2018-04-27: HAPPY BIRTHDAY SILJA!!!

... my sisters birthday ;-)

 

2018-04-27: Tenerife Gallery

I've been to the island of Tenerife recently. Tenerife, as Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and La Graciosa, which I've visited last year, is part of the Canaries, a group of islands on the west coast of Maroc and north-west of the Sahara desert, which politically belong to Spain, Europe, but geographically to Africa, of course. These islands are all very special, because of their volcanic origin. There are black beaches, active volcanos, weird colored stones and earth and a unique vegetation and wildlife. What makes Tenerife such a diversified photo-location, are it's three totally different mountains - quite strange on such a small island: There's the area around Spains highest mountain, the volcano Teide, 3.718m above sea-level and 7.500m above sea-ground, which is a science-fiction like plateau-landscape, made by huge volcanic eruptions. It's like walking on another planet up there. And even more strange (and with quite an impact on the human body) it is, to drive there in about an hour, starting at sea-level. Then there's the Anaga mountains, which look a bit like the Scottish highlands, only with tropical vegetation ... and higher. And last, there's the Teno mountains, with it's brusquely rocks, cloud forrests and trees covered with green moss. And all of this is surrounded by steep cliffs, descending into the Atlantic Ocean. A truly unique landscape.

I stayed on Tenerife for 11 days, drove around a lot in my little hired car, went hiking, lay on the beach ... and photographed a lot. The Canaries are famous for their moderate climate with temperatures around 20°C all year, hardly changing with the seasons, and regulary, but short rain-periods, usually not longer than an hour or two. It's also called the "pensioner-islands" in Germany ;-) I really had bad luck regarding this. Locals told me, they couldn't remember a time, when it had been raining this much this long. But on the other hand, for photography, this was great. As I learned on Lanazarote last year, on these volcanic islands, the rain suddenly makes plants turn green and the flowers come out everywhere and when the sun comes through again, the black and brown stones and earth are still wet and turn to every color imaginable from black to red and yellow and even blue, because of the metals and minerals that are bound in the cold lava.

Here's the new Gallery:

EM100366_1600x1200.jpg  Tenerife 2019 & 2007

This one is huge! It's not only A LOT of photos from this vacation, which I chose to show nonetheless, mainly to my family, who all have been there in the past, too, and liked it as much as I do, but also a selection of shots from the first time I visited this island in 2007. When looking through my new photos, I got curious, looked up the old folder again and decided to show these, too. These 2007 holidays and the photos from back then are in some way special ones to me, because just before we (I went there with my former girlfriend back then) travelled there, I decided to finally buy a digital SLR - my first one ever. Photography had been my hobby for many years, until I started studying (and not having money going along with that) at a time, where the fist practical digital cameras came up, but digital SLRs where far too expensive for me as a student. Maybe because of this, I did not live my hobby for a relatively long while... until this holiday and my Canon EOS 400D (Rebel XTI), which I bought for 700,- Euros together with the 18-55mm (non-IS) Kit-Zoom. This was a HUGE amount of money for me back then as a student, but I never regreted investing it, as it took me back to my beloved hobby. And, by the way, the camera is still working, even if I don't use it much any more. It's more of a nostalgic object now. But that's not because of it's image-quality. In fact, when looking through these photos I took really not knowing what I was doing with my fist digital camera back then and after seven or eight years without any photgraphic experience, I realized again, how little modern cameras have improved since then. If this was still my only camera, I'd be completely happy with it. I only don't use it anymore, because I now have several cameras more specialized to the things I use it for.

Back in 2007 all the pictures are taken with the 18-55mm (non-IS) kit-zoom and some with the old Canon EF 75-300mm 1:4-5.6 IS USM I still had from my film-days - Canon's very first image-stabilized lens and not that good by today's standards. It's the only lens from my analogue equipment which I don't own any more, having sold it for quality-reasons. You can identifiy these by their filenames, starting with "IMG_", followed by a 4-digit number.

The ones starting with "IMG_2019...", followed by a time-stamp, are made with my cellphone, an LG G6.

This year, I brought my travelling-equipment, as always: My Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and E-PM2 - bodies with a bunch of lenses. It's specialty is size and weight (two bodies, a big flash, two fast primes, a 90-300mm equivalent tele, two standard-zooms, an ultrawide, a fisheye, a super-zoom, 5 batteries, 6 filters, a macro-achromat, charger, plug and cards, an extra viewfinder and flash for the E-PM2, in a bag that's 23cmx20cmx16cm, fitting in a small backpack together with water, food and everything else I need for hiking), along with usability. Olympus bodies are complex, but once mastered, have one of the best userinterfaces and thought-through layouts on the market, along with extensive customization-options. And their color-rendition is among the best for my taste, too, along with Canon and Nikon. Used here are mostly the Panasonic 45-150mm 1:4-5.6 and the Olympus 14-42mm EZ Pancake-zoom. You can identify these by their filenames as well: Olympus-cameras (of course) allow customization of the filenames they produce and I changed it to start with "EM10..." and "EPM2...".

And finally, I brought my Sigma SD14 with the 18-200mm lens again, which I sometimes bring along for the very special colors it produces. I didn't really use it much this time, which I regret now. But still, there are some pictures, names starting with "SDIM...".

Enjoy!

 

 

2018-03-24: Simplification

The difference between a good picture and a bad one of course lies in its effect on humans perception. That can simply be the beauty of a given scenery or object, but often is less a matter of this, but more the subtle, sub-conscious effect, form or color has on it's viewer. Very simple expressions of such effects manifest in picture-making "rules" like the "rule of thirds": A picture of a landscape with the horizon in the middle is less pleasing to the human eye and brain, than when it's positioned roughly at 33% height. I can't explain why, but it's true and that's one of the simple rules most people know. I put "rules" in quotation marks, because, while these "rules" may be good reference points to start with, they really shouldn't be handled as static, dogamtic rules. Often a different approach may be far more creative and interesting. But of course there's many more ways of making a picture "work" and you do even need to do much more to make a really good picture instead of simply not making a bad one - and that's no matter if you take a photo or paint or sketch an picture. One very important of these techniques is simplification or reduction. A picture gets better, the less distracting junk is in it. This, of course, is a lot harder in photography than it is in painting. When taking a photograph, it's not only technically difficult sometimes to exlude things from your picture, simply because they are there, but it's also a problem with human emotions. When you look at a scene, you are often fascinated by all different kinds of things that are there, from small animals to flowers and stone-formations. You really have to get out of your way to ignore all the nice things you want to show, but focus on the things, that are not only nice, beautiful and fascinating, but the few ones that make your picture in the end. That's why people like fast and long lenses and why advanced amateurs sooner or later always want one: Fast apertures and long focal lengths create a blurred background and when the background melts away in a smooth blurr of colors, the picture usually tends to get stronger. That's why even not so great photographers automatically get better pictures from time to time with these lenses, even if it's by pure accident.

Another, more difficult and more deliberate, way to achieve the same effect, is to keep all the detail in a picture so small and subtle, that the simple, strong, underlying form is the first to have an effect on the viewer, while the detail is only perceptable on a closer look. Also see "How to shoot high detail scenes".

And further on, there are effects, that certain directions and placements of different forms have in a picture: Lines leading from the borders or corners into the middle lead the eye "into" the picture and make it better, while lines running TO the sides or corners lead the eyes out, which usually makes a picture weaker. A fluid, motion-like form, like a curved river, running from the lower left into the middle leads the eye exactly the way it flows. In the western world, we are used to reading from left to right, so this is the preferrable direction of any "flow" in your picture, as the viewer will tend to look at it this way. And again, when a picture is all about form, one should eleminate as much of everything potentially distracting the viewer from that form as possible.

When a picture is not about form, but all about color, there are also ways of making the colors work: For example warmer colors, like red and yellow, are always attracting the eye over cooler ones, so ideally the warmer colors in a picture should be the ones the picture is about. If there are cool colors, like blue or green, to show, ideally there shouldn't be any warm colors surrounding it. If green is dominating, you can also tweak your white-balance slightly towards orange, to make the greens look a little more yellow and warmer for example, what Canon or Nikon or Olympus cameras are great at and Sonys and Panasonics are not. 

All this, by the way, is, why I don't care about high-resolution cameras, if the camera I shoot has 10 or 50 Megapixels, and for the last 10 years have not once thought "if only my photo had more resolution", even with my old 10MP EOS 400D: Detail is rarely relevant for a good picture, as long as you don't take surveillance-photos or are a spy. Pictures are about composition, form, color, light, contrast and such, almost never about fine detail.

Of course, everything above surely is only a very small excerpt from all the things one could learn and apply to their pictures. All these are only the absolute basics, the simplest effects I had in mind, to explain what I'm trying to say. I strongly suggest reading good books about photography, to learn about these things, like Bruce Barnbaums "The art of photography" or the ebooks by Bruce Percy like "Simplifying Composition" or "Understanding light" or the HowTos by Ken Rockwell on his homepage, like "Using ultrawide-lenses" or "How to take better pictures". These will teach you a lot more on your way to making better photos than books about your camera-model or Photoshop.

But, to come back to the aforementioned reduction or simplification, these impacts on human perception are one reason, why macro- or at least closeup-shots often look so fascinating: At really short distances, like with very long or fast lenses, there's only very limited depth-of-field, so backgrounds are mostly blurred and one can more easily, or is even forced to, focus on the basic and primary elements of a picture. At the same time, you have a lot more possibilities to change the composition, positioning of your subject, the background you involve or exclude from your picture, and so on at close distances, just because you simply can change your shooting-position to a much better degree than for example when shooting a mountain-site. Moving around a mountain will mostly be more difficult than moving around a flower.

Here are some close-up shots where I tried to do exactly this: Reducing the picture as far as possible, to create a stronger effect on the viewer. In the ones of the frogs by only showing green and grey color, lighting the frogs itself (with a very reduced and diffused spotlight-flash) and blurring the background to highlight my subject; in the ones of the amphibians by reducing the form shown to some very simple basics and making the eyes lurking out ot the water only visible on second sight; in the one of the grey amphibian on the leaf by shooting it on a warm colored (yellow) leaf, adding a few highlights with a weak flash, and surround it as far as possible only by grey and blue (cool colors). In the one of the mantis (is it one?), I didn't really know what to do. I couldn't manage to light it good enough to make it pop out of it's surroundings without lighting everything else too, which would have looked boring and flat, so I tried to keep it abstract itself, only in shades of greenish-grey hanging from a black top, and "point" at it with the bright green leaf. Didn't work out too great, but I still like my idea ;-) The one of the eel looking out of the ground is a little different. I tried to show the interaction (or maybe even communication of some kind?) between the eel and the shrimp. Sadly, I couldn't really circumvent the blown-out (white) background, which sadly is really distracting. But so what, it's nature...

You find these shots in the RECENT SHOTS section of my GALLERY:

EM100865_1600x1200.jpg  EM100887_1600x1200.jpg

EM100881_1200x1267.jpg  EM100853_1600x1200.jpg

EM100893_1600x1200.jpg  EM100870_1600x1141.jpg

EM100859_1566x1200.jpg  EM100863_1600x1200.jpg

Enjoy!


2018-03-03: Butterflies

Butterflies are among my favourite animals. I find it simply incredible, what colors nature creates on these, well, caterpillars with wings. It's carnival here at the moment, with people in colorful costumes everywhere, but nature started this a long time ago ... and is better at it, still ;-)
You find these shots in the RECENT SHOTS section of my GALLERY:

EM100914_1600x1200.jpg   EM100906b_1379x1200.jpg

EM100872_1600x1104.jpg   EM100811_1600x1200.jpg

EM100819_1536x1200.jpg   EM100829_1600x1200.jpg

EM100881_1600x980.jpg   EM100841_1600x1200.jpg

EM100825_1600x1200.jpg   EM100889_1600x1200.jpg

EM100812_1320x1200.jpg   EM100845_1484x1200.jpg

EM100924_1200x1600.jpg   EM100922_1200x1600.jpg

EM100868_1200x1583.jpg   EM100927_1200x1600.jpg

EM100916_1600x1200.jpg 

All these are taken with my Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II with the Panasonic 40-150mm 4-5.6 lens at ISO 1600 or 3200, mostly on the long end at f/5.6, except for the ones with the turtles, which are taken at f/16 or 22 for a deeper depth-of-field to get the turtle's face and the butterfly in focus. People always want "fullframe"-cameras for shallower depth-of-field, but often forget, that even at 150mm at f/5.6 (300mm f/11 equivalent when used on mFT) at a distance of about 2m there's only a few centimeters / inches in focus already - look at the fourth picture of the black-and-white butterfly on the orange flower: It's wings were directed towards me at about 45 degrees, focus is on it's head and the wings are completely out of focus even at an f/11 equivalent DOF. I couldn't use a smaller aperture, because butterflies move way too fast to be shot at slower shutter speeds than a few hundreds of a second. For this type of shots, a smaller sensor is a real benefit.

Enjoy!

 

 

2018-02-03: Museum again

Today I spent an hour or so in the National Art Hall in Bonn before doing sports at the gym - a little training for the mind before training the body. The Art Hall isn't a regular museum with regular exhibits and a non-changing stock, but with changing exhibitions every few months. At the moment there is an exhibition about the German movie-industry of the earlier 1900's and how it influenced and was influenced by society, art, science and everything else. There are a lot of photographs and texts and old movies there, which I personally found - well, sorry - a bit boring. Nonetheless I took a few photos of the few not-flat objects there and added them to the existing Museums Bonn Gallery:

 

EM100834_1600x1200.jpg   EM100810_1600x1200.jpg

EM100827_1600x1200.jpg   EM100818_1600x1200.jpg

EM100815_1600x1200.jpg   EM100813_1600x1117.jpg

EM100819_1134x1600.jpg   EM100826_1600x1200.jpg

 

2018-02-02: Snow

And again, I had the chance to extend a business-trip by two days, this time to southern mid-Germany. The company I work for of course don't care, if I use my train-ticket on friday evening or on sunday - as long as it costs the same. So I try to take these chances to get away for a few days as often as I can. During the last weeks, there have been quite extreme amounts of snow in southern Germany. Some areas had even been declared "desaster-areas", because villages were cut-off by avalanches or were simply so snowed-in, that it was impossible to get in or out for a few days. Some roofs broke down under the weight of the snow, partly there was no electricity, telephone or internet ... well, you get the picture. The situation isn't difficult any more, but I really wanted to see a bit of that snowy winter-wonderland, when I was already nearby. While it wasn't as extraordinary as I hoped any more - it was even raining on that weekend - I still got a glance at some beautiful snowy landscapes.

I mostly bring my Panasonic GM1 on these trips, because the camera together with a spare battery, charger, two CPL- and two grad ND-filters (one for each lens), the tiny rectracable standard (12-32mm, 24-64mm equivalent) and tele (35-100mm, 70-200mm equivalent) lenses and a wideangle-converter, which gives great results on the 12-32, (resulting in an 8.5mm or 17mm equvalent lens), fit in a bag, smaller than two cans of soda. It might not be the best camera around, especially when it comes to color-rendition, but compared to it's size, imagequality is unbeatable. I have added these snapshots to the RECENT SHOTS section of my GALLERY:

20190126_150048_HDR_1200x1600.jpg  20190126_152056_HDR_1200x1330.jpg

P4420784_1599x1200.jpg  P4420783_1599x1200.jpg

P4420781_1599x1200.jpg  P4420779_1599x1200.jpg

P4420770_1599x1200.jpg  P4420787_1599x1200.jpg

P4420777_1185x1600.jpg  P4420768.JPG

P4420782_1200x1599.jpg  P4420777_1185x1600.jpg

P4420785_1599x1200.jpg  P4420766_1310x1200.jpg

P4420786_1599x1200.jpg  P4420764_1599x1200.jpg

P4420753_1200x1599.jpg  P4420757_1200x1582.jpg

P4420745_1600x1173.jpg  P4420742_1496x1200.jpg

 

2018-02-02: Part 2: The best camera is...

... always the (only) one you have with you. Two months ago, I uploaded a few snapshots made with my cellphone, an LG G6, trying to prove that. And now: Same city, same situation, same topic. Of course I would have been glad to have a real camera with me that day. If I had had the chance to coose, I'd probably have brought a medium format or at least a fullframe camera with a bunch of lenses. I would have used a tele for sure and maybe a standard-zoom and an ultrawide in some situations. But I didn't. I was there to take a walk on a sunny winter day. I didn't know, what opportunities for great photos would open up there. To have that kind of equipment with me, I would have had to carry at least 10kg of equipment. Probably more, since I didn't know, what would await me and I would have needed to bring a lot more stuff to be prepared for everything. Then, it wouldn't have been a walk, but a job. So, the only thing I had, was my cellphone again. So I used it. Again, that's what you get, when not having a real camera (all part of the RECENT SHOTS section of my GALLERY):

IMG_20190119_153539_1600x1200.jpg  IMG_20190119_143642_1600x1200.jpg

IMG_20190119_143138_1472x1200.jpg  IMG_20190119_143814_1600x944.jpg

IMG_20190119_143440_1600x1196.jpg  IMG_20190119_150432_1600x1200.jpg

IMG_20190119_153507_1122x1600.jpg  IMG_20190119_150242_1187x1600.jpg IMG_20190119_151650_1200x1403.jpg  IMG_20190119_150448b_1256x1200.jpg

 

2019-01-13: Museums Bonn

Today it's raining at around 0°C - not very nice weather to do anything outside on a sunday. So I decided to visit two museums in Bonn, Germanys former capital, the Art Museum and the German museum, which is a museum for everything technical made or invented in Germany (which often can be seen as pieces of art as well), that is originally located in Munich and huge, but with a small branch in Bonn. Here are a few pictures, all taken with either my Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II with the Olympus 45mm 1:1.8 or my Olympus E-PM2 with the Olympus 9-18mm. I have added the pictures to a new Gallery:

EM100809_1600x1200.jpg  Museums Bonn 2019

 

 

2018-12-17: Strasbourg 12/2018

When I had the chance to extend a business-trip to south-western Germany, I took it and went to the french city of Strasbourg, which was only 30km away, for an evening and the following morning.

It was the first day after the city had been opened to visitors again, after, on Tuesday the 11st of December, a man for some idiotic religious reasons suddenly had started shooting in the city and killed five people as for today, many more have been injured. I really hesitated to go there at that time, but when I was finally there, I was sure it had been the right thing to do. The military and police guarding the city were exceptionally calm, kind, polite, open, friendly, always smiling and even as discreet as possible in any imaginable way and had a great understanding of the special emotional situation, while having to search every man, woman and child, all their bags, strollers, ... well, everything, for weapons before letting them enter the city. There were heavily armed military with automatic weapons and police literally everywhere and it didn't matter. All people were as kind, calm and understanding as the guards themselves and the mood was solely peaceful, loving and christmassy. On the crime scenes, were candles were lit and photos and words of condolence had been placed for the victims and their families, noone took any photographs, every single one of the hundreds of thousands of visitors stopped for a moment, silenced completely, lowered their heads, paused a few seconds in commemoration and respect before silently passing on. It was good to be there, to show presence and not being frightened on the one hand, as well as to having been part of that very special mood on that very special place at that very special time in that beautiful city on the other.

I have added the photos I took with my cellphone and my Panasonic GM1 with the 35-100mm 1:4-5.6 lens to a seperate Gallery again. About half of the pictures is handheld night-shots at very high ISOs, because most of the time I have been there, it was dark. But I think I managed to catch a bit of that christmas-mood, this exceptional city gave me for the first time this year.

20181216_125651_HDRb_1600x1200.jpg Strasbourg 12/2018

Enjoy!

 

2018-12-11: Maintenance / Galleries resortet

When checking, if the update of my Underwater Gallery works, I realized, how many different Galleries I have actually added in the last one or two years and how far you have to scroll down to get to the newest ones. I resorted these, so that you find the "Standard" Gallery on top, followed by the Underwater Gallery, which both are not limited to a location or time but get updated constantly, and then the ones that are, newest on top. For some reason the Recent Shots section was not in there at all any more, so I added it again.

 

2018-12-11: New underwater-photos and a few more

I went to Egypt again this year to catch a bit sun towards the end of the year, before winter and hopefully beautiful snow will manage to take over the until-then mostly cold, cloudy and rainy Germany. I primarily went there for scuba-diving, as I do nearly every year for a while now, and have added a lot of photos (around 60!) to my existing Underwater Gallery (you may have to scroll about half way down to get to the new ones).

PC040681b_1600x1200.jpg   PC030529_1600x1200.jpg

PC030547_1389x1200.jpg   PC060913_1600x1200.jpg

PC010333_1097x997.jpg   PB300238b_1217x1200.jpg

PB300300_1200x1320.jpg   PC020397_1200x1449.jpg

Many more in the Underwater Gallery...

All photos are taken with an Olympus TG-1 compact camera (which itself is waterproof up to 12m) in an original, very compact underwater-housing (PT - "some number") with one (for handling-reasons, I actually own two) Intova SS2000 fully manual underwater-flash on a flexible plastic-arm, triggered by the cameras internal flash via glass-fibre cable, and a Sea&Sea underwater wide conversion lens originally built for Nikonos underwater film-cameras. The wide-conversion lens works fine on the housing with the camera set to 1.6x zoom-ration, which is around 39mm equivalent, and has a 0,46x widening-effect, so the combination results in a focal length of around 18mm. Taking the higher refraction index (or easier: "magnification") of water vs. air into account, which is around 1.33x, I get the field of view of aproximately 24mm with this, which is the perfect focal length for my type of underwater-shooting. Of course, zooming is still possible with the lens attached. Quality is quite fine with the conversion lens, except from the far corners of the image, but underwater you mostly keep cropping your photos a bit anyway. And because water is rarely competely clear, but always has particles "flying" around, distortions due to temperature differences, and so on, while you mostly use ISO 100 or 200 with the flash, the lower overall quality of the compact camera vs. a DSLR or DSLM doesn't really matter, too - you simply wouldn't see the difference as long as not shooting in absolutely perfect conditions. I'm perfectly happy with this cheap equipment and it's a lot smaller and lighter than anything with a bigger sensor would be.

 

And finally a few single landscape-shots from the hotel or some diving-sites. You find these and more in the RECENT SHOTS section of my GALLERY:

PB300310_1600x1200.jpg   IMG_20181203_074021_hdr_1600x1200.jpg

IMG_20181201_105646b_1550x1055.jpg   IMG_20181201_105631_1600x900.jpg

Enjoy!

 

2018-11-18: A photo by my father

When writing the last post, I just rememebered, that I always wanted to show this photo my father took with his cellphone on a sailing ship a few weeks ago. My father was the one introducing me to photography when I was a little kid, by giving me my first SLR (a Contax 137 with a fantastic Yashica 50m f/1.7 lens, which I both still own and sometimes use today) after I had persistently kept taking his Leica from him whenever I had the chance, and with that, giving me my longest-lasting hobby ever - thank you!

IMG-20180922-WA0010.jpg

 

2018-11-18: Autumn still

Last weekend I hoped, that autumn would still be as colourful as then this week and that the weather-forecast would be right. It is and it was. The weather was great today, even though very cold already, and it was probably the last chance to take photos of autumn-leaves on the trees, which are already mostly blank. And so I had a few very nice hours in the woods today at around 0 °C and got the chance to enjoy stomping through dry, fresh leaves on the ground with the low autumn-sun throwing shades from the trees even at noon and listening to nothing but birds and the wind in the trees - something that becomes extremely rare, when you're living in a city, as I realized. In a city, there's always noise from something man-made, or at least from other people. This morning I drove a bit on small streets, parked my car and started walking into the forrest - not on a trail, but simply into the woods. There was noone else there and no sound by anything man-made. These have been extremely relaxing 3 hours with my camera. The place was not one full of unique photographic opportunities, but I tried to catch what faszinated me: The colourful autumn-mood and relaxing calmness - it isn't exactly quiet in the woods, because of all the sounds from the wind in the trees, birds and other animals, but calm.

To start another, whole different topic here: I remembered again, why I love Canon digital cameras: Color! Canon (and Nikon and to some degree Olympus) are still worlds from Sony or other brands when it comes to color-rendition, and that's straight out of camera. Sony might build by far the best cameras today from a purely technical perspective, but from an artistic view, I could never change. Sony builds fabulous consumer-electronics and so has all the knowledge and ressources to do the math and engeneering and measurements right, but brands like Canon and Nikon build cameras for and with photographers for decades now and simply know, how a picture should look, to have that *BAM* Sonys just lack.

All pictures are taken with a more than 10 year-old EOS 7D (Mark I) with 140k shutter actuations and a 100,- € Sigma 18-250mm.

I have added the photos to a seperate AUTUMN 11/2018 section of my GALLERY and have added the ones from the post below, too. 

7D1_6688_1600x1067.jpg  AUTUMN 11/2018

 

2018-11-11: Autumn...

 ... has finally arrived and the leaves are turning to every color imaginable from green to red, changing color with the changing light to thousands of different shades of all these colors within minutes. Sadly, the weather - and with it the light - is quite bad for photography at the moment. I really hope, that the forrest is still that beautiful next weekend when there should be a bit sun according to the forecast.

I took a few photos from my terrace an hour ago - just a few quick snapshots, which is why composition isn't always that great, e.g. the line of bushes on the lower image-border in the last one shown here, which should have been broader in order to balance with the sky on top.

I have added these to the RECENT SHOTS section of my GALLERY.

IMG_9753b_1200x1282.jpg  DSC09194_1375x1200.jpg

IMG_9766_1600x1067.jpg  IMG_9763_1600x1067.jpg

IMG_9762_1167x1600.jpg   DSC09204_1063x1600.jpg

 

2018-11-10: Brussels

When I had to change my original plans for last weekend, I just opened Google Maps on my phone and zoomed out, looking for places to visit. Then I realized, how close Brussels, the capital of Belgium and somehow of the European Union, too, is to my new hometown. I had never been there so far, even though it is such an important city for Europe and therefore Germany. And when I saw, that I could go there by train in under two hours even without any stop-over, I resolutily booked a room and trainticket and went there for a long weekend. 

Have a look at my "Brussels 11/2018" Gallery. There's too many pictures to show on this mainpage. It's a great city, probably among the nicest in Europe. It has a very unsual mixture of old Venetian Baroque, Art Nouveau and modern Glassfront-buildings. And visiting the European Parliament, where in fact 95% of all political changes in every European country come from, should have been on my list for a long time anyway.

P4420468b_1599x1200.jpg  Brussels 11/2018

All pictures taken with my cellphone or my Panasonic GM1, which, to be honest, really isn't such a good camera. Especially, while technical imagequality is great in tests, I find it's color rendering only hardly acceptable, even after severe tweaking of the white balance presets, and it's menu-system horrible, both much like Sony - but that's only me, of course. In my opinion, this is what happens, when a consumer-electronics company starts building cameras instead of Blueray-players. But nonetheless the GM1 is still the camera with the best imagequality-to-size&weight ratio ever produced. I knew I would walk around a lot and wanted a camera to fit in the pocket of my jacket. That's what I bought it for, together with it's tiny retractable kit-lens and the marvelous retractable 35-100mm tele (70-200mm equivalent).

