Monday, February 28, 2011

Speak low

Although recent years has seen some improvement, classical music CD's and albums tend not to have very exciting covers - usually straightforward shots of the performer(s) or a painting as decoration. I was pleasantly surprised when I bought this CD of Kurt Weill songs back in the nineties, because singer Anne-Sofie von Otter is depicted in a very apt and artistic way, keeping in setting with the atmosphere of the songs. One of the best covers in the genre.


Sunday, February 27, 2011


One of my favourite photographs in one of my favourite Flickr streams by one of my favourite Flickr friends: sannesu. I love how this dew shot evokes pearls more than anything else, due to the shape of the surrounding leaves. A well deserved appearance in Explore.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Saturday, February 26, 2011


Another stunning model (Liana), another stunning shoot by my Flickr friend andy_57. Beautiful composition, with the cascading hair standing out, and classic pose. That the lighting is perfect goes without saying with this great photographer and friend.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Stark minimalism of the best kind in this recent shot by my dear Flickr friend jenny downing. The title is both appropriate given the subject and wholly inappropriate given the sheer class of this shot.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Still got the blues (for you, Gary)

And during my absence, another legend has bitten the dust. Rest in Peace, Gary Moore (1952-2011), former guitar player of Thin Lizzy. In his memory, that brilliant song Still got the blues, in a great live rendition.
Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player)


Monday, February 21, 2011

Winter electrical sunset

Whereas Shanghai is slowly moving into spring, winter is pretty much still here in Holland. A shot from earlier this year, the artificial lake adjacent to the park where I come several times a day with the dog, frozen over at sunset time. Pushed it a bit (a lot) in the post-processing, but I like the end result.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture: f/11.0
Focal Length: 35 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Saturday, February 19, 2011


Aja is a 1977 Steely Dan classic, with a beautiful minimalistic cover, designed by Geoff Westen, based on photography by band member Walter Becker.

All Music

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Karlowicz, a Polish secret

A composer I had never even heard of until December last year, when fellow Talk Classical bulletin board member Aramis heartily recommended him. Mieczyslaw Karlowicz (1876 - 1909) was a Polish composer and conductor. He died far too young in an avalanche in his beloved Tatra mountains, leaving behind a limited number of compositions, but of astonishing quality. His most outstanding work is the set of symphonic poems (op.9-14, 1904-1909), late romantic masterpieces which evoke the world of Wagner, Mahler and Strauss in their imaginative colourful orchestration. Naxos have released all six of them on two CD's. I link to the first, but really, both are essential. Excellent playing by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and the New Zealand Philharmonic Orchestra under Antoni Wit. For me the main musical discovery of the year 2010.


Friday, February 11, 2011

On the Seine

Yesterday's post had tilt-shift photography as its theme, so it seems appropriate to follow this up with a recent example of this technique from my own stream. I shot this tourist boat scene from a Paris bridge last August. First-off, I opted for a rather unusual but I think quite effective trapezoid crop. Secondly, I applied a tilt-shift effect, not in camera (because I do not have such a lens) but in post-processing via the tiltshiftmaker site. I quite like the outcome.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/320)
Aperture: f/10.0
Focal Length: 78 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0, Photoshop 7.0 (crop), Tiltshiftmaker


Sunday, February 06, 2011

Painter on the road to Tarascon

It is not often that I come across a painting by Vincent van Gogh that I have never seen before - but here we have one. I found this special self portrait in an article on art stolen by the Nazis, and in this case that theft ultimately resulted in the destruction of this masterpiece when the Magdeburg museum it was displayed in, burned down in a bombing raid. More on van Gogh in the wikipedia article linked to below.