A picture of me, taking a picture

During yesterday’s lunch break, Arno and I walked around the houses a bit. I had my camera with me, taking some photos, and he captured me doing it:

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This was taken with his mobile phone. And what I took is this:

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More photos of me, taken by Arno can be seen in his Google Photos folder.

Thanks for viewing.

A short status update

Yesterday we were out for a short walk in a small village on the other side of the nearby airport. Here’s Zuleikha sitting on a bench near the river:

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Back at home, I was doing the usual daily practice routine on my bass, followed by playing around with some standards. As some of you might know, I have the “New Real Book” since some 30 years or so, but it doesn’t contain every standard you might look for – for these, you’d also have to get some of the older classic real books, or better yet, iReal Pro for your smartphone and/or tablet computer, which comes with about 1,300 free classics. And other than the name suggests, this also exists for Android devices. But these are chord sheets / playalongs only, like the original real books these tracks don’t come with the melody due to licensing restrictions.

Here’s also a new version of the collab with jonetsu/nominal6 on Soundcloud. He mixed in my fretless bass quite nicely already, tho the piece is still considered work in progress. In the LinuxMusicians forum entry you can also see some screenshots of the commercial Harrison Mixbus 32c console (on Linux of course) with which he mixed it – together with some nice plugins which I don’t have on Ardour (and which he used for the bass). Anyway, go ahead and listen to that small ambient piece in case you’re interested. It’s under a CC license which means that you could for instance use it for own videos and the likes.

So – currently I’m back to work, where I just upgraded my WordPress to 4.8.1 before writing this (together with updates of two plugins). And today I’m expecting a call from my brother who will visit our aunt, and who will probably need my help with her Linux machine during my lunch break.

And later on, I’ll probably continue working on “Blue Bossa” on my bass…

Thanks for reading.

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.

A lunch break walk around a construction site

My colleague Arno has a week off, and so today during our lunch break I grabbed my camera and went alone. First through the garden, then South and around some construction sites. Here are some impressions:

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We’re already too many people – and cars – in that area, so we’re all a bit afraid that when these are finished, and people moved in, it will get ugly. We need half an hour to reach the first traffic light even now. So much for planning ahead, and for letting all workers leave at the exact same time (5 p.m.)…

Thanks for viewing.

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.

Please vote for the Nik collection to be open sourced!

Through an article on Imaging Resource I’ve learnt that Google will no longer maintain or “to update the Collection or add new features over time” of their Nik collection – which is a bit sad because they’re still awesome, and loved by many photographers either as plugins for programs like Photoshop, or stand-alone.

I don’t have Photoshop and/or Lightroom- and don’t plan to buy it – but still I have the Nik collection for some special effects on a Windows partition on my hard drive, so through their help center and forum I found this post from Paul Breslin, who volunteered to maintain it further after his retirement, and for which I “voted” already. And I suggest that you’d do the same; open-sourcing it would be the ‘proper’ way of dropping official support for a product.

And Google may even do it – they’re in some way still the “good guys”, with their initiatives like “Summer of Code” and so on and so forth. So if you also like or (occasionally) use the fine Nik collection, I’d advise that you do the same. If you haven’t heard of the Nik collection but have a Mac or PC with Windows operating systems, I’d suggest to try it out – it’s one of the best “free” (as in “no cost”) software packages there is.

My main interest in this? Well I’m still using real free and open source software on my Debian Linux machine, but who knows, maybe one day the Nik collection could be real free as well – it’s all a question of licensing. And there could even be a port for Linux, which would make that even greater as an artist’s platform as it already is (doing music and recording with it as well). It’s just a vote away, so what is stopping you?

Thanks for reading and/or considering.

P.S.: see also my comments here and here.

At the Chocolate Museum in Cologne

We’re just back from visiting some relatives in Cologne. Haven’t done this since a while, so it was about time. And while being there anyway, Mitchie and Zuleikha wanted to see the Stollwerck Chocolate Museum, which now belongs to Lindt. I took Zuleikha’s portrait in front of a rebuilt classic store:

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Zuleikha at Stollwerck (now Lindt) Chocolate Museum, Cologne, April 2017

As always, thanks for viewing.