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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ahrenshoop, Germany

The Baltic Sea...mysterious to Asians like me...but yet, for hundreds of thousands of Germans, they make a pilgrimage up to the sea at the northern tip of their beautiful country almost every summer. Many Germans spend Whitsun in the Baltic Sea. Of the numerous villages that dot the seascape, mostly catering to the tourist industry, I spend a couple of days in Ahrenshoop...a quaint village, like most others in the neighbourhood.

I photographed this from the rooftop cafe of the hotel I was staying in...metering was easy. I put the sea into zone 5, and the rest was fine. A small brightness boost in CS4 was all it took to pop the colours.

The winter had arrived early this year...hard, cold and early. It was barely December 10 when I arrived...but we already have had some half a meter of snow in most of Germany, and indeed most of Europe. The temperature was about -3C in the morning I photographed the sea...but the north wind was very strong...indeed...and I think with the wind chill, it must have been -15C.

I had shot some photographs with the LX3 in the morning, during the recce trip...which left me nearly frozen...but I have had time to recover in the spa in the meantime, before venturing out to catch the early sunset at about 4:20pm.

The timber barriers were spread some 100m from each other, across the entire beach, to break the waves as it hits the shore with quite great force. You can see the violent waves, and if left to itself, erosion would wash away the shore in short time. I had visualized a dark image in my mind...and so in CS4, I used a red filter to deepen the wooden trunks.

A fisherman's boat, by the beach...

I wanted to catch the golden rays of the sun on the sand and the boat...framing was low, with the tripod's legs fully folded, but all 3 legs deployed in the normal position. Metering was done to put the hull of the ship at zone 4. Perhaps a polarizing filter would darken the sky a bit more, and make the clouds more dramatic.

And a sunset shot. I metered for the sun, and placed it in zone 8. The rest of the photograph was allowed to fall in place.

During post-processing, I burned the grassy foreground to recover some of the details. This was done using the shadows slider in Phocus. I was tempted to recover all the detail in the grass, but eventually left it with just hints of detail because I wanted the sky to be dramatic and the sun overpowering. To achieve the effect, I saturated the skies a bit.

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