A timelapse as a single picture - PARKING 24/7 - Airport Nürnberg

Yesterday, I spent around 3 hours in the area of the Albrecht Dürer Flughafen Nürnberg, the Airport of Nuremberg in Germany to run another experiment. I wanted to transform a time lapse video into a single picture.

To all who got to know my work already, it is nothing new that I strive for perfection, because details matter. In that sense, I want to stand out of the local competition by creating something very unique, only a few photographers can replicate. In my previous post called “The hero shot - behind the scenes”, I described what it takes to create unique imagery. I stayed at one place over a long period time. We’re not talking about 20 minutes; no, about 2-3 hours. Only that gives me the unique chance, to blend together moments in time, a concept well-known from time lapse videos, where you leave your camera in one spot over a long period of time, accelerate the footage and watch the sunset fading into the blue hour and night. Check out the quick behind-the-scenes time lapse, my goPro recorded, below. (Sorry for the bad composition and quality. I only had my GoPro with me and had to leave it on a junction box. Anyway, it helps to outline my point and concept).

For imagery, the approach is similar. Crucial is though, to step up in the post-production game, or in other words: Photoshop! In “The hero shot - behind the scenes”, this blend happened harmonically all across the frame of the picture. It still looked believable and not like something impossible in nature (your brain somehow still thinks witnessing a sunset and an illuminated building is totally normal). In my newest shot, which I’m going to showcase in this post, I created a horizontal time-blend, merging the golden hour and sunset picture on the left, fading into a blue hour picture on the right. Does that still look believable to you, if I had not mentioned it? Tell me in the comment section about it!

Either way, it goes along very well with the title that could also be used commercially for the airport: “Parking 24/7”. All day, all night. This message is emphasised by the car trails on the left and the right, as they drive in by nighttime and leave it by night. How do you like the idea and the execution of this experimental time-blend?

PS: For perfectionists I have captured 2 motorcyclists driving up the entire road from the bottom to the top. ;)

The final result. Sunset (L), blue hour (R)

The final result. Sunset (L), blue hour (R)

Check out the before-and-after slider to see the magic happen ;)

And below a few more casual shots I took with my back-up camera while I left the Fujifilm X-T3 locked-in on my tripod. That way, I can still do something else when I have to wait 2,5 hours to capture only one image.

The hero shot - Behind the scenes - Excelsior Hotel | Fürth | Germany

Taking good pictures is one thing. Trying to create the best picture possible the other. In order to take this picture, I put in a lot of effort. Before going all the way by bike to Fürth (1 hour), I scouted the best location as good as possible beforehand. On the hotel's website, I found already a nice looking picture but to stand out from the local and international competition, it is essential to create the best picture possible! In order to do just that, I spent 3 hours at the exact same spot documenting the light changing throughout the golden hour, sunset and blue hour. Afterwards, I spent processed this picture for almost 2 hours to push it to its limits. Most of my clients are surprised when I tell them that a good picture takes lots of time, in this case 5 hours for one picture. I think, the difference is visible and the pricing justified. What do you think?

I blended together multiple pictures into one, so that I could show all the best moments in time: The streetlights were turned on, the light fell so I could capture car trails and the reflections in the water. The lights in the inside of the pyramid turned on, as well as the blue tip, the yellow strip light and the Hotel letters. As the sky did not turn out to be so great, I browsed my personal sky library for a fitting sky and replaced it. But attention: This sky also had to be reflected in the long-exposure water. I hope this gives you a proper idea of what time, effort and knowledge it takes to put together such a hero shot. It is always challenging and fun to create something extraordinary that most people have not seen before. And as an architectural photographer you cannot always wait for the perfect weather. You get booked for a day or two and have to deliver. Hence, it’s very important to improvise, pre-visualise your shot and be prepared for unspectacular skies or bad weather.

How I photographed a Porsche Carrera 911 S - Behind the scenes.

In the beginning of 2019, I celebrated new year’s eve with some friends and prolonged my stay for a few days there. At that time one of my friend’s was leasing a Porsche Carrera 911S, not to show off - as most would do - but to enjoy the pure pleasure of driving a high-end car, he would be never able to afford. Since I knew that the leasing contract for his rental car was about to expire, I offered him to take pictures of the car so that he can still have some nice memories of his year driving a Porsche - for me it was a cool opportunity to photograph a really expensive car as well, of course :P.

As we all know, January is not the best month to take commercial images. To make things worse, good photo spots are rare in the rural area my friend lives in. Hence, we had to improvise and to wait for a day where it won’t rain in the evening. I wanted to capture the car during blue hour. So it was even more difficult to find a photo spot that looked pretty, unique and was also illuminated to not just vanish in the darkness.

Spontaneously, on our way back from a cart race with two other friends, we took our chance to capture those pictures, as we had a short time window without rain. At first, we had to find and to drive through a car wash, which we did in the next biggest city Pforzheim. After the sun had already set, from there, we immediately drove to the only spectacular photo spot this area had to offer: The Gasometer Pforzheim.

Searching for an elevated position, we first drove into a nearby car park, but to our great disappointment the way up to the top of the building was blocked. Leaving the car park again, some of the poles right in front of the Gasometer had been removed in the meantime, allowing us to park the car right in front of the Gasometer. To make things even better, the big gate that blocked the view had been opened as well.
From there, I directed my friend to precisely navigate the Porsche so that I could compose the shot. Having decided for the composition, I had to lock it down in my camera mounted onto my tripod so that I could take several pictures and stack them together in Photoshop. Finally, I plugged in my remote trigger to avoid any sort of camera shake while pushing the trigger on my camera manually.

At first, I took bracketed exposures all the way up and down from EV-5 to EV+5 to be more free in post-production to get a clean base exposure, without clipping any shadows or highlights. After that, I equipped my friend with an LED video light, adjusted the colour temperature of the light and let him illuminate / light-paint the car, while I was taking long exposures.

At home, I blended everything together to get nice details with an even and subtle lighting of the car.
Having done that, I started to remove all specs and reflections, the light has caused on our not perfectly polished car. Additionally, I removed glare from the lights in the background, cleaned up the street and removed signs along the fence. That clean-up took about 2 hours. Overall I spent 3-4 hours on one final image. and blended together more than 10 pictures each.

Details matter.