goetz of the iron hand

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Canon EOS-5D Mark II - EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM - iso160 - f/2.8 1.6 sec - Michael Grobe

Schloss Schwarzenberg in Frankonia, Goethe opens his 1773 play "Goetz von Berlichingen" in a tavern near the castle. The famous quote of "Goetz of the Iron Hand" can still be used to give excuse and justification for ones malicious tongue...
"Mich ergeben! Auf Gnad und Ungnad! Mit wem redet Ihr! Bin ich ein Räuber! Sag deinem Hauptmann: Vor Ihro Kaiserliche Majestät hab ich, wie immer, schuldigen Respekt. Er aber, sag's ihm, er kann mich -".

The gear used to create this image:

Canon EOS-5D Mark II: 21 Megapixels resolution, fullframe sensor with gorgeous 1080p video, great high ISO noise performance.

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM: awesome image quality, as-good-as-it-gets, a lifetime investment.

Adobe
Lightroom 3: the best tool for image management and manipulation on Windows and Macintosh.

See my gear pages:
recommended equipment.

bavarian woods

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Canon EOS-1D Mark IV - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso160 - f/14 1/80 sec - Michael Grobe

Almost an aviation shot... but taken from a hill in the deeper bavarian woods in Ostallgäu.


The gear used to create this image:

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV: one of the best low light and sports cameras today. Canon's best image quality as of 2011 makes this camera also highly desired for nature and landscape photography.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM: the image was shot with the discontinued version I predecessor, get the newer EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM. The 70-200 is my most used lens delivering great results.

Adobe
Lightroom 3: the best tool for image management and manipulation on Windows and Macintosh.

See my gear pages:
recommended equipment.

land of the moonking

0191_neuschwanstein_ludwig_II_winter_michael-grobe-bilder_20110222_131539_123
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV - TS-E 24mm 1:3.5 L - iso100 - f/4.5 1/800 sec - Michael Grobe

On June 13th 1886 Ludwig II King of Bavaria died mysteriously in Lake Starnberg, being declared crazy and seized just the days before. Up to date the theories around his death are cultivated and his fans still believe in a murder complot. I wanted to capture a view from his famous castle Neuschwanstein conveying the mystery of the whole story and came up with this look into the surrounding mountains in deepest Bavaria. The tilt feature of the TS-E 24mm again translated my vision into the image I had planned to shoot and the final color grading was done to the raw image file in Lightroom.


The gear used to create this image:

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV: one of the best low light and sports cameras today. Canon's best image quality as of 2011 makes this camera also highly desired for nature and landscape photography.

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II: the image was shot with the discontinued version I predecessor, get the newer TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II to straighten perspective with shift and create that magical miniature look with it's tilt.

Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 3x / 2.5x: the Zacuto viewfinder is invaluable to properly focus a TS lens using the tilt feature. Through the viewfinder of the camera it is very hard to get the exact rotation and location of the plane of focus right, but judging it through a Z-Finder Pro 3x / 2.5x in live view (going to 5x or 10x magnification for absolute accurate focusing) gets it done quickly and precisely.

Adobe
Lightroom 3: the best tool for image management and manipulation on Windows and Macintosh.

See my gear pages:
recommended equipment.

lighting the moon

0181_los_angeles_lacma_urban_light_sculpture_night_moon_michael-grobe-bilder_MG_5030-Edit
Canon EOS-5D Mark II - EF 15mm 1:2.8 Fisheye - iso100 - f/11
- manual combination of 3 hdr exposures - Michael Grobe

Ever wondered as a kid who lights the moon at night? Found the secret place where they do it. Had to be here in Hollywood for sure.
Urban light sculpture at the LACMA in Los Angeles. While I use the fisheye lens mainly for HDR panoramas for movie post production, here it works quite well as an artistic tool.

hollywood fog

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Canon EOS-1D Mark IV - EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM - iso100
- f/8 1/125 sec - part of stitiched panorama - Michael Grobe

People here in L.A. would immediately refer to bad weather, when there is fog, haze, or clouds covering the sky. The photographer in me would immediately think of carrying my camera up the hills and shoot well into dusk and beyond. Clear blue skies and atmosphere lack just the magic. The foggy haze here covers most of L.A. and reaches inbetween the Hollywood Hills.

