I stumbled across this gorgeous Mercedes Benz SLS AMG in an underground car park in Frankfurt. Now I am not a sportscar person, but the sheer beauty of this piece is stunning. The design screams „I AM PERFECTLY ENGINEERED“ and boy, do I love the matt paint finish (It makes the car look Apple-ish now that I think about it a little longer). These images are a great example that impressive car photos do not require extensive lighting or a monstrous setup. All three shots were snapped more or less while bypassing with my family waiting a few meters ahead. The shot was made with only the flourescent light that illuminated the car park. 1/640 s @ f/4 and (auto) ISO through the roof did the rest. Looking at the EXIF data I could have chosen a slower shutter speed, but the camera was set to these values since I shot in bright daylight shortly before.
I am a little late with my report, but little late than never. During the solar eclipse on March 20th 2015 I took some photos of the event. The results are ok, although I could have done better in my opinion. I have to admit that I did not prepare very well for the event. I missed buying one of those solar filter foils, which come at a price of 25-30 € for a 20×30 cm sheet. The day before the eclipse (ahem, yes, that’s late) I started looking for a solution and the only thing I could find in the nick of time was a welding mask, borrowed from the workshop at my workplace. “Unfortunately” it turned out to be an active welding mask. These masks are electronically triggered, meaning the glass only becomes ultradark when a bright lightsource is present. I did not attempt to disassemble the system, so I strapped the complete mask in front of my lens. This worked much better than expected: I mounted the Tamron 150-600 mm lens on my D800 and strapped the welding mask with a rubber band to the camera. The mask sat stable on the lens, only the rubber […]
At the evening of March 22nd 2015 I stepped out of the cottage where we spent our vacation to take out the trash. When I raised my head I was awarded with an astonishing view. Moon and Venus were in conjunction. I rushed back into the cottage, grabbed my tripod and a camera with the Tamron 150-600 mm lens (yes, I took that with me on vacation) and headed outside again. truly beautiful. What I love about the following shot is the fact, that you can see not only the moon sickle, but also the texture of the dark parts of the moon. Enjoy the images, like, share !
Today’s Lumenatorial covers how I captured the photo of that baby ladybug. The story begins when I drove my car through the car-wash. Back home I inspected the cleaning job and found the ladybug on the car’s roof (however it got there at temperatures around zero). I took it inside and quickly assembled a makeshift studio.An old film roll served as a holder for a matchstick on which I placed the ladybug. Two SB-R200 flashes with diffuser panels provided light. I mounted the Venus 60 mm f2.8 macro lens on my D800 and put the lens into macro mode (2:1 magnification !). The image was taken at 1/200s and f8, ISO 100 (don’t get fooled by the metadata. The lens is fully manual, no information is transmitted to the camera. The standard setting f2.8 is written into every picture’s metadata.The ladybug crawled and down, back and forth. I took around 80 shots during the session and chose the one at the top to be the winner. The grey blurry spot in the background was not intended, but helps the image. It is actually a reflection from the frame of my iMac which stood about 30 cm behind the ladybug. Post […]
In the last months I have been struggling to deliver content on a weekly basis. Time is short and blogging takes time. So I decided to start a series of shorter entries called „Lumenatorials“. In these posts I will show a photo I made and deliver some background information on how it has been made. I have made such posts before. Lumenatorials will be short and deliver enough information to enable you to re-enact the shot if you like. This first Lumenatorial is titled „The golden fruit“. What you see is a gold coin (a Kruger Rand) nested between the shells of a walnut. Now that’s a tree I would like to own… The setting for this shot consisted of black cloth, draped over our diaper changing table. A black glossy tile from the hardware store served as a reflective underground. I have used this tile before in my model car photos, e.g. this shot of a Lamborghini Aventador. I mounted the camera on a tripod and pointed my 105mm macro lens at the setting. After arranging the shells and the gold coin (and blowing away some dust) the action could start.I set the exposure to 5 sec, f/16, ISO […]
SPAM. From me. For you. I was too lazy busy to write a full-blown blog entry, therefore I am posting an image which I entered into the bi-weekly photo contest of the German photo podcast Happy Shooting. The topic of the contest was „Konserve“ („can“ or „tin can“). You might notive that there is no watermark or signature on the image. Initially I placed my signature in the bottom left corner, but that looked odd and disturbed the symmetrical balance of the image. Moving the signature to the right had the same effect. So I decided not to implement any watermark or signature. Sometimes less is more. The setup was very simple. A few sheets of paper and white cardboard as backdrop, two flashes for illuminating the background, one flash straight from above to illuminate the tin can. Here is the making-of image. Post processing included cropping, straightening, overexposing the background with the „lights“ slider and a circular gradient filter. In the last step some minimal perspective correction in Photoshop since I did not shoot the can 100% from the front. Total time with „studio“ setup, shooting, post processing ca. 30 minutes. Enjoy the image !
