Donnerstag, 24. Dezember 2009

Before/After "watching the ants and feeling alone"

This is the Before/After of my most recent shot "watching the ants and feeling alone".

To achieve this night effect I started processing with rendering a HDR from 3 single exposures that I took using exposure bracketing function of my Canon EOS 400D.
After finishing this I applied some curves and color filters to get this purple sky and city toning.
Then I thought about adding a human element by adding me sitting on the platform in the bottom right corner of the shot. I then decided to not add a person but a heart to show that you are not alone even if you are standing there in solitude.

I wish you some nice and hopefully relaxing days!!


Montag, 2. November 2009

My first Interview

I have recently been interviewed by I was very surprised when they asked me to anwer their questions because I thought that my style is not at all one that would qualify me for being interviewed. I always had the feeling that the only artists that get the chance to say what they think are the ones that are very good in a specific style of photography for example BW, Portrait or Photoshop or something like that.
I was more than happy when I got the mail because earlier this week I got the getty sales statement that I already blogged about.

All the german readers of this blog can read the interview here.

Since most of the readers here are non-germans (at least I believe so) I will translate it for you now:




What are you doing jobwise (if photography is not your profession)?

I am at the age of 20 and I just started an apprenticeship in an marketing agency in September. Before that I served my civilian service where many of my images came into being (too much free time and too many ideas).


What role does photography play in your life?

Since I started shooting photography has become more than a hobby for me. It is my balance in the freetime. Those shooting moments are the ones that let me relax most. And I ALWAYS take my camera with me because what I hate most are situations and moments that I cannot capture. I happened to me several times that I left my camera at home. I regretted it most of the times.
Besides that the contact with other photographers is a very educational and interesting thing which lets me see photography as a medium for meeting people.
I have met several photographers which I got to know via flickr and I still am in good contact with many of them. There are also friendships that emerged from that.
Among those meetings there have been many international experiences with people from other countries such as Switzerland, chile and the USA.


How did you start photographing?

When I started with photography it was more like a means to an end than an appeal or something like that.
I have always been interested in getting along with digital image processing and someday I started getting into that and teaching myself everything I needed to know with the help of online tutorials, books etc.
I had no person to ask.
When I became better at processing it wasn't sufficient to process images from the web anymore because I couldn't say that those were "my artworks".
So I took the 5MP compact cam from my parents and started shooting flowers in the backyard and processing them. The results fascinated me.


What equipment are you using?

From that time on I got out again and again, played around and only two months later I had decided to buy me a DSLR. I had the money for doing this and so I bought my Canon EOS 400D + 18-55mm + Canon 50mm f/1.8 + Tamron 70-300mm. I am still using this combo.
When I decided which lenses to buy I didn't pay attention to tests. I only decided according to price and focal lengths. I found it senseless to buy lenses for more than 150 euro since I was a beginner. This attitude did not change since that day. I am more than happy with my selection.


What is the most difficult thing when you are shooting?

Focussing in the darkness and shooting portraits of people. But I am working on both.

What inspires you?

I am getting my inspiration from everything. I view many images on the internet, I am very attentive when going through the streets or I just play around with all day stuff on rainy days. And in many cases I just start shooting and the ideas emerge while doing so. I just point the camera towards everything I find interesting and almost every time there is something good resulting from that. Old things are very inspirational too


Have you got a favourite place?

There are many. I have a special affection for old buildings which are spread over berlin in uncountable numbers. I love it to imagine the stories, looking through old papers and just absorbing the atmosphere of those places. The biggest difficulty is it to capture this atmosphere because images only appeal to the eyes. The special things on location are the different smells, the spiderwebs, the darkness and somehow the illegality and the danger that is present everywhere since there are holes in the ground, fragile walls, brads etc. Ccapturing all this in an image is a big challenge and it always makes me happy when it works out.


A film that has changed your worldview?

I would name those two:

1. The Counterfeiters
2. From Lions and Lambs


What tips can you give to beginners?

Try around and just do it! Dont let yourself be restricted by the expectations of others.
Have fun! This is the most important part and one can recognize that when viewing the results.
Aside from that its very important to know your equipment. This does not mean reading the manual but that in some situations its just irreplaceable to know where the important buttons are situated. As often as I had to change lenses or settings while standing in pitch-black rooms I now feel that I really KNOW my camera.
Besides that this preserves you from missing moments because you dont know how to adjust the exposure time.

Sonntag, 25. Oktober 2009

Getty Images: My first sales

As I already wrote on Flickr I have had my first sales on Getty. I have started there about 5 month ago so it really took a while until I sell my first stuff. In fact I dont like to speak about numbers(you may understand) but I can tell you some other details about this sales.

In fact I had three sales:

This one has been selled one time. Pretty reasonable I think because its very stock-like and a very good shot of mine.


The other two customers bought this:

This was a big surprise for me because in fact this was not more than a snapshot and I was very unsure about publishing that one. At the end I decided to do it since I had never seen such a door before and found it a catchy image at least. It didnt receive too much feedback and I would have never thought that this might earn money one day.

One the right hand side of this page you find a link that leads to my getty page. At first it was hard to understand that it hasnt been the artistic shots that have been selled but this one that is really one of the worst (or least artistic) in my stream.

Nevertheless I am glad that I decided to upload this one.

My aim for the two years of the getty contract is to earn as much as I have spent on my equipment. Those first sales made this goal become a bit more realistic. Its all depending on the next month so I will keep you up-to-date whenever something is happening.

Donnerstag, 15. Oktober 2009

Before/After "bygone days and what has changed"

This is the Before/After of my most recent shot "bygone days and what has changed". I am loving RAW format in moments like these!

Sonntag, 11. Oktober 2009



As I told you on Flickr recently I ordered prints. They just arrived and I am more than satisfied with the result. I ordered some standard size prints and a huge 150 cm x 25 cm one.

The quality is amazing and its just as I wanted it to be.  I have been disappointed by prints from different online services many times but in this case there is no criticism from my side.

When I decided to order such a panorama I had the problem of finding a printing service that offers prints in this size and this aspect ratio (1:6!). Finally I only found one that offered what I was looking for. is only shipping inside germany so I guess most of the readers of this blog cannot use it. If you know some international printers that ship to other countries please leave a link in the comments. Thank you very much.


I also ordered Moo cards. Even though many of you will know Moo already I give a little introduction to all the others. is an international printer that is offering a mass of photo products. Their speciality are business cards with a really good price/benefit ratio and awesome printing and paper quality. They are printing in London and Rhode Island and are shipping the whole wide world.

Not long ago they celebrated their 3rd birthday and gave out 10,000 free business card packs to flickr users. I used this offer and ordered such a 50 pack. I also ordered the free 10 pack that they offer everyone who registers an  free account there.

This is a little selection of my ones. Even though I am only an amateur photographer I like that I now have something professional to give out with my flickr page on the backside.

I can only recommend to try it. Order the free 10 pack and see what I mean.

Mittwoch, 22. Juli 2009

CF Card Problems

This post is a summary of the things that happened to me during the last weeks regarding CF Cards.

Part 1:  Image Errors

As I wrote on Flickr before I had massive problems with my CF card. I only have got one and this one didnt let me down since I own my camera(more than a year now). During the last weeks more and more images that I transfered to my pc were broken. That means that they look like this when I open them in Camera Raw:

I thought about what could have caused this problem, read through the internet and arrived at the conclusion that this erros have to be a CF Card problem.

The biggest problem was that I couldnt see if an image is broken or not when I viewed them on camera because all images seemed to be ok when I viewed them there. How is that possible? Every RAW file has a little jpeg in it which is used as a thumbnail so that the camera doesnt have to load the big RAW files all the time. Those jpegs were ok but the real RAW file was broken so all I had were these little jpegs. Not acceptable for me.

These problems occured shortly before I went on holidays so I borrowed two CF cards from a friend of mine and used them in these holidays. Today I came back and transfered all the shots from camera to pc. I was surprised and confused when I realized that not only the RAW files from my CF card, but even from both borrowed CF cards had broken RAWs. This was not explainable with a broken CF card so I had to think about this again.

I instantly realized the reason for that. I had read something on the internet that explained all that. Not my CF Card but my internal CF card readers is broken. I tried to transfer the images using an external USB Card reader and it worked. No broken Raw files anymore. Pretty crazy.

So if you are finding damaged Raw files among your shots dont worry. Just try another CF card reader and it might help. In my case it did.

Please scroll down for the update!

Part 2: CF Card scamming on Amazon

When I realized those damaged RAW files I instantly thought that my CF card would be broken. I would have pretty explainable because I am using this CF card for a whole year now and it has saved about 35,000 shots. I bought it on ebay for 13€ so this performance would have been ok and a senile CF card would have been explicable since it wasnt a San Disk.

So I decided to order a new one. No problem these days. I knew what I wanted and so I visited and searched for my Card: Extrememory 4GB premium.

What I found was this: Click. The offer is a pretty good one and the price was the same that I paid on ebay one year ago so I bought it.

When it arrived I instantly wondered. The product description said that it would be delivered in an original packing. My first CF card was shrink-wrapped and so I expected this one to be packaged the same way. But it wasnt. All I got was a little mail with the CF card in a CF Card box. No shrink-wrapping or original packaging.

The second thing that made me wonder was the fact that this CF card looked different than my other one. Look at this:

Since its the same company I wouldnt know how this difference in printing could be explainable. Even the holes where the pins are implemented looked different. I thought that this might be a cheap copy but decided to try it first. So I took it with me on holiday and used it for about 200 shots. At first it worked really well but then I turned my camera off and switched it on again and viewed my shots. Instead of the 200 images I shot the display showed me 132. I turned it off and on again and it showed 128. From this moment on I changed the CF card because I thought I might restore the lost images with a data rescuing software and it would be good not to overwrite the data.

Now that I am at home I tried to restore the images but all I was able to restore were about 30 TIF images. Not as good as a RAW but better than no images.

When I transfered the shots to my pc I realized that the reading speed of the Amazon card is only about 3-4 MB/s while my ebay card goes up to 9MB/s. This is an other evidence that this might be a copy.

Even if I ordered this card via Amazon it wasnt Amazon that sold this but a little company that sells stuff via Amazon.

I will try to get in contact with the company that sold this and will send it back. I will keep you up-to-date. I think I will also inform Amazon.

I hope this helps you and  protects you from making the same mistakes. Please contact me if you have made the same experiences. I would be really interested to read about that!

Please see Update 2 below for an important update.


Update 1 :

The problems occured again and I started to search for the reason again. It seemed to not be the CF Card reader because the problems even occured when I copied images from a USB stick to hard disc. I called a pc service agent and he told me that it could be a damaged RAM Memory. I exchanged my 4GB RAM for the 1 GB that were originally delivered with my pc and the problems didnt occure again.

Then I ran memtest which is a little, free program that tests the RAM. It is really helpful because it shows you whether the RAM are working good or if they are producing writing errors. Perfectly working RAM should deliver a test results without any errors. After one hour of testing my RAM delivered 8 writing errors. These errors can show up pretty versatile while working on the pc. In my case the errors occured when I copied RAW images and so some image copies were broken after copying because such a RAM error occured while copying this file. I now complained my RAM and got new ones and they work perfectly. No errors or broken images since exchanging them.

edited 27-07-2009 - 01:49


Update 2 :

I asked Extrememory to check the warranty number of the CF Card that deleted my images and they told me that it is valid. So it seems that it was not a faked CF Card but one with a production defect. I will send it back now to receive my money back.

edited 27-07-2009 - 16:39

Montag, 6. Juli 2009

Before/After "coldness"

This is the Before/After of my most recent shot "coldness"

For information about the making please scroll down.

I did this shot using a little flashlight without much power and my shower. I put the flashlight behind me pointing towards the ceiling and set the camera to ISO 400, f/8 and an exposure time of 6s. I used the selftimer to get into the shower and positioning myself.

In postprocessing I corrected the color temperature, overlayed the original image with a bright BW version and blended both. After that I simply brightened the whole image using curves and cropping the left- and right hand border away. Thats it!

Samstag, 27. Juni 2009

My Images on Getty Images. Part 2

As I told you before some images of mine are on Getty for sale and I had the chance to nominate five more to appear on Getty.  Yesterday I got the answer and they told me that they want 4 of the 5 images that I suggested. Pretty good percentage in my opinion. I was really surprised when I got their mail because they do not only want 4 of the 5 I suggested but even 4 other images that they found on my stream theirselves.

