Tag Archives: dusk

We Built Our Own World

inception_poster_imax1-535 copy Inception. I am in danger of becoming stuck inside this movie. I have watched it three times and it is brilliant. They seemingly stuck a camera inside my own dreams, indeed that is how it feels like watching it. Inception toys with dreams merging with reality and does it extremely well in a very entertaining way. It also provided an idea and an insight into my landscape work.

Dream within a Dream

I continually look for landscapes bathed in otherworldly light where I can compose and capture a timeless composition that sits somewhere between dream and reality. Hyper reality. It is Earth but not quite as we know it. I am not interested in reality I am interested in creating grand dreamscapes allowing the viewer to Escape in Landscapes. My landscapes are not documentation, when I get it right they are moments of dreams.

Abstract simplistic locations like a desert at dusk lends itself well to dreams of surrealism; here I present Death Valley in the USA and the desert of Namibia. Both images shot with ND and GND filters using long exposures at the very tail end of the dusk light and picking up that lovely otherworldly glow:

Badwater Bliss -  blogMagic of the desert -blog Cities can certainly become hyper real in the right light. This is the best image I will ever capture of Copenhagen, a large thunderstorm two years ago prepares to level the city at sunset and creates a never to be repeated light.

Summer Storm - blog

Waiting for a train

What is your favourite ‘dream’ image? An otherworldly image that feels like you are dreaming it. Can be your own image or someone else, feel free to post a link in the comments.  Hurry though, the music may start playing soon.

Wyadup Rocks at dusk

This afternoon was magical and probably the highlight of our whole trip. The problem is the experience was so great and the light so awesome that not one of my images come close to capturing the real thing. Actually my friend Signe shot the best sunset shot of the day on her compact camera, just a perfect composition with brilliant timing. And here’s me with equipment worth 50 times as much getting my ass kicked. It’s never the camera, it’s the photographer! I still have a few sunsets shot that I am working on and will post sometime soon if I ever get those raw files the way I want them (I wish you could change composition in Lightroom, how cool would that be! A slider to move left and right!).  For now here is one of my very last shots at dusk. Not entirely happy with the composition but it will have to do because I can’t very well re-shoot this now. It is a single 17mm shot cropped, let me know if you think this works:

wyadup rocks at dusk - blog

All in a day’s work for Mother Nature

Nature never ceases to amaze me. No matter how many days, nights, sunrises and sunsets I experience, Mother Nature always comes up with something new. It is one of the reasons I love landscape photography so much. Trying to capture these short moments of magic that most people never see, never experience, never even notice. I can think of no greater thing to point my camera at than Nature itself. We pale in comparison.

I previously mentioned that the laws of physics seemed warped in Namibia. The clear desert air removed all filters, we had pure 100% Nature. That horizon seemed to always be at infinity. That sky was twice as tall as anything else. After shooting in the desert we would be driving home through the gravel desert. Driving West towards the coast and Swakopmund we were going straight into the most striking fiery red and orange post-dusk light in a banner on the horizon. Not dusk really, but post-dusk, a good 30-40 minutes after sunset. In every other direction no light existed, except for a million stars like diamonds in the sky. To the right perhaps the moon. And always to the left, our trusty night sky companion – The Southern Cross. One time we just had to stop, kill the engine, get out and stare into the universe. Stare back into time. No words can describe it, no camera can capture it. You have to be there.

I have attempted to capture some of Nature’s work. They are not necessarily art, but are simply attempts to document Nature warping the laws of physics!

5D Mark II-090429-IMG_1370 copy

Glowing night clouds in Namibia. This is not dusk light. The sunset lit up the clouds, then they went dark. Then dusk light lit up the clouds, then they went dark. But then…they lit up again! On fire. It was pitch black except for these night clouds on fire. I stared in disbelief, finally had to get out and try and document this. It was pitch black, couldn’t see the camera. It was also blowing a gale. It is a 10 second exposure, iso400, f/6.3 – tells you how little light there was. Live view on my camera gave up, was just blackness. Couldn’t see much in viewfinder so I just pointed. And got this. Night clouds on fire. White part in top right corner is the moon, shame I didn’t get that. The ‘frozen wave’ on the horizon is the infamous mist/fog coming in to swallow the coast and Swakopmund!

