Monday, November 30, 2009

Ice

One more Flickr favourite to close out the month of November. It is the second time this month that I post a masterpiece by my Flickr friend toomanytribbles. A very elegant shot, with beautiful tones and a masterly dof changing into a bokeh.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The wave revisited

November has been a good month for me as far as Flickr Explore is concerned - this became my sixth shot of the month (and 39th in total) to get selected as one of the 500 most interesting shots of the day out of many millions uploaded world wide. It is an older shot of the building the Wave near our home, turned 90 degrees for a special effect.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.001 sec (1/1250)
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 10.6 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dreams

And of course any series of Flickr favourites should include a masterpiece by my highly valued Flickr friend aftab. Daring and brilliant composition, a high-class memento of his Namibia trip. And as so often, he included a thought provoking statement with the photograph, in this case a Shaw quote: Some men see things as they are and say, "Why?" I dream of things that never were and say, "Why not?".

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Canal in the sky

Earlier this month I blogged about the Fallkirk Wheel in the Architecture series - so I was doubly pleased to see a highly artistic rendition of that masterpiece by my fellow Flickrite k.barker1. Brilliant symmetry and line play, enhanced by the monochrome approach. An exquisite shot.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

The magnificient ten

My Flickr friend yushimoto_02 [christian] is a regular feature under this heading in my blog. He shot this artistic furniture in the Pinakothek Museum Munich. The furniture itself is interesting, but this beautifully composed rendition, focusing on curves and colour play, lifts it to a higher level.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Intrigue

Another frequent guest under this heading is my Flickr friend andy_57. Another gorgeous portrait. Kerry, like my wife originating from Shanghai, is such a beautiful model that it is difficult to sit back and appreciate the composition. But we should.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Oops - a daisy

Today, all blog posts will be Flickr favourites - a collection of five recently faved shots that are very different from one another. My dear Flickr friend jenny downing not only makes a lot of useful suggestions for my blog, but her own photography is top notch as well. She has already featured a couple of times in my blog, and here is a recent beauty. Please do go to her Flickr page and view large to fully take in that marvellous droplet in the centre.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Friday, November 27, 2009

The leaves of Autumn

Saxophonist Bob Brechtel is a household name in modern jazz, but his latest album will surely raise a lot of eyebrows. In what comes dangerously close to looking like a Kenny G project, he recorded 16 songs loosely arranged around the theme of autumn, supported by the Bronx Quartet, and featuring a number of guest vocalists. Some songs work very well, and none better than the album's opener, Autumn leaves sung in the original French version by Madeleine Peyroux (the album's closer is an instrumental version of this classic). Not all guests are as famous as she is, but some are well worth hearing. In particular Matt Robbins, who takes care of great versions of U2's October, and Justin Hayward's Forever autumn. The most surreal track is without doubt Sean Connery's parlando rendition of the Guns 'n' Roses anthem November Rain, although paradoxically this features some of the most beautiful saxophone playing on the album. The absolute highlight is the cover of Earth, Wind and Fire's September. Unsupported by a singer, Brechtel showcases his perfect technique and feeling in a 16 minutes delight, full of improvisations that keep the listener spellbound. An essential disc.

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 Bob Brechtel.
[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 John Muir: Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.
[3] The illustration: pick a suitable one from my Flickr collection. My picture, Luxembourg Gardens, can be found here on Flickr. The on-line editing was done with the programme On-line image editor, the font settings selected were HighTower Text 50 yellow and Cooper Black 60 Gold Metallic, 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, November 26, 2009

Stone Gaudi chimney

This shot by my Flickr friend tom.wright is a beautifully composed black and white rendition of one of Gaudi's chimneys on the roof of La Pedrera "the Stone Quarry" (also known as Casa Mila). I love how the symmetry suddenly gets broken near the bottom of the shot. As good as this one is, I really urge you to explore the other shots of this location in his stream as well. I did a double take when I saw some of them as they instantaneously reminded me of Star Wars storm troopers - and indeed, it is said that George Lucas got his inspiration from this spot.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Take it or....

.... leaf it? OK, cheap puns aside, this is a chance encounter on our garden table, and a nice autumn impression. I love the interaction of the fallen leaf with the reflections on the table. Apparently it impressed sufficient people to make this my 38th shot to reach Flickr Explore.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/400)
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 21.8 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Mammoth

Earlier this week, Pim Koopman, the original drummer and percussionist of the best Dutch rock band of all time (Kayak), died at the age of 56 of heart failure. In his memory, the second top40 hit in Holland for this band, a beautiful piece of nostalgia. And probably Mammoth is the only rock song featuring a Dutch barrel organ. Crappy 1973 video, strong song.
Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player)

YouTube

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Composition part 8: balancing elements

