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.

Ice Skating at the Christmas Market in Salsburg

Ice Skating at the Christmas Market, Salzburg Austria; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Ice Skating at the Christmas Market, Salzburg Austria; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

Great fun to watch young and old skating around, the Christmas Market only a few feet away, lots of room to stand and watch. This looked like a temporary set up, about 1 foot off the ground, all the workings for the artificial ice below, parked not too far away an ATV fitted with ice cleaning equipment just like a mini Zamboni.

The challenge with this photo, a long exposure for the low light , combined with a flash to catch the skaters moving around. With just the long exposure the skaters that were moving disappeared from the image. It took several images to get one that i liked, but I figured this one wasn’t too bad. This is a large area for the flash to handle, draining power quickly in the cold,  I was using a rear shutter sync, catching the action at the end of the exposure, rather than the beginning, this affects the “ghosting” in the image.

let me know if you think it was a success or if you have any tips.

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.

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.