During our recent visit to the Estonian capital Tallinn we also passed across Freedom Square, which features the Cross of Liberty and the Monument to the War of Independence. The 23.5 meters tall pillar made of 143 glass plates commemorates all those who have for freedom in the Estonian war of independence. While nothing particularly spectacular, it was still worth a documentary shot to be part of my Tallinn travel photos. Let me show you the contact sheet with my shots of Freedom Square.
It was already late evening when we entered the square enroute to our dinner location. I already saw the monumental cross while passsing it looking out of a city train the day before, and thought it impressive enough to snap a more documentary shot of it (image 1). Quick and dirty, placed according to the rule of thirds, including two persons sitting at the footsteps to give a good impression of the scale. But it came out – well – documentary. I could also call it boring. Nothing you would include in a photo book of your visit.
While continuing to walk along Freedom Square, I was looking for other ways show of the monument. When I saw the skating boys I saw the opportunity for a street photograph combined with showing of the Cross of Liberty. I shortened the shutter speed to 1/640 of a sec in shutter priority mode to make sure to freeze the action. In a highly dynamic scenery like this one there is no guarantee to get the perfect shot. The movements and interaction of the boys are completely random. As I was walking together with The Significant Other, tired from a day of touring through Tallinn, there was also no chance to pause for a couple minutes to wait for everything to come perfectly together. So I just snapped a couple of pictures hoping one would be a decent shot, combining the playfulness of the skating boys with the historic significance of the static monument for a nice juxtaposition.
In the end it was the second image of the series where it all came together for me. While the action is frozen due to the fast shutter speed, the jumping boy doing a flip with his board shows the dynamics of the situation. While the cross is no more placed according the rule of thirds, the boys and the monument form a nice triangle. This makes the photograph also work compositionally, the small people in the background giving the image depth and show the size of the monument. I converted the photo in Lightroom Classic CC to monochrome, as the muted colors of the scene don’t add interest. The pure black and white lets the eye focus on what is happening in the frame.
I like to look at my “contact sheets” of all images I took from a certain scene, to revisit my (sometimes subconscious) thought process when shooting in the streets and learn from it. And I hope you find those insights in my thought process helpful for your own photographic ventures.
The “Streets of Nuremberg” are visiting the Estonian Capital Tallinn. A beautiful city full of history and creativity. Where now, during the “white nights”, it never gets fully dark, and the sun is below the horizon from only 10:36 pm until 4:05 am. I took the title image of Tallinn’s famous medieval towers shortly after midnight. Crazy , isn’t it?
So Tallinn hardly sleeps during the summer nights, and so ain’t we. The Significant Other and I are in town for four days and time is much to precious to spend it in front of a laptop (so please bear with me not posting, commenting or replying to comments). We’re rather out all day exploring the city and its surroundings, and there is plenty opportunity for photography! Will show you more once I get home.
One of the great features of my new Olympus OM-D E-M1X is the ability to use sensor shift technology to increase the image resolution by combining multiple shots. This function is called High Resolution Photo (also referred to as High Res Shot or HRS). The camera takes 8 (in handheld mode 16) consecutive images and moves the sensor by half a pixel between each shot. The 8 pictures are then composited to create the final output. The resolution is 80MP for RAW and 50MP for JPG (when using a tripod) or 50MP for both RAW and JPG when shooting handheld.
The High Res Shot function was already built into the OM-D E-M1, but using a tripod was required. The hand held High Res Shot ability is unique to the M1X, and its processing method is different. With the hand held mode, the E-M1X takes 16 shots (instead of 8) and uses stabilization data between each frame to create the final photograph. The in camera processing time is around 10 seconds (hand held mode) or 5 seconds (tripod mode).
Check out this crop of the 30MB 8160×6120 pixel high res JPG when viewed at 100%. It becomes clear what amazing details you can capture handheld with that mode.
Another example is this panoramic view of Nuremberg’s Old Town as seen from the walls of the Imperial Castle.
Castle View | Nuremberg | 2019
And here is the crop of the image viewed at 100%:
There is a small caveat though: movement in the scene (moving people, car, foliage) is likely to create artifacts. That limits the use in certain scenarios with lots of movement. But for any architectural, panoramic or landscape photography the High Res Shot opens up a whole new possibility. Effectively it saves you carrying a longer telezoom, as you simply can crop into the larger image due to the higher resolution that was captured.
As promised, this is the second set of images that I took during an Instawalk through the Nuremberg subway system (read part 1 here). Thanks to Igers Nürnberg and VGN for making it possible. We were allowed to bring tripods, and did shooting in stations and out of the front window of our driverless subway while traveling between stations.
