34 days until Christmas

34 days until Christmas and the Rose are still blooming! copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

34 days until Christmas and the Rose are still blooming! copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

The days have been getting shorter, we have witnessed cities and town putting Christmas lights on the light standards and in the streets, and I have been talking about Christmas Markets,  so yesterday when I noticed this lovely pink rose blooming in the cemetery at the St. Peter’s Abbey, in Salzburg Germany, I was surprised to see it.

Flowers blooming in November, in Calgary Alberta,  just doesn’t happen, unless of course they are house plants, then I started to think about the date, and realized it was only 34 days until Christmas.

34 more days until Christmas………….

will you be ready?

Salzburg Christmas Markets open today

Salzburg Austria; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Salzburg Austria; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

We have been in Salzburg for a couple of days, visiting the Cathedral and the Abbey. It has been cool and rainy, with the cloud cover this time of year it is dark early, and by 4 o’clock the street lights are coming on. Salzburg Christmas markets open today, and everything has been decorated for the event, it is all quite magical especially when the church bells start to ring.

Enjoying the mulled wine; Vienna Christmas Market

enjoying mulled wine, Vienna Christmas Markets_IMG_0513

I am not sure if the Vienna Christmas Markets are unique in their marketing of mulled wine, but each market has a special wine and a special mug that they sell. When you buy your first cup of mulled wine you also pay a deposit on the cup, once the wine is done you can order more wine or you can keep the cup as a souvenir.  It seemed every market we visited had a different wine and a different cup; great fun drinking mulled and collecting cups, don’t you think?

I have used the photo of Bill and our first cups of mulled wine for my submission to the monochrome madness this week. If you have been following the blog for a while you will remember the group of photographers who at least once a week submit black and white images to the forum, head on over to Leanne Cole’s blog to check out the other submission, they might not be as much fun as Bill drinking mulled wine, but you will find some great photography.

We are off to Salzburg Austria to see their Christmas markets and taste their mulled wine!

Vienna; Christmas Markets 2014

Vienna Christmas Market; copyright jmeyersforeman2014

Vienna Christmas Market; copyright jmeyersforeman2014 

Bill and I spend a couple of days in Vienna, visiting the Christmas Markets, this one in the Rathausplaz is the largest one we walked through.  With small wooden shops and trees all decorated for the season, the smell or candied nuts and mulled wine and the sounds of Christmas Carols and children laughing it is an enchanted place to be.

This is just the beginning of the Christmas market season and as we wandered the streets of Vienna we found other smaller markets were being set up in other squares and plaza’s.

Great places to practise my night-time and low light photography, lucky for me Bill doesn’t mind carrying the tripod!

 

Floating Leaves

Floating Leaves; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Floating Leaves; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”

-John Burroughs

One more; Charles Bridge, Prague, then we are off to Vienna

Charles Bridge, Prague; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Charles Bridge, Prague; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

We sat along banks of the Vltave River, not far from the Charles Bridge, where we could see the Old Town Bridge tower, the sun was going down, the lights were coming on and it seemed like the perfect time and a perfect place to stop for a mug of mulled wine.

This hour of day the dark blue colour of the sky mixed with the warm glow of the street lights is one of the most beautiful times of day, of course this time of year, late fall, sunset happens about 4:30. I think that it is a perfect reminder to change gears and slow down.

As a photographer low light means long time exposures and a tripod, causing, dare I say forcing me to slow down and enjoy the view. In this image we can see the lights of the river boats streaking by, they become a blur of light with the long exposures and contrast to the sharp detail of the Old Town.

Charles Bridge, Prague Hungary

Charles Bridge Prague Hungary; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Charles Bridge Prague Hungary; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

The Charles Bridge is a famous historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic spans 16 arches and is lined with 30 Baroque statues of religious figures, and can be seen from one of more than a dozen towers in the city.

I had read that Prague has about 100 towers, at least nine are considered major tourist attractions, and visitors can climb the steps, or in some cases ride a lift to the top for a bird’s-eye view of the city. This image was taken from the Petrin Hill and Observation tower 299 steps to reach the top, not one of the tallest towers I have walked up, but it does sit on top of Petrin Hill, high above the city.

After-Before forum Nov 14, 2014

Florence_Riverfront_after_jmf

Florence_Riverfront_after_jmf

If you have been following for a while you might remember that I have been participating in the After-Before Forum, and over the last few weeks each of us submitted one image, that we would like to see everyone process, and interesting challenge to finish another photographers photo. There are a lot of choice to be made when processing an image. I can’t say, like many photographers, that I always have an idea of the image I want to end up with when I click the shutter button.  Just as often as not I will import the image into Lightroom and see what happens.

When I received the email that the image of the Florence Riverfront had been chosen for us to work with I had to decide if I would keep true to the image that we had, or make an image that reflected my vision. Here is the image that we were to start with.

Riverfront by Karen Chengelis

Riverfront by Karen Chengelis

You can see I made a few changes!  I had, just a couple of weeks ago, visited Florence and photographed the same river and bridge! I remember the feeling of wonder as I walked down the street viewing the artists sitting painting. I knew I wanted to create an image that reflected those beautiful watercolours as well as the scene before me.

There are a lot of steps involved, and I apologize to the non-photographers and photoshoppers who follow the blog for the “jargon” and lack of detail. While the steps and process for this type of image is similar each layer is added and adjusted as the image and personal taste finds pleasing.

First I wanted the reflections in the water more visible; I selected, copied and pasted them onto a new layer. Then using the transform tool  I shaped the selection into the area I thought the reflections would fit. I decreased the opacity of the layer, and the water of the river would show through.  On the original image I increased the vibrance to punch up the colours.  I then created a duplicate layer, and on this layer I used the find edges filter, the blend mode was set to overlay and I masked off part of the river, the lines and ripples in the water created a distracting detail.  The final step was to add another layer, using a copy of a robin’s egg textured paper at 37% opacity, I masked off the area of the buildings and bridge so the colour did not show through, but gave the sky and water some colour that had been affected with the find edges filter.

Learning to use textures has been and interesting process and I have discussed it before, send me a message or comment if you are interested in more information. Hop on over to the After-Before Forum page and see what the other photographers have come up with.

St. Charles Bridge, Prague at Sunrise

St. Charles Bridge, Prague Hungary at sunrise; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Charles Bridge, Prague Hungary at sunrise; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

We haven’t been getting up for sunrise very often lately, we wanted to see Charles Bridge in the early morning before it was filled with people. Sunday and there was at least a dozen photographers with tripods, and another dozen or so people walking around with cameras at 6 am! It was cloudy so there wasn’t much of a sunrise, but it was worth getting up early because by 7 am there bridge was starting to get busy, by then we were ready for our morning coffee and croissant.

Bubblemaker or Dragon Catcher?

Bubblemaker or Dragon Catcher? copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Bubble-maker or Dragon Catcher? copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

If there is a tower I will most likely try to get to the top to see the city from a different vantage point. Yesterday 3 towers, just under 900 steps (counting up and down) and several different views of beautiful city of Prague, almost all of them I have seen on postcards around the city. So I thought I would show you something you won’t see very often, a bubble maker on the cobblestone street. It was Bill that pointed out the dragon, it isn’t something you see while it is happening, in fact the bubble shifts and reshape, colours moving so quickly I just enjoy the moment, because this dragon was soapy bubbles on the street within seconds!