1. Please introduce yourself. Who are you? What do you do? How long have you been into photography?
Hi, my name is Marcus Danz, and I am 48 years old. I purchased my first digital camera in 2004, but only took vacation snapshots and family images before I got serious about photography around 2012.
2. In one sentence, please describe what you captured in this shot.
This is Vischering Castle, one of the most beautiful medieval structures in my local area.
3. Why did you select this photo to share?
It is one of the photos that represent very well the type of photography I am into – and one of the few shots I am completely satisfied with.
4. What style of photography would you describe this as and do you typically take photographs in this style?
I travel quite a lot to photograph landscapes and beautiful buildings, preferably during sunset/sunrise or the blue hour when the light is at its best. So maybe I am a low-light travel landscape photographer?
I still haven’t found a good term for the buildings part of my photography, since architectural photography is usually associated with something different than I do. Suggestions anyone?
5. When and where was this photo taken?
This photo was taken on a beautiful summer evening on July 10, 2020. Vischering Castle is one of the three castles in my hometown Lüdinghausen, a small city that is located between Münster and Dortmund in northern Germany.
6. Was anyone with you when you took this photo?
No, I was on my own that evening. Since my wife and I work in alternating shifts to ensure the care for our two daughters, time for photography is something I am really lacking. But thanks to the late sunsets in the summer months I was able to shoot this image right after my late shift.
7. What equipment (hardware and software) did you use?
The image was taken with the Nikkor 14-24 on a Nikon D750, firmly mounted on the sturdy “Rock Solid Alpha XL Mark II” tripod from Rollei. I used (and am still using) a cheap cable remote to avoid camera shake. For the editing part I have used Photoshop, Lightroom and the Nik Collection, running on my 2015 iMac.
8. What drew you to take this photo?
The corona pandemic made me think about how to make the best out of the 2020 travel restrictions. I decided to devote myself to a local subject and try to get the best image I could possibly take of it. Despite the fact Vischering Castle is only 3 kilometers away from my home, and castles are one of my favorite subjects, I had never been able to get a decent image of it so far.
9. How many attempts did it take to get this shot? How long did it take you to get one that you were satisfied with?
I tested a broad variety of compositions on multiple occasions, and when I finally found the one I wanted to go with, I needed some more evenings until I got the desired conditions: A beautiful blue hour with some nicely lit and interesting looking clouds, plus calm winds to get a great reflection. I wrote a (German) article for my website about the whole process, so in case you are interested, read more here.
10. Did you edit (or do any post-processing/production on) this photo?
I did use the time blending technique I learned from Elia Locardi’s tutorial series “Photographing the world“ for this shot. After some basic adjustments in Lightroom, I exported the exposures to Photoshop and blended the blue hour sky image with a later exposure for the lights of the castle, which were turned on a little bit later. After that I proceeded with my usual workflow and did some exposure blending, color and contrast corrections.
11. What encouraged you to share this photo online and with others?
Nothing more and nothing less than sharing the other images you find in my photo stream: When I joined Flickr in 2012 in the hope of getting feedback on my images from more experienced photographers, I was at first a little bit disappointed. My images rarely got any comments beyond the infamous “Great shot!”, but in the following years I was able to connect to people who were willing to give (and get) constructive criticism. Since then I have learned a lot from the valuable tips I got here – and some Flickr members even became real world friends.
I think I have improved my photography skills over the last years, but I am still very thankful for every hint I get, so I still upload all the better images I take.
12. Did you learn anything in the process of taking, editing, or sharing this photo?
The main thing I have learned by taking this image is that even minor tweaks in a composition can make a huge difference. I have always been very thoughtful about this topic, but on my travels I usually don’t get the opportunity to visit a location on multiple days to refine my compositional ideas. More often than not I only realize back at home I should have paid even more attention to the composition.
13. Do you remember what you had for breakfast (or lunch or dinner) the day you took this
No, I don’t remember that. To me this is a rather strange question, especially since food isn’t something I think a lot about. I usually lose some pounds on my photo trips, because I simply forget about eating enough.
14. What would you like people to take away from this photo?
Maybe trying to make the best out of any given situation: You can’t travel? Don’t complain, but explore the beauty of your local area!
This approach applies to other situations as well. If you are going for a colorful sunrise shot, but the weather report was wrong and all you get is dense and low hanging clouds: Improvise, adjust your composition and come home with a great moody image.
15. Is there any feedback that you’d like to get on this shot?
As always: If you notice anything about this image that could be improved in your opinion, let me know! I really am the type of person who appreciates constructive criticism way more than superficial praise.
16. How can anyone reading this support your work?
Have a look at my my website bilderschmied.com and my photostream here on Flickr. If you like what you see, you are more than welcome to follow my work, or even consider subscribing to the email service I offer.
I am an open-minded guy who likes to build a personal relationship to fellow photographers. Let’s get better together!
About Marcus Danz
Marcus Danz (he/him/his) is an enthusiast amateur photographer and lives with his wife and his two daughters in a small town in northern Germany. In his main profession he works with children and juveniles with disabilities.