Two weeks ago I hung some birdfood in the tree right in front of out kitchen window. That gave me the opportunity to deposit the camera right in the kitchen and wait for the moment to make close-ups of animals feeding there. One morning I was rewarded with a squirrel that munched away on the bird food. Photos made with the D800 and the Tamron 150-600 mm. It was 10 in the morning, but it was very overcast and not too bright, therefore ISO was set to 12.800. Yes, that’s a lot of grain in the images, but otherwise no photos could have been taken. With 1/320th of a second and f5 (f6 for some images) I was able to take images that were not too dark (tried 1/800th of a second but that proved to be too underexposed). Anyhow – enjoy the images, share, like !
Time for another wallpaper ! The following image was shot on the island of Tenerife, Spain. They have a famous park with aquatic animals and birds, the Loro Parque. In one building they have a giant spiraling ramp which winds around a large fish tank. The image is 2560 x 1440 Px. Download, share, enjoy !
Recently I made this image of a yellow flower. It popped up quite high above the bush it protruded from so I was able to get the flower nicely sharp with a pleasantly blurred background. Also I like the colors, so I decided to make a 2560×1440 desktop wallpaper. Click on the image below to get the hi-res version, then right-click and choose „Save image as…“ . Feel free to download and distribute. Also please note that I added a wallpaper section in the top menu bar. From time to time I will publish new free wallpapers and add them to the collection.
Insects never fail to mesmerize. They are everywhere around us and nobody realizes them (if they are not of the bloodsucking kind). But once a macro lens is pointed at them the intricate beauty is revealed. Here are some macro shots I took with my Nikon D610 and the Nikkor 105mm f2.8 macro lens. Nothing special to report about the shoot. I worked handheld with a fast shutter speed (bee and moth/butterfly: 1/1250s) to avoid motion blur. The insects were resting on grass and flowers which moved in the wind, so a quick shutter speed, continuous autofocus (AF-C) and stabilization at the lens turned on was a must. Getting a sharp shot in a situation like this is a mixture of luck and patience. The insects move quickly and don’t stay at one place very long. Especially bees usually only present their rear to the camera since they dive into the flowers head first while gathering pollen. Only when arriving or leaving at a blossom they can be photographed from the front. I went into a stable position (I kneeled down and rested one elbow on my knee) and did my best to get the focus on the insect’s eye. […]
I listen to an excellent German photo podcast called „Happy Shooting„. The podcast is hosted by Chris Marquardt and Boris Nienke, two photographers who are very active in the podosphere and blogosphere. The Happy Shooting podcast is published weekly (for over nine year snow, the show number is in the 370s…) and every two weeks Chris and Boris hand out a new photo task. The task always consists of one word and one is free to participate and interpret the task as far-stretched as you like. The winner of the contest is determined by the dice, the image critiqued during the show. This week’s topic is „Haube“, which is German for „hood“, „cap“ or „bonnet“. I took the challenge and made my own version. The image you see above is titled „Hau-B“. That is a play on words (in German, therefore quite cheesy to write about in in English…) and means „Ich haue das B“ – „I strike the B note“. I shot the images in my studio against a white backdrop. The camera was on a tripod and I triggered it using a remote control which I held in my left hand. That way I could hide the remote […]
We have awesome neighbors. They do lots of cool stuff with their kids like digging up fossils in a quarry, visiting historical and scientific museums and conducting science experiments at home like growing crystals. Their newest project are frogs. They caught some tadpoles from a pond and watched them hatch and transform into frogs in a small aquarium at home. When I learned about that project the 105mm macro lens magically flew onto my D800 and the aquarium traveled from their home to mine for an intense shoot-out. I placed the aquarium on a table, surrounding it with black canvas from my studio. As a light source I used an SB-700 with a Lumiquest Softbox III attached to spread the light over a wider area. This one is my favorite shot from the session: Getting decent pictures was very difficult. First of all, the glass of the aquarium was very dirty due to water splashes the frogs created over time. Secondly, aquarium glass is not optical glass, so some quality loss due to an additional layer of glass was inevitable. Third: The frogs clanged to the glass, staring outside the aquarium as if they had the urge to flee. So the […]
