Trying to see squares

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:

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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…

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Looking at my camera strap, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

Thanks again for viewing.

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.

Feeling honoured

I’m included in this collage of photos (taken out of videos which we’ve made ourselves):

Wikiloops Videocollab 2018, participants

You can hear all the songs and watch all those videos in this playlist on the Wikiloops Youtube channel.

Thanks to Richard, founder of Wikiloops who has cut all these together, and thanks also to all participants. It was great to be a part of all of this fun jamming, and I hope to see some of you soon in real life.

Black and white previews, 28mm-e. But in 4:3.

I read about and saw a video of Ralph Gibson lately, and man was it beautiful, especially his black & white photographs which often looked like they’re in a 4×5 or 8×10 (large) format. But the man had a Leica on his shoulder while talking at a TEDx event somewhere, and so I don’t know much about him.

Still, this (and some other video of Kai Wong showing the Ricoh GR1) led me to mount my Panasonic 14mm/2.5 lens onto my Olympus OM-D E-M10 (first version) again, and to set that little camera to black & white, with a simulated yellow filter. And I also started to take photos in portrait mode (high), rather than in landscape (wide).

One of the advantages of a mirrorless camera is that you’ll instantly see black & white in the viewfinder, so compared to the old film days it’s pretty easy to “pre-visualize” what you’re about to get. Here are three examples, which I converted and corrected a bit with Olympus Viewer 3 (on Windows) and with RawTherapee (on Linux), but they’re pretty much like out of camera:

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As always, thanks for reading, and for viewing.

Got my photo taken today

Today I took photos of four colleagues at work. I offered to make photos “on white”, since you can easily use them everywhere in the web, in presentations, even in the company’s countless online services. And one of the colleagues who helped me, Gunther, also took my photo:

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Wolfgang, Frankfurt 2018

Thanks for viewing.

One photo from today (July 8th, 2018)

Taken a short while ago, using two studio strobes and my 45mm lens:

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Piano practice in F minor using headphones, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

The photo also shows Zuleikha’s new watch 😉

Thanks for viewing.

Three photos from three days

We’ve been to Paris this week. And of course we took all the photos of all the monuments and famous places like everyone else does. Here are three of mine:

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City of Love, Paris 2018

Kunst or just Kitsch – what do you think? I thought of a double take on the “love” theme, showing “love birds” in front of a famous monument in the “city of love”, as we Germans often call Paris. And because I also thought of “street art”, it had to be converted into black & white of course, together with an “artsy” frame 😉 You can buy drawings like this everywhere, but ok, I’ve been there, I’ve taken this shot, so why shouldn’t I show it?

Ok; here’s another one:

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Zuleikha, Paris 2018

One of the reasons Zuleikha wanted to see Paris was to visit the Louvre, which we did of course (and that wasn’t the only museum we visited). Of course you don’t see much in just a couple of hours; someone calculated that you’d need 6 weeks if you stay 30 seconds in front of each exhibit shown in the Louvre. And after looking at lots and lots of art, I asked Zuleikha to stand at a window of the Denon wing of Louvre – a window to the North. That usually means good and soft light because each photon is reflected at least once before entering and falling onto your subject, which makes light from a North-facing window very flattering for portraiture. I also explained this to another woman and mum, who thanked me and then took photos of her daughter. Looking at art the whole day is nice, making your own is even better 😉

Here’s another image:

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Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre as seen from Musée d’Orsay, Paris 2018

As its title says already, you see a famous church (which was actually the very first place we visited) through one of the two giant clocks of another nice museum. Theoretically you could put your camera on a tripod there, with interval timer, and each photo would be different because of the people in the foreground. Of the few I took I liked this one best.

The highlight of the trip, for me? Without any doubt, that is the two (or rather, eight in two installments) Nymphéas in the oval rooms of Musée de l’Orangerie, by Claude Monet. Breath-taking. Cannot be shown in photos, you have to go there to see them. If you can’t, see Paris, France: Monet’s Dreamy Water Lilies for a first and short impression. It’s part of a longer version called “Paris: Embracing Life and Art” from Rick Steve’s Europe series of videos, so if you really cannot go and still get a glimpse of why Paris is a must see, then spend around 25 minutes to see it. But for water lilies? You have to go, and you have to sit there to really get it.

How nice to re-visit the City of Light after some 40 years or so.

Thanks for reading.