A photo a day…

Last month was the first one since late 2009 in that there were more days of the month than photos taken by me.

Part of that had to do with making two videos until now, both for the company. The first one, around 18 minutes, showed other Linux lovers how to get the officially needed company layers installed on top of a plain distribution. The second, around 45 minutes, was a howto on getting better audio for the video guys who make ‘official’ company videos for one of its Youtube channels.

Another reason why I didn’t take that many photos is that since I have the new USB audio interface and a studio quality microphone, I also dealt with recording a lot. Midi, audio, plugins, samples, soundfonts, all that.

Now it’s April already, and we have a little more sun – at least the days are getting somewhat longer, so I can make use of the light. And when the cat was outside, sitting on my shoes on the veranda, I just had to take a picture:

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Tuna the cat, April 2017

Let’s see – maybe I can at least take one picture a day, and hopefully more. And still deal with and learn about how to make and record music with a computer. When I have something worth listening to, I’ll let you know.

As always, thanks for reading.

Another project, and Tuna

Zuleikha has a new project in school. Starting tomorrow, they will produce a short movie, based on a story they have to develop themselves, script, costumes, filming, sound, everything. And the group in which Zuleikha is in decided that she’d be responsible for the technical part (besides of acting and so on).

First, Zuleikha wanted to take her small Panasonic Lumix “Travel Zoom” camera for this, as it’s quite good for videos. But she decided that it would be too noisy for indoor shots, and to take her (my old) Olympus E-PL1 instead:

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Olympus E-PL1

But in the end, I thought that an E-PL5 would be even better, so I gave her mine for the job. That she can use the battery and memory card from her PL1 as backup is also an advantage. Her tripod is in her locker at school already – can’t wait to see with what they’ll come up.

At the moment, both Zuleikha and Mitchie are in Darmstadt, watching “Cabaret” in a theater. So I’m alone with Tuna, and I took a photo of her:

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Tuna the cat, January 2017

That’s processed with the (also in-camera) “pin hole” filter, which adds a strong vignette, and also some funky colours which I reduced a bit again.

Thanks for viewing.

Happy new year!

We wish all of our readers a happy new year 2017. Since I’ve only made some crappy fireworks shots until now, here are some last ones from last year. Taken Thursday, Friday, and Saturday:

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Arno, playing with Tux (the Linux penguin mascot)

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Cold

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Tuna, December 2016

That last one was taken with the “kit zoom” (of the E-PL5) on my E-M10 camera at 17mm. The camera was still set to an upper auto ISO limit of 3200 from Zuleikha’s birthday party in a dark bowling center, and because of the limited opening of that lens at 17mm (around f/4 or so), ISO 3200 was what my camera used here. This was a few hours before the end of 2016, and little did Tuna know about the upcoming fireworks, and that she’d be hiding under some beds again… those crazy humans!

Thanks for reading.

If your camera…

Yesterday I took some photos of Mitchie who was sitting on our sofa, knitting. The only light was our small LED reading light with approximately 5 Watts or so – and since she was moving, I had to raise the sensor sensitivity (or amplification) to about ISO 6400, or even ISO 8000. With settings like these, I ended up with times like 1/10th to 1/15th of a second at an aperture around f/2.8.

Of course the results were not really optimal, so I started looking and comparing, like here. A Sony A7 Mk2 would be at least a stop better than my camera, a Nikon D750 easily two stops, and a Canon 5D Mk3 (an older model, but I wanted to stay roughly in the same price range) would be somewhere in between.

But while dark things in low (or almost no) light are one thing, I remembered that my camera also had the advantage of having built-in sensor stabilization (which that Sony also has), so I started comparing the Nikon’s and Canon’s ISO 12800 with 6400 on the Sony, and with 3200 on mine – which equals out the field considerably.

But ok, two stops lower also means times x 4, which would be counter-productive, at least for moving subjects. So what to do?

Simple: more light, as Goethe is believed to have said. Tried and true:

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Tuna the cat, December 2016

I took this photo of Tuna some minutes ago, while it is dark outside already. So I used my compact flash at 1/4 power on my computer desk, reflected over the wall, and one of my studio strobes at around 1/10th of its maximum output reflected over the opposite wall (behind me in this photo, you see it reflected in her eyes).

The aperture here is f/2.5, but with the really bright flash light I could use the sync time of 1/160th of a second, at ISO 200. Much better than my efforts from yesterday.

So if your camera isn’t as good as others in low (or almost no) light – simply add some. Better, far easier, faster, and also cheaper than to become envious and to think about other and supposedly better cameras…

As always, thanks for reading.

A week in photos

Wow; it’s a week already since I’ve posted some photos, and a rather busy and fast one it was. So I didn’t take and upload as many pictures as usual, and most of them (in fact all except one) are in black & white.

Like this one here, of Tuna our cat. Tried some Ilford HP5+ film emulation on her, but without the grain:

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The only colour photo I took and actually uploaded to Flickr was taken during a short cigarette break on the company’s roof garden. I was there with my colleague Arno and saw some other colleague (never seen him before), reading a book in the already setting sun. Looked like this:

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Then, two days ago, this:

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Zuleikha was just finishing her homework in normal room light, and from a comparison of more or less standard outputs of different raw converters which I did last weekend, I decided that for black & white, Olympus Viewer 3 gave the best results.

