A MERRY MILLWORK MARKET


I had a little break here in the blog and come back with some street photography. Dubuque had its ‘Merry Millwork Market’ during the last couple evenings. Joan and I went yesterday night to this mini- Christmas market in the Historic Millwork District. Let me go straight to the highlight 😉. It was the first time since I live in the US that I saw someone selling Glühwein. The mullen-spiced red wine is served on every Christmas market in Germany, something I have missed during the last fourteen years.

I thought the market was well done, taking place outdoors and indoors. There were a lot of local artists selling their artwork and it seems the character of the market fits the ambience of the repurposed warehouse buildings in the Historic Millwork District of Dubuque, Iowa very well.

I don’t know when I shot the last time with ISO 1250 and still hand held the camera at a shutter speed between 1/15s and 1/40s. Detail was not so important as it is in wildlife photography and I wanted to keep the mood intact by using only the ambient light.

THE FINAL MIX SHOW BAND


It has been already a week ago when these photos were created. “Dubuque- All That Jazz” is a free Friday night concert series, taking place once a month during the summer on Main Street, right at the clock tower in downtown Dubuque, Iowa. The sad part of the story is that I haven’t been there for almost two years, the good part is that I enjoyed it as much as any time before during the last decade.

The FINAL MIX Show Band rocked the place last Friday and their mix of R&B, Jazz Fusion, Blues, Hip-Hop, and Rock’n Roll was a solid performance, enjoyed by the kids as much as by the older folks.

Del "Saxman" Jones, Band Leader

The avid readers of my blog know me mainly as a wildlife and landscape photographer, with the occasional excursion into architecture or technical stuff with historical relevance, like airplanes or cars. To be honest, the only time I enjoy photographing people (beyond family memory photos) is when they are at creative work or during candid moments. That leads mainly to artists, musicians, sportsmen, etc.. Well, concert photography is right down this aisle.

The FINAL MIX Show Band started to play during daylight and making a “documentary click” would have been a breeze. I’m more interested to reveal the essence of the musician’s engagement during the concert and that’s why I started shooting only 45 minutes before the final chord. The quality of stage lighting was mediocre, to say it mildly (it was actually lousy), but shooting from backstage or any spot you like without security interference is absolutely priceless, and I will stop complaining right here!

On a side note, I was hoping to name every musician under each picture but the band’s website is obviously not in sync with their current cast. It doesn’t matter, it was a good concert and the band members were very cooperative during my humble attempt to create some art.

BERLIN, ALEXANDERPLATZ


I knew ahead of time this was the perspective I would consider at Alexanderplatz, in the center of Berlin, for telling the story about location and the pulsating life there. I grew up in eastern Germany and Berlin was the playground during my time as a young engineering student for almost three years back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The famous World Clock in the foreground, S-Bahn station (rapid transit train station) Alexanderplatz in the back, and the whole scene overlooked by the Berlin Fernsehturm (television tower) was the way to go. I took a few shots but wasn’t happy at first. When the yellow street car pulled into the station I knew I had my picture. The color contrast helps to overcome the harsh light of an early afternoon and draws away the eye from an almost cloudless boring sky.

TUGBOAT SUSAN L


Tugboat SUSAN L, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

We saw the tow and tugboats in the warm light of the late afternoon sun while driving over one of the bridges that cross the Sturgeon Bay Canal and we rushed down to the pier immediately. I reminded myself of a quote by famous photographer Jay Maisel, I found in his book IT’S NOT ABOUT THE F-STOP some time ago: “Never go back. Shoot it now. When you come back, it will always be different.”

I think that was such a moment. It was our last day in Door County, Wisconsin, and who knows when we will be there the next time. The boats might be gone or replaced by new boring models. I’m sure the setting sun hits them from that angle only during a short time of the year. There are many variables that come together for this photo. I’m glad we stopped.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON, HERE AND THERE


Nikon D750, Carl Zeiss Distagon T*, 35mm / f2 ZF ------------     

Our streak of days without sunshine seems to continue. We really didn’t see the “big bulb” much lately. Well, that doesn’t mean we can’t go out and make any pictures. Yesterday I went downtown for a visit of the Dubuque Museum of Art, followed by a little photo walk in town. I had it almost for myself, there were hardly any people in the streets. This is so different to probably any city in my home country Germany. On a Sunday afternoon people over there like to go out for walks and maybe sit in a cafe or beer garden, no matter how hot, cold, wet, or dry it is.

