Some very interesting interpretations

I have just finished reading the “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell, which I’ve got as a birthday present this year. This is David’s third book, and also the third one I’ve read – after I saw Cloud Atlas the movie by Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis.

And tho the book and the movie tell the same story quite differently, both are really really beautiful, with the movie being a bit more difficult to understand in my opinion. Anyway, love them both. And here’s a very interesting interpretation and kind of conclusion for those who might ask what these are all about:

Yeah. Heavy on philosophy of Nietzsche et al, but the main message is simple to understand. And now I’m actually interested in a series of the Wachowskis which they did after Cloud Atlas, and which seems to have a quite similar message. That one’s called Sense8, and it belongs to Netflix (let’s see where and how I can see that one without being a subscriber to them):

Enjoy. I certainly did.

Merry Christmas 2017!

Hi there, and thanks for visiting. In case you celebrate it, we (I write in the plural on behalf of our small family here) wish you merry Christmas, nice holidays, a good and happy new year 2018, health, wealth, and all the other stuff, or, using Spock’s words: live long and prosper!

I was a bit quiet on this blog lately, and that’s mostly because I discovered some new and really nice video creators, or vloggers as some call these. And I want to show you some in case you’re also interested. And since it’s hard to decide on which of their videos to show you as an introduction, I’ll simply show you the first ones I saw of them.

The first one was Eduardo, a writer and movie dramaturg from Chile, who’s now living in England together with his girlfriend Fran. Eduardo loves film and street photography (and is pretty good with that), tho the first I saw from him was using a digital back on his Hasselblad medium format camera. It’s worth a look, and his video, storytelling, and photos are beautiful:

After that, I saw a video of a young woman discovering film photography using the exact same camera I had when I was much younger – a Canon A-1 (which is a thing of beauty, but eats batteries for breakfast). Turned out that Dana’s husband Lou is a really good filmmaker (using a Canon 5D Mk3), and together they also are really good story tellers – and they even know Eduardo and Fran from above. But here’s Dana doing a really good job with that Canon film camera:

My latest “discovery” was actually a recommendation from Google’s Youtube, so I watched Sean Tucker talking about his street photography philosophy (in Rome with the Fujifilm XT-20). He’s a pro photographer sharing some really cool and useful tips without much self presentation as I would say (and comparing him with others who do mainly that), so as the other two above, his channel is really recommended. So here’s that first video I saw from him:

See some of his photos on Flickr, or visit his page for more. And the same goes for Lou & Dana’s “Wild We Roam“, and also for Eduardo’s site.

So, sometimes Google’s recommendations actually do work. It’s even a bit frightening to think about how good they are matching my taste of content with their recommendations at times – they must have made a real good profile for/of me already.

Anybody getting something outrageously fun and photographic for Christmas?” – that was a question from Kirk Tuck on his blog, and I answered that no, I didn’t order the latest Leica M-10 or Hasselblad or Fujifilm medium format cameras, but ordered a book instead. Really looking forward to that one.

Which brings me back in a circle to my own photography, and doings, and plans. The last thing I’ve tried with my photos was another “look” for black & white, kind of more traditional or “old school” (which some might argue is black & white anyway). So my approach to it was to take the photos in raw as usual, then converting them to colour .tif files with Olympus Viewer as usual, and then use Silver Efex Pro2 for black & white conversion with a “custom” preset I’ve made myself: take their “019 Fine Arts” preset, then add a white border and some coffee toning, and 95% of the post production work is done. What’s still missing is a bit of curves manipulation, and the adding of metadata like a title in Exif and such, which I do with Rawtherapee. As usual. And here are three examples of how this looks:

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Tuna the cat, December 2017 (this was taken using the E-PL5 “Pen” camera with its kit zoom at 17mm, at ISO 6400)

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Andre, December 2017 (this was taken using my Yongnuo compact flash at 1/4 power bounced over the ceiling from Arno’s desk (opposite of Andre’s), with the 45mm lens at f/2.2)

And finally, a “selfie”, triggered with my (Mitchie’s old) Google Nexus 5 smartphone:

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Selfie, black and white, toned, with border

The next two were actually the last photos I took before Christmas, both of Tuna the cat. Simply cannot resist sometimes when I see something like it:

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Huntress

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Contemplating

About future plans – here’s some music first, from user “nominal6” on Soundcloud again (CC, so I’m allowed to play it here). You can listen to it while reading the rest of my article:

I plan to do some more collaborations with this user nominal6, who calls himself ‘jonetsu’ on the Linux Musicians board. First, I like that he does everything with free tools, and I also like that everything is CC’ed like my own content – so I could for instance take his music for videos I’d publish on Youtube or Vimeo or wherever.

I also looked at some older photos, like Kirk Tuck does it sometimes. So here are some from 2011 or newer:

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Sarah, April 2011, at Haenson’s

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Haenson at work in his studio, January 2014

Sadly Hans has retired from his studio photography already, and sold it all – it always was a great pleasure working with him, even when at that time my digital photography was in its first baby steps. Here’s another photo (of a nude girl) I took in his studios. She was a former Czech “Playmate” from that famous magazine. I used my new toned black & white recipe on her here for that “vintage” look:

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Zuzie, January 2014, at Haenson’s

And one more from 2011, still with my Olympus E-520 DSLR and the 50mm/2 macro lens, and cropped to a more cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio here:

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Female breasts

Starting January, I’ll also rejoin the IBM Fotoklub. Here’s one I took while I was a member of that club, but with my own strobe equipment already. The model calls herself “An Ne”, and I forgot who made the fancy head piece (or who was the MUA (= makeup artist):

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The show must go on
January 2014, Frankfurt

Shows that with good lighting, you don’t need more than an Olympus E-PL5 and the 45mm/1.8 lens to take a nice picture, hm?

