Well I can hardly give any tips of what best to do in a “lockdown” kind of situation, when you can’t or at least shouldn’t really leave the house. I can only tell you what we’re doing:
we went shopping of Friday after my work already, so we were through with that early on. It also helps if you enter the supermarkets as a single person, not with a whole family. Better for the distances we should keep…
reading is always good – my current favourite fiction author is Haruki Murakami as you might know if you’re reading this blog once in a while
listening to music and/or watching TV is what I’ll guess what most people would do, and of course we’re also doing that. Long running series like “Doctor Who” are good tips if you like that
If you’re a computer geek, get involved into some free and open source project – write some code or documentation, or share some tips via an own blog or Youtube or whatever
We’re the lucky ones, at least Zuleikha and me – we play instruments. Plus we are both members of Wikiloops where you can play with other musicians from all around the globe for free if you like. All you need is some way to get your instrument or voice into a computer, which is usually done with some kind of audio interface – see here for some examples. And Wikiloops just lifted its time restrictions, so even as a new user you can now start down- and uploading at once, without having to wait (or to pay).
If you are creative in another field – I consider myself a portrait photographer for instance – then do this at home as well. Take photos of your family, or in case you’re alone, take self portraits. There’s always something new to learn, and if it’s only about lighting.
Other than that I haven’t done much this weekend, in fact I wasn’t even out of the house except to feed the birds:
As I’ve read, the rate of new infections with SARS-CV2 aka the Corona virus is slowing down here in Germany. So maybe (and hopefully) it helps if everyone is staying at home or at least keeping a safe distance. And while it’s still way too early to speak of or to hope for a trend, we can still carry on and wait this out, shall we?
Here are four books which I’ve got for my birthday this year, and in the order I’ve read them:
I like Murakami anyway, and I had read some five or so other books of his already – but these here are all exceptional. I think that I’ve read them in the right order, so if you don’t know the man, that would be my recommendation. Other than these I can recommend ‘Kafka on the shore’, ‘Norwegian wood’, or ‘Killing Commendatore’, but in my opinion these ones here are truly good. And that last one, ‘1Q84’ is definitely a masterpiece (and one of his latest if I’m not mistaken, it was published 2009/10 in Japan, and 2011 in Great Britain).
Recommended, all of them.
I took the photo with the same in-camera black & white settings resembling a digital Olympus Pen-F camera like I wrote one day before my birthday, here.
And, as always, thanks for reading, and for looking.
Letzte Woche Mittwoch und Donnerstag wurden in 3Sat zwei ‘Eberhofer’ Krimis gezeigt – das sagte mir erstmal nix, aber da Mitchie Krimis mag und die Filme ab 12 sind dachte ich am Donnerstag, man könne ja mal reingucken.
Zuleikha und ich haben dann später auch noch den 3. von bisher insgesamt 6 Filmen (und 10 Büchern) in der Mediathek des Schweizer Fernsehens gesehen, nacheinander und auf einem Mobiltelefon mit der ‘Zapp’ App aus dem F-Droid Appstore (unbedingt mal danach suchen, das lohnt!).
Also – wer der Eberhofer Franz und sein bester Freund Birkenberger Rudi eigentlich sind, worum’s geht und was es mit all den komischen Speisen der Oma oder dem Kraut vom Papa so auf sich hat erfahrt Ihr am besten auf der Webseite der Autorin:
Der neueste Film kommt am nächsten Donnerstag, den 1. August in die Kinos, zum Beispiel in Groß-Gerau. Den werden wir uns in der Woche danach auch ansehen – um aber erst einmal die anderen Folgen alle zu sehen hab ich eben die ‘Kruzi Fünferl Box’ bestellt:
Und weil’s hier 5 DVDs für 23 Euro gibt und man dafür beim größten Versender auch noch Porto bezahlen müßte (weil unter 30 Euro), hab ich noch ein Buch mit drauf gelegt:
Bin ja seit einiger Zeit auch Murakami-Fan. Der ist zwar weniger lustig, aber mindestens genauso Kult wie der Eberhofer Franz.
And his book is indeed a deep dive into Jazz history; I’m learning so much. You can spend an awful lot of time with all the players he covers there, and you’ll discover a world full of surprises if you take that time and listen to some of them – which I recommend as much as reading the book itself.
Yesterday for instance I mentioned Scott La Faro to a colleague (and I think also to my brother in an email to him) – and Scott’s outstanding work is possibly best represented on this recording (1:22h but well worth your time, as this was just ten days before the young genius died in a car accident):
And of course this album is on my big dealer’s wishlist since I heard it – a must have for bass players as well as for lovers of fine music.
