Aug 21, 2013

101 Inspiring and Beautiful Wall Art Decor Ideas

Adding style and personality to any room in your home, office or studio is easy when considering one or multiple of these 101 beautiful, inspiring and sensual Flower Photography pictures for your next wall art decoration project. Photographing flowers and turning them into a piece of art is a sheer delight and a long time quest of mine. To me, flowers are so inspiring as they come in so many amazing shapes and colors ~ enjoy! 

Greetings, Juergen 

Aug 20, 2013

Photo Tips for Raindrop Photography

Photo tip #1 of 12: Equip your DSLR camera with a macro lens ideally that focuses to 1:1 or life size. Alternatively use close-up filters, extension tubes or reverse lens adapters to explore the world of raindrops.
Photo tip #2 of 12: Use a solid tripod to minimize camera shake and image blurriness. The tripod should get close to ground level allowing shooting raindrops on grass blades or leaves. I recently observed photographers stating in a couple of forums that a tripod is a pain to drag around and to set up. This may be the case but if you are serious about your photography there is no way around it. A tripod slows down your process, makes you think about composition and it will eliminate one source of blurry, low quality pictures: the über exited photographer himself.
Photo tip #3 of 12: Brace the weather after a fresh rain shower as raindrops add interesting detail to a composition; it may open a new chapter with tons of inspiring photo opportunities.
Photo tip #4 of 12: Look carefully for raindrops that have interesting reflections of the surrounding environment or other flowers in the droplet.
Photo tip #5 of 12: Operate with extreme care and do not get too close as bumping the flower, leaf or a blade of grass might cost you the chosen raindrop and subject in front of you. You might also end up with a water drop or 2 on your lens which often annoys the heck out of me.
Photo tip #6 of 12: Select a low setting like ISO100 or lower for highest picture quality and to keep the image noise level low.
Photo tip #7 of 12: Choose your aperture setting wisely for the right amount of Depth of Field. Isolate a single droplet on a blade of grass or tip of a leaf by choosing a large aperture setting (small f-stop number like f/5.6 or lower). The large aperture setting creates a clean, out of focus and calmer background. Photograph raindrops on a rain drenched flower blossom or leaf by selecting smaller apertures (large f-stop number like f/8 or higher) for a wider range of depth of field reaching throughout the entire photo subject.
Photo tip #8 of 12: Switch to manual mode and pinpoint the focus on the center of the drop. Switching to manual focus is probably the best photo tip in this installment; try it combined with the magnifying feature of your camera and see what it does for you!
Photo tip #9 of 12: Get in real close to capture how raindrops magnify the veins in leaves or blossoms. 
Photo tip #10 of 12: Use a polarizing filter to create an image with more saturated colors and brilliant reflections.
Photo tip #11 of 12: Use a remote release, cable release or your camera live view to minimize camera shake for better photo results when releasing the shutter. 
Photo tip #12 of 12: Create a good picture composition by trying different angles and perspectives. The photographic goal is to incorporate a background with beautiful colors and light that does not distract the viewer from the main subject.

Aug 19, 2013

Staying Hydrated

Taking home-field advantage and exploring a local wildlife sanctuary can be very rewarding and beneficial for our photography. Usually one can find birds and other wildlife that are willing photographic objects, beautiful flowers, or insects of all sorts. My favorite macro photography location for insects and butterflies in the wild is the Mass Audubon Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is located near Worcester, MA and is a short 55 minutes drive west of Boston. That morning I arrived quite early and not much was going on. I was evaluating my options to explore the trails, the beaver pond or stay put at the butterfly garden in front of the main building and entrance. I am glad I stayed put as usual! I equipped my camera with a macro lens and got cracking on my quest for capturing exceptional Flower Photographs and Insect Macro Photography images. There were mostly bees going about their business and a couple of butterflies stopped briefly to tease me; in fact not staying long enough to capture any photo of them; very frustrating at times. I then started scanning the garden for more little creature and my patience paid off that day again when I spotted this black fly resting on a coneflower. Nice contrast of colors I thought and started exploring the subject when I noticed to my delight that this little creature had a water bubble attached to its head or mouth. I figured it was using the water drop as a source for drinking and staying hydrated. Perhaps it was washing its face or rinsing its mouth; go figure and I sure appreciate the scientist who will spread some light on this insect behavior. Luckily though, the fly was so busy sipping the liquid that it was not bothered by me moving in closer and closer with my gear. After a few hand-held shots I quickly decided to become more serious and placed camera and lens on my Gitzo tripod. This allowed me to switch to manual mode and precisely nail the focus on the head of the insect and the water droplet thereby raising the odds for a sharp, high quality close up picture of this unique subject. It even got better when I studied the droplet reflection and noticed it had some of the surrounding flowers and sky; the sun streams bouncing off the bubble was the icing on the cake. I gotta say, this sanctuary rarely lets me down and there is always something new that is unfamiliar and exiting to explore and photograph.

An aperture of f/11 at ISO200 resulted in an exposure time of 1/30 seconds. During post processing I minimally adjusted contrast, lighting and color saturation before slightly cropping and sharpening the final image of this Water Drinking Fly

Aug 18, 2013

Photo of the Week

Every week I choose one of my favorite photographs of the week from my Fine Art landscape, seascape, cityscape, flower, abstract and macro photography collection and offer it throughout that week at a discounted rate. This week's photo of the week on sale is "Power and Poise", one of this year's macro photography images taken on a beautiful morning in July 2013 at the inspiring butterfly garden of the Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester, MA. 

Starting today through this week and the week of 19 August 2013 this dragonfly macro photography image from my Bug Photography gallery, available as art photo print, acrylic and metal prints or on canvas, is on sale.

