A picture of my newest toy

I finally took a photo of my new bass guitar, in its case which arrived two days ago (they didn’t have it in the store, so I had to order that online). Here it is:

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Squier (by Fender) VM Precision Bass Fretless

Ok; now I’m going to use it again on the collaboration I mentioned in my last blog post.

Thanks for viewing & reading.

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.

Learning just another (filmmaking) program, while not forgetting about photography

Recently, Zuleikha had just another gig as a musician (playing piano), and we recorded it – Mitchie on video with her Olympus E-PL5 and the 45mm/1.8 lens (on her tripod of course), and me with my Røde NT-1A microphone, the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd gen) interface, and the Lenovo Thinkpad P50 laptop/notebook which I’ve got from my employer.

Zuleikha’s piano teacher asked us to make a DVD from all the attendees’ performances, so we recorded everyone instead of just our own daughter. And since then (that was Sunday evening), I’m trying to learn just another video-editing program.

Why? Well because Ardour is more like Avid’s Pro Tools – a music studio inside of your computer, and OpenShot is a video editor which we’ve used previously, but which also gave me some headaches already – for bigger projects like a full-blown DVD, it’s not the most stable and full-featured one.

So at the moment I’m looking at the community version of Cinelerra, which seems to be great. There’s a very nice article on the German ubuntuusers wiki, with some additional nice links, like the one to Raffaella Traniello’s “Cinelerra for Grandma” – that answered most of my questions (and struggles) so far.

It’s still quite a lot to learn – these are not your basic editors, but full-blown and -featured professional programs like the commercial ones on other operating systems (and also a bit like Ardour vs. Pro Tools or Logic).

And with all that music- and video-related stuff, I’m still not forgetting about photography, even if I do that only for private and family “jobs” right now. So I’m still regularly reading the most interesting bloggers (and pros) like Kirk Tuck, or Michael Johnston’s “The Online Photographer” (and listening to Brooks Jensen’s “Lenswork Daily” podcasts).

I just answered one of Mike’s posts for instance, which was about his thought of a dual camera system (one his iphone, the other one maybe a Sony A7-2). My answer to that one, in case you don’t find it on his page, was:

“Love the idea, Mike.

I’ve got an Olympus OM-D E-M10 (first gen) which in cameras is in my opinion the equivalent to what our Corolla is in cars. It will do the job, and get you the picture. Not the best, but a quite acceptable one.

But the A7 Mk2 is the one that really interest me, even more so since I realized that both of our Olympus film bodies (OM-1 and OM-2) are having problems with their shutters, and ruin many potentially good (and expensive) film shots. So yes, a “digital back” for my OM Zuiko 50mm/1.4 would be great to have.

Or maybe an FM-2; could even be better. But that wouldn’t accept my Zuiko lens AFAIK.”

So beside my full-time professional job (still having to earn a living for us all), and beside my honorary work in the school’s parents’ association, I’m quite busy at the moment. Holding on to the next task, like: make a DVD for the parents of the other young and aspiring musicians – and for their teacher of course.

But being busy, and being together with the young ones keeps you young as well – or so they say 😉

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 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.

Dr. Strangelove…

Today at work we had a last cigarette break, when I saw two girls coming from the opposite office building. Before they headed to the bus stop, each of them took a very slim camera device (almost looked like phones!), and held it at arms length, carefully framing for the bank buildings in the background.

They seemed to be very happy with what they’ve got, so I thought I had to try that technique myself. And so, while joining my colleagues upstairs in the lift, I tried what I just saw:

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Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Hold the Camera Correctly

Wow – that worked! I even look almost as good as Wallace!

I was so happy with my newly found technique that I wanted to apply it as soon as I got home again, so I tried to take Zuleikha’s portrait. But strangely, this time the outcome wasn’t what I really expected:

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Hmmm – that doesn’t look like my daughter…

I shook my head in disbelief, and said: “Seems like I can never again take your portrait!”. But fortunately our daughter is much smarter than me, and she suggested to simply stand behind her, and to try again. So this is what I did:

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Aaahh – THAT’s how it works!

Wow, cool! Sure, as a photographer you have to respect and to stand behind your models in any way you can, so I’m glad this worked out so well. Will keep this in mind for future portrait sessions!

And what did we learn from this? Well, maybe that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously? Have some fun, and make your people laugh…

Thanks for reading.

Two photographers, two cameras

I’ve dropped my Agfa colour slide film for development at the local drugstore today, and Zuleikha and me played around with some digital cameras a bit. I took this of her:

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Zuleikha, taking my picture. Mörfelden-Walldorf, 2016

And she’s aiming Mitchie’s Olympus E-PL5 camera with my Zuiko Digital 50mm/2 macro lens at me. Here’s one of those she took:

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Me, with camera. Mörfelden Walldorf, 2016. Photographer: Zuleikha

But her “Photo of the day” is a different one. Won’t show it here; you’ll have to read Zuleikha’s blog to see it (and please comment there in case you like it).

Now I’ll load Agfa APX100 black & white film into my OM-2.

Thanks for reading.