Saturday, January 30, 2010

Today I took a nice long walk with my friend Katja through the park around this villa, the Villa Berg. Concerts used to be given in it, but I'm not sure what it is used for now.

The sun was just going down as Katja and I came back to the side of the park where she and Frank live.

Some people just won't believe they are photogenic until you show them that they are! I think she is.

The setting sun and blanket of snow made for great black-and-white motifs.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Children at play

Kids. They change your life. Your change theirs. I'm in the middle of my journey with our children, learning the ropes as I go. 
One thing is certain: They make great subjects for photos. Here are some of my favorites.

Summer in Stuttgart. We went to a free outdoor concert series known as the LAB Fest, a three-day event sponsored by an alternative club called the Laboratorium. The kids discovered this little brook down the hill from the venue and explored it.

 In early April of last year we took a walk with our friends, the Krills, up to a playground in the woods above Stuttgart. Fiona and Fynn enjoyed the zip line.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Fiona. I took it last September while riding in one of those twirling barrels at the Trippsdrill amusement park.

They are so cute when they are asleep!

This may be my all-time favorite picture. I took it at Fynn's theater performance last year in July. The "greens" are going to apologize to the "yellows" for having been in a bad mood all morning. Melissa has gathered up the originally rejected flowers that Fynn's group gave them to cheer them up.
The glance, the profiles, the pose, the flowers, the hair! I just love it. It graced the cover of a photo book that I made for their teacher as a thank-you for her two years of patience with the class.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rotenberg Kapelle

Rotenberg Kapelle

 This is the view from my bedroom window. In every season it is a pleasure to look at. Sometimes a bank of clouds gathers up behind it and looks as if it will swallow it up or blow it down. Other times it is so covered in fog that you can hardly see it - usually only in autumn, but the past few days now it was also invisible.
It is one of my favorite photo subjects. Actually it is called the Grabkapelle Württemberg or Grabkapelle Rotenberg, but if you want to get up on top of the Google search list, you name something how you want to name it and voila!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mosaic self-portraits

Mosaic self-portraits

What do you do with 2000 self-portraits? Take a look:

Using the freeware program Foto Mosaik, I generated these pictures of myself from a database of thousands of self-portraits I had made over the past year while testing cameras, lenses and light.

And it even works with friends:

Finishing up the year, we have December. All the German run-up to Christmas with Nikolaus on Dec. 6, the bazaars (also in the English church here in Stuttgart), the beautiful yet touristy Christmas market, cookie baking and eating sessions weekends, all the candles and shopping.... But this year the right mixture was present and it was sweet.

November was a month of fall colors and long walks out in the forests. The moon called again - as it does every month! - but it was the leaves this time that really made an impression. See one of my other posts to find out what I did with all the individual pictures of the leaves.
I got another new camera, a Panasonic Lumix FZ38 (called the FZ35 in the US), which is light enough to carry around everywhere with me. It also has a video function and a good zoom (27-468mm!). The pictures can't compete with my Sony A700 when enlarged, but on the computer screen or as snapshots, it is sufficient (I hate to say). I did a lot of experimenting with the camera, of course.
We took a trip to Freiburg to see friends and the forest there was also beautiful.
In this film collection you can also see some concert footage (millimeterage? pixelage? Yeah!) of a friend's Latin band and then of the Musical Box's Trick of the Tail concert.
The kids' school had a bazaar around the Gaisburg church and we were allowed up into the tower where there were great photo ops.
November ends, as it does every year, with Thanksgiving. We do a bird and all the side dishes and desserts you would expect to see on a good ex-pat's table. Yum!

October was a month of settling into school for Fiona (first grade) and Fynn (third grade) and Bianca (teaching first grade). The roses showed their blossoms one last time before the autumn winds wore them down.
I took walks with my cameras looking for beauty in the things around me. A full moon fascinated me. The moonrise over Rotenberg earned me a second prize in a photo contest.
And, of course, Halloween wrapped up the month in a wonderful American fashion.

And here are 2823 photos in under 300 seconds for you:

OK, OK! By popular demand: another film version of a month's worth of pictures. Even though Scott Kelby tells you not to show your bad pictures, I doubt even he would worry about flicking through his rough shots at 10 f/s. Would you?
This time we move back a month to August 2009 when we were in Richmond and Virginia Beach for nearly the entire month visiting friends and family. Above you see Ody's children, Mimi's and mine.
So here we go. Again, Franz Liszt is accompanying us with his Hungarian Rhapsody #15. Enjoy!

Here's something for you - for all of you who don't have time to look at the ca. 3000 photos I take every month. If you are interested enough to spend five minutes here, you will be able to watch a video of the images being thrust through the RAM from the hard disc to the screen. At the rate of 10 pictures per second, your mind won't be able to register all of them, but that's just as well.
This first experiment is from September 2009, the month that Fiona started school. Above you see her doing her first homework assignment with total concentration.
(The music here is a Hungarian Rhapsody by Liszt. I like the way the fast pitter-patter of the notes seems to go right along with the click-click of the pictures.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One fine sunny day Fynn and I were in town and we saw some bikers riding around the Kleinen Schloßplatz. Since Fynn was very interested in BMX bikes, we stayed and watched them for a while. One biker, Michael, was particularly active, so I asked if I could take some pictures and he agreed.
The square was fairly crowded with an afternoon crowd and the sun was pouring its last rays onto the pavement past the facades of the surrounding buildings: a mall, a bank, an art gallery, a book store.

This panning shot caught a second biker in movement as if through Michael's ghosted figure.

They weren't all as graceful - or active - as the star.

Here he is skidding BACKWARDS while balancing on his bike.

Charging forward for a jump.

And try twirling your bike between your legs during a jump!

Another smooth backward slide.

And another charge.

Catching some rays, listening to some good tunes and getting some healthy exercise.

Popping a wheelie.

Und tschüs!

Monday, January 11, 2010

This post is for those of you who (already) miss the colors of autumn. Yes, white is nice but where would we be without colors?

These are the colors of Stuttgart's 2009 full fall foliage.

And in November the last leaves were hanging on.
And when the leaves have fallen, they look different again.

Put it together and you have "fall-falling-fallen: a triptych". The German title is "Herb-Herber-Herbst".

Enough snow! Let's look back a moment at some of the events of 2009. I'm going to post a couple of groupings of pictures that I think you may enjoy.
   First up is a series of pictures that I took in Wangen at the raising of the Maypole (on April 25). After the pole went up in the center of town, a small car went up in smoke. This selection features not only the men and women of the Stuttgart Fire Department but also the other photographers who graced the background of the pictures. Can you find them all?

First they check the accident victims and make sure they are OK.

Then they put a blanket over the people to protect them from breaking glass.

Now start cutting through that safety glass.

Then remove the front windshield.

Now demolish the back window while cutting the roof supports (looks like great fun).

Oops! Almost forgot about the driver and her two daughters.
How are y'all doing?

Meanwhile, up front the hosers are making sure the engine is cool enough.
Get the driver and passengers out of the car and over to the hospital.

Check her blood pressure, hold up the drip - and smile for the camera!

Up she goes into the transport mode.
(Notice the nice Maypole in the background!)
Now to get that pesky roof off!

Aaargh! Got it!

Now everybody grab a strut and let's move this baby back!

And off it goes. Let's set it down and get the girls out of the back seat.

You can come out now. The end.