Today’s post is about fireworks. As many readers come from the US I know you recently had huge fireworks on the 4th of July, but you still might get some inspiration on how to shoot fireworks for next year’s celebrations. I went to a festival here in Hanover, the „Kleines Fest im großen Garten“ which roughly translates to „Small festival in the big garden“. It is a wonderful event set in the Herrenhausen gardens, which used to be the royal gardens of the Hanover dynasty. About thirty small stages are erected throughout the park for comedians, magicians, performers, musicians and artists. Actors dressed as fantastic magical creatures roam the park and create a unique, dreamlike atmosphere. The day was topped with fireworks and that is where today’s photography topic kicks in. I set up my tripod at a pool with a nice view on some festival tents. I went directly to the basin rim in order not to have another person getting in front of me. Since the place where I stood was not too crowded there was no danger of being pushed into the water. I used the Nikon D610 with the 24-70 mm f2.8. The 14-24 mm would have been […]
There are people whose eyes are closed or half-closed on every single picture when they are photographed using a flash. Getting a decent portrait of such a person is difficult. Today I want to explain the background to that circumstance and show two ways of avoiding closed eyes. Blinking is a natural reflex. The average human blinks every 4-6 seconds with a duration of around 300-400 ms per blink (source: wikipedia). You automatically do it so that your eyes won’t dry out. It is also a protection reflex against foreign object or intense light. It is that protection reflex, in combination with TTL mode, that ruins your photos. What happens in TTL mode In TTL mode the flash fires a short test burst (pre-flash). The reflected light enters the lens and is measured (thus the name TTL: „Through the lens“). Now the camera knows the flash power A of the pre-flash and the amount of reflected light B which is captured by the camera. By using that ratio the camera can determine how strong the main burst must be in order to get a decent exposure. Now the main burst fires and the image is taken. The whole process is so quick […]
The Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD telezoom lens is quite new on the market and seems to sell like hot cakes. The lens is a telezoom ranging from 150 mm to 600 mm, which is absolutely amazing. I ordered mine on June 9th and the package was delivered on July 03rd. Currently Amazon lists the Nikon version to be out of stock. The most important specs in short: type: 150-600m f/5-6.3 full frame telezoom lens autofocus: ultrasonic motors image stabilizer internal focussing system filter size: 95 mm weight: 1.951 g length retracted without hood: 257 mm length fully extended and with hood: 438 mm price: 1.199 € (July 2014) Let me show you how that monster looks like: The lens barrel is made out of a sturdy plastic material which makes a high-quality impression. When I first read „plastic barrel“ I was sceptic but trust me – the lens does not feel cheap. The mounting bracket on the other hand is made of metal, which is necessary to support the weight of the lens. Even with „only“ using plastic the lens weighs 1.951 g, I don’t want to think about the weight if they had used metal for the lens […]
I decided to share some of my images as wallpapers. The plan is to start with a small number of images and add one or the other image over time. I will kick this off by publishing two shots of model sports cars I made in the past (click here to see the Ferrari shooting, here for the Audi R8 shooting and here for many other sportscars). The format of both images is 16:9 (2560×1440 pixels). Clicking on the image will take you to the full size version. Now right-click and select „Save as…“ or similar (depending on the operating system you use). Disclaimer: While I am fond of sharing stuff I would like to announce the rules under which you may use these images. You are allowed to share them with anybody, but don’t alter them (one exception: downsizing the resolution to match your screen). The images are also not for commercial use, please contact me if you intend to do so to find an agreement. In all cases the copyright stays with me.
