Amstel by Night in Amsterdam

During the day canal Amstel is a busy area, with lots of bots in the canal. I guess all canal tours go through here, because it connects some of the interesting areas of Amsterdam. In the far distance you can see the Nationale Opera and Ballet of the Netherlands. On the right there is the Hotel Amstelzicht, which I have stayed at a couple of times.--Jacob Surland www.caughtinpixels.com Licensed creative commons non-commercial v4.0. No derivative Work. Protected by Pixsy.com.

Amstel canal in Amsterdam. On the right-hand side is a small typical Amsterdam Hotel called Hotel Amstelzicht. I have stayed there a couple of times, and the view is amazing.

During the day, Amstel canal is a busy area, with lots of bots in the canal. I guess all canal tours go through here because it connects some of the interesting areas of Amsterdam. In the far distance, you can see the Nationale Opera and Ballet of the Netherlands. On the right, you the Hotel Amstelzicht, which I have stayed at a couple of times.

At Hotel Amstelzicht you can get rooms, with canal view, and it is just amazing to sit and watch through the window and see the locals go around in their small boats. A small family in one, and a bunch of students having a party in another, and then the occasional canal tour boats. You pay a little extra to get the canal view, but it’s worth every penny.

How to tackle illegal use of your photos

Regent Street in London is ever busy. Even early in the morning, before the Underground has opened, the double decker busses are driving up and down the street. Photo by: Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.com

This photo has been used illegally by Hugo Carter.

Recently I have begun to track down companies, that use my photos illegally. I found quite a few. Some do come and ask to buy my images, but it seems that there are more than a few that don’t. All of my images are Creative Commons, Non-Commercial 4.0, and there is nowhere where this is unclear. This means that my images can’t be used for commercial use, without an agreement.

I really appreciate, that people like my images, reshare them. The only thing is, it can’t be a for a commercial interest. But what is commercial? How do you judge, when something is commercial? According to my dictionary it is commericial means

Commercial: Have profit as chief aim

Unfortunately, it becomes slightly more complicated because I also have a Creative Commons part on my license. What is commercial and what is Creative Commons? It really takes a lawyer to understand it properly. Sites with News can cover themselves under Creative Commons, for reasons I find unreasonable, but the license isn’t clear enough. It’s a gray area.

Continue reading “How to tackle illegal use of your photos”

Long exposure view from the Rialto Bridge

The view from Rialto Bridge is world famous, and not without reason. It is stunning. I tried to capture a slightly different scene, than the classic Canal-Grande seen-from-the-Rialto-Bridge photo (though I shot that one too). I love that Mahony taxi boat in front of Hotel Rialto, and that restaurant with the golden light.--Jacob SurlandPhoto by Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.com Licensed creative commons non-commercial v4.0. No derivative Work. Protected by Pixsy.com.

A long exposure from a classic block buster photo location in Venice. From the top of the Rialto Bridge.

The view from Rialto Bridge is world famous, and not without reason. It is stunning. I tried to capture a slightly different scene than the classic Canal-Grande seen-from-the-Rialto-Bridge photo (though I shot that one too). I love that Mahony taxi boat in front of Hotel Rialto, and that restaurant with the golden light.

I shot this HDR photo using a 6 stop filter, to increase the shutter time. The longest exposure was 30 seconds, which explains the smooth water. The Mahony taxi was kind enough to stay still long enough to be sharp. Some things you can’t control as a photographer, and needs to rely on luck for. I got lucky this time.

I was waiting for the city lights to be turned on. I had an idea that the three armed lamp would look awesome. What I hadn’t noticed, at this time, was that the large spotlight to light up the Rialto bridge was placed there too.

Rialto bridge lamp

A large spotlight ruined the intentions I had with this frame. I am glad I shot this before it was turned on.

While shooting from the Rialto Bridge there was live music.

 

Aller Huset in Copenhagen

A fisheye lens lets you do some pretty wild things, like this close-up, of a tall building. Even standing very as close as I was, I was able to include all of the building. I shot this photo of the Aller House in Copenhagen, using my Sony A7R and my sweet old Nikon 16mm fisheye lens. The Aller Building is one of the more spectacular new buildings in the Harbor of Copenhagen. It's located right next to the shopping mall Fisketorvet. Read the full blog post: http://goo.gl/H8dVyw--Jacob SurlandArt sale as limited prints only. Photo by Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.com Licensed Creative Commons non-commercial v4.0. No Derivative Work. Protected by Pixsy.com.

Aller House in Copenhagen shot with a fisheye lens.

Bo Nielsen (from www.justwalkedby.com) and I went shooting in the area around Fisketorvet. We were rewarded with quite a lot of great clouds and a rainbow, and a short but intense shower. Some people says rainy weather is not for photography, but I do not agree. Of course, you have to be careful with your equipment. Some equipment is more water resistant than other, but using a piece of cloth and a plastic bag you can do quite a bit in rainy weather if it’s not too intense.

