death valley IV

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso50 - f/2.8 1/2000 sec - Michael Grobe

Sand dunes at Stove Pipe Wells.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso200 - f/4.5 1/ 25 sec - Michael Grobe

The road to nowhere.

death valley III

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2.8 1/800- iso100 - f/2.8
- Michael Grobe

Blindfolded lady of the sand dunes

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso100 - f/4 - 10sec - Michael Grobe

death valley II

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2.8 1/2000- iso100 - f/4 - Michael Grobe

Dried Mud in Stovepipe Wells.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - TS-E 24mm 1:3.5 L - iso100 - f/3.5 1/640 - Michael Grobe

Thirsty bushes at Ubehebe Crater.

thanks giving in death valley

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 16-35mm 1:2.8L II USM - iso200 - f/8 -30sec - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2.8 1/8000- iso100 - f/2.8
- Michael Grobe

No Turkey for the German guys for Thanks Giving... Death Valley instead. We (the Helicopter Boy and myself) went for a photography trip, getting up at 03:30 in the night to catch dawn at Ubehebe Crater around 05:30. Death Valley is quite pleasing in winter time, only 35 degrees celsius, not the 50 during summer. I will post more images in the next days.

shift and tilt

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - TS-E 24mm 1:3.5 L - iso100 - f/4.5 - HDR exposure blending of 7 bracketed shots
- Michael Grobe

First shot with the recently acquired Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 shift and tilt lens. Tilted to the right, the focal plane rotates away from the image plane, the power pole in the middle is in focus, while the ones to the left and right are out of focus. That Scheimpflug Principle opens some fascinating possibilities.

it rains in southern california

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso100 - f/5.6 -1/250 - Michael Grobe

Yesterday, a short but heavy rain came in from sea to Venice. This shot was taken just minutes before everybody ran away from the beach to seek for cover - here in L.A. a little rain causes the same reactions as a thunder storm elsewhere in the world. I guess people are too used to their sunny californian weather. Reminds me of London: the Tube breaks down in winter, when a few snowflakes fall and people run to the streets from their offices to take pictures of that white stuff on the sidewalk...

halloween in hollywood

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso1600 - f/4 -1/100 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso1600 - f/4 -1/100 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso1600 - f/4 -1/100 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso1600 - f/4 -1/100 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso1600 - f/4 -1/100 - Michael Grobe

Halloween Parade on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood/Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.

l.a. nights II

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso100 - f/5.6 -
HDR tonemapping of 3 shots - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2.8/100- iso100 - f/2.8 -
HDR exposure blending of 3 shots - Michael Grobe

venice beach

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM -
iso100 - f/7.1 - 1/500 - Michael Grobe

Venice Beach Pier

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso100 - f/2.8 - 1/8000 - Michael Grobe

l.a. nights

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso50 - f/5.6 - 1/30 - Michael Grobe

Los Angeles at dusk shot from the Griffith Observatory.

back in l.a.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso100 - f/2.8 - 1/640 - Michael Grobe

Venice Beach - lifeguard tower

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso100 - f/2.8 - 1/1000 - Michael Grobe

Venice Beach - miniature sandstorm

Just arrived in L.A. a few days back, to find things haven´t changed much over here in the last decade (been working here in 1997). Just more cars, different cars than in the nineties, you see these Hybrid Priuses all over the place. Venice Beach still looks the same (except Baywatch isn´t shot anymore...). Charly Temmel still sells his famous Austrian ice cream at the Ocean Front Walk, but has closed his cafe on Third Street Promenade. Prices feel like they have doubled over the years, petrol is still “cheap” compared to our German prices. 30 degrees (Centigrade that is) in mid October is something to dream of in Germany. So I hope to find some time over the next few months to cover my impressions with the camera. But first it is: housing, bank account, mobile phone, driver licence, car, ... I do love cities with proper public transport, something that most likely won´t ever happen in L.A.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso100 - f/2.8 - 1/4000 - Michael Grobe

A Heidelberger in Los Angeles....