The images they also wanted are these ones:



I pretty much understand this selection, lets say I understand 3 of them but the last one is really not reasonable for me. Maybe this is hard for me to understand because Getty inconclusively looks for artistic images only but for simple images that show something special too. I shot this from a fitting room and it was pretty much a snapshot. At this day I have been really unsure about the question if I should upload it. Now I am really happy that I did.

If you want to have an overview about my shots on Getty you can get it here. But those news are not everything that is going on with Getty at the moment. The other thing is a second "Its your turn" action that gives me the chance to nominate 10 more images of myself for being added to the Getty collection. I was really happy when I heard that because Getty is the only way for me to earn some money with my photography and I am really interested in increasing my selling chances. So at the moment I am looking through my stream and making mind notes which images I could suggest. That is why I have created the "Getty" set on Flickr.

If you like to help me you can do this with simply nominating 10 images from that set. I would be happy if you would do that.

So lets see what comes out. My first overview of sales will be available at 20th of July and until that day I have no idea if there has been any sales made yet.

Freitag, 19. Juni 2009

Image Special UrbEx

Here are some results from saturdays trip. I really liked them but didnt feel they would be good enough to appear in my public flickr stream.

If you want to have a closer or look or you want to comment on them just click.
































Mittwoch, 10. Juni 2009

Before/After "the store"

Here is the Before/After of my most recent shot "the store".

For information about the postpro please scroll down.

I really liked the raw shot but it definitely needed a touch up. So I copyied the image layer, converted it to BW and recolored it using the blending mode "color" and a low opacity. As you can see I used the original colors for that to achieve the same feeling that the original has. I almost only used the red, blue and the color of the wall. I didnt work with different tones.

At the end I changed the opacity of the BW layer to something around80%  to get some of the original colors back to the image and added a little texture from to get those darkened edges. Thats it!

This technique of recoloring was new to me and I used it the first time. I am really convinced of it already because this way you can get much more contrast in your image without loosing the colors.

Does somebody of you work with this technique? What could I improve? Have you got other postpro techniques that are worth the try? Tell me in the comments or via Flickr please

Thanks in advance and to all followers!!

Freitag, 5. Juni 2009

Before/After of "good old times"

This is the Before/After of my image "good old times".

I am really proud of the outcome because the change that happened to this image while postprocessing is pretty drastic. The scenery was really dark and so I had to do a long exposure to just see something at all. Even though the image was dark I found it lovely and I had to produce something nice out of it.

So I brightened it, added a nice, warm brown toning to it and strengthened the contrast. After that I stamped the black writing on the right box away. Thats it.

Dienstag, 2. Juni 2009

My "It's your turn" picks for Getty Images

As I have written several times before I have contributed images of mine to Getty Images. From today on they are on sale and available here.

As some of you may know Getty Images gives its Contributors the chance to suggest five more images of them to Getty to be added to their stock. They set no other limits than that only persons who already contributed are allowed to suggest images and that it can be no more than five.

I have a had a hard time deciding. I even asked the flickr community to help me with that issue. At the end I had to decide on my own. The problem for me was that I havent got any idea what kind of photography is good stock photography that means what is selling good. So I worked through my stream, making notes of the ones which could be good, striked off and worked through my stream again. I like so many of my own photographs but I knew that the ones that I like may not be the ones that sell best.

At the end I made my decision by especially looking for unique images that are one of a kind. I think these are the ones that dont have to fight the competition and are outstanding this way. I hope that I am right.

Here they are:

No Entry?!


Take the pill, live happily ever after

Down the wishing well

Enter the sky

That I suggested them does not mean that they will really go on sale. Getty will have a look at them and will decide if they qualify for their stock and if the quality is good enough for the high Getty standard.

Let's see what comes out.

Montag, 1. Juni 2009

Before/After "Nobody saw him again"

This is the Before/After of my last shot "Nobody saw him again"

I drove through the night, searching for motives and found this phone box that offered thousands of possibilities. I tried different things, this was the very best.

The postpro was a pretty easy one because I knew what I wanted to achieve. The hardest part was the cropping issue. This image seemed to be impossible to crop without cutting important or nice parts. I even asked d5e for help with that but at the end decided to use a square crop to support the square forms of the ceiling. I think it works.

