Tag Archives: photography

Catching up

It has been quite some time since my last post. As you can see, my blog is now integrated with my web site, which has a completely new look and new galleries. Despite using a template, it still took time to create the new galleries and tweak everything. Here is a quick overview of what I have been up to and some new images.

In April, I visited family. Naturally, I had to try my rotational technique on the local subjects. Houses or villages in the landscape as seen from a high point will take some more experimentation. Sunsets, though, worked out well a few times.

Alpspitze 1.jpgWaxenstein 2.jpg

Then beginning May, I went to Moab to attend the Moab Photography Symposium. The old masters like Edward Weston and Ansel Adams were the subject of several presentations. Seeing the untouched original and the way Ansel Adams edited them was an incredible learning experience. I gave myself some extra days to photograph in the bigger area. Despite my enjoyment in creating the photographic mandalas, I still delight in ‘straight’ photography. Here are a few images of that trip:

Natures Rock Art.jpgNorth Window, Arches NP.jpgMill Creek 1.jpgWest Mitten 1.jpg

I just returned from a trip to California where I visited my children and some friends. One of them invited me to visit the Monterey Aquarium. I could not help myself and had to try some fish mandalas. Here are 3 images that I feel worked. It was not easy to pull off. The fish tend to moven, even if just a bit. And then, have you ever tried to take a photo with your camera upside down!


During my times at home, we had some incredible sunsets. With all the mandalas I have created, it is getting more difficult to have a new and better one. Here are two that I kept:

Sunset Colors 14.jpgSunset Fire 17.jpg

Last, but not in the least, I would like to hear from you what you think about the new look of the web site. Also, I would like to get back into writing about items, which are useful for you, the reader. So please let me know of your interests and questions. I have posted 2 articles, one about the technique and one about my creative journey under About and I plan on writing some more. This creation of the photographic mandalas and getting them out for others to see has been and will continue to be an interesting journey for me. I have begun to work with Mary Virginia Swanson, a consultant. Her comments and feedback led to the new design of the web site and the joining of organizations I would not have known about. I am curious to see where it all will lead me.

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New subject – new learning

On the way back on a recent trip, I stopped by the Grand Canyon. Since it was still February, it was my hope that I could drive the road to Hermits rest with my car instead of the shuttle bus. But the two days before my arrival, they had a blizzard with 14″ of new snow. Therefore that road was closed for snow removal. Somewhat disappointed, I ventured to 2 of my favorite spots: Mather Point and Yaqui Point. At least I had some snow along the rim, so there was the possibility to take new images.

Walking along the rim looking for compositions, I decided to try my new technique too. Since this was a new subject, I took a regular shot as a reference. This is now proving to be very helpful. There were some incredible surprises and also a good many duds. At least I can look at the images (regular shot – mandala) side by side and learn what the reasons might be for both success and failure.

I spent the night in the campground and then left early to get some sunrise images at Lipan Point. Before I could leave, though, I had to clear the windshield, but from the inside. With 16 degrees, the moisture in my breath created a layer of soft ice. I sure was glad that their bathrooms were somewhat heated 🙂

Enjoy the images. As always, let me know your thoughts.

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Branching out

I am beginning to add other ‘subjects’ to my cloud / sky / mountain ridges collection of photographic mandalas. For the past week, I have been working with trees. I found that my current knowledge transfers only partially to trees. It seems that they have their own, unique “needs”. Not only as a subject in general, but also as individual species. Shooting an aspen mandala is quite different from a juniper or pinyon. Also the energy of these images is quite different from the others. I am excited about learning more to create beautiful tree mandalas and am looking forward to Spring. I imagine that the first touches of Spring green will give those photographic mandalas a different touch. Fall colors might be interesting too, especially later in the season when there are only some colorful leaves left.

Here is a sample of my new images. Enjoy! … and as always, I would love to hear your impressions.

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… and the journey continues

A few days ago, we had an incredible sunset. The undersides of the clouds lit orange-red and their recessed part a beautiful, rich grey. Inspiration asked again: How would this look as a mandala?

Because of my intense analysis of the photographic mandalas and the single image I often take before, I am now beginning to be able to ‘create’ the central aspect through choice of center and composition.

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While sorting and editing, I tend to mark those images that I like best. Interestingly, within the photographic mandalas, there are only 2 images that have stayed. I am wondering if it has to do with the fact that, at this time of the year, I am not able to find flowers or colorful aspen leaves or with sentimentality. I am keenly aware how emotionally close I am to many, if not all. For this reason, I am currently taking an online class with William Neill to get his feedback. He is a photographer I highly respect and trust. My hope is to get enough distance to make solid judgements in regards to the quality of a mandala, which is becoming very necessary with havin over 50 in my collection now.

