A short Sunday walk through our “Hinterland”

So today I took the car and went to Aberystwyth, which greeted me with a friendly “Croeso!“. And that lovely little university town is also the home of the TV series “Hinterland“, which we Germans of course had to translate, because nobody here would understand a German word I guess – so here that series was called “Inspector Mathias – Mord in Wales“, followed by the names of the respective episodes which made the whole construct just ridiculously long…

No, I went to Kronberg im Taunus, and one of its partner cities is Aberystwyth:

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Croeso!, Kronberg im Taunus 2020

I took a short walk there but then decided to drive a bit further to Königstein im Taunus, where I left the car again. It’s a wealthy area, with some nice architecture, so first I took a few photos of houses, like these:

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Poor goose, Königstein im Taunus 2020
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Architecture 1/2, Königstein im Taunus 2020
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Architecture 2/2, Königstein im Taunus 2020

Then I decided to walk up to Falkenstein Castle, and on the way up I saw that sign with explanations:

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Explanations, Königstein im Taunus 2020

And although the castle itself was closed for winter already, you still have a breathtaking view from the top:

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Dettweiler Tempel and “Teufelskanzel”, Königstein im Taunus 2020
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View from “Teufelskanzel”, Königstein im Taunus 2020
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Falkenstein Castle, Königstein im Taunus 2020
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Catholic church, Königstein im Taunus 2020

Some signpost in town said: walk 800m further and turn left, then take the way past the Catholic Church – and this is the church when coming back down from the castle…

Interesting side note: the step counters on Android and iOS count differently – I had these phones in the same pocket:

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Step Counters, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2020

As always, thanks for viewing, and for reading.

I took today’s photos using the 14-42mm “kit zoom” lens mounted onto my Olympus E-M10 Mk2 camera. No music today – not until now, that is. Not even in my head…

Autumn colours from a short Sunday walk

I filled a roll of black & white film, so by now I’m back to taking colour photos using my digital camera(s) (both Olympus mirrorless, and iPhone). During today’s short Sunday walk I decided to leave the 45mm/1.8 M.Zuiko lens on the camera, which has an angle of view like a 90mm lens on 24x36mm film (what they now call “full frame”, for me it’s still “Kleinbildfilm”) 🙂 The reason to keep this short “portrait” tele on the camera was that with also carrying an iPhone SE I also have what compares to 28mm on film…

I walked in the direction of the airport, the infamous “Startbahn West”, and if you extend that route from our place then you’re heading pretty much into the direction of Wales and Ireland – turn slightly right, and it would be Scotland instead. So this is what I call ‘The route of the Celts’, it’s where they went. Some stayed in France (think Asterix for the general direction), but cross the channel and you’ll end up there after a couple of a million steps…

And because the light was nice and the sun was low I saw some pretty colours as well, so have a look:

Along the route of the Celts 1/8+2
Along the route of the Celts 2/8+2
Along the route of the Celts 3/8+2
Along the route of the Celts 4/8+2
Along the route of the Celts 5/8+2
Along the route of the Celts 6/8+2
Along the route of the Celts 7/8+2
Where the paths have names, and the trees have numbers…
Along the route of the Celts 8/8+2
Along the route of the Celts +1
The one iPhone photo I took – direction is the same…
Along the route of the Celts +2
Step counter for that short walk…

Oh – and no music in my ears this time but a poem. As always, thanks for viewing and reading.

P.S.: we went out together later, to our “Müllberg”. And now I have more than 10.000 steps and my muscles are a bit sore…

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Again, thanks for reading…

False alarm – my camera lives!

Oh wow. I complained too fast, before doing all necessary tests (which hadn’t made a difference with my old camera, but with this one it did):

  • removing the SD card let me switch the camera on and off as usual, it also reacted on keystrokes and showed a display as usual plus it reset the lens when switching off
  • doing the same with the SD card in again, and still everything worked
  • I took some photos, back in business as if nothing had happened.

Strange. But I’m glad that the camera still works, don’t really need a newer and/or better one…

Edit, from the same evening:

I just took another photo first of my ColorChecker (for the room light white balance), then of Tuna. Here are two versions of the same photo I took of her:

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Tuna the cat, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2020

As always, thanks for reading.

My second – and most probably last – Olympus camera died today

Two years ago, on November 11th, 2018 my first Olympus camera died. I wrote about that, and since my second (or “backup”) camera together with my best and most expensive lens (E-PL5 and M.Zuiko 75mm/1.8) got stolen in Paris short before that, I was without a camera for a while. To recap, here’s the last photo I took with my old 1st generation E-M10:

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Zuleikha with Tuna the cat, 21st of October 2018, Mörfelden-Walldorf
the very last (and “out of camera”) picture taken with my Olympus OM-D E-M10 (Mk1) before it died

At least it was taken with another one of my favourite lenses, Mitchie’s wonderful Panasonic Lumix 20mm/1.7…

Today the weather was so nice, and I thought that I really should go out and catch some late October autumn colours as long as it lasts – even from my chair and through our veranda windows I could see green, yellow, and red leaves, so I decided to mount my Zuiko Macro 50mm/2 (from the old “Four Thirds” system) onto my E-M10 Mk2 and to take a walk with that combination. But when I tried to take a first picture of those exact leaves on our own veranda – my camera was dead. Same symptoms as the 1st gen camera had, I couldn’t “properly” turn it on (or off) anymore, and no battery or lens change could cure that – so again a system failure of the mainboard I suppose…

And the last picture taken with that camera was – the one of me with the upright bass, taken by Mitchie, which I had shown in my last blog article. Ok…

Now I still have that old and half mechanical SLR also from Olympus, the wonderful OM-2n – but for that I currently have only a black & white film laying around, so not exactly the right gear to take for autumn colours 😉 – and since I don’t have any other real camera, I was left with the iPhone which was given to me (and to all colleagues of mine) by our employers lately. Also a nice camera in that one, tho of course this isn’t a 100mm-comparable macro lens (100mm like on 24x36mm film). Still I wanted to walk, so I took this camera phone which doesn’t even belong to me…

… and here are some impressions from my walk, without further explanations:

just photos from a Sunday walk
just photos from a Sunday walk
just photos from a Sunday walk

Or maybe I should write a few words? It was a really nice day as you probably can see, and the sun and the people were smiling, and I was smiling back, almost like in Shi’s wonderful “Le maloya d’une enfant”, so if you want you could listen to that while viewing the rest of these photos, because that was in my head as well during that walk:

Now on with the iPhone photos:

just photos from a Sunday walk
just photos from a Sunday walk
just photos from a Sunday walk
just photos from a Sunday walk
just photos from a Sunday walk
just photos from a Sunday walk
just photos from a Sunday walk
just photos from a Sunday walk
just photos from a Sunday walk
just photos from a Sunday walk

As you can see, I did try to take some close-up photos of some leaves, but what you also can see is that a mobile phone with a focal length which compares to 28mm on film will never be a match for a 100mm-comparable macro lens, it doesn’t even have a remote chance against that…

But still, iPhone photos aren’t that bad, so thinking about what to do now, hmmm… of course I could (and probably should) have that camera sent back to Olympus for a possible repair job again and see what happens. But would/should I buy another one? Good question…

There were times when I wanted to be a portrait photographer, and I wasn’t that bad really, learned everything about light, how to pose people, and so on – but there was one thing lacking in my person and in myself which you can see in some if not most of the photos I took of people: I was missing some proper communication skills.

What I want to say is that it’s not enough to just admire beauty when you see it, and then smile at a beautiful person – you have to get her or him really comfortable, especially in front of a camera to get their real self as the saying goes. You have to have them forget that there’s someone pointing a camera at them, and maybe thinking about how they will look, all that. So when I for instance took photos of Mitchie, they were ok, beautifully lit, well posed maybe – but when Zuleikha took photos of her mum, she always had the better ones. Portrait photography is interaction between two people, and just pointing your camera on beauty isn’t enough.