Enjoy!

 

2018-10-31: The best camera is...

... always the (only) one you have with you. In my case last weekend: My cellphone, an LG G6, which I love for it's two lenses. Other than the IPhone Plus, LG uses an extreme, partly uncorrected (distorting) Ultrawide as the second lens, while Apple uses a normal lens around 50mm equivalent (they call it "tele", but it isn't) besides the usual wideangle-lens you find in every cellphone (the manufacturers call it "normal", but it isn't, it's always in the 28-30mm-equivalent range). I find an ultrawide much more usefull than a normal lens when already having a moderate wideangle. While being the "normal" focal length, that should be roughly matching the central human vision, I barely use focal lengths around 50mm, even if I have it, e.g. in a zoom. I always seem to tend to use standard-zooms on the extreme ends, the only exception for me being landscape-shots in the mountains - I don't know why. And of course, for people it's "the longer the lens, the better" (at least to a certain degree), but I don't shoot people very often.

So, this is, what you get from a smartphone today (or better: "Got in 2016"), all cropped and processed with a free app in the phone itself, all in fully automatic JPG mode - I didn't even bother using the "professional" mode (meaning the mode with a lot of possible adjustments) or shooting RAW (what the phone actually can):

 

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These are part of the RECENT SHOTS section of my GALLERY.

 

2018-10-25: Summer-Hike in October in Germany

Last weekend I went hiking near my new home, a trail called the "Apollinaris-Schleife". I did this, because I had been invited to and though it might be a good opportunity to photograph autumn colors in the incredibly forrested and partly insanely beautiful surroundings of my new hometown - something I was and am already regretting to not having done so far, simply because I'm too lazy after work at the moment - also see "Laziness". But the hike turned out to be quite boring with only a few nice views during a five-hour walk. Apart from that, I realized, that, on October the 22nd, autumn had not even really arrived yet, after this hottest and longest summer I can remember in my whole "not-really-all-that-short-any-more" life. The leaves where mostly still bright green and on the branches and only a few distant spots had turned to that colorful explosion autumn usually creates in Germany. Only the sun standing low above the horizon even at noon gave a hint about the actual season. Strange. This really feels like more than a two-degree-celsius climate-change already. Of course I brought a camera and took a few photos, which I have added to the RECENT SHOTS section of my GALLERY

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Enjoy!

 

2018-10-26: Selecting used lenses to buy

I buy most of my photo-equipement used on ebay. It's always a risk, but if you know how to win at ebay, know what auctions and wordings to avoid (e.g. "untested" on ebay always means "defective", which is one of the easiest "codes" people use on ebay, or "cleaning marks" means "scratches" and so on) and don't want your new item tomorrow or even next week and so are able to wait for the one opportunity to make a great deal and loose a few auctions in between and are willing to take the risk of getting a sample you don't like and having to resell it, this saves a lot of money - even more so, if you are able to fix smaller issues yourself. I own two Canon L f/2.8 fullframe-ultrawides (a 20-35 and a 17-35), one in good, one in near-mint condition, that cost less TOGETHER than my Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4-5.6 IS new, which is the cheapest ultrawide available, as far as I know for any system on the market. The one big disadvantage is, that you usually can't return a used item for a replacement, at least not to private sellers. Defective items described as working are not a problem, as long as you use paypal and therefore get buyer-protection, but if you just get a bad sample, you are completely lost, while with Amazon, you just return it without giving a reason and order anotherone - your refund will usually even have arrived, before the money for the second one is transferred. Of course, that's more of a problem with gear, that potentially has a broader range of quality between samples of the same item - which mainly is lenses. Tamron and Sigma, for example, have extremely poor sample-consistency, with samples of the same lens variing fom professional quality to nearly looking broken in comparison. 

While looking through my lenses and testing one or two, I realized one important hint that helps raising your chances of getting a good sample of a lens: While collectors always try to get and pay premium for the ones with the lowest serial-numbers possible, if you actually want to use your lens, you should always do the complete opposite. Even if a lens is sold completely unchanged in name and construction for years or even decades, that doesn't mean, that nothing is changed in the production-process. There are always improvements made to production, in order to optimize cost and/or quality. And in that process, even if aimed at cost-reduction, the output automatically gets better. That's simply a matter of experience and optimization and how human brains work and happens with everything being made the same way for a long time - people get better at what they do every day they do it. In sports, you call this training.

I have owned a sample of one of the latest first-generation Canon 18-135mm 4-5.6 IS (non-STM, non-USM) and 55-250mm 4-5.6 IS (non-STM), two lenses tested considerably worse that their respective replacements (the STM and/or USM-Versions) consistently by many review-sites. Both where a lot better than their test-results and even a bit better than many samples of the newer, far better tested versions. My Tamron 10-24mm with a serial-number starting with 2... is a lot better than my first sample starting with 1.... My Sigma 18-125mm with serial-number 3... is worlds shaper than my now broken one with serial-number 1... was, as is my 2... 18-250mm compared to the 1...-sample, a friend of mine owns. I have never experienced this the other way round, except from a completely decentered sample of a Tamron lens, but that was simply a combination of a production defect and poor quality control. You get the idea. What I want to say with all this:

First, pick the lens and version of a lens you want. For example, there are a lot of different versions of the Sigma 12-24mm, which really have a different optical and mechanical construction, with different optical characteristics (more corner-sharpness vs. more distortion).

THEN try to find the version you want with the highest serial-number you can get! Of course, that doesn't guarantee a good sample, but you raise your chances of getting a good one by a huge degree! 

P.S.: Feel free to transfer me half the money I just saved you as a Donation ;-)

 

2018-10-13: What I did since April


Well, I changed my life.

In April, short after my last post here, I was offered a new job... and took it. From there, things flew by. I had to find a new home, which I accomplished in May and could move in by July 1st. Till then, I had to quit my old job and finish my last project there (I did only have half a week of vacation-days left or so), tell my friends and family, buy a new (old) car, pack all my things, motorcycles, parts for the latter, my old convertible, tools, photography-equipment, computers, Hifi-equipment, scuba-diving equipment (yes, I'm a bit crazy about things I like, which are things that keep myself or my mind or both in motion) and move my whole life, which, as I realized, hadgotten quite versatile during the last decade or so, about 250km to the south-west, to a city, I knew only from three one-day-visits and where I had no friend, family or social contact at all. The whole relocation, including the renovation of my new home, happened between the end of June and the 12th of July, followed by two days of weekend, before I started my new job on the 16th.

New jobs always mean a lot of work and effort to acclimatize, because you are the new one and don't know anything - which I really hate. On the weekends and after work, I first had to organize the things you are used to in a city you live in, like finding a supermarket I like, a place to do sports, a garage I trust, explore the city itself, and so on. My sister, who lives in Australia, visited my family for a few weeks ........ and so time flew by. 

As you can imagine, there wasn't much time or brain-ressources for my hobbies and that's perfectly fine. I changed my life and that was more than a hobby could ever be. 

But nonetheless, of course I tried to explore my surroundings and took a few photos now and then. I have added a whole bunch to the RECENT SHOTS section of my GALLERY.

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Have fun!

 

2018-04-14: Easter

A little late, but I've taken some photos when I spent the Easter-weekend at my parents' by the sea. You find these in the "Recent shots" section of my Gallery.

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2018-03-09: I'm back, new Gallery

So I have returned from my holidays. Mainly I went to Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands just west of the southern coast of Marok, Africa, but politically belonging to Spain, Europe. From there I took trips to Fuerteventura, La Graciosa and Los Lobos, three other islands of the Canaries. Tenerife is also great, but I've been there in 2007, so I skipped it this time with an eye on my limited vacation-days. As I went alone, this was a perfect opportunity for photography - except from trying surfing and a bit of scuba diving to relax, I drove around in my rented car and/or went hiking. As always when travelling light, I brought my micro-four-thirds-equipment, at this time consisting of an OM-D E-M10 Mark II and an E-PM2 with a bunch of lenses, all especially picked for their small size and weight, as well as my new toy, a Sigma SD14 with only one lens, an 18-200mm "superzoom". This was a good reminder of why I bought an mFT-system in the first place: The Sigma DSLR with one tiny lens (by APS-C-Standards, of course: The Sigma 18-200mm is hardly any bigger than a typical 18-55m KIT-lens by Canon or Nikon), charger and spare battery takes almost as much space and is almost as heavy as my complete mFT-system with two bodies, two standard-zooms, a tele-zoom, an ultrawide, a fisheye, two fast primes and a TTL-flash... add a bottle of water, some cookies and a towel and I was walking around with 12kg on my back *gulp*.

When I bought the E-M10 II, I just kept my old E-PM2, because it is a fantastic camera and the smallest one I know, that can fully replace a DSLR in my opinion. I always intended to use (and bring) them alternatively: The E-M10 II when size and weight were important, but not first priority by all cost, for shooting-convenience when I would be glad to have a great, big and bright finder and tons of direct controls I can adjust without even taking the camera off my eyes, and the E-PM2 for absolute minimum size and weight. In reality, I ended up always using them both at the same time. I normally had a standard-zoom or an collapsible ultrawide on the E-PM2 and a tele-zoom on the E-M10 II. I had never thought of that before, but I really learned to appreciate, how comfortable it is, not having to switch lenses: I had each in one leg-pocket of my cargo-hiking-pants and an additional lens in another pocket - and whatever lens I wanted to use, I just pulled out the camera with the lens already on it - great! That's another unbeatable advantage of the tiny mFT-system. If there hadn't been the Sigma around my neck or in the backpack, it could almost have gotten convenient ;-) But after all I am glad having hauled around this, too. It's colors are truly special, my sister called it "retro", which seems to be quite a good description. I have pictures made with the Sigma in this Gallery and the camera is named in the filenames. So see for yourselfs, before I manage to write my review.

These islands, especially Lanzarote, are crazy: As it is of volcanic origin, the world seems to turn upside-down there. No wonder, that several Hollywood-science-fiction-films have been made here: The sand and earth are sometimes black as coal, and while on cloudy days or in harsh light at noon everyting is just grey-brown-black, good light, like the evening sun, brings out all the minerals and metals in the frozen lava and turns the mountains red or yellow or orange or black or all at the same time. Even if I didn't feel that way at first, I really got lucky, too: In two weeks I got 4 of the usual anual 2 raining-days on the island... but as a result, all the plants and flowers were emerging from the dark earth, adding green and purple and all sorts of other colors to the landscape. It was just magical sometimes, when yellow flowers broke through the black, burnt earth. 

See for yourselfs. I've added a new "Canary Islands 2018" section to my Gallery.

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Enjoy!

Please excuse the huge number of pictures. These places were so surreal and fascinating, that I have at least two times as much photos as you find in this Gallery, that I count as "keepers". I really had a very hard time sorting out and will probably find some, that I really want to add, every time I look through them. I normally promise to sort out (meaning: "delete") more and more pictures as time goes by and the glowing memories fade and rational judgement kicks in again - and indeed, I really do. Normally. I won't promise anything this time, but at least I'll try.

 

 

 

2018-02-09: Sigma SD14

I've got myself a new toy, a DSLR made by Sigma, an SD14. It's - in fact every Sigma camera's - innards differ significantly from any other camera on the market, by utilizing a very special image-sensor, which was developed by a small company named Foveon and is now made by Sigma themselves. What makes this sensor special, in short terms, is, that it has three layers for each base-color (red, green and blue) to record each of these colors seperatly for each pixel. Common sensors used in every other camera, in comparison, are really only "seeing" black and white, while the single pixels are painted in one of these colors: The first pixel is red, the second blue, and so on - the so called "Bayer-pattern". The missing colors are then afterwards calculated by the processor of the camera by what it thinks should be the correct color-value, because of knowing the surrounding colors: If, for example, the surrounding ten green pixels give high values, it guesses, that the one dot in the middle, which is painted blue and delivers no value, must be a green dot, too.

I bought the SD14 used on ebay for exactly that reason: The "Foveon X3"-sensor is said to deliver a very special color reproduction - and I kind of liked the samples I had seen on the internet. And as the used prices for these cameras are quite low, I decided to try it myself.

So, after the first 90 minutes of using it, I can honestly say, that this is the worst camera I have ever used in my life. It's REALLY slow - and by that I mean ANNOYINGLY slow: It takes several seconds before you can even only see the picture you've taken on the display and then another 3 or 4 seconds before you can hit play, zoom or - and that's worst - do anything else, because in this time, it locks all the other controls, menus, and so on. It's relatively big and heavy, it has near to no modern features like Auto-ISO, it's light meter is catastrophic, needing corrections for every new scenery, it has awful image-quality at ISOs of 400 and higher, it's JPEG-processing delivers awful results, so it's the first camera I shoot RAW in general usage, which I generally hate for the slow workflow, but even worse, you have to use Sigmas own RAW-processor, which is, of course, old-fashioned, uncomfortable and slow, too. The camera itself is a pain to use, because the controls are clunky and it's ergonomics are awful: E.g. the adjustment-wheel around the shutter button is made of hard plastics while being too stiff to flip easily with one finger....... but if you learn to deal with these flaws, which I did surprisingly quick when I think of it, it really delivers very special images, as I expected, looking... well, simply different than my Canons or Olympus' or, well, any other camera using a Bayer-sensor. And indeed, I tend to like this "Sigma-look".

I've added these few first samples to the "Recent shots" section of my Gallery. Decide for yourselfs!

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2018-01-28: New Gallery Alps 2017/2018

As my job took a lot of time in the past months, I didn't - and don't - manage to use as much time on my hobbies (like photography), as I would like to. But I spent Christmas and New Year's in Bavaria this year, staying at my aunt and uncle's with short trips to the surroundings of the small city they live and my mother and the whole bunch of 6 kids grew up in, near Munich. And of course I took a camera with me. My mother's whole remaining family met there, including my sister, who normally lives in Sydney, Australia. We even had the chance to go skying once on a beautiful sunny day with fresh snow from the night before - the last time I did this was nearly 30 years ago, when my sister and I took a one week course in the holidays with my parents as kids. Believe it or not: I came down the mountain several times without any greater injuries - maybe not very elegant, but without a scratch. You can look at a few photos in the new "Alps / Bavaria 2017/2018" section of my Gallery.

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2017-10-14: Update: Zoolights 2017

Some additional photos in the "Zoolights 2017" section of my Gallery.

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2017-10-08: Some random shots and ZOOLIGHTS 2017

I've added a few casual photos from the Japanese Garden in Düsseldorf to the Recent Shotssection of my Gallery.

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Apart from that I defeated laziness yesterday and went to the zoo in my hometown to see the "Zoolights 2017", a couple of light installations in ... well, the zoo. It was raining cats and dogs (...when I went to the zoo... nice picture ;-)) and it was cold, but I did it. My trousers, shoes, socks and underwear were dripping-wet, as was my EOS 5D Mark II and two of my lenses, but survived it without any problems. 

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This all maybe isn't great art, but I was kind of in a photo-mood after my last holidays.

So... enjoy :-)

 

2017-09-30: New Gallerys


As I try to do every year, I've been to the mountains on a motorcycle trip a few weeks ago. This holidays started a bit annoying, because my car broke down after 1.400km in Italy on my way there. But when it seemed to be clear, that the insurance would take care of everything and the only cost I would have, was loosing my car, it slowly turned into what it should have been all the way: Holidays ;-) I like to think of this as bringing my car back to where it was born...  to die.

Apart from that, it was a magnificent holidays: I really like the mountains of northern Italy, especially the Dolomites. The Friuli is a bit further east and while being similar shaped in general, this piece of earth is a lot more subtle, smooth, curvy and and lovely, with more forrest, the Dolomites are more dramatic and "edgy".

As always, I had my tiny Panasonic GM1 with me, simply for it's size/quality ratio, along with my cellphone, and took a lot of photos. And what should I say - other than mostly after such occasions, I wasn't disappointed by my results this time. I do not have to learn to like my ownp photos, but am stunned by what I have created. I know, that this isn't an objective way of judging my work, because the memories are still fres h, but I simply can't help right now. This means for you, thst you have to click through A LOT of shots this time - I simply wasn't able to reduce this Gallery further to the around 30-50 shots,  I usually try to sort-out per session. With time going by, enthusiasm will vanish and cool judgement will set in. And the photos will become less. So, as always, this Gallery is dynamic.

You can visit it right here:

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Because I already was in Italy and not far from Venice (it's only about 200km from the mountains), my aunt and I decided to use one of the rainier days to visit the international art exhibition of the Biennale 2017 - which is being held there this year. It's the same with these photos and since I didn't want to make the Friuli Gallery even bigger, I created a seperate one for these:

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 Have fun!

 

2017-04-30: Spring's fighting the frost

While around easter it already looked like if spring would have taken over and summer was approaching, the frost came back and it's freezing again at night in Germany, at least in the northern mid-west, where I live. But today was nice again and I took my old convertible to drive around the green landscape and take a few photos. I have added these, as well as some shots from the last weeks, to the Recent shots - section of my Gallery.

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Some of these are made with my latest lens, the Laowa 15mm f/4 (review to come), a chinese lens for fullframe, which can be focussed to 1:1 Macro (!). I love "Ultrawide-Macro-Shots", like I have until now done with my Sigma EX 20mm f/1.8. This Laowa lens is a bit different though. It focusses a lot closer and has an insanely wide angle of view with 15mm an fullframe, but in exchange it's slower and if you really want to utilize the 1:1 capabilities, the object you shoot literally touches the front lens. I don't know for sure yet, but I seem to like the Sigma more, especially since you can use the fast 1.8 aperture to create this particular "macro" look by blurring the background. But well, decide for yourself, all the close-ups here, like the one on the upper right and lower left, are taken with it.

Enjoy!

 

2017-03-27: New photos, updated Gallerys

I've just returned from Egypt, where I enjoyed a few early hours in the sun and went scuba diving. Of course this wasn't primarily a photo-vacation, but I have taken a few shots nonetheless, which I have added to my Underwater Gallery and the Recent shots - section.

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Enjoy!

 

 

2016-12-21: Old Gallery, new photos

I had a few days of vacation left to take this year and spontaneously decided to go to Egypt again and dive a week in the Red Sea. As always, it was amazing. It's four to five hours flight from the northern mid-west of Germany, where I live, and I'd say, you won't find better conditions for scuba-diving within 15 hours flight-time. Of course I brought my underwater-photo-equipment and besides the fact, that my flash seems to have gone to ... well, wherever flashes go after they die, I have taken a few photos, of which I share a small collection in my Underwater Gallery.

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Enjoy!

 

 

2016-11-12: Back online!

*Whew* Finally my page is online again. My webhosting provider, 1and1, killed the installation of my content management system, meaning "the program I build this website with", by trying to update it to a newer version ... which didn't work. My page was completely unreachable for several weeks and all content, every text I ever wrote, every picture I had ever published, was gone. It was a real shock. After a few weeks and some not very tempting phonecalls with their customer service ("Ohh, you will be informed later, but this does not look very good"), I finally and suddenly got an email saying "your page is back online". I think that's what makes a good service: Not the fact, that mistakes happen - maybe how often, but not "if". Electronics fail and men fail. That's a fact and always the same and always will be. Heck, even the spaceshuttle exploded! But how a company manages to correct their mistakes is what makes the difference. And 1and1 in fact did fix it. All by themselves. Job done! Kept a customer!

 

2016-11-12: New Gallery, new photos

With my page back online, the first thing I did now was, to finally publish another GalleryCorfu 09/2016 is a small collection of shots from my last vacation in September.

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Appart from that, I have uploaded 3 or 4 shots from the last weeks to the "Recent Shots"section of my Gallery.

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Enjoy!

 

 

2016-07-14: New Gallery

Finally my first holidays with real photo-opportunities this year, except for some underwater-shots from the Red Sea / Egypt in spring: Our annual family-motorcycle-trip to the mountains took us only 300km (200 miles) from my home this year, to the Harz mountains in the northern middle of Germany. Adding to my mother not wanting to travel too long, I had to interrupt my holidays for two days of work, which left only 5 days of real vacation, apart from the travelling days. The Harz is not a very dramatic mountains, but more like soft hills covered with very deep forest, sprinkled with lakes. Adding to that, there are some cities with very old buildings from the middle-age, which have not been destroyed during WW2, like most of the rest of Germany has. So, despite not being a very stunning or dramatic photo-journey and me only having 5 days of real vacation, I have taken a few photos with my tiny Panasonic GM1 and my cellphone, which I have added to the new "Harz 2016" - section of my Gallery. Enjoy!

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2016-05-17: My father's 70th birthday

Restricted access, Login required!

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2016-05-22: Newer Update second - just for now

My family still has to find my restricted Gallery with the shots from my father's birthday, so everything else comes second ... like the few not-really-all-so-special shots I've added to theRecent shots - section of my Gallery. These are some single photos of the landscape where I live, in the northern mid-west of Germany, taken while having a walk and enjoying the first warm spring-days. I have added two landscape-photos from the above Family-Gallery, like the one right above this post, to the Recent shots, too. Enjoy!

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2016-05-01: Happy Birthday Georg!

It's my godfather Georg's Birthday, so: The best wishes and all the luck and happiness imaginable for you!!!

Here are some flowers ;-) (also to be seen in the  "Recent shots" section of my Gallery):

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2016-04-24: April

Here in Germany, there are a few sayings about April and weather and sometimes I realize, that sayings don't spread over tens and hundreds of years without any background: Today the most beautiful sunshine with a perferct blue sky and not one cloud changes to stormy-black clouds and heavy hailing within minutes. I'm fascinated but such phenomena, but didn't really know what to do with it, so I went to the botanical gardens in my city to see, if there'd be something to shoot. I brought my 5D with the Sigma EX 20mm f/1.8 and my 50D with the Tamron 90mm Macro and so was prepared for everything. I mainly used the ultrawide-combination - not a great shooting, but a few nice snaps of spring fighting the last moments of winter. You find these in the "Recent shots" section of my Gallery.

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2016-04-09: Using time

Having to wait and being forced to do nothing, which is one of the things I really hate, but at least with the free WiFi, a huge coffeeshop-chain offers, I just deviced to stop searching total nonsense randomly on the internet, but doing something at least marginally productive: I have transferred several photos from the "Recent shots" section of my Gallery to the "Standard Gallery". Photos from a year ago can hardly be called "recent", I know, and since I haven't deleted them over this period, I seem to like them somehow...

Oh yes, deleted a few, too.

BTW: I'm surprised, that I can really do all this from my cellphone without any bigger drawbacks - never tried this before!

 

2016-04-02: Spring's here

Finally, spring's arrived in Germany. Today you could spend time outsides without a jacket and the sun was shining until afternoon.

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I had my Panasonic GM1 with me, tweaked as good as I can to my color-taste, and uploaded a few shots to the "Recent shots" section of my Gallery. The colors in the "Vivid" picture mode I used are wild, especially when underexposed by 2/3 stops, like I prefer in bright sunlight: All of these are straight out of camera, only cropped a bit.

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I honestly don't generally like -or let go "prefer"- the -I don't know a better word for it- "technical" look, all Panasonic-cameras I've tried produce, which changes to kind of "Comic-like" when set to "Vivid" picture style. I managed to tweak this a bit towards my warmer, friendlier color-taste, especially I nearly got rid of the hard, cold blueish tone-rendering of greens and browns Panasonic sadly shares with Sony, by alterning Whitebalance to A(mber)2 & M(agenta) 1. But it still is different from Canon, Nikon and Olympus - worse in my opinion: To my taste, for most of the pictures I want to produce, in most occasions. But still you, of course, can use the "Comic-like color explosion", when you aim at pictures and choose subjects, where ... well ... of course, color dominates... This is fun, if I have the opportunity to do this. My problem only is, that I, as an amateur landscape-, often travel-photographer, mostly want to build a picture around the subject or scene I want to capture and make it "work" as a picture, as opposed to the planning to take one kind of picture and look for possibilities to do so.

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But as I said, to specifically shoot this style of photos still is a lot of fun! As I explain in the"About"-section of this site, one of the most important lessons for me in this hobby is, that there are ways, elements of pictures affect people's feelings and moods, and that there are genetic connections between these elements and reactions in a human's brain: Lines lead the eye, into the picture, if running from a corner towards the middle, or out, if running out, lines framing the subject keep the eye in, simpler and less elements make it a lot easier for the brain and point out the "story" of the picture, while too much detail detracts and looks boring (at least without overlying simpler elements), brighter parts attract the eye, warmer colors attract the eye, powerful colors attract the eye, ....... well, nobody will deny, that color is one very powerful tool to trigger such reactions.

And, not to forget, the camera is small and light and I probably wouldn't have brought any other of my cameras, so it fullfills it's task. See also "What makes a good camera".

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2016-04-01: At the North Sea

For celebrating easter I visited my parents for two days, after it had been a long time since my last trip there. I took a few snaps in this year's first spring-sun and added it to the "Recent shots" section of my Gallery. Probably not all great art worth billions and some not even made by me (but my mom: thanks!) and all made with our cellphones, but the first this year... 

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A few of these I have taken with my (soon "ex-") collegue Anja in mind, who really likes photos of industrial shapes, reminding her of aliens or such:

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2016-03-29: Weird: Font-Sizes

When looking at this page on my cellphone, the written names of the Gallerys below for some strange reason seem to be different sizes. To be precise, the "Florida 2015", "Madeira 2014" and "Underwater" Gallerys seem to written bigger than the rest. This does not appear to happen with three different browsers on my PC and there do not seem to be any different settings, the pictures seem to be the same size as well... weird. Can anyone confirm this problem? Or is it just my cellphone?

 

2016-03-26: UPDATED: What really makes a good camera

I have completely updated the text about what makes a good camera, originally about Canon leaving absolutely no chance for Nikon or any other: I have never cared, but now, that I have had the chance to try, I finally know, that I will probably never change my camera system:Article: Canon vs. ALL. Here, after the update, I give an impression of any camera-system I have tried so far, which includes Sony A- and E-Mount, Panasonic, Olympus, Nikon and Canon.

Of course, this isn't really about brands. This is about what really makes a good camera, which isn't technical test-results from a lab, but making it as easy for you as possible to get the best results possible. In a studio, convenience doesn't matter. You have time here, your subjects don't run away, the light doesn't change and the camera possibly even sits on a tripod - no problem! But in nature, you have to set up all important settings as fast as possible, because the situation changes within seconds and less: Just imagine animals or people (children!) running around or light and clouds changing by wind, and so on!

 

2016-03-15: Gallery "France 2015" fixed and added some photos to others

When randomly clicking through my site I found a mistake in the link to the "France 2015" Gallery, which was reachable from the mainpage, but not from the Gallery-page, where it lead to the "Florida 11/2015" Gallery instead - fixed it.

As well I have added a few shots to different Gallerys

 

2016-02-28: Found something

I grabbed my 40D today to take a few snapshots of the family - after a very long time, as I realized zapping through the photos on the memory card: Besides some old family-shots I found a series of photos of the full moon. I remember having been to the bathroom once in the middle of the night and having seen a full moon through my kitchen window, which fascinated me so much, that I got my camera and took a few photos of it - all this was in my old flat, which we moved away from over three years ago... well, god bless digital, as a film having been in a camera for three years at room temperature and undeveloped, would have gotten really weird colors. So, here is the best of it, also added to the "Recent shots"section of my Gallery:

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2016-02-12: Birthday

I got 40 on last monday and since a rainy monday in February is about the worst day I can imagine for a 40th birthday, my girlfriend suprised me with a short trip to the Netherlands to celebrate there. We stayed at a great grand-hotel in Scheveningen, Den Haag, had a long walk through the nice city, beach, storm and a wonderful dinner served by the wonderful staff at the "Brasserie Het Gouden Kalf", where you can only choose the number of courses you wish, not the meal itself, and which was absolutely perfect!

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Of course this wasn't a good trip for photography, but nonetheless I snapped a few memories, of which even fewer I have added to the "Recent Shots" section of my Gallery. Enjoy!

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2016-02-12: I bet you would never get the chance to see this in the USA

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2016-01-12: Sorting out

While checking if everything had worked well uploading the last pictures to "Recent shots" I realized, just how darn old some of these pictures are - I really have to look through there again and decide, whether to move these to the "Standard-Gallery" or not. I have started with deleting about 20% of the photos. That's a normal phenomenon for me: It takes me months to build something like an objective view on my photos. At first I look at it with the analysis and efforts in post-processing, but most of all with the original memories of the scenes in mind and usually keep way too much of them. Sometimes it's the opposite, too, like with "France 2015", where I didn't really like most of my shots at the beginning, but with time going by, learn to appreciate what I have achieved. But mostly it's the other way round. And so I look through the "Recent shots", in some cases after a year, and realize, how mediocre some of this is. And then I do, what probably took me longer to learn than most other things in photography, but nonetheless is the most important thing I try to teach any friends or family, who start with photography as a real, "serious" hobby: DELETE!

 

2016-01-11: A (late) happy new year to you all!

After spending christmas at my parents, like every year, my girlfriend and I didn't really know what to do for new-years-eve this year. So we decided to ask, if we could stay at my aunt and uncles house near munich to celebrate there, in southern Germany and especially in Munich, which surely is one of the most beautiful cities in Germany for me - who, as always, said yes and we had a magnificent time there. I have added very few shots from the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain, which indeed isn't really all that high in absolute terms (below 3,000m) to the "Recent shots" section of my Gallery.

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As I have written about before, I haven't had (or better: didn't take) much time for shooting (and updating this page) last year. My job took me to the city of Wuppertal for 6 month and while this normally is a good opportunity to explore new shooting-sites, building up the new facility there took nearly all of my creative or motivatory ressources and so there were only my two vacations left: Scuba diving in egypt in March and my annual motorcycle-trip in September... but wait, yes, I went there alone, without my girlfriend, who, of course, wasn't with me in Wuppertal as well and so we REALLY had to take at least one vacation together towards the end of the year. And as she's a real hunter for cheap opportunities on the web, one evening she came home and said: "You know, we are going to Florida in Dezember! I've just booked the flights." Well... we did. This was a "girlfriend vacation", not a "shooting vacation", but I at least took some nice vacation-shots to preserve the memories. You can have a look at them in the "Florida 2015" section of my Gallery.

A happy 2016!!!

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2015-10-12: A new Gallery - finally!

I have allowed work to keep me from shooting during most of this year, with only one journey to Egypt in April for scuba-diving and underwater-shooting and now, half a year later, I have at least managed to keep the tradition of my anual motorcycle-holidays to the mountains. We've been to France this year, starting at the ocean in Nice, côte d´azur, for a few days, and then I went north to the french grand-alps, where I spent the main-time of my holidays, ending with a few days in Bavaria, Germany, where today nearly all my remaining relatives live and my goduncle and his wife celebrated their 60´s birthdays. While Nice was, the french high-alps wasn't that great for photography or at least I have catched more of impressing sceneries than really impressing photographs for my taste - in fact, I'm not really that satisfied with myself this time. Maybe it's really due to the landscape, that's simply more impressing than photogenic - I have been to the exact same place a few years ago and only one single shot from that vacation in 2011 made it to my Gallery. But maybe and more likely it's just the lack of training, after nearly six month without real shooting... Well, my girlfriend sais, that I don't have to and as well won't be able to outperform myself everytime and everywhere I go and as hard as this may be for me to accept, probably she's right. So here's the Gallery:

"France 2015"

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2015-08-01: Shutter Death

I bought an old defective (also sold as defective) Canon EOS 350D (Rebel XT in the US) for parts (I needed the flash-cover) and finally I got it: My very first camera that really died from a broken shutter caused simply by wear due to a very high shutter count. This 2005 entry-level consumer-camera's shutter has died with 179,319 (one hundred and seventy-nine thousand) actuations. Still worried about a used camera having a too high shutter count? This was produced 10 years ago and was Canons very cheapest DSLR at that time. It's shutter is rumored to have a life-expectation of around 40,000 actuations. My 5D Mark II has well above 200,000 and even Canon says it is "tested for" 100,000. Nothing to worry about. It's like a car: Of course you can kill an engine within 20,000km (14,000 miles), but if you use it well, it can as well last 400,000km (250,000 miles). Also see "Camera lifetime / Shutter actuations".

 

2015-06-08: These are for Anja...

...my dear colleague sharing the adventures of building up a new facility with me at the moment ;-) 

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I've added these and a few more to the "Recent Shots" Section of my Gallery.

 

 

2015-05-02: Why didn't anyone tell me?

... that the link to my Underwater-Gallery was broken? Well, fixed it.

 

2015-05-02: Spring stays another day... Update: I simply can't mow the lawn

... in my garden and mow down and kill all these daisies *SNIFF*:

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The blooming apple-tree on top with the daisies on the ground look awesome - not easy to show in a photo. The deep-green tree in the background should be seperated more from the appletree, I think, which itself should be more isolated in front of the blue sky. But to achieve that, I'd have to get closer to the apple-tree and shoot in a steeper angle upwards, which would force me to shoot up the daisies making the blossoms less nice because I'd shoot them from a lower angle. At the same time, I'd need an even wider lens to get it all in then (this is with a 20mm lens on fullframe at f/22 nearly touching the closest daisies). Maybe I'd even have to use a different camera, too, because the DSLR with ultrawide is too big to get low enough to the ground, much longer than a daisy - a shorter camera-lens-combination could help. A smaller sensor could have the positive side-effect of a bigger depth-of-field with the same angle-of-view (because e.g. on mft, a 10mm lens would look the same as this 20mm lens on ff, with a much wider depth-of-field), enabling me to use a bigger aperture and getting a sharper result with less diffraction-effects. But that would exaggerate the wide-angle - effect and make the daisies bigger, more dominant and the farer away crown (and blossoms) of the apple-tree smaller, diminishing, but not it's trunk, which would "move" to the foreground, at least on the lower left... not ideal. The daisies simply are too small.

Any other ideas how to shoot this? Anyone?

 

2015-05-02: Spring stays another day...

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A few more in the "Recent Shots" - Section of my Gallery.

 

2015-05-02: A bad lens as a stylistic element

I, like most serious and near all professional photographers, always tell you, that the quality of your cameras and lenses doesn't have any relevant impact on the quality of your pictures in 99% of the cases. That's true, no doubt. But looking through my snaps on my cellphone and my small cameras, like I do from time to time, because I don't bother to transfer every single shot I took somewhere of something in some occasion to my PC, I realize something, that's obvious in my Gallery as well as in my general "photographic behaviour": Sometimes bad equipment (lenses) not only are no problem, but even are the most appropriate tool for me for showing what I want to show! I have a lot of great shots made with my cellphone and some of them only are, because of the low quality of the lens. I seem to have subliminally saved this in my mind, as I now realize for the first time, and often pick my cellphone to shoot a szene even with my DSLR already in my hands! Really: I put the big DSLR aside then to take a snap with my phone! I have never thought about this before, but it's true. Don't get me wrong: Cellphone cameras are great today and, for most occasions and most people, really are the only camera you'll ever need. But in some aspects, you simply notice, that the (my!) whole phone with the camera inside costs less than every camera I own alone. One point, where this gets really obvious, is flare-control. Cellphones flare like hell, meaning, that bright sources of light cause severe reflections on the lens, at least the ones I own(ed). In every review I do, I write, that flare isn't necessarily bad and can often be a tool for showing the lighting conditions of a scene, and that's the point I have now realized: Many of my cellphone-shots I prefer to the same shot taken with a real camera, utilize this extreme flare:

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All of these wouldn't work at all without the flare-effects which wouldn't have been visible at all with most of my modern expensive cameras.

 

2015-05-01: Spring's here...

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2015-03-30: Expanding skills

I had a few days of vacation from 2014 left, which I had to take until end of March - otherwise I would have lost them and have gotten paid for it as if they would have been additional working days... what I would and will always try to avoid by all means: Vacation is so important to me (and in fact to all people, I think, even if they don't know or ignore), for my satisfaction and mental health, that I would even pay to have more, not the other way round. And travelling is so, too, because it gives you memories and opens your mind in a way, nothing else could. That's a thing, my mom managed to teach me when I was a kid: The new TV or toy or BLAH is gone in five years, journeys stay in your memory for your whole life. So I took the chance I had, to travel to Egypt again, in order to do some scuba diving, I have started to learn about a year ago. And while my first steps in underwater-photography where near a catastrophy, because I simply couldn't manage to concentrate on breathing calmly and not using too much air and keeping buoyancy and at the same time getting a shot framed and set up my camera, it got a lot easier this time: Like everything it is a matter of trying (or better: "just doing it"), training and repeating, nothing else. The speed of your gain in skills may depend on your ability to deliberately adapt and learn and maybe your talent. Having someone who teaches you will speed up things significantly most of the times and this person being educationally skilled will do even more so. But it works the same way for everyone for everything. 

Not that I'm a really good photographer above water, but I'm still a lot worse while under the surface. Nonetheless I have gotten quite a few shots I'm not too much ashamed of and so I decided to make a new Gallery, the "Underwater Gallery":

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As I said before, most of these might not be really good and so I will probably delete most of it over time and add others. But you always have to start somewhere and treat it exactly as this: A first (or better: second) try! I'm very happy for having tried again and having increased my skills and expanding my photography-skills to another, challenging as well as fascinating branch.

 

2015-03-03: Surprises

I have already announced a few weeks ago, that I have a few lens-reviews to finish. Even before having written down my impressions, I want to share what seems to be the two biggest surprises since I'm comparing lenses to each others.

Voigtlnder_28-200.JPGFirst, and the biggest one, is a Voigtländer (a.f.a.i.k. built by Cosina and also sold as Soligor, Bower and others) 28-210mm f/4.5-6.3. It obviously is a so-called "superzoom" for film and today "fullframe" digital. It was cheap when new and is now among the cheapest lenses you can get on ebay: I paid € 2,27 for mine (two Euros and twentyseven cents), plus shipment of course. The real surprise is, that it actually is great optically. Autofocus is not silent, but quiet, not Ultrasonic but quite fast, it focusses very close and sharpness is great! It is even sharp wide open at 28mm in the corners on "fullframe"! OK, it's as slow as a lens gets today, but be honest: 4.5 is one third of a stop less than f/4 and two-thirds slower than f/3.5, where most slow zooms start, and 6.3 is one third of a stop slower than 5.6, where most of 'em end: So it's one third of a stop slower than other superzooms and it is in a whole different world than e.g. the Tamron 28-300mm VC regarding sharpnes and a lot better than any non-L Canon 28-200! So, in my opinion, one third of a stop is well worth it, as you have to stop down other lenses a lot more to get similar sharpness.

Tamron_28-200_2.JPGThe other, very similar surprise is the Tamron 28-200mm f/4-5.6. This lens is nearly as good and especially was surprising for me, because I once had the first version of this lens, which was not worlds, but significantly worse optically and did only focus down to about 2m, what made it completely useless. This was too far to even only shoot people's head and shoulders at any focal length. This version here focusses down to near-Macro ranges and is sharp and really really small and light - there's a 62mm filter mounted on it!

At this size and a quality that is way beyond e.g. the 28-300mm VC, it suddenly becomes useful as it can replace any standard-zoom in your bag. If it only had Image Stabilization and I would change it for all of my other lenses in this range.

More to come, stay tuned!

 

2015-02-27: Same mistakes

I always tell the people working with me, that I absolutely have no problem with them making mistakes. I even think, that making mistakes is ever so important to teach you lessons and enable you to improve. But what I really do have problems with, is people who don't learn their lessons: Like myself, as I AGAIN have shot most of the 20 or 25 photos in Berlin at ISO 6400 in bright daylight, because AGAIN I did not reset my camera after whenever I might have used it last and AGAIN didn't check the ISO - setting before taking a photo. *GNMPF*

 

2015-02-26: Finally starting

I've just returned from Berlin. I was there for work and had quite a tight schedule during this one day plus one evening - it was an extremely effective but very exhausting journey. At least I forced myself to go out for lunch and enjoy the sun for half an hour and I took a few snaps in the park where I had taken my "to-go" meal:

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Even if you know that you want to do black and white, when shooting digital, always shoot color and gray-scale or color-split later - you keep your flexibility, one of the few huge advantages versus shooting film:

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... or is it cooler this way?

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And never snap a scene and walk away - Try different positions, framing and/or angles:

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Suddenly a completely different shot with a completely different impression. The upper two, the B/W one even more so, are a lot more biased towards "geometric forms", while the last one is more of a beautiful scene framed in an unusual way.

These can all be viewed at the "Recent shots" section of my Gallery.

 

2015-02-22: Others do my job...

While I'm still sitting around lazy, not having been out taking any photos for another week, my sister has. She lives in Australia, Manly Beach, Sydney, to be precise, where people's overall "mood" seems to be a little different from ours (or at least "mine") in February:

 

 

2015-02-16: Motivation

I've not been overly active working on this site for the last weeks, since christmas or so. That's partly because first I got ill just when I had come back from NYC in January and after this time-out, a huge pile of work had stacked up, that I had to deal with first - I don't run this site to earn money, but have a full-time job, a totally ordinary job, to earn my living with. And partly it is because the beginning of the year, every year, simply isn't my "photography-time" of the year. Where I live, in the northern mid-west of Germany, January and February usually are grey, rainy, actually quite depressing months, when it comes to weather. So I simply don't shoot much at this time and consequently don't focus a lot on photography in general, so I don't have much to share - this will change soon, I promise!

What I did use the beginning of the year for, is sorting out. Not my photos, but my photographic equipment and my household in general: I have given a few things to the scrap collectors driving around, thrown away tons of old consumer electronics, like PC-components from 10 years ago, and sold a lot of unused photographic equipment on ebay, like a few lenses and older bodies I simply don't use any more. That's quite important, because I'm so curious about gear and fall in love with all kinds of stuff so easily, that I tend to collect things I simply don't ever use. It's not that I had sold most of my stuff, but I had a very easy time identifying four or five lenses I have never used for real photography and will never use.

On the other hand, I have won a few auctions for new stuff, like the very cheap Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS, that I hope to be great optically and which I got for € 20,- because of a "worn" zoom-ring, whatever this may mean, I'll see (and hopefully be able to repair) - I'll get it in the next days. Or my PC Nikkor 28mm f/4 shift-lens, which I have bought as an alternative to the very expensive Canon TS-E lenses. I was always a lot more fascinated by the shift effect than by the tilt-effect of the Canons and since I, personally, think, that the only usable benefit of this shift-effect is,to straighten rising lines e.g. from builidngs, I always wanted the widest shift-lens possible - I don't see much sense in a 90mm shift lens. But the Canon TS-E 24mm is ridiculously expensive and so I got this very old Nikkor for one tenth or even less than what the Canon would have cost and simply adapted it to Canon - not a big deal, the Canons are fully manual, too. Or the Tamron 28-200mm, the second version with dramatically improved close-focus capabilities in an ultra-compact body, which is in a whole different world optically than the crappy-but-expensive 28-300mm VC and costs next to nothing. You see, there are reviews to come, as soon as I start shooting again - I don't do scientific reviews, I share my impressions from real photography. And of course, there will be photos to share, which still is, what this is all about.

Stay tuned!

 

2015-01-17: Sorting further out

A lot of the photos from Madeira 10/2014 deleted. Most of them I simply found to be too much of a "cheap postcard" to keep showing them to whoever wants in the world, even if I still don't feel embarrassed for having shown them as my vacation photos.

Of course, this does not mean, that all of the remaining are great art. Many of them are simply not outstanding or imperfect at an annoying level or are in fact the "same picture" at different locations, when you look at the composition and arrangement of the elements. But all of these, for now, at least I found in some way special or unusual or outstanding enough in the one way or the other, sometimes for the cool location, sometimes for a cool subject, to still keep them online. Even if I would never transfer them to my permanent Gallery. Good examples are the two underwater-photos:

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Both classic, simple, but working compositions with the very cool and grimly looking huge fish exaggerated by the ultrawide used (converter on front), surrounded by the small ones in two fluid lines and the rocks on the left and lower right. In the other one it's the cool carousel of colored fish at the lower middle and the layers on top with the getting smaller, diminishing and getting darker small fish from top to middle. But both photos are still dull and blueish, not good looking at all and this time for the very rare reason that I had too bad equipment. The big, grimly looking fish is way too dark and dull and so the whole picture only looks blueish-gray and dull and on the other picture, if the yellow fish in the carousel would have been bright-yellow shining, the picture would immediately come to life and be catching. I have used a cheap Intova point-and-shoot with a seperate big flashgun and a wideangle conversion lens, originally made for Nikonos, on front, which, alltogether as a system, was to a 100% able to technically make a top shot out of this. But for some strange reason I can not at all imagine, the flash doesn't seem to have fired, or maybe did so, but with a way to low energy, maybe because I had the diffusor for macro-work still attached. The flash would have lit the big fish and let him be bright, contrasty, less blue, brighter, more detailed and it would stand out. Same with the small yellow fish. Lit by the flash, they would have been bright yellow, contrasty, detailed and really standing out. The close-by fish on top would have been lit, too, exaggerating the deminishing perspective to the middle. Good equipment would have functioned automatically, adjusting the flash right for macro before, because it could go to 1/30 power or so with TTL metering, not needing me to attach and then forget the diffusor. This would be a real reason for me to pay more for equipment: When it makes it easier to get the result you want, what becomes a whole lot more important, the faster you have to be, like underwater, where conditions change fast and you don't get a second chance, or when shooting sports or wildlife or being a paparazzo on the surface.

Sometimes when looking at older photos after a period of time, when the memories from the vacation (or simply "location") have faded a bit, I realize a position or perspective, I would like to try to shoot the scene from again. But I didn't realize back then and can't repeat it, because I don't live anywhere near or the situation and surrounding was unique.

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For example, in this shot, I would now like to shoot with an ultrawide, maybe a fisheye, lying on the ground where marked, camera facing vertically up to the sky, hopefully getting layers of color from left to right, or bottom to top, as you like, with - in this order: Maybe blue flowers or at least blue sky -> then white flowers -> blue sky -> red flowers -> blue sky -> green leafes from the tree -> blue sky -> orange flowers -> then blue sky again. That could be very cool... OK, or don't work at all, but I'd LOVE to try!

 

2015-01-09: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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Not only that I'm way too late to wish you all the best and only the best for 2015, but when copying the layout for this entry I realize, that this is the first update to my page since November last year! Shame on me!

The last year ended in relative agitation, with a lot of business to finish and private commitments to coordinate - awful things like birthday partys and christmas ;-) - that left no time or "brain-ressources" to publish here.

Then, like every year, I spent christmas at my parents', sadly again without my sister, who lives in Australia since two years or so, where I took a photo or two at the north sea - I added these to the "Recent shots" section of my Gallery.

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When I uploaded these pictures, of course I checked, if everything had worked well and looked through this section to do so. And as always with new, fresh and totally different impressions in memory, I got a lot more objective and "cool" judging the existing photos there, which made it a lot easier to call single shots "too bad to stay published". I deleted these, before I could change my mind, which were quite a few, about 10 or 15 or so!?

After coming home, again, I had to start over packing my things for one of the farest journeys in my life: I went to New York City to celebrate New Years Eve and get an impression of this totally crazy city. This wasn't a "photography holiday", but I took a few photos with my cellphone and my Olympus E-PM2 nonetheless, which I added to a seperate "New York City 2014/2015" section in my Gallery.

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Most likely, when sorted out enough, I will transfer the remaining photos to my "Standard Gallery" some day, but until then, it's easier this way. In a city like NYC, world's best photographers probably have taken every photo possible and even if not them, with more than 8 million people living there and, literally, billions of tourists running around with iphones (or today Fullframe-Nikons), every remaining opportunity will most likely have been catched by anyone by pure luck - that's just a matter of statistics. But this city is so impressing, that I simply wasn't able to completely pass on taking any photos ... so, maybe not ground-shaking, but ... Enjoy!

 

2014-11-10: Megapixels - Update: 6 vs. 10 vs. 15.

I have made an update to "Megapixels: 10 vs. 15" and redid the test adding an EOS 300D (the original Digital Rebel with 6 Megapixels) and compared it to the 40D and 50D: "Megapixels - Update: 6 vs. 10 vs. 15". Stunning. I would be perfectly happy with the old 300D if I couldn't or wouldn't want to afford anything newer and I think, even a pro could earn his money with it today without any problems. It's main drawback is speed. Not shooting speed, but reaction times to inputs. It's quite bothering by today's standards to wait a second until it reacts to a button or three or four seconds until one can playback the last shot. But image quality is really fine.

 

2014-11-06: Commented my Recent shots

I have commented my "Recent shots" in my Gallery. I normally do this to remember my thoughts about a photo when looking at it again, but have been lazy for a while.

 

2014-11-06: Cluj-Napoca, Romania

From sunday to tuesday last week I was to Cluj-Napoca (or "Klausenburg" in "Siebenbürgen"), the second biggest town in Romania, which belongs to the EU since this year and so we can travel there without the hassle of Visa and so on. My company runs a facility there. I was really surprised by the look and feel of this city, which is a lot more comparable with Italy than with the eastern countries I associated it with so far. Of course you can spot the relicts of socialism on every corner, but the people, their mentality and the way of living seemed much more mediterranean to me, with big parts of social life seeming to take place outside, on the streets, on markets, in cafés, in bars. I really liked it there! Of course I was there for business-reasons and so I didn't have much time for shooting, but took a bunch of snaps nonetheless, a few of which I uploaded to the  "Recent shots" section of my Gallery. No great art, but a nice small impression, I hope.

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2014-11-02: Awesome autumn colors

Today, sunday, the weather got better and better with every hour I was awake, until I finally decided to go out and shoot autumn colors. I drove around within a radius of about 20km around my home and colors where completely crazy in the low sun. Sadly, I didn't get a real "golden hour" in the afternoon, because one or two hours before sunset the clouds came back - but it was great, nonetheless. I have added a few shots to the "Recent shots" section of my Gallery.

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2014-11-02: Sorting out

Looking through the  "Recent shots" section of my Gallery I have realized, that after a few months I still really like some of these, so I transferred three or four photos to the "Standard Gallery" and deleted a few others I found getting bored by with time passing by. This is the most important process of my hobby, photography, in my opinion and experience: Sorting out. Getting honest enough to accept, that many (most) photos aren't as great as one thinks at first, with the memories still in mind, and getting consequent enough to delete these.

At the same time, my "Madeira 10/2014" section should be more or less complete now and the aforementioned process can begin here, too.

 

2014-11-01: Olympus service

News from Olympus service regarding my PEN Mini E-PM2 with a fallen-out button: Olympus would fix this under warranty, but it'd of course require to have my camera sent-in (by myself or a dealer) and it'd take 3-4 weeks to have it fixed: 3-4 weeks without my camera. Reaction time was about one week. So in the next step I asked, how much the spare part would cost and a different company (Olympus themselfes don't sell any spare parts, it's completely sourced out) can order the button for 7,- Euro plus tax and shipment cost, delivery-time 4 weeks. I decided to pay 7,- Euro and keep my camera, or better 14,- Euro plus 3,- Euro for shipping, because I ordered two of it. So I'll alwys have one spare button in my bag in the future, it can simply be pressed in the hole from the outside.

All in all an uncomplicated, very kind and helpful, but slow service. Worse than Canon, a lot worse than Nikon and Tamron, worlds (or "a universe") better than Sigma.

 

2014-10-24: I'm back!

It has become a bit silent around here, I know. I have been travelling a lot during the last weeks, private as well as job-related. Sadly, I have not managed to shoot as much as would have liked to, with the autumn colors getting all crazy all around me, but still have got a bunch of shots from my last vacation to sort-out, post-process and share. I have uploaded the first few in a seperate "Madeira 10/2014" section of my Gallery.

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Of course I took my vacation camera along with my cellphone, my Olympus Pen Mini E-PM 2, which I really love for it's small size, great colors worlds ahead of e.g. Panasonic, paired with true DSLR-image-quality and great, small lenses. But for the first time in 20 years or so, some of my gear broke without mistreating it: A button fell out of my PEN! Really! It's the REC-Button for video, which I have reassigned to switching "My Settings" - when I press it, the camera changes completely to my "People-Settings" from my normal settings for landscapes. The button simply misses. From one shot to the next it was gone. When I press into the hole with something with a soft tip, it works completely normal and no damge is visible at all, apart from the button simply missing. Odd. As the camera is no year old, of course I have contacted Olympus - we'll see, how good the Olympus service is.

Apart from driving around in my rented car, hiking and taking photos, I have taken the next step in my scuba-diving education there and I'm officially an Adcanced diver now! Wheeeehew!

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Being an advanced diver, I'm allowed to dive deeper than before, what sounded thrilling and exciting, but actually is quite lame: Colors are gone completely down there and it's getting darker, too. It's nice to be allowed to go, if there's something worth visiting in greater depths, lke a wreck or so, but whenever I have the choice of diving sites, I would and will always pick the not-so-deep ones.

Also I have added a few shots from Munich to the "Recent shots" section of my Gallery, where I visited the first football (soccer) match in my life and have been in a real stadium for the first time in my life, too. I added a day of vacation and a weekend to a business-meeting and visited my family there.

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During the next days and weeks I will constantly add to both sections, with every hour I manage to spend on working on the pictures lying on my harddrive.

 

 

2014-09-13:

I have been to Bonn for a business-meeting recently and went for a short walk to the botanical garden before going to bed at the hotel.  I have taken a few shots there, which you can find at the "Recent shots" section of my Gallery.

