Tuesday, 21 June 2011

It's the summer holiday season...

...and this means that I'll be exchanging my daily commuter's view through the train window...

It would be so much nicer to walk around this countryside instead of seeing it through the windows of a crowded train
At least you get some fine views from railway bridges you wouldn't get from anywhere else
Zürich-West. The city is changing rapidly, so many places I don't recognise at all anymore
These allotments have survived the city planners and investors. For the moment.
The new Prime Tower in Zürich-West, at the moment Switzerland's tallest buidling
Prime Tower and office building. The reflections of the sky are often quite specactular.
Reflections. If you look close enough, I'm sure you can see me pointing my camera through the train window :)
...for some new sights and familiar scenes in lovely London for a couple of weeks.

London, June/July 2010

Spending my summer holidays in London, taking classes at the LRBS is becoming something of a tradition, and it's already the 5th year I'm going there this year. But the first year that I'll be taking two classes instead of just one, so I guess it will not be as relaxing and restful a holiday as I'd probably need. But lying on a beach all day in the baking sun just isn't my thing. And I'll still have a few days to explore one of my favourite towns, re-visiting favourite places and exploring new ones.

And hopefully, I'll finally be able to see the Canaletto and Guardi collection at the Wallace Collection - something I've been trying to do for over two years, but without success (they actually closed the rooms for refurbishment just a few days before I went there). I'm also looking forward to seeing the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, having lunch in the garden restaurant at Kenwood House followed by a lovely stroll down the Heath, finally visiting the Portrait Gallery, the obligatory visits to the British Library and the British Museum (which are both really just around the corner from where I'll be staying), a walk along the Thames, some shopping in Oxford Street, checking out some art supply and photo shops, meeting up with friends, and and and...

A little treat at Kenwood House

I'm just afraid that, as usual, there won't be enough time to do everything I would like to. But I'm pretty sure that I'll be going back there again and again and again :).

Just one more day to go and I'm off. See you again in July. Have a wonderful summer :)

Kenwood House, 2011

Tower Bridge, London, 2011

Monday, 20 June 2011

Summer fields

Now, in early summer, the fields around are growing fast, and are wonderfully fresh and green against the blue sky. And hidden between the stems, there are bugs and poppies to be found, if you care to take time and look.

I took a walk the other week, through the countryside, in the hot midday sun, along fields, through woods, frequently pausing, kneeling down on the ground, watching, looking closely, taking in the view, taking pictures, and simply enjoying the time outside.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

B&W Film

I picked up, the prints of my first roll of b&w film today, taken with my beloved Minolta Hi-Matic 7s II. So far, I've been very happy with the colour prints taken with it, although the digital version is always quite terrible. No matter whether I scan them myself from picture or negative, or have a CD made, they results are always the same: terribly grainy and not very sharp images. I'm beginning to think that there's something wrong with the camera somehow, as I've seen digitalised pictures taken with that camera on the net, and they look nothing like mine. But at least, the prints are okay. Maybe I really just have to stick to the prints, the old fashioned way :).

On the other hand, it's quite cool what you can with Photoshop to them afterwards. With one totally overexposed image, I managed to get some of the colour back and turn it into a picture I'm quite happy with:

I was slightly disappointed with the black and white prints. They turned out rather dark, with lots of contrast and little details. I've used an Ilford ISO 125 film, and the result is pretty much the same regardless of the weather condition, whether it was grey and rainy or bright sunshine. I stuck to the "sunny 16 rule" or used the automatic mode, with which I've had good experiences (even though I read somewhere that it wasn't reliable anymore because the voltage of the batteries has changed).

But as I said before, the advantage of the digital vesion of the analog prints is that they can be processed in Photoshop. And the grainy, not-so-sharp look somehow adds to the old-time-fee of the analog prints (although I wish you could see how wonderfully SHARP that lens actually is!).

