different photographs I recently faved on Flickr. I think this is also the first time that my Flickr friend ho.ge appears in my blog. I love this image, with the marvellous explosion of pastel colours in the sky set off against the silhouette of a small village..

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Good vibrations

The second of a series of four rather different photographs I recently faved on Flickr. I think this is the first time that my Flickr friend peggyhr appears in my blog. High time, because her photographs are always entertaining and her water reflections are majestic. This particular shot may be the best I have seen so far in her stream. Part of an ongoing experimentation with goatsbeard seedheads, this image has an almost abstract expressionist quality.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Dreams of the wild

The first of a series of four rather different photographs I recently faved on Flickr. This beautiful atmospheric foggy birdscape is by my Flickr friend adrians_art, who has already featured a number of times in my blog.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr