Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sakura Festival - a photo reportage through 85mm

This post is attempt of photo reportage at Sakura festival, a great oportunity to see Japanese traditions in Denmark. The event happened today, in Langelinie park, having the Sakura cherry blossom trees as background. All the images in this post are done with only one lens, Nikon 85mm F1.8 and are not processed (only minor cropping for 2-3 images).
The festival itself was a joy of colour and tribute to Japanese culture. Music, dance, martial arts, kimono show, all executed by a mixture of people, Japanese, Danish and, probaly some other nationalities too. There was food, sake, Japanese beer and many other goodies.

Sakura cherry blossom trees

Taiko drum




Cosplay costumes

Cosplay costumes

Shiba Inu dog

Japanese food

Photographer in a weird position

Traditional Japenese dance


Kimono dressed girl




Kids in Kimono

Cute Japanese girls


Small Japanese girl

Final display of the Kimono-show participants

Stepping on the light and Andreas Gursky

Stepping on the light

The today image is one that we like very much from, our recent trip to Stockholm. The light and darkness blend in a harsh way, giving a contrast that indicated a obvious B&W conversion, in low key.
On another note, yesterday we visited the Andreas Gursky exhibition in Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Andreas Gursky is the German photographer that sold recently a quite mundane image of Rhine with 4.3 mil. $ (I am not questioning the price, I would just like to see how a similar image of a not so known photographer would behave in an auction ). What is so special about Gursky is that his large 3m high prints are able to display a huge amount of details. A blending of a large format camera doubled by titanic post processing work is rendering details that make the eye disoriented but also very curious to absorb the amount of information. We will not spoil the joy of seeing the exhibition yourself with more comments.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stockholm - City Hall

Stockholm City Hall

This post is about the City Hall of Stockholm, a lovely piece of architecture on Kungsholmen island. Although it is rather new, built between 1911 and 1923, it looks a bit older. The tower was built 106 meters high, one meter higher that the one of Copenhagen City Hall, marking the famous rivalry between the two Scandinavian capitals.

Stockholm City hall - The Blue Hall

The interior is quite impressive, starting with the Blue Hall whose name is linked more to the architect ambitions then the reality (it was supposed to have blue painted walls or an open ceiling to allow watching the sky, turned out instead into brick walls and a white ceiling). The hall is used for the famous Nobel Prize Banquet.

Stockholm City hall - Council chamber

The Council chambers is where all the important decisions of the city are voted. In the absence of a mayor, all the council members have same voting power. The room try to recreate the atmosphere of a ancient viking house, having sky like painted parts on the ceiling.

Stockholm City hall - The vault of the Hundred

The vault of the Hundred, lies directly under the tower and has one vault for each member of the council. A clock representing St. George and Dragon is obsessively symbolizing some win over Denmark (maybe for the highest City Hall tower :D).

Stockholm City hall - some room

Stockholm City hall - Prince's gallery

Prince's gallery is painted by the Prince Eugene himself, trying to display on the wall the same view that was available by looking on the window. Since at that time nobody was willing to give him a honest feedback about his work, he was very auto-critical, hence never happy with the results. This is why he repainted this wall many time.

Stockholm City hall - ceiling of The Prince's gallery

Stockholm City hall - The Oval

The Oval room, initially designed to displays Tureholm tapestries, is now used for weddings .

Stockholm City hall- Golden Room

The Golden room name is actually reflecting the reality and not the intention. Golden walls are realized by joining over 18 million tiles. It is dominated by the stylized portrait of The Queen of Lake Mälaren, holding in her hands the city of Stockholm, together with some symbols from Orient and Occident, trying to show the piece desire of the Swedish people.

Stockholm - The street

Playing in Stortorget

The streets of a vibrant city are also vibrant. Full of colors and full of contrasts. No B&W conversion this time, as the sun was kind enough to beautifully light the streets. No perfect diagonal compositions a la Cartier Bresson (I started to read some articles about his perfect compositions, where the magic of the image was simply converted into a geometrical schema, by aligning the top of the nose of a character with the knee of another one along a baroque diagonal; pretty impressive ); just some snapshots picturing the joy of life.

The little viking girl


Man with cigarette

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Stockholm - another day in black and white

Lion statue at Kungsträdgården

As David duChemin was saying on his blog about color vs black and white post processing, color should be chosen only if it brings some value to the image. And since a cloudy rainy day is not very rich in colors, we opted again for a monochrome processing. Topaz B&B plugin was again the star of the series. Enjoy Stockholm seen in grey scales!

Small dock at Slussen

Gustav Adolf Square

Stockholm City Hall reflection

Stockholm Riksdag

Stockholm Synagogue

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Clouds in Black and White

Crossing the Roman bridge to Mezquita

Do you like clouds? I like them a lot and they make nice pictures. Those clouds that you get just before or after a heavy rain. Or the fluffy clouds that add an extra spice to a blue sky. Always liked to process in a dramatic way, to pop up their texture. And black and white processing is good for this, as you don't have to focus on color but just on texture. 60 years ago there was only black and white. Now we are heading back to the roots for some reason.

And there will be storm again!

Processing wise, we have tried various way of turning an image to monochrome: desaturating it in Photomatix as part of tone mapping process of an HDR, Topaz B&W plugin for Photoshop, Nik Silver Efex or just simple desaturation in Photoshop.
For Nik Silver Efex we used the trial for 2 weeks and decided not to buy. They have that strange attitude against European clients (no coupon codes, the prices have same amount in Euro as they have in $ in US, extremely slow customer service response time, no care about the attendants questions during webinars). Photomatix works pretty fine if you want to do a real or a fake HDR .
Photoshop is also great but its more work then the rest as everything that you get embedded in a plugin needs to be done using levels, curves or hue and saturation layers. The fastest and easier to use turned out to be Topaz B&W, a plugin produced by Topaz Labs, that has a lot of useful presets but also provides ability to fine tune them.

Fortress in the mountains

Palm House, Copenhagen , Botanical Garden

Amagertorv in a cloudy day

...and I will walk on the sea

Winter in Goteborg

Sailing to calm waters