2352 – No Shit

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Mar 292013
 

Vienna really had a problem with canine feces. They were everywhere and dog owners seemingly had no qualms about it. A few years ago the city government began to put thousands of these signs all over Vienna, and they made sure that plastic bag dispensers were readily available on the streets.

I can remember how the newspapers made jokes about it and how everybody had a list of reasons why the campaign must fail, only it didn’t. Somehow both the pictures of the cute little dog and the availability of bags did the trick, and today you hardly step on brown, stinky matter in Vienna’s streets.

The second Image is a list of one dog’s achievements, posted on a garden door. It lists 13 mail men, seven burglars, 17 tires and eleven cats.

The Song of the Day is “No Shit” from the 1984 Brass Fantasy album “Avant Pop”. Sorry, I have not found a sound sample, but then, that’s Lester Bowie, what can possibly be wrong?

Dec 292011
 

My image database has some keyboard shortcuts that I rarely use but sometimes inadvertently activate. It happened today, and the effect was, that I mirrored the image in the last post.

It really struck me. I had liked the image for its light, but nothing more. Somehow it was lifeless. It was just an image that I used for lack of something good, nothing I would have ever again thought about.

And then this mirrored image was suddenly completely different. I went back to Photoshop and reversed the number 30 in the traffic sign, the one obvious hint that the image had been manipulated. I guess I’d get away with everything else, the tiny number plates on the cars and the bus sign on the lane that’s heavily distorted and cut anyway.

For me this is an entirely different image and a much better one. This is obviously due to the fact that all action happens on the (now) left side and that I read the image from left to right.

Now the question is, is this connected to the fact that I read texts from left to right? Would an Arabian viewer prefer the original image? Or is it already impossible to find someone on the Internet who has not been so much exposed to the (supposedly) dominant left-right aesthetics of the West that he is not forever spoiled?

I have no answers. I am sure there is literature about it and I suppose there may be an answer. Any idea?

As this is an addendum to “1897 – Something Magic II“, the Song of the Day is still “Something Magic” by Procol Harum. Hear the original 1977 version for a difference.

1897 – Something Magic II

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Dec 282011
 

There’s something magic in sunny winter mornings. Well, of course it’s not real winter here. No snow. But then, the light is winter light. The direction of the light at this time of the day is a winter direction.

Things look different in winter because, because … they are.

The Song of the Day is “Something Magic” by Procol Harum. Hear the version from the 2009 live album “In Concert with The Danish National Concert Orchestra and Choir” on YouTube. We already had this song in “1266 – Something Magic” but today I’m reckless 😀

May 142010
 

In little more than an hour I have to leave for the train. It’s Friday, yesterday was a public holiday in Austria (well, Catholicism is not ONLY about old men and young boys, you know) and I used the time to get a little outside of town. Here’s one of the few usable images. Processing went along a little of its own, and when I saw what I got out of Photoshop while experimenting, I liked and kept it.

The Song of the Day is “Down The Road” from Marcia Ball’s 2005 album “Live! Down The Road”. Finally we begin to see more of her on YouTube. Here is the song, audio could be less muffled and there is indeed a version with better video and clear sound available, only it is not the same song 🙂

Apr 092010
 

Funny, I did not intend to make even a single one of these extremely tall images, and in the case of the first, I spent a lot of time with different variants until finally I ended up with this extreme crop, the image reduced to the absolute essence.

In fact, I lost quite some attractive things on the way, for instance color was not completely wrong, to the contrary, there was some nice color contrast between the upper and the lower half of the image, but then, B&W allowed me contrast adjