History lesson

This is a typical sunset as seen and painted by William Turner in 1838:

Flint Castle in Wales, 1838

During that time (which is called “Biedermeier”), paintings often had these intense colours. So what was different?

What was different was the climate. 200 years ago today, the Indonesian volcano Tambora (see Wikipedia in English, German, or in Malay) exploded with the force of approximately 170.000 Hiroshima bombs, cutting off its own peak from about 4300m (before) to around 2800m (after).

This lead to the “year without summer” in 1816 (English, German) pretty much around the world, as seen in Northern America or in Europe.

Follow these links to the Wikipedia pages in your preferred language if you want to know more. What happened was the coldest summer since the beginning of measurements, just some 25 years after Captain Bligh of the Bounty was dropped off his ship on Timor, which was nearby.

Thanks for reading.

From dawn till dusk

There are days when I really don’t take many photos. Today was such a day where I just took three, and one of them was for white balance measurement. So at dawn I took this one, of the sakura in our employers’ garden again:


Sakura at dawn, with a moon

Then work, work, work for most of the day. And no, it was not a fight with Santanico Pandemonium (aka Salma Hayek) – work can kill as well, but it won’t be as pretty*.

No, I selected this title because I took the second (white balance) and third (found object) picture when the sun was sinking already. It was this:


Porcelain cat at dusk, as found

I took both using the Olympus E-PL5 camera with its 14-42mm “kit zoom”, and cropped the first one into a 16:10 format.

Thanks for viewing.

* A colleague died lately, short before his 50th birthday. And tho he wasn’t of the same brand or division, he was still an IBMer, and will be missed.

Today, in our employers’ garden

Not as saturated as my “Happy Easter” pic, but that sakura tree in our employers’ garden is nonetheless impressive and beautiful:


Another day in paradise

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It’s almost impossible to give good advice

Recently a colleague asked me about which camera to buy (yes, I get questions like these as well). First, he had a bridge camera in mind, with a long super zoom. Then, a bit later, he asked about the newer Nikon DSLRs, like the D7200. And in between, of course I had shown him what I’m using (both the Olympus E-PL5 and the OM-D E-M10).

All of them are good, even the D5300 he came up with, because it’s the only one in this category with a built-in GPS. I told him about the differences between phase and contrast autofocus, and that only the higher-end D7xxx series offers the possiblity to fine-adjust the phase-detection AF for different lenses. His reply was: isn’t there one which can do it all? The Canon 6D came to my mind, but that one’s certainly a bit overkill.

So in that case it’s almost impossible to give a good advice – the camera he seems to want simply doesn’t exist at this point in time. Or does it?

Maybe he would like to consider the E-M10 again after reading Andy’s test of it? This little (and relatively inexpensive) gem has quite a few tricks up its sleeves, like in-camera star trails for instance. And the also in-camera HDR mode which Kirk Tuck found in his newer E-M5 Mk2. I’ve tried it with the E-M10, and it works quite well.

For me personally, there’s no other camera body in the 600€ price range which offers more than this little Olympus (except maybe the Sony A6000 which would be slightly better with high ISO results, but slightly worse because it doesn’t offer in-body stabilization). So that E-M10 really is some kind of “goldilocks” device to me if you don’t need the much better image quality from something like a so-called “full frame” camera (like the mentioned 6D, the Sony A7 series, or the three-digit Nikon family (plus the Df of course)).

If you count it all together, then for a friend and in the mentioned price range (of about 600€ for the body, 700€ with a normal kit zoom, or still under 1000€ with a “super zoom”), this is the one I’d recommend. As does Andy from Texas, like you can read in his review of the camera.

But we’re all different of course. So the only advice I could really give was to go and to visit a camera store, and to try them all before buying. With that, and with his personal planned use in mind, my colleague should be able to find a camera which suits him.

Some photos since Wednesday…


Grrr… it’s *not* April Cat’s Day!


The sky over Mörfelden-Walldorf


A cube, usually taken and made for rice


Sleepy cat


A drink for cats?

Thanks for viewing.

Storm damage

It’s quite windy at the moment (with force 10 on the Beaufort scale on top of the hills). And it seems that I’ll need a new – used – tank for my motorcycle:


Storm damage

Trying to call my insurance company while I’m typing this…

Thanks for viewing.

A few photos since last Sunday

Last Sunday I played around with the Four Thirds 50mm/2 macro lens on my E-M10 (via adapter), and here’s one of Tuna the cat taken with that combination:


And yesterday evening I decided to do something which is quite unusual for me. I took a photo of some daisies on our table, some of which had purple leaves already. I liked the photo just in black & white, but wanted to prevent those purple tips, and when I saw it I also decided the photo needed a bit of yellow – so except those two colours, I removed and desaturated every other one. Got some funny artefacts on the background that way, too:


And this morning, with the same 14mm Panasonic lens on my camera I took this in-camera black & white photo of our cat which was sitting under our bench and my studio strobe:


I did nothing to this last photo except tilting it 1 degree to the right, which also slightly auto-cropped the borders. Other than that, I only added some meta information (Exif and IPTC), so the picture is what comes out of an Olympus E-M10 when switched to black & white. The camera set itself to ISO 1600 for this one (with the aperture of the lens at its maximum open position of f/2.5).

Thanks for viewing.

Two close-ups

Today I mounted my ZD 50mm/2 macro lens from the Four Thirds system onto my OM-D E-M10 camera, using Mitchie’s MMF-2 adapter. Here are two photos which I took using that combination at f/3.5 or f/4 together with one of my studio strobes and a gridded beauty dish:


Carrera S


Zuleikha, March 2015

Thanks for viewing.

Solar eclipse 2015, as seen from Frankfurt, Germany

Today we had a partial solar eclipse. It started at about 9:30 (am) at the place where we live and where I work, and the peak was forecasted for 10:38 – so I went out with some colleagues (almost all of them with mobile phones as cameras), and took a photo:


Solar eclipse 2015, as seen above Frankfurt, Germany

See more photos from other photographers (and one taken from a satellite) on the Flick blog.

Thanks for viewing.