Cameramen

It all began when my colleague Arno asked me about a camera. And this time his question was about a real camera, a Sony A6000.

Well, I told him, that one is at least as good as mine – its autofocus should be way faster especially on moving subjects, the sensor is APS-C, so a bit bigger, dynamic range could be better, whatever – you know the drill. No built in image stabilization was the only contra argument I could memorize without comparing actual spec sheets. Oh, and – how many – 20 Megapixels? Anyhow, more than enough of these as well. The fact that it’s not too expensive – in the same ballpark like an E-M10 or -Mark2 – was an additional plus. Everybody’s darling, I told him, and that he should get one if he saw a good offer.

A week went by, then another one, and finally I asked if he bought it, and he said no. He still wanted to make financial plans for this year together with his CFO 😉

In the end I decided to lend him my Olympus E-PL5 together with its kit zoom and the VF-2 electronic viewfinder. That would still leave the E-M10 in my bag, so I could live with that for a while.

Well, it never actually happened. He was about to take the camera – which he put into a bag first – into his car after having a smoke together with me, but he forgot to take his car keys, so we stood outside, smoking, bag with camera in his hand.

“See?”, he asked, adding “I guess I would never take that camera with me, it’s just too big, you cannot put it into a pocket, so it would probably stay at home all of the time”.

Ok I thought, thinking about alternatives. If my camera was out of the game, then so was the A6000 he had asked about, and I recommended a Sony RX-100 instead.

“Ask Basti”, I said, “he has one. First generation, they should be quite affordable by now”. Short internet check when we were up again – yep, slightly above 300€, fits. And Basti offered to bring his camera as well, so Arno could have a look before making a decision.

And that is what happened today. “Perfect”, was Arno’s comment, “that is the camera I want”. And so during our lunch break we took some photos:

7e0_1223154-cameraman

Cameraman (my colleague Arno, trying Basti’s – or Nadine’s? – camera on me)

He really seemed to like that thing. While I took one photo of him, he took three of me (and several more):

_DSC6543

_DSC6544

_DSC6545

Don’t directly compare these with the one I took. The Sony pictures are out of camera, while I “developed” mine from the Olympus raw file (.orf). Plus I had the 45mm/1.8 M.Zuiko lens on my camera – the Sony has a very good Zeiss zoom, but it can’t be opened that wide – and it’s of course way shorter to fit the 1″ sensor inside that camera.

Still, pretty good detail as far as I can tell – and these should have detail, 20 Megapixels of them. More than enough, like I told him.

Always glad if I can help. And thanks to Nadine and Basti who helped as well.

Thanks for reading.

Impressions from bowling

Today (Tuesday) Zuleikha invited some of her friends to her birthday party. She wanted to go bowling again, so this is what the kids did. I took some photos, most of which I cannot show without getting allowance for that first, so here are only two:

7df_c292678-bowling

Impressionen vom Bowling

7df_c292699-bowling

Impressionen vom Bowling

As you can probably see, the hosts dimmed the lights and switched on disco lights, and the kids were absolutely delighted about that, but for photography that was of course a challenge. I used the brightest lens I had (Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4) wide open and the camera at ISO 1600, and still I’ve got a lot of movement blur. But that often adds to the vibe, because the kids were moving simultaneously and most of their time, so in lots of photos I have exactly one detail (face, hand, ball etc.) sharp.

Just uploaded a few of them into my dropbox for the other parents, and of course for the kids as well.

We all think we’ve had a great time, and hopefully all of Zuleikha’s guests enjoyed it also. Should anyone of you read this, then thanks again for coming; it was a pleasure to have you around.

Thanks for reading.

The force awakens

We’re back from Cologne on Zuleikha’s birthday. I took some photos which are only interesting to our relatives plus one portrait of someone who still has to approve it for public display, otherwise I can’t show that as well.

But I still got a portrait of a robot called “BB-8“:

7df_c262594-bb-8

BB-8

Cute little thing which can be controlled by a smartphone app, or which can explore the area autonomously. I’ve heard it can do some other things, but haven’t really dug deeper into it until now, since for a toy it’s pretty expensive.

Thanks for viewing.

Pictures from paradise

My colleague Arno and his wife are on Ko Samui, and our colleague Nabil is on Phuket. Some ten days ago, Arno sent a picture which he took with his phone, writing that he doesn’t really want to come back…

Reminded me of our last time in Malaysia, which is five years ago already. Well, paradise, yes, maybe. For us. But first and foremost, it’s hot. You’re sweating without doing much:

7dap7054803-zuleikha

Zuleikha, Malaysia 2010

So after noon, you sometimes just sit around, feeding keropok to the cats:

7dap7074825-feeding-cats

The kids – here are some of our relatives – play and pose, but even under the trees in some other kampung further North, it’s hot – and at night, you’ll get eaten up by mosquitoes:

7dap7104973-playtime

7dap7104988-poser

Finally, here are two portraits I made during that holiday (I’ve shown them before). The first one is of Comel who is now married and has a baby boy herself:

7dap7034790-comel

Comel, July 2010

And the second one is of her brother, who sadly isn’t amongst us anymore:

7dap7034788-haniff

Mohammed Haniff, July 2010

So is Malaysia, or is Thailand paradise? Like I wrote above: Well, paradise, yes, maybe. For us. But that is only because first these people – relatives or not – will do everything they can to make it paradise for you, and second we’re ignoring most of their problems.

