Jan 072017

Most of the pictures you’ve seen lately were still taken with the Olympus PEN E-P5, an extremely competent camera of the same generation as the OM-D E-M1. The optional electronic viewfinder VF-4 has the same magnification and the same overall quality as that of the E-M1. This camera now sits in a cabinet and waits to be sold. I’ve replaced it with the PEN-F, a camera with a built-in EVF of less magnification, but with a higher resolution sensor and overall even more pleasing aesthetics.

The OM-D E-M1 is also waiting to be replaced by the E-M1 Mk II. Sometime last year, mine has fallen to the ground while we were in Aix. I had to replace the sunshade of the 12-40/2.8 and the camera suffered some scratches. No other damage was done, but of course that devaluates the camera.

The new one will cost 2000 €, and when I checked today, I found that E-M1s are currently traded at around 400-500 €. That’s less than a third of what I paid two years ago. Sometimes I think I should not sell it at all and instead use it as a second body. Only that it would actually be the fourth, and that in reality even two cameras are an overkill for my needs.

What I do now is, that I either travel light with the PEN-F and a triple of silver primes, or I use the heavier pro equipment with the E-M1. Would it make sense to carry the E-M1 and the E-M1 Mk II at the same time, one with the 12-40/2.8, the other with the 40-150/2.8? In certain situations, yes. Would I do it? Almost certainly not 🙂

But then: sell such a beautiful camera for almost nothing? Or not upgrade at all? Well, even first world problems are problems 😀

3730 – In the Church of Kellerberg

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Jan 052017

“Kellerberg? Kellerberg?”, did I ask myself, “where is Kellerberg?”. I had to ask Google, and they told me it’s north of Villach, maybe 10 kilometers away.

It’s a small village along the old road. Normally when I drive that way, I take the highway, and the few times that I took the old road, I passed through without even recognizing the village.

Not so this time. I checked if the church was open, went in, took a few photos, and in the evening I added “Kellerberg” as a keyword in Lightroom. Then I forgot about it 🙂

3714 – A Shadow Freaking Out

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Dec 202016

This is the last image from Novo Mesto. If you’ve followed my recommendation yesterday and looked at the Google image search, you may ask yourself why I have not taken any images that are more “spectacular”.

Well, the problem is, the best look on Novo Mesto is from high above. The spectacular thing is, how this town is embraced by the river, but in order to see that, you’d have to fly. A drone would probably do the trick, but maybe it really needs and airplane. I had neither, therefore I saw it mostly as another small town with two churches, a river and a bridge. Nice, but ultimately not as outstanding as I had expected it to be.

Dec 162016

Nice chandelier, isn’t it? I found it in a church in Novo Mesto, Slovenija. That’s more or less between Ljubljana, Slovenija’s capital, and Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.

Four million displaced persons and a hundred thousand dead earlier, they would have been together with Beograd and Sarajevo in the same small spot that was Jugoslavija. It didn’t last.

You have no idea of Jugoslavija? Well, imagine Oregon, but with seven times as many people, approximately as many as in Texas. And now imagine it to break up in six countries and one autonomous region. One of the six, Bosnia, is full of internal strife, that still threatens to tear it up into three parts. The world is strange, huh?

3708 – You’ll Get What You Need

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Dec 142016

Or maybe not. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was Trump’s campaign song. If there is something, that his voters neither needed nor expected to get, then it is a government strongly infiltrated by Goldman Sachs. Surprisingly that’s exactly what they get. Wasn’t that a Hillary thing?

Dec 132016

No, I don’t know what it means, but I’m sure the experts who figured out #pizzagate could tell you exactly 🙂

Well, did you go down the rabbit hole that is #pizzagate? Actually I didn’t, but at least I’ve tried to understand what it is supposed to be all about. There are a few comprehensive lists of the “findings”, and I admit that it can look quite convincing. I have no URLs and I don’t want to link to them anyway, but they are not hard to find.

Hillary Clinton and John Podesta dealing in children? Sexual abuse as a business model of the Democratic Party? In a pizzeria?? How weird is that?

But again, read through the list of “facts” and tell me that they didn’t make you wonder at least for a moment. Why is that? Basically you have a long list of facts and plausible reports, each one harmless by itself, but suddenly someone demonstrates how they fall together and result in a monstrous big picture.

