#123 Should you go shooting for a week-end in Dresden?

By philberphoto | News

Sep 28

Remember my posts when I tell you how educational and fun it is to shoot with someone? Remember my friend Boris, the sensational landscape shooter, and good friend? Well, he invited me again, and this time it was to Dresden, and the Bastei. Another shooter from the same forum Boris and I enjoy joined us, Stefan.

The Bastei, I could see from the Net, is a very interesting landscape, a 100 million-year old rock formation. Because it is in Saxony it is called the “little Switzerland in Saxony”. Boris calls it his favorite landscape in Germany, and has shot it a number of times. But to him, enough is never enough, and he took us there for our pleasure and discovery, as well as his quest for yet another oppportunity to capture the place’s magical beauty.

The sun was going to rise around 6:30, and Boris wanted to be in position at 6:00 a.m., so, even with his driving a fast car at German speeds, it meant getting up at 4:10 a.m. Perfect light is earned, not handed out… Especially for Boris, who hates having to get up early… But there we were. There are viewpoints, and Stefan opted to stay at the first one, where a photographer was there tripod and all even before us, and Boris and I moved on to the second.

I would like to say that this is what I saw, but rather, it is what my camera saw, because it was still very dark indeed. But a modern camera with low noise can, with a very long exposure, make night look like day…

I began to understand what Boris sees in this place. Not only the sunrise light, but also the shifting fog changed the look of the Bastei every fifteen to thirty seconds…

I show you here “only” 4 shots from a set of many dozens, where the scenery changes, sometimes subtly, and sometimes dramatically. But, of course, we were able to do more than just shoot one single frame.

And this last one, for Pascal:

Overall, a photographer’s dream. Thanks, Boris!

Now this whole shoot was no more than two hours. Definitely one of the most gratifying two hours I ever spent camera in hand (on a tripod, rather)! But that wasn’t all we did during that short week-end. After all, we were in Dresden, and that city presents many lovely opportunities, especially when the weather cooperates.

Let’s start with the beauiful wall painting that tells the story of the local dynasty:

Then there is the Zwinger, a sort of leisure palace for the kings of Saxony. While it is easy enough to find good composition, the problem is people. It is a popular place, and, especially if you want good light, and thus are into tripods and long exposures, it is awfully hard to have a people-free image. I managed this on the first evening:

and it took me litterally 25 minutes to get this, on the second evening:

To give you a specific idea of how long that is, when I tried my first exposure, it measured 0.4sec. By the time there were no more lovers, no more parents with kids, no more strollers, tourists and teen-agers on cellphones, the actual shot required 4 sec….

But not everything was planned, studied, staged and on tripod. Some shots were just as-we-walked, during the day:


and sometimes, one just gets lucky. While there are many shots I would like to show, I don’t want to try your patience, and this lucky encounter is as good as any picture to close the show and say “auf Wiedersehen!”

  • It looks like you had a great time! Well done.

  • pascaljappy says:

    Hi Philippe, some of these pictures are stunning !! Congratulations and thanks for for showing all the stages. How did you know the one that would be my favourite ?? 🙂

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  • Stefan says:

    Hi Philippe,
    nice article on our trip.
    The answer on your question is clear as an advice for anybody who thinks about it: Yes you should. 🙂


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