When I see images like the above and remember the excitement and pure joy I felt while taking them, I muse: Who is really taking these pictures? Is it me or am I just the one “pressingthe button”. It reminds me of how I felt when I was drawing mandalas and was aware that “I” had stepped aside and allowed something to flow through me.

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2010 in review

With the New Year approaching, I have been looking over my photographic journey during the past 12 – 18 months. So much has been happening.

In September 2009 I published my web site after having learned enough of Dreamweaver to put together a simple one. I started this blog, which was a daunting idea for me being a very private person. Therefore I took a suggestion to offer something to the reader very literally and shared what little knowledge I have. Eventually, though, it swung to the other side with being just about my images. For the coming year, I want to find a good middle ground.

This past summer, a year with my mentor Eddie Soloway came to a close. It was a year of incredible excitement and frustration. I have been contemplating that journey and the pearls Eddie shared. The first one that came to mind was the “postcard”. Initially, I was disappointed that he labeled an image I really loved and was proud of because of its simplicity and yet classic look a postcard. Eventually, I came to not only understand, but also to appreciate what he was saying with this term. Postcards are classic images, views of places, that everybody takes. Eddie was challenging me to find my own interpretation of it. Throughout the year, he helped me see which of my images were unique, were representing my way of seeing.

I feel the other big gift he gave me was the suggestion to become a master at multiple exposures. In one session, he introduced me to Freeman Patterson. As a result I spent time looking at his multiple exposure images and, one day, I attempted to create something similar to images that had intrigued me. Frustrated with what I came up with, I had the thought: What would happen if I choose a flower as a center point around which I turn my camera.

Thus a journey had begun. After weeks of learning about what to watch out for and developing an eye for the ‘arrangement” I need to look for, I progressed to this:

As Fall came, I applied the knowledge gained to the colorful aspen leaves on the ground:

Continuing the delight of creating what I began to call Photographic Mandalas, I had a ‘happy accident’ as Freman Patterson calls it. Instead of having just the clouds at sunset in the composition, I had had a horizon line too. The image that resulted totally stunned me and, as time progressed that day, the effect of the fading light.

There was a new learning curve now where I needed to explore the correlation of composition and light distribution and their impact on the resulting image.

Persuing the creation of these Photographic Mandalas is giving me a deeper understanding of light and multiple exposures. Mine are all done in-camera, utilizing the multiple exposure function of my Nikon 700. There is no use of Photoshop. Every once in a while, I can now anticipate the final image. My goal is to be able to this most of the time.

Reading books by Freeman Patterson, for the past few days, I have been sitting with the question: What is it that I am doing here? One can define photography as taking an image of a moment in time as interpreted by me. An abstract image is often stripped down to the essential components. So what are these Photographic Mandalas? I guess, one could call it definitely Photographic Art – denoting it is done in cameras vs Digital Art, which is using Photoshop. It is a different look at ‘reality’.I talked about it with a friend. Eventually, we came up with an answer: In general, my images are my emotional response to the beauty I see around me. The Photographic Mandalas are showing how my camera and I “dance” to the diverse harmonies of Nature.

While visiting my family in Germany, I took images together with my father, who, at age 84 bought himself a digital camera. Looking at these images, I can see the influence of my year with Eddie Soloway: the use of a wide angle lense and otherwise, I was only working with reflections, which is representative of my moving more into the abstract.

There is also some influence of William Neill, a photographer I greatly admire for his abstractions. I got 2 of his e-books to give myself inspiration when I get bogged down. I enjoy the use of panning to create impressionistic images, besides the ‘straight’ multiple exposures.

Overall, this year has been an exciting one for me and makes me look forward to the coming year: Where will my photographic journey take me?

Where will your journeys take you?  The best wishes to you for the New Year and much success in your photography!

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Rule of Thirds

If you look at great images, your eye seems to go to certain items. Usually, they are placed in so called ‘power points’. Imagine a tic-tac-toe grid, dividing the image both horizontally and vertically into thirds. he ‘power points’ are the four places where the lines intersect.

You do not want to place the horizon line of your image in the middle, rather at 1/3rd or 2/3rds. The decision of where depends on what you want to emphasize. If the sky is the ‘main attraction’, the horizon line would be at about 1/3rd of the height. (example: ‘Cape of Good Hope’) In the image of the Lynx, the eyes are at about 2/3rds. If they would be at 1/2, the image would not have the same impact.

A lone tree in a meadow is best placed in one of the ‘power points’. If the tree is in the foreground though,, it is my experience that it makes the entry into the image more difficult. I wonder if it has to do with the fact, that in our culture, we read from left to right and so the eyes move in that direction. Judge for yourself by looking at the image with the tree. Let me know what you think.

As a last point: rules are there to be broken, though one needs to understand the rule before one can break it 🙂 With landscapes, look, move around and then decide what works for you.

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New Mandalas

As I play with creating mandalas, I am continuously surprised at the outcomes. About 2 weeks ago, I was at it again. This time, I had some of the landscape in the image and a completely new ‘look’ was the result. It took me a while to figure out what had happened. With the help of someone not knowing more that the very basic info on how I do it, a fresh way of perceiving the process came.

This week, I visited some friends and tried to apply the insights / understandings. Now the choice of location for the center point greatly influenced the images.

I am still oscillating between Burst 1 and 2 in regards to which one I like better. The same goes for Burst 5 and 6. So I would greatly appreciate any comments you have in regards to your preferences. Also, I would like to hear about your reaction to seeing these images. Are these Mandalas something that appeals to you?

I am looking forward to comments and thank you for sharing your perspectives.

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If you go back to the Greek roots of the word, Photography means “drawing with light” (phos = light, graphe = drawing). Therefore, the kind of light you have when taking a picture is very important. There is the so called ‘Golden Light’ which is about 30min to 1 hour after sunrise or before sunset. 10am – 2pm (or longer in the Summer) is considered the worst light, because it is very harsh. This is somewhat correct if you consider just landscape photography.

In reality, there is no ‘bad light’. One needs to change the kind of image one plans on taking. Let’s go through the day and look at the kind of images one can take:

Time before sunrise: the sky or clouds can have incredible colors; mountaintops are already sunlit while everything else is in shadow; great for silhouettes against the eastern sky.

Sunrise + about 1 hour: soft light, great for regular landscapes and wildlife

Midday (10am – 2/4pm): great if you are in a forest or among trees; use the light reflected from other things in the sun to gain light on items in the shadow; reflections on water of sunlit foliage

Sunset – about 1 hour: soft light, great for landscapes and wildlife

Time after sunset: blues and mauves in the sky and clouds; silhouettes against the western sky

Overcast, cloudy sky: This provides nice, even light, which is great for things in the ‘shade. It is important to remember to keep the sky out of the image.

Moon rise, Moon set: check the times. A moon rise is best a day or two before the full moon. This still gives you some light. Along the same line, a moon set is best a day or two after the full moon.

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Fall Mandalas

With all the colorful aspen leaves around, I could not resist to take some more Mandala pictures. This time it was more difficult because I had to deal with all the little stems of the leaves. Let me know which one you prefer.

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My recent trip to Yellowstone

After coming back, I had to sort through 1100 images. Photographing animals is for me ‘shoot first and ask questions later’. This time, I got some really nice action sequences. Great shots from a wildlife perspective, but I am not sure anyone would want to hang such an image in the living room 🙂

The trip was great and it was disappointing. I had so many expectations and, naturally some of them did not get fulfilled. I did not get to see any wolves within shooting distance. I saw some through a spotting scope on the other side of the valley, though. On the other hand, there was a grizzly sow with 2 cubs and a moose. Overall, I was happy with the weather; some clouds, the wind was cool on a few days, just below freezing 2 nights and incredible sights the following morning.

Usually, I settle into Madison Campground and then go from there.Due to the road construction and the need to be early in the places, I decided to spend only a few nights in one place and then move to the another: Madison – Mammoth – Grant Village. I decided to sleep in the car so I would not have to deal with taking a tent down at 6am or come back for it. My favorite area for wildlife was along the Madison River. May be it also had to do with all the mist rising from the river after the first cold night. Lamar Valley was hazy due to the wildfire. The smoke drifted down into it. Hayden Valle was also rich with the grizzlies and then some mists in the morning. Seeing the moose at the East entrance was sheer luck, helped a bit by the information from another, friendly photographer.

I have whittled the photos down to 65 and posted all on my Flickr site in the set Recent Trips. Here are some images to whet your appetite. Which one is your favorite among the ones here and / or including the ones on Flickr. I’d love to hear from you.

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