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2014-08-30:

Added a lot of "review" to the review of the Sigma EX 20mm 1:1.8 DG Aspherical. And I have written a few words about camera lifetime / shutter actuation numbers, because everytime I sell a camera, like my E-PL1 now, I get asked about the actuations by a potential ebay-buyer.

 

2014-08-24:

A full rainbow, as seen standing in our garden - I've never seen this before.

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2014-08-24:

I have been to the botanical garden today and tried two totally different ways of shooting the same theme, "close-up" or "macro": The Sigma EX 20mm 1:1.8 DG Aspherical, I'm falling in love with more and more with every photo I take, on my EOS 5D Mark II for "macro ultrawide"

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as well as the Sigma AF 180mm 1:5.6 APO Macro, I already love and count to my absolute favourite two or three lenses, with a Kenko SHQ 1.5x teleconverter on my 40D for as much distance as I could get between me and my subject, with which I cought a dragonfly and a butterfly - both extremely shy and I really like both.

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You find the shots in the "Recent shots" section of my Gallery. I have also added some of these as samples to the lens' reviews.

 

2014-08-17:

Updated the review of the Canon EF 20-35mm 1:2.8 L to clarify the extreme amount of curvature the focus "plane" shows: If an object in the center is focussed perfectly at aprox. 4m, you have to set it to 0.8m to get the extreme corners in perfect focus at the same distance.

 

2014-08-16:

Added samples to the Sigma EX 20mm 1:1.8 DG Asph. "review". It's still nowhere near a review and I haven't added quality samples, but samples for what the concept of this lens is, what makes it so special. This thing is sooo cool. I love it simply for what it is, even if it had been crap like most samples of it, it'd be cool:

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2014-08-13:

Sigma EX 20mm 1:1.8 DG Asph.: I always found it to be complete crap, but there really seems to be at least one good sample! Really! The review will grow in the next weeks.

 

2014-08-10:

A butterfly. I like butterflies. Sample added to my Sigma AF 180mm 1:5.6 APO Macro review and to the "Recent shots" section in my Gallery.  

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2014-08-10:

Added samples of my scratched Sigma 15-30mm to the "Lens defects" article.

 

2014-08-09:

I'm quite busy at the moment for quite a lot of different reasons and don't seem to find the right mood to further sort-out my shots from my annual motorcycle vacation to the alps, which I have shown you in the actual "Recent Shots" Gallery so far. Adding to this, it's great weather for taking photos and so it's more likely that I will want to add even more photos to the section, than that I spend time in front of the PC and delete some. So I decided to leave these online in a seperate "Carinthia 06/2014" Gallery until I maybe have managed to reduce them far enough to make them part of my "Standard Gallery" some time in the future. Until then, you find three sections in my Gallery plus one for "Recent Shots"

All photos in the "Carinthia 06/2014" gallery are made with my cellphone, like the picture below used as an icon, or with my Olympus E-PL1 with Panasonic 14-42mm PZ - Lens, except for the monkeys, for which I used my adapted 40-150mm fourthirds-lens.

My family still have their own Gallery: You know the link and your usernames and passwords.

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2014-07-29:

And the next manual one: Tokina RMC 500mm f/8, a mirror-tele from the eighties, sold for below € 40,- today on ebay and a great lens from a questionable category.

 

2014-07-27:

And another review: Porst Color Reflex MC Auto 55mm 1:1.2. This is an ultrafast normal prime from the manual-focus-era, probably made by Tomioka (or Komine?), mine adapted from Pentax mount, and it is truly excellent optically as well as mechanically. In fact it is on one level with the Leica Noctilux or the Canon 50/1.2L. A real gem or a little bit more down-to-earth: A real cheap alternative to the aforementioned, if you intend to use it only occasionally.

 

2014-07-26:

Vivitar (Komine) 24mm 1:2.0 review added. This is a lens from the manual (film) era, my sample is adapted from Olympus OM mount. It's one of two versions Vivitar sold, the other one was by Kiron (Kino Precision). The Komine has 52mm filters and a serial starting with "28...", while the Kiron is 55mm and the serials start with "22...". This Vivitar is sharper than the Kiron in my experience, but needs some post-processing wide-open, because it has a very strong "glow", something looking like the effect of soft-focus-filters or -lenses, when used wide-open, which makes pictures unusable straight-out-of-camera in my opinion, apart from special-effect-purposes. But you can simpy get rid of this...

 

2014-07-20:

Review of Ferrania Solaris color negative film added. A weird, cheap, oversaturated film I really like, but not at all something to call "neutral". It's always a bit like lomography even with good cameras and lenses.

 

2014-07-19:

Added one Velvia - shot to the Recent Shots section of my Gallery.

 

2014-07-12:

I've come back from my annual trip to the alps with my parents and my aunt and uncle two weeks ago. We've been to Austria this year and stayed at the Ossiacher See (don't know how it's called in English: "Lake Ossiach"?). Like every year, the men brought their motorbikes on a trailer and we drove the streets of Carinthia from there, with single tours passing the borders to Italy and Slovenia. I still do this with my old Honda XL600R Enduro every year, which offically is an Oldtimer from this year on! When we did't take the bikes, I went hiking. You can have a look at the first rough selection of shots in the Recent Shots section of my Gallery. Of course these have to get fewer and fewer, but as always, sorting out is a hard process, especially with fresh memories in mind. Time will bring the truth.

All photos are made with my Olympus E-PL1 with Panasonic 14-42mm PZ - Lens, except for the monkeys, for which I used my adapted 40-150mm fourthirds-lens, or with my cellphone.

My family have their own Gallery: You know the link and your usernames and passwords.

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2014-06-06:

Review of the Tamron SP AF 17-50mm 1:2.8 XR Di II LD IF VC Asph. finished, a good fast standard-zoom for APS-C, but optically and mechanically worse than the Canon EF-S 17-50mm 1:2.8 IS and than the non-VC Tamron, too, at least optically. It was good for what I needed it for - weddings - but I have sold it now... without replacing it, by the way.

 

2014-06-05:

Last week I got into a dispute with my pal Marc about resolution of digital cameras. He has a 50D and I have a 40D, nearly completely identical cameras, but 15MP vs. 10MP and he claimed the 40D to be "so far out-of-date in resolution", that he could not use it today for important shots with good conscience... Of course I got wild and so here is the shoot-out, the most scientific test we could do, a sharpness- and detail-comparison between a 15MP and a 10MP DSLR. I put this in my "EOS-reviews"-section, where I do a general roundup, too, as well as in the "Articles"-section: Megapixels: 10 vs. 15 / Canon EOS 40D vs. 50D: Resolution & General.

 

2014-06-01:

One shot added to my Gallery:

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This is made with a Samyang 8mm 1:3.5 UMC CS fisheye on my EOS 40D, f/16, 1/200th, fill-flash with built-in flash, manual exposure in order to use the max. sync-speed and get the background as dark as possible. I did not use f/22, what would have given an even better exposure, because diffraction costs so much sharpness on APS-C at f/22, that I start recognizing and being annoyed by it. The build-in flash is strong (even if not quite wide-) enough to light this subject at this exposure - don't even try this with a Panasonic GM1, see "Flash: Guide-No. & X-Sync".

I don't use fisheyes very often, but if and when I finally decide to do so, I do always produce real keepers - I really love the results, IF and only if the extreme perspective matches the subject. Here it perfectly supports the surreal touch of this steel sculpture ascending from the earth in the woods and the hard, frontal flash further adds to this. The Samyang 8mm is ideal for these kinds of shots, because it's near stereoscopic projection produces far less of this "bulbed" look of normal fisheyes, it looks far less "fishy". With a Canon or Sigma fisheye, the bug would have "bulbed" a lot more to the front, while you have to carefully look at the surrounding trees or the ground plate to recognize the fisheye-effect here. This shot is NOT cropped or de-fished. This is, what makes this lens so special and is the reason for it's far superior usability.

 

2014-06-01:

My Gallery has one new section now: "Recent shots". I wasn't exactly sure, if I should add another Gallery or not. On the one hand, this is a photography-site, photography is my hobby and I want to show you the pictures, I take day-by-day on a quite regular basis, performing my hobby. On the other hand, these usually aren't something to be especially proud of and mostly not worth displaying it in a Gallery, even if it's "only"on the web - at least not within a selection from over 15 years. So I decided to make a section for my recent shots within my Gallery-section, but to not call it a Gallery. I will delete the content of this section and replace it quite regulary. It's the best compromise, I think.

 

2014-06-01:

Reviews for the Sigma 18-200mm 1:3.5-6.3 DC OS and the Sigma 18-200mm 1:3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM accessible now. I had the non-HSM-version prior to my 18-250mm, but I have sold it. It was about the same optically as the 18-250mm, but with a bit less reach. And, of course, without the HSM-motor for AF, but with a crappy noisy and slower micro-motor instead. This is also the only difference to the 18-200mm HSM. I did never own one myself, but a friend has one and it is the exact same lens with a different AF. Both versions are a bit worse optically than my 18-250mm, but only by direct comparison - both are great for it's own.

 

2014-05-31:

I didn't want, but simply had to, after I had looked through my yesterday pictures: I have added a sample-image to my review of the Sigma 18-250mm 1:3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM. This little amateur-lens delivers results satisfying any professional demand, sharp enough for everything.

 

2014-05-28:

And another two reviews: Sigma 18-250mm 1:3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM and Canon 20-35mm 1:2.8 L. The Sigma is a very good "super-zoom" for APS-C with characteristics matching my demands in actual shooting to an unusual high degree, making it's compromises (you always have to make these with a zoom-ratio this high) at focal-lengths, I hardly ever use, while being great at the most important settings, like the extremes and the normal to short-tele (portraiture)-settings. Sadly it has the usual Sigma-problem with broken flex-cables, which mine had, too. Well, at least I got it extremely cheap because of that.

The L, while being a very first generation L-lens from the beginning of the EOS-era around 1989 (that's 25 years ago!), is Canons sharpest ultrawide of all, regardless of price and manufacturing date. It's very sharp even in the corners and even at 20mm and f/2.8, but with quite extreme field curvature.

 

2014-05-27:

I have just finished the Article about the terms and dependencies in flash-photography. I explain the correlations between Guide-No., sync-speed and other terms here and show the impact on real photos and where and what you need powerful flashguns for - it's fill-flash in daylight.

 

2014-05-25:

Added Marumi DHG to my filter-reviews. Not a big deal, but a very good, relatively cheap filter.

 

2014-05-23:

At the moment I'm playing around with an EOS 300D ("Digital Rebel"), I got for free about two weeks ago. And, while in the first place I just wanted to check if it's working before selling or passing it on to a friend or someone in the family or something, I am so stunned by the results, this 2003-camera (4 years before I got my first DSLR) delivers, that I'm totally focussed on it for more than a week now. Wow. It's main disadvantage is speed: While actual shooting-speed is really fine, everything else takes time and forces your patience: Scrolling through the Menu takes a second for each line, it takes a year to change to playing mode, it even takes several seconds to power on. This is awful for a fulltime sports-pro, but after really being annoyed for about ten minutes when first using it, even if it may sound silly, I have learned to enjoy it now! It slows me down a bit and has something, that shooting film gives me: It forces me to be patient, to focus on what I'm doing, to not act hectically and wildly switching back and force through setting, but to look, watch, think, decide, change settings, reduce, frame, reduce again, decide if it may be good and then maybe check the results. Short: It forces me to get a better photographer, it trains me.

Everything else is still easily good enough for any pro: 6MP is enough for everything and to sell any photo, with the hacked firmware available on the web it even has ISO 3.200 with great quality without any noise-reduction, so you can apply the amount you think to be necessary in post-production, the 7 AF-points are even better than the 9 in newer bodies, because they are wider spread across the frame and not stuffed around the center, and the body itself, while (or because) a lot bigger and heavier than newer 3-digit EOS (Rebels), is a lot better ergonomically, at least for my hands. This is a great camera, not only if you want to try first steps in serious DSLR-photography. Buy it with a 18-55mm lens, pay € 30,- to 60,- for the camera and € 20,- for the lens and objectively, you have all you'll ever need.

 

2014-05-18:

I have revised my review of the Tamron SP AF 10-24mm 1:3.5-4.5. The background is, that I have taken another set of test-images and especially looked for what is the effect of field-curvature and what is real softness of the lens ... This still is the most stunning lens I know of, performing really excellent on "fullframe", it isn't even built or sold for!

 

2014-05-16:

Review of the Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm 1:4-5.6 ED MSC added, an optically fantastic ultrawide for mFT, better than any Canon L ultrawide, that is a bit too expensive for it's build-quality, but (or maybe "because it"?) has no real competitors.

Added the missing product-shots and samples to my review of the Samyang 7.5mm fisheye for mFT, also sold as Rokinon, Bower, Falcon, Vivitar, Walimex Pro and surely more. A great fisheye, sadly with a different projection-method than the APS-C variant, which is the only "stereographic" projecting fisheye I know of.

 

2014-05-15:

And the review of the Panasonic G Vario 45-150mm 1:4-5.6 OIS, the smallest and lightest mFT-tele I know of, nothing short of excellent optically and mechanically and cheap, too. The one I own.

Added another one, slowly fighting through all the old data in my little yellow book: Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm 1:1.8 MSC. A great portrait-tele for a fair price, but often too expensive used.

 

2014-05-14:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!

 

2014-05-14:

Review of the Panasonic X Vario 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 PZ (Power Zoom) Asph. pancake-zoom and of the Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R ED MSC added. I have sold both and chosen the Olympus 14-42 (see below) and the Panasonic 45-150 instead, both for ergonomic reasons.

