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An Aussie’s 1st time in New York – part VIII – day trip to Philadelphia Museum of Art

Monday, July 11th, 2011

I could not resist catching a 1 hour train to Philadelphia and taking a 20min walk in the rain to Philadelphia’s Museum of Art – made famous by the Rocky movie when Rocky trained by running up its steps.

Now the train to Philadelphia from New York’s Penn Station is ridiculously expensive – it cost my $49 one way and $89 on the way back, and that wasn’t even the express train! Furthermore, you will need photo ID such as passport or driver’s licence to purchase your tickets as your photo ID may be checked on the train – not the time to leave it in the hotel safe!

The day I visited the gallery, it was fortunately very quiet allowing me plenty of time to relax and take in all the wonderful art works, especially the Renoir’s which are my favorite. They also have a very nice restaurant in which to indulge yourself half way through your browsing.

Here are a few of the paintings taken with my Panasonic GH-1 Micro Four Thirds camera and Leica-D 25mm f/1.4 lens.

Two girls by Renoir c1892:
Renoir

Large bather by Renoir 1905:
Renoir bather

This one is probably the best large painting in the gallery and takes pride of place – Renoir’s Large Bathers (1884-7):

large bathers

renoirs

And one of the many Monet’s:

Monet

Salvador Dali’s 1936 comment of the Spanish Civil War’s destruction of his country:

Dali

Georgio de Chirico’s The Poet and his Muse from c1925:

de Chirico

Statue of Diana in the main hall by Augustus Saint-Gaudens 1892-4:

Diana

And the steps outside the gallery:

gallery

and Philadelphia CBD:

CBD

next post – New York farewell.

An Aussie’s 1st time in New York – part VII – MOMA

Monday, July 11th, 2011

New York’s MOMA art gallery placed not far from Times Square contains mainly 20th century art, and is well worth a visit.

Here are a few taken with my Panasonic GH-1 Micro Four Thirds camera with Leica-D 25mm f/1.4 lens:

Picasso’s Three Women At The Spring from 1921:

Picasso

The Starry Night by Van Gogh in 1889:

Van gogh

The Storm by Edvard Munch (1893):

Munch

Girl in a mirror by Hirschfield in 1940:

Hirschfield

Sculpture in the outdoor garden:

Sculpture

Metropolitain sign outside the museum:

Metropolitain

See more of my pics from MOMA here.

Next post – Philadelphia.

An Aussie’s 1st time in New York – part VI – Brooklyn, Brighton Beach and Coney Island

Monday, July 11th, 2011

It would be very easy to miss catching a subway train to Brighton Beach and seeing little Russia by the Sea, on a beautiful warm June day when it is just delightful to walk along the Brighton Beach boardwalk down to the Coney Island amusement park and the pier.

The following were taken with Panasonic GH-1 Micro Four Thirds camera:

Brighton beach boardwalk:

Brighton Beach

Coney Island amusement park from the jetty:

Coney Island

Taking in the sun outside the aquarium:

aquarium

Russia on the beach – on your walk back, have lunch at Tatiana’s restaurant on the boardwalk – very reasonably priced and nice food too!

Little Moscow

A perfect way to spend the afternoon is catch a couple of trains to get you to Brooklyn Museum station and you can spend a relaxing afternoon at Brooklyn’s art gallery which has a very nice collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts as well as American paintings.

Here are a few:

Out of doors study by John Sargent, 1889:
Sargent

Nude with apple by William Glacken, 1910:
Glacken

Posing/passing by Kehinde Whey, 2003:
Whey

more from Brooklyn Museum of Art here.

next post – MOMA art gallery.

An Aussie’s 1st time in New York – part V – the Met II – blue and green should never be seen but no-one told Renoir

Monday, July 11th, 2011

More from New York’s awesome Met art gallery taken with my Panasonic GH-1 Micro Four Thirds camera with Leica-D 25mm f/1.4 lens:

Perhaps my favorite painter of all is Renoir – it seems someone forgot to tell him blue and green should never be seen together!

Let’s look at a few beautiful paintings of his found at the Met:

Piano

bathing

beach

meadow

daisies

seashore

trio

reclining nude

Eugene

Nini

There is much, much more to see at the Met, here are some of my favorites

Next, on to part VI of my New York photo blog.

Europe holiday – Denmark part VI – the fantastic art galleries

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

I must admit, I loved walking through Copenhagen’s art galleries, particularly as they allow you to remember your experiences by taking photos (unlike those in Amsterdam and Canberra whose paintings I have now largely forgotten), and encourage others to visit.

Denmark’s national gallery is the Statens Museum for Kunst (Kunst is Danish for art):

figures

Michael Kvium’s “Choir”:

choir

the delightful “Artist’s wife and child”:

wife and child

So many more goodies from this gallery can be seen in my album here.

Next is the Glyptotek which is primarily statues from Ancient Roman and Greek era such as these ones displayed in this very nice auditorium in which classical music artists play to a silent audience:

auditorium

If you happened to have become bored with Roman and Greek statues after being in Rome or the Louvre, then there is still something else rather special – four beautifully crafted rooms with the most awesome marble sculptures by Stephan Sinding, Rodin, and others, such as this beautiful piece titled “Love” made in 1909 by Stephan Sinding:

Love

and “Death of a maiden” made in 1912 by Elna Borch:

Death of a maiden

and finally, there are a couple of floors of paintings by French Impressionists, plus, a collection of Degas sculptures and figurines.

For a taste of what you can experience in this enormous collection, see my album here.

Next we have the collection of works held in the Hirschsprung Gallery such as “Nude woman doing her hair before a mirror” by Eckersberg in 1841:

Nude woman

and one of my favorites, Kroyer’s 1882 “When there is no fishing”:

No fishing

More from this art gallery can be seen in my album here.

Finally, one should not miss Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen – it not only contains gems such as this 1667 nude painting of Denmark’s Queen Sophie Amalie with Juno:

Queen Sophie Amalie

some wonderful tapestries, lots of Royal artefacts, and the Treasury displays the Royal jewels including these crowns with incredibly large rubies and sapphires:

Queen Sophie Amalie

More of these from Rosenborg Castle can be seen in my album here.

All of the indoor photos from these art galleries and castles were taken with the Panasonic GH-1 Micro Four Thirds camera with Leica-D 25mm f/1.4 without flash.

Europe holiday – Denmark part V – Frederiksborg Castle

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

While you have the Copenhagen Pass, you have no excuse not to catch the train to Hillerød and take a short walk through the lovely town, have lunch at one of the very nice cafes, and take a leisurely stroll around the Frederiksborg Castle which holds paintings documenting the history of Denmark and its Royal Family, as well as some contemporary art works, including the portrait of our Crown Princess Mary.

It is even more pleasant if you have a beautiful sunny day like I did, although storm clouds were never far away:

the castle

The ceilings are incredibly ornate with thousands of sculptures such as these:

the ceiling

While the main hall is host to a beautiful wall size portrait of the Danish Queen Alexandra of England, Empress of India, and consort of King Edward VII:

Queen Alexandra of England

Crown Princess Mary:

Crown Princess Mary

And one of the copies of the historic Bayeaux tapestry which documented the invasion of England in 1066:

Bayeaux tapestry

More photos from this wonderful castle are here.

Photos inside the castle were taken with Panasonic GH-1 Micro Four Thirds camera with Leica-D 25mm f/1.4 lens.

Europe holiday – Rome V – art works inside the Vatican using the Leica-D 25mm f/1.4 lens

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Most of the art galleries in Italy do not allow photography, but the Vatican allows photography except inside the Sistine Chapel itself.

The lighting is quite variable, and thus a lens such as the Leica-D 25mm f/1.4 or the Olympus ZD 50mm f/2.0 macro is very handy to have with you – tripods are impossible, and you do not want to be using electronic flash!

These photos were taken with the Leica-D 25mm f/1.4 lens on the Panasonic GH-1 Micro Four Thirds camera.

They even had a Van Gogh painted ca 1890 (ISO 400, 1/40th sec, f/1.4):

Van Gogh

And a version of Rodin’s The Thinker:

Rodin

Much of the collection, is either religious symbolism, art nudes or disturbing, graphic depictions of violence, such as this large tapestry wall mural of which only a small section is shown here:

Violence

More of my photos of the Vatican collection can be found here.

White balance, digital photos of paintings, bushfires and Olympus dSLRs

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Yesterday I had a couple of hours to kill in Brisbane, Queensland and so I thought a trip to the State art gallery would be worthwhile.

Fortunately, photography is allowed in permanent collections of most of Australia’s National and State art galleries, and for this, my favorite kit is the Olympus E510 (you could use E520/620/E30/E3 as they all have image stabiliser built in) and the Olympus ZD 50mm f/2.0 macro lens – you usually do need f/2.0-f/2.8 for hand held shots with IS at ISO 400 and the flat field of the macro dedication helps ensure that even at f/2.0, the corners remain in focus. In addition, this lens is one of the sharpest around, and has minimal barrel distortion.

If you have a Nikon dSLR then you could use their “VR-micro” lens which has image stabiliser built in.

If you use Canon, then you will have to resort to using a higher ISO – perhaps ISO 1600 with their 60 or 100mm f/2.8 macro lenses as unfortunately image stabilisation is not available either in the camera or in a Canon macro lens. If you use the 24-105mm f/4 IS L lens, you will probably need to use ISO 800 at least and then you have the issues with all the distortion this lens creates.

So, when I visit art galleries, I bring my Olympus E510 with 50mm macro lens.

As all paintings are lit by artificial light, and often do not contain any true neutral gray or white tones, you are unlikely to get accurate color renditions using auto white balance or white balance presets.

Luckily the Olympus dSLRs have a REALLY easy mechanism for doing custom white balance.

In the menu, set the Fn button to be custom WB.
Press the Fn button an it will tell you to aim camera at neutral subject (eg. white balance card) which is in the same lighting as your subject and take a photo. You will then be prompted to accept this.
Custom WB is set (don’t forget to revert to AWB when finished taking photos – just press WB button on rear and select AWB).

So let’s do a demonstration of what we can achieve:

Quite topically, there just happened to be a bushfire painting by Australian painter Russell Drysdale which was painted in 1944, so here is the first effort with auto white balance (AWB) on:

Drysdale awb

Now these colour look great but they are NOT how the painting really was – the sky was much more yellow in the painting. Time for custom WB. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring along my White Balance pocket cards so I had to do with using the white wall (almost certainly not photographically neutral but close enough hopefully).

Drysdale custom white balance

Now we are talking – although it still did not look exact on the camera’s preview, but on my laptop monitor it looks pretty close.

As an aside: unlike my Canon 1DMIII LCD screen, the Olympus LCD screen tends to correlate quite closely with how the jpeg will be, and usually I do not need to post-process the Olympus images as their in-camera jpeg image engine is superb – I can’t say the same for my Canon 1DMIII jpegs – I rarely use them and have to do lot’s of post-processing of Canon RAW files.

So here is a tip: if you don’t want to spend lots of time in front of a computer post-processing RAW files or you don’t know how to, strongly consider getting an Olympus dSLR just for that reason - not to mention a whole host of others – built-in image stabilisation, edge-to-edge image sharpness, compact & light size outfits, tilt-out LCD and with electronic spirit level (E-30) and weather-proofing (E-3).

None of these photos have been edited in Photoshop other than to crop and resize for web. You can click on them for larger view.

Lastly, here is a close up shot showing the beautiful detail in this work:

Drysdale custom white balance

There is a commentary on this painting provided by the NGV here.

More Australian paintings of bushfires:

More of my photographs of my favourite famous paintings - see here.