It Is What It Is

How do you think up the title of your posts? At one time I used to use “Weekly Photo Challenge: and then whatever the them was for that week i.e. Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence. Real interesting and very eye-catching. So then I started to think of a catchy phrase that I could use each week like “Oops! I Forgot” or “The Donkey Said “What’s Behind Me””. But how do I come up with that phrase? Usually it’s based on one or more of the photographs I include in my post so this week I give you “It Is What It Is”.

A bustling kitchen and yet very quiet. Not because the nuns have sworn a vow of silence, they haven’t, because they are not real. Their just mannequins dressed up in a nuns habit for an exhibition in a museum

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Now you might have noticed that the above picture is a bit heavy on the HDR side. That’s because it was adjusted to appeal to a specific audience on Instagram. Yep! I’m on there now, happily gathering followers and following others. Slowly but surely I’m weaning myself away from Facebook. It no longer has the hold it used to and to be hones I’m sick of all the bullcrap advertising that is appearing there. With their new Algorithms I’m seeing less and less of the people I follow and more and more of “stuff” I’m not really interested in. So I’m now an Instagrammer.

Despite being right next to a busy rail and road bridge crossing the Menai Straits from North Wales to Anglesey, this spot down by the shoreline was quite peaceful and calm. However, once the tide turns this becomes a noisy flowing dangerous torrent due to the fact that there are differential tides at the two ends of the strait. Differential tides = very strong currents to flow in both directions through the strait at different times. Due to the narrow width of the strait between North Wales and Anglesey and with hidden rocks, this makes for a difficult passage for sailors.

Britannia Bridge

Yesterday I was out in the Snowdonia National Park. One of those spur of the moment ideas. We’ve had terrible grey days for what seems like weeks now, not ideal for photography. Yesterday I got up, saw a patch of blue sky and thought, fresh air and a stop at Moel Siabod Cafe, what more could I ask for? Go to their website and you’ll see why it’s so popular amongst walkers and photographers. Anyway, weather wasn’t great in the mountains so after a stop at the cafe for lunch I headed to the coast and caught this female Goosander fishing at the mouth of the river at Llandullas.  So peaceful, just me and her. I’m sure she knew I was photographing her because she kept posing for me.

Goosander

Further afield now. To Berlin and the top of the dome in the Reichstag. We managed to get in one winters evening and there was no one there. Plenty of time to get the photographs I wanted.

The Dome

Well that’s it for this week and I hope you enjoyed the photographs – Mike

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Weekly Photo Challenge: One Love

Short one this week. I’ve been so busy with everything but photography. Whilst on my Berlin trip I came upon this man and his dog. From the way he dresses he looks like he could be down on his luck, but the dog looks well fed and very muscular. Who am I to say though? I don’t really know his circumstances.

One Man And His Dog

Anyway he hangs around Alexander Platz in the centre of Berlin and for a donation he will get the dog to sort of perform on the skate-board. Or you can buy a bratwurst from one of the street vendors who frequent this area which he shares with the dog.

That’s it for this week. Here’s what others are saying about this weeks challenge

The Photographer Smiled… Souvenir of a love
One Love – Where I Ought To Be
Michelle Lunato Photography Family. Together With One Love
Hot Dogs and Marmalade First Grandchild
Ain’t Mine No More Weekly Photo Challenge- One Love
Street Art- Don’t Hate! – Susan Rushton
Jonathan Dudley Photography WPC – One Love
Anna Begins One Love
Jude’s Photography Weekly Photo Challenge- One Love
Maria Morera Johnson WPC- One Love

Weekly Photo Challenge: State of Mind

I’m off to Berlin, Monday. For my American readers that’s Berlin, Europe not one of the many Berlins that happen to be in the USA. Just for added interest I’m now starting with a cold. I can feel the early stages coming on. Just what I really want. Which brings me to my state of mind. At the moment I’m not exactly in the mood to consider going out at night to photograph magnificent structures like the Brandenburg Gate.

Brandenburg Gate

No, maybe I’ll just stick to Street Photography this trip.

