I was reminded of some great (and famous) photographers lately, who used square format cameras and films, like the twin-eyed Rolleiflex to name a famous piece of gear. The difference in composition? These cameras were mostly held at breast height, and viewed from above. On their ground glass – with or without a magnifying loupe – you saw a square image, half mirror-inverted. Meaning that when/if you moved the camera right, the picture on the ground glass would move left, and vice versa.
I’ve seen so many good photos from that time that I started to wonder how it would be to use my small Micro Four Thirds camera that way (because that’s all I have, folks). Luckily I have the E-M10 which has a tilting screen, and if I move it 90 degrees upwards then I can use this as a fake ground glass, with or without magnification, but not mirror-reversed (would be funny to have that implemented in firmware I guess). If I switch the camera to black & white I can already see the photo in black and white before I even take it – definitely an advantage compared to the film days when you had to wait for development to see anything.
Just playing around with my camera set up that way, today I took this:
Sleepy cat, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018
Yes, it’s square. And yes, it’s black & white (both in camera and in “post production” which was to first reduce contrast with Olympus Viewer 3, then to apply the 019 “Fine Art” preset in Silver Efex Pro2, and with RawTherapee (on Linux) to add some title and Exif information).
Yes, it’s a sleepy cat. And yes, this is fun, really. Modern day Rolleiflex or Mamiya 330.
Thanks for viewing.
P.S.: here’s another one. Same cat, same day, a few hours later…
Looking at my camera strap, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018
I decided to go for a walk today – haven’t done that really since last winter. So I aimed for the Mönchbruch nature preservation area, which is approximately 3.2km or roundabout 5,000 steps away from our place, according to the “Google Fit” step counter in our mobile phones.
Here are some pictures:
Because I didn’t go into the restricted area, and because I didn’t have my longest lens on the camera, I couldn’t get closer views onto the deer. Approaching them would have been useless anyway, with the wind behind me…
On our way back (Mitchie had met me there after a while) we also saw some new goslings:
Saturday evening I uploaded another photo of Tuna, our cat onto the Flickr servers, and the great wide interweb. And like with the photo from late January, it was an overnight success again – until yesterday morning it easily climbed up my all time favourite list, where it now resides as the number two most successful of my photos of all time:
I laughed and showed it to Mitchie, with words like: “Look, a simple photo of a cat!”. But still, even if I don’t see it, some people at least seemed to really like it, almost as much as the one from January. So here it is (full size on Flickr as always):
Looking out, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018
10,418 views, 188 faves, and 6 comments as I write this. So thanks, I also like it. Took this with the new (to me) 75mm/1.8 lens at f/2.5 from the dining room table – you see my chair from the computer desk on the left, and a wall on the right. And Tuna was right beside the sofa, so she could look out the veranda door. Pastime paradise for her 😉
Zuleikha needs glasses, so we went shopping for them. And I took some photos while she tried different frames, to show her how she looks from a slightly different angle. Like here:
Last Sunday I turned 61, and this is what I’ve got – a book, and a new lens for my camera:
It’s David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas”, and the Olympus Micro Zuiko Digital 75mm/1.8 lens. Both are wonderful. So the rest of this blog post’s photos were all taken with that new lens, either fully or near fully open:
This one was at f/5, with an overhead octabox and one of my studio strobes:
As you can see, that 75mm lens is perfect for head & shoulder portraits, and it reminds me a lot of my 135mm/2.8 which I had for my Canon A-1, and which I now also have for my Olympus OM-2N. The angle of view is very similar, with the 75mm being slightly tighter, and comparable to a 150mm lens on a 135 film camera. Might be a bit long for normal indoor living rooms, where our 45mm lenses shine, but outdoors, or for candids, or the mentioned head & shoulders, it’s just perfect. And for cats of course. Purrfect.
I had that DM Paradies 200 colour negative film which was in our bookshelf, and expired since over three and a half years. So I loaded it into my camera (see two posts below), and used it. And today I’ve got it back. Here are three photos like the lab scanned them off the film, with grain and not very high-res. I still like them:
My colleague Arno isn’t in the office at the moment. So today I put some of the prints from that film onto his desk for when he returns. I documented that with the digital E-PL5 and its kit zoom at 14mm:
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:
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.
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:
Tuna the cat, December 2017 (this was taken using the E-PL5 “Pen” camera with its kit zoom at 17mm, at ISO 6400)
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:
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:
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:
Sarah, April 2011, at Haenson’s
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:
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:
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):
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?
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:
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.
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!
I haven’t written anything since over a week. And I also didn’t take many photos, partly because my colleague Arno is off for his holiday, partly because the weather didn’t play nice at times, and I haven’t been out that much during my lunch breaks.
But apart from the usual cat photos, there were some opportunities, like a pre-Christmas concert from Zuleikha and some of her schoolmates. So let me show you some here: