Frankfurt Germany; Evening stroll along the river

Evening along River Main, Frankfurt Germany; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Evening along River Main, Frankfurt Germany; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

We have left Frankfurt Germany for Amsterdam, but I wanted to show you one last image from our visit.  The architecture along the River Main is a mix of old and new, and with a long exposure the lights reflected so beautifully, like a rainbow across the water.

Admittedly I am not the best person to go with a stroll with, there are times, when the view is this wonderful, or  something interesting catches my eye and it can be more standing around than strolling! Setting up the tripod, and getting the framing just right, taking as many as 5 or 6 different exposures to blend together later. It isn’t really a fast process, and it can take a long time to go just about nowhere! But really isn’t that sort of the purpose for an evening stroll, to meander without destination, to enjoy the fresh air and the view!

Success, don’t you think?

After Before Friday Forum; Ferris Wheels in Berlin

Ferris Wheel and Berlin Needle; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Ferris Wheel and Berlin Needle; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

One of the things I didn’t expect when we decided to visit the Christmas Markets of Berlin was all the amusement rides, but they are at every market, and they are packed with people. I know I have mentioned a time or two about how cold it is, but the German people are hardy souls, you have to be to ride one of these when the thermometer tells us it is zero Celsius and there is already a 15k wind blowing, just how cold is it up there?

It’s Friday, and this image is my contribution to Stacy Fishers After-Before Forum, several photographer submit images and explains the steps they take to process their final image. Stacy usually does a video blog, it is fun to watch her work through an image in Lightroom. It is a great place to learn more about processing digital images, and learning from other photographers.

For this image started with two images

Take at different exposures, a tripod is a must, one exposure .3 sec the next exposure for 30 seconds. Both images are in my Lightroom Catalogue and open in Photoshop as layers. This stacks one image on top of the other, by changing the opacity of the upper image to 47% I am able to see the image of the ferris wheel cars through the light blur. As everything else in the image is stationary, this is the only thing that changes. This gives us an image showing the ferris wheel cars with the sense of movement, something I wasn’t able to achieve with the camera alone, the ferris wheel cars were just a blur.

After that I flattened the image, creating one layer, and using the Camera Raw filter I made some adjustments in the basic panel; contrast +23, black -18, clarity +30, and vibrancy +30. In lens correction I removed chromatic aberration, and auto adjuster for lens distortion.  If you are unfamiliar with Camera Raw and would like more information let me know, but Camera Raw works very similar to Lightroom for these basic adjustments and it is possible that I could have done them in Lightroom as well, I chose to do them in Photoshop while I had the files open. There are no magic numbers to adjusting contrast, blacks, clarity or vibrancy, I usually move the sliders to what looks good to me on my screen.

The Berlin Needle in the top left of the image was not very well-lit, moving the black slider too far to the left plunged it into darkness, so that was one of my control points.

My next step was to save the file, and return to the Lightroom catalogue where I followed up with some minor noise adjustments, and made another adjustment for lens correction. I then cropped the image eliminating the car lights and mobile trailers out of the bottom of the image, helping to focus attention on the three subjects of interest.

The final image isn’t perfect, there is some slight movement between frames, and I didn’t get perfect alignment. A good reminder to lock up my mirror, and use the shutter timer when releasing the shutter. Both of these steps will hopefully eliminate any minor movement. It was however quite windy that night, it is always a good idea to weigh down the tripod as well, even the wind blowing the camera strap around can cause slight camera movement.

Just a note to those who are interesting in the process I did take several images at different shutter speeds, so I had several choices to work from. I can visualize the image I want, but I don’t always know how they are going to fit together during the process, more frames with different variables is always a good idea.

More Christmas market images are available for viewing and purchase in my gallery.

Berlin Christmas Markets

We have managed to visit several of Berlin’s famous Christmas markets. They all have plenty of Christmas lights, Christmas Carols playing in the background, and children’s rides. Some markets looked more like amusement parks with Christmas decorations than Christmas markets but everyone was having a good time.

Food, there was lots of food,  bratwurst on a bun, there was mulled wine, beer as well as hot chocolate, of course cookies and candies of every description, you could even get cotton candy.  Some markets had roast piglet on a spit, crepes, cheeses and roasting Chestnuts.

It seemed like an endless choice of decorations to buy, as well as jewellery, art, pottery and lights. There was woolen sweaters, coats, caps and mittens, sheepskin slippers, mittens and caps. One market had wooden outdoor furniture, and another Christmas tree were for sale.

Some of the markets had ice skating rinks and ice bocci, just for the record we watched, it was fun and there was no falling down and getting hurt or breaking the camera! One market had hot water radiators set up with benches so we could stay warm, and a small bonfire where the kids were roasting marshmallows.

The best time to visit was just after dark, when all the lights were on. It was usually busy at that time of the day, crowds of people could make photography difficult, but the markets look better when filled with people!

High resolution images are available for viewing and or purchase in my gallery 

Christmas in Augsburg

Christmas in Augsburg; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Christmas in Augsburg; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

St. Ulrich and St. Afra,

The double church, half catholic half protestant and a place where the Peace of Augsburg was signed in 1555, we did rent a little apartment just down the street and we could hear the bells ring every 1/4 hr between 8 am and about 8 pm at night. After a while you get so you don’t even notice the bells ringing.
On our last night in Augsburg we attended the opening of the Christmas Market, and all of the Christmas lights were turned on, all up and down the street were these little angels blowing their trumpets. Unfortunately,  we didn’t have time to see inside either church while we visited Augsburg, maybe next time.
I think this image would make a great Christmas card, copies of this image and others from my portfolio are available check out my gallery.
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Monochrome Madness; Salzburg in the evening

Bill on the steps Salzburg; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Bill on the steps Salzburg; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

I think it is the winter season here in the Northern Hemisphere, I am not sure, but I will suggest that the reason I am showing you so many evening images lately is that the days are so short, and the nights so long.  I should be happy, it is a great time to practise working in low light situations, to get use to carrying a tripod, to use the flash in different situations, and basically try new things, and I am happy!

The other reason that you are seeing a lot of night images is that the days have been cloudy and grey, no snow thankfully, only one day of rain, but dull and flat, and it is difficult to get something dramatic to show you. Now I am not complaining, just letting you know conditions haven’t been perfect.

This was a perfect setting to practise the long exposure and flash combination again. There were some adjustments before I got this image. I am not sure if it is perfect, any suggestions let me know. It is my contribution to Monochrome Madness for this week.  Leanne Cole publishes a blog post once a week, a bunch of photographers contribute they black and white images, each week is different and worth a look!

Salzburg Germany

Salzburg at night copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Salzburg at night copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

Salzburg is a beautiful city. We rode the funicular up to the fortress to see the museum and a view of Salzburg from above. We strolled the cobblestone streets in the city centre through the Christmas markets, while listening to Christmas Carols, eating spiced nuts and drinking mulled wine, and we watched the skaters at the ice rink.  I also spent a good deal of time photographing the different places we visited, including the Cathedral and the Abbey but that can almost go without saying! We loved our time in Salzburg, I am sure there is more to see and do than we had time for.

This was my first official attempt at HDR, high dynamic range image. The fort at the top of the hill did not have many lights on it and it was quite dark, while the lights on the bridge with very bright, and because they were close to the camera they overwhelmed the image, they were so bright it was hard to see anything else. With that in mind I set up the tripod, and exposed  6 images, each exposure was 2/3’s of a stop different from the preceding one, with the final image a full 2 stops underexposed. Photoshop HDR merge is responsible for the blend of the six images in to one image, well mostly. The program does come with a lot of different presets and sliders,  different options can tweak, tweak being the not so technical word for adjust, and blend to get the image to my liking.

With this image you can see what we saw that night standing on the river bank looking at Salzburg’s old town.

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.

San Petronio seen from the Piazza Maggiore

San Petronio, Bologna Italy, copyright jmeyersforeman

San Petronio, Bologna Italy, copyright jmeyersforeman

San Petronio, Bologna’s most famous and impressive church. It is the sixth largest church in Europe. Its size is impressive: 132 metres long by 66 metres wide by 45 metres tall with the facade reaching a height of 51 metres. Construction of the basilica began in 1390, the basilica should have been the largest in the world, but things didn’t go well: the pope didn’t approve of the idea of a church larger than St. Peters. The construction of the Basilica was put on hold for a long time, partly due to lack of funding and the technical challenges of achieving the very high Gothic vaults

Mortadella Festival in Bologna Italy

Along the Via Zamboni; copyright jmeyersforeman

 The Church of Saint Giacomo Maggiore, along the Via Zamboni; copyright jmeyersforeman 

The festival was on again, the streets were filled with people enjoying the music as well as the wonderful food.  I have read that Bologna Italy has over 53 kilometers of arcades, arch covered streets, in the historical centre, where people can walk, shop, and enjoy life.  Here is just a few images from my Sunday Street Photography practice…..

Bands play for the crowds, Bologna Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman

Bands play for the crowds, Bologna Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman  

Bubbles for the kids to chase, Bologna Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman

Bubbles for the kids to chase, Bologna Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman 

Dinner in the sidewalk cafe; copyright jmeyersforeman

Dinner in the sidewalk cafe; copyright jmeyersforeman 

 

 

Early Morning in Merida Spain; The Lusitania Bridge

The Lusitania Bridge early morning, and the lights are on; copyright jmeyersforeman

The Lusitania Bridge early morning, and the lights are on; copyright jmeyersforeman   

I a couple of days ago I showed you the old Roman bridge in Merida Spain, while we were photographing the cobblestone bridge we could see just down the river the new modern bridge Lusitania Bridge,  designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. The same architect who designed the Calgary Peace Bridge

As my wonderful husband said “isn’t the world a small place” it does seem a little odd to travel 1/2 way round the world, to the wonderful city of Merida, and see architecture by the same architect that caused such a stir in my home town! It is odd, Merida is a beautiful little city in central Spain that I had not heard of before starting on your walk north on the Via la Plata. As we walked north from Seville we learn a lot about Spain, and its history, and about its architecture.

The modern architecture is as fascinating and beautiful as the old architecture.