Category Archives: Sigma 50/1.4

1858 – Flags And Banners

On the train to Carinthia. 6 pm and outside it’s darkest night. Here are two Urban Dreams captured in the morning.

Both of these images wouldn’t have been possible with a small-sensor camera like the Panasonic LX5. The image on the left was of a reflection, taken at f1.4 and with the focus somewhere in the weird lines of the reflection. In post-processing I’ve equalized the tones (the left side was much darker), pushed colors and partially contrast, but nothing of that is regarded as particularly non-photographic.

The Image of the Day is almost completely a result of Photoshop work. I took an image of an advertising poster with extremely shallow DOF and played around with it, pretty aimless, until I had the idea with the stripes, and from there it became a flag, a turmoil, something burning, a window into a world of warring nations. In the end I liked the result better than the straight photograph, and this is how it ended up as Image of the Day.

The Song of the Day is “Flags And Banners” from the 1973 Faces album “Ooh La La”. Beautiful song. Hear it on YouTube.

1857 – Going Down Slow

Each series comes to an end, and this has lasted just as long as it had to. Well, I probably could have added at least one, maybe two, but tomorrow I’ll go to work again. I’m not yet fully well, but there’s some serious trouble at work, I may be able to help, and in the afternoon I take the train down to Carinthia anyway.

Considering the image, I’d probably take out the black thing sticking in from the left, just above the tree, but I can’t. The Photoshop file is on my main computer and that has died on Monday. Some fan speed thing. It doesn’t boot because the case fan connected to the motherboard is too slow. Well, this is one of the best-ventilated cases on the market, but that does not impress my motherboard. I would have fixed it already if I had not been ill. As it is, I’m not inclined to process this image again, thus you’ll have to live with the speck. I may take it out later, and if so, I’ll tell you.

The Song of the Day is “Going Down Slow“. Normally I only link to music that I own, but in this case I stumbled upon this video and I really thought you’d enjoy it as much as I did 😀

1856 – Don’t Let Them Keep You Quiet

About a third of my readers is from the US. This is for you.

By pure accident I made this image on Sunday. I was not sure about the symbolism and what to make of it, how to spin it and how to join it with a song, but sometimes international events help along.

Wednesday, November 16 is now technically yesterday for me and for everybody but the folks in Hawaii, but then, this is the post for Wednesday and it’s not too late for you to stand up for your rights anyway. November 16 was AMERICAN CENSORSHIP DAY. Big Hollywood didn’t get some of the censorship laws they had written lately, and every time they try it again, they try it with something more outrageous, something more frivolous.

This time a site would be classified as infringing when it contains “infringing links”. Like the links to music videos on my site. I’m sure some of them are dubious from a copyright point of view. And that all changes. Google has contracts with some music majors that cover usage of their content, but not necessarily in all regions. Some things that I link to may be OK in Europe but not in the US. Some may be OK today but not tomorrow. No way to check for me.

But it’s worse. I would be made responsible for links in comments, even in SPAM that slips through!

Yes, if this bill passes, you may not be able to see my site any more, or if I want to avoid that, I better remove all music links and give up the “Song of the Day” business, just to be safe.

My site is hosted in the US, but even if it were not so, I wouldn’t want to lose a third of my readers and a host of friends.

If this is all so absurd, if this is all so badly thought out, if the collateral damage of the proposed bills is so all-encompassing, how could that ever be proposed?

Well, you know, this is the illusion industry. Their business is to show you things that are not, and to make you believe they are. Technically this is not different from lying, it’s only a matter of intention. As a lobby, the entertainment industry is probably the most dangerous in the world. They are synonymous for glamour, and because glamour is so desirable for those who can afford it, the entertainment industry is particularly well connected with politics and Big Money. Add to that the character of their profession and the fact that they own all the channels with exception of the Internet, and then you know what it means when they strike.

They strike NOW and NOW is the time to say NO. Don’t let them keep you quiet, don’t let them shut down the Internet as we know it, don’t let them turn it into another one of THEIR channels.

Please head over to or to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and read more about why the Great Firewall of America is a bad idea, not only from the human rights point of view but from every point of view (with the exception of that of the entertainment industry). Inform yourself and please act. Thank you.

The Song of the Day is “Quiet” by Ian Dury & The Blockheads. Hear it on YouTube (another site endangered by the legislation introduced).

1855 – The Sunday Papers

Instead of an image made on Tuesday, here’s another Sunday image. It’s a little unfortunate, because yesterday I was outside shortly to visit the doctor and buy some medication and food. It was a bright, cold, sunny day and it was the first day of winter. Not according to the calendar, but you know what I mean, there is always some day in the year when it feels and smells and looks like winter, when the light is clear and milky at the same time, when the sun is up and gives no warmth, when you feel that winter has begun.

