All posts by andreas

4050 – Saint Michael IV

I don’t know what browser you use. I use Firefox. In the old times I used Mosaic, then I used Netscape Navigator, and then I used Opera for about 15 years. Opera was cross-platform (then I needed Windows and Linux) and they pioneered almost all of the nifty features that we take for granted today. Tabs, synchronization of settings and passwords, mouse gestures, user interface customization, pinned tabs, ad-blocking and so many other useful things were first seen on Opera.

Then they committed suicide. After 12.60 came a complete re-implementation on basis of Chromium. Not only did they neglect Linux for a long time, no, the new browser lacked most of classic Opera’s features. It may even be back to usefulness by now, but I have since lost all interest in it.

This was the time when Chrome’s rise began. Not only was Chrome good, it was also better than Firefox in some regards that I cared about. In some respects I didn’t like it though. In general I try to keep my computers well supplied with memory, but Chrome was a memory hog. Big Chrome sessions with many windows and many more tabs (10 windows, 60 tabs?) started up slowly and also seemed to deteriorate with time, meaning that the computer slowed down and the browser had to be restarted.

At one point in time Firefox began to feel like the better choice. I believe that was, when they began with lazy tab loading. This means that a tab is only loaded when you switch to it for the first time.

For the last few years Firefox was my main browser, except when I needed to test a web application across browsers. I also use it on Android (most people don’t), and only on iOS I was forced to use Safari, because I couldn’t use ad-blocking extensions in Firefox.

Then, a few days ago, Firefox 57 came. It has a new look and a new extension format, that is much more secure, but does not offer extensions that much freedom to customize the browser. Some things have not been ported to the new WebExtension format, some can’t even be ported, and for some to be ported, the Firefox developers would need to make changes to the base browser itself.

Mouse gestures under Linux and MacOS were a victim. They still work, but an API is missing to suppress the context menu on those platforms. When you’ve used the right mouse button to initiate a gesture for years, it is pretty inconvenient to have to switch to the middle button, especially when some mice don’t have one, because the wheel is not clickable.

Anyway, I was willing to try it. Imagine my despair when after the upgrade I found that my Mac had turned into a blowdrier. The browser needed 200% CPU, meaning that two of the four processor cores were occupied by a browser – with no user interaction happening at all!

Well, the solution was, to open another tab and to type “about:support” in the address line. This opens a page with lots of internal information and, in the right upper corner, a button to clean up Firefox. What it does is to throw away your profile directory, all extensions and customizations. It keeps your passwords and the last session though.

Voilà, the computer was silent, the performance not only normal but unusually fast, and I was happy again 🙂

In other words: don’t fear Firefox 57. It’s the best Firefox you’ve ever used.

4049 – Saint Michael III

Color-wise this church is every photographer’s nightmare. It’s all amber, yellow and brownish, and only when you begin to apply all sorts of loal color adjustments, the colors come out as they must have been meant. After all, when you don’t want something to be seen as blue, why would you use blue color at all? Or Green 🙂

4047 – Saint Michael I

In a recent comment Wolfgang Lonien said

What always amazes me is your mindfulness of the corners, and also the straight lines you produce. Are these all handheld shots? To me sometimes they look like taken from a tripod, and with a large format camera (Scheimpflug principle, or what they now call with ‘keystone correction’).

Thanks, Wolfgang! Fact is, I haven’t used a tripod in years. Well, that’s a lie, I used them for creating product photos when selling a lens or a camera, but I didn’t use them “out in the wild”.

Yes, all images of the last years and in any case the overwhelming majority of my older photos were taken handheld. Actually you can’t use a tripod in so many places, that I don’t bother to lug one around at all. Nor do I need one. I only take images of things and places. They don’t move, they all keep perfectly still, while the stabilization of my camera does its thing.

As to corners and lines, it’s a fetish of mine, and, no, I can’t hold a camera with an ultra-wide lens perfectly still, while composing the lines into the corners, all the while being bent backwards, trying to shoot perfectly straight up into a cupola, keeping the camera exactly below the center.

No. I cheat in post. For me an image is raw material for post-processing.

  • When I find a distraction that I abhorr, then I clone it out. Does not happen all the time, but it happens.
  • When an image needs keystone correction, then I apply it in post. Happens all the time.
  • When I have left space around, I crop. I may even crop a 4:3 image to a square, or I may crop out part of an image where I like how the lines fit, and I may also rotate the cropped part by a mostly small angle.

Normally those things suffice. In a few cases, instead of cropping and rotating in Lightroom, I take the image into Photoshop and use “Edit / Transform / Skew”, which allows me to basically drag a certain line into a corner. That’s extremely easy and comes handy when only one corner needs to be fixed by a small amount.

4046 – For Those Of Us Not Flying Drones

Have you ever flown a drone? I certainly didn’t, although I think I could afford one. But then, I have pretty high expectations when it comes to the quality of still photography, and on the other hand I am not at all interested in creating videos. Seems like I’d want to fly a drone that could be able to carry one of my Olympus cameras, or at least something of similar quality. Maybe, after all, I can’t afford a drone 😀

4045 – The Chandelier

Now that I think of it, I have no idea how old these chandeliers in old churches really are. Obviously this one is electric. I wonder when it was that it replaced a predecessor, that still carried real candles. And what did that predecessor look like? When was it lit for the last time? And how long did it take? Did they have to use a ladder or were they able to lower the chandelier?