Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The 100 most powerful moments of 2013 in photos

As usual with such overviews, one can argue about what has and has not been included, but the linked site does provide an interesting overview of 100 major and minor news items captured in photographs. The one I picked as illustration shows a Chinese military regiment taking part in a morning exercise at temperatures of -30 degrees Celsius. It was issued by Chinafotopress via Getty Images.

web site

Monday, December 30, 2013

The most viewed posts of 2013

With the year coming to an end, I thought it might be fun to look at the statistics of this blog once again and see which are the most viewed posts per category over the past 12 months (provided that they had more than five posts in the year). I realize that most viewed does not equal most popular, as other factors (such as showing up in Google searches) definitely play a role here. Still, here they are (image sourced from here).

Anything goes: Bokbierdag Kampen.
Architecture: Guangzhou Tower.
Art-icles: The Potala Palace.
Beautiful album covers: Ugly noise.
Beautiful single covers: Losing my religion.
Creative ads: Heinz hot ketchup.
En Vogue: August 1927.
Flickr favourites: Source of light (sannesu).
Miscellaneous art: Passage by Zsuzsi Csiszer.
Movie posters: Night train to Lisbon.
My digital art: Regent's Park.
My photography: Let's flip again.
Paintings: The green lovers (Chagall).
Photo art: Away with the canaries.
Photographers: Brian Duffy.
Photojournalism: Here comes the flood.
The art of Lu Schaper: Shanghai beauty.
The best of Potpourri: Cesar dog food.
Under cover: Judge July 1926.
Unusual concertos: Oboe.
Vintage posters: Delbeck champagne.
Web sites: Susanne Meyer Abstract Photography.
Worth1000: Dali's portrait.
YouTube: Easy boy.


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

Friday, December 27, 2013

Countdown to ecstasy 20-1

It's the final countdown...... a few days ago I completed this year long project to list my 100 favourite songs from five decades. Here is a final overview of the top 20 (for descriptions and YouTube links see the blog itself):

1. Shine on you crazy diamond (Pink Floyd)
2. Mad man moon (Genesis)
3. Ghosts (Japan)
4. Kayleigh (Marillion)
5. Private investigations (Dire Straits)
6. The ninth wave (Kate Bush)
7. Killer Queen (Queen)
8. Vincent (Don McLean)
9. Desperado (Eagles)
10. The sound of silence (Simon and Garfunkel)
11. Forbidden colours (David Sylvian)
12. I'm not in love (10 CC)
13. Street spirit [fade out] (Radiohead)
14. San Jacinto - live (Peter Gabriel)
15. Samba pa ti (Santana)
16. This masquerade (Carpenters)
17. Baker street (Gerry Rafferty)
18. Where or when (Bryan Ferry)
19. Jesse (Janis Ian)
20. Bat out of hell (Meat Loaf)

web site

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

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Santa Classics

The linked site with the Photoshop work of Ed Wheeler is a hoot - and of course appropriate for today's post. He pastes Santa Claus into well-known paintings to amazing effect. I picked his version of Monet's The Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pool as illustration, but do explore the others (Found via MyModernMet).

web site

The New Yorker December 1965

Throughout the years, the covers of The New Yorker have often been of very high quality. I love this 1965 Christmas cover for its restrained quality. The Christmas atmosphere is there, but amazingly subtle. Anyway, Merry Christmas to all readers!

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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.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Potpourri: Eilerts jul

From time to time I will be highlighting some of my own favourite posts in my parallel blog, Art's Potpourri. These can be recent or from some time ago. This one was originally posted 19 December 2012, and is appropriate this week.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Freudenstadt

The first time I saw this beautiful seasonal photograph of the German city of Freudenstadt was on the Facebook page of a friend. A TinEye search did not reveal the origin and/or the photographer, so I link to one of the sites that did come up in the search.

EDIT 13 February 2014: a Google image search (a new trick for me) managed to locate the original photograph. Shot by Hartmut Reeh.

Link

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

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Don't text and drive

Beautiful in its simplicity, important in its message. As the small print says: "You either see the letter or the girl - Don't text and drive". Excellent advertisement from a Fiat campaign, created by Leo Burnett Tailor Made in Brazil.

Creative Ads

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.


Unusual concertos [61]: Tenor saxophone

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 - realizing 60+ this time.

The sixty-first concerto deals with the Tenor saxophone (image source). We have encountered concertos for three other members of the saxophone family before (altobaritone and soprano) now it is the turn for the fourth and last instrument of the group. It has been used in 20th century classical music, e.g. in Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. There are a few concertos for it, as expected for such a versatile instrument. I have selected one titled The upward stream, composed by Russell Peck. It is played by James Houik and the London Symphony Orchestra under Paul Anthony McRae, available on an Albany CD.

Go here

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Chen Man

Chinese photographer Chen Man (born 1980) is one of the bright young stars in contemporary fashion photography. Her work has graced numerous covers for Chinese and international fashion magazines, and has been used in advertisement campaigns for companies such as Motorola, Adidas and Gucci. The shot I selected is a stunning self portrait. More on Chen Man in the Wikipedia article linked to below.

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.

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Uncharted

Fitting for the darkest days of the year, with Christmas around the corner. But why is this simple waxy candle photograph posted, and why under Photoart? Once you look at the details, you will understand. Indonesia-based artist Ferdi Rizkiyanto created this piece of digital art, adding a group of explorers climbing the wax tower. All rights retained by the artist, as usual.

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