0,4 sec – f/6.3 – ISO 200 – 12mm
I took most photos with my favorite cam/lens combo, the Olympus OM-D E-M1X and the mZuiko 12-100mm F/4 Pro Zoom. Shooting in the low light underground was a perfect testing ground for the great image stabilization of the M1X combined with the lens-internal stabilized 12-100 F/4. The other camera I brought was the Olympus PEN-F with the WALIMEX Pro 7,5mm 1:3.5 Fish-Eye. We spent nearly 3hours in the subway system. The admins divided us into three groups, each exiting and shooting at different stations so we did not get into each others ways. See below more images from the walk.
1 sec – f/11 – ISO 200 – 44mm
1/40 sec – f/4 – ISO 400 – 7.5mm
1 sec – f/10 – ISO 200 – 12mm
1/30 sec – f/4 – ISO 1600 – 100mm
1/8sec – f/4 – ISO 200 – 7.5mm
1/4 sec – f/4 – ISO 200 – 7.5mm
0.3 sec – f/6.3 – ISO 200 – 47mm
1/13 sec – f/8 – ISO 200 – 13mm
1/6 sec – f/4 – ISO 200 – 7.5mm
1/4 sec – f/4 – ISO 200 – 7.5mm
Today is Ascension Day, in Germany traditionally the Fathers Day and also a national holiday. Traditionally, it is also called gentlemen’s day (Herrentag). It is a tradition for groups of males (young and old) to do a biking or hiking tour with one or more small carts pulled by manpower.
In the carts (locally called Bollerwagen) are wine or beer bottles and food. Many men also use this holiday as an opportunity to get drunk. Fortunately, the vast majority use the Fathers Day to simply go out and have fun with their friends and families, enjoying a warm early summer day. And while Big Boy will go on a Bollerwagen-tour with his friends (he had his final school exam last Tuesday and we are eagerly awaiting the results), The Significant Other any myself will head into a nearby town for a barbecue with good friends.
I took this street photograph with my Ricoh GR II, image specs 1/500 sec @ f/5.6 and ISO 100. The small Ricoh (that easily fits in the front pocket) is my choice when I go out without intention to photograph but still want to have a capable fixed lens camera with great IQ in case an opportunity to shoot opens up, like on this scene in Nuremberg’s Way of Human Rights, that was too good to pass up.
A few weeks ago I did join another Instawalk organized by the admins of the Nuremberg Instagram community. This time a group of local Instagramers with their cameras and tripods toured through the Nuremberg subway system. We were properly authorized with photo permits (thanks VGN for making it possible), because normally underground photography is strictly prohibited.
0.4sec – f/11 – ISO200 – 100mm
I took the photograph with my new favorite cam/lens combo, the Olympus OM-D E-M1X and the mZuiko 12-100mm F/4 Pro Zoom. Shooting in the low light underground was a perfect testing ground for the great image stabilization of the M1X combined with the lens-internal stabilized 12-100 F/4. The other camera I brought was the Olympus PEN-F with the WALIMEX Pro 7,5mm 1:3.5 Fish-Eye. We spent nearly 3hours in the subway system, divided into three groups, each exiting and shooting at different stations so we did not get into each others ways. It was perfectly organized by the Igers Nürnberg admins. See below a few images from the walk.
1 sec – f/8 – ISO 200 – 21mm
1/60 sec – f/4 – ISO 1250 – 25mm
1 sec – f/14 – ISO 200 – 100 mm
1/15 sec – f/4 – ISO 400 – 7.5mm
1/3 sec – f/4 – ISO 200 – 7.5mm
1/8 sec – f/4 – ISO 200 – 7.5mm
0.4 sec – f/7.1 – ISO 200 – 38mm
0.8 sec – f/14 – ISO 200 – 12mm
0.4 sec – f/10 – ISO 200 – 12mm
1/6 sec – f/4 – ISO 200 – 7.5mm
1/6 sec – f/4 – ISO 200 – 7.5mm
A few weeks ago I asked you to cast your vote for “Ginger”, a creative project that is supporting Nuremberg’s application to become the European Capital of Culture in 2025. From many ideas submitted, the Open Call N2025 initiative advanced 96 projects to the stage of public voting. Also thanks to your help, “Ginger” received the fourth most votes and will be one of ten projects whose realization will be funded with 5.000 EUR.
“Ginger” will be an independent print magazine that celebrates creativity in all its forms in the Nuremberg area. It is intended to be a platform for local and foreign communities in the metropolitan region of Nuremberg, that brings together all kinds of local creators: artists, illustrators, designers, photographers, writers, artists, activists, entrepreneurs, marketers… etc.
