As I’m taking usually pictures from cityscapes, I sometimes find it hard to force myself to take pictures while being on beach mode. When being at the beach, I prefer exchanging the camera for a cold beer instead (Imperial anyone?).
But while spending a great New Year’s Eve in Playa Sámara, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, I received probably the greatest Christmas gift of all times from my wife: A flight with a Gyrocopter. I never heard of it before but the best description is like a flying mini-helicopter, usually made for a pilot and a guest. The views are simply amazing when going up, seeing crocodiles, dolphins and sting-rays from above.
The last picture by the way is the beach in front of Mel Gibson’s house which is for sale for a solid price of $ 25 million.
If your mouth is getting watery right now, check Jörg’s page out.
Being probably one of the most popular castles, not only in Germany, expectations are high when you are going to Neuschwanstein Castle.
View from the city below, about half an hour hike up the road.
View from Marienbrücke, if you’re not into heights, this might not be the best place for you.
I didn’t go in actually, I’m more of the type that likes to have a look from the outside. The scenery around this castle and the hike are definitely recommendable.
One of the places that leaves the strongest impression while traveling Colombia is Guatapé.
Easily to be combined with a visit to the famous Peñol (a massive rock that brings you a fantastic view after climbing it), the village of Guatapé is full of colors and I mean really full of it.
Guatapé is also known as “Pueblo de Zocalos”, while Zocalos are little art pieces that tell unique stories all over the village.
Speaking of El Peñol, this is the view:
Back from Colombia (not Columbia, just saying), back to grey autumn in Germany. Time to work on the pictures I took. Let’s start with the actual reason why we went to Colombia, the wedding of Ana Maria and Javier.
Have a look at the ingredients: San Andrés in Colombia, a Caribbean island, beach, happy Colombians, a beautiful bride and a party to remember. All that guarantees tons of fun.
Pictures from the dancefloor are better locked away.
while on the road, here a few shots from the roof of our hotel in Santa Marta.
Long exposure shots are nice and quite frankly a loooot of fun. At least when you finally meet somebody that teaches you how to do it. I’m not gonna lie, for a long time I used mainly the P mode in my Nikon (P for Program Automatic) and while I still felt that I was getting good results, a new world opens up when you finally start shooting in half or full manual mode (thanks to Julio who taught me).
SHOOTING: WAITING FOR THE BLUE HOUR
For my last Frankfurt shooting we met shortly before sunset to make use of the blue hour that lasts usually around half an hour after sunset (golden hour is half an hour before sunset). In doubt, check this calculator, works perfect for me.
DATA: CAM // LENS // EXIF
Nikon D7200 // Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 // f/11 20s ISO100 10mm
RESULT Out of Cam (OOC)
BASIC IMAGE PROCESSING IN CAMERA RAW
The result out of cam without any editing is not bad but nothing like what you usually see around the internet which can actually be very frustrating. Believe me, I understand that very well, I’m trying with every new picture to get better and better. So this here is not coming from an expert, but from someone that is sharing what he’s learning along the way with you.
My first step is to open the RAW file in Adobe Camera Raw (opens immediately when you drag the file into Photoshop). Looks ok, not great. Here are my steps to improve the shot:
- Lens correction: if you’re using a current model it is likely that the lens will be detected and distortion and vignetting will be corrected atomatically
- In the basic settings, I start correcting by bringing highlights and whites a little down, while bringing shadows a bit up. I also bring up clarity quite a bit and vibrance a little. Although I’m a huge fan of contrast, with night shots, I usually take it down a bit. In this case, increasing the exposure also seems suitable.
- Going to HSL, adjust colors simply to how they seem right to you. Some people hate green, some don’t like orange or yellow. You’re free to work on saturation and luminance of each color and even shift single colors. Here, I’m going mainly for a more intense blue.
- Final step: adding a little sharpening, but careful to not sharpen the whole piece (masking amount high) and the radius not too much (around 1,8 is usually the max)
RESULT AFTER CAMERA RAW
I also learned (again, thanks to Julio), that a great and easy way to give architecture pictures a stronger impact is to straighten buildings in Photoshop, especially because of the distortion coming from wide angle lenses. In this case, let us leave it like that, the distortion seems quite ok for me.
Let’s see if we make these editing instructions a regular thing.
Recently we went for a spontaneous weekend trip from Frankfurt to Madrid, always to get out of the daily rut. Besides the fact that Madrid had fantastic 35 degrees, lots of great food and drinks waiting for us, the cherry on top was the 5* hotel we stayed at: Hotel Adler.
We were lucky enough to get the fantastic Junior Suite which was spacious, classic and felt very upscale.
Those are only short impressions from the room, I can tell you that the bathroom is actually as big as our apartment in Frankfurt (at least it felt like it).
Obviously, food is extremely important, so when I think about how a hotel was, I think of their breakfast. And I can tell you, this one will be in good memory. No buffet breakfast, instead a proper, well made breakfast. Scrambled eggs with bacon there: you have to try it.
Here is the entrance of the hotel:
Besides this, extremely friendly staff that helped us out with some guidance and insights on where to go in Madrid. The staff was so friendly to let me take some more pictures of other rooms, e.g. the Presidential Suite.
All in all, I think you get the idea: if you have the chance, stay there, you won’t regret it.
Hotel Adler homepage
Hotel Adler facebook