The eighth 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, the sixth one, dealing with cropping, can be found here, the seventh one, dealing with especially shaped crops, 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 shot (Mushy) illustrates the idea behind the compositional tool of balancing elements. The main subject and natural focus point is the group of white mushrooms. Had these been in a grass field (and I have seen plenty of those as well), the shot would have been far more boring than this one turned out. The additional elements of the shot (the autumn leaves and especially that contrasting patch of black sand) help to define the overall composition without drawing too much attention away from the subject.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Unsung

Time for yet another masterpiece by my highly valued Flickr friend aftab. A unique shot, with a textbook quality depth of field, and very strong composition. But above all, sheer beauty.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Electric sunset

I shot this one last week in the park near our home, as an assignment for the Flickr group Learn composition by example. The challenge was to produce a shot that can be used as a text book example of the composition rule of thirds. Note that the vertical division between water and sky is on one of those special lines, whilst the setting sun and the main electricity pylon are on horizontal lines of thirds, and actually settling on the focal points where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect (see also my blog entry on this compositional tool), with nice leading lines provided by the power lines. That it became my 37th shot to make Flickr Explore was a nice bonus.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.002 sec (1/500)
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 12.5 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Friday, November 20, 2009

Picjoke

Similar to the previously featured site Photofunia, the Picjoke site offers a wide variety of options to see your own photographs in predestined surroundings. To illustrate, I include a shot of mine (Cheesy Doll), converted to Warholesque pictures at an exhibition.

link

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Down down deeper and down

A staircase spiralling down (or up) is a relatively frequent photographic theme, but what makes this stand out for me is the shape of the stairs, and the tones in the wood. I shot this in the castle in Tours (France) where my wife has her paintings exhibited. My 36th photograph to reach Flickr Explore, the 500 most interesting shots of the day.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.125 sec (1/8)
Aperture: f/2.4
Focal Length: 7.2 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

V: The New Mythology Suite

The music of American prog metal band Symphony X is often great, although in general not at the level of Dream Theater. This is an outstanding album cover though for their 2000 album V: The New Mythology Suite. I can't find the credits for its design on the linked site, but the juxtaposition via the mirror image, if not extremely original, works very well here.

All Music

White tower

This is one of the best examples I have seen of the technique to add a texture to a shot - transforming a rather standard scenery to something akin to a 17th century oil painting. A beautiful creation by my Flickr friend Philipp Klinger.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Monday, November 16, 2009

Autumnobile 2

Similar to my first shot with this title: taken in our neighbourhood, taking advantage of a car hood full of dropped autumn leaves. Similar also in that it reached Flickr Explore (the 500 most interesting shots of the day), my 35th in total.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.004 sec (1/250)
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 13.6 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Breathing

No particular reason to feature this song today, but I stumbled upon it, and I appreciated once more the greatness of the art of Kate Bush, my favourite female singer of all time. Breathing is a single from her 1980 album Never For Ever, with backing vocals by Roy Harper. The very special video reflects the song's theme of a foetus, who is very much aware of what is going on outside the womb and frightened by nuclear fallout, a recurring theme of those days.
Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player)

YouTube

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Don't fence me in

Sometimes interesting subjects are literally just around the corner - this is the fence of one of our neighbours. The shot has a nice autumn feeling to it, and after a dry spell of a few weeks this became my 34th to reach Flickr Explore, the 500 most interesting photographs of the day.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.004 sec (1/250)
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 7.2 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Friday, November 13, 2009

If you could read my mind

Here is a painting that my wife made which has been hanging in our kitchen for five years now. It utilizes the rare technique of black and white oil paint on canvas, in combination with the also rare diamond shape - which echoes the shape of our kitchen window. The similarity with a famous optical illusion drawing (vanity) is purely coincidental.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Disinfected

A recent favourite that is unlike any other shot I have seen - produced by fellow Flickrite lotopspin. The central square is interesting by itself with its psychedelic colours and shapes, but then to frame that tilted in a cool almost monochrome setting..... Excellent. I don't know exactly what and how it was done, and I guess I don't even want to know. The end result is fantastic.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Luxembourg legs

An image from our recent Paris trip. In the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens we stumbled upon a photoshoot, and I took advantage of the occasion to get some shots of my own. I love how this one turned out, very mysterious and uncoventional.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture: f/6.3
Focal Length: 200 mm
ISO speed 800
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

La guerre (the war)

Last year I dedicated a series of posts to the 90th anniversary of l'Armistice, the end of World War I. This year, I will leave it to three. The second one is this painting, a chilling creation I encountered in the Paris Museum of Modern Art (Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris) by French artist Marcel Gromaire (1892 - 1971), who was himself wounded in 1916 in the Battle of the Somme. More on Gromaire in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Burnished lake ice

My Flickr friend peggyhr is for me the Queen of water reflections at Flickr. Amazing abstract shots, reminding me of the paintings of Gerhard Richter. This is one of her best, a photograph that seems to be on fire.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr