top 10 images from 2018 – the details

photograph by photograph

In a previous post I shared how I selected the 10 best photographs I took over the course of 2018. Now it’s time to dwell a bit more into detail and share my thoughts about each image. The sequence of images in this post is NOT a ranking, I simply use capture date to sequence the images.

Jan 2018
Hong Kong: Cultural Centre

Nikon Df, 24mm, f/22, 1/25 sec, ISO 100; converted to b&w in LR, slightly cropped and sharpened. I initially wanted to capture the interlude between all the man-made lines of the floor and wall tiles and the natural structure of the trees. I liked the perfect peace in the middle of bustling Tsimshatsui in Hong Kong when composing the image, when all of a sudden this pedestrian walked into “my” shot. Initially, I was quite displeased with the apparently ruined image, but upon a second look, the picture started growing on me. The dynamic of the walker contrasts with the stoic calm of the scene and his slight look to the left let’s the viewer ponder about the walker’s thoughts and direction.

April 2018
Singapore: Marina Bay Sands and Flower Dome

Nikon Df, f/5, 1/125 sec, 35mm; ISO64, around 07:15 to catch the rising sun, only a light touch with LR (the colours are as “taken”). My original plan was to do long exposure shots with an ND-filter in front of the lens to get a smooth, silken water surface. When arriving on location, I realised in horror that I left the ND filter at home. I decided to go for faster shutter speeds, hoping that the quiet and calm water surface would give some good reflections – and it did! Having said that, I plan to go to this location again – this time WITH the ND filter.

July 2018
Hamburg, Germany: subway station

Nikon J5, 55mm (FF equivalent). f/4.8, 1/25 sec (IS on), ISO 3200, the purists will notice quite a bit of distortion in the upper part of the image and the grain caused by the small-ish 1″ sensor.

This image makes no sense to me. That’s exactly the reason why I chose it. A square in a rectangle in front of other rectangles, the slightly cold colours – this image somehow speaks to me in its simplicity.

July 2018
Hamburg, Germany: Elbphilharmonie

Nikon J5, f/5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 160 (base), FF focus equivalent of 62mm, taken from a moving ferry, so not much time to adjust settings, just wanted to make sure enough shutter speed to avoid camera shake. Silver Efex Pro conversion to b&w and “uprighting” in LR6. I’ve written an entire post about this stunning building, choosing a “final” from all the images was very difficult. I selected a picture that displays one of the many particularities of the building: each and every window is in a different shape. This photograph is all about diversity 😉 .

If you look closely, you also will notice that the reflection of the sunlight puts each window into a different light (hahaha – pun intended).

November 2018
Singapore: downtown – photographed from a public viewing terrace

Nikon J5, f/5.6, 1/200 sec, ISO 400, 81 mm (FF equivalent); pp in Silver Efex Pro, pulled the shadows all the way into the “dark” in LR and slight crop. Whilst setting up camera and tripod for a “city scape” shot, all of a sudden dark clouds appeared and very heavy rain set in. Initially, I was rather disappointed that the “blue sky” image was of the agenda, but then I tried to capture clouds, skyline and the rain in one photograph. After quite some trial and error (luckily, the rain lasted long enough), I got the clouds, the buildings and rain streaks.

November 2018
Singapore: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Nikon Df, f/4.5, 1/640 sec, ISO 400, exp comp +1/3, 35mm; cropped and mild pp in LR (shadows, highlights, clarity and sharpening), I have no clue why I chose these strange settings, better would have been something like f/8 to get more depth of field, but since it was taken at 35mm, the luck of the innocent was with me.

I’ve made this image my desktop background. The enormous range of natural greens fascinates me every time I look at it. My two internal critiquers wanted to remove this picture from the finals, both saying, “it’s just green” – that’s exactly why I left it in.

December 2018
Switzerland Klosters: the dark river disappearing

Nikon Df, f/5.6;1/125 sec; ISO 200, 35mm; pp in Silver Efex Pro (high contrast and detail preset), in Adobe LR I reduced the shadows to turn the river into a “black stream”. I keep loosing myself in this image. The inverted “Y” of the two merging rivers disappearing in the distance, the almost symmetry between the lower and the upper part of the image and the massive, almost threatening looking fur trees on the right domineering the scene. And last but not least the plethora of structures.

December 2018
Switzerland: Klosters

Nikon Df, 85mm; ISO 100; SilverEfex Pro and cropped and sharpened with LR.
At first, the photograph looked like an attractive image of a light transition from the lower left to the middle right and then further upwards (bright – dark – mid tones). But then, all of a sudden, when the eye wonders across the image, the group of trees “peeking” out of the mist towards the upper right add a completely new dimension to this photograph. Beauty at second glance.

December 2018
Switzerland: Klosters

Nikon Df, 85mm, ISO 100; some serious “slider” play in Colour Efex Pro and Adobe LR.

I’m – under most circumstances – NOT a fan of colour-filters, but in the case of this image the filters brought out the clouds, mist and structures of the trees much better than the original image and much more pleasantly and eye-catching than any other pp-method. So whilst initially not a fan of that “purple haze”, the more I looked at the image, the more I liked it.

December 2018
Switzerland: Davos winter wonderland

Nikon J5, lens flare is obvious, I decided not to even try to remove it; set black and white points, sharpened and slight crop in LR. This image violates all classic composition techniques (straight into the sun, too many structures, no focus point that catches the eye, etc), but capturing that many aspects of nature’s beauty in one photograph made it rather easy to award a “top 10” position to this photograph. I spent probably one hour in freezing temperature at this location shifting camera position, focal length, metering method and other parameters until I managed to get this image.

I hope you enjoyed looking at the pictures and found my “scribble” either entertaining or helpful. It is 2019 already, so off to new photographic adventures.

btw: my best of 2017 collection can be accessed here and here