Have to go back there soon…

Blog news

WordPress 4.4 “Clifford” is out, and together with it came the Twenty Sixteen theme which I’m using here. I changed the almost black border to a white one, everything else is standard until now.

Screenshot from 2015-12-09 19:09:59

Zuleikha changed her layout, too as you can see above. And Mitchie is also working on an old/new page, see below…

Screenshot from 2015-12-09 19:09:46

Click on the screenshots to visit their pages.

Thanks for reading.

P.S.: still playing around with that theme… so be prepared for further changes 🙂

Dream car

I’ve taken lots of pictures of the night sky lately, and I’m far from done with it. But to produce what I have in my mind, I need some additional gear first, like a German equatorial mount with at least one motor which compensates the rotation of our planet. One of the most clever designs I saw for this, if you just want to mount your camera onto it, would be the Skywatcher Star Adventurer, best as a complete photo or astro bundle. It will carry a DSLR and something like a 135mm lens just fine, but if you want to add a real telescope later, you’d probably need something bigger. Be prepared to spend over 1200€ for a good starter combination… (the mount alone is about 1k€ in the stores around here).

So during the last weeks I was busy reading and learning about how to take photos of the stars. And nebulaes. And galaxies. And believe me or not, but you can forget about everything you thought you knew about photography. This is as much science as it is art, and sadly, it’s a numbers game – you’ll need precision, and that always costs real money.

Today I was out for a short walk again, with a camera or two (those Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses don’t weigh that much, so you can carry more than one if you like). It was a nice walk, and the funniest thing I saw was this:

7df_9202152-dream-car

Rusty, yes, but who says you can’t love rust? And like the sticker in the driver’s window says, at least this one is not sponsored by Mom & Dad… 😉

In it’s back window was another funny one, but this would probably best be understood by Germans (hint: Flensburg can take your driver’s license if you behave too badly):

7df_9202153-payback

Loved that car. Even the mostly matte black paint job is really nice. And the rust. If you want a car like that, or plan to pimp your own one like this, ask Holger.

Ok. Sunday afternoon. Cake time. So I’ll make coffee.

Thanks for reading.

An excursion to our Müllberg

When I told Zuleikha that today at 20:35 we’d have a full moon rising, she wanted to see it with her Nikon 8×25 binoculars. So we drove to a nearby site to which officials gave the nice name “Oberwaldberg” (I suppose because you can see over the forrests, as you will see in one of the photos I took). But it’s in fact our garbage hill, so for me it is (and stays) our “Müllberg”.

It was quite nice. Zuleikha couldn’t believe how big the moon was when coming around a corner there, and I shot it with my 25mm (50mm-equivalent) lens like all other photos of today:

7df_8292037-full-moon

When I reached the top, both Mitchie and Zuleikha were laying on their backs already, gazing at the stars. I told them that if we come back in about two weeks and the weather would be as nice as today, they’d see lots more, so this is what she wants to do. She was quite amazed that she could actually see the stars moving without any tools, just laying there and looking up (of course we are moving on our rotating earth, but that’s another story, and Zuleikha knows that already).

I also looked around a bit, and took a photo in the direction of Frankfurt:

7df_8292097-frankfurt-skyline

And after going downhill again and talking about red torchlights (which wouldn’t affect our night view that much as white ones), we sat down on some rocks under some trees. I saw the big dipper, so I knew that to its right there was Polaris (and a bit further, Cassiopeia). So I pointed up 50 degrees to my right and said: “Polaris”.

Zuleikha asked how I could know this, so I explained, and I wanted to show her that this one wouldn’t move across our skies like the others do. So with the “Live Composite Mode” of my camera, and 15 exposures of 60 seconds each, I showed her:

7df_8292120-polaris

She asked if they would have astronomy lessons in school, and I said yes, probably in physics. And now she cannot wait for that as well.

While walking back to our car, the moon was pretty bright already, so Mitchie and Zuleikha began to sing “Moon Shadow”.

So, a nice evening (and she loved to have been up until after 10pm).

Thanks for reading.

I was photographed…

_DSC4893_camera raw

Me, photographed by Markus Kuhn

… taking a photograph:

7df_1187284-meike

Meike on the Rhine river in Mainz, shot by me. Simulated Ilford FP4+ film with an orange filter.

As you probably remember, I was invited to a shooting with friends in Mainz mid January. And the two other photographers were Mélanie and Markus.

The photo of me shooting Meike was taken by Markus, and he has some more awesome photos, some of which he kindly allowed me to show here:

_DSC4854_camera raw

Jana, photographed by Markus

_DSC4883_camera raw

Rhia, photographed by Markus

Markus has made two albums on Flickr – see his sets one and two for more great examples. I have ‘favorited’ several of these, and I can hardly wait to see some which Mélanie took.

It was a fun day, really. And it should be repeated as soon as possible.