Above is a behind the scenes video for a fairy-tale themed photograph I took of my red Ford Focus (2011, Titanium). The video explains how I turned the Little Red Riding Hood idea into an image, from the two-hour shoot with Olivier Kerschen to the six-hour editing process in Lightroom and Photoshop. The two photographs below show an unedited picture with nothing but ambient light and the final edited image.
The same video is also available in Luxembourgish.
I haven’t had much time to go out and take photographs lately, so most of what I’m shooting these days is made with my mobile phone’s camera whenever I happen to see something interesting. Here are some recent photos of snow and frost in Luxembourg.
Jacky and Steve’s wedding in September was the last one I covered in 2009, and oh boy, it was great to be there. Alison had come down to be my assistant for the day. We started the day with the couple shooting in the park in Colmar-Berg. It offers some gorgeous backdrops all along the shores of its lakes. On the technical side, I finally got to make proper use of the PocketWizards’ full potential. Their high sync-speed capabilities made it easier to balance the flashes against the full daylight and generally made using the lights more practical. The shoot in the park was a lot of fun, and the atmosphere just carried on right through the rest of the day.
The ceremony was in the town hall in Vichten. Their ceremonial room upstairs was very interesting in terms of lighting, the mix of indirect sunlight from the windows and artificial light sounded like it was going to be tricky, but it turned out to make for some great sidelight and colour contrast which gave the whole ceremony a very warm character.
The reception and dinner were back in Colmar-Berg. We had already briefly visited the area for some architectural elements in the couple shoot. The dinner hall was nice because it offered such an open space and a lot of room for the dance floor. I actually asked Alison to film Jacky and Steve’s first dance with her 5DMkII while I was taking photographs. I think the short clip makes for a nice moment in the slideshow. The evening was marked by some crazy games for the newlyweds and their guests and an all-round festive mood – definitely an awesome evening for a very cute couple.
A couple of photographers from the Photogen community decided to meet up in Luxembourg City on the evening of May 1st for a 'nightwalk'. Since I happened to be in Luxembourg that week rather than when my volcano-free schedule had planned, I drove up to the Kirchberg to join the others: -Kiischtii-, deBaemm, m-otiv, MB-Photos, McQueen, and Mexx. (Mouseover the photos to see the who's-who in the captions.) We walked from the LuxExpo down to the Philharmonie, where Ben took a great group photo of us, using the combined light power of 4 PocketWizards, 2 580EXs, 1 430EX and 2 SB900s.
Some of us wanted to go see Iron Man 2 after the get-together, and with only 20 minutes to go before the screening, we realized that we had covered quite a distance on the way down from Utopolis. Doesn't feel like it when you can just drive the distance in a car! Oh, Iron Man was crap by the way. But at least it inspired me to take another photograph, which I'll blog about next week.
What an awesome wedding. Kirstin and Christophe made sure that their guests would have a marvellous time, and the great atmosphere made being their photographer a great experience. Christophe is a user on photogen.lu, where he and Kirstin had seen some of my work. In fact quite a few members of that community were present at this wedding, apart from myself and Christophe, there were his brother-in-law Alain and of course Olivier, who assisted me throughout the day.
We arrived at the church well ahead of the couple to give us a bit of time to reevaluate the positions from which we’d photograph – children from the church communion had built a symbolic space rocket which remained set up between the altar and the congregation. It turned out not to be a problem though, the Belair church is fairly spacious. The ceremony was one of the most beautiful and entertaining ones I’ve witnessed this summer. Both the bride and groom are members of church choirs and they’ve been friends for a long time with the priest that ministered.
After the ceremony Christophe was made to showcase his talent with the accordeon and Kirstin hers as conductor. Quite a fun interlude! After Kirstin and Christophe had shaken hands with all the guests at the reception we drove to the communal park in Hesperange that I had already visited with them beforehand, to shoot their couple photographs. The weather played along nicely, a slightly overcast sky makes it easier to balance artificial and ambient light. Like before, it was Olivier’s job to make sure the light was held in position just where I needed it.
The dinner was in a lovely restaurant near Altwies, called Le Moulin. We took the group and guest photos outside the restaurant in front of the picturesque brook before moving inside the luxuriously decorated converted mill to cover the dinner, games and emotions for the rest of the evening.
Alison and I visited the Kasematten as part of a touristy visit of Luxembourg. I've been there a couple of times, but it's the first time that I've seen a bat hang from the ceiling of one of the tunnels! The little guy didn't seem to be bothered by all the people passing through there (most of whom didn't notice the animal was there), and it didn't even move when we photographed it close-up with flash.
Alison and I made a trip to the butterfly garden in Grevenmacher. This time the temperature was a bit more comfortable than the 40°C in the World of Butterflies. We only had one macro lens between the two of us so we took turns in photographing and holding a flash for one another. We started out with the ringlight adapter but moved on to a DIY diffuser to light the butterflies. It's quite useful to be able to sculpt the light the way you need it to be rather than being at the mercy of the sun shining through a glass roof and foliage. I used the Pocketwizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5 to allow the camera and flash to communicate with one another. Setting the flash power manually would have been tricky, since we worked without tripods. At those small distances, a few centimeters change in the distance between flash and subject can make a big difference. (Inverse square law: if the flash is giving me a correct exposure at 1/8 power and 10cm distance, if the flash moves 5cm closer the power needs to change to 1/32. ETTL takes care of this on the fly.)
So my technique here is to get the aperture I need for a decent depth of field, then dialing in a shutter speed and ISO that get me enough ambient light for a photo that's slightly underexposed, then bring in the flash to get the exposure to where it needs to be.
(For those wondering what the title means: it's one of the Luxembourgian words for butterfly.)
Happy 2010 guys, and thanks for stopping by the blog. I’ll post a collection of my favourite photos of 2009 soon.
This summer a handful of photographers from Photogen.lu met at the Schueberfouer (like last year) to hang out, test the rides and chat. I decided to film rather than take pictures this time. It’s fairly busy there and I didn’t have my shoulder-rig yet; my apologies for the shakiness. I still have loads to learn about the whole SLR-video thing.
In 2004 the CFL presented a project to add a second track to the railway line passing through Bascharage, Luxembourg. For the laying of the tracks and the underpass replacing the level crossing, about 1 1/2 acres of woodland were chopped down. In 2009, the works are nearing completion. These are impressions of the Réserve Naturelle Albert Hopp.
This summer, knipser from Photogen invited me and a couple other photographers, mostly members of the Photogen community, to visit the Arcelor-Mittal steel plant in Esch-Belval. It was an impressive mixture of deafening noise, smoldering heat and a thick layer of dust covering every inch inside the plant. Not the kind of place where you want to change lenses all that often.
All photos: 5D MkII and 24-70 2.8L USM.
Update: I've added a bit of video from the trip, also recorded with the 5D MkII.
Dudelange on Wheels is a popular event among the skater community and photographers from Luxembourg and the Groussregioun. Like last year I spent a few hours on the Parc & Ride area to photograph the competitions.
Alison came down to Luxembourg for Alain and Sté's wedding. On the day before the wedding we visited the Musée d'Art Moderne on the Kirchberg before meeting some of my friends at the cinema. (Star Trek was quite good actually. Never liked the series, I'm a Star Wars geek, and the two are somewhat antagonistic.)
Anyway, we drove to a field near Hivange, asked the farmer for permission and got ready for take-off. I had to help get the balloon ready so there are no pictures of that. We flew over plenty of small towns that I didn't really recognize from up above, one of the places I did recognize fairly easily though was the Aire de Berchem (and in case you were wondering, no, the police car did not stop at the stop sign), the pig farm near the Kuelbicher Haff (the latter is hidden rather well in the woods) and the Mariendaller Haff, near which we landed gently in another field - this time we didn't ask the farmer's permission beforehand though :) And with gently I mean that none of my camera equipment got damaged when the basket tipped over during the landing. That's all that matters, my head has seen its share of bumps.
The title refers to the song Über den Wolken by Reinhard Mey.
About an hour ago the results for a photo competition entitled The Connection Between Generations (Lëtz: D'Verbindung tëschent den Generatiounen) organized by 45Plus together with photogen.lu were announced. My photo above won the public voting and convinced the professional jury. I'm now the happy winner of a Macbook, the photo will make the first page of a calendar and I can take part in a workshop during the Rencontres d'Arles.
I'm a happy camper, and the least I can do is to share some of the behind-the-scenes info of this photo. (more…)
The eve of the Luxembourg national day, "Nationalfeierdag", is one of those occasions on which our small capital seems to be bursting at the seams. I set out with my newly acquired 50mm 1.4 USM lens to capture the athmosphere of the evening and it didn't take long before I bumped into some friends, then I moved on to watch the torchlight procession and the fireworks. Seeing as the last time I watched them I ended up with smoldering firework chemicals in my eye I chose a safer spot this time though.
In between revising for my upcoming university exams there remains some time for photography. During my stay in Luxembourg I met up with photographer John Oesch for a shooting with model Kimberley at the Abbaye Neumünster. From there I went on to take the first photograph shown above, which I entered in the Photogen competition 'Luxembourg City'. A bit later I continued for an exploration of the Kirchberg area.