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:

7e1_4076507-zuleikha

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

As always, thanks for viewing.

Some first impressions

Yesterday we were at the biggest local music store for a while. Zuleikha played some electric and acoustic pianos and bought some scores. And I took some hands-on first impressions of some instruments. What I found nice was:

Yamaha CG192S

Yamaha CG192S Classical Guitar

Ibanez SRH500F Fretless Bass

Ibanez SRH500F Fretless Bass

This one is awesome. Listen to it here, in 4- and 5-string versions:

In the studio department, we saw both my microphone and also my interface for it – but there, the most impressive experience for me was to listen to some active nearfield monitors:

Yamaha HS8 Powered Studio Monitors

Yamaha HS8 Powered Studio Monitor

Interesting – all Japanese products. Oh, and the Kawai and Yamaha acoustic (upright) pianos were also very nice.

As always, thanks for reading.

A photo a day…

Last month was the first one since late 2009 in that there were more days of the month than photos taken by me.

Part of that had to do with making two videos until now, both for the company. The first one, around 18 minutes, showed other Linux lovers how to get the officially needed company layers installed on top of a plain distribution. The second, around 45 minutes, was a howto on getting better audio for the video guys who make ‘official’ company videos for one of its Youtube channels.

Another reason why I didn’t take that many photos is that since I have the new USB audio interface and a studio quality microphone, I also dealt with recording a lot. Midi, audio, plugins, samples, soundfonts, all that.

Now it’s April already, and we have a little more sun – at least the days are getting somewhat longer, so I can make use of the light. And when the cat was outside, sitting on my shoes on the veranda, I just had to take a picture:

7e1_4016485-tuna

Tuna the cat, April 2017

Let’s see – maybe I can at least take one picture a day, and hopefully more. And still deal with and learn about how to make and record music with a computer. When I have something worth listening to, I’ll let you know.

As always, thanks for reading.

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:

Screenshot_2017-03-17_17-57-10

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

FocusriteControl

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.

Solo piano

Zuleikha had her first solo piano performance today at the Jugend- und Kulturzentrum (JuKuZ) Mörfelden:

7e1_2126446-zuleikha-concert

Zuleikha in concert, February 2017

It wasn’t her first gig this year – there was an earlier one where she played the horn in the school’s “Brass & Co” Jazz band, but the first one for this year where she was alone on stage.

And it was a good one. Congratulations again, Schätzchen!

Thanks for reading & viewing.

Another project, and Tuna

Zuleikha has a new project in school. Starting tomorrow, they will produce a short movie, based on a story they have to develop themselves, script, costumes, filming, sound, everything. And the group in which Zuleikha is in decided that she’d be responsible for the technical part (besides of acting and so on).

First, Zuleikha wanted to take her small Panasonic Lumix “Travel Zoom” camera for this, as it’s quite good for videos. But she decided that it would be too noisy for indoor shots, and to take her (my old) Olympus E-PL1 instead:

7e1_1296400-olympus-epl1

Olympus E-PL1

But in the end, I thought that an E-PL5 would be even better, so I gave her mine for the job. That she can use the battery and memory card from her PL1 as backup is also an advantage. Her tripod is in her locker at school already – can’t wait to see with what they’ll come up.

At the moment, both Zuleikha and Mitchie are in Darmstadt, watching “Cabaret” in a theater. So I’m alone with Tuna, and I took a photo of her:

7e1_1296403-tuna

Tuna the cat, January 2017

That’s processed with the (also in-camera) “pin hole” filter, which adds a strong vignette, and also some funky colours which I reduced a bit again.

Thanks for viewing.

An awesome video production

In contrast to yesterday’s obituary, here’s another piece for guitar:

Silvius Leopold Weiss – ” Fantasie”, guitar Asya Selyutina

Like the title says, this is from Sylvius Leopold Weiss (see English and German Wikipedia pages), and the performing artist is Asya Selyutina.

Interesting how different an instrument can be. Anyway, here I liked everything, especially the camera and sound work. Awesome performance on this Baroque piece (which is some 300 years old) as well. And she plays a guitar hand-made by Peter Barton.

Oh, and in case you play the guitar yourselves, find the score with tabs, and midi as well as Guitar Pro files here. And yesterday’s Tango is here. Thanks go to Christian Liang for these.

Thanks for viewing and reading.

Portraiture, naturally

Happy new year again, everyone.

I’ve been thinking about my (and others’) photography lately, and watched lots of videos, and read lots of other photographers’ blogs. I also looked at my own photos, and identified some favourite ones. Almost all of them are photos of family members (including “our” cat). And that reminded me of my original reasons to get better cameras since late 2009.

It’s this personal photography which is most important to me. Keeping memories about family, friends, colleagues, strangers, simply people I’ve met or with whom I live. Thinking about 2017, I’d say that I have everything I need gear-wise. Ok; I could use some more lights (and/or modifiers for them), or maybe some more lenses. But mostly I have what I need – a very nice and capable little camera with prime (single focal length) lenses, and a telephoto zoom should I need some more reach and/or the perspective you have with these.

So I started the new year with what I like the most: take some portraits, naturally. Like this one:

7e1_1016351-zuleikha

Zuleikha, January 2017

A propos the title of this short article, “Portraiture, naturally” – got that one from a video of British photographer David Thorpe on Youtube. David is a very interesting photographer, and both his Youtube channel as well as his blog are very worthy of having a look and read. Like us, he has discovered the Micro Four Thirds system as pretty much ideal for his needs, and this after a life-long career as a photojournalist. I’m always glad when I discover people like him, and some of his writings are just so funny – take for instance his description of a “gentleman” from his article about “The Gentleman’s Lens“:

“The gentleman has always held an emblematic status in England. A gentleman is good at what he does but not superb. That would involve too much effort, which is ungentlemanly. A gentleman is superior but without effort. Effort would imply that he is concerned about what others think. That would be pandering and decidedly ungentlemanly. The essence of a gentleman is summed up by the old English aristocracy’s mode of dress. For example, an expensive, but not too expensive jacket which has been allowed to become a bit ratty, with leather patches on the elbows and frayed – but not too frayed – lapels. The message of the jacket is that the wearer has enough money but not too much (vulgar!), though almost certainly more than you because he allows a good quality jacket to become scruffy whereas you, not being a gentleman, would probably have had it repaired or – horror! – bought a new one. The message is that so superior are you that you do not even deign to compete.”

Time- and priceless, just as his discovery why gorgeous women in glamorous bars never give him a second look (that’s in another of his articles, but I’ll leave that discovery for yourself). The man surely can make you laugh. And he has world-class photos.

Ok, enough for now. As 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:

7e0_c298488-arno-tux

Arno, playing with Tux (the Linux penguin mascot)

7e0_c306310-cold

Cold

7e0_c316324-tuna

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.