Pictures from JWST

Wow, these are good… I forgot that NASA also has a Flickr account, so they’ve uploaded some of their (and ESA’s) first JWST images to Flickr – and the Flickr team blogged about them in The Universe is on Flickr: See NASA’s first images from the James Webb Space Telescope.

The problem with astrophotography is that it’s a numbers game – you’ll have to invest quite a bit even as a hobbyist to just get some decent gear, both hard- and software. And then you’ll have to spend many nights out in the dark and cold, and later assemble all these taken images, and still you’ll be nowhere near the quality of Hubble, or now, the James Webb telescopes. Except of course if you’re a conglomerate of NASA, ESA, and others who put up some 10 billion dollars for such a thing…

Me, I don’t have any motors for my telescope, so even with manually tracking the moon (which is quite fast if you view it through some 1500mm-equivalent “lens”), it’s still a challenge to overlay all of the taken images, plus you can’t even really focus the whole thing – touch it, and you’ll see nothing except some dancing large object. For deep space imaging, you’ll really have to go outside and far away from any nearby city, and spend your night in the dark. And freeze – you’ll get the best ones in winter.

So bravo to the big agencies, and to anyone who really is into this – and thanks for the nice photos.

As always, thanks for reading.

Four more photos from ten years ago

I’m looking for some older photos which I either took in black & white or which could be converted to black & white, and probably be used as screen backgrounds in a 16:10 format (my monitor has a resolution of 1920×1200 pixels which I much prefer to the usual 16:9).

But first, here’s one of the cameras I used ten years ago, together with my favourite lens on it, and photographed using my Olympus E-520 DSLR with the wonderful 50mm/2 macro lens. This is in 4:3 format because the subject more or less filled the frame:

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Olympus E-PL1 and Panasonic Lumix G 20mm/1.7, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2012

And the next three photos were either made with that camera or with the DSLR, all taken in Mittenwald, and converted to black & white and to a 16:10 format:

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Achtung Staatsgrenze, Mittenwald 2012
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Geigenbaumuseum, Mittenwald 2012
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Bergstation, Mittenwald-Karwendel 2012

As always, thanks for viewing.

Got a bit nostalgic…

I recently saw ‘The in Between‘, which is a nice movie by the way. And Joey King, the main actress is using an Olympus OM-1N camera and develops her own black & white images in a darkroom which was nice to see as well (tho with a few quirks, the image “seen” though the camera’s viewfinder for instance was *not* the one from an OM-1). Anyway, since at the moment I don’t have film in my OM-2N camera I went and replaced the Micro Zuiko 17mm/1.8 lens:

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Olympus 17mm 1.8 lens, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2022

with an old and manual Olympus Zuiko 50mm/1.8 one which I still have. Here’s how the camera looks with that, as “seen” from my phone (Google Pixel 4a):

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My camera with an old OM Zuiko lens, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2022

And here’s an image taken with that combination, from about a two meter distance, and with the lens wide open at f=1/1.8:

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Upright bass with pickup and a tuner, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2022

Very cool to have this 100mm equivalent look in a 3:2 format, and in black & white. And although this is still ‘instant’ imaging with using the digital sensor in my camera instead of film, the camera was set to ‘M’ (manual) mode, so you still have to work a bit for each image, and of course also set the focus yourself. Slow photography, so to say, and it can be as tasty as slow food 😉 I should probably try that combination for portraits instead of taking the very fast 45mm/1.8 or the very sharp 50mm/2 macro lenses. Working on and thinking about an image *before* you even take it can’t be bad… 😉

As always, thanks for reading, and for viewing.

Microphone cable

My microphone cable broke, so I couldn’t use it for my latest collab when playing the upright with a bow. So I ordered new ones, and now the show can go on…

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Microphone cable around studio monitors and grey card, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2022

I used Silver Efex with a Fujifilm Acros 100 black & white film simulation for this one, plus a border. As always, thanks for viewing.

A “selfie” with my “webcam” at 720p

Toying around with my camera and OBS again because in less than a month from now, I won’t be an employee of IBM anymore, and so I’ll have to give back my current notebook, iPhone, and all what belongs to them. And on my own desktop machine I don’t have a webcam. But I have a very nice photo camera which is my Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mk2, and my latest lens is the 17mm/1.8 Micro Zuiko which has that awesome manual focus “clutch”, very useful especially for videos… so here you go, tried this one in 720p:

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Selfie with my “Webcam” in 720p, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

OBS is currently set up to use Full HD (1920×1080), but that isn’t enough to show my whole desktop which would be 1920×1200, so I’ll have to experiment and to decide how to use that camera. A video stream of 720p would certainly be enough for video calls, since normally you’ll have more than one other person on the screen at the same time anyway.

But yes, let’s see how that goes – would like to use it with my fellow moderators from Wikiloops for a test, so I’m excited to see them again as well 🙂

Anyway, thanks for reading and viewing as always.

One of my most used tools

A few days ago I showed you a self portrait which I took while working, lit by one of my studio strobes with a beauty dish attached to it. Counter shot, directly out of my camera, so not lit is this:

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Simock E300 “Mythos” studio strobe, here with 17″/51cm Jinbei beauty dish attached

I have these since over 10 years now, and reviewed my first one three years later for Lighting Rumors, here. They still work as on the first day, and I have taken very lovely photos with them, not only for money like the high school class lately, but also for memories like this one:

I don’t know if these are still made, maybe under different ownership in China, because the original manufacturers site seems to not exist anymore. But if you find some of these on the used market, they’re worth it, at least for this amateur photographer.

As always, thanks for reading.

Mobile phone as a dashcam, part two

It doesn’t really work…

Today I’ve tried it on the bicycle, and came home with mixed results: my bicycle has a steel frame and no dampers, so that’s too hard even for the (electronic) image stabilisation in the Google Pixel phone. And then there’s wind noise, hadn’t thought of that as well… so I’ll show a few photos I took using my camera instead of videos:

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Portrait in reflection, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021
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Mobile phone on a bicycle, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021
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Boule, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021
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My dirty bicycle, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

As you can see I didn’t clean my bicycle before trying it, I really wanted to test just the mobile phone holder on it, and if I could take videos. Well, no, not really – so that holder would only be good if you’d want to use the phone for navigation (which should never happen on a bicycle anyway – can’t go that far from home)…

The bicycle is a very nice T-300 from Fahrradmanufaktur, a bit like this one, but instead of a Gates belt drive mine has a capsuled normal chain drive, like this one. Very nice bicycles, easily recommendable – and I really should use (and clean) mine more often…

Back to the car: we took the car out to Rödelheim, and I’ve tried to take videos from that drive again – but today as it seems it was perhaps a bit too hot to do that – the phone switched off in both directions after some 17 and 10 minutes, respectively. I couldn’t really read the cause of that, because I had to concentrate on the road, so heat is my guess… have to try if it does that when used as navigation device (with Android Auto, or with Google Maps) as well… if yes, then another mount for the car’s cooling slots would possibly have been a better one. But no, I won’t return anything because of that. “Lehrgeld”, as we say here in Germany. Education isn’t always free.

As always, thanks for reading.

17mm

Last week was my birthday, and I got a new lens: the Olympus M. Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 which is wonderful. Here it is on my camera, took that shot using the Google Pixel 4a phone:

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New (to me) lens, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

Some first images taken with that lens:

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Flowers, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021
Just a little ad…
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Tuna the cat, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

As always, thanks for viewing.

Those last three black & white images…

You’ve seen them already if you read this blog, but here they are side by side, as a screenshot from my Flickr stream:

These were all unprocessed, and from left to right, taken with a smartphone (Google Pixel 4a), my normal digital camera (Olympus), and film (Agfa).

I think I see different tones here – the one on the left seems “warm”, the film image “cool”, and the middle one “neutral”. What do you think and see? Interesting to see what comes out of cameras without any manipulation (ok, in the film case you can’t really say that – it’s not only the film, but also the developer, and here a picture printed out on a certain paper (Fuji), scanned in by our all-in-one HP office printer/scanner… but that would apply no matter how you’d digitize a negative, you’d always have at least that one additional device…).

Anyhow, as you see I sometimes just like black & white (or, as my brother said lately, black – the background is white already (if you think subtractive)).

As always, thanks for viewing, and for reading.

Another photo from my newest camera (phone)

Took this today when coming back from shopping, using the Google Pixel 4a phone as a camera, the lens has an equivalent angle of view like a 27mm lens on 24x36mm film:

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Decorated house, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2020
Google Pixel 4a “out of camera” picture, no post processing

As always, thanks for viewing.