Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill

Earlier this month, BBC4 broadcast a beautiful documentary about Kate Bush, one of my all-time favourite pop/rock artists. I was glad to see it being posted on YouTube as well, in four parts (links to part 1, 2, 3, 4). Warmly recommended.

YouTube

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Blokzijl

Once more one of my attempts at digital art based on my own photographs, created with the free software SuperPhoto that came with my new laptop. Blokzijl is a nearby town with beautiful views, rivalling the more famous Giethoorn. This is one of the outstanding spots, photographed by myself and then converted to digital art by the painting module of the mentioned software. The link leads to the original photograph.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Impressionism was born 7.35am on 13 November 1872

The linked article really appeals to the scientist in me... Monet's painting Impression, Rising Sun is widely seen as the moment impressionism was created. Donald Olson, a professor of astrophysics at Texas State University, has done a tremendous bit of research to discover the exact location, and from that, the exact time, that Monet has created this masterpiece: 7.35am on 13 November 1872. The details in the link.

web site

Monday, August 25, 2014

Aguacero

How many people have had the chance to come across this beauty (unless they follow the same music blogs that I do of course)? Infibeat is a funk rock band from Costa Rica, and this is the cover of their 2013 album Aguacero (Downpour). Love the image, as well as the cunning way the album title and the band name have been used in an infinity symbol.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Selfie

Self portraits are not very common in my wife's repertoire, but here is a fairly recent one. And I love it. So do many others, given the comments we get when we put it in the window of our gallery.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Friday, August 22, 2014

Organic

We encountered this window decoration last month in the nearby city of Genemuiden. Shooting through the glass was a challenge, but I like how this turned out. So did others: it became my 69th photograph to appear in Flickr Explore, the 500 most interesting shots of the day.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 10.9 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The dark tower

After another prolonged absence, my Flickr friend Philipp Klinger has returned once more to share his photographs with us. This is one of the best in his impressive portfolio: the DC tower in Vienna captured against an ominous sky. Perfection. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Abstracting reality part 3: architectural abstracts

Of the recurring topics in my photography, abstract images tend to stand out. This has inspired me to write a series of blog posts on the subject, as seen through my lay-man's eyes (I never received any formal training on photography). In these posts, I will tackle the following six (not mutually exclusive) themes: distorted reflections, architectural abstracts, wear and tear, zooming in, abstracted art, and miscellaneous situations. A general introduction was posted here; the first contribution (on distorted reflections) was posted here.

Architectural abstracts (the second of the themes) are usually based on line play, rather than the sometimes extravagant colours that we encountered in the previous contribution (distorted reflections). As always, there are a few things one should keep in mind when approaching this subject. First, to create abstract images from architectural structures, modern buildings and bridges tend to be far more suitable than older ones, but as always there are exceptions to this rule. Second, perhaps more than for any other theme in this series, perspective is a key parameter and can create an abstract feeling where one would not expect it in the first place - do play around with an unusual point of view, and/or rotations in post-processing. Third, in terms of composition, our old friend the diagonal will often play a paramount role. Fourth, where lines and shapes are dominant, conversion to black and white should always be considered (even if it is not by definition the best choice) - and keep in mind that good black and white photographs usually have a high degree of contrast. Please click here to see 12 selected examples from my Flickr photostream with some background information.

link

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The way life's meant to be

This 1982 single by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) is not the most successful in their discography, but it does sport a beautiful cover, cashing in on the popularity of science fiction of those years, and featuring the iconic ELO spaceship that appeared in several of their album covers. More about ELO on the linked Wikipedia page.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Aborigines of Australia (RIP Peter Sculthorpe et al)

This week, movie lovers lamented the passing of Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall. The world of classical music was even dealt a triple blow, with the passing of soprano Christina Deutekom, conductor Frans Bruggen, and composer Peter Sculthorpe. Especially the death of Australia's Sculthorpe, one of my favourite contemporary composers, made me sad. In his memory, his eighth string quartet Aborigines of Australia, played by the Kronos Quartet. Rest in peace, all.

YouTube

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bitter lessons from the past

I have decided to revive the Imaginary Albums category, with one small change in the rules (see below). First the usual imaginary review:

It took the French neo-prog band Authon three years to come up with a follow-up album of their highly acclaimed debut, Parisian Affairs. Their sophomore release's title hints at the underlying causes, which were explained in detail in a recent interview at Innervisions with their lead singer Daniel Dagorn. To make a long story short, the unexpected success went to the heads of several band members, resulting in endless discussions on what direction to take and little or no actual music. On several occasions, the temptation to pull the plug on the band was difficult to overcome, and only the departure of two of the five original members last year made it possible to have a fresh start. Bitter lessons from the past is a strong second album, in a similar new-prog style as their debut, but with longer and better developed songs, and a further improvement in melodic quality. The French accent of Dagorn is still clear, and may or may not work for you. But do give them a try if you like bands such as IQ, Arena and Quidam.

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 Authon.
[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 (from 2014 onward: any part of a random quotation will do). The random quote that came up was by Sidney J. Harris: A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future..
[3] The illustration: pick a suitable one from my Flickr collection. My picture, The cannons of Paris, can be found here on Flickr. The on-line editing was done with the programme On-line image editor, the font settings selected were Algerian 100 Black and Chiller 65 Black, 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.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

An arm and a leg (and then some)

I was glad to have my compact camera with me when we came across this scene in the window of a local shop. Conditions were not ideal (flare from the shop lights, photographing through the window), but the result is still fun. And it became my 68th photograph to appear in Flickr Explore, the 500 most interesting shots of the day.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.025 sec (1/40)
Aperture: f/3.5
Focal Length: 8 mm
ISO Speed: 320
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Fake plastic trees

The 1995 Radiohead album The bends has been on heavy rotation once more in our CD player the past week. The absolute highlight is Street spirit [fade out], which ended at #13 in my countdown of all-time favourite songs, but Fake plastic trees is excellent as well. A marvelous acoustic style ballad with poignant lyrics about the empty and fabricated modern life - plastic trees is not bad enough, by adding the fake in front of it they make a very clear statement. Art Rock score: 10/10 (outstanding song, one of the 200 best of all time).

YouTube

Monday, August 04, 2014

Eight years of Art for Art's Sake

I started this blog on August 4th, 2006 - making today its eighth birthday. I really would not have expected this when I posted my first contribution on that day. The currently archived posts do not go back further than October 2008, because at that time I made a fresh start, deleting everything that I had posted before.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

I've got the music in me

Should I introduce a new tag "The art of Lu and Hennie Schaper"? This is a first for us, an artistic cooperation between my wife and me. This was originally a photograph (actually, a digital merger of five photographs) by myself, and has featured in this blog before (here). We printed it on canvas for display in our gallery, and then my wife decided that this would be ideal material for an experiment: she provided some touch-ups with oil paint. The result is quite effective.

The Art of Lu Schaper