Day #154 @ Photography Project 365

I found this sculpture in the Victoria & Albert Museum really interesting. Actually, of particular interest to me was not the sculpture itself but the excellent lighting that was available. It really emphasized the strength of the hammer-wielding arm.

Day #153 @ Photography Project 365

Here's a photo of a stained glass painting from the Victoria & Albert Museum. Unlike most stained glass paintings I've seen before, this one was set against a black background. I figured that the high contrast would yield a nice photo.

Day #152 @ Photography Project 365

We visited the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. This is a photo of the Ardabil Carpet, the oldest dated carpet in the world. It was completed between 1539 and 1540. It's completely enclosed in a glass room where humidity and light is controlled to ensure that the colors are preserved

Day #151 @ Photography Project 365

This photo was taken on our first day out in London. It was raining (as usual) and we decided to visit the National Museum. The problem was that there are so many museums in London and everyone we asked pointed us to a different one. I had heard a lot about the Egyptian Collection in one of the museums and tried to find that one. Unfortunately, my instincts led me to the wrong one.

London was so crowded (as you can see in this photo here). There were lots of tourists when we were there. Compared to Germany, I have to say that the Metro system there is pretty outdated.

Day #150 @ Photography Project 365

We're were in London for a few days on vacation. I've been to London several times but there's still so much that I have not seen. Besides, my wife has never really been there. So, we decided this year that we'd visit London together.

I took this photo from the train whilst still in Munich - we were headed for the airport. This is first time we flew with EasyJet. We chose EasyJet over Ryanair because the latter flies from the main Munich airport. Ryanair on the other hand flies from a much smaller airport that is pretty far out of Munich. They call it Munich West Airport but "100km West of Munich Airport" would be a more appropriate name.
I took this second photo from the plane. Obviously, I had to use a very high ISO because it was dark and this has resulted in a rather grainy shot. Nonetheless, after the regular post-processing enhancements, I reduced clarity to make the noise a little more subtle.

Day #149 @ Photography Project 365

I may seem to be getting obsessed with reflections and the clarity slider in Lightroom. However, I felt that this photo deserved another post (and also because I have a lot of catching up to do on my Project 365).

Day #148 @ Photography Project 365

We visited a lake in Teisendorf and that is where I took these photos. I enjoyed post-processing them so much. I used to have a problem getting good, well-defined reflections in my photos. This problem has been especially apparent in photos taken by the lake. Now I've discovered that the secret antidote to that problem is the clarity slider in Lightroom.

I increased saturation and vibrancy a notch, but was more generous in increasing contrast. Then I increased clarity and all of the sudden everything fell into place.

Both photos here have their own characteristics and I can't really decide which is my favorite. For the second one, I composed it with some plants in the foreground to give it more depth. The first one may lack depth, but boy do I like the reflections here.

The two huts by the water on the right side are subtle but influential elements in these photos.

Day #147 @ Photography Project 365

Have you ever been to a city where you found everything so beautiful but the moment you took out your camera to capture something, you realize that there's ugly, aerial cabling running all over the place? Well, Salzburg is one of those places. In fact, if I remember correctly, so is Vienna. It's so hard to get a clean, nice photo in such places.

On the way back from Salzburg, we came across a park and since we had about an hour to kill before the next train, we decided to take a walk through it. Lo and behold, I found the clean, cable-free view I was looking for. Of course, with so many tourists around, we basically had to wait in line to take our photos.

I really like the view from this spot because you get to see so much of Salzburg from here. Don't quiz me on all the monuments in these photos, but from their looks, they must be important.

I find the fort on the hill especially captivating. It overlooks the city and in medieval times, this must have helped it protect the city. Visitors can apparently take a special lift or hike all the way up to the fort. Because of time, we did neither. Maybe we'll do it next time.

Day #146 @ Photography Project 365

While in a park in Salzburg, I noticed this statue of a unicorn. The photo turned out rather plain in color but in black and white, it is quite captivating.

