The Creek at the bottom of the Ötschergraben.

Another photo from the Ötschergraben in Lower Austria. The canyon is a nature photographer’s paradise: Waterfalls, creeks with a stunning landscape, rock formations and if you’re lucky, even some wild animals.

During a walk through the canyon, I photographed with my iPhone and my “old” Nikon D7000 [Amazon Link].

This photo is an HDR from a 3 bracketed shot, processed with Photomatix 5 [Photomatix Homepage]. I used the Photomatix Aperture Plugin before, but switched to the full version of Photomatix after I learned about the de-ghosting functionality it has. That function is really  helpful for free hand bracketed shots like this one. The results are way better than with the plug-in.


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Theseus Temple with Perspective Distortion fixed on the iPhone.

In Vienna, you can photograph lots of different architecture styles, from modern to classic to antique. This photo is a part of the Theseus Template in the city park opposite the town hall. It’s a small museum and beautifully illuminated at night.

I photographed the temple with my iPhone during a photo-walk through the city and used the photo to give Skrwt app another try; Skrwt is an iPhone app that corrects falling lines and perspective distortions without overly cropping the final result.

Skrwt App [iTunes App Store Link] impresses me the more I use it. I just open a photo, select the kind of distortion I want to fix and use a slider to correct it. It fixes horizontal, vertical and even spherical distortions.
A Red Kite photographed in Mid-Air.

Red kites belong to the same family as eagles and buzzards. They can grow up to 60-70 cm (24-27 in) with a wingspan of 175-179 cm (69-70 in). This red kite is from a bird photography workshop that I attended 2012.

It took some time until I had figured out the correct settings for my Nikon D7000 [Amazon Link]. As long as the distance between myself and the bird was nearly constant, the autofocus did a pretty good.  I also learned that I needed fast shutter speed like 1/2000 or better. For this photo, I got a shutter speed of 1/5000. I could get such a fast shutter speed only by increasing ISO to 800 which keeps the noise the Nikon D7000 creates within an acceptable range.

I reduced the remaining noise with Topaz Denoise [Topaz Homepage].


Purchase prints of this photo via 
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Austrian Parliament with Falling Lines fixed on the iPhone.

A new iPhone photo editing app has earned a top spot on my iPhone: Skrwt App [iTunes App Store Link]. It helps me to fix falling lines and to correct perspective distortions. It’s a great app for improving architecture photos with the iPhone.

It’s simple to use: I open a photo in Skrwt App on the iPhone, select which kind of perspective distortion I want to fix. Then I use a slider to correct the distortion. I like that Skrwt App doesn’t reduce the size of my photos as some other tools do. My tests showed that the photos lose 0.1 megapixel at maximum. I think that’s within an acceptable range.

In the end, I added a Lensflare with Lensflare App [iTunes App Store Link] at the spearhead.


Perfect HDR Photos with an iPhone.

I was wondering if it’s possible to create good quality HDR photos with the iPhone. The built in camera app creates decent HDR photos and with ProHDR [iTunes App Store Link] you can take HDR photos step further.

645 Pro MK II App [iTunes App Store Link], one of my favourite camera replacement apps, has a bracketed shooting mode. It shoots three photos with different exposure settings that you select by tapping on a brighter and darker area on the screen of your iPhone.

I set 645 Pro app to save the photos in dRaw Format, which is an uncompressed TIFF. Those uncompressed TIFF files are suitable for processing with Photomatix 5 [Photomatix Homepage], my favourite HDR processing software. As a final touch, I reduced noise with Topaz Denoise 5 [Topaz Denoise Homepage].


An impressive Griffon Vulture ready for TakeOff.

Getting so close to those impressive birds during a photo workshop was an incredible experience; even though I got unexpectedly close to this Griffon Vulture.

Those big Griffon Vultures weigh up to seven kilos and grow to a total length of 48 inches and a wingspan of up to 9 ft. I was surprised to hear that Griffon Vultures can’t takeoff from the ground because of their weight. They have to plunge from a higher point.

A bit later I experienced it with my own eyes. The wind eased, and the vulture had to land. It tried to fly away but couldn’t. For the next few minutes, it just sat there and nagged like crazy. Poor bird. A Falconer helped it to get airborne again.
DC Tower Vienna.

I was lucky to have a nice cloudy sky when I photographed a few of the skyscrapers in the north of Vienna. This is the DC Tower in the north of Vienna. that was recently completed. I shot it with a Sony QX100 and iPhone.

First I enhanced details in the photo using Intensify Pro [Intensify Pro Homepage] with the architecture preset. Next I lightened up the building itself with a dodge brush in Apple Aperture to work out the reflection of the sky and the clouds. Then I used the polarizer brush in Apple Aperture [Mac App Store Link] to darken the sky a little.  Depending on the photo it’s probably a good idea to activate the “detect edges” option in Aperture which lets you work more exactly.

Finally, I loaded the photo into Topaz Denoise [Topaz Denoise Homepage] to remove noise from the final image.


The Wotruba Church.

Photographers will find an incredible diversity in architecture in Vienna. This building is one of the more extravagant. It’s the Church of the Holy Trinity, also called Wotruba Church. It was designed by Austrian sculptor Fritz Wotubra.

First I took three bracketed photos that I combined into a single HDR photo with Photomatix 5 [Photomatix Homepage]. I used the “painterly” preset and adjusted intensity and lights. Then I converted it to black and white using Perfect Black and White 8 [OnOne Software Homepage] photo editing software that helps with very fine granular black and white conversions.

Finally, I removed noise with Topaz Denoise 5 and did a little fine tuning using the sharpen brush on the Building in Apple Aperture [Mac App Store].


Goin’ Nuts.

The castle grounds of Castle Schönbrunn in Vienna are like a big feeding dish for squirrels. Because of the amount of people strolling in the beautiful park, the squirrels are not shy at all and sometimes become quite trustful. In the autumn, you can observe them hiding nuts for the coming winter.

That photo is from a Panasonic Lumix TZ-10, the traveller zoom compact camera series from Panasonic that comes with an incredible optical zoom. The latest model, the TZ60/ZS40 [see Amazon] has a 30x optical zoom!

The photo is almost directly out of the camera. I increased definition and sharpness in Apple Aperture [Mac App Store] and used Lossless Photo Squeezer App to reduce the file size of the jpeg for this blog.