 

2014-05-13:

Review of the new pancake-zoom Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42mm ED MSC EZ (Electric Zoom)added. A really tiny standard-zoom for micro four-thirds, the KIT-lens for the newest OM-D, and apart from that a great lens optically you can carry in the pocket of your trousers. I have compared it to the very similar-in-concept Panasonic 14-42mm PZ (Power Zoom) in the Oly's review and the review of the Pana will follow next. But to make it short: I tested both, have sold the Panasonic now and kept the Olympus, mainly because of it's superior ergonomics.

 

2014-05-02:

I don't get tired! I have so many test-shots and -notes of my actual and former lenses lying around, that I can write up one review after another. Now I have added the Sigma AF 50mm 1:2.8 Macro, a having-to-be-converted-to-work-on-digital real 1:1 Macro, and the Canon 28-80mm 1:3.5-5.6 USM, one of the real secret-tips for Canon "fullframe". 

 

2014-05-01:

I have written a short review of one of my absolute favourite lenses of all: The Sigma AF 180mm 1:5.6 APO Macro. You could call it the little brother of the 180/2.8 Macro. It is an optically nearly perfect lens with the usual drawbacks of old Sigmas, does only work on digital when converted, but has one thing, that truly makes it unique - I really don't know anything similar, for any 35mm-system at any age: It's size! It's only as big as a 90mm Macro, with 52mm filters! OK, this comes to the expense of speed, but f/5.6 is more than enough for close-up-work at 180mm. Everything faster just makes the depth-of-field so thin, that nothing is in focus any more - well below 1mm!

And the next one: Canon 24-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 USM. A very nice little standard-zoom, as good optically as the 24-105 L, extremely light, starting at 24mm and relatively fast, with Canons great ring-USM and a real joy to use.

I still own one of two I have had and use it on the EOS 300V film-body I have bought it with, which is great, a joy to use, small and light, too. It was originally sold with exactly this body as a KIT and the previous owner sold it exactly as the KIT he had bought 15 or 20 years ago - luck for me, because he didn't mention the included lens in the auction-title or -text, it only was on the picture, so I nearly got it for free.

If you are looking for lenses, that have already existed in the days of film and don't need it fast, it's a good idea to simply search for EOS (or Nikon or whatever you are looking for) in the "Film cameras"-section on ebay and look for bundles - these generally sell cheaper than the lens alone quite often and sometimes you can be as lucky as I was with this lens and the seller doesn't really know, what he's selling.

 

2014-04-30:

Added a review of the Canon EF 28-135mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS USM, my standard-zoom for "fullframe" digital and 35mm film and a great, extremely versatile lens. The review partly is a comparison to the EF 24-105mm 1:4 L IS USM, which is a great lens, too, but not worth twice the price in comparison - what it actually costs, no matter if used or new.

Added a review of the Sigma AF 21-35mm 1:3.5-4.2 Aspherical. One of my self-converted lenses and one I do only own, because of the occasion on ebay: Someone sold this for € 25,- INCLUDING delivery. I simply couldn't resist and converted it to digital. This is more of a collector's item, than a lens for real use, I'd suggest a Tokina (or some other version of this Cosina-construction) 19-35 instead. But it is really good optically.

 

2014-04-27:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISTER!!! 

 

2014-04-27:

Added reviews of the Sigma EX 15-30mm 1:3.5-4.5 Aspherical and the Sigma EX 17-35mm 1:2.8-4 HSM, two lenses I have very cheaply bought on ebay in not (15-30) or not completely (17-35) working order, just because I was curious about it's performances. I don't recommend any of it, but at least the 15-30mm is a nice lens nonetheless - it's inability to be used with filters is the show-stopper for me.

Also added the (short) review of the Tamron SP AF 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 Di VC USD, my main tele-zoom and better than it's Canon counterpart. In fact, I find it nearly on L-level optically and it has FTM, IF, takes 58mm filters with a step-down-ring without vignetting, and so on AND is cheap, too - my personal favourite. I held the review short, because there are enough scientific reviews of this lens on the web.

And anotherone! I'm quite productive today ;-) Here you find a review of the Tamron AF 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2.This is a little gem and a real secret tip. It's an optically great, cheap and plasticy, but built with very tight tolerances tele-zoom featuring a great 1:2 Macro-mode from 180-300mm! For € 100,- new or € 50,- used (I did even pay less, but this was luck), it is about the most bang for your buck you'll ever get!

 

2014-04-13:

I have just come back from the Red Sea, Egypt, where I went to learn scuba diving. I'm a certified diver now! Whehew! Thanks again, Ashraf!

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This is the first journey for several years, from which I have brought back less than 100 photos BEFORE deleting anything and on first sight I think, that I have not one real keeper among these. So what, I went there to scuba dive and this is exactly what I did.

On my very last dive I decided to take my Olympus TG-1 with a Sea&Sea wide-conversion lens, originally for Nikonos, and try some very small first steps in underwater-photography ... Well, the good news is, that this great little point-and-shoot, officially resistant to a water-depth of 12m, actually worked great at around 20m without flooding, just the plastic-cover was bending inwards an pressing visibly against the TFT. The bad news is: My results really suck. I have taken photos underwater before, but always just holding my breath, only a few meters deep and I really can't handle the changing color while scuba diving yet, so this is the best I got:

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Just added this to my Gallery, because it's the first not-totally-ugly-shot I've taken breathing from a bottle of Nitrox 32% on my back.

 

2014-04-03:

Found my startup-page too nervous and confusing with way too much content, so I moved the older updates to "Old News" you can only get to from this page and do only find on top of the navigation-bar on the left, not on the upper one. Not important enough.

 

2014-04-01:

It's been a bit silent around here since last week, I know. I have a flue for quite a while now and whenever I'm not at work, I'm in bed or on my couch. So what's coming next? I have bought a Sigma 15-30mm on ebay, with a broken aperture (most likely the flex-cable) and a huge scratch on the front element. I hope, that I will be able to repair the first and that the second won't be visible - which really is a bit of a lottery on an ultrawide. But at least it was really really cheap and I can test it this way. Even if this specific sample should be unusable, it will have been a huge lot cheaper than renting one (hardly any more expensive than having it sent from and send it back to the rental company, to be precise) to test it and I'm really curious about this lens' quality - a review will follow. Apart from that, I started an article about the terms and technical backgrounds in flash photography - something that came to my mind when thinking about the Panasonic GM1. Stay tuned!

 

2014-03-23:

Added samples for screw-in Marumi DHG 5x Achromat to Macro: Terms and dependencies.

 

2014-03-22: Photos from Australia

Finally I added a few shots from my stay in Australia at the end of last year. My sister moved to Manly, Sydney, Australia with her husband about a year ago and since then works and lives there. So I decided to go for it and save money and free-days for almost a whole year to make the longest journey in my life - regarding distance AND time. It took me so long to share the photos, because I simply couldn't reduce the huge bunch of shots to an amount suitable for my gallery. This is always the hardest, but by far the most important part after a shooting: Sorting it out. The more you delete, the better the rest is. If you have finally decided to keep 5 shots out of 2.000, these will be cool for sure... or better: hopefully. But this time, it was even harder than ever before, because it was 5 weeks and I travelled an area of about 5.000km and got so many impressions, that I simply couldn't do it. So I decided to make an own gallery of it. The more time goes by, I think and hope, the more distance my mind gets to the shots and the more I can delete. But until then, you find my Gallery divided in two: The "Usual" Gallery and the "Australia" Gallery. Have fun!

Hmmm_what_about_the_surfer.jpg

 

2014-03-20:

Now the updates are located first on my start-page in order to keep you regular readers up-to-date at first view.

 

2014-03-19:

I have published my article about Macro: Terms and dependencies tonight. This is a guide to the relevant technical characteristics in macro-shooting, which differ significantly from normal shooting. I do especially explain the results of different sensor-sizes, which have a huge impact in macro and other than normally, bigger sensors do NOT mean higher-quality results in macro.

 

2014-03-13:

My thoughts about the Panasonic GM1, the smallest micro four thirds body with the smallest lens - and the smallest camera-kit delivering DSLR-quality - can be found here now.

This little Panasonic looks and feels fantastic, with a full metal body, built-in flash and smaller by a really significant margin than even the smallest Olympus PEN.

I had fallen in love with it from the first moment on, I saw it in a display window in Melbourne, but sadly I have to state, that this most beautiful piece of photographic equipment in ten years or more, this consumer-electronics design-masterpiece, is a complete dud. It's a nice point-and-shoot camera, but completely useless as a DSLR - replacement, as a real camera for real photographers. It's a masterpiece of a technician, but not a photographer.

Would have been too nice to be real.

 

2014-03-11: Wheeeeheeeeew!!!!!!

I just googled "diy old sigma lenses" ... just to try once again ... and on the fifth page there is ... ME!!! Finally, Google finds my "Search" - Page (where the HTML - sitemap is accessible, in fact)!!! OK, I admit, that's still far from perfect, but finally people can find me! Now, everything will be fine, now it seems to be running, now I can concenctrate on adding. I have so much to write about, so many testshots and notes regarding lenses, so many cameras, two articles, ... This is a happy end of an all-in-all mediocre day ;-)

 

2014-03-11: Zeiss Ikon Contessa LKE - review finished

Probably nobody has ever really read so far until now, but the review of my favourite camera of all, the Zeiss Ikon Contessa LKE, still contained parts of the review of a Sigma lens ;-) Now, it's finished. The is the best camera I own. For me, personally.

 

2014-03-09: Portrait shots

As announced: You find a few portraits in black-and-white at the end of my Gallery. Quite dark and a bit acherontic and gloomy, but I quite like this mood sometimes, at least in pictures.

 

2014-03-09: Success... a bit of a kind of...

Finally I have managed to include the Amazon - link on the left and - even more important - to upload an xml-sitemap I can submit to google. Google still finds this site only if you add "Schoppmann" to your search, but at least it finds it at all now, including the sub-pages...

For you nerds: The problem is, that about a year ago, I installed my CMS in a so called "safe-mode" my provider suggests for complete idiots building a website, like me, in order to not being able to destroy anything. They do all the updates and configuration for you then, but, of course, you can't change much manually on the other hand. They said "changing to "free-mode" is possible at any time". This was a lie. According to the customer service, my installation is too old for changing now. I tried installing a second version under a subdomain, but I can't migrate my database from Concrete5 5.4.1 to 5.6.2, I always get an error message then... so I seem to be stuck with this old version in "safe-mode", reducing my creative possibilities regarding customization to near zero. But, well, creativity and my ambition doesn't stop, so I figured out, how to upload the XML - sitemap, built by a non-native, web-based tool, to a subfolder ("/files") I'm allowed to access and it seems to work.

 

2014-03-08: Yeah!

During the next days I will upload a few portrait - shots I quite like. I'm not very good at shooting portraiture - I think I'm worse at it than at shooting landscapes. But nonetheless I have managed to get some single good shots in the past, maybe by pure luck. My good friend Annelie, who is subject to most of my better portraits, just agreed to have her shots published here. THANK YOU! We really have to meet in near future after all that time!

 

2014-03-07: The Best?

One of my first readers sent the very first email regarding this site and, among other things, asked, what's the best camera I've ever used. Answer: Canon EOS 50E. Why? Because, when I count the pictures made by each camera in my Gallery (the pictures I want to show the toworld), the 50E gets the most hits...

 

2014-03-06:

I'm still trying to migrate my Database to a newer Version of my CMS, Concrete5, but still receive an error-message all the time, then having to delete the whole installation... Hate it.

 

2015-10-19: What makes a bad camera

I couldn't resist. When I first saw the Panasonic GM1 about two years ago in Australia, the smallest available micro-four-thirds (my second camera-system which I mainly use for travelling light) body, I was fascinated from the first minute. Even though I later realized, that Panasonic overdid their aim and changed-in the last few millimeters in size for a practical dud, mainly due to the flash, lacking hotshoe and electronic shutter (leading to 1/50 sec flash-sync), it still remained a fascinating technical masterpiece. When you hold this little camera, you really can carry in the pocket of any jacket, you simply can't believe, that it is an interchangeable lens camera delivering true DSLR-quality with useable results even at ISO 6.400. So it had to happen: Prices dropped with time going by and a few weeks ago the second GM- body, the GM5 with an electronic viewfinder and a hotshoe came out, which immediately cheapened the two-year-old GM1 by another 20%. And I won an auction. For an orange-silver GM1 with the tiny 12-32mm kit lens.

I found a lot of arguments justifying it to myself: For the price of a point-and-shoot, I would use it as such. Of course it had all these severe flaws which made it impossible to change it for of my Olympus PEN, but I would use it whenever I needed the smallest possible camera in apocket and wouldn't happily trade-in a useable flash for the fact, that I had a good camera with me at all! Better than a cellphone, right? And the kit-lens: Yes, 32mm (64mm equivalent) on the long end is a joke and I'd normally always trade the few millimeters more of the "normal" kit lenses for the 12 vs. 14mm short-end (24mm vs. 28mm), because I own a real ultrawide and a fisheye! But hey, when would be the camera to bring instead of nothing, with this lens I'd have a lens to create at least some kind of this perspective-exaggerating ultrawide-look.

What I forgot completely was 

 

 

 

A word about supporting this site

I don’t run this site to earn money. I have a real job to earn my living with, a completely normal job. Since everything I write about here I have bought myself, for myself and with my own money from normal shops or ebay-sellers to actually use it, how much and what I am able to write about , depends on the amount of money that I can save and invest in equipment with good conscience. I share all this, because I want to, not to sell it. But when you find this helpful, maybe even as helpful as buying a magazine or book, of course you can support me, if you want. Your benefit is, that you help me being able to afford things to write about here.

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