The thing about black and white photography is that it needs strong, prominent and well-defined shapes to turn out well. I guess it's because black and white photos have very high contrast and distinct objects are able to truly exploit this characteristic.

Day #145 @ Photography Project 365

Salzburg is a very beautiful city and definitely worth a visit. The river Salzach flows through the city and I presume that it where the city gets its name or vice versa.

Salzburg is famous among tourist for being the site where the movie, Sound of Music was filmed. There are various Sound of Music tours being offered - you're bound to stumble across one when making your way through the city. Apparently, the locals (i.e. Austrians) are not too fond of the movie because of the way it portrays them. Salzburg is also famous for being the birthplace of Mozart.

We took a boat ride on the Salzach and that is where I got this shot. Similar to Teisendorf, the buildings here are colorful too (as seen in my previous photo-of-the-day). I also thought that the "naked" trees were rather interesting. It must be something Austrian because I saw similar ones in Vienna last year!

Day #144 @ Photography Project 365

Salzburg, Austria is only about 20 minutes by train from Teisendorf. So, we decided to spend the afternoon there.

Salzburg was crowded and full of tourists. We found an interesting looking passage way as we were maneuvering ourselves through the crowd and decided to go through it. Along the passage way, I found this sign for a shoe shop. It looks like something they'd have used in medieval times and that really caught my attention. Anyway, they obviously still use it in Salzburg.

Day #143 @ Photography Project 365

Teisendorf is a sweet, little German town close to the Austrian border. Being very close to the Alps, it's rather hilly.

I walked into the town this afternoon and took this photo as I was approaching the city center. The colorful medieval buildings are very typical of Southern Germany.

The skies were overcast and the colors in this photo were originally pretty subtle and dull. In post-processing, I had to bump up saturation and vibrancy quite a bit to bring out the colors of the buildings. I reduced clarity a notch as well to give it a subtle, dream-like feel. Finally, I increased contrast to wash out the distracting, gloomy sky and liven up the scene.

Day #142 @ Photography Project 365

I took this photo along the corridor of the hotel we're staying at in Teisendorf. I've always found shots of corridors and hallways rather mysterious and captivating. The high contrast and depth just make them a little spooky.

I first got a kick out of taking such shots when we were in Austria last year. That visit started well but ended pretty badly. I fell so sick on the last day that we needed a doctor to visit me in the hotel room. When I got back, I got another slap on the face when the insurance company refused to fully reimburse us the doctor's fee.

Day #141 @ Photography Project 141

We're in Teisendorf, a little town close to the Austrian border this weekend. The B&B we're staying at is called Haus Chiemgau.

Pictured here are postal boxes for each room that are also to be used by patrons to leave their room keys for their roommates (in case they're sharing a room). Some people were not too comfortable with this system due to security reasons - anyone could pick up your key and pay your room a visit. Nonetheless, it was used and we didn't hear of any unwarranted incidents while we were there. In fact, since they've been using this system for years now, I presume that it's been proven to be safe.

I tried to get creative with the composition of lines in this photo. Diagonal lines have a different impact compared to horizontal or vertical ones. They tend to add a little drama and suspense to the shot. In post-processing, I added a vignette and boosted contrast.

Day #140 @ Photography Project 365

A dear friend of ours made us Lasagna.
It tasted fabulous - unfortunately, my photo here doesn't do it much justice.

Italian culinary has got to be the most internationalized cuisine. I don't think I've been to a country where they didn't have pizza. Sure, there usually is some form of localization but the food retains much of the essence and definitely, the names.

Day #139 @ Photography Project 365

Have you ever seen a photo of clouds taken with a wide-angle lens that seem to be speeding towards the horizon? Do you like them?

Well, I do and I tried to achieve that with this photo here. I probably would have gotten better results if I had taken the shot when it wasn't so bright and could use a slower shutter speed. That would have captured the motion better. Of course, an ultra-wide angle lens would have helped too. I used the wide end of my Nikon AF-S 18-105 VR lens here.