A fisheye lens lets you do some pretty wild things, like this close-up, of a tall building. Even standing very as close as I was, I was able to include all of the building. I shot this photo of the Aller House in Copenhagen, using my Sony A7R and my sweet old Nikon 16mm fisheye lens. The Aller Building is one of the more spectacular new buildings in the Harbor of Copenhagen. It’s located right next to the shopping mall Fisketorvet.

 

Cold Evening at The Bean

During the day, The Bean in Chicago is crowded with people, enjoying the wild reflections. It is insanely fascinating, such a large curved mirror, and I shot a ton of photos during both day and night of The Bean.--Jacob SurlandPhoto by: Jacob Surland. Buy limited prints on www.caughtinpixels.com Licensed creative commons non-commercial v4.0. No derivative Work. Protected by Pixsy.com.

The Bean in Chicago is an insanly fascinating piece of art.

During the day, The Bean in Chicago is crowded with people, enjoying the wild reflections. It is insanely fascinating, such a large curved mirror, and I shot a ton of photos during both day and night of The Bean.

About the making of this photo

This photo is made from 5 exposure bracketed shots. They are shot from -2 to +2 with 1 step between each photo.

First I processed the shots to get the color balance I wanted. One of the problems with city night shots, is that colors tend to get all orange.

The bean before

This is the 0-exposure. It’s very orange and dull in the colors and something had to be done to bring it to life.

In this case I started by fixing the colors in Lightroom. I did that by adjusting the white balance, and afterwards adjusting the Split toning panel. The temperature I adjusted to match the temperature of the light in Chicago, and this is done by moving the temperature slider to lower temperatures.

In this case things began to look normal around 2.100 decrees celsius. If you are unlucky, there is no simple selection, because many different light sources, with different kinds of light bulps are in the frame. Then I would suggest to make virtual copies in Lightroom, and match the temperature for each, and then load all needed versions into Photoshop as Layers, and then blend them together.

The bean step 1 - white balance

Bringing the temperature down normalize the colors.

The result from the changed White Balance is a bit on the cool side. While I like some of the blue colors, I have lost the warm city light, which I would like to have some of. To bring it back, I use the Split toning panel. The split toning can add some color to both high lights and shadows.

The bean step 2 - Split toning

Splitning is used to bring back some warmth into the image.

I add some orangy / brownish color to the highlights. I use my gut feeling or taste to find the right amount. But the general idea is that the highlights should be warmer with a tint of orange.

To the shadows I add some purple. Again the purple is a blue, with some warmth in it, so to speak. And this way I add some warmth both to the highlights, and the shadows. You might ask, why I don’t I just change the white balance? Because the split toning allows me to target the highlights and shadows with different colors, and the result is different and more interesting.

I then synchronized the settings to all five shots in Lightroom, before I used my regular HDR workflow.

I exported the five originals into into Photomatix and did my tone mapping, saved the output file. This I opened along with the 5 original shots, in Photoshop as Layers.

Once in Photoshop I corrected the perspective and mixed the tone mapped image and the 5 originals to my liking. When I was done, I flattened the layers and saved it as a 16-bit TIFF file and reimported that into Lightroom. In Lightroom I did some final fine tuning of the colors. The sky had gotten more purple than blue, while during the tone mapping.

Warm light on Piazza san Marco

On our way back to our hotel, after a long morning of photography, we had to cross Piazza San Marco. Just before we entered the Piazza, the most wonderful golden light met us. Photo by: Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.com Licensed creative commons non-commercial v4.0. No derivative Work. Protected by Pixsy.com.

A passage leading into the Piazza San Marco in Venice. You can see the Palace of the Doge in the far distance.

On our way back to our hotel, after a long morning of photography in Venice, we had to cross Piazza San Marco to get back to our hotel. Just before we entered the Piazza, the most wonderful golden light met us. And even though I had stopped shooting, I put up my tripod once more.

The dynamic range is incredibly high in a photo like this, because of the dark passage and the sunrise exploding on Piazza San Marco. It requires shooting some extra stops to cover all light. I shot this both from -4 to +2 and from -5 to +1. As I got home, I can see, that the correct thing to do, would have been to shoot from -5 to +3, that would have been nine shots using my Nikon D800. But, as you can see I managed with a little bit less.

Photo by: Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.com Licensed creative commons non-commercial v4.0. No derivative Work. Protected by Pixsy.com.

The Little Venice Corner in Bruges

Bruges is a fairytale medieval city worth a visit. The movie 'In Bruges' got my attention on the city, and I made a one night stop there, on the way to France. We stayed at the most charming old renaissance hotel right in the center, and it was a perfect fit, with the city, capital of chocolates. Photo by: Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.com

Bruges is one the Venices of the North.

Bruges is a fairytale medieval city worth a visit. The movie ‘In Bruges’ got my attention on the city, and I made a one night stop there, on the way to France. We stayed at the most charming old renaissance hotel right in the center, and it was a perfect fit, for staying the medieval city, capital of chocolate.

