Bamberg Germany

Old Town Hall, Bamberg Germany; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Old Town Hall, Bamberg Germany; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

How time fly’s by, Bill and I visited Bamberg Germany for the first time April 2011! We loved it so much when the opportunity to spend this month in Germany photographing Christmas Markets came up, we knew that the Bamberg Christmas Market would be on the list of places to see. 

We have spent a couple of days wandering the streets, visiting the familiar tourist attractions, as well as some of the coffee shops and breweries that we had visited before. We have also found some new favourites. 

This is the old town hall, and it doesn’t matter how many times I walk by, or which bridge I am on when I see it I think about taking a photo. According to legend the bishop of Bamberg would not grant the citizens any land for the construction of a town hall, so the townsfolk rammed huge wooden beams into the river Regnitz to create an artificial island on which they built the town hall. The location marks the old border of rule between the bishop, the ruling clergy and the local trades people on the island city. 

Old Town Hall, Bamberg Germany; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Old Town Hall, Bamberg Germany; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

the old town hall at night. 

 

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.

The Gamaldegalerie, Berlin;

I have doing some reading about street photography, and wanted to share some photos taken at the Gemaldegalerie in Berlin. The gallery founded in 1830 contains a collection of European paintings from the 13th to the 18th century. The Gemaldegalerie website notes that a complete tour of the gallery includes paintings from some of the great masters as Raphael, Titian, and Jan van Eyck, to name a few, as well as a gallery of Rembrandt’s work. There is approximately 1000 masterpieces on display at any one time.

Our visit to the gallery seemed like a perfect opportunity to practise some of the tips and suggestions I had been reading for street photography. After all walking around the gallery can be a lot like walking around a small neighbourhood.

Some pointers I have picked up from this experience and from my reading;

  1. be patient – working on that one, still working on that one, yup will probably be working on that one for a while. Some times it pays to sit in one place for a while, in a museum where it is alright to sit or stand and study a painting I look a little less awkward, okay I feel a little less awkward. People are generally pre-occupied with the art work, and less concerned with what I am doing.
  2. choose the right lens, 24 mm to 50 mm,  allows for more background or foreground, and provides context to the image, while pulling the viewer in, as if they were part of the image unfolding before them.
  3. have your setting right before you start, ISO and shutter speed fast enough to stop movement. Pre-planning and be aware of light changes is essential. I choose to practise in a space where light was constant, one less thing to worry about for the day.
  4. Look for juxtaposition, or in the case of the museum photography, I looked for people busy viewing the art work, but not blocking the art, so we could see both.
  5. focus; with modern auto-focus cameras and a wide lens, in the 30 – 35mm range, set to lens to f8, generally works to keep most the subjects in focus.

So there you have it, my gallery of images, and a few lessons I picked up along the way. It should be noted that I have a noisy camera, and in a quiet museum people are going to notice, on more than one occasion someone apologized for being in the image!  It is important to check with the museum before taking any photos, and remember to turn off your flash!

I love to visit the museums, the audio guide playing in my ear, learning about the masterpieces on show along with a little history, now I have another reason to spend time in a museum! I hope you have found this helpful, if you have any tips to share please leave a comment.

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 

Berlin Murals

Berlin is famous for its graffiti, or wall art I thought I would show you a few of the image we noticed during our time here.

Sunshine Statues and Silhouette

Sunshine Statue and Silhouette; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Sunshine Statue and Silhouette; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

It has been cold, foggy, and windy here in Germany and I needed a change from all the Christmas market photos. So I went back in my files to a day in Salzburg when we actually had a little bit of sunshine.

As we walked around the parks of Salzburg enjoying the architecture and statues I noticed the sun peaking through creating a sun-flare near the upper part of the image, and a near perfect silhouette.  Given the weather report for this part of the world it will be while before we see the sun!

Today we will be dressing warm and heading out to see more of Berlin, pictures to follow at a later date.

Santa and Christmas Markets

Santa at the Christmas Market; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Santa at the Christmas Market; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

there are lots of cute Santa decorations and if I was going to collect these cute little Santa’s I would need a bigger suitcase to get home!!! Berlin is filled with Christmas Markets, and despite the temperatures the Berliners are out in droves. On the plus side there are so many people the wind isn’t the problem as it could be, the crowds of people cut down the wind and we can enjoy looking at all the booths, and find a spot to eat bratwurst on a bun while we drink mulled wine.

I hope you are enjoying your Christmas preparations!

To see more of my image from my Christmas Market excursion check out my photoshelter gallery, I will be adding new images regularly.

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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Cute enough to take home; I don’t think my suitcase is going to be big enough!!!

Cute enough to take home; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Cute enough to take home; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

lots and lots of cute Christmas decorations fill the booths at the Christmas Markets. It is so much fun to walk around and see what people have to offer.

Today is our first day in Berlin, and there is so much to see at anytime of the year, and right now the streets and parks are all lit up with Christmas lights. There are more than 20 Christmas markets, filled with special surprises!

I don’t think we will get time to see everything, but we will give it a try.

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!