Caught in the act (of photographing)

Yesterday I took a picture in the atrium. I had set the camera to square format, and later at home I used both Olympus Viewer 3 (to make a slightly desaturated .tif), and Nik Color Efex Pro to simulate Fuji Astia slide film. I called the result “Nature wins”, and it looks like this:

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What I hadn’t noticed until I took that picture was that my colleague Arno caught me photographing, using his new Huawei P20 Pro phone (with a couple of Leica branded lenses, same as I used on my Olympus camera). So here am I taking the above picture, from Arno’s phone:

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He took some more photos. Interesting what you can do with a phone these days…

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So much for our lunch break. Thanks for viewing.

Two portraits of Arno, from last week

Last week I took pictures of some colleagues, on white, black, and grey backgrounds. I haven’t asked the colleagues if I could show their photos here (or in Flickr where these are hosted) – except Arno, who agreed. So here are two of the photos I took of him:

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As always, thanks for viewing.

Some photos from an expired film

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:

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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:

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Thanks for viewing.

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!

Three films, one portrait I liked

Maybe I was a bit sloppy. Or maybe I just pressed the shutter too fast and on too many objects. Out of the three Kodak black & white films which I had in my camera lately, I liked exactly 1 photo – a portrait of my colleague Arno, like so often:

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I quickly (and again, sloppily) “scanned” the negative using my OM-D E-M10 with the old Four Thirds ZD 50mm/2 macro lens against a white background illuminated by one of my studio strobes, using a polaroid slide copier holder in front of that macro lens. So what you see here is a digitized version (ca. 13.5MP) of the 24x36mm negative turned positive.

This was also one of the first photos I made with my new old 135mm/2.8 lens, and it’s very nice and sharp even when used fully open like here.

Like always, thanks for viewing.

Tuna from yesterday, Arno from today. Both toned.

Here are two photos I made yesterday and today, and both are toned using the Lab curves in RawTherapee. Arno’s photo was converted to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro2 (with the 019 “Fine Art” preset), Tuna was more or less out of camera (and Olympus Viewer could do the same).

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Oh, almost forgot: Tuna was lit with two of my studio strobes (both simply reflected over the walls), while I took Arno’s photo in natural daylight in the company.

Another difference: I photographed Tuna with the 25mm/1.4 Panasonic Leica DG Summilux lens at f/2.8, and Arno with the new, old, and manual OM Zuiko 135mm/2.8, also at f/2.8.

As always, full resolution photos are on Flickr – you get there if you click on the pictures here.

Also as always, thanks for viewing.

Some more digital monochromes

Here are a few more photos which I made with my camera set to black & white:

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Tuna the cat, November 2017 (Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4 fully open at f/1.4)

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Tuna the cat, November 2017 (Olympus OM G.Zuiko 50mm/1.4 fully open at f/1.4)

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Tuna the cat, November 2017 (Olympus OM G.Zuiko 50mm/1.4 at f/2)

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Arno, November 2017 (Olympus OM Zuiko 135mm/2.8 at f/4)

Thanks for viewing.

Photography, videos, sound recording and so on

Haven’t written much here lately.

Since I’ve identified what I’m actually after with my photography earlier this year, I’m taking mostly family photos – not of any interest to the general public.

And since Mitchie (and also Zuleikha) is/are more into video, I’ve concentrated a bit more onto the audio aspect of that – having been in professional studios not only as a musician but also as a technician, I try to “give back” some of the gathered knowledge from these areas to my family, my colleagues, and so on.

For some colleagues, I’ve made a (company-internal) video already about how to get the OCDC (Open Client for the Debian Community) IBM layers on top of a more or less “naked” Ubuntu 16.04.2, and I’ll make some more about the tools – both hardware and free and open source software – that I use, and about how I use all that stuff. De-Essers, compressors, LUFS sound leveling, something like this. Plus some microphone techniques.

I also tried to help someone in this thread of the LinuxMusicians forum, for whom/which I uploaded some screenshots to Flickr lately:

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Ubuntu Studio 16.04.2 LTS, running from a USB stick on my machine, with running QJackctl and the Hydrogen drum computer

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Focusrite Control software, running on Windows 10

Other than that, I’ll cover some tools like Audacity, Ardour and the Calf Studio Gear plugins, Openshot and whatever I’m using. Since most of these tools are cross-platform, the colleagues might want to use them even on their Windows machines; let’s see.

These will be company-internal screencasts and/or videos, just for those people who want to / have to publish some public stuff on the companies’ official Youtube stream(s). Lots of stuff like that exists already, just look at the streams of people like Curtis Judd for instance. No need for me to add anything public here, since there are so many of these technical tips channels already.

Anyway; I’m quite busy most of the time, and just wanted to explain why you see fewer entries here, or on my Flickr stream.

Soon we’ll also visit some family members in Cologne; it’s about time for that as well. Plus both my brother, Mitchie, Zuleikha, and me want to see/visit the Music Store there – can’t wait for that…

Like always, thanks for reading.

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.