This is my last image taken in Maribor. All in all I can say is, that I was surprised by how lovely this small city is. Maribor is actually not far from home, but it is in that unfortunate zone that is a little bit too far to drive there for a coffee, but on the other hand so near that most of the time we drive by to another destination. It shares that fate with Udine or Ljubljana. The question is always: “Why not drive a little bit further and down to the sea?”. Well, this time we didn’t and I’m glad about it 🙂
You may have noticed, Austria has a properly elected president now, and to the surprise of many, it is not Norbert Hofer, the candidate of the “Freedom Party”.
It has caused a sigh of relief throughout most of Europe, and most certainly among those who still think the EU is a good idea.
Brexit was a shock, and after Brexit, we thought that everything is possible, regardless of how stupid it is. Populism seemed to reign surpreme, and Trump seemed to be the clear proof that the age of facts is over.
Is this a turn of the tide?
We can’t be sure of it. It was Everybody vs Freedom Party in Austria, and what we got was a clear lead of 53.8% vs 46.2%. That’s more than OK for a victory, but it is not a landslide for reason. The next time, in general elections, we will see each party campaign for itself, and only the most principled of them will be steadfast about their refusal to go into a coalition with a probably leading Freedom Party. I expect the Greens and the Neos (a neoliberal party, basically the modern conservatives) in this role, but the two biggest rivals, Social Democrats and People’s Party, are already “reforming” their programs to be compatible with any coalition that may be needed to stay in power.
What can we, the people, do?
Well, we can stop waiting for the next elections. We have to make it clear NOW that we don’t approve. The next time we’ll be asked, it will already be too late. If we don’t say no to populism today, tomorrow and every day, if we don’t insist on facts as the fundament of political decisions, then the rivals for power will all go the way of populism.
If we don’t want to be lied to and if we don’t want to be tricked cheaply, we must demonstrate that populism does not work. Populism depends on a gullible populace. In a society of independent critical thinkers it does not work. Let’s show them that we are responsible individuals and not voting material. That’s all we need to do, but we have to do it convincingly.
The Cicada is one of the symbols of Provence. I liked those wooden specimen on display in front of a shop. What I didn’t like were the white price tags on each of them, and so I removed them. No Photoshop, Lightroom only.
My new PEN-F has a 20 megapixel sensor, and while I can’t complain about its quality, it is only a very incremental change up from the E-M1.
On the other hand it is incredible how much of a game changer DxO is. This image has been taken with the PEN E-P5 (same sensor as the E-M1) at ISO 6400, f4 and 1/6s. I’ve shot it at night in a very, very dark part of the street. It looks like, well, maybe ISO 800. And it’s not only the lack of noise, it’s also the purity of colors. Buying DxO has given me the equivalent of maybe eight years of sensor development. That’s incredible.
OK, that’s just to put the improvements of the PEN-F into relation 🙂
F3.2, 1/13s, ISO 6400. Dark again, but not only is the blue in the image much cleaner than it was from Lightroom, this time you have to look at the red fringe in the background. It’s clean and vivid, while in Lightroom it was completely washed out.
Can you improve a correctly lit daylight image using DxO PRIME? No, you can’t. To the contrary, it will cost you detail. Not much, but it will.
Above ISO 800? Seems like a safe bet on Micro Four Thirds. At ISO 1600 pretty much every camera will profit, and at any higher ISO it will work pure magic. You see me impressed.
Truly, I can hardly remember a winter that was more mild than this one. We had snow on only two occasions (although in one case actually in spring, during full blossom) and it melt away within no time. Still, as always in winter I was hungry for color, and as so many times before, the bright colors of advertising posters were a satisfying substitute for the real thing.