Also in black & white, and taken yesterday during a concert at Zuleikha’s school, Herr Koch on his Fl├╝gelhorn (they played “Feels so good” from Chuck Mangione, and indeed that felt and sounded very nice!):

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I also tried to take some of Zuleikha’s friend Yuma who was excellent like always, but my photos weren’t. Guess I’ll have to ask and to invite them for a photo session in good light and in a controlled environment.

And finally, a few moments ago I took another cat portrait of Tuna, this time with bounced flash and guessed exposure (which was a bit too high this time, but I could correct it in post):

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I cropped this one, and set the aspect ratio to 3:2 to get closer to a 135 “small” film (Kleinbildfilm) look. My aperture was f/2 here, so it’s about the same as a picture taken on 135 film with an aperture of f/4, concerning the depth of field.

As always, thanks for reading.

Some photos from film, and some of today

Got my colour negative film back from the lab, together with all images on a CD. Here are some of them:

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That last one is from after our holidays, when I wanted to test my 50mm/1.4 lens wide open. The earlier two are likely from spring this year.

Today we went to watch “Finding Dory” in our local 3D cinema. There I took this one with ISO 2500:

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And while setting up some lights and background for more photos, Tuna the cat jumped onto Zuleikha’s piano chair. So I photographed the cat with room light, also at ISO 2500:

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But I wanted to test some lighting setup – so here are some where I used 3 flashes / strobes. Edited only the Exif data, so the photos are like out of camera:

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Zuleikha, Hornist
November 2016

As always, thanks for viewing and reading.

Two cameras, two lenses, two subjects

Yesterday I was in Darmstadt, where I met some other photographers and models from the Model Kartei (see link in my side bar). It was really nice, and I’ll probably take some new photos with some of them soon.

Other than that, I didn’t take any mirror shots in the company’s lifts since a while. Which is why I’ll show you two here:

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Long time no selfie… (Olympus E-M10 with 25mm lens)

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Dark territory (Olympus E-PL5 with 14mm lens)

The light in these lifts is extremely crappy, which is why you have to under-expose shots like these – otherwise your head would be burned into oblivion. But I like challenges, so sometimes I still do stupid stuff like that.

And finally, here’s Tuna, our cat again. Same camera and lens as in the second lift photo, but here at ISO 2500:

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Tuna the cat

That was with our LED light in the corner as you can guess if you read here regularly. The image is a bit auto-cropped because of rotation in post-processing, but otherwise it’s not too noisy, and fully usable. Not too bad for a camera which was designed 4 years ago already.

As always, thanks for reading.

Using my compact flash

It’s definitely getting dark earlier, and getting bright later already here in the Northern hemisphere. No wonder in the middle of autumn, and with winter approaching soon.

That leaves you with a problem when photographing indoors – either accept very bad light (and thus, quality) in your “available light” photos, or make some light when and where you need it.

Setting up the studio strobe(s) is quite a long process tho, and we don’t own any compact TTL flashes – only inexpensive but very nice and reliable Yongnuo YN460-II models. And because even measuring the light is an additional step which takes some time and action, I wanted to get used to guessing the right exposure again. Turns out that I’m not that bad, I’m usually correct within 1 stop or so.

To try it out, I took two:

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Tuna the cat, October 2016, bounced flash (f/2, flash on 1/8th power) and

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Remarkable – Zuleikha reading, October 2016 (f/2.2, flash on 1/4 power from across the room)

I’ll continue to do that, and maybe get some more of these flashes. The experience and the knowledge always pay off when using them somewhere else as well.

As always, thanks for reading/viewing.

My free week is half over…

I have a week off of work, but since we don’t visit anybody and the weather isn’t that nice, I spend most of it at home.

So since our last Sunday walk, most of the photos I took so far were also from our home. At least I used all of my cameras, several different lenses, and even the polarizer filter which you still can’t emulate after taking your pictures. Here are some taken since Sunday, just for the reference:

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You are next… (E-PL5 with the 14mm/2.5 lens)

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While photographing a plant, I was watched… (E-M10 with the 25mm/1.4 lens and a polarizer)

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Tuna the cat, looking out (E-M10 with the 25mm/1.4 lens and a polarizer)

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Pegs (Clothespins) – “shooting” the DSLR (E-520 with the 40-150mm/4-5.6 lens at 150mm, 1/40th of a second, hand-held)

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Occupation: box tester (E-M10 with the 25mm/1.4 lens)

I also filled the remaining few photos on an ISO200 colour negative film; a cheap one from the grocery, and I brought away that film for development already. With this I used my OM Zuiko 50mm/1.4 lens wide open for these last shots – I wanted to see its quality again. But as always when using film, that has to wait a bit. After I have these photos back, I’ll decide what to do with the three black & white Kodak 400TX (Tri-X) films which are still waiting to be used.

Anyway, thanks for reading/viewing, as always.