What else? Oh, landscapes, yes, everyone including me loves landscapes. Or even nightly shots of the starry sky, with or without telescopes and all that stuff, right?

Well I’ve tried that as well – but now I can’t walk that good and that far anymore because of my atherosclerosis, and I never could stand the cold for too long, so I never got that precise sky tracking motorised system for the telescope, and never walked the alps with my camera so far (and believe me, if you can’t properly walk anymore but used to love it, then you just dream about walking the Camino de Santiago or the Via Francigena or for Muslims, the Hajj (and on that latter, cameras aren’t even allowed)).

So for that I also don’t really need a camera anymore, at least nothing I couldn’t also do with a phone camera. Plus taking portraits is really kind of difficult since the outbreak of covid-19, isn’t it?

So sitting on a bench at a bus stop today, I had some other song in my mind, again from Shi, but I haven’t played on that one so far. The song is still wonderful like most of what she does, and its title is “Low tides”, and the lines I had in my head were:

“… nothing lasts forever
only time still marches on”

Hear it here if you want to know what was in my head, thinking about photography, art, and myself:

Today my very first Wikiloops album ever is the “Album of the day” – and for the cover photo of that one I also used my first E-M10 camera, and the cutest “model” I had around (that one was taken with daylight through the veranda door by the way):

That album doesn’t have any contributions of my own, which is why I never included it into the list of “My albums”. But it contains really cool collaborations of others whom I wanted to promote and to celebrate a bit with that album, so here is the link to what I called “The cool cats from the loops – Hit singles” – hope you enjoy it as much as their music impressed me.

So while I’m still thinking, I’m without a camera again for the moment.

As always, thanks to my musician friends and to Richard from Wikiloops for the music (which is an important lifeline for me, much more so than photography) – and thanks to you for reading, viewing, listening, and/or even commenting.

Have a nice rest of your Sunday.

Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS

Current home page of Ubuntu Studio

Yesterday I’ve tried and downloaded Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” (with its standard XFCE desktop), wrote the Live image to a USB stick, and booted my work notebook from it after work.

That’s quite a nice release, and everything I tried worked right out of the proverbial box, even from that “Live” USB stick. There were some packages I’ve never even seen before, like for instance OBS Studio with which you could make training videos or even live stream some computer games to Youtube if you’re into that kind of thing.

Ardour is still in version 5 on it, and the reasons for that are explained in their news section.

Otherwise, it’s what the home page says: a free and open operating system for creative people, very nice, and everything which is difficult when using ‘normal’ distributions like my Debian (on which Ubuntu is based of course), or which would require some extra work like the audio and/or realtime stuff is preconfigured already, so you can simply start making music, or developing your photographs, make movies or drawings, whatever creative people might want to do.

Documentation including some really nice books is/are here.

Very nice, and highly recommended – that one costs nothing, makes things really easy, and brings the fun back into computing.

As always, thanks for reading.

My first day of the second week of homeoffice

I made photos, one shortly after I began to work at home, the other shortly after finishing work. Looks like this:

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Homeoffice week two, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2020
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Tuna the cat at closing time (Feierabend), Mörfelden-Walldorf 2020

Thanks for viewing.

What to do in times of a pandemia

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:

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Bird food, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2020

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?

Be safe. Stay healthy. And thank you for reading.

Working from home

I’m sitting at our dining room table with my notebook from work, preparing for the last day of the first week of working at home. Still a bit early (as usual), so I’ve turned on the Wikiloops One World Radio, which looks like this:

Screenshot from 2020-03-20 07-56-42

As you can probably see you don’t have to have an account or being logged in to listen to this, so go and have a listen if you like – it’s nice and it’s free.

I was productive this week, without having all of the colleagues around me, so as I thought (or knew) I can concentrate on work much better in silence and in solitude – but it’s still something else, this. Unreal somehow, the thought that this might go on for weeks or even months.

And holidays? Hm. Strange thought.

Ok, off to work right now. Take care, be safe, and stay healthy everyone. Thanks for reading.