3393 – The Lady of the Mountain

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 3393 – The Lady of the Mountain
Feb 022016
 

Here we are on top of a hill again. This time it’s Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, the viewpoint of the Lady of the Mountain. The church to the left, that’s Igreja da Graça. We’ve been there, you may remember the cross-bearing Christ. The other hill is the castle hill.

I’ve tried to make another panorama up there, but somehow I lost interest. It would have been into the not yet setting and still blinding sun. I can’t imagine it would have been any good.

Dec 142015
 

Of the various Miradouros in Lisbon, Santa Luzia is probably my favorite.

I had luck and the weather was excellent. The sky was almost always blue, always with some harmless clouds for extra visual interest 🙂

Trying to get those spots free of people is completely futile. I’ve only been there at noon time, and I strongly suppose it won’t be different in the evening. Early morning could be an option, but then, this spot was too far from my hotel to make me try it.

Still, if you’re interested in a good spot for a sunrise over the river, the lower terrace east of the church would be a good place in winter and early spring. Even better would be the higher terrace of the café, but I guess it will be closed in the morning.

Btw, the mighty church with the two towers on the hill is the church of the monastery São Vicente de Fora. The other one with the cupola is Panteão Nacional, the National Pantheon. We’ll get to both in due time.

Apr 222012
 

I’ve got a new camera and this will make me a better man and a better photographer and … or will it?

Of course it won’t. It’s already back to normal. Customizing the OM-D was quickly done, because its menus are very similar to those of the E-P2. I could even keep my small bag, I only had to rearrange the separator tabs to accommodate the hump with the viewfinder. There’s even enough space for the small flash that comes with the OM-D. Perfect 🙂

This image was taken from one of Villach’s bridges, looking back to the center with the main church. This was Saturday around noon. Saturday the weather was much better than predicted, and in the afternoon I could even lie in the sun on our terrace.

The Song of the Day is “Better Man” from the 2003 Robbie Williams album “Sing When You’re Winning”. Hear it on YouTube.

1908 – Francesco

 Nikon 85/1.4 AI-S  Comments Off on 1908 – Francesco
Jan 072012
 

Today we had expected guests and I had expected to have no time for anything but shopping and cooking.

When our guests had to cancel, I suddenly had lots of time and I used it to take some images in Villach’s center.

I took the Nikon 85/1.4 AI-S and the Olympus 17/2.8, but in the end I left the Olympus in the car and enjoyed manually focusing with a long, fast lens.

Wide open, the 85/1,4 has low contrast and has pretty pretty strong longitudinal chromatic aberrations. That’s the kind with magenta fringes on edges nearer than the focus plane and green fringes on edges behind the focus plane.

I suppose this St. Francis was taken at f2 or maybe f2.8. Contrast was already fine, but it still showed some CA, but of course once you go B&W, this is no problem any more 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Francesco” from Antonello Venditti’s 1978 album “Sotto il segno dei pesci”. Hear it on YouTube.

Dec 022010
 

And it snows and it snows and it snows. It’s not so bad here in Vienna, but I guess in Carinthia we will approach half a meter. But then, I’ll see it tomorrow.

The street in this image is Mariahilfer Straße, one of the major shopping streets in Vienna, and certainly the most lively. I took this image from the from the second story terrace of a new wine supermarket and bar, the new flagship store of Wein & Co.

The Song of the Day is “Everything Merges With The Night“. Well, probably a stupid title for just THIS image, but I’ve been waiting for weeks now to recommend you Brian Eno’s 1975 album “Another Green World”. Now, stupid or not, here we go. It’s typically Eno. Not pompous, not flashy, just beautiful music. Hear it on YouTube.

Sep 012010
 

Today I got a phone call. My camera was back and with it the Tamron 17-50/2.8 VC. I didn’t mean to, but I left work early nevertheless.

Uhhh … what can I say? It works. Everything works. Autofocus on my D300 works again, the Tammy works again, no, the camera wasn’t even dusty. And … my, does this lens try to impress me!

And it does. Still, I wouldn’t feel comfortable to recommend this lens any more. I’ve made my experiences and I wouldn’t want you to suffer like I did. But then, so far this particular specimen works absolutely flawlessly. No focus problems, no problems with the aperture blades not closing down, no problems at all.

I’ve tried it. I’ve tried setting the zoom to 50 mm, pointing it rapidly into one random direction, at something at a random distance, and it just worked. Yes, there were some images that were blurred, but setting the minimum shutter speed to 1/30s and/or waiting just a fraction of a second to let the stabilization lock on usually sufficed.

Do I feel fine? You bet 🙂

I made an excellent image of a bike rider. I tracked him, I took an image at f2.8, he looked at me, a little surprised but not hostile. The image was taken in bright sunlight, it was sharp, had dramatic shadows, and somehow it was just the place and the moment. Everything came together, fell in place. I loved that image. It was just the product of an impulse, seeing, raising the camera, focusing and releasing the shutter, all together in one moment.

Then I deleted the image. Accidentally. I mean, I’m no idiot, but every once in a while I do such outrageously stupid things. I didn’t take any more images and at home I tried to recover the file, but it was too late. I couldn’t find it. It was gone.

Some while later, when I already sat in my living room and tried to use one the files left, I saw this amazing light outside.

