Pexels Showcase #2: The story behind Markus Spiske’s bird’s eye shot of springtime Germany

Markus Spiske is a media designer and photographer based in Bavaria, Germany. In this interview he explains to our community what it takes to create a photo like the one above.

What is the story behind this photo?

I shot this photo during a hot air balloon ride in spring 2016. It was already my fourth ride with an hot air balloon. However, the most interesting ride up to now was a Transalp from Imst (AT) to Oderzo, Treviso (IT).

Also have a look at photos from that ride:
Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5

I planned the balloon ride because it strongly depends on the weather if you can do the ride or not but the photo itself is a random shot. I chose the subject because in general I like the bird’s eye perspective. The visual field is much broader, you can see much more than on the ground and you get impressive new perspectives.

The image shows my homeland, the Fränkische Schweiz, an area in Upper Franconia, Bavaria, Germany.

Which equipment and which settings did you use and why?

I used a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF24-70mm f/2.8 II USM.
The settings were:
– 1/6 sec. at f/22
– focal length: 24mm
– ISO: 320
For this kind of wide landscape panorama image there should be a relatively constant sharpness. I didn’t want „depth of field“. Thus I chose the smallest aperture (f/22) for this lens. To get the biggest image section I took the initial value of image distance (24mm) from my lens.

Did you do any post production?

I used Adobe Lightroom CC and applied lens corrections and Lightroom presets. I used a preset from PRESET PRO „Creative Collection“ Film Fade – called „Bright I“. The real colors appeared lifeless to me, without contrast.

What was the biggest challenge in creating this photo?

The most challenging thing was that I did the ride together with my two 10 year old nephews. During the ride, they got a little bored and tried a few things which you should rather not do at 800m in the air…

What is your advice to anyone trying to recreate such a photo?

Nothing special, but you should not be afraid of heights.

What motivates you to allow anyone to use your photos for free without any attribution?

In 2003 I began taking photos, learning by doing. Since 2006 I’m selling images on microstock agencies. By now, I gathered plenty of images which haven’t been accepted there.
Leaving them getting dusty over time was not an option. Thus, step by step, I started to provide them free for commercial use. More than 1075+ other images with CC-BY license are currently available on my web page At Pexels, Pixabay and Unsplash you can find another 350+ with CC0 license.

Anything else you would like to say?

I thank for this source. So many people can find such a huge number of excellent images for free and use them to create awesome designs for print, web, mobile or presentations going beyond the big global players in stock photography.

About Markus Spiske

My name is Markus and as of today, August 29th 2016, I have been on earth 16067 days.
I worked as an industrial management assistant for about ten years until I lost my job in the year 2000. It was an unexpected redemption because a new time with freedom, passion and happiness started for me. I did a second education as media designer (print design & web design/coder) and in 2003 I started with my own business. I’ve taught myself to make photos. Now I’m here…

Markus Spiske

Markus on the internet

Personal website:

About Pexels Showcase

Pexels Showcase is a format that puts the spotlight on the work of the most talented and most popular photographers on Pexels. We regularly present one exceptional photo and an interview with the photographer about the story of the photo and the techniques used in it’s creation.


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