Day #138 @ Photography Project 365

We got an amazing sunset here in Munich this evening and fortunately, we had a great view of it from our apartment. What really captivated me about this scene were the sun rays bursting through the clouds down to earth.

This panorama wasn't stitched together from several photos but simply cropped out of a single shot. In post-processing, I increased contrast and blacks to make the foreground a silhouette. I also bumped up saturation and vibrancy to accentuate the colors - the colors don't look that good in real life.

Day #137 @ Photography Project 365

This isn't the most artistic arrangement of twigs but I think it does qualify for my photo of the day.

I took this photo on our balcony. My dad had previously collected some twigs from around here to help us groom the plants in out balcony. We used a few but we still have many left. I guess that is partly due to the fact that our plants don't live very long!

So, I arranged the twigs to form a "J". In Lightroom, I increased contrast a lot to make the dark twigs stand our against the washed out floor. I also reduced saturation and vibrance to give it a near black and white tone.

Day #136 @ Photography Project 365

Not surprising, I call this photo "Algae on my Wall". I took this photo on our balcony. It's not that our apartment is full of this stuff but there are some spots that seem to be cozily inhabited by them.

I tried to capture its texture with this shot here. To do that well, I would have needed a macro lens, which I unfortunately do not have. So, I made do with my Nikon AF-S 18-105 VR lens.

I didn't want to have a distracting background either and fortunately by employing differential focus, I was also to blur background to insignificance.

Day #135 @ Photography Project 365

Here's yet another photo of Germany's most famous beverage - beer. Not all glasses are filled with beer though - some have the sinister-tasting apple juice.

We went out for dinner in a Bavarian restaurant within the "Beer Museum". As is the case in most (if not all) Bavarian restaurants, the selection of food was rather limited. The choice of beer wasn't great either but you can't really go wrong with any German beer anyway.

For this photo, I had to decrease saturation because it was just too yellow. However, I increased vibrance to keep the colors lively. Next, I boosted contrast, exposure and clarity. I like this photo because it has a very clear subject - beer / beverages.

About the museum: it's definitely worth a visit. It costs 4 EUR per adult. Many of the items on display revolve around the Oktoberfest and this year, Munich will celebrate the 200th Oktoberfest. It was evident from our visit that beer is in fact an extremely important part of Munich's history.

Here are some photos I took in the Beer Museum:

(Right) Pictured here is a typical dining table used in the beer gardens. On the shelf in the back are some items found and sold at the Oktoberfest.

(Left) Some beer labels / brands that were available before. I don't recognize all of them and presume some no longer exist.

(Right) I found this beer barrel stored away in a little room somewhere in the museum.

In conclusion to this post, here's a link to a nice, entertaining video on YouTube about men and beer (courtesy of Heineken).

Day #134 @ Photography Project 365

Germany's famous for its beer. Munich is especially famous for its Weissbier. I'm not sure how that should be translated to English though. I've heard some people refer to it as "White Beer", which would be the direct translation (Weiss = white, Bier = beer). However, it just doesn't sound right. In fact, it doesn't even look right - Weissbier isn't white! I think that Weissbier is just a nickname (or Bavarian name) and the formal German name is actually Hefeweizenbier or just Weizenbier (Hefe = yeast, Weizen = wheat). It would then be translated to yeast-wheat beer or just wheat beer. Now, that sounds a lot better.

I (almost) always order a Weissbier when I'm having a drink outside. In Germany, the price of beer is the same if not less than soft drinks. That may make me sound cheap but if you like beer (as I do), I think you'd be doing the same thing.

Pictured here is my glass of Weissbier (second from right) among its profane peers - soft drinks. The table is white and so I decided to increase the exposure in Lightroom to wash it out completely. I increased contrast to make the glasses of cola really black and to brighten up the glasses of golden apple juice. Finally, I increased clarity to its maximum. This resulted in a clear, vivid photo.