Another nice one from that night is this one

It is almost SOOC. I only enhanced the saturation a little little bit but the rest is original. Just click on the image to comment if you want to.

Thanks for the visit.

Keep on followin'

Mittwoch, 20. Mai 2009

Before/After "the last night"

This is the Before/After of my most recent shot "the last night".  As I already wrote in the image description, I rendered the HDR out of the three images you see under this text.

After that I enhanced the contrast with the help of an adjustment layer curves. I darkened the blue a bit, filled the silhouette with black and cropped the bottom and top edge to give this a wider feeling.

Thats it. If you have further questions regarding the postprocessing or other things please dont wait to contact me due flickr mail. I am always happy to help you if I can.



Thanks for your visit!

Dienstag, 19. Mai 2009

Behind the Scenes of "wooooooohoooooo"

These are some Outtakes of the shoot for my most recent shot "wooooooohoooooo"






It was big fun shooting this and I think I will play around more with this "freezed moments" in the future!

Mittwoch, 29. April 2009

Getty and Me

As many good photographers and bloggers before I now enqueue to the line of the persons that blogs about this Getty and Flickr thing. The reason for that is that I got such an invitation recently and at the moment I have no idea what to do.

A short information for all who dont know what I am talking about:

Some month ago our good old friend flickr signed up a deal with the world's "biggest supplier of pictures and video to media and advertising companies" Getty Images to combine their businesses. In reality this means that Getty searches through the big flickr universe and invites images of which they think that they are suitable for selling to their stock. The terms for that are reason for many controversial arguments these days. A photographer that wants his work to appear in the Getty stock has to give all selling rights to Getty what means that he is not more allowed to sell his work on his own for the time of the contract (2 years). If a photographer agrees he gets 20-30% of every image that is sold without having any costs. Many professionals bring forward the argument that they get at least 40% if they give their images to other stocks. I am not really into all these professional photography selling things but what I think is that for all the persons that do photography only as a hobby this is good way to get a bit of extra money out of their stuff.

So, why am I unsure about adding my images? The reason for that is the tax issue. Of course you have to pay taxes on your earnings but it is not as easy as it sounds at least not here in germany. Due to the fact that I have not really worked yet( my apprenticeship will start in september) I have no clue about taxes and this stuff. I dont want to get into problems because of these few euro but on the other hand I dont want reject it because it is a easy way to earn some cash without doing anything for it. What I found out yet is that I would have to register a trade only for this Getty thing and then doing my tax declaration and all the other things that are connected with that. Sounds like a bunch of stress doesnt it? The problem is that I dont know who can really give me tips about my special case. I think I will recherche a bit more and then publish my decision here.


I would like to know whether you received such an invitation too and if so how did you decide? And why? Have you had problems with taxes? How much did earn? If you have any tips or your personal story with Getty please contact me I am thankful for every information about this thing.

Thanks in advance!


Mittwoch, 22. April 2009

1 Year on Flickr

Yesterday(pretty late) I recognized that today is the first anniversary for me on flickr. For all who wonder, I dont count that year from the first image I published at all but from the first image that I took with focus on the photo. The images before were only means to an end to practice photoshop.  So for better understanding it is more my first anniversary with photographing than with flickr.

The first real artistic image that I published was this:

That day I had school vacations and nothing to do. I grabbed the snapshot cam of my parents and walked around the garden to look for motives. This was the best shot of this day and I have to say: "I think I couldnt have done this photo better". It is one of the rare images in my stream that I still like even if I have seen it about a thousand times already. I really love it.

About two month later I bought my Canon EOS 400D. This image was one of the biggest reasons for that buy.

Now, one year later I have published an amount of 208 images. I have uploaded 25804 images to flickr in total(private ones). More than 106000 people have clicked on my stream already.

The most clicked image of mine is this one with 19004 clicks:

My most favourited image with 958 faves is this one:

I would have liked to name one all time favourite of mine but I cant. There are just too many images of mine that I really like. There are also so many images from other artists that I could tell you but unfortunately I dont know how to post images from other artists here. I give you a list of 3 of my all time favourite images on flickr. These are images that I keep coming back to from time to time and which always fascinate me again.

1. "Crimson Death" by Lara Jade

This is just too good. When I saw it the first time I couldnt take my eyes of it. The red is perfect, the hair is perfect and the whole composition, perspective and everything is perfect. Just wonderful!