Have you ever read Umberto Eco’s “Foucault’s Pendulum“? If not, you definitely should. It explains a lot.

What happens in those cases is, that we try to create order in randomness. We see patterns, but we don’t see just any type of pattern. What we see is what we expect to see or fear to see or want to see. We have lots of weak indications. Each of them proves nothing. For each of them we have a small probability that it is related to a bigger “conspiration”. We know that we have not anything solid, and therefore we look further, and, surprisingly, we find more of the same.

Yes, we figure, one of them can be chance, but when all of them subtly point in one direction? Then it can’t be chance any more, can it? Somehow those small probabilities must add up.

Only they don’t. What we forget is, that while every “fact” has a certain probability that it means what we expect it to mean, there is also a much higher probability that it is indeed random, and that there are any number of perfectly plausible explanations. It’s only that we completely ignore anything that does not confirm our bias, and due to that ignorance, those aspects don’t contribute to the overall picture.

And there’s more. A central argument of #pizzagate is, that there is a code used by producers and consumers of child porn. I don’t remember exactly, but “pizza” was supposed to mean “girl” and a few other words from the pizzeria context are supposed to mean boys and rape and whatever.

The problem with that is, that the same words make perfect sense in any pizzeria. Now take one with a playing area for children and lots of activity in social networks. If the main nouns connected with the concept of a pizzeria are systematically re-interpreted due to such a key, it is practically inevitable that you can find lots of “reckless talk” about “child abuse”. And why not? In reality they talk about pizza. That’s their core business. What else should they talk about? And of course it’s for sale.

But all those seemingly absurd sentences, that don’t make sense in normal pizzeria context and that suddenly make sense when interpreted as a conspirational code?

It’s only that this again ignores, that we have ignored everything else, that perfectly did make sense. The weird sentences are somewhere in between. But there are always weird sentences in between everything.

Weird, absurd sentences are written all the time. For instance they are written by people who use mobile devices with all sorts of input prediction. Often the author even sees the error, but most mobile virtual keyboards lack cursor keys, and that makes it extremely inconvenient to go back and correct the error. And why so? The receiver will figure it out from the context, and apart from that, it is not worth the effort anyway.

And again, here we talk about communication that has all its core concepts systematically misinterpreted. You could as well use a different key and would easily get equally plausible results. The insiduous trick is, that you don’t replace just a single noun, you replace all of them. You change out everything that is not basic syntactic structure. Pizza gets a new meaning and so do cheese and bread and soup and wine and …

You see? It could mean anything. It could even mean what the conspiration theory says it means, only that it is so much more likely that it literally means what it means in any other pizzeria as well, namely the very stuff that they make and sell: pizza, cheese, bread, soup and wine.

3704 – Streets of Aix

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Dec 102016

There are “Sights” and there are sights. Today it’s about those lower case moments when you walk along the streets of a city and just feel the urge to take a photo.

It’s the mode of seeing that you are in when you are on home turf. You don’t try to depict a characteristic view of a place that you likely won’t return to, you try to depict the feeling of being where you are, regardless of where that is.

Whenever I am on vacation, I try to get a fair mix of the two. “Sights” are what you came for, sights are what let’s you feel relaxed. Skip them and you haven’t been there.

3701 – Cool Luxury in Saint-Tropez

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Dec 072016

I’ve got no images from the whole drive along the coast. Basically it’s a mix of tourist places and private houses all along the coast up to Saint-Tropez.

Thirty years ago I’ve been in Provence with a group of students. We’ve traveled by bus, and I remember having been in Saint-Tropez, or rather, I remember having driven through Saint-Tropez. Basically I remember one specific street corner, nothing more, but when we were there this year, everything looked completely new to me.

Which is good, because in my memory Saint-Tropez had been a let-down, and that’s definitely not what it is. It actually has a picturesque center of narrow old streets, and that’s probably also the reason why I can’t remember it: it would have been completely unaccessible for a tourist bus 🙂

The image has been taken under the marquee of a restaurant where we sat and sipped a drink. The cool trick there is, that they spray a mist of cool water from the marquee a few times a minute. That’s cool luxury under the burning sun.