london calling

Sony Cybershot DSC-P9 - Michael Grobe

London. Drilling platform of the European film industry. Hectic. No escape. Sometimes beautiful. Sometimes carpet in the bathroom.
Some old shots from London a few years back, 2002-2004. All taken with a point-and-shoot Sony then - more likely as memories than composed pictures. Lived there for almost 3 years altogether working at a few of Soho’s post production facilities.
These images have been posted on originally, I move them over here for their proper retirement.

munich sundown

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso50 - f/4.0 - HDR exposure blending of 5 shots
- Michael Grobe

First of a series: Dusk at Olypark in Munich. All shot as bracketed exposures for HDR blending and tone-mapping. HDR exposure blending together with iso50 gives a clean and noiseless image. Still the 21mp files of the 1Ds Mark III amaze me every time I zoom into the shots to reveal the fantastic detail captured. Can’t wait to get hold of a new 5D Mark II to see how the same resolution performs with iso settings from 1600-6400. Good to see Canon release some competition to Nikon’s D3 and D700, although I am not the only one, who had wished, they had developed a 12-16 mp sensor instead of another 21 mp. Imagine the possible low light sensitivity: you might have been able to shoot images at iso12800 with the same low noise as lets say iso3200 on a Nikon D3... That could be shooting a 1/125 at f/4 handheld in a candle lit environment. Another aspect of the 1Ds Mark III will apply to the 5D Mark II as well: only the best resolving lenses will satisfy with that resolution. Most likely the Mark II will replace my 5D as second body and hopefully complement the 1Ds Mark III with it´s low light capabilities to form a great team for all shooting conditions. This series will be my last impressions from Munich this year. Moving to L.A. for a few months I´ll be posting Californian stuff in the near future (I hope a demanding job there still leaves me enough time for some photographic exploration). So after all the Indian adventures it is “from Bollywood back to Hollywood” now...

goodby germany

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

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


Canon EOS-5D - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - is3200 - f/4 - 1/50 - Michael Grobe

Close relatives bejewel the bride during the engagement ceremony in a composition of colors, henna and jewelry.

indian wedding

Canon EOS-5D - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - is1600 - f/4 - 1/30 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-5D - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - is1600 - f/6.3 - 1/30 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-5D - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - is1600 - f/4 - 1/640 - Michael Grobe

During my stay in India, I had the pleasure to attend an Indian engagement and wedding ceremony. Spanning over 3 days, the celebrations differ quite a bit from our european weddings. Always remembered will be the groom traditionally riding on a white horse to the wedding venue, where the bride and her guests wait. We have stuff like that only in fairy tales... The groom’s family and guests join the procession, dancing to the tunes of a “louder than everything else big band”.
You get to see the women dressed in colorful sarees and their hands and arms painted with henna. The men dressed in stylish Indian clothing, if they avoided the kind of standard business suits, that look the same all around the world.

hippies hate water

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso800 - f/7.1 - 1/4000 - Michael Grobe

The Hippie-Trails to India still seem to be alive, or some of the species have survived in Goa since the 60´s and 70´s...
The image shows some grainy noise, which can easily be explained. It is a 1700 x 1700 pixel crop of a 5624 x 3736 pixel file shot at iso 800, showing the amazing detail captured, but obviously emphasizing the inherent noise.

the kids of rajasthan

Canon EOS-20D - 28-70mm - iso200 - f/8 - 1/250 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-20D - 28-70mm - iso200 - f/8 - 1/180 - Michael Grobe

take off

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...

bombay boys

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - iso200 - f8 - 1/160
- Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - iso200 - f8 - 1/200 - Michael Grobe

Guys having fun and showing off after the celebration of Holi. Whenever you show a camera, there are different reactions around the world, but in Mumbai you always find a group, who wants to pose for a picture.

LEICA APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2.8/100 on Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2.8/100- iso100 - f/2.8 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2.8/100- iso100 - f/4.0 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2.8/100- iso100 - f/5.6 - Michael Grobe

A few months back there was the tough decision, whether to stay with Canon or switch to Nikon, as the D3 was released. I decided to buy the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III as it fits my professional needs best with its 21 megapixels. It is a great advantage to have that resolution for visual effects photography on a movie set. And Canon allows to adapt a variety of lenses from different manufacturers like ZEISS, LEICA, MAMIYA, PENTAX and others. So you can choose among the finest lenses available.
The 1Ds Mark III being very demanding with lenses to deliver the full resolution, that it is capable of, I started to look for lenses with outstanding performance. After reading a few reviews, especially Diglloyd´s ZEISS ZF lenses and his insights on the Leica APO-Summicron-R 90/2 ASPH, I bought a Contax ZEISS AE 35/2.8 Distagon and recently a LEICA APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2.8/100, both used, but optically in perfect condition. LEICA lenses don´t come cheap, when new, so it is a good idea to look on ebay. As long as you buy from an ebay shop, you have the right to give it back here in Germany, if it doesn´t meet your expectations. Something you can´t do, if bought from private party.
I choose the APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2.8/100 over the APO-Summicron-R 90/2 ASPH, as they ought to offer quite similar performance (the Summicron leading by a bit), but the Macro-Elmarit offering the welcome close range up to 1:2 magnification. Read Erwin Put´s columns on Leica lenses for details.
I won´t get into deep technical reviews of lenses with all their characteristics and performance (see Diglloyd and Puts for that), I will evaluate just the rendering of a lens under my personal shooting conditions and what they bring to the table for my requirements.
That said, today I took the first shots with the APO-Macro-Elmarit and if deeper exploration over the next few weeks doesn´t prove me wrong, I have to say, that this a truly outstanding lens. Just the one you need on a 1DS Mark III. Have a look at the beautiful bokeh (the look of out-of-focus areas) in the shots above, while the lens renders amazing detail and sharpness even wide open at f/2.8. It seems stopping down isn´t necessary to improve performance. The following 100% crops show the actual pixels: dust and a hair on a synthesizer´s keyboard.
I can´t wait to shoot more with that lens...

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2.8/100- iso100 - f/2.8 - actual pixels

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2.8/100- iso100 - f/4.0- actual pixels

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2.8/100- iso100 - f/5.6- actual pixels


Canon EOS-20D - 28-70mm - iso400 - f5 - 1/25 - Michael Grobe

Colleague and friend during a shooting in Rajasthan.

sandy feet

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM -
iso1600 - f4.0 - 1/200 - Michael Grobe

bollywood sleeps

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - iso100 - f8 - 30sec - Michael Grobe

Film City - a large studio complex in the hub of the indian film industry: Bollywood in Mumbai. The state government has built Film City at the outskirts of the National Park, Goregaon, where leopards, tigers and snakes call the shots. I took the shot from the rooftop of a 22-story apartment building, just before dawn. Luckily the guard at the entrance was sleeping, when I entered around 4 am, so no questions, what I would want on the roof in the middle of the night. It was a great experience to witness dawn over Mumbai from that height. Just had to stay in the middle of the roof, as there were no railings to keep me from a final flight...

The next image is a HDR (high dynamic range) composition of 3 single shots. I used Photomatix for the exposure blending to get all the fine detail in the shadows as well as in the highlights and the sky. The exposures were taken at -1.3ev, 0ev, +1.3ev. Sometimes a range like -2,0,+2 or even wider is better, that depends on the dynamic range, that a given scenery presents to your camera. For professional work on a movie set, I normally shoot 5 exposures from -4,-2,0,+2,+4 ev, or even 7 from -6 to +6 ev, that gives enough dynamic range in most situations for real HDR image based lighting in 3D computer graphics. For pure artistic photography, that dynamic range is in most cases over the top and produces a lot of data (the 21mp raw files of the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III are around 25 mb each). If the scenery presents an extreme range from shadows to highlights, one should measure the dynamic range using a spotmeter, then bracket the exposures accordingly. It doesn´t hurt too much, to have more exposures than necessary, but it definitely hurts, if you didn´t capture the necessary range and find that out back home after the shoot...

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - iso200 - f8 - 2,5sec -
HDR exposure blending of 3 shots

dark fields

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

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.


Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso200 - f3.5 - 1/1000 - Michael Grobe

the tree and the lamp

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 16-35mm 1:2.8L II USM -
iso1600 - f2.8 - 1/250 - Michael Grobe

holi - festival of colors

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - iso400 - f4.5 - 1/2 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - iso200 - f8.0 - 1/200
- Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - iso200 - f8.0 - 1/200 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - iso1600 - f4.0 - 1/30

Holi - the festival of colors. A spring festival in February or March (this year it coincided with Easter) celebrated all over India. On the first day bonfires are lit to burn the demoness Holika, on the second people start early in the morning to throw colors in each others faces. That means dry color powder as well as liquid water colors. Children use balloons, water guns and their fathers don´t hesitate to pour full buckets over each others heads. As much as I would have loved to shoot right where the action is, I had no water proof housing for my camera and on the first night already a ballon full of liquid color missed my camera by only a few inches to explode on my chest. The camera is weather sealed, but you really don´t want liquid red color on your camera body and lenses... So next day I chose to wait inside, till the action is over and explore the aftermath in the afternoon. That little dog would be clean again after a few days I was assured, like the kids, who had fun with him...

reach for the stars

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...

faces of rajasthan

Canon EOS-20D - 28-70mm - iso400 - f6,7 - 1/90 - Michael Grobe

the eagle has landed

Canon EOS-20D - 28-70mm - iso400 - f8 - 1/2000 - Michael Grobe

Not exactly an eagle, but a proper bird, I guess. These doves are special forces: instructed by an animal trainer, they are waiting in the wings for their appearance in a Bollywood movie. Shot during a training session in Rajasthan.

the colors of rajasthan

Canon EOS-20D - 28-70mm - iso400 - f11 - 1/750 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-20D - 28-70mm - iso200 - f4 - 1/500 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-20D - 28-70mm - iso400 - f11 - 1/500 - Michael Grobe

In late 2007 we went to a small town in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a salt desert in Rajasthan, for the shooting of a Bollywood movie. It was a great experience, to be in this world of colors and textures, would have loved to stay there for a couple of days longer to have more time for photography. It seemed as if I had been the first european guy there, at least it felt like that to me. It was sometimes quite tricky to take pictures without someone in front of the camera, a few guys were quite keen to be on every photograph. So they constantly moved into frame with a smile...
It is a different and beautiful world out there, if you have the chance, go off the usual tourist track and explore the real beauty of India.


Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso200 - f8 - 1/250 - Michael Grobe

last exit for the lost


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


Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso400 - f3.5 - 1/1600 - Michael Grobe

This photo of a series had to be taken silently without the attention of the subject, otherwise the opportunity for this shot would have been destroyed. So the camera (EOS-1Ds Mark III) with the EF 70-200mm attached rested on my knees, while I was sitting. Zoomed to almost 200mm, live view enabled me to focus manually to precisly focus the shoe, the aperture wide open limited depth of field. Using autofocus would have had a great chance of missing the exact focus. It takes some practice to shoot hand-held with live view at 10x magnification for focussing, especially on a shaky boat.
The 100% crop below shows the actual captured detail.

100% crop - actual pixels

holy cow

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - iso200 - f8.0 - 1/80 - Michael Grobe

Yes these guys are all over the place in India, in the cities, on the streets. And they have the right of way. Imagine that in New York, London or Berlin...
But then... I´d love to have some elephants around in Munich... I know they can become dangerous, but I definitely would prefer them to all the dogs in the parks...

live the dream

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - ZEISS ZF 35/2,8 DISTAGON -
iso100 - f4 - 1/40 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-650 - Kodak Ektachrome 100 - Michael Grobe

What is a classic sports car all about? What makes it so desirable that you switch off your rationality and don´t even think about it´s uselessness for daily transport? Emotions - there are cars that deliver pure emotions. When you approach, you get weak knees in anxious expectation of sliding into the drivers seat. The cockpit fits you like a tailor-made suit, you sit just a few inches above the asphalt, that soon will fly beneath. The design is futuristic and almost timeless, not the average modern day car, but a masterpiece of one of the few world class designers.
John Z. DeLorean`s DMC-12 is one of those cars. Designed by Giorgio Giugiaro and developed with the support of Colin Chapman`s Lotus, the car became a stainless steel gullwing beauty - dream of an extraordinary man.

By the way... the first photo shows the smooth rendering of the Contax ZEISS AE 35/2.8 truly a great lens delivering a destinctive and admirable look. I highly recommend the ZEISS ZF lens line for shooting with a high resolution camera, that needs only the best lenses to deliver the maximum quality.

at world`s end

Canon EOS-20D - 28-70mm - iso100 - f5.6 - 1/100
- Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-20D - 28-70mm - iso200 - f3.2 - 1/3200 - Michael Grobe

lost in the clouds

Canon EOS-20D - 19-35mm - iso100 - f9 - 1/1000 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-20D - 19-35mm - iso100 - f9 - 1/1000 - Michael Grobe

The clouds are coming down to kiss the mountains. South Island of New Zealand, near Milford Sound.


Canon EOS-20D - 80-400mm - iso100 - f13.0 - 1/8000 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-20D - 80-400mm - iso100 - f13.0 - 1/8000 - Michael Grobe

Hydroplane floating in golden sunlight at dusk on Lake Te Anau, South Island of New Zealand.

mumbai harbor

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM -
iso200 - f13.0 - 1/1250 - Michael Grobe

A fisher boat is traveling lonely across Mumbai Harbor in full midday sun. The haze once again beautifully faded the layers of the city skyline and overall the image screamed for black and white.

sleeping beauty

Sony Cybershot DSC-P9 - iso100 - f4.5 - 1/125 - Michael Grobe

Sleeping black swans on lake Rotorua, North Island of New Zealand.

dark forest

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...

marine drive in mumbai

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - iso1600 - f5.0 - 1/8000 - Michael Grobe

Shot from a fast moving car, exactly exposed to my taste, the sky and the sun burning away while the silhouetted people in the foreground still show detail and the skyline of Mumbai Harbor fades in the haze. No additional post-processing was necessary, apart from the standard sharpening. A situation like this ended up with a wrong exposure, if you are on evaluative metering, with all cameras I previously owned. Looks like the latest breed of Canon gets it right here. Having detail in the sky and in the foreground would require a hdr capturing of the scene, as the dynamic range is far to wide for a standard low dynamic range digital capture. As hdr (high dynamic range) capture with a slr camera means exposure bracketing (in this case at least 3 shots, 0ev, -2ev, +2ev), how do you accomplish that, when you are shooting handheld from a moving car... Real hdr capture in a single exposure is one of my favorite points on the wish list for future camera developments, but it is likely to take a few years, before we see that.
But here the image shines because of the burned sky and sun, so additional detail wouldn´t make it any better.

contact page

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM -
iso400 - f6.3 - 1/500 - Michael Grobe

Indian saree flying in the wind through a hole of a ferry boat`s cabin wall. I like the beautiful and rich colors of indian clothes, they often stand out from their surroundings and compliment darker skin tones. Back here in Germany, people love to darken their skin in summer or by going to solaria, while in India everyone seems to long for fair skin, the TV channels are full with advertising of skin whiteners. Maybe one always wants, what is on the other side...

the 2000 dollar car

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - iso3200 - f5.6 - 1/30 - Michael Grobe

This picture shows the target group for the 2000 dollar car: an indian family, riding altogether on a motorbike. The 2000 dollar car would only be slightly more expensive than a decent new bike and most likely provide more safety to these families for their travels. I shot this one from a car window, while we were overtaking, iso 3200 made it possible, as the sun already had gone down and darkness was closing in.

monkeys on elephanta island

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM - iso200 - f6.3 - 1/160 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM -
iso200 - f5.6 - 1/100 - Michael Grobe

Caught some of the monkeys on Elephanta Island in Mumbai harbor with the 24-105mm, a great walk-around-lens for all occasions, where you just want to carry a single lens with your camera. But the EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM feeds the demanding 21MP of the 1Ds with better quality in terms of detail, sharpness and the bokeh is also much more pleasing and “alive”.
To explore the real capabilities of the 1Ds mk III there are a few special lenses beyond the best Canon L glasses: the ZEISS ZF lens line, some medium format lenses or the legendary LEICA 90mm f/2 APO-Summicron-R ASPH, which all can be used manually with adapters on an EOS body. For my professional work, where I demand high resolution, I use a Contax ZEISS AE 35/2,8 DISTAGON. Manual focus is anyway the way to go with live view from a tripod for perfect focus and manual stop down is a burden to take for that extra quality.
Go and get a review of the ZEISS ZF lenses from
Diglloyd, worth every dollar, as the author provides one of the most comprehensive and detailed reviews to be found on the net.
If you are a Nikon shooter, the ZEISS ZF line is a no brainer, as you get it with Nikon lens mount originally, so it is manual focus, but no manual stop down. The author of this blog has been called “young enough to wait for a Canon EF mount version of the ZEISS lenses” by a ZEISS executive during a photo trade show in Mumbai, India in early 2008... whatever that means, a few months or a few years?
The LEICA 90/2 APO is very high on the wish list, if just the price of that good-old-german glass was a tad more on the casual side...

ardea cinerea

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM -
iso100 - f2.8 - 1/640 - Michael Grobe

albert einstein house

Whenever you are in Berlin, Germany make a trip to Albert Einstein`s Summerhouse in Caputh, Potsdam and get a guided tour. The house itself feels in some ways more depressing to me than inspiring as a home for a genius. I guess that is due to the small rooms covered in dark brown wood. But you will get some insights of Einstein, his family and how they lived, when they were at that place near the lake “Schwielowsee”. The lake area itself is fantastic for recreation, you don´t believe, that you are only half an hour away from pulsating Berlin. Here is a link:

Einsteinhaus in Caputh (Potsdam), Germany

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 16-35mm 1:2.8L II USM -
iso800 - f4.0 - 1/25 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 16-35mm 1:2.8L II USM -
iso800 - f8.0 - 1/250 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 16-35mm 1:2.8L II USM - iso100 - f7.1 - 1/125 - Michael Grobe


Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM -
iso100 - f4.0 - 1/640 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso100 - f2.8 - 1/2000 - Michael Grobe

A trip to Elephanta Island (Gharapuri Island) in Mumbai Harbour in March 2008 revealed these stranded boats, waiting for the elements to raise them to the dust, from which they came.

dark wings

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

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

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

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...

faces of euro 2008

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso3200 - f3.2 - 1/60 - Michael Grobe

Great weather and great football... I admit, that I am not really a football fan, but European championships or World cups get even my interest. Watching an exciting match together with friends at a nearby pub or a public viewing area is great fun.
And another welcome opportunity to shoot some pictures. Technically another test for the low light capabilities of a 1Ds Mk III with the EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM and a 5D with the EF 16-35mm 1:2.8L II USM. Gave me enough sensitivity to capture under street light conditions at ISO 1600 and 3200. I don´t like changing lenses, while I am standing on a wobbly table amongst thousands of crazy football fans, who don´t hesitate to give you showers with beer and sparkling wine, so I shot also with two cameras. The results are quite usable, even for printing. While a Nikon D3 would have given roughly another 2 stops of usable low light sensitivity with low noise, the Canons still produce very good results under these conditions. And I really like the 5616 x 3744 pixels of the 1Ds Mk III. As high resolution with great image quality at low ISO is an indispensable assett for my kind of “visual effects photography” for commercial and feature film shootings, I chose the Canon over the Nikon D3. Still everytime the daylight is fading, I wish I had one...
And by the way, Germany is in the finale.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4L IS USM -
iso3200 - f4.0 - 1/25 - Michael Grobe

Yes, there is no football without beer in Germany. Especially in Bavaria...
Some of the pictures got some flash fill from the 580 EX II, while the rest is available light and I preserved the orange mood of the street lamps in Lightroom.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso3200 - f4.0 - 1/100 - Michael Grobe

Interestingly this one (aswell as the title photo) is lit by the flash of another photographer, makes me wonder about the probability of catching another photographer`s flash in a 1/100 second...

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 16-35mm 1:2.8L II USM - iso3200 - f4.0 - 1/20 - Michael Grobe

Hmm... is this guy selling beer to the police?

old cheesy slides

What should one do with some old slide-scans of cheesy sundowners at the ocean...
One might say, you shouldn´t have taken the picture in the first place, but then, when you are at that beach you probably don´t feel cheesy about the view at all.
Thanks to the digital darkroom that can be fixed.
The images have been taken with my old trusty Canon EOS 650, the first serious of EOS cameras from 1987, which still just needs a fresh battery and a some film to work beautifully. I can still use my old lenses from that decade directly with my digital EOS bodies, don´t know of many technologies, which can provide that. Still I won´t switch back to film shooting at all, digital 35 is so much more enjoyable, has better image quality and you have the direct and full control in camera and in your computer.

Canon EOS-650 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-650 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-650 - Michael Grobe

cross processing

Canon EOS-20D - 28-70mm - iso3200 - f3.2 - 1/40 - Michael Grobe

C41-E6 cross processing. Cross-processing is a technique used in analog photography where C-41 print film is processed in chemicals, that you use for the processing of E-6 slide film, or vice versa. Nowadays these effects can be easily achieved with certain Photoshop filters. I used the PixelGenius PhotoKit Color 2.0 with the C41-E6 yellow settings (they had been converted from color to black and white before). This way you can sometimes “save the image” by adding an interesting effect (nothing out of the fancy spectrum, which burns your eyes...). The images below all suffer from technical deficiencies: due to poor low light capabilities of the used camera and lens and a rolling and shaking train as the shooting platform, sharpness, detail and noise are way on the bad side. But with some enhancement in Lightroom/Photoshop, they reveal the mood of taking a train ride in Mumbai, India. That´s where people stand in the open door frames and even on top of the carriages during rush hours.

Canon EOS-20D - 28-70mm - iso3200 - f4.0 - 1/60 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-20D - 28-70mm - iso3200 - f4.0 - 1/60 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-20D - 28-70mm - iso1600 - f3.5 - 1/60 - Michael Grobe

color and composition 2

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4.0L IS USM -
iso400 - f5.6 - 1/125

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4.0L IS USM - iso400 - f5.6 - 1/200 - Michael Grobe

There is some barrel distortion when the 24-105 is shot at the wide end, but a big part of it is “natural”: most of the beautiful houses in Goa haven´t seen a straight line, when they were built.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 24-105mm 1:4.0L IS USM - iso200 - f8.0 - 1/1250 - Michael Grobe

color and composition

Some abstract images, playing with smooth color and composition.
Also shot in Goa, India.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM -
iso800 - f5.0 - 1/160

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM -
iso800 - f7.1 - 1/200 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM -
iso200 - f5.0 - 1/1600 - Michael Grobe

the beaches of goa

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM -
iso200 - f8.0 - 1/4000

After a year working in Mumbai, in April 2008 I took the opportunity to relax a few days in Goa, together with a director and friend of mine. We stayed in Calangute, a very nice “hippie” part of Goa.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM -
iso400 - f6.3 - 1/800 - Michael Grobe

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L IS USM - iso800 - f7.1 - 1/1000 - Michael Grobe online

Canon EOS-20D - 28-70mm - iso100 - f5.0 - 1/800 - Michael Grobe

Finally after some sleepless nights of webpage design, is online.
I will post all sorts of photographies, either related to my profession as a VFX Supervisor for feature films and commercials or my personal joy to capture the moment.
Photography is one of my great interests since I was a child and I got my first camera from my father, a Rollei 35. Professionally I use (nowadays digital) camera as tools to gather information for VFX (visual effects) post production, like high dynamic range (HDR) environments or reference and texture images.
Some advise on equipment, techniques and workflows will follow. So I hope you enjoy the pictures and maybe get some ideas about visual effects and photography.
The site is still under construction, only roughly done and will get a few updates and obviously more pictures, which need further preparation before publishing.