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

Sound Wave by Jean Shin

I came across this one via the fascinating blog Oddee. Korean artist Jean Shin created this sculpture "Sound Wave" in 2007 out of melted vinyl records to connote "the inevitable waves of technology that render each successive generation of recordable media obsolete."

All rights retained by the artist.

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

Belt up!

Creative advertisements can be even more creative if they go from 2D to 3D. An excellent example, as submitted to me by Jenny Downing, is this advertisement for wearing seat belts on the back seat as well - or get catapulted out of your chair if you do not. Effective in-your-face advertising.

Creative Ads

Birth

This 2004 movie directed by Jonathan Glazer got very mixed responses, but I actually quite enjoyed watching it - and Nicole Kidman is smoking hot with short hair. The poster itself is brilliant in the way it transforms Ms. Kidman's body into the bridge that plays a key role in the movie's plot.

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.

Kung Fu Panda strikes

Sometimes you come across really great images on the web, but without information attached to them. I decided to start a new subject for these, titled A is for anonymous. I will include the link where I found the shot, and anybody who can provide more information on these pictures, please leave a comment or mail me. It is not often that a picture can make me laugh out loud, but here is one. Amazing combination of movie poster and vandalism.

link

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

Zhang Ziyi

More photoshop brilliance taken from the advanced photoshop contest section of Worth1000. Here is another original shot created by their member Mandrak for the Celebrity time travel 13 contest - taking a contemporary celebrity and putting him/her in surroundings of decades or even centuries ago. In this beautiful example, the creator has taken the Chinese singer/actress Zhang Ziyi (not Ziyi Zhang as stated on the site) and created a perfect illusion of days gone by. I can't place the source of the original backdrop image, but it looks like a painting by Bouguereau.

All rights retained by the creator.

Worth1000

Volvo for life

This creative ad for the Swedish car company Volvo is both hilarious in its concept and brilliant in its execution. Two thumbs up.

Creative Ads

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

Eyes

A beautiful piece of photo art by Italian designer Alberto Seveso, whom I first came across in the softalize site. More of his intriguing work in his linked web site.

All rights retained by the creator.

link

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Le Cob

Inspired by Le Corbusier's chaisse longue, OMVIVO's superbly designed Le Cob bathtub holds significantly less water than a conventional bath, and can be used in a similar way to the traditional Japanese soaker baths, bathing first, and then relaxation after. The soothing cascade overflow is naturally therapeutic, reminiscent of a river, as the water falls onto the pebbles below. I found this item in one of those informative and entertaining articles in the Oddee blog. The link below leads directly to the company's web site.

web site

Car storage

It is not an important newsworthy item, there is no art angle, but as soon as I saw this shot on the web I had to include it in the blog. It is such a surreal image, courtecy of the surreal construction. The shot shows a Volkswagen Polo being retrieved by an automated palette from a storage tower near the company's main factory in Wolfsburg, Germany.

All rights retained by the photographer.

web site

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.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pamela Hanson

The British photographer Pamela Hanson is well known for her fashion and lifestyle photography, having been published in the likes of Marie Claire, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Allure, and Elle. She has also worked for many leading brands in advertisement shoots (Tommy Hilfiger, L'Oreal, Lancome, Emporio Armani, and Vicoria's Secret, to name a few). The larger public may know her from her nude photographs of Carla Bruni shot in 1994, one of which was sold to an anonymous buyer for about 20000 $ last year. The above shot of Mexican actress Salma Hayek is a good example of her style.

More on Hanson in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Ex libris

Ex libris, meaning ‘from the library of’, or ‘from the books of’ is a Latin expression attached to the art form of bookplates. These are stamps or labels that appear inside books to denote ownership, and range from the simple to the decorative and elaborate, to the obscure or even bizarre and surreal. The linked post at the Dark roasted blend blog gives a great overview.

link

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

Tatara bridge Japan

The Tatara Bridge is an elegantly designed cable-stayed bridge in the Nishiseto Expressway, connecting the islands of Honshu and Shikoku across the Seto Inland Sea in Japan. Construction took a little more than six years and was finished in 1999. With a center span of 890 m and a total length of 1480 m, it is still one of the largest of its kind in the world. More on this bridge in the wikipedia article linked to below.

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