Early morning at the river, with a bit of a yellow filter added afterwards:

 More early morning at the river, complete with reflections and a couple of mallards - and some added warm-up filter:

Some clouds in the sky, with a bit of contrast adjustment and orange filter to give it even more drama:

“There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.” (G. K. Chesterton)

A grey and rainy day in one of the parks in Vienna, using a couple of solid colour layers to give it a cool greenish/blueish tint (and a little bit of sharpening):

And last but not least, an untreated, SOOC shot of the pavillion in Vienna on the same grey and rainy day.

I took another roll for development when I picked up the prints. So now at least I know what to expect, and won't be too disappointed. But it's awfully expensive. Together with the CD, it cost me well over CHF 1.00 per print!! So maybe I should consider doing my own developing sooner or later, if I want to go on shooting with bw film.

I've just decided, while finishing this post, to create a second blog dedicated entirely to black & white. There, I want to explore all aspects of black & white photography, hoping to learn and develop my skills. Have a look if you like: http://www.nordljusinbw.blogspot.com/.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Week 15: Double Vision

I just realised that we're actually already in week 16 - and there's me, thinking that I'd finally managed to keep up... Well, I still have time till Thursday to take and post a picture for this week, but here's last week for now. The theme was "double vision", looking at a subject from different perspectives, shooting it from up and down and creating a diptych.

It's early summer (how time flies!!) and this means it's poppy season. Yay! I just love poppies. They're so cheerful. One of the meanings of red poppies in the language of flowers is pleasure. And they're certainly a pleasure to look at. They just always make me smile!

Other meanings for poppies:
Poppies (general): Eternal sleep, oblivion, imaginaton
Poppies (red): Pleasure, consolation
Poppies (white): Consolation, sleep
Poppies (yellow): Wealth, success

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Picture Inspiration: Catching up

A little bit, at least. We're already in Week 15 (how time flies!!), and so far, I actually managed to do and upload a meagre three images. High time for a bit of catching up! I'm cheating a little bit, though. Instead of going to take the pictures, I'm going through the pictures I recently took, looking for some fitting the topics. There are quite a few that match pretty well, so I think that's quite okay, actually :).

So here's a little catching-up on some of the themes:

Week 4: How Things Stack Up

I tidied up the kitchen cupboard, and decided to store these bright green and light blue coffee cups and saucers in the basement, as they're never used anyway. I'd need some cardboard box to put them in. I just recycled a whole bunch of cardboard boxes two weeks ago. Isn't it just typical?!

Week 10: Dishing It Out

I think I actually took this picture especially for this prompt. My kitchen. I seem to spend an unproportionally great amount of time with washing up the dishes. I really don't know where the stuff's always coming from. And I really wish I had a dishwater... But at least it's all bright and colourful in my kitchen :)

Week 11: In the Distance

When I was standing up there, taking pictures of Schloss Schönbrunn and the city of Vienna behind it, I thought that the big church in the far distance was the famous Stephansdom. It was only when I was looking at the pictures more closely back home again, that I realised it wasn't, but some other church. Well, I have no sense of direction, and I'm shortsighted... :)

Week 13: From the Ground Up

Lovely daisies in the beautiful park of Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna. It was a very hot and sunny day, and the cool woods was very welcoming.

A variaton of the theme:

I very much prefer to watch these from the ground up than being up there in one of the little cars for sure!

Week 14: Bird's Eyes View

Not a bird's eyes view, but what a bird up in one of those branches would see, when looking down on the Burgring on a rainy day in Vienna.

I really liked those water puddle reflections, which were a bit of a consolation for it being such cold, grey and rainy day when I arrived in Vienna the week before last. And I had the theme in the back of my mind, so I took quite a few of these shots :)

And from a real bird's view perspective:

Landing at Zurich Airport on a grey and rainy day. I've got such a terrible sense of direction (and geography) that I'm afraid I can't even tell which town this is. But it looks cool from up there :).

I meant to post only one picture per theme, but somehow, it turned out a lot more. I've just got so many pictures, and sometimes, I simply couldn't decide which one I liked best. There's still a lot of catching up to do. I've been struggling to keep up with all of my 52 projects, and it's been quite a busy past few weeks, but I still intend to catch up with all the past themes after my holiday in June/July, and keep up with it all for the second half of the year :)