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Robby's Photography

Sydney

Sometimes, you get the opportunity to go somewhere and it gets even better than you expected it. This time, my job led me to Sydney. And although I knew that it will be quite warm in Down Under, I was really surprised when I got off the plane in the evening. Due to a quite tight schedule, there were only the nights and one weekend to discover the beauty of Sydney. On the last evening, I went for dinner in a restaurant at Luna Park and after finishing dinner, I walked down the road and got this fantastic view…

Sydney Skyline

Sydney Skyline

Tokyo

In January 2014, I had the chance to go to Japan for on a business trip. And since we were on a tight schedule, I didn’t have much time for taking pictures. But when I had the chance, my camera took a lot of pictures. One of the stops of the trip led me to Tokyo. And this is an amazing place. I’ve been to many big cities already and I love to have a look on them from a high building. But Tokyo really surprised me. I’ve never seen a city of this dimensions. From the highest platform of the Skytree in 450m above ground, you see a city that goes up to the horizon.
Tokyo Skytree

 

Cologne

A typical picture of Cologne shows the Cologne Cathedral and the Hohenzollern Bridge, especially when the shot was taken from riverside or from across the river Rhine. I took my shot from the other side of the Rhine, so I could use the arches of the bridge as a guiding line into the picture. The thin red and white lines on the river are a result of a vessel passing during this long exposure shot

Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge - ©2013 Robert Traut

Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge – ©2013 Robert Traut

 

 

 

 

Nightshots

Cities look different by day and by night, especially big cities with a lot of lights have their very own fascination. And since the amount of light is quite limited, it takes either high ISO speeds or longer exposure times to get a nice result. The following examples show Indonesia’s capital Jakarta from my hotel room in the Shangri-Là Hotel first by night and second by day. The camera was mounted on a tripod and I took first the night shot. The daylight shot was taken on the next morning.

Jakarta by night · ©2010 Robert Traut

Jakarta by night · ©2010 Robert Traut

Jakarta by day · ©2010 Robert Traut

Jakarta by day · ©2010 Robert Traut

 

The night shot settingsEOS 400D with Sigma 10-20mm 4.0-5.6 DG EX HSM
exposure 25s at f/8 with ISO 200
10mm focal length

The day shot settings
EOS 400D with Sigma 10-20mm 4.0-5.6 DG EX HSM
exposure 1/400 at f/8 with ISO 100
10mm focal length

Puerto Marina Benalmadena-Costa, Spain

The marina in Benalmadena-Costa becomes a quite vibrant place when the sun comes down. Lots of bars and restaurants, shops, cafes, ice-cream parlors and other stuff invite people for a walk, boat crews offer boat trips along the coast and artists offer portaying in the streets. And with a little luck you get a nice sunset.

The marina in Benalmadena

The marina in Benalmadena

The shot was taken with my EOS400D and the Sigma 10-20mm f/4.0-5.6 DG EX HSM without a tripod. I placed the camera on top of a wall and used my wallet for leveling the height between battery grip and lens. Mirror lock was switched on and I triggered the shot with the infrared remote trigger. Further, I used a Cokin P-series filter holder and a Cokin P 121S gradual neutral density filter.

Black & White

Even with the analogue film cameras, the color film replaced almost completely the b&w film. But there were still enough people who like b&w pics. Until now, you will find b&w films. Just a few companies still produce these films and there are still labs who are specialized on development of b&w film. With the digital cameras, b&w became more popular again because it’s easy. Either you switch the camera to b&w mode or you convert the color picture into a b&w picture in post processing. But when is good to turn a pic into b&w? When you want to reduce a picture to the geometrical forms in the picture, a b&w conversion is a good idea. Sometimes, color can be irritating and so it might be a good idea to convert a pic into b&w.

But like with almost everything, there are different approaches leading to the same goal. When you switch the camera to b&w mode, the camera uses the red pixel information. If you convert a color picture into b&w, you can either reduce the saturation, you can choose discard color information by converting it into greyscale, you can use the color mixer in Photoshop or you use special filters for it. And to make it more confusing, not every way of converting a picture delivers the best result with every picture. From my experience, it depends a lot on the result you want to get. The picture below was taken in color mode and converted into b&w in Photoshop by simply converting it into greyscale. After the conversion, I just raised the contrast and that’s it.

Brandenburger Tor, Berlin - ©2013 Robert Traut

Brandenburger Tor, Berlin – ©2013 Robert Traut

Perth, Western Australia

The skyline of Perth - ©2012 Robert Traut

The skyline of Perth – ©2012 Robert Traut

The skyline of Perth, taken from the ferry across the Swan River.

Landscape shots

A friend once asked me why his landscape shots always have a burnt out sky while others don’t have this. I told him that the others use a simple trick, they use Gradual Neutral Density filters (GND). The GND allows to reduce partially the amount of light.  Unlike a Neutral Density (ND) filter, it doesn’t reduce the overall amount of light to enable a longer expsoure. When you look at a GND filter, you will realize that it starts dark and get lighter towards the middle of the filter. And there are filters with a soft or hard graduation. The shot below was taken with a Canon EOS 400D with the Canon EF-S17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM and a HI-Tech GND 0.9 filter.

The famous rice terraces in Ubud - ©2010 Robert Traut

The famous rice terraces in Ubud – ©2010 Robert Traut

Animals

Shooting animals can be quite tricky. Most wildlife photographers have to take a lot of effort and patientice to get the shot they want. And normally, you recognize wildlife photographers from their super telephoto lenses. But why do they need up to 600mm local length? This has two reasons… either to protect themselves or to stay far enough before the animals takes flight. Shooting a predator like a tiger or a lion with a 50mm lens might only work when the whole pack is full. Otherwise you won’t get close enough for a nice shot. But even then it is still very dangerous. And preys will espace before you get close enough. That’s why focal length gets so important in wildlife photography.

Another possibility is to take animal shots in a zoo. Unfortunately, there is always a fence or a thick security glass that make the shot quite challenging. But it has also some advantages. You get closer to the animals and they are normally less shy. The bird shot below was taken in Taman Safari Cisarua which is close to Bogor, Java Barat (Western Java), Indonesia.

Yellow bird – ©2013 Robert Traut

Water

To take pictures of a creek or a waterfall, most people take the automatic settings of their cameras and wonder why the picture doesn’t really look special. Well, the camera doesn’t know what the photographer wants to shoot and tries therefore to keep the shutter speed high enough to avoid blurry pictures. But if you want to have this „mystical“ flow in your picture, you have to „tell“ you camera what to do… And you need some additional hardware like a tripod and maybe some filters when you plan to take pictures by day.

Austria-9957

Ok, the camera is mounted on a tripod. Now you need some flowing water. A small creek doesn’t really sound spectacular, maybe. But it’s still good enough to get wet all over… When you found a nice place along the water, bring your camera in position. Now it’s time to attach the filters if it is a daylight situation. A circular polarizer (CPL) and a Neutral Desity (ND) x8 is doing fine. The CPL allows to remove reflections on the water surface and enhances the saturation of the colors. The ND x8 filter reduces the light by factor 8, this means only 1/8 of the light comes through the filter. But why reducing the amount of light? Normally, we try to get as much light as possible in a short time on the sensor. This time we don’t want a short exposure time, so that’s why the ND x8 filter is quite useful now. Together with a small aperture (the higher the value, the smaller the hole the light can go through), the filters extend the exposure time. And the long exposure makes the misty look for the flow.