Archive for the 'Travels' Category

Autumn Leaves (and the need for high DR)

• Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Autumn has been particularly beautiful this year. Until roughly a week ago, we had only little wind and not too cold weather, so the leaves stayed put for a long time. Sadly that has now changed…

Luckily, we visited the picturesque National Park Söderåsen in Skåne, Sweeden while the colors were still at their best. Hiking the forest was a wonderful experience, following trails along the small river until it eventually took us up the ridge overlooking the rift valley. Just as we came there, the setting sun broke through the clouds again and bathed the area in gorgeous golden light.

Working fast with the camera, I managed to capture a series of exposures, intending to run these through some HDR (High Dynamic Range) processing to be able to capture both the sun, the sky and the dark areas in the valley.

Back home, I started working on the files as I normally do on all files in Lightroom — and quickly discovered that the D800 had captured all of the high dynamic range scene in the first shot. There was no need for any fancy HDR processing. I adjusted the image as I normally do, here making sure the darker colors would look right. I didn’t have to increase saturation much, as the colors were already dark and saturated. I then pulled down a graduated 2 stop filter over the sky area, in the same way as I might had done in the actual capture on location (if I would have had a filter suitable for the 14-24mm f/2.8) and increased the clarity some. A little CA correction, and that was pretty much it, I think. The result is what you see here, just out of Lightroom.

I did try to stack some of the bracketed images, and run them through either Photoshop or Luminance HDR. The results were significantly less convincing, and since I had not brought a tripod, alignment errors caused some ghosting too.

So I gave up on that, and felt content with the straight shot from the remarkable D800! And oh… I didn’t find any issues with flare from the 14-24mm f/2.8 here either. There is an expected slight lack of contrast in the valley close to the sun, but it is less than what I would have expected. And in fact, I happen to like the effect here as it almost enhances the “emotional mood”.

If you click the image, you can see a larger version (or find your way through to the full 36MPix capture).

Sort Sol 2012

• Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Lyset er altid flot i Vadehavet, og mulighederne for fantastiske naturoplevelser er store — også når sommeren går på hæld!

Efterårsferien er det bedste tidspunkt at opleve det fantastiske naturfænomen “Sort Sol”: Op mod 1 mio stære som ved solnedgang samles i rørskovene for at gå til ro for natten. Vi var heldige at se det to gange i år; én gang med Sort Safari syd for grænsen i Tøndermarsken, og dagen efter i Ribe Østerå.

I Tøndermarsken anslog vores kyndige guide Frands (sp?) at der var omkring  700.000 stære. Vi har tidligere set Sort Sol (i 2008,), og dengang anslog vores guide Lau at der også var ca. samme antal. Under alle omstændigheder er det rigtigt mange(!), og det er en fantastisk at opleve på nært hold. Lyset og vores position i forhold til solen var ikke helt så god denne gang som sidst, og der var ikke så mange rovfugle til at få stærene på vingerne, men der kom lidt billeder og et videoklip ud af det. Videoen ligger her på YouTube (lydsporet er frit efter “Hør den lille stær”):

(Læs videre ved at klikke på linket herunder)


The worlds best camera…

• Thursday, November 10th, 2011

OK, it’s an old saying but nevertheless: The worlds best camera is the camera you bring with you, especially when there is a shot you’d otherwise have lost.

Yes, the quality is not as good as when I bring my Lowepro bag stuffed with DSLR equipment and a tripod. But sometimes you just happen to experience a beatiful or maybe unexpected sight that only lasts for a few minutes, and you want to capture it in some form, for you to recall later.

Point in case: Here are a couple of shots to illustrate this, from a few recent business trips to Finland.

Finns usually enjoy a short but intensely coloured autumn. The first one here is taken a bit west of Helsinki, during a small break in a day-long meeting session. 60 seconds after I took this shot, the light changed and the green-yellow-brown colours faded somewhat away.

The second one here is also from Helsinki — from (and through!) the hotel window in the early morning, in fact. Totally unexpected sight for me when I pulled the curtains: A beatiful subdued scene with quite intense red tones from the rising sun reflected in the very calm sea. A few minutes later, the red colours were gone from the scene.

Obviously none of these pictures are unique or something truely special. But as I look at the scenes now somewhat later, I can still recall the impression the scenes left on me.

So sometimes your camera phone (here a Nokia 700) will do a good-enough job for you!

Japanese culture

• Thursday, February 1st, 2007

Having just arrived back to Europe from a business trip to Tokyo, Japan, it once again striked me how cultural differences has a big impact on our behaviour and perception.

In general, I find Japanese people very friendly and I like travelling in Japan. Usually when going somewhere, I often grab a Latte at the nearest Starbucks (possibly a Venti with an extra shot, making it a quad-shot), and this time was no exception. Entering Starbucks with my collegue, a younger japanese women was about to exit. Being polite, we held the door open for her and waited until she had passed us… much to her surprise! We were apparently terribly wrong in doing so, since we were 1) male and even 2) (European) business-men dressed in tie, for whom you apparently give way if you’re a japanese woman. We were equally surprised of her reaction in turn, of course.

Another noticeable difference was the treatment of smokers. Sure, most places requires people to take a stroll outside to smoke, but the strange thing was that many taxis has a slight “scent” of smoke. Apparently it is permitted to smoke inside a taxi, and most even seem to have a special air-cleaning system installed to cope with the smoke. The thing most striking, though, was that at the time of my travel, the headline news in the US was the fact that Barack Obama is a smoker. And this, according to some, makes him unsuitable as a president! Now, I’m glad I’m not a smoker, but I doubt it really disqualifies anyone from being the next Mr. President…

The Emperors Palace, Tokyo

Anyway, as usual, I’m attaching a picture taken during the trip. This was actually done with my Nokia camera-phone with its 3MPix Carl Zeiss optics, and the panorama of the emperors palace has been quickly stitched in Photomerge (PS CS2). I did have my trusty Nikon D70 with me also, but not when I had the chance to make this shot, taken near the central railway station in Tokyo.