Saturday, March 31, 2012

When worlds collide

This digital processing technique is not new, but the way German photographer Robert Schlaug uses it to transform regular landscapes in surreal images is nothing short of brilliant. Well worth clicking the link to sample more. All rights retained by the artist.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Lead balloon

I had not considered this recent shot for inclusion in my blog, until it received the honour of being selected for my Flickr friend Rick's composition blog. It is a detail of a sculpture displayed in the office where I work. Rick's comment: "There are no prizes for guessing the dominant compositional element I am going to highlight here. It is clearly the diagonal. And, of course, simplicity (interestingly, the first time in a year I have picked up on that trait). The gravity-defying nature of this part of a sculpture is an immediate draw: it just looks so at odds with reality that one cannot help but question one’s sense. It is easy to make assumptions about how the shot was achieved, yet it is a simple representation of reality, and someone else made it possible. But that is not its composition – that is simply a sharp eye for the unusual, and an inherent ability to frame oddities to make them interesting; one of the key skills for good composition. And this is wonderfully interesting, not only because of the floating of something so heavy, but also because of the textural detail in the ball, and the soft gradient that anchors the image vertically (yes, it is the grey rather than the chain that is the anchor), thereby emphasising the “floating” nature of the balloon. Quite… well, uplifting."

Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/5.0
Focal Length: 51 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Thursday, March 29, 2012

The artist (digital art)

A different side of the artistic talent of my wife. Here she started with a snapshot taken of her in Shanghai, and converted it with digital processing into a gorgeous piece of art.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Unusual concertos [25]: Trombone

Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - aiming for 50+ this time.

The twenty-fifth concerto brings us back to one of the regular symphony orchestra instruments, the trombone (image from the wikipedia link). Concertos for this brass instrument have been relatively rare throughout the centuries - the first one was possibly composed by Wagenseil or Albrechtsberger, whilst during the 19th century only the Rimsky-Korsakov concerto has entered the repertoire. In the 20th century, trombone concertos have been composed by the likes of Aho, Milhaud, Rota, Sandstrom, Larsson, Holmboe, Nyman and Tomasi. I have selected my own favourite, the 1991 concerto by Christopher Rouse. It is played by Joseph Alessi and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop, taken from a BMG CD.

Go here

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's a Van Gogh!

This painting in the famous Dutch Kroeller-Mueller museum has long been attributed to van Gogh, but it was never confirmed. In fact, in 2003 the Museum gave up and changed the attrubtion to "anonymous". Recently, special X-ray studies have shown that it is painted over a study of two wrestlers that van Gogh has described in his letters, implying that this is a van Gogh after all. For the full story, click the link. It is worth it  (photo credit: AP Photo/Kroeller Mueller Museum).

web site

Monday, March 26, 2012

Rare wide-faced lizard

More photoshop brilliance taken from the advanced photoshop contest section of Worth1000. Here is a shot created by their member Shorra for the Partial symmetry 2012 contest - creating symmetric images in an unexpected way. This take on a tree lizard works especially well because of the inherent optical illusion: your mind sees either two faces looking left and right, or one face looking straight at you. Not unlike the famous cover of Pink Floyd's The Division bell. All rights retained by the creator.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Banksy paintings up for auction

Several of Banksy's iconic street art paintings are up for auction at Bonhams' Urban Art Sale. The picture shows a Bonhams employee looking at three well-known creations, Love is in the Air, Leopard and Barcode and Bomb Hugger. All rights retained by the photographer/agency (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images).

Twelve years married

Today my lovely wife and I celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary. Amazing. It seems like yesterday that I walked into her gallery in Singapore, yet that is almost 13 years ago. Here's to many more darling! Image sourced from here.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gazprom City St. Petersburg

Russia's elegant nostalgic city of St. Petersburg may not be the logical choice for an ambitious new architecture project, but this one has been under planning to go ahead by 2017. The 300m high Gazprom tower and headquarters, designed by Daniel Libeskind, are supposed to be constructed directly across the Neva river, opposing the landmark 18th century Smolny cathedral.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Jupiter Riding Club

A brilliant logo for a horse riding club, creating a duality between the horse's head shape and the letter J in negative space. Stirling work by Stelian Vasile.

web site

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Abstract photographs at Digital Photography School

Abstract photography is a special interest of mine - and I am delighted whenever a site picks up one of my photographs to illustrate the subject. This time it is the popular Digital Photography School site, who posted a series of 31 abstract photographs illustrating the wide variety of angles on this subject. I have created this mosaic with 16 samples from the ones they posted, including one by myself (top left), as well as one by my Flickr friend Jenny Downing (second left at the top row). Well worth clicking through to see the originals.

web site

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Steve McCurry retrospective

A photojournalist's photograph of a photojournalist. US photojournalist Steve McCurry is shot here posing next to his famous 1985 picture Afghan Girl, during the opening of his retrospective exhibition in Santa Cruz, Tenerife Island, Spain. All rights retained by the photographer/agency (Cristobal Garcia/EPA).