2. "Italy vs. Spain" by °freak°

Another really perfect image. I still dont know how he did it that it so amazingly sharp though it is photographed in the darkness. I think this mystery makes it somehow special for me.

3. "Who's next???"  by Eldad Hagar

At first I thought this is a complete photoshop merge. But after I asked Eldad he told me that this is SOOC. I couldnt believe it. The fact that he does everything for saving the lifes of different animals makes it even more powerful for me.


I think this is enough for the anniversary. Back to the important things. Images. I hope can go on for a long time with shooting and of course flickring and I hope you all will be on my side. Because I dont know whether I would still do all this if nobody but me would be interested in it.

So thanks for everything and I hope I can fulfill expectations you have.

Greetings from Germany to the whole wide world. Over and out.

Sonntag, 19. April 2009

Through Binoculars

To underline my most recent image "Through Binoculars" I wanted to tell you something about the way this image has been achieved and a bit about this technique in general.

To begin with I will tell you what I used.

I used my Canon EOS 400D in connection with the 18-55mm Kit Lens and binoculars of a brand I dont know. All I know about them is that they are about 200 EUR. You will need some pretty good binoculars to work with, I tried it with small and cheap ones but it didnt work at all. It is important that the peephole is big enough because if its not you will have a black circle frame which limits the sight.

I started with simply connecting my camera to the binoculars by pressing them together and trying to focus automatically.

This did not work at all, the camera had big problems with finding a focus so I changed to manual focussing and tried to get a good result by holding the binoculars in the left hand, my camera in the right, pressing both together and trying to focus the binoculars AND the camera. I failed miserably!

It is impossible to do all this together when you hold all this stuff in your hands. I placed the construction on an appropriate surface and had the opportunity to focus the both separate systems.     

There was only one unpleasant thing in all this. Due to  the  fact that I had to place all this on a plane surface to be  able to have any positive influence on the results it wasnt possible to change the shooting angle. That means that the camera stood on a handrail that was parallel to the ground and there was nothing I could do against that.

As you can imagine this is a very limitation in a creative process.



the interesting parts of this technique:

There are many points that I really liked about the resulting images. I will try to name and explain them and to show you images that visualize that.









To achieve a real sharp image it needs a bunch of practicing time and patience to learn it. But why must it be a sharp image all the time? Most of my own results were not sharp at all but that made them not worse in any kind of way. Many of them looked very abstract, you could only guess what they show and the way that the blurred lights look like is just awesome(see the "unsharp" image for better understanding). All in all the sharpness is probably the most challenging part of this technique but also the most interesting. It is just funny to try around with different focus settings and to see how the bokeh parts look like.



The distortion of the images is quite interesting and pretty different to the ones of other techniques IMO. It mostly concentrates on the background while the foreground is not so clearly distorted. You can increase or reduce the effect by changing the distance of the camera and the binoculars. The distortion effect looks a bit like motion blur in some kind of way. I think the best is if you form your own opinion with the help of the image further up.


Colors are defined very desaturated. I worked with the 18-55mm which is probably the worst lens of canon but even this one produces more colorful images when used normally. The effect that is produced has a nostalgic and old feeling to it but all who dont like that can compensate this with color correction in post processing.









A big point because it is really hard to produce results that dont show any sign of vignetting. The best way is to learn to work with them. As you can see further up the strengths of vignettes vary obviously clear and give a totally different effect to the particular images. As you can imagine the vignette effect is enhanced when the camera-binoculars distance is magnified. If you put the lens as close as possible and in the center of the peephole this vignette is only a shadow that is not clearly visible. I really liked the different ways these vignettes appeared because you had various opportunities what to do with them. As you can see in the second picture you can let it look like you would look through something or not.



A very interesting and different technique that is worth to be tried.

With this technique you can achieve very interesting and unique effects. You can change these effects by yourself with changing things like the distance of binoculars and lens, changing the focus of either the camera or the bicoculars, changing the focal distance or to put the camera in a little sharp angle to the binocular to get a distorted image. All this is possible and of course you can also work with motion blur, long exposures and all the other beautiful things that photography offers.

Try it!


P.S: I would really appreciate to see your results when you try it. Please contact me either through flickr or through a comment on my blog.