This post is a little offtopic since I cover a visit to a historical site and not something specifically photography-related, but you might forgive me 🙂 Just enjoy the images ! If you are interested in history and / or archeology you might also like my post about my visit to Xanten, a roman city at the river Rhine. Recently I visited the Saalburg near Bad Nauheim (Taunus region, Germany). It is where the Romans had built a stronghold to defend the limes, a 550 km border between the Roman empire and the germanic tribes. The stronghold has been restored to its original state at the beginning of the 20th century (actually Kaiser Wilhelm II himself positioned the foundation stone for the restoration work). Since 2005 the stronghold is a UNESCO world heritage site. The stronghold incorporates a museum which displays several roman artifacts such as the impressive mask displayed above. It was worn by riders of the legion. The day we visited they also made bread in a clay oven, Roman style.
I keep a list of topics about which I want to write. Some of them are reviews of gear, some are small photo projects which are yet to be realized. But today I feel more like introducing myself briefly. I do not write this post out of vanity but more out of something… let’s call it „reverse curiosity“. When reading blogs I often would like to know who is behind the words. Knowing a little about the person sometimes helps sorting and understanding the content. Selfie (and how it was made) So… hi ! I am Julian Eichhoff, 34, married, father of two daughters. I am the person behind lumenatic.com. The blog is a one-man-show, there’s just me (although I would welcome co- or guest authors, drop me a line !). In my day job I am a mechanical engineer, working for a company which builds automatic fire extinguishing systems. Needless to say I love photography. Taking images, creating, being creative is what drives me. I have a hard time leaving home without a camera, a feeling to which some of you might relate. I consider myself a „serious amateur“ or „prosumer“: I do not earn my money with photography but I […]
Recently I bought a new wristwatch. Since I was also looking for a new photo project I decided to make some product shots the lazy way and see how far a camera, a flash and some sheets of paper as reflectors will bring me. You might remember an earlier post where I shot products before an inactive TFT screen. The results I got there were quite good but still on a level where I could show the products on eBay or my blog. This time I wanted to achieve another look and get images which could be used for a magazine or poster ad. All shots were produced using only a camera, a tripod, a flash with a Lumiquest Softbox III and two sheets of plain white paper as improvised reflectors. I used the my office table as background. The shot you see above was made with the flash being off-camera, standing at the 12 o’clock position. It was angled at about 30° towards the watch. To the left and the right I positioned a plain white piece of paper, folded in the middle to make it stand upright on its own. The paper was positioned in such a way […]
I ran another archiving session that weekend and once again I thought „Boy, so much data, where is this going to end ?“ The next though in that line was „How did the amount of data develop over the years ?“ and so I decided to make a blogpost about it. I went through my archive and gathered some numbers on the data volume per year. Here is the graph indicating the data increase (note: the graph shows the data volume per year, not an accumulated value). pre 2003: My personal pre-digital era. The images I have in my archive are mainly scanned prints. There are still around 50 film rolls which wait to be scanned one day. Because most of those images only exist on paper or film I decided to leave them out of my statistical review and start with the first digital camera I owned. 2003 – My first digital camera was a Casio Exilim EX-Z30 with 3.1 MP. It was the simplest of the simple point-and-shoot cameras and it was okay for the first time. When I bought it I just wanted to snap pictures, not do serious photography. I emphasize the word „snap“. I was the kind […]