5D Mark II-090424-IMG_1122 copy

Dusk lighting up the atmosphere in the Namib gravel Desert, opposite direction of the setting sun. The blue line is actually the earth’s shadow, it is blocking the dusk light from hitting air particles in the lower part of the sky – hence the pink/blue banners. I have seen this many times before but never so clear, so colourful as in the desert! Desert makes everything clearer.

090411-IMG_0335 copy

Rain cloud in the Namib Desert, you can see where it touches the ground. Most rain in the desert never hits the ground, it evaporates long time before that. This is a rain cloud that gave us a few hundred drops of water in the middle of the desert for about two minutes. Just enough to register some drops on the windscreen. We experienced rain in the desert! When locals tell you “we had 15 centimeters of rain” that means that they measured the distance between the rain drops and they were 15cm apart!

5D Mark II-090513-IMG_1802 copy

And lastly, a sunset from Cable Beach in Australia where Mother Nature really turned on all the party lights and just lit up every cloud! She also kindly arranged a low tide so I could get mega reflections. I have a stitched 180 degree pano of this coming up, actually for a full 360 degrees the sky was on fire. A 5 minute demonstration of power, of Mother Nature having a party!

The camera’s we use nowadays are incredibly advanced hi-tech tools. Yet I always feel I am holding the equivalent of a stone age tool when Nature flexes it’s muscles. Nothing can capture that. Will not ever keep me from trying though! Won’t keep me from having my head in the clouds, walking into things!
I am a Nature Junkie!

Canon 5D Mk II captures Copenhagen

A few months back I wrote my first impressions having just upgraded from Canon 5D Mk I to Mk II. Winter and non-stop grey overcast weather (and mood) has meant I have only shot a few hundred images since then but I still feel I have enough clicks to write my second impressions of this fantastic camera.

Wednesday the weather in Copenhagen cooperated and produced some fantastic light and clouds. As the sun was setting I created this image of the lovely clouds:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Copenhagen Finger Clouds at Sunset
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Now; with the sun gone and human vision starting to struggle this is where the 5DMk2 shines! It can see in the dark! Well, so can all cameras, it’s a matter of exposure, but the 5D does it so well at such high quality that it really is a view into another universe! This is a 15 second exposure with just a bit of dusk light remaining. I could hardly see this but the 5D can, switch to live view on the gorgeous 3” screen and you have night vision! Here’s Copenhagen After Dark:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Copenhagen After Dark Cloudscape
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Second impressions

  • Upgrade from old 5D was definitely worth it! The old 5D was top but this is even more top! (for all you ‘The Castle’ fans out there!)
  • Camera still behaving very nicely, not a single problem. Upcoming trips to Africa and Australia will test it, Luminous Landscape article (25% 5DMk2 failures in Antarctica) has me slightly worried so the old 5D is joining me!
  • The 14-bit 21 megapixel RAW files continue to amaze. They are truly gorgeous and I love having single shots at this size, more more, I want more pixels (at the same quality of course)!
  • Live view and live histogram is proving incredibly useful, much more than I would have thought. I didn’t think I would use it much but it as a great way of previewing your shot, exposure, aperture, white balance before shooting. It is great for shooting stitched panoramas and it is very helpful with exposure and focus at night. It eats battery power though; I won’t be using it in a desert where I can’t recharge.
  • I am still used to the top button layout of the 5D Mk I, keep pressing the wrong buttons!
  • One thing I would want to change. With the old 5D you could use the wheel on the back of the camera to change aperture in A mode. Here; you have to use the thumb wheel exclusively. I keep changing exposure compensation when I really wish to change the aperture.
  • Battery life is improved greatly over the old 5D and is impressive. Which is a very good thing since a 5D Mk extra battery is simply impossible to find anywhere presently. Sold out worldwide! So I am going to Africa with 1 battery and definitely bringing the old 5D as backup.
  • Thanks Canon for making the cover for the remote cable release plug easier to remove. May seem a small thing but I had a continuing battle with this rubber cover on the old 5D 😀
  • The HD video results is mindboggling, can’t get over how good the files look (even if my video skills are beyond crap). Can’t get over how big the files get! My PC can’t even play the 1920×1080 files without skipping here and there. To see some outstanding 5DMk2 videos, check out Michael Fletcher and his latest videos.
  • Automatic sensor cleaning. Well…I am cloning out dust spots! It may still work to a certain degree of course; I may have had many more dust spots without it. We shall see how it deals with the sand of Africa and Australia!
  • And…5D Mk II can actually see in the dark! Quite a feat!