close encounter

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Canon EOS-5D Mark II - TS-E 24mm 1:3.5 L - iso1600 - f/3.5 2sec - Michael Grobe

A close encounter in the woods - or just some flood lights at a corner of Griffith Park. We were scouting for some spots for the next night time photography tour, while I spotted this shot, the tilt of the TS-E 24mm 1:3.5 L added to the mystic mood here.

the little sun

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Canon EOS-5D Mark II - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso800
- f/2.8 1/320 sec - Michael Grobe

A tiny little sun goes down in Berlin. They should get a bigger one this year, this one passes almost unnoticed.

daisy and the snow

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Canon EOS-5D Mark II - EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM - iso3200 - f/2.8 - 1/100 sec
- Michael Grobe


Daisy, Europe´s current low-pressure system brought lots of snow all over Germany and really cold temperatures. All that snow makes a lovely backdrop for some night shots. And at 1am, there aren´t too many guys plowing through the white scenery, it is quiet and one can enjoy the freshly fallen white stuff. If those cameras were just built with bigger buttons, so that you can easily operate with gloves on, it´s quite difficult to do that properly with modern DSLRs.

distorted night

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Canon EOS-5D Mark II - EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM - iso100 - f/5,6 -
HDR exposure blending of 3 shots - Michael Grobe

The Olympiapark is becoming a favorite shooting ground... but then again, there is so much detail to be explored, each time I take my camera there, I find new opportunities. Spotted this one walking by the Olympic Stadium and chatting to a friend. First hesitated as I had to shoot through a fence. But then positioning the lens inches away from the fence got rid of any obtrusive lines in the out-of-focus area. Shot as a bracketed exposures to blend dynamic range detail together, I guess it was worth the freezing hands...

digging in mud

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - 420mm (EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM +1.4x)
- iso3200 - f/4.0 1/8 sec - Michael Grobe

And another night at the Oly-park in Munich again. The Olympia-lake has been drained partially, a great opportunity for some unusual low light mud photography.

pangolin

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 300mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso100 - f/8 13 sec - Michael Grobe

Another night at the Olympiapark in Munich, photographing the timeless architecture.
Pangolin - das Schuppentier.

Incredible detail and sharpness rendered by the EF 300mm 1:2.8L IS USM in this 13 sec long exposure.

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Detailed crop of image above.

alcatraz

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso1600 - f/8 1/160 sec - Michael Grobe

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso1600 - f/4 1/60 sec - Michael Grobe


Locked up in Alcatraz. Great location, if one ignores the other 300 tourists on the island...
There are some photographic opportunities once you aim your cameras away from the crowd. The boat trip to Alcatraz was part of a weekend in San Francisco.

california moon

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Canon EOS-5D Mark II - EF 600mm f/4 L IS USM - iso100 - f/4 1/1000 sec - Michael Grobe

Dark of the Moon: Poems of Fantasy and the Macabre, Arkham House, 1947



goodby germany

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso1600 - f/2.8 - 1/1600 - Michael Grobe

Winter is closing in, fall has taken over with cold and foggy grayness. A silhouette defying the cold october evening enjoys the last light of the sun on “Olympiaberg” in Olympiapark, Munich.
Time to leave the country for a warmer place...
Once in a while I like to name these posts after songs, this one is “Goodby Germany” from “And One”. The right music for the moment is the soundtrack to my life.

night trip

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso3200 - f/2.8 - 1/250 - Michael Grobe
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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso3200 - f/2.8 - 1/250 - Michael Grobe

Late night encounters on “Olympiasee” in Munich’s Olympiapark.

take off

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM -
iso400 - f/5.0 - 1/6400 - HDR composite of 3 exposures
- Michael Grobe

To get the detail in the clouds and the shaded underside of the lantern, a HDR capture was necessary. 3 shots (-1.3 ev, 0 ev, +1.3 ev) were merged in Photomatix. As a fast moving object, the bird was only in the first exposure (0 ev), so that guy is technically LDR (low dynamic range), only the background and the lantern are merged. I had to wait a while and shoot a few times, to get this one. Birds tend to do what they want, not what the photographer would love them to do...

dark fields

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 16-35mm 1:2.8L II USM - iso200/400 - f5.6 - 20sec/30sec
- composite of 6 images - Lighting by Udo Smutny and Michael Grobe


Another bavarian lightpainting...

he who walks behind the rows

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 16-35mm 1:2.8L II USM - iso200/400 - f5.6 - 20sec/30sec
- composite of 6 images - Lighting by Udo Smutny and Michael Grobe

Another composite of my last lightpainting session in bavarian outskirts. Luckily there was no wind, so the leaves were kind enough to hold still for all the 20-30 sec exposures. Backlight is again a 1 million candle power halogen spot, front lighting is a rather blueish led-flashlight. The colors have been graded to taste and the layers have been handpainted on top of each other to reveal the right amount of light for key, fill and rim.
Inspired by Stephen King`s “Children of the Corn.

reach for the stars

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 16-35mm 1:2.8L II USM - iso200/400 - f5.6 - 20sec/30sec - composite of 8 images - Lighting by Udo Smutny

What do you do during a nice summer evening at the bavarian countryside...
First you have a proper “barbecue” - we call it “Grillen”, which requires lots of dead meat and beer or “Radler” for the ones like me.
Then at midnight you go into the wild for some shooting. Grab your camera, tripod, a few lenses and lots of light...
Lightpainting... a technique I used for some surrealistic photographs 20 years back and recently re-discovered. You shoot at night outdoors or in a dark studio indoors with a long exposure (e.g. 20 sec or as long as necessary) and reveal your objects by lighting them in painting style. You use your light source like a brush.
While often photographers try to light everything in one exposure, I prefer a different approach for static objects. I light every part of the image on separate exposures and combine them later in Photoshop. That leaves me much more control and freedom to create the desired lighting and I guess it is a tribute to my history as a Technical Director, lighting shots for feature films in the realm of 3D computer graphics.
For the shot above, 8 exposures were taken, a 30sec at iso400 for the stars and 7 20sec at iso200, while lighting the objects with a 1 million candle power (55 watts) halogen spotlight. The spotlight needs to be in constant movement to prevent hotspots, smooth circling provides softer light. The blue color was introduced later in Photoshop, easily possible, if the objects are lit on separate exposures.
I am going to get lights with 2 million candle power, as that will enable me to shoot at iso100 without extending the exposure times further, resulting in better image quality due to lesser noise.
Lightpainting is a technique, which I will explore deeper, it is great fun and delivers the unusual covered in darkness. It is for the night creatures, who love to be on the move, when others sleep...

last exit for the lost





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where the night has become elizium
for the sleepless souls
and our days to come
may be i'll just pass away
or may be i'll stay
but i feel alive with you
and i feel some kind of heaven
hear me
give me some kind of heaven


At The Gates Of Silent Memory

Fields of the Nephilim






dark forest

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Canon EOS-650 - Kodak Ektachrome 100 - Michael Grobe

Another slide-scan of photographs, which I took during my first stay in New Zealand in 2003. Cold morning mist covers the snowy top of the mountains while the forest still sleeps in darkness. It is the most amazing and beautiful country I have seen and I would love to stay there, if it wasn´t at worlds end...

dark wings

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - iso200 - f7.1 - 1/800 - Michael Grobe

“people once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead” - proem of “The Crow”
I don´t know if that bird there is even a crow, but it reminds me deeply of that movie, a favorite of mine and makes me wonder, how many great cinematic moments Brandon Lee could have given the audience, if he didn`t die while shooting that film.
So get the soundtrack from the movie, put on your headphones and fly away gothic style with “The Cure: Burn”...

dark moon

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - iso400 - f6.3 - 3.2sec - Michael Grobe

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - iso400 - f5.6 - 1.3sec - Michael Grobe

Some night shots at Royal Palms Estate, Mumbai, India taken in March 2008. In that “satellite city in the jungle” photography is not allowed. I managed to shoot for half an hour, before some guards came on a motorcycle and asked me to stop. One thing often helps in India with these problems, you immediately switch to your mother language... dann versteht man dich nicht mehr, man selber spielt den Unwissenden, der die anderen nicht versteht... und mit etwas Glück löst sich das Problem durch gehörige Entnervung des Gegenübers.

dark waves

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 16-35mm 1:2.8L II USM - iso400 - f8.0 - 25sec - Michael Grobe

I love darkness. This one a 25 sec. exposure of the ocean waves coming and going between the rocks in Goa, India in March 2008. Note the spooky guy on the left. As it was almost pitch black, I couldn´t see him, he must have stood still for the whole exposure, probably a fisherman...