Winter in Amsterdam; a little sunshine on the shortest day of the year.

Winter Sun on the Amsterdam Streets; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Winter Sun on the Amsterdam Streets; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere December 21 is the shortest day of the year, it means everyone is bundled up against the cold and rain, and long shadows when the sun does appear. Winter is not always the most photogenic time of the year to see a new city, but Amsterdam has so much to offer its visitors anytime is a good time to be here!

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.

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!

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 

 

 

St. Michel’s Bordeaux and the Sunday Morning Flea Market

St Micheal's Market, Bordeaux France

I love to walk around flea markets, just to see what people are selling. Checking out the tables, poking into boxes, and taking pictures of the interesting collections. I did find several old cameras, in those old boxes, so I have added to my collection. I may need a bigger shelf by the time I get home. More photos of Bordeaux tomorrow!

 

Umbrellas and a Rainy Day in Leon Spain

Red Umbrella, reflections on the streets of Leon Spain

Red Umbrella, reflections on the streets of Leon Spain ; copyright jmeyersforeman

Even the rainy days in Spain are nice, especially for photos.

Nothing better than wet cobblestone streets for reflecting the brightly coloured umbrellas that people sometimes carry.

Rainy Day; Leon Spain; copyright jmeyersforeman

Rainy Day; Leon Spain; copyright jmeyersforeman

Or watching the families walking together.

 

IMG_3869

one of the few days we have needed our umbrellas!

One of the few images we have of us together! We hope you are enjoying your friday.

Plaza de Maria Pita, A Coruna Spain

Plaza de Maria Pita after the rain

Plaza de Maria Pita after the rain 

We arrived in A Coruna Spain yesterday afternoon, just before the rain! By the time we checked into our hotel and headed out for a walk the rain had stopped. During our walk we visited the Plaza de Maria Pita the cities many plaza and gathering centre. It, like a lot of major plaza’s is surrounded by buildings filled with shops and restaurants. Today those shops and restaurants were not too busy, it was the middle of the day, and tourist season has not yet hit its peak. What was great, at least for me, was seeing the buildings reflected in the puddles! I just had to wait a few minutes to get a couple of people to walk through the puddle.

 

Tui to Santiago de Compostela

Tui to Santiago de Compostela 105k in under 22hrs.

Tui to Santiago de Compostela 105k in under 22hrs.

We just leaving Praza Obradario, just in front of the Santiago Cathedral when we witnessed these 5 women march, with full packs and carrying their weapons, into the Praza.  As they arrived the other military personnel that where already there welcomed them with a cheer and loud applause. It wasn’t until the next day when we went back to the square that we found out what had happened.

The next day, in the square was a big celebration, with a military band, bagpipes and all,  we learned that the women were part of a group who had walked the Camino Portugues from Tui, Spain, a city along the Spanish Portuguese border, 105 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela in under 22 hrs!   The four teams, three men, and own women’s team, that had completed the camino received medals.

The ladies didn’t speak any English, but were happy to pose for a photo, it was one of the other officers who told me of the events. He also said many who walked ended with injuries, and a few who started didn’t finish.

Exhausted

Exhausted

Exhausted

Have you ever had one of those holidays; a new place, so much to see, so little time. You have a checklist of places the guide-book or tourist office has recommended, and by the time you get home you have a camera load of photos, a suitcase full of trinkets, two sore feet and a blur of memories!

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of these two young people. We were sitting enjoying our morning coffee at a little cafe in front of the Cathedral. These two, early for the opening, sat down, and before long were sound asleep against one another, and they slept like this for probably twenty minutes. About five minutes after the Cathedral doors opened they woke, stretched and headed inside, just guessing they collected for more photos and trinkets and memories, after all that is what holidays are all about, aren’t they?

What holiday place so intrigued you that you came home more exhausted than when you left?

ps. for all those back home who know us, we have not yet exhausted ourselves, I am sure you will be surprise to hear, we have learned to pace ourselves!

Portrait; Street Performer; Sol Souvenir

 

sol souvenir

sol souvenir

Sol Souvenir was performing on the streets of Granada while we were there, we like his music so much we decided to by a cd/dvd. This has to be a tough way to make a living. He was collecting a bit of cash in his guitar case, and had a few cd’s to see. But like most artists, and it doesn’t matter if you are a singer, dancer, painter or photographer, you are one of many. For some it is enough to just be doing the thing we love with the hope that others will also like what we are doing.

Sol Souvenir seemed to be just that type of artist, happy to be out on the street singing with his heart, and entertaining those who stopped to listen. I did find is Facebook page, but there was no music to share. As far as I can tell he hasn’t loaded anything on to you tube, and since we have no cd/dvd player on the laptop there is no way to share his music with you!

I choose to process the image with Nik Silver Effect’s Pro, Film Noir, with several changes to the preset, I wanted to the old gritty rock n’ roll look, and with the high contrast I was able to reduce the background to a few minor shadows that were less distracting than in the original image.

Sol Souvenir, if you see the blog, let us know where we can find your music and I will share it with my blog readers. We would love to hear from you.