Many more images and impressions to come as I take the 5D Mk II on the road!

I see cloudscapes in the dark

For most of the day the human eye is far superior in every respect to any digital sensor or film. Much greater dynamic range, much better colours. Once the light is fading it’s a different story, our human eyes fail and the camera wins. This is especially true for modern digital SLR wonders!

Tuesday afternoon Copenhagen was treated to a bit of Winter magic. 95% of Winter days here are gray and overcast (so is my mood) with so few outdoor photo opportunities, but this day was sunny with perfect conditions for a Winter sunset. A Winter sunset has a much colder white balance turning the reds pink and magenta. Copenhagen has a lake system running a semi circle around the inner city as seen here. In the good old medieval days the lakes protected the city; gates were shut at night. Today, it is a good place to go to capture some mega cloudscapes standing on one of the bridges shooting alongside the lake. It was so windy the camera strap was at a 90 degree angle to the tripod and the whole rig was threatening to take off down the road. It was so cold time froze. But it was beautiful as the sun was setting and the red, pink and magenta colours were reflected into the frozen lake:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Copenhagen Winter Sunset Cloudscape
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Now; as the sun set and the even better dusk light awakens it is where your eyes begin to fail but the camera really shines – as we can simply do longer exposures to collect more light. Even light that we cannot see. There’s something about red light at dusk at long exposures that looks so fantastic when captured, even though your eye can’t really see in colour anymore as there’s just not enough light. But the colour is there, so keep shooting until it’s pitch black. Even though you can barely see anything the camera sees just fine and will pick up this incredible almost invisible warm magic dusk light. Tuesday proved a good example, I created this image at the very end of the dusk light with my whole body frozen in suspended animation except for my thumb operating the cable release (did I mention it was cold?)

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Copenhagen Winter Dusk Cloudscape
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

It really is a bit magical. Your eyes cannot see anything but when you review the captured photos it’s a bright view into another world. Often people pack up their gear and leave as the sun hits the horizon and they miss the magical dusk light that can last up to 20-30 minutes. So stay, shoot, and remember – cameras can see in the dark!

The camels oh the Broome camels

I had told myself that I was not going do it no matter what. No bloody way was I going to do it. No way in hell the world needed another stock image of camels on parade on Cable Beach in Broome. I really like the animals themselves, the camels, but I really don’t get why tourists find it exotic to sit on a camel (or horse for that matter) at sunset. Not too crazy about the camel pushers (as I call them) either. Also every gallery and shop in Broome has wall to wall canvas prints of the camels at sunset. Cliché shot no. 1. is getting those camels silhouetted against the setting sun and I was definitely not going to do it!

But…you’re on Cable Beach and they walk right in front of the lens as you’re shooting and what can you do. Talk is cheap and so are pixels. So I shot just two camel shots and looking at them in Lightroom I find that one of them is actually sort of nice! The first shot is my stock image, entertainment for the masses and hopefully money in my pocket, camels silhouetted in the sunset as they basically just walked right into my sunset shot:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Camels silhouetted on Cable Beach
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

The next one is the one I find is not too bad. At dusk the light is just drop-dead gorgeous on the huge Cable beach and I had this idea of capturing the light and the massive beach with something to show the scale. Could it be…camels! I looked left and saw yet another team of camels (there are lots of them) so I quickly swung the camera around on the tripod and shot one image:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Camels at Dusk on Cable Beach
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

The story of camels in Australia is an interesting one actually. Thousands of them were brought to Australia in the 1800s for expeditions in the outback as they’re just perfect for the desert-like environment. When cars etc. became available large herds of camels were let loose and not surprisingly they do very well in the Australian outback! Meaning that Australia now has the largest population of wild camels in the world and the camels (of the one-humped Arabian variety) are so genetically pure that they’re exported to the Middle East!