My living room looks to the east, and when the sun sets, when its rays come really low, they reflect in the windows of the buildings on the other side of the garden, and this reflected light fills my living room with a sudden flood of warm gold. It doesn’t last very long, only a minute or two, but during that time it is breathtaking.

The Song of the Day is “Goodbye Sunshine” from the 1993 Ceremony album “Hang Out Your Poetry”. Ceremony was a band around Chastity Bono, and they made no more than that single album. What a shame. I absolutely love the album.

I couldn’t find the song on YouTube, and so I took the liberty to upload it. Seems like I didn’t offend the copyright gods this time 😀

Jul 262010
 

It’s Sunday night, already past midnight. I am still in Carinthia because we were in Graz today, about 150 km from Villach, capital of the neighboring province of Styria. We were there for a concert and scenic interpretation of Claudio Monteverdi’s eighth book of madrigals. The “Combattimento” performed live, how much better can it get? Needless to say, it was fantastic.

There’s nothing new on the photography front. I made some images, though I have not even copied them from the camera yet. Maybe I would have had something anyway, but here is one more image from Italy instead.

The funny thing is, during post-processing I did something that I normally don’t do: I deliberately introduced an error. This image is not real. It can’t be. No, it’s not the processing style, of course the colors, the local contrasts, the partial blur, all that are not “real”, but then what is? No, I mean something else. Can you see it?

But then, even though I broke the laws of physics, this image looks exactly like what I remember. In fact it does much more so than all the images that I took in this district of Rapallo.

The Song of the Day is “I May Be Wrong” by Chick Webb and his Orchestra. I have it on Disc 132 of “The Ultimate Jazz Archive”. Hear it on YouTube.

1319 – I’m Painting The Town Red

 Tamron 17-50/2.8 VC  Comments Off on 1319 – I’m Painting The Town Red
May 242010
 

It came as I thought it would. I made a single image today, that I want to spare you. Thus we are back to yesterday’s trip to Croatia, this time to the ancient City of Pula, a city where you can still marvel at a Roman temple and arena, medieval churches and … Austrian architecture. Pula was the harbor of the Austro-Hungarian empire’s war fleet, and though the harbor has lost since much of its importance, it is still more industrious than touristic.

This is part of Pula’s railway station, once directly connecting to the harbor. I saw the poppies and the yellow flowers, and thankfully the area is not fenced off, thus I got the chance to take some images.

The Song of the Day is “I’m Painting The Town Red” by Billie Holiday. I have it on a collection that’s unavailable, but from what I see, “A Portrait Of An Artist 1935-1946” with 25 songs for $5.99 is a decent offer.

The point is, all those early recordings are in the public domain now, thus it’s really important to look at the price. Remember my “Ultimate Jazz Archive”? This collection of 168 Jazz CDs that I bought for 99€? Well, it’s all public domain, but still, the price was more than OK.

On the other hand, I recently saw some of those CDs sold separately, in fact it were not even CDs, it were MP3 tracks, and I saw them for $9.99. Each. Not each track, but each “album”. Now multiply that with 168 and you get approximately $1680. Depending on the exchange rate of the Euro, this is a factor of roughly 15 – for the same thing, so, I can only tell you, try not to get shaved. There is no decency in the world.

YouTube has the song.

Mar 162010
 

Well, “chasing” is probably too strong, let’s say I found them. These are two very different images, and the first one does not even really belong here, but, you know, in the service of bringing you fresh pictures, I’m always twisting my rules 🙂

Number one is another image from Sunday afternoon. I had just driven over a bridge, stopped the car and went back. Somehow I liked the water, but then, it was absolutely impossible to keep my shadow out of the image. On the other hand, I liked the shadow as well, thus I took the image. The colors are largely imagined, recreated from memory, or what ever you’re willing to believe. Fact is, that white balance was a complete mess and color variation almost non-existent.

The second image is from Monday morning in Vienna. This is a case where I would have needed a 70 or an 85, thus I didn’t take much care framing the image, as I knew, I would have to crop anyway. The image had to go B&W because of some aggressively colored reflections. The toning is a combo of two vanilla Photoshop photo filters, 60% “Deep Yellow” in the highlights, 100% “Deep Blue” in the shadows.

The Song of the Day is “Chasing Shadows” from the 1969 self-titled album “Deep Purple”. Hear it on YouTube.

Mar 122010
 

First day out of the cage, and the day showed no mercy. Yes, it was sunny in between, that was while I sat at work in front of the computer 🙂

Anyway. This image is of one short moment in the morning, when I saw the reflection of a milky sun in a window. I tried my best, even shot a bracketed sequence, combined the exposures in Photomatix Pro, but really, I would have despaired without Photoshop. Two hours and many layers later I am not pleased with the image, but not disgusted either. I guess it’s OK, but then …

I’d probably have liked a dog in the foreground to the right, on a major diagonal, opposed to the light patch of the reflection, although, even if I had had a dog in the frame, it would have probably been the wrong pose and certainly a problem with the bracketed exposures. Well, this is an image where I woudl even copy a dog in, but alas, my dog library is rather scarcely populated 😀

The Song of the Day is “Shine On” from James Blunt’s 2007 album “All The Lost Souls”. See a live version on YouTube.