I have shot a few shots from this amazingly beautiful corner. This is another one:

Canal in old Middle ages town. "In Bruges" is the name of a movie. It refers to the old middle age town of Bruge in Belgium. Along with Amsterdam it's called the Venice of the north and it is. Photo by Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.com.

I just updated the blog post of ‘the making of’ this photo.

I have made a tutorial for one of the shots from this location in Bruges, which has the same kind of lighting as this one. If you want to see how to make a photo like this, you might want to read it here.

There is also a before edit photo from this location.

 

On the way home

This passage goes under the connection between the old and the new stage of The Royal Danish Theater (Det Kongelige Teater) in Copenhagen. In 1931, the new stage opened, but it had several impractical constructions, like the audio studio wasn't sound isolated. It remained problematic until it was closed in 2008. Photo by: Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.com Licensed creative commons non-commercial v4.0. No derivative Work. Protected by Pixsy.com.

A man on the way home on a cold winters eve.

This passage goes under the connection between the old and the new stage of The Royal Danish Theater (Det Kongelige Teater) in Copenhagen. In 1931, the new stage opened, but it had several impractical constructions, like the audio studio wasn’t sound isolated. It remained problematic until it was closed in 2008.

The roof under this passage is fantastic, and you have to use a wide angle lens to shoot it. This is shot at 16mm.

This photo is made from 7 exposure bracketed shots ranging from -3 to +3. The man walking by is present in only in the -2 exposure. I had to wait until the right moment to catch him. The exposure time is 0.4 seconds, which makes the man slightly blurry, but that’s what makes it to a kind of mysterious a stranger in the night.

 

Moeraki Boulders in a fake long exposure

Nature sometimes presents some odds things to human beings. Why do perfectly round boulders come out of the sea, at one particular beach in New Zealand? You can't help but stand and stare in wonder. I had something particular in mind when I got to the beach. A long exposure to enhance the peacefulness that you experience on a beach, but the light and waves wasn't right, and I did not get this the way I wanted it. But instead I made the long exposure look even longer, by using some horizontal motion blur. I then also changed the colors, until I got something I liked, and this is the result. Photo by: Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.com Licensed creative commons non-commercial v4.0. No derivative Work. Protected by Pixsy.com.

The Moeraki Boulders at Moeraki Beach on the South Island of New Zealand.

Nature sometimes presents some odds things to human beings. Why do perfectly round boulders come out of the sea, at one particular beach in New Zealand? You can’t help but stand and stare in wonder. I had something particular in mind when I got to the beach. A long exposure to enhance the peacefulness that you experience on a beach, but the light and waves wasn’t right, and I did not get this the way I wanted it. But instead I made the long exposure look even longer, by using some horizontal motion blur. I then also changed the colors, until I got something I liked, and this is the result.

This is the original photo:

Moeraki boulders before

As you can see I have cropped the image some. As long as I have enough megapixels, I don’t mind cropping images, if it is an improvement. I would rather come home with a little extra scenery, and crop slightly at home than come home, and lack that last bit. Some believe in getting it right in the camera, but I don’t belong to that school. And as you can see I don’t mind faking colors and long exposure either. I see that as the freedom of the artist.

Stairs lead to Sct Pauls Cathedral

I always wanted to see Sct Pauls Cathedral up close, and even though I lived in London for a year. It was one of the things, that I just didn't get around to do. This time I didn't get any closer than this, but I figure it was closed at this time of day anyway. Photo by: Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.com

Sct Pauls Cathedral as close as I have seen it so far. Next time I will go closer!

I always wanted to see Sct Pauls Cathedral up close, and even though I lived in London for a year, it was one of the things, that I just never did get around to do. This time the purpose was to photograph it. As I moved closer and closer, I realized, that it is so huge, that if I got up close, I might not be able to get a proper shot of the cathedral. It was getting late, and I was tired, so I decided that this was as close I got this time. I had begun shooting right after dinner, and I had walked a long way and for a very long time, and I was getting tired. So this time too, I didn’t much closer than this. It’s something I still have on my bucket list…

About the making of this photo

This photo is a seven shot HDR shot ranging from -5 to +1. Why did I use seven shots? Well, one of the hard parts shooting under conditions like this is, that is pretty dark in a street like this, even if there are a few lamps. Sct. Pauls Cathedral itself is white and lit up by a lot of lights, and it is an incredible contrast to the dark street.

The street lamps are bright too. Because I like to have my ‘city by night’ shots well balanced, it requires to capture virtually all light, from the darkest corner to the brightest light bulb. And in this case, I needed shot 7 shots, to cover approximately all light.

When I processed this photo, I suddenly realized that there were stars in the sky. When in a big city like London, the light pollution usually is so bad, that stars are close to impossible to see. I liked having them, and I began to enhance them. Photomatix really can do an excellent job of this, but, unfortunately, digital noise is also increased. In the end, it is a balance of stars and noise levels, and this is my choice. Had I been standing in a field 70 miles from the closest city, it would have been an altogether different story.