Aug 29, 2012

Calla Lily - Finalist in BetterPhoto Contest

Calla Lily, a floral abstract of an orange calla lily, has placed as a finalist in July's BetterPhoto Contest! Over 11500 photos were entered into the competition and it is always exiting to have one of my image selected among the top finalist photos.

The Calla Lilies are a beautiful genus of flowers that have been enjoyed by humans for centuries and I wrote about this image and another one in a previous blog post: Calla Lily Flower Photography

Aug 28, 2012

Das Foto of the Week

Every week I choose one of my favorite photographs of the week from my Fine Art landscape, cityscape, flower and macro photography collection and offer it throughout that week at a discounted rate. This week's photo of the week on sale is Madiera Butterfly displaying beautiful butterfly macro photography from Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, Florida.

Starting today through the week of 27 August 2012 this Madiera butterfly art insect macro photography image from my Butterfly Photography Gallery, available as art print, acrylic print, metal print or on canvas, is on sale.

Aug 18, 2012

Florida Baby

Doing what I do best during the next 7 days or so: Vacationing and photographing in beautiful Florida! See ya later alligator, Juergen 



Forida Photos

Aug 12, 2012

15 New England Fall Foliage Photography Tips

New England autumn colors are famous throughout the world. Visitors flog to the Northeast from all over the world to experience the marvelous autumn glory in the Acadia National and State Parks of Maine, Rode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. New York State to the west and the Great Smokey Mountains further down east are 2 more prime destination for fall foliage peeping and photography. In this latest photography blog post I compiled 15 photo tips on how to obtain glorious fall foliage photos with our photography gear and take home beautiful artwork memories. This blog post links to other related topics that deepen the understanding of correct exposure, depth of field or how to use your tripod correctly ... hope you explore and enjoy!

Photo Tip #1: Plan your New England fall foliage leaf peeping or photography trips well in advance this year and at peak times. There are many sites that provide the required information. The Foliage Network is one of the best and this website provides accurate foliage reports for color and leaf drop. "High Color" is the best time to find these glorious New England fall colors.
Photo Tip #2: Use a Polarizing Filter to boost color and balance the contrast in your photography image. The filter eliminates unwanted and distracting glare and reflections on wet leaves and one can think of it as sunglasses for your camera. Overall, these filters increase color saturation, boost blue sky, add cloud contrast, control reflections and add neutral density to lengthen exposure times for blurred, impressionistic images.

Photo Tip #3: Utilize lowest possible ISO settings like ISO 100 and below for higher quality pictures. Do not use your camera Auto ISO setting since at low light conditions it will adjust to higher ISO settings that may produces more noise. Instead get in the habit of using your tripod even when sufficient light is available … on a different note using our tripod will benefit in better and more pleasing compositions as well.
Photo Tip #4: Consider the weather forecast. For example get out after a rain storm has passed to take advantage of beautiful lighting conditions when the sunlight breaks through and provides us with spectacular lighting conditions on fall foliage. Air is clearest in the morning and after rain making for good times to strive for stunning and scenic autumn landscape photography compositions. 

Photo Tip #5: Do not be fooled and discouraged by overcast and rainy day weather forecasts. Cloudy days make for beautiful balanced light and provide us photographers with minimal wind and beautiful light to capture sharp details in leaves and trunks. Rain drops on leaves make for excellent macro photography images and wet leaves bring out colors even more.

Photo Tip #6: Eliminate overcast sky by using your telephoto lens to achieve tighter, more Intimate Landscape compositions that are more beneficial and interesting.

Photo Tip #7: Look for warm autumn hues and combine them with their complementary colors for high color contrast imagery; For example golden, yellow or orange foliage combined with a saturated blue sky or red maple leaves works well with an evergreen background, all making for fabulous autumn images.
Photo Tip #8: Photograph fall colors on bright sunny days at Mid Range Aperture setting to add additional depth to images when including a blue sky in the compositions. The sunlight really makes the colors pop.

Photo Tip #9: Find inspiration in waterfalls framed by beautiful foliage colors or get close with still tree leaves on the ground and on rocks in rushing creeks and brooks. Overcast and cloudy sky provides excellent conditions for such photo objects.
Photo Tip #10: Photograph during the morning or afternoon sunlight when light is at its best and leaves are sun-kissed by the beautiful sunlight thereby illuminating the colors of fall foliage.
Photo Tip #11: Capture beautiful autumn, razor sharp and Mirror-Like Reflections in ponds and lakes. Too windy for that ... no problem, create artistic impressionistic images within the tiny waves or with foliage in motion.