Like I said: worlds are opening, this book is like a ride through jazz history in a jet plane. Just like a first semester course on your typical music university. Cannot say more than Ron Carter in his foreword:
I’ve enjoyed this book and will delay further research on the history of jazz bass until John Goldsby writes another.
Just a short blog note before I have to start work – and just because I was talking about John to my brother yesterday, and to a colleague today. So here’s a short portrait, an interview, and a free lesson as well as a link to a book John wrote:
Al is a legend of a recording engineer, and he recorded and mixed them all, his story is totally worth the time even if you’re not a technical person or interested in how music is produced – the list of artists alone, and what he says about them is so remarkable.
He mentioned that he recorded Sir Paul McCartney’s “Kisses on the bottom” album which is in my opinion a super classy jazz album through and through – the title track alone leaves no doubt as soon as you hear that double bass on it.
But I wanted to show you another example of Paul (and this is also for my brother who likes Mrs. Krall) and orchestra, recorded and mixed by Al Schmitt, and later put into an official video with two others. First, Sir Paul:
Then, the awesome official video:
So nice. I love seeing and hearing pros at work 🙂 And Al Schmitt’s book is on my Amazon wishlist, even if I won’t ever sit in front of a 72 track SSL console or put 200+ tracks into ProTools…
I have just finished reading the “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell, which I’ve got as a birthday present this year. This is David’s third book, and also the third one I’ve read – after I sawCloud Atlas the movie by Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis.
And tho the book and the movie tell the same story quite differently, both are really really beautiful, with the movie being a bit more difficult to understand in my opinion. Anyway, love them both. And here’s a very interesting interpretation and kind of conclusion for those who might ask what these are all about:
Yeah. Heavy on philosophy of Nietzsche et al, but the main message is simple to understand. And now I’m actually interested in a series of the Wachowskis which they did after Cloud Atlas, and which seems to have a quite similar message. That one’s called Sense8, and it belongs to Netflix (let’s see where and how I can see that one without being a subscriber to them):
Hi there, and thanks for visiting. In case you celebrate it, we (I write in the plural on behalf of our small family here) wish you merry Christmas, nice holidays, a good and happy new year 2018, health, wealth, and all the other stuff, or, using Spock’s words: live long and prosper!
I was a bit quiet on this blog lately, and that’s mostly because I discovered some new and really nice video creators, or vloggers as some call these. And I want to show you some in case you’re also interested. And since it’s hard to decide on which of their videos to show you as an introduction, I’ll simply show you the first ones I saw of them.
The first one was Eduardo, a writer and movie dramaturg from Chile, who’s now living in England together with his girlfriend Fran. Eduardo loves film and street photography (and is pretty good with that), tho the first I saw from him was using a digital back on his Hasselblad medium format camera. It’s worth a look, and his video, storytelling, and photos are beautiful:
After that, I saw a video of a young woman discovering film photography using the exact same camera I had when I was much younger – a Canon A-1 (which is a thing of beauty, but eats batteries for breakfast). Turned out that Dana’s husband Lou is a really good filmmaker (using a Canon 5D Mk3), and together they also are really good story tellers – and they even know Eduardo and Fran from above. But here’s Dana doing a really good job with that Canon film camera:
My latest “discovery” was actually a recommendation from Google’s Youtube, so I watched Sean Tucker talking about his street photography philosophy (in Rome with the Fujifilm XT-20). He’s a pro photographer sharing some really cool and useful tips without much self presentation as I would say (and comparing him with others who do mainly that), so as the other two above, his channel is really recommended. So here’s that first video I saw from him:
So, sometimes Google’s recommendations actually do work. It’s even a bit frightening to think about how good they are matching my taste of content with their recommendations at times – they must have made a real good profile for/of me already.