Yes my friends; I can tell a good camel tale at the camp fire and can now also deliver the photos. Apparently the world needed just two more camels on a beach images!

Lost and Found

I am back in Copenhagen after a long 30 hours of flights from Sydney to Denmark. I hardly know how get back to normal life and write normal blog posts again; this time my soul never made it back with me and will forever live somewhere in the outback. I would want to go back tomorrow if possible.

I have a lot of work to sink my teeth into fortunately. Have transferred all RAW files from Lightroom 2.1 on my laptop to my main workstation and have developed exactly 1 RAW file! A sentimental can-stare-at-this-forever-brings-back-memories Hawk Dreaming at dusk silhouette shot:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Hawk Dreaming Sand Palms at Dusk
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Normal service will be resumed shortly on this blog when I find my lost marbles!

Sydney; From Dawn till Dusk

Although it is a freezing cold 15 degrees as I write this; Sydney has warmed up to me and I to Sydney. Saturday and Sunday were very warm and summery, just as I like it and just as I apparently need it as I am a cold blooded reptile desperately in need of the sun. I still very much miss “my country” the outback, but after the culture and climate shock has settled down a bit then a little sun and fun goes a long way.

Still have to get back to “my country” soon. Feels like part of me is missing. Strange feeling. Like finding my home and knowing things will never be the same again. I keep looking at those Hawk Dreaming shots and dreaming.

Waking up the world

I spent Saturday with a friend and fellow photographer who lives in the Sydney suburb Manly and was shown this beautiful place she is fortunate to call home. We began the day at 5am on Manly Beach for a lovely sunrise; this shot is the beach at dawn:

Manly Beach at Dawn. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

No clouds this morning so just a normal beautiful Manly sunrise and a quite ordinary shot by me; but some good colours and the photo is a nice memory of a brilliant day. It is far from every day I get to stand on a beach and witness the sun rise out of the ocean; it is always a humbling and thrilling experience.

New angles on New Albion

In my quest to get a few cityscapes of Sydney (originally called New Albion) from new angles I also finally got a dusk shot of the city, shot from the Harbour bridge. I’ve had that shot in my head for a while and finally got around to shooting it. Took a bit of effort as the next story will tell, but the results I reckon are worth it. The duotone version is very nice but decided to post colour version for this post:

Sydney at dusk. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

I like this new angle on Sydney as it has a very nice 3D effect to it and will look impressive printed big.

If it was easy everyone would do it

Sydney Harbour Bridge shootIt was a nice very warm Sunday but late afternoon the wind changed, it cooled down and it started blowing a gale. Very strong winds. But clouds looked interesting. I wanted a dusk shot of Sydney shot from the bridge and decided this was the day – the shot you see above is the end result. I vaguely remembered that it should be possible to manoeuvre a tripod into place shooting through the fence on the Harbour bridge. It was. Just. On the right you can see the result of 10 minutes of cursing the fence and finally getting the tripod legs stuck in the wire just right so I could have my 17-40mm lens peaking through. May look a bit flimsy but was very steady.

harbour bridge shot uncroppedThe camera is actually way over my head. Standing on my toes and jumping (kept me warm!) I could see through the viewfinder and kept shooting and adjusting till I had my composition. But wait. They fired back with a massive light cannon underneath the bridge shooting straight at me! Lots of light bleeding into my shot. So I use the lens cap (no room for lens hood) and hold it in place to shield the light – see uncropped shot on the right. Jumping to peak through the viewfinder, holding the lens cap into place, shooting using cable release and almost getting blown off the bridge in very windy conditions – sometimes ya gotta put in a bit of effort! I don’t mind battling Mother Nature’s crocs, mossies, rocks, snakes etc. but why oh why can’t the design of the Harbour bridge include a little shooting hole in the fence for photographers!

In the big smoke. Miss my country.

I am quoting Bill Neidjie again; writing about his country and why he loves the bush in his book ‘Story about Feeling’ he says:

“We like white man alright. We like im city.
But city make you sick of it. Better this…”

I am now hanging out with friends in the big smoke; in Sydney. It is a culture and climate shock indeed coming here from Darwin; Kimberleys and Hawk Dreaming. Sydney is gorgeous but I don’t really like it anymore. Too big, too busy, too narrow streets, too claustrophobic, too many cars, too much traffic, too many people. No aboriginal presence like in Darwin, no history, no art etc. It is not Australia to me. The real Australia is the outback. I think I am going more and more back to my roots. Have no need or use for cities anymore. Just want to go back to “my country” – the outback. City make you sick of it.

It is also bleedin’ feckin’ cold here! Only about 20 during the day and 10 at night; I am close to being in suspended animation. I am used to 35-40 during the day, 25-30 at night. I can deal with the high temperatures; I actually love it. I can’t deal with the cold. Used to walk around in shirt, shorts and thongs (flip-flops). Now I wear 4 layers of clothes. For the people back home that know me: Yes you read right. I wear thongs (known as flip-flops in rest of the world). I have the photos to prove it. I love ’em! I certainly still hate sandals with a passion! And Crocs shoes! Hate ’em even more! But thongs good!

I am here for a few days to hang out with new and old friends. I am actually staying in a super nice house with friends who are not here. I’m housesitting while they’re in Europe. Ironic! I will shoot a bit here; but already have lots of Sydney images so trying to capture something different this time like this one:

Sydney Duotone Panorama. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

I shot a stitched version of this, this is just a single shot so I’d have something to post. I find myself more and more seeking some sort of art angle on my shots and becoming less and less interested in reality. It’s reality but not as we know it. I capture the data and already have the final image in mind when I shoot the photo; I visualize the end product before shooting; an end product usually quite different from the actual scene. I capture data; but the end product is created in the digital darkroom – in this case quickly thrown together in Lightroom 2.1. The original data is still the most important though. Garbage in means garbage out!

I spent a lot of time sitting in the sun in the back garden of the unit I live in. It’s very relaxing and quiet, you wouldn’t know central Sydney is a 10 minutes walk from here. There are small lizards in the garden I play with. Until I get cold. I still wake with the sun, meaning 5.45am here in Sydney. Miss my country.

Summer Storm in Copenhagen

The month of May brought us some incredibly good Spring weather, 347 hours of sunshine (a new record) and temperatures up to 29,5c degrees. I know, a chilly day in the Australian outback but it’s all relative as someone once said.

The month of May brought very few photos though, sunshine from a clear blue sky lends itself well to trips to the beach but not to my style of photography – dramatic and special light! I love Summer but also need some drama light to keep my photography fix going (I’m an addict). Like always, I want everything! My new favourite saying: I want patience and I want it now!

A dramatic change means beach trips are now out and photo trips are in again with everything from rain and hail storms to sunshine thrown into the weather mix presently! Thursday night in Copenhagen some amazing alien looking light and cloudscapes chose to visit us and fortunately I was ready. I shot a series of shots at two locations and this is the first of them, my permanent spot at lake Peblinge on my way home. It’s 10.23pm (sun sets at around 10pm) and a 20 second exposure captures this – click for large size:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Summer Storm in Copenhagen Panorama
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

It’s the sort of shot that gets better the bigger it is but I hope you still get a sense of how awe-inspiring the light was. It’s also somewhat otherworldly and I feel like doing a version with a UFO in there and Scully and Mulder in a boat on the lake – the truth is out there! I have more photos to come from this X-Files cloudscape night so maybe the next one will feature an Unidentified Flying Object!

Lightroom 2.0

This shot was developed in the beta version of Adobe Lightroom 2.0. I have recently started to use this as my RAW development tool and I must say I like it a lot and I like it a lot more than Lightroom 1.0. They fixed a lot of the things that annoyed me in 1.0 and added some incredible new features. Adobe purchased the Danish company Pixmantec and their product Rawshooter a short time before 1.0 was released but had no time to incorporate features etc. into Lightroom 1.0. With 2.0 I think the Pixmantec boys have had a lot more inputs and Lightroom 2.0 really feels like a lot more like a mix of the best of Rawshooter and Lightroom to me. I really like it and reckon Lightroom 2.0 will be my new RAW developer of choice. I did almost everything in Lightroom including the vignette effect, I only used Photoshop for sharpening and very little healing and painting with light. I still wish it was faster and more responsive, Rawshooter runs rings around Lightroom in terms of speed!