Photo Tip #12: Saturate and intensify colors by underexposing your photos slightly.

Photo Tip #13: Use a Steady Tripod or fast shutter speeds to maximize image quality.

Photo Tip #14: Use the camera self timer, a cable release or remote release to trip the shutter. If not using live view use mirror lock up to minimize camera shake and blurry pictures.

Photo Tip #15: Do not ditch November and December when leaves are on the ground and make for beautiful Macro Photography pictures. Visit your local sites to get in close and extend fall foliage photography season for a couple of months.

Aug 9, 2012

The Balance of Life

During my last visit to the Mass Audubon Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary I came face to face with a green bottle fly. It was amazing how long the fly was sitting still on a coneflower and it turned out to be a macro photographer’s dream come true. The few intimate minutes allowed me to get a glimpse of its life and most important it allowed me to set up my tripod and explore different exposures, perspectives and compositions. At first the fly was facing sideways which allowed me to capture its full torso while Balancing Life between to coneflower petals (aperture f/11, exposure time 1/5 seconds). While carefully moving closer the green bottle fly hopped over onto a single flower petal and looked straight on into my camera. Aware of the potential unfolding in front of me I manually focused on its head and eyes. The large aperture setting (small f-stop) provided a faster shutter speed for higher quality, less blurry pictures, and also supported limited Depth of Field that solely glues the viewer to the head and eyes of the fly. The beautiful metallic colors of the fly combined with the fabulous colors of the blooming coneflower produced a beautiful balanced nature Macro Photography picture as found in the wild. Still at ISO200, lowering the aperture to f/5.6 resulted in a slightly faster shutter speed of 1/20 seconds. I purposely underexposed by 1/3 of a stop to boost and saturate colors. Dust spots removal, minimal contrast, lighting and color saturation adjustments were made during post processing before sharpening the final images of the flies.

Aug 8, 2012

Historic Portland Head Light in Maine

Historic Portland Head Light is one of the prime New England Lighthouses located on beautiful Cape Elizabeth in Maine. The headlight always makes for a great lighthouse photography subject at any time of the day, 365 days a year. The other week we visited family in Portland Maine and had a fabulous time visiting the PMA where we discovered the beautiful paintings and art by Mildred Giddings Burrage. On a side trip between lunch and dinner I made my way over to the lighthouse to try out my new neutral density filter. I was hoping the up to 8 stop ND filter would slow down the shutter speed and allow for some silky water photography during midday. The filter did not disappoint and I achieved 1 to 4 second exposure times at a sunny to partly cloudy day. Setting a small aperture (large f-stop setting) maximized Depth of Field and supported a slow shutter speed. Equipped with my tripod I composed the image to feature the rocky shoreline below the lighthouse and have all lighthouse buildings within the picture. At ISO100, an aperture of f/20 and in combination with the neutral density filter resulted in an Exposure time of 2.5 seconds. During post processing I removed dust spots, minimally adjusted contrast, lighting and color saturation before sharpening the image and cropping the final image into a panoramic format.

Aug 6, 2012

Bleeding Hearts Flower Photography


Late this spring I made a trip over to the Brookline Minot Rose Garden. I frequently visit this beautiful oasis to capture some of my rose flower images. It was a rainy day and I just needed to get outside taking pictures, getting away from the computer and social networking or marketing my fine art photography online. The rose garden did not turn out a great destination this morning but a garden in the entrance way of a neighboring house was a great find. Bleeding hearts were in full bloom and I noticed them already when I parked the car in front of the beautiful townhouse. Disappointed not be able to capture any magnificent roses that day I was ready when I made a last attempt to get away with a beautiful photograph. The overcast sky beautifully balanced contrast throughout the image. I manually focused and worked multiple perspectives and composition, switching back and fourth between Portrait Style and Landscape Format for my composition. The form and colors of a bleeding heart flower always captivates me and it always amazes what Mother nature provides to us ... we only need to get out of the house, open our eyes and discover it! As most of the times when photographing flowers outside in their natural habitat, wind was a problem. I waited patiently until a breeze past and than released the shutter for multiple images. I used my Gitzo Tripod to maximize image quality and minimize picture blurriness. An ISO 200 setting provided a faster shutter speed thereby further freezing movements of the floral. Camera aperture was set f/5.6 to minimize Depth of Field, resulting in an exposure time of 1/3 of a second. I took about 50 pictures of the bleeding hearts floral this morning until I captured the high quality, sharp, and most beautiful flower photography image I envisioned and aimed for.