Aug 8, 2013

How to Isolate a Summer Flower Blossom against an Attractive Background

It is always exiting when I find a floral photography object with a surrounding setting that I can beautifully isolate against an attractive background. My last picture of this kind I found just down the street in a neighbors' garden where I captured this glorious purple, pink or red flower in front of the yellow and green background.

The contrasting color of this summer flower blossom in front of the yellow dominated background immediately drew me in. The morning light sun kissed the flower while the background was made out of Black-Eyed Susan flowers. The wind made the experience a bit iffy but through persistent shooting eventually rewarded me with a sharp in focus image. Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4.0L IS USM lens with a Canon 1.4x Teleconverter and Canon EOS D7 camera were mounted on a Gitzo tripod. The camera aperture was set to f/5.6 resulting in an exposure time of 1/360 seconds. The large aperture setting (Small f-stop number) provided the limited Depth of Field to blur out the yellow flowers in the background nicely. During the post processing I minimally adjusted lighting, contrast and color saturation before sharpening the final Flower Photography picture.

Aug 7, 2013

Stormy Sunset Sky over Cape Cod Bell’s Neck

Last Sunday we made a day trip to Cape Cod. We had a great family time while enjoying swimming at our favorite lake, having lunch at one of the best fish restaurant on Cape Cod, chilling on First Encounter Beach, strolling through Chatham and visiting our most favorite gallery. On our way home we stopped for ice cream at Sundae School Ice Cream in Harwich, MA. The weather turned truly dramatic and provided me with some extraordinary lighting. We checked one of my go to locations between Chatham and Harwich, where I photographed Cape Cod Solitude, as it was less than half a mile down the street. The red dinghy was still present but views of it are somewhat obstructed by a second larger red boat; no more solitude at this location. We quickly moved on and made a right turn towards Bell’s Neck Road. Bell’s Neck is a marsh area that is divided by the Herring River which beautifully winds through the field of marsh grasses. Bell’s Neck has been on my bucket list for quite some time now but I never really timed it right. Last time I visited was the worst as I became a feast for mosquitoes. This all changed last Sunday when an evening storm provided the desired clouds combined with great New England lighting. Once we arrived on the auto bridge, I quickly set up tripod and camera, affixed the 24-70 mm wide angles zoom lens and got cracking. I knew there was only limited time to capture this moment and I quickly settled on the widest setting of 24-70 mm lens. I was destined to capture this dramatic moment and envisioned a good amount of sky and clouds in the composition. A few raindrops here and there, the thunder and lightning behind my back and heavy wind made me feel a bit uneasy. Despite the obstacles I kept shooting while the light fated quickly. Turned out I was right and I had only 5 to 10 minutes upon arrival to capture the beautiful storm sky across Bell’s Neck;  I am glad I did not hesitate and finally can cross that one of my Cape Cod photography list. 

Apertures in both images were set at f/11 providing shutter speeds of 1/5 second and 1/5 second at ISO100. During digital post processing I removed dust spots, minimally adjusted contrast, lighting and color saturation before sharpening the final Cape Cod pictures. Happy Day, Juergen

Aug 6, 2013

Place Royale and Eglise Notre Dame des Victoires at Night

Place Royale is a small but very picturesque square in the Vieux-Québec part of the lower town nestled below Quebec City’s most famous landmark Château Frontenac. Québécois consider the place the literal and spiritual heart of Basse-Ville, the birthplace of French America. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Place-Royal (aka Royal Square) was utilized as the town marketplace, a center of business and industry. The most prominent landmark bordering the plaza is Eglise Notre Dame des Victoires and is Québec's oldest stone church. Settlers brought votive offerings like the church beautiful paintings, altar, and large model boat suspended from the ceiling to ensure safe voyages. Place Royal is home to the Centre d'Interprétation de Place-Royale and the center of the square has a bust of Louis XIV.

On one of the first nights I left my tripod in the hotel and we ended up at Place Royal. There we discovered a nice café where we soaked in the historic ambiance of the location and enjoyed a fine cappuccino. Needless to say, this became a regular night destination and activity during our Quebec visit. Place Royale turns magical at twilight and as I left my tripod at the hotel I had to get creative and find alternative structures to stabilize camera and lens for Long Exposure Photography at night. I did not need to look around for a long time and quickly found a fence that I was able to use as a tripod replacement. I positioned the camera on the corner of the fence. Luckily it also provided me with a decent composition of the main landmarks in front of me. Once set up and stable I made multiple exposures to capture this unique and magical ambiance. Aperture in this first photography image was set to f/11 providing a 15 second exposure time at ISO100. People crossing the plaza were magically eliminated through the long shutter speed setting. The second picture presents an opposite view of the square from Notre Dame des Victoires and was actually taken from an outside table at the café. Again without tripod support I decided to use my sweater for camera support and stabilization. Aperture in this second photograph was set to f/22 providing a 10 second exposure time at ISO400.

During digital post processing I minimally adjusted contrast, lighting and color saturation before sharpening the final image in photoshop.

Aug 5, 2013

Photo of the Week

Every week I choose one of my favorite photographs of the week from my Fine Art landscape, seascape, cityscape, flower, abstract and macro photography collection and offer it throughout that week at a discounted rate. This week's photo of the week on sale is "Famous Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City", one of this year's Boston skyline photography images taken on a beautiful morning shortly in July 2013 shortly before sunrise as viewed from Cap Diamant. The foreground shows historic housing of old Quebec upper town while the luxury grand hotel Château Frontenac is towering over the cityscape

Starting today through this week and the week of 05 August 2013 this Quebec City morning photography image from my Quebec Photography gallery, available as art photo print, acrylic and metal prints or on canvas, is on sale.