Monday, May 21, 2012

Imagined thoughts on an airport evening...

...from a photographer's notebook

"Imagined Thoughts on an Airport Evening"                                 Photo & Card Design  ©2000/2012 Steve Ember

Incredible but true... 

This year, I shall not spring a new series of Photo Note Cards on you just when all the organized ones among us have smugly completed their Holiday shopping weeks before Thanksgiving...

And this will be a very special series, encompassing some of my favorite Alpine motifs, including Matterhorn and Gornergrat images from some perfect days (and starry nights!) at 10,000 feet last October, some of those late night collaborations with the "Digital Genie," and some smile-makers as well.

Custom 5x7 (and larger) sizes...lovely card stocks (yes, the plural is intended)...

The cards are individually printed to order, with close attention to faithful reproduction of the original image.  A narrative relating to the image or the experience of capturing it appears on the back of each card.

As each design is finalized, it will be featured in this space. If you are a client or have expressed interest in my images, you'll receive an e-mail link to each new announcement.

Also, for the first time, the larger cards (5x7 and up) will be available individually.

Another "enhancement" to the product line - If you have followed my work on the Foto-Community web site and would like to see a particular image offered as a Photo Note Card, please be in touch, and I'll try to oblige.

Oh, yes, the image above has a story...
But first, I should probably mention, this photo might seem a "departure" from the typical tack-sharp Alpine landscape or similar motif I've offered as a Note Card (see bottom of this post). But I've been told it has a gentle sort of charm, and just to be a mite unpredictable, I decided to put it out there ;-)

On a few summer evenings in 2000, I was shooting a favorite subject, airliners on final approach to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, from Gravelly Point. The late day weather conditions had been unstable, resulting in some pretty spectacular after-storm sunsets against which to capture such iconic forms as that of the 727-200 (at the time, still a frequent presence at DCA) in silhouette, as they thundered overhead on their way to touching down on Runway-19.

But there were also opportunities, when the winds changed direction, to catch airliners as they lifted off Runway-01 and blasted overhead before banking left and heading up the Potomac.

"You May Be Bigger..." Card Front                                                                        Photo + Design ©2000/2012 Steve Ember   

I had to admire the little bird's intrepid "nonchalance" on his perch as airliners roared overhead. He seemed to be saying to the big metal "birds" above, "You may be bigger...and faster...and noisier than me, but you don't scare me one little bit!"

"You May Be Bigger..." - the first in my new series of  5 x 7" (folded dimensions) Photo Note Cards - is now available. It is custom printed to order, on your choice of glossy or matte white heavy card stock. The inside of the card is blank. The back is reproduced below.

"You May Be Bigger..." Card Back                                                                                      T

Single cards are available, with white envelope, in clear sleeve for $4.95 plus actual postage. Or you may order ten cards with envelopes in a transparent lid gift box for $30 plus postage. To order, or for more information, please be in touch.

And a preview...

From a splendid autumn afternoon at 10,000 feet in Switzerland's Valais Alps, here's a sneak peak at the "Gornergrat Glacier" Photo Note Card, coming in June, but accepting orders now.

"Gornergrat Glacier" Photo Note Card                                                        Photo & Design ©2011/2012 Steve Ember

Till next time, Cheerio and Tschüss ... from the Card Design Team at Mewer Manor.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On stepping off an ICE at Frankfurt…

...from a photographer's notebook

                                                                                                                                           ©2010/2012 Steve Ember

The journey started on an October morning in 2010, and even by fast trains – SBB ICN “tilting-train” from Chur to Zürich and Deutsche-Bahn ICE from there to Hamburg – it would be an all day trip, lasting about ten hours, to northern Germany.

And even with the comfort of a First Class compartment on the speedy ICE, one longs to stretch one’s legs and get the occasional shot of fresh air and autumn sunshine along the way.

Such an opportunity beckoned at Frankfurt, about two-thirds along the route from Zürich to Hamburg. The ICE must change direction at Frankfurt, so the stop there allows a bit of time to shoot in the grand, cavernous train shed, as the late afternoon sunshine filters through the cathedral-like glass and steel arch-work. Add the busy bustle of travelers and the train activity on parallel tracks reflecting in the large windows of the ICE, and there is much to keep the eye - and the cameras - busy.

Whether looking along the platform toward the station concourse or in the opposite outward direction, the classic architectural patterns are striking. My favorite view is in the latter direction, where the traditional Germanic lettering for the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper adorns the steel framework rising to the soaring arch.

Beyond it, the world on ribbons of steel.

Unless one is the most jaded commuter, just standing here, looking up and out, evokes the magic – and romance – of train travel, to places far, near, or intermediate. One can sense the glamour of times past that enlivens the great railway novels…even take in, through one’s “olfactory memory,” the aroma of coal smoke that once swirled through this cavernous structure when thundering steam locomotives called here, mixing with exotic perfumes worn by women of mysterious mien…

Ah, but wasn’t that the ICE conductor’s whistle as the train is about to glide out of this cavern of steel and glass?

Well the reverie lasted but five minutes, the length of our stop at Frankfurt Hbf, but will live on in my photos…and, of course, in my vivid visual memory.

But it did zoom back into focus late one night this week, as I took a little journey through some as yet unedited images from my 2010 visit to Europe.

The original image                                                                                                                                   ©2010/2012 Steve Ember

As the light from outside the train shed was so strong and I was not using any sort of fill flash, the original image was fairly stark and contrasty, although I did like the strong patterns, both in the arching steel and the brilliant reflections along my ICE.

But somehow I thought there was more “hiding” in that composition, especially in terms of my inveterate romantic disposition toward European rail travel, including the allure of the "night train."  So, at about 3 AM, I figured it was time to summon my “Digital Genie” out of her bottle and give expression to my Muse.

My latest Dreamscape, “Bahnhof bei Nacht No.2” was the result. Hope you like.

It will be available in large archival giclée gallery prints and as a custom printed Photo Note Card, as will the original (for train devotees predisposed to the more "literal").

If you’d like a higher definition look, please follow this link to its page on Foto-Community. While there, you may also wish to have a look at another European train station impression, from an image taken upon arrival that evening at the equally magnificent Hamburg main station. If you’d like to sample other images of mine, please scroll down the column on the right to “More from this photographer.”


©2012 Steve Ember

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