Music, videos, and computers

Last Sunday, Zuleikha played piano together with some of her classmates of the piano teacher’s class at the local sports hall. Mitchie took it on video, and I recorded the piano (a nice sounding Yamaha Grand) with my Røde microphone, the Focusrite interface, and the company notebook (a Lenovo Thinkpad P50 running the IBM Open Client for the Debian Community, which is currently based upon Ubuntu 16.04 LTS).

Then I used every minute I could to learn new (to me) programs like Cinelerra.

In the end we’ve got a nice sounding movie with all the kids playing, and I also learned how to use fader automation in Ardour (tools like these weren’t even available while I was in the studios during my youth). Cool stuff, and the highlight for me personally was Zuleikha performing one of her own compositions – even some of the other kids were quite impressed by that. Cannot show the whole video here, but I’ll ask Zuleikha if she’ll put something online on her blog – maybe only some of her own playing (we’d have to ask too many parents to show everything here). If yes, then I can put up a link to it here.

On Saturday, June 17th, the latest and greatest version of Debian was released to the public, as promised. And I’ve got and installed it last night, just after finishing the video. It’s nice, and everything worked pretty much out of the proverbial box for me. I did an upgrade followed by a dist-upgrade like recommended, and the whole process didn’t last much longer than just half an hour. Nice.

And now, just a few minutes before writing this, I discovered a nice video on Youtube:

This is Adam Ben Ezra on his double bass.

Enjoy.

Smokin’ Arno

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Smokin’ Arno

Taken today on our employers’ roof garden using my old and manual OM Zuiko 50mm/1.8 lens fully open at f/1.8.

– raw development (from .orf to .tif) with Olympus Viewer 3 on Windows 10
– added Kodak Portra 160VC film simulation using Google Nik Color Efex Pro 4 on Windows 10 (free download here)
– added Exif title and some tags using RawTherapee 4.2.0 on Debian GNU/Linux 8.x “Jessie”
– developed from .tif to .jpg using RawTherapee 4.2.0 on Debian GNU/Linux 8.x “Jessie”
(- uploaded to Flickr to link to it from here)

Thanks for viewing.

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 Flügelhorn (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.

Two photos from Sunday, and two from today

On Sunday, my colleague Gertrud invited us to a concert in which she performed. It was also the 90th anniversary of her band, the “Mandolinenorchester Winkel 1926“. Here are two photos I took:

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It was a bit dark in the Brentanoscheune, so I took that first photo with my 40-150mm lens at ISO 6400. The light was a bit unforgiving for portraiture as well, so I converted it to black & white.

This next one was taken with my 25mm/1.4 lens at ISO 4000, while the Mayor held his speech:

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This shows the whole band, and it was a nice concert they gave – so thanks again for the invitation, Gertrud! We enjoyed it very much.

This morning when I came to work, I read Ming Thein’s blog for a few minutes (this article in case you’re interested), and then I decided to take a photo of my work place:

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But the real nice light was outside, so I opened my window to take this, hand-held at 1/6th of a second:

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As always, thanks for reading.

Arno

During today’s lunch break I was out with the camera, the normal (25mm) lens, and my circular polarizer in front of it. I wanted to get a bit more contrast into the half blue half cloudy day. And when I returned from my walk, my colleague Arno was in front of the building, speaking to someone on his mobile phone. So I walked right up to him and took his picture:

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Arno, September 2016 (with circular polarizer)

He laughed and told whoever was on the other side that he just got photographed. And upstairs, later, he said “cool image” – he liked it because of the reflections which give the illusion that there’s lots of background, while in fact he was sitting right in front of a window.

Thanks for viewing.

Update, from October 8th:

Here’s another one which I took yesterday, and which just got “explored” in Flickr:

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Arno, October 2016

The colour version of this one had a few elements which were too distracting, and it’s also taken with both natural *and* artificial light (the bad ones from the office ceiling), so I converted it to black & white using Silver Efex, simulating a Kodak Tri-X (400TX) film. But it was taken with my E-M10 and the Zuiko Digital 50mm/2 macro lens from the Four Thirds system, used wide open. Only the left eye is sharp, you can see the different sizes of this photo on Flickr (as always, when making prints, take the original size).

Thanks again for viewing. Or thanks for viewing again (and sorry about not posting that much lately).

Current affairs: IBMers protest

Today at work, we’ve had a short get together to demonstrate against massive job cuts which are planned for IBM Germany. I took some photos with my camera, and also with the one of Bert Stach, chief negotiator of ver.di (our labour union who were the organizers, together with our workers’ council). Here are some taken with my own camera:

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IBMers in Germany protest against planned job cuts, Frankfurt 2016

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IBMers in Germany protest against planned job cuts, Frankfurt 2016

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IBMers in Germany protest against planned job cuts, Frankfurt 2016

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IBMers in Germany protest against planned job cuts, Frankfurt 2016

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IBMers in Germany protest against planned job cuts, Frankfurt 2016

Thanks for viewing.