Dubuque has a number of old brick stone buildings and I looked around for interesting perspectives. This facade had drawn my interest and I waited about ten minutes for someone walking by, but that didn’t happen due to the lack of people in the streets. I liked the graffiti art anyway and made the click. Can’t sit home because of a few rain drops…😉

TIME IN LAS VEGAS


I took a break from writing here in the blog for a week and there was a good reason for. Joan and I attended the wedding of Joan’s daughter Ellen and her husband Danny this weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada. No, I didn’t shoot the wedding, the wedding photographer they hired knew what he was doing and however his images will turn out, they will be better than what I can contribute to an event like that.

I haven’t been in Vegas since 19 years and of course, much has changed. It is still the city of endless fake to me but it also has a fascination that sets it apart from any place I have traveled to in my life. We had some time to explore the city and these are some of the photos I came up with.

It was a photographer friendly weekend in Las Vegas, with great clouds and even some rare rain. All what the lady at the wedding chapel had to say about it to me was, I don’t even own an umbrella…

Fake everywhere you look in Vegas. The indoor copy of the Grand Canal of Venice is fascinating but at the same time just mind-boggling for someone who was born in Europe…

You may used to see wildlife photos in my blog but all “wildlife” I can show you from this trip are the flamingos who had their own habitat in the gardens of our hotel… More to come, so please stay tuned.

DEADWOOD, SOUTH DAKOTA, SALOON NO. 10


Nikon D750, Nikkor 16-35mm / f4,  1/3 s, f/8, ISO 1000, @ 16 mm

You can’t travel to the Wild West without visiting a bar once in a while… Gosh, Joan had to twist my arm very, very hard to get me into Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood, South Dakota. OK, you knew that was a lie… 😉 We were actually drawn in by an actor who played the old west legend Wild Bill Hickok in a little reenactment in the back of this bar. Lots of fun!

The photo of this charming bar, with all its memorabilia, was made after the performance and until that moment I didn’t know that I can handhold 1/3 s exposure time without a tripod 😊. Thanks to all the gimmicks, like vibration reduction in the lens and shooting with ISO 1000, the photo turned out OK, not tack-sharp, but sharp enough. But who knows, maybe a couple beer works better than any “VR” in a Nikkor lens…😉

GAELIC STORM AT THE IRISH HOOLEY


I’m on a business trip in Denver, CO this week and my posts are a little bit behind ”actual”… I talked about an eventful weekend in my last post, and yes, we had some really good time last Saturday at the ‘Irish Hooley’ outside of the old Star Brewery in Dubuque, Iowa. Our friends Jeanne and Dave had invited us and we enjoyed the concert of Gaelic Storm, a chart-topping, multi-national Celtic band, as they call themselves on their website. We have seen them before and they did a great performance again.

I admit, photography was not a priority this evening. We just enjoyed the company of our friends, perfect weather, great music, and some good beer and food. Live was good… Thank you Jeanne and Dave!

LIGHT AND COLOR, BUT NOT WILDLIFE


Why is this post not filed in the category of wildlife photography? Good question, because most of my blog posts circling around wildlife. Why not, especially if my #1 “most wanted” bird, the Belted Kingfisher, is in the frame? The distance between me and the bird, and the water of the marina at Finley’s Landing between us, would have resulted at its best in a documentary shot. I make a lot of those, just to keep track about times and dates when I see particular birds during a year. This helps me later to draw conclusions about another photo opportunity, maybe in better light, at a later point in time.

This shot was taken not too far from sunset and it is the composition, the subtle light, and the colors that make me like this photo. I admit, I concentrated on the kingfisher but my subconscious level of attention took care for the rest. The almost identical angle of the slanted roof of this boat dock and the hill behind it, the wild flowers in the lower left corner, and the luminosity of the gravel road and the roof, reflecting the remaining day light, it all comes together in this photo. I think the picture would work somehow without the bird but the appearance of the graphical bold kingfisher puts the icing on the cake…