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.

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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:

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!