“Ginger” is the brain child of Cécile Boudjenah (expat from France, marketer) and Ingrid Sabisch (local, illustrator). I came into the project as they used some of my street photographs in the mockup for the application.
During the voting phase Cécile connected with a group of people that will form the core team for the creation of Ginger. And yesterday this group met for the fist time in a small coffeeshop for a pre-kick-off.
As introductions were made and expectations exchanged, I was totally amazed by the diversity and expertise of the group of people, who share a creative vision and passion for the project to launch a magazine, certainly an opportunity that doesn’t come by every day.
The group consists of two French, one Indian, one Spanish, one Canadian and three locals from Nuremberg. Backgrounds are Marketing, Graphic Design, Writing, Illustration, Photography, Art Director, Project Management. And there are many good connections to the local cultural and entrepreneurial scene. After meeting the group I’m totally convinced that we can make “Ginger” a reality.
To get things started, we created five work buckets (brand, content, community, business plan, operations). We then assigned us according our knowledge and ideas, with each bucket having a lead owner. We agreed on a few tools for project management, communication and contents sharing. And we decided on a regular two-hour in-person meeting (every two weeks on Monday evening) to discuss ideas and take decisions. The goal for the first meeting beginning of June is to agree on the cornerstones for each bucket.
I’m so exited about this project and the opportunity to be part of the creation of a magazine. I will share the progress of the story on this blog, so stay tuned.
I’m sure you know the feeling. You’re looking at one of your photographs that you actually like – but wonder if you should have taken it in a slightly different way. With different settings, different composition or in a different light.
Foremost, my photographs need to satisfy me myself. If someone else likes them, that’s a bonus. But that also means that I’m my own worst critic. And there is nothing wrong with that. It’s always good to reflect what I could have done better.
I do like this street photograph that I recently snapped. I like the contrasts and shadows coming from the late afternoon sunlight. It was like a stage, ready for people to enter and play their role. And the two girls who walked into the courtyard while a tourist snapped a selfie did just that.
There is a lot going on, the walking girls, the standing man. Three “players” on the stage of life is a perfect number. Remember, uneven numbers of subjects are more harmonic to the eye than even numbers.
I also like the gestures, all three holding cellphones in different ways. The girl touching hear chin. The middle girl slightly bent forward in her walk, the standing tourist taking the selfie slightly bent back.
The settings are fine, 1/640 sec ensured all motion is frozen, the tonal range of the monochrome image is well balanced.
I was shooting at the far end of my zoom at 100mm focal length (200mm full frame equivalent on m4/3), as I tightly wanted to capture the action and the gestures and expressions. Still, hindsight, I should have given the tourist a bit more room. He is positioned much too tight at the edge of the frame. I should have zoomed out a bit. Probably 90mm would have sufficed to give him more “breathing room”. I don’t recall if there were some “disturbing” elements to the right of the frame, that I unconsciously zoomed in tight to eliminate a visual distraction. But I could have always cropped into a wider frame in post-processing.
Street life happens instantly, the sweet spot of a situation is always a fleeting moment, often just a split second. So it is important compose and press the shutter intuitively. So it is well worth thinking consciously about those things when editing your previous shots, so next time it is part of your subconscious decision making.
I know I’m neglecting my blogging, but life is kind of crazy these days. But not only my writing is affected, I also haven’t had time to go out shooting in what seems a lifetime. That said, I still try to capture at least one image a day. I even have embarked on a couple of 365 challenges but never finished one. But sometimes it just hits me, and I pull out whatever camera I have with me (and if it is my cellphone) and look for something to shoot. And if it is capturing legs in the subway. Who cares. A small visual pushup. And a satisfied feeling after. There are better days ahead!
My life continues to be on a fast track these days. Sometimes I feel like a subway train racing through a tunnel, occasional streaks of light, a rare stop in a station, moving again. Not unpleasant, apart from the feeling that there is not enough time for all I need and want to do (like finally posting the images from the Instawalk through the Nuremberg subway system organized by the admins of the Nuremberg Instagram community that I did join a few weeks ago).
I made this photograph from the rear window of our automated (driverless) subway while the train was leaving a station. I used a slow shutter speed to convey the sense of motion and create the lines of light from the platform and tracks falling behind, nicely framed by the reflection of the standing passengers.
Taken with the Olympus PEN-F and the WALIMEX Pro 7,5mm 1:3.5 Fish-Eye. Image specs 1/3 sec @f/4 and ISO 200, 7.5mm focal length. RAW conversion and post-processing in Lightroom Classic CC.
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