Which brings me back in a circle to my own photography, and doings, and plans. The last thing I’ve tried with my photos was another “look” for black & white, kind of more traditional or “old school” (which some might argue is black & white anyway). So my approach to it was to take the photos in raw as usual, then converting them to colour .tif files with Olympus Viewer as usual, and then use Silver Efex Pro2 for black & white conversion with a “custom” preset I’ve made myself: take their “019 Fine Arts” preset, then add a white border and some coffee toning, and 95% of the post production work is done. What’s still missing is a bit of curves manipulation, and the adding of metadata like a title in Exif and such, which I do with Rawtherapee. As usual. And here are three examples of how this looks:
Tuna the cat, December 2017 (this was taken using the E-PL5 “Pen” camera with its kit zoom at 17mm, at ISO 6400)
Andre, December 2017 (this was taken using my Yongnuo compact flash at 1/4 power bounced over the ceiling from Arno’s desk (opposite of Andre’s), with the 45mm lens at f/2.2)
And finally, a “selfie”, triggered with my (Mitchie’s old) Google Nexus 5 smartphone:
Selfie, black and white, toned, with border
The next two were actually the last photos I took before Christmas, both of Tuna the cat. Simply cannot resist sometimes when I see something like it:
About future plans – here’s some music first, from user “nominal6” on Soundcloud again (CC, so I’m allowed to play it here). You can listen to it while reading the rest of my article:
I plan to do some more collaborations with this user nominal6, who calls himself ‘jonetsu’ on the Linux Musicians board. First, I like that he does everything with free tools, and I also like that everything is CC’ed like my own content – so I could for instance take his music for videos I’d publish on Youtube or Vimeo or wherever.
I also looked at some older photos, like Kirk Tuck does it sometimes. So here are some from 2011 or newer:
Sarah, April 2011, at Haenson’s
Haenson at work in his studio, January 2014
Sadly Hans has retired from his studio photography already, and sold it all – it always was a great pleasure working with him, even when at that time my digital photography was in its first baby steps. Here’s another photo (of a nude girl) I took in his studios. She was a former Czech “Playmate” from that famous magazine. I used my new toned black & white recipe on her here for that “vintage” look:
Zuzie, January 2014, at Haenson’s
And one more from 2011, still with my Olympus E-520 DSLR and the 50mm/2 macro lens, and cropped to a more cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio here:
Starting January, I’ll also rejoin the IBM Fotoklub. Here’s one I took while I was a member of that club, but with my own strobe equipment already. The model calls herself “An Ne”, and I forgot who made the fancy head piece (or who was the MUA (= makeup artist):
The show must go on
January 2014, Frankfurt
Shows that with good lighting, you don’t need more than an Olympus E-PL5 and the 45mm/1.8 lens to take a nice picture, hm?
Two beauties, January 2015, Mainz
I like this one of Rhia and Meike, taken in Mainz on a cold January day with that exact same E-PL5 camera and lens. Or this one, which is one of my all-time favourites:
Mélanie Gomez, February 2015
Mélanie is a real good photographer herself, and I’d love to work with her (and some others) again. So much for my wishes for 2018, for myself.
A portrait of me, Christmas 2017
Photographer: Hanna Zuleikha Lonien (who will turn 13 in 2 days from now)
Lighting: Simock Mythos E300 into 20″ white beauty dish, socked as key light
Simock Mythos E300 with standard reflector, for background
For you (for whomever is still reading), thanks, and all the best for 2018!
I’ve been reading a lot lately – well, ‘a lot’ is clearly overstated, but at least I’m reading books again. Real books, no virtual electronic files, because like pictures need to be hung onto walls, books have to be printed and bound.
It all started with a movie tho, and the one which touched me most this (almost passed) year was the Wachowskis’ Cloud Atlas. I found it totally fascinating that they managed to portrait the characters and the general idea (which is based on Nietzsche’s eternal return) so clearly and precisely in only a few hours. This deep introduction into a story’s characters is nowadays far more easy for long-running series like Lost, and even in the past good and long stories like Treasure Island, or even David Balfour needed long movies in 4 or more parts. Cloud Atlas (the movie) manages that in 172 minutes.
But I was starting about books, and instead of reading Cloud Atlas (the book), I decided to start with the first of David Mitchell’s novels, Ghostwritten (German book title is Chaos).
No, I won’t describe it here, but what a book it is! A chain of short stories which all are connected like in chaos theory (where a butterfly’s wings can produce a storm elsewhere). Highly recommended.
And from yesterday to today I was reading Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Woods (German book title is Naokos Lächeln).
And while I also won’t write much about it here, it’s some coming-of-age story like Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, together with a good amount of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, and a good part of Franz Kafka in it. A bit sad, but also highly recommended.
So – repetitions if you like to describe these stories that way. But aren’t all the stories we tell each others repetitions of the same old themes, re-written to explain them to the next generations? These stories, told and re-told from generation to generation are maybe as old as mankind itself (and Tom Hanks shows that very well in the beginning and end of Cloud Atlas (the movie)).
So if you have some spare time at this year’s end, go and have a look at some photos. Real photos hung onto real walls. And lose yourself into them – seeing them online isn’t the same! Or get a good book, and read and lose yourself in that.
The ones mentioned here are good. Life’s too short for bad ones.