After intensively exploring many genres over the last 30 plus years I have, in recent years, focused on Street Photography as an outlet for my photographic energies. Street Photography is somewhat of a misnomer as it can be practiced anywhere people are photographed in the environment in which they are found. For some, myself included, being a photographer is as much a state of mind. – Michael Dubiner

But there again, when there are other magnificent monuments in the city, it would be too good an opportunity to miss. Look at the Soviet War Memorial in the Tiergarten which I photographed just before sunset. That setting sun really highlights the gold lettering

Soviet War Memorial

And what about the area around the Europa Centre, with the ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which was destroyed in 1943, and new modern church right beside it.

Europa Centre

Right, that’s it for this week. I’ve just found out that my ultra-modern hotel does not offer free Wi-Fi. Would you believe it in this day and age? So it looks like I might be dark until the end of this week. Roaming costs in Europe are still horribly expensive, especially for data.

Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge;

Mainline_Matter Matchless State Of Mind
Inspired And When The Fog Lifted…
Carto’s Logbook State Of Mind — Boy & Girl
Julia’s Odyssey State of Mind – WPC
STREET-PHOTOGRAPHY – COLLAGE state-of-mind
Lonely Travelog State of Mind
Julie Powell – Photographer & Graphic Artist WPC – State of Mind
Maria Jansson Photography State Of Mind
Laidig’s Broadway Waste of Mind-
Half a photograph Cheery

Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturation

How often have you looked at a Black and White photograph and thought; “I’d like to see that in colour”?

Why would anyone want to photograph an indisputably colourful world in monochrome? If colour film had been invented first, would anybody even contemplate photographing in black and white? – Russell Miller

I know I much prefer working in colour but I have to be careful when I’m creating an HDR image in order not to make it too saturated.  This week all of the photographs were taken during the early evening or night time and that is one of the times I think you can get away with over-saturated images. OK! Let’s get started…

A Symphony of Lights  is a synchronised building exterior decorative light and laser multimedia display, featuring 44 buildings on both sides of the Victoria Harbour of Hong Kong accompanied by music.

Hong Kong Skyline

The show is organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and displayed every night with good weather at 8pm Hong Kong Time. An orchestration of music, decoration lights, laser light displays, and pyrotechnic fireworks, the multimedia light and sound show lasts for about 14 minutes.

Hong Kong Skyline

I’ve been to Hong Kong twice and managed to catch the light show on both trips. It’s a great experience and a photographers dream, if you’re ever in that part of the world make sure you don’t miss it…and make sure it’s in colour.

For nearly three years I lived in Berlin when the wall was still up. The wall meant that there were many places in the former East Berlin that I couldn’t visit to photograph. One of those was the Brandenburg Gate, I could see it, but from the wrong side, so to speak. The Brandenburg Gate (German: Brandenburger Tor) is a former city gate, rebuilt in the late 18th century as a neoclassical triumphal arch, it is probably one of the most well known landmarks of Germany.

Brandenburg Gate

It is located in the western part of the city centre of Berlin, at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße, immediately west of the Pariser Platz. One block to the north stands the Reichstag building. The gate is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden, the renowned boulevard of linden trees, which formerly led directly to the city palace of the Prussian monarchs.

When I was a youngster I lived in Glasgow in a district called Knightswood which was on the north bank of the River Clyde. Greenock on the south side of the river at the “Tail of the Bank” where the River Clyde expands into the Firth of Clyde seemed so distant.

Clydeport Greenock

Last time I visited Glasgow I made it to Greenock in about 20 minutes. I wish I could have made it to Perth, Western Australia in that amount of time. It’s such a long journey, fortunately I broke mine by having a stop off in Hong Kong.

Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia. It is the fourth most populous city in Australia, with an estimated population of 1.9 million living in Greater Perth.

Perth at Night

Perth was originally founded by Captain James Stirling in 1829 as the administrative centre of the Swan River Colony, and gained city status in 1856. The city is named after Perth, Scotland, by influence of Sir George Murray, then British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The city’s population increased substantially as a result of the Western Australian gold rushes in the late 19th century, largely as a result of emigration from the eastern colonies of Australia.

My final saturated image comes from a wild and stormy evening in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. I was out on the sea front trying to shelter from the driving wind and rain, whilst trying to get a photograph of the waves washing over the causeway.

Weston Storm

The hardest part was trying to keep the camera steady enough to get a photograph. With low light you need to take longer exposures and use a tripod, but the wind was so strong it was shaking the camera on the tripod. In the end I had to hold the camera steady for about 25 seconds to get  the photograph.

So, was Russell right? Do photographs look better in colour? I believe they do but I have always stayed away from over-saturated colours. This weeks challenge has forced me to look at colour and the affect that increased saturation can have on a photograph.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

The Fernsehturm (German for “television tower”) is a television tower in the city centre of Berlin, Germany. Close to Alexanderplatz the tower, which is 368 metres high, was constructed between 1965 and 1969 by the former German Democratic Republic administration who intended it as a symbol of Berlin.

The original total height of the tower was 365 metres (1,198 ft), but it rose to 368 metres (1,207 ft) after the installation of a new antenna in the 1990’s. There is a visitor platform and a revolving restaurant in the middle of the sphere. The visitor platform is at a height of about 204 metres (669 ft) above the ground and visibility can reach 42 kilometres (26 mi) on a clear day. The restaurant, which rotates once every 30 minutes is a few metres above the visitors platform (originally it turned once per hour; the speed was later doubled following the tower’s late 1990s renovation). Inside the shaft are two lifts that shuttle visitors up to the sphere of the tower within 40 seconds. It is not accessible by wheelchair.

When the sun shines on the Fernsehturm’s tiled stainless steel dome, the reflection usually appears in the form of a crucifix. In the then divided city West Berliners immediately named the luminous cross Rache des Papstes, or “Pope’s Revenge“.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Entrance

The Brandenburg Gate (German: Brandenburger Tor) is a former city gate and one of the main symbols of Berlin and Germany. It is located west of the city center at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße, immediately west of the Pariser Platz. It is the only remaining gate of a series through which Berlin was once entered. One block to the north stands the Reichstag building. The gate is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden, the renowned boulevard of linden trees which formerly led directly to the city palace of the Prussian monarchs. It was commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a sign of peace and built by Carl Gotthard Langhans from 1788 to 1791. Having suffered considerable damage in World War II, the Brandenburg Gate was fully restored from 2000 to 2002 by the Stiftung Denkmalschutz Berlin (Berlin Monument Conservation Foundation).[1] Today, it is regarded as one of Europe’s most famous landmarks.

Soviet War Memorial – Tiergarten

The Soviet War Memorial is one of several war memorials in Berlin, capital city of Germany, erected by the Soviet Union to commemorate its war dead, particularly the 80,000 soldiers of the Soviet Armed Forces who died during the Battle of Berlin in April and May 1945.

This memorial is located in the Tiergarten, a large public park to the west of the city centre, on the north side of the Strasse des 17 Juni (17 June Street), the major east-west thoroughfare running from the Brandenburg Gate going through Siegessäule (Victory Column) until Ernst-Reuter-Platz.

The memorial is still a site of active commemoration. On the anniversary of VE Day, (8 May), wreath-laying ceremonies are held at the memorial. It is a site of pilgrimage for war veterans from the countries of the former Soviet Union. It is also a popular tourist attraction, since it is much closer to the centre of the city than the larger Soviet war memorial at Treptower Park. The memorial is maintained by the City of Berlin.

On a personal note. Before the Berlin Wall came down I used to live in Berlin and I can remember the Soviet guards who stood at this memorial no matter what the weather. The rumour was that they stood over air vents, which kept them cool in summer and warm in winter. In those days you were not allowed access to the memorial so the rumour could never be confirmed.

Technical Note: Image is a bracket of 5 RAW from -2 to +2 in 1 EV steps taken with a Samsung GX10 fitted with an 18-50mm kit lens @ 23mm. ISO 100, f22, shutter speeds from 1/30 sec to 1/2 sec. Camera was mounted on a RedSnapper RS-284 & RSH-12 Ball Head and the shutter was fired using infra-red remote control. HDR processing was with Everimaging HDR Photo Pro.