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Two beauties, January 2015, Mainz

I like this one of Rhia and Meike, taken in Mainz on a cold January day with that exact same E-PL5 camera and lens. Or this one, which is one of my all-time favourites:

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Mélanie Gomez, February 2015

Mélanie is a real good photographer herself, and I’d love to work with her (and some others) again. So much for my wishes for 2018, for myself.

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A portrait of me, Christmas 2017

Photographer: Hanna Zuleikha Lonien (who will turn 13 in 2 days from now)
Lighting: Simock Mythos E300 into 20″ white beauty dish, socked as key light
Simock Mythos E300 with standard reflector, for background

For you (for whomever is still reading), thanks, and all the best for 2018!

The stories we tell ourselves

I’ve been reading a lot lately – well, ‘a lot’ is clearly overstated, but at least I’m reading books again. Real books, no virtual electronic files, because like pictures need to be hung onto walls, books have to be printed and bound.

It all started with a movie tho, and the one which touched me most this (almost passed) year was the Wachowskis’ Cloud Atlas. I found it totally fascinating that they managed to portrait the characters and the general idea (which is based on Nietzsche’s eternal return) so clearly and precisely in only a few hours. This deep introduction into a story’s characters is nowadays far more easy for long-running series like Lost, and even in the past good and long stories like Treasure Island, or even David Balfour needed long movies in 4 or more parts. Cloud Atlas (the movie) manages that in 172 minutes.

But I was starting about books, and instead of reading Cloud Atlas (the book), I decided to start with the first of David Mitchell’s novels, Ghostwritten (German book title is Chaos).

No, I won’t describe it here, but what a book it is! A chain of short stories which all are connected like in chaos theory (where a butterfly’s wings can produce a storm elsewhere). Highly recommended.

And from yesterday to today I was reading Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Woods (German book title is Naokos Lächeln).

And while I also won’t write much about it here, it’s some coming-of-age story like Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, together with a good amount of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, and a good part of Franz Kafka in it. A bit sad, but also highly recommended.

So – repetitions if you like to describe these stories that way. But aren’t all the stories we tell each others repetitions of the same old themes, re-written to explain them to the next generations? These stories, told and re-told from generation to generation are maybe as old as mankind itself (and Tom Hanks shows that very well in the beginning and end of Cloud Atlas (the movie)).

So if you have some spare time at this year’s end, go and have a look at some photos. Real photos hung onto real walls. And lose yourself into them – seeing them online isn’t the same! Or get a good book, and read and lose yourself in that.

The ones mentioned here are good. Life’s too short for bad ones.

Thanks for reading.

These are nice

Just played around with my E-520 DSLR and the 50mm/2 macro lens attached to it. Some books on our table – and if you happen to have a ten-year-old daughter, she might love these:

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Zuleikha has in fact 4 of them…

Thanks for reading.

Vildheks – Ildprøven, from Lene Kaaberbøl

Wildhexe – Die Feuerprobe, von Lene Kaaberbøl (Image © Carl Hanser Verlag)
Got this one for Zuleikha on Monday, and we’ve ordered the next two of the series today.

I’ve read this first book myself, and it’s a huge success in Denmark – I’m pretty sure that it will be a hit here as well. Don’t know whether it’s also translated into English already, but the German translation by Friederike Buchinger is very good. Available from Carl Hanser Verlag in Munich.

My short summary: if you happen to have a daughter of about 10-12, and if she loves animals and “the wild world”, let her read it. I bet she’ll ask for more soon.

What I’m reading right now

I was finally able to get the paperback version of Kirk Tuck’s first novel, called “The Lisbon Portfolio“:

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The Lisbon Portfolio

I’m only some 50 pages in right now, but it seems to be a fun read. Espionage / suspense thriller, and for photographers I consider this a good one already. And now you have to excuse me – can’t wait to finish Kirk’s book…

Thanks for viewing.

P.S. (Update, from Tuesday, Oct. 14th, 2014):

I’ve finished it. Yesterday evening or rather this morning at 3 minutes past 12 (midnight). Just couldn’t stop.

And it’s a real nice book. Fits right in the list of spy fiction authors, and people like Jeffery Deaver, James Patterson, or the Kellermans (Jonathan and his wife Faye) come to mind. And while as a first it’s not as polished and perfect as these, it’s fresh instead.

If you know Kirk’s Blog and have seen some of his photos, you’ll admire how he describes the ‘making of’ of some of them.

This is no book review, so I’ll stop here. But I really recommended it to Mitchie already, since our bookshelf is full of the authors mentioned above, so I think she’ll love it as I did.

So this is really recommended, especially to photographers, but also to fans of the modern espionage thriller genre.

Look at this

I’m a bit busy at the moment, so I don’t have much own content which I could show (and some ‘follower’ on Flickr asked already).

But look at the downloadable preview of this book:

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It really makes you think, not only about those pictures (which are great), but also about your own creations…

Seems that I need just another book about photography, and it also seems that this is a good one – and it’s not about technique, but about the photos, and about how to see them.

Interesting anyway, so you could also consider to follow Brooks’ blog (which I also do). And if I consider purchasing a book, then you can be sure that I would also recommend it.

Found via George Barr’s blog.