I didn’t have the camera with me, made no image, and probably I wouldn’t have been able to make it come across anyway. It may have been a smell thing 🙂

But back to this picture. You know, Austria is a catholic country and a country that has always been easy to rule. No revolutions around here. Contrary to other even more catholic countries like Italy, the shops in Austria have always been closed on Sundays. It’s been kind of a consensus through the whole society. Which brings up the question how Sunday papers are sold, and this is how they are. We call those bags, mounted to some fence, with something like a small saving box on top, “Stumme Verkäufer” (“mute sellers”).

I can remember them from my childhood and I can remember some people looking out of their windows, looking for people who took a newspaper without dropping money in. It was a perfect topic for rural gossip. “Have you heard? So-and-so is stealing newspapers! I’ve seen it with my own eyes!”.

Which may have been true or not. Recently I was asked if the mute sellers still exist around here and I couldn’t tell. Really, you see something all your life, something that you’re not interested in and have no use for, and you blend it away. Fact is, they do exist, only the prices have risen significantly 🙂

The Song of the Day is “The Morning Papers” from Prince’s 1992 “Love Symbol” album. Hear it on YouTube. I’ve already used the song for the oversaturated atrocity that was “265 – As I Went Out For The Morning Papers“. Oh well, we all learn, do we?

1854 – The World’s On Fire

Thankfully Sunday afternoon was generous and using the Nikon and the 50/1.4 again inspired me. Makes it easy to get over the week 🙂

Here’s one image that came out of the camera pretty well. I wanted to add a frame and while I was at it, I’ve also pushed color contrast a little more.

The Song of the Day is “The World’s On Fire” from the 1987 second Housemartins album “The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death”. Hear it on YouTube.

1853 – Tight Like This

Here’s one more, this one made on Sunday, just like all the following posts. It’s Wednesday now, I’m still sick, still at home, but I’m beginning to feel better.

In the last post I said that all the following images, including this, could have been made with the LX5. That’s right, this is f11 and only due to the bright light could I get away without stabilization. On the LX5 I could have got even more depth of field at f3, as open as it gets at the equivalent focal length of 75mm. That are almost four stops or the difference between 1/30s and 1/400s or the difference between ISO 100 and ISO 1200. And that’s even before stabilization sets in. Cool, huh?

On the other hand, using a prime makes composing a more conscious effort. I’ve made two images of this entrance to an inn in Villach, one more loosely framed and one tight like this. Using a zoom I would probably have immediately settled with something in between, wouldn’t have considered cutting in so tightly. It was the right decision though, and I reached it because I was slowed down by my prime.

Efficient tools are not are not always as helpful as we might think.

The Song of the Day is “Tight Like This” by Louis Armstrong and his Savoy Ballroom Five. Hear it on YouTube.

1852 – Peeling An Onion

Thanks for all the good wishes, I’m already feeling better now. Not yet well but better.

I can’t sleep all day and night, though I did on Monday and most of Tuesday, thus it’s probably a good time to begin posting again.

This is an image made on Saturday. It was not the only image, but it shows what I like in DSLRs. DSLRs? Yeah, I’ve put the Panasonic LX5 on a shelf in Carinthia, mounted the Sigma 50/1.4 on my D300 and went out to make DSLR-ish images. Here’s one of those that I had in mind, in the next posts we will see that this is far from my current mode of seeing though.

Using such a fast lens wide open (and the Sigma is optimized for that purpose) lets you focus on an extremely thin layer of reality. It’s almost like peeling an onion. You concentrate on a thin slice and the rest vanishes in a creamy blur.

Our eyes don’t see like that, and this is probably a reason why such images fascinate us. It’s focus and concentration at the same time. I have made a lot of these images in the past and I want to get back to that at times, strive for a mix between the convenient bliss that is the LX5, and the spartan restriction in using a fast prime on the D300.

This is where a DSLR excels. Nothing but this. The rest of the images that you’ll see in the following posts were all made on Sunday, were made with the same lens, and most of them could have been made with the LX5 as well. This one not.

The Song of the Day is “Glass Onion” from the “White Album”. If you really need the digital downloads, you can get the exclusively from the iTunes store, but I won’t link into the Heart of Darkness 🙂

Hear it on YouTube.

1400 – Cut My Hair

This is Tonto, our poor little cat. When we went to Villach, we had to leave him behind. Well, regardless of how much you love a cat, you can’t take him from a house with garden and a forest behind, to an apartment in a city. Not after 13 years.

Well, he’s 15 years now, and a month ago his hair was so matted, that he had been given a close shave. Even after a month he still looks much like a poodle. We were there because we had to bring him to the doctor for a vaccination refreshment.

The Song of the Day is “Cut My Hair” by The Who and from the soundtrack to Quadrophenia. YouTube has it.

1399 – Train Fare Home Blues

Here’s a Friday image. Friday 13th it was, but nothing bad has happened 🙂

I was more concerned with programming than with photography, it shows, but I can’t help it. It’s just the way it is. Still, it’s better than Saturday and Sunday, because I have no image for them at all 😀

The Song of the Day is “Train Fare Home” by Muddy Waters. It’s on many collections, “His Best 1947 To 1956” is one of them, and YouTube has the song as well.