Day #133 @ Photography Project 365

We were actually planning to go on a bike ride with some friends today but unfortunately the weather was horrible and we needed to go for plan B. Our plan B was bowling (it wouldn't have been a plan B if it didn't start with a "B", right?).

This was in fact my first time bowling in Germany. Due to the bad weather and public holiday, most bowling alleys were fully booked. However, we were fortunate enough to find one with lanes free close to the city center.

Pictured here is my wife. This was my her first time bowling. After some initial difficulties, she started to get a hang of it.

I had field day post-processing this photo in Lightroom. I recently discovered the "clarity" slider and I really love it. Some of the effects that I previously thought required the Topaz Adjust filter are now achievable using the standard Lightroom adjustment tools. For this shot, I increased saturation and vibrance, dropped clarity and boosted contrast. Then, I reduced clarity to give it a dreamy effect. If you look at the photo closely, you'll find that it's pretty noisy. This is because I had to use ISO1600 due to the poor lighting condition in there.

Day #132 @ Photography Project 365

One very useful photography technique for me is using reflections.

I often find myself desperately looking for an exciting object, perfect lighting, excellent composition in a dull scene. I presume that some of you have that same problem. In times like these, I look out for reflections.

There are so many ways of using reflections creatively. Just search for "reflections" at Flickr. You'll be impressed with some of the amazing photos that show up. I sure was.

I took this photo inside the ferry on Lake Ammersee.

Day #131 @ Photography Project 365

That is one heavily loaded boat!

I caught this while we were on the ferry on Lake Ammersee. I didn't actually realize how low the boat was until my wife mentioned it, which was after I had taken the shot. I guess I'm still working on my observation skills. Until I have them refined, thank God I have my wife!

The weather was splendid. It was sunny and warm in general, although the wind was a little chilly when we were seated on the sun deck.

In Lightroom, I boosted saturation and increased contrast. If the lighting wasn't so hard, I'd probably have gotten a good reflection as well.

Day #130 @ Photography Project 365

We took a boat ride on Lake Ammersee. Our ride took almost two hours and we only opted for the trip that covered the upper half of the lake. The ride that covers the entire lake would have taken about three hours, which goes to show how big the lake is.

This is a photo of our boat's paddle wheel. As you can imagine, with the wheel spinning at a high speed and sprinkling lots of water on the window, it wasn't easy getting a clear shot. Nonetheless, after several attempts, I managed to get something decent enough.

Day #129 @ Photography Project 365

I found this beautiful, wild flower in the park. I'm not really into macro photography and as such, do not have the ideal lens for it. Nonetheless, I thought I'd give it a shot with my Nikon AF-S 18-105mm VR anyway. Because the maximum aperture at this focal length was f5.6, I had to make sure the flower was pretty far off from the background to get some bokeh.

Macro photography is indeed interesting and I would love to delve into it more. However, before investing in new equipment, I'll try it out with what I have.

Day #128 @ Photography Project 365

There are several lakes in and around Munich. The lakes closest to the Alps are the most spectacular ones. Of course, these lakes tend to be less accessible too.

Pictured here is Lake Ammersee. This is one of the easier to reach lakes. You can take a train (i.e. S-bahn) from the city all the way there. On weekends with good weather, the place gets pretty crowded.

I really wished I had a long zoom lens when I took this shot - I would have loved to zoom in closer on the row boat. Nonetheless, I made do with what I had (as do most photographers, I guess). The result, while not spectacular, is decent enough.

Day #127 @ Photography Project 365

We got some pretty nice cloud formations here in Munich today. I'm not exactly the kind of person that spends much time gazing into the heavens but I do enjoy serious post-processing with Photoshop occasionally. It's really useful to have some nice photos of the sky at hand when trying to replace an unflattering sky in an otherwise beautiful shot.