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Phone wallpapers

While editing today’s photo, I noticed that it’s almost a perfect 1:2 ratio. And that’s exactly what most of the recent mobile phones screens have. So I cropped it into a wallpaper. And so it’s not just one, here are few more.

These are 1080x2160px in size. Will maybe add more in the future if you like them.

The tallest reflection

So many people take photos of the Burj Khalifa. And with that, it really is not easy to get a unique photo here. But of course I tried. And one I have not seen before (not that I seen all photos of Burj Khalifa :)), is one with the full reflection of the tower in the nearby pool. So I tried to get one.

It’s not really that easy though. The tower on it’s own is already huge, so just getting it into the shot you need a really wide lens. For this photo I needed even more, so I had to go with a vertorama. To avoid some crazy distortions, I went with the 17mm tilt-shit lens, in vertical orientation. Like this I could shift it up and down, instead the usual left to right. Like this, I could fit the whole Burj Khalifa with it’s reflection into only two shots. I still needed to do some perspective correction, but not too much.

This is a two shot vertorama, combined in Lightroom, finished in Photoshop. For my recomended spots to take photos in Dubai, check out the Top Photography Spots in Dubai list.

The tallest reflection, Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

No more Facebook

Those that follow me on Facebook maybe noticed that I have not posted there in a long while. And actually, I don’t plan to anymore. Maybe I set it up to automatically update when the blog updates, but that’s about it. I even stopped going to Facebook website and blocked most notifications from the app. Over the last few years Facebook just became more anoying than useful, and I just had enough.

For now, I only use two social networks. Twitter and Instagram. Those are updated regularly, and there where you can find me. And of course here, on the blog :)

Fireworks at the AmaLea christening

I visited Vilshofen in Germany this weekend, where I was taking photos at the christening of the new AmaWaterways ship, the AmaLea. This is another wonderful river cruise ship, and if you ever can, you should experience river cruising in a ship like this.

And as by each christening, there were fireworks at the end, and today I will share with you a photo taken during these fireworks. This is a single exposure, edited in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Fireworks at the AmaLea christening, AmaWaterways, Vilshofen, Germany

Reading list

I mentioned before I like to listen to audiobooks while I take photos, and mostly while doing anything else. Especially if I put on noise canceling headphones (currently I use the Bose qc35) I can enjoy them so much better.

So what I am reading/listening to right now? I like to combine fiction with non-fioction, and switch based on the current mood. So for fiction, I’m currently getting through the second book in the The Themis Files series from Sylvain Neuvel. I listened to it before, but since the third book came as audiobook only recently, I want to get back into the full story first, before continuing. The whole series is a great sci-fi story, with the whole story being presented as a set of interviews with participants.

For non-fiction, I, currently reading two books. As I mentioned minimalism yesterday, I’m reading The Goodbye, Things from Fumio Sasaki. It does have some good ideas about the topic. Secondly, since I have not read any history books in a long while, I’m right in the middle of the The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer. This is a huge audiobook, with over 57 hours of audio. But it’s also very detailed and interesting. Worth the time spend to learn more about WW2.

So what’s next on my list? For fiction, I finally want to get through Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Have not seen the movie and I do prefer to read the book first if I can. For non-fiction I will go with Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed or Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. Both seem intriguing and I think both are worth the time.

What are you listening to or reading? Feel free to leave a tip if you have a good one :)

Chained mountain at the Traunsee

Ok, it’s not really chained, but it does looks so a bit. This is another photo I took during my trip to Austria, to the Traunsee lake, in January this year (yes, this is in the middle of winter in the mountains :)). It was just so nice and sunny, even if not so warm. Traunsee is one of the many lakes in Austrian alps. Maybe not the most popular, but looks great anyway.

I used two separate techniques here. Fist, this photo is a long exposure. I used the Formatt Hitech 10 stop ND filter to get the water so perfectly smooth. Secondly, this is a focus blend. This means, I took a photo where I focused on the foreground and a second photo where I focused on the mountain in the back. Blending them was really easy, as the blend is in the middle of the blurred water, so it can be down with just little masking in Photoshop. More on focus blending here.

This is a blend of two exposures, done in Photoshop.

Chained mountain at the Traunsee, Traunkirchen, Austria

Less is more

Recently I have been very interested in simplifying, decluttering and even minimalism. I started with my working space, continued with my wardrobe and flat, and now it hit also this blog :) I will maybe write about it more sometimes later, but today I want to mention the blog part.

So as you may have noticed if you have been here before, there are few changes here :) My goal is to simplify and make the whole blog more cleaner. I want to remove all unnecessary stuff an make the visit to the blog more straight forward.

So first thing I did was to get rid of the sidebar. Like this it does not distract anymore from the blog content. I also merged the two menus into one, that is always present on the top. There you can find all the parts of the blog now. Additionally, without the sidebar, the images from now will be about 10% bigger. I’m not going any bigger, as that just does not look great on widescreen monitors.

Then I removed all (all probably almost all) unneeded page elements, like lines, dividers and similar. I plan to only use negative white space from now on. Also the full screen slideshows are gone, replaced with much more smaller ones, that once I also replace the images, should help with the loading screen of the whole blog.

I’m still tweaking the blog, so there will be more small changes here and there over the next days.

Dubai Marina in blue

Let’s go back to Dubai Marina in today’s daily photo. This one is from one of my favorite spots there, from the Palm Jumeirah. I of course had to use a longer lens to zoom in, as the city is not that close as it seems.

I also used the NISI natural night filter here. It made for some really nice colors in the city. If you are curious about it, check out this first impressions post about it.

This is a single exposure, edited in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Dubai Marina in blue, Dubai, UAE

Missing comments

Here and there I randomly browse the blog, just to see if all is OK. And while doing that yesterday I noticed that on some pages the comments were not available. And of course that were the most popular pages on the whole blog. It took me a bit of searching for where the problem is, but now it all should be working again, and comments are available :)

Btw. if you are curious which are the most popular pages on the blog, there are Top photography spots in Amsterdam, Top photography spots in Dubai and followed closely by Top photography spots in Prague :).

Down to the rocks in Vernazza

I posted already two photos from Vernazza, but this third one is a bit different. For this one I did not include the town in the shot at all, and focused instead on the rocks formation at the shore in the port in front of the city.

I decided to do long exposures that day, as it was very sunny and not really that great for normal landscapes. This is of course after the forecast for the whole week I was there was rain and thunderstorms :)

For this shot I used the 12mm lens, to get as much of the foreground I could get. Then I used the NISI filter holder on it with the polarizing filter and a Formatt-Hittech 10 stop ND filter to get the long exposure. The polarizer was not used because of the sky, but to get rid of the reflection on the water. You can’t really polarize sky on a 12mm lens, as it would result in a very uneven colors.

This is a two exposure blend of a 15 second exposure as a base and a 30 second exposure to brighten few shadow areas. Edited in Lightroom, finished in Photoshop.

Down to the rocks in Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy
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