How to gain over 8 stops

I often take photos with room lights, tho our energy-efficient LED room lights aren’t really that bright, at least not when measured with a camera. Often enough the camera has to go all the way up to ISO 2500 (which I’ve set to the uppermost acceptable level, the Olympus E-PL5 will show everything from ISO 3200 as boosted or amplified anyway). Still I often don’t get really hand-holdable pictures, even with the very good in-body stabilization of our Olympus camera, and with fast prime lenses wide open.

So today I looked at the lights (one small reading light in the corner of our living room, and an over-the-table light in our dining area, and thought about the studio strobe with the beauty dish attached to it which is almost in the same position as that dining room light. What if I could use my small compact flash at about the position and pointing into the same direction (which is down) as our reading light?

Had to test it of course, and it really looks almost the same:


Study: emulating evening room lights with flashes

So this is ISO 200 with 1/160th of a second and the lens wide open at f/1.4 – with the room lights I would have had some 1/4 to 1/5th of a second at ISO 2500, or about 3 seconds at ISO 200. So even with boosting the shadows a bit afterwards, and with selecting “Auto gradation” in the OV3 raw processor, I still gained over 8 stops of light. And that is way more than you could get with switching your camera to the best “full frame” model you could get (like a Nikon D4s or a Sony A7s, both of which can go to ISO 400k or so). Even if you consider ISO 3200 on these cameras as practically noise-free, you’d still have shutter times of maybe 1/8th of a second – not enough for anything breathing.

Lights are much more important, and make a much bigger difference than any “dream camera” you could think of. Just try it.

Thanks for reading.


At the moment we have some pretty strong winds here in Germany, especially so in the North. And if you believe the forecasts, it won’t change for a while. So this ain’t no weather for long walks, not even with a camera. In fact, everyone seems to be happy to be inside.


Outside it’s windy – but the floor is nice and warm

Thanks for viewing.

Kind & Katze

Since the new year began three days ago, I’ve only taken photos of the family, and also of the cat (which is a member of this family, too). Took some with flash, some with available room and/or the modeling lights of the studio strobes, and some using daylight. But almost all of them – except the first one of Tuna the cat – with the camera set to black & white, and with the same Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4 lens, which has the angle of view of a “normal” lens on our µ43rds cameras.

Here are some of them:







Thanks for viewing.

Happy new year from the Loniens!


Tuna the cat, January 1st, 2015

Like every year, we watched some TV yesterday, and then the fireworks. And like every year, it scares the hell out of our cat, Tuna, who hid under our bed since about 10 to 12 until this afternoon.

Normally we wouldn’t allow her to sit on our dining table. But she was eating the grass leaves off the decoration, and I couldn’t help it but to take a picture of her.

So to all who read this, a happy new year 2015. Thanks for coming back and for looking at the pictures and for reading those short stories about our lives.

Setup shot

Today Mitchie told me that her father wants some new photo of Zuleikha, so I offered to help with the setup. I built up this for them:


Setup shot for a Mitchie (photographer) and Zuleikha (model) portrait session

What you see is my grey background, 1.35 meters wide, and two studio strobes (one with a beauty dish from the front, one with an umbrella from the left, beside the background). What you don’t see is a third compact flash on a small tripod behind the armchair. This one was gridded and pointed directly onto the grey canvas background.

Mitchie got some good shots, and if she’ll upload some onto her Flickr page I can show them here as well.

Thanks for viewing.

Tuna the cat on December 30th, 2014

Our cat prepared to sleep, and I bounced one of the studio strobes over the wall at my right shoulder:


Tuna the cat, December 2014

Olympus E-PL5 with M.Zuiko 45mm/1.8 at f/3.5, Simock E300 studio strobe with standard reflector bounced over a wall at 1/8th power.

Almost out of camera conversion of the raw file. I seldomly do much post processing anyway (since I prefer to get as much right in the camera as I can).

Update, from later on the same evening:

Ok – here is one which is slightly edited using The Gimp:


Thanks for viewing.