P.S.: Tho I converted these photos from the raw .orf files of my camera, I haven’t made any changes to them, except adding meta data like titles, exif tags, and so on, which makes them a bit easier to find for interested parties. So you have to excuse if some lines aren’t as straight as usual – this is documentary photography with its own set of ethic rules and such. Also, the light at “5 to 12” (which was the title of this happening) isn’t perfect for photography as we all know.

Portraiture, a bit more environmental

Two days ago, my fourth photo since mid January was ‘favorited’ on Flickr. And by the way, three of them were in black & white, like this one as well:

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Zuleikha

It’s one of my favourite photos since this year as well. I took it with the 25mm lens on my E-M10 camera, but I’m about to explore wide angle a bit more. It’s more contextual, shows the person of interest *and* the surrounding, which might be a bit more interesting than the usual blow-away-all-background stuff when using so-called ‘portrait lenses’ wide open. It’s also much more difficult.

Here are two I took today, using the 14mm lens on my E-PL5 camera instead:

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“Where is the country on a Cent coin?”

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Low key piano practice

This is fun – I think I’ll keep at it for a while. And used like this, all of a sudden my 14mm lens (with a viewing angle like 28mm on film cameras) doesn’t seem that wide anymore. Let’s see if I can “frame” this focal length in my mind, without camera if I just practise it a bit.

Thanks for reading.

Arno x2

One week ago, I took a photo of my colleague Arno with my Olympus E-PL5 and its 14-42mm “kit” lens set to 17mm. That small zoom lens opens up to f/3.8 at this focal length. Looked like this:

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And today, I took almost the same photo of him, but this time I used my Olympus E-M10 (different camera but same sensor) with the Panasonic Leica 25mm/1.4 lens fully opened to f/1.4, which then looks like this:

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Both are in-camera black & whites, with a simulated orange filter (at least this is what I’ve set when converting them from the raw .orf files using Olympus Viewer 3).

I like both. 17mm shows a bit more surrounding, while 25mm concentrates more on the subject. And of course the wider aperture of the prime lens blurs the background more than the zoom can do. But I also like the reflection of the Deutsche Bank building in the first picture, so it will take some time to decide whether I prefer one of these over the other.

Thanks for viewing.

Cameramen

It all began when my colleague Arno asked me about a camera. And this time his question was about a real camera, a Sony A6000.

Well, I told him, that one is at least as good as mine – its autofocus should be way faster especially on moving subjects, the sensor is APS-C, so a bit bigger, dynamic range could be better, whatever – you know the drill. No built in image stabilization was the only contra argument I could memorize without comparing actual spec sheets. Oh, and – how many – 20 Megapixels? Anyhow, more than enough of these as well. The fact that it’s not too expensive – in the same ballpark like an E-M10 or -Mark2 – was an additional plus. Everybody’s darling, I told him, and that he should get one if he saw a good offer.

A week went by, then another one, and finally I asked if he bought it, and he said no. He still wanted to make financial plans for this year together with his CFO 😉

In the end I decided to lend him my Olympus E-PL5 together with its kit zoom and the VF-2 electronic viewfinder. That would still leave the E-M10 in my bag, so I could live with that for a while.

Well, it never actually happened. He was about to take the camera – which he put into a bag first – into his car after having a smoke together with me, but he forgot to take his car keys, so we stood outside, smoking, bag with camera in his hand.

“See?”, he asked, adding “I guess I would never take that camera with me, it’s just too big, you cannot put it into a pocket, so it would probably stay at home all of the time”.

Ok I thought, thinking about alternatives. If my camera was out of the game, then so was the A6000 he had asked about, and I recommended a Sony RX-100 instead.

“Ask Basti”, I said, “he has one. First generation, they should be quite affordable by now”. Short internet check when we were up again – yep, slightly above 300€, fits. And Basti offered to bring his camera as well, so Arno could have a look before making a decision.

And that is what happened today. “Perfect”, was Arno’s comment, “that is the camera I want”. And so during our lunch break we took some photos:

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Cameraman (my colleague Arno, trying Basti’s – or Nadine’s? – camera on me)

He really seemed to like that thing. While I took one photo of him, he took three of me (and several more):

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Don’t directly compare these with the one I took. The Sony pictures are out of camera, while I “developed” mine from the Olympus raw file (.orf). Plus I had the 45mm/1.8 M.Zuiko lens on my camera – the Sony has a very good Zeiss zoom, but it can’t be opened that wide – and it’s of course way shorter to fit the 1″ sensor inside that camera.

Still, pretty good detail as far as I can tell – and these should have detail, 20 Megapixels of them. More than enough, like I told him.

Always glad if I can help. And thanks to Nadine and Basti who helped as well.

Thanks for reading.