Hallgrímskirkja Reykjavik

This is one of the most striking churches built in the past century (photo credit Trey Ratcliff). Architect Samuelsson's design of the church in the capital of Iceland was inspired by the basalt lava flows of Iceland's landscape. The church was commissioned in 1937; it took 38 years to build it. A late Art Deco masterpiece that is truly unique. More on this building can be found in the wikipedia link below.

Monday, March 19, 2012


This is the first time that I actually make money with my photography. I sold the non-exclusive right to use the shot Shanghai patterns (blogged here) in a commercial brochure for a Singapore company. Sweet.

Pollution (WWF)

Another fascinating example of the brilliant advertising campaigns by the World Wildlife Fund. A great way to hammer the message about pollution home.

Creative Ads

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Unusual concertos [24]: Organ

Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - aiming for 50+ this time.

The twenty-fourth concerto deals with the majestic organ, the king of instruments. Organ concertos date back to the baroque period (Vivaldi, JS Bach, Handel), and have never gone out of fashion, with composers like CPE Bach, FJ Haydn, Rheinberger, Hindemith and Poulenc as the more famous names. Among the less known but beautiful concertos written for this instrument in the later 20th century are those by Tristan Keuris and Petr Eben. I have opted for the single movement organ concerto by the American composer Howard Hanson, which was composed in 1926. It is played by Joseph Jackson with the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra under Daniel Spalding, taken from a Naxos CD.

Go here

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Theatre Du Chat Noir

One encounters several posters by the Theatre Du Chat Noir (Black Cat Theater) rather often - but not this one. This is an Art Nouveau gem designed by artist, poet, and graphic designer, George Auriol. Especially selected for today because spring is finally arriving here.

Vintage Posters

Friday, March 16, 2012

Winter girl

One of the most impressive portraits in the wonderful photostream of my Flickr friend andy_57. He really excels at these photographs, and this model (Oksana, from Ukrainian descent, who has featured before in my blog here and here) is simply stunningly beautiful. As always, all rights retained by the creator.

Babes at the museum

A really fun website: Babes at the museum aims to capture attractive women visiting art museums, such as in this example the Dia Beacon museum (the art displayed is Bruce Nauman’s Double Poke in the Eye II installation). It is a fun idea, well executed.

web site

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Mother (1927-1992)

Can't believe it is already 20 years ago that my mother succumbed to cancer. This is a portrait of her that I commissioned in 1999 in Singapore, by a young Chinese artist. Since then, that artist has dropped the name Rosina, we started dating, and in 2000 she became my wife.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Water reflections are usually presented "as is" or flipped vertically. I have started experimenting with turning them 90 degrees, which can create really different images. I particularly love this one, which takes on the character of an abstract painting. As a matter of fact, when I start to try my hand on painting later this year, I intend to use this shot as a model for my first effort.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture: f/4
Focal Length: 50.8 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Surreal sculptures by Nancy Fouts

This is quirky surreal art, and had it been photoshopped, it would have gone into my Potpourri blog. However, these are actual sculptures by Nancy Fouts, an American artist based in London. I love her vivid imagination, which reminds me frequently of Magritte's paintings. Highly recommended to sample more of her works by clicking the link.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Galerie LuS

Galerie LuS is a new blog, a joint effort by my wife (mainly) and myself, at the occasion of the opening of our first gallery in May this year. Galerie LuS will open in the main shopping street in Kampen, an old hanseatic city in the Netherlands. This blog will feature updates, information, and general musings about my wife's art and the history of Kampen. Most posts will be in English and Dutch. Well, go have a look....

web site

Photoplay October 1922

Another beautiful Photoplay cover of the early twenties. This one has actress Alice Brady on the cover - one of the lucky ones who managed the transition from silent movies to talkies without problems.