Sunday, December 29, 2013

Keeper Dozen 2013

Picking my 12 favourite photographs of the year has become a yearly custom. It was triggered by a group at Flickr (Keeper Dozen), which was inspired by an Ansel Adams quote: "Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop." This year the quality is significantly lower than in previous years - the personal situation with my father's decreasing health since the start of the year, and his death in July, undoubtedly had an effect. Anyway, here is the 2013 countdown from 12 to 1.

Just like last year, I took the opportunity of the inclusion of a falconer in a fair of old professions near our home last September, to take a few raptor shots. I like this one in particular because of the texture of the owl's feathers, and the contrast with the geometric pattern of the street surface.

This is one of the recurring themes in my photography: taking a picture from a piece of art and turning it into something that is different, yet somehow artistic in itself. This is a close up of a huge paper sculpture by Machteld Wijlacker, exhibited at the Zwolle Museum. The shapes and the various shades of grey make the shot look like a modern painting.

A typical winter scene in the old city of Kampen, our new home. As usual with these spur-of-the-moment shots (taken while walking the dog in the evening) the main challenge is to keep the hand still enough given the relatively long exposure time. 

This is a close-up of a sculpture on display in a local garden, which was made accessible to the public one weekend. I like how it turns into a abstract this way - a piece of art quite different from the original one. 

An image that is typical for many of my shots: I was walking with our dog to the local supermarket one winter morning, when I spotted this little scene behind a partially fogged-up office window.

This photograph is a set of traffic lights, reflected in the waters of the river IJssel in walking distance from our home, with added intentional camera movement. One of the few shots of mine that reached Flickr Explore in 2013.

A bit of an experiment. When we had a parade of marching bands through the street where we live earlier this year, I took a lot of shots leaning out of the second floor window. Here are five of them, combined into one in Picasa, resulting in an impressionist view of the event. 

This is a photograph I took at the Kampen market, shooting my wife's silhouette as she was shooting her shadow on the market stands. Via the link you can see the original on Flickr, which is the better version.

This is a detail of one of the columns of Kampen's most important church, which was completed in the 15th century. I upped the contrast and the colours to get a fascinating abstract. 

This summer, there was a live concert with dancing a stone's throw away from our home. We took part, but in-between I played with my camera. This is a digital combination of four shots taken from the same point - resulting in an almost ghost like image. One of the few in 2013 to reach Flickr Explore.

Another case of spotting the photo opportunity many would miss. This is an extreme close-up of one of the headlights of a vintage Peugeot truck, that was on display in a Bocholt shopping mall. The result is an image that hovers between pure abstract and evoking insect shapes. 

For want of better, my picture of the year. Another example that is is typical of the way I use my camera: picking up subjects that most people would not see. In this case, I zoomed in on the detail of a decoration of a Japanese restaurant in Nijmegen, resulting in an abstract composition. 


Flickr

Saturday, December 28, 2013

You won't find another fool like me

June 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of me being interested in the Dutch Top40 as broadcast weekly at that time by Veronica. To celebrate this piece of my youth, I have made Saturday Top40 1973 day in this blog for the rest of the year - providing a link to the list of that day 40 years ago and selecting my favourite song of the new entries of that week. Today we conclude this series by featuring the list of 29 December 1973. We go out with a whisper in terms of quality, the best of the four newcomers still failing to reach MP3 player quality for me. My final pick is the New Seekers hit You won't find another fool like me. Art Rock score: 7/10 (OK song, good to hear it on the radio)..

YouTube

Thursday, December 26, 2013

In the bleak midwinter

Christmas carols are an essential part of the festive season for me, and I like none better than In the bleak midwinter. Here we have that masterpiece in a beautiful rendition by Norwegian crossover specialist, soprano Sissel. Enjoy.


YouTube

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas will be magic again

Once more one of my recent attempts at digital art based on my own photographs, created with the free software SuperPhoto that came with my new laptop. This is a Christmas ornament photograph taken a few years ago, given a stained glass like treatment to a seasonal effect. The link leads to the original photograph.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas everybody

June 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of me being interested in the Dutch Top40 as broadcast weekly at that time by Veronica. To celebrate this piece of my youth, I intend to make Saturday Top40 1973 day in this blog for the rest of the year - providing a link to the list of that day 40 years ago and selecting my favourite song of the new entries of that week. Today we feature the list of 22 December 1973. Two songs among the newcomers have made it to our car MP3 USB stick, The Three Degrees' Dirty old man and the unavoidable choice for today given the time of year: that perennial seasonal classic Merry Christmas everybody by Slade. Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player).

YouTube

Friday, December 20, 2013

Owl

Just like last year, I took the opportunity of the inclusion of a falconer in a fair of old professions near our home last September, to take a few raptor shots. I like this one in particular because of the texture of the owl's feathers, and the contrast with the geometric pattern of the street surface.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.01 (1/100) sec
Aperture: f/5.9
Focal Length: 20 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The vulture

One of the best shots I have seen on Flickr this month. This beautiful vulture portrait was taken by my Flickr friend knips2007(Rainer). I love the majestic stance, the sharpness, the textbook quality dof, and that splash of colour in the background. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Vogue August 1912

This vintage Vogue cover is even earlier than most (if not all) that I posted so far - in fact, it goes back over a century. Still, a beauty in its elegant depiction of the Milky Way. I could not find information about the designer - even getting the month and year right was quite a search.

link

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Star

June 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of me being interested in the Dutch Top40 as broadcast weekly at that time by Veronica. To celebrate this piece of my youth, I intend to make Saturday Top40 1973 day in this blog for the rest of the year - providing a link to the list of that day 40 years ago and selecting my favourite song of the new entries of that week. Today we feature the list of 15 December 1973. That week had a very unattractive bunch of newcomers with one fortunate exception: one of the best singles of Stealer's Wheel (Star). Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player).

YouTube

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Just suggesting

Another beautiful cover that I encountered recently on a music blog. Skeem (nice logo by the way) is a French neo-prog band - I will try to sample their music one day. The cover of their latest album is astonishing, all credits to its designer Mark Eaton.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sculpture detail

A shot I took in April this year, but had not posted yet. It is a close-up of a sculpture on display in a local garden, which was made accessible to the public one weekend. I like how it turns into a abstract this way - a piece of art quite different from the original one.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.013 (1/80) sec
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 17.3 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Goodbye yellow brick road

June 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of me being interested in the Dutch Top40 as broadcast weekly at that time by Veronica. To celebrate this piece of my youth, I intend to make Saturday Top40 1973 day in this blog for the rest of the year - providing a link to the list of that day 40 years ago and selecting my favourite song of the new entries of that week. Today we feature the list of 8 December 1973. Once more, a decent collection of new entries, with good songs by John Lennon and Lemming, but my pick of the week is one of Elton John's best ballads, Goodbye yellow brick road. Art Rock score: 9/10 (excellent song, one of the 600 best of all time).

YouTube

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Zwarte Pieten

Once more one of my recent attempts at digital art based on my own photographs, created with the free software SuperPhoto that came with my new laptop. Appropriate for today, when most of the Netherlands and a large part of Belgium celebrate the childrens' festival of Sinterklaas and his aides, the Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes), who are depicted here playing music in front of our gallery. More about this (nowadays for some controversial) custom can be found in these Wikipedia links (Sinterklaas en Zwarte Piet). The link below leads to the original photograph.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Elisabethufer

Recently, I encountered this painting as a CD cover for Hindemith's sonatas on the Hyperion label. I thought it would be by one of the leading German expressionists, and indeed, a TinEye reverse image searched revealed that it was by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, who painted this cityscape in 1913. More about Kirchner in the Wikipedia article linked to below.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Click!

I had to up the contrast a bit more to get it to look half-way right on the blog - please click the link to see the real version. This is a photograph I took at the Kampen market a few weeks ago, shooting my wife's silhouette as she was shooting her shadow on the market stands.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.002 (1/500) sec
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr