Switzerland, August 9: Totensee Take Two — Gray is Gray

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Impressionism / Inspiration / Landscape / Monochrome / Photo Log / Photography / Switzerland


August 9, 2019; Totensee. The sky was subject to rapid mood shifts: this was shot just fifty-two seconds after the image in the last post.

It was post-processed after arriving home following a week in London immersed in Constable, Turner, and Monet. Rothko too, of course. Inspired by Constable’s clouds, Turner’s unfinished landscapes and seascapes, Monet’s monochrome* winter scenes, and a good dose of minimalism from Mr. Rothko, this is one version of what came out.

It was chilly — the coolest we got in Switzerland. It was humid — the mist was more like fine rain. It was near silent — this moisture in the air absorbed the sound of the nearby road.

And it was gray.

(Canon G7X II. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 2, Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

 *But not really. All his winter scenes have amazing color in them.

More fine-art photography at www.amagaphoto.com

The Author

California based fine-art photographer featuring abstract, impressionist, and minimalist seascapes — near and distant — and floral-based images. Fine-art photography can be seen at www.amagaphoto.com All original images on this blog are copyright 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 Michael Scandling. All rights reserved. No images on this site may be copied, duplicated, reused, published, or re-purposed in any way without express permission from the copyright owner, Michael Scandling.


  1. Because Totensee means “lake of the dead,” your title reminded me right away that there’s a painting of that name by Arnold Böcklin and a musical piece by Rachmaninoff inspired by the painting. Then I read past the first line of your post and found that you, too, bring up painting. Today’s photograph seems to have much more in common with Rothko than with Constable and Turner and even the late Monet. If it’s Rothko you’re after and ever visit Texas, Houston is home to the Rothko Chapel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Steve! You are a font of knowledge! I looked up the painting and discovered that it is actually Isle of the Dead. I will look up and listen to the Rachmaninoff piece. Not a rough chore, as I am a fan of Rachmaninoff. I’m glad you see the Rothko inspiration, but take a look at Turner’s unfinished landscapes and seascapes and Monet’s sort of monochromatic work and you’ll see some influence there too. As we used to say in advertising, a patented combination of ingredients. I blush to say that I was completely unaware of the Rothko Chapel. Its website says that it’s temporarily closed for renovation. However I dove into the archive section of the website and saw the incredible Rothko works inside. The chapel itself was somewhat inspired by the works that Rothko did for the Four Seasons Hotel, which are now in the Tate Modern in London. My wife and I just spent a long time basking in these beautiful works. We went to the Tate modern, mostly just to see these Rothkos. We were not disappointed. At any rate, I’m really glad you like the image I posted today.


      • I knew the painting is “Isle of the Dead” but I committed what I used to call a thinko (like a typo), because I was still thinking Totensee when I went to write the painting’s name.

        I know what you mean about some of those late Turners that are highly simplified and abstract. We saw lots of Turners from throughout his career at the Tate 20 years ago, and again some ten years ago when the Dallas Museum of Art put on a big Turner show.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do verbal thinkos all the time. (Verbos?) Ask my wife. Drives her crazy.

        We were at the Tate a little over a week ago. Swam in Turners. Just coming up for air now. A day later, we took a tour of Saint Pauls. The guide took us downstairs into the crypts. As we were standing next to Christopher Wren’s crypt and she was describing it, my mind wandered. I thought, “Turner must be buried here somewhere.” I looked down and saw that I was standing on his memorial. I immediately stepped back.


  2. Amazing how fog/mist can transform a scene, reduce contrast, and leave just the suggestion of the landscape. I haven’t been to the Tate in a long time, I’ve love to take in all those Turner paintings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mother nature is very good creating her own impressionism and abstraction. It still sometimes takes a bit of work to pull it out in post processing, however. Sitting in eight galleries of Turners is an amazing experience. And more than a bit overwhelming after a while.


  3. Who would think gray could be so shimmery and beautiful. Well, we all know that you do as you show us so often. I thought of you yesterday while snapping a fog lit scene with my phone. It certainly does make it possible to attain similar quality in an image despite the potential limitations of equipment. And, of course, the new digicams such as your G7X II are more than capable of capturing the beauty of most any scene in the proper hands…yours. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Grays like this are made up of so many colors – the full spectrum – maybe the quiet too had all the sounds in it, just blended together to make one uniform soundless tone. 😉 In any case, I like this, and it makes sense that it follows standing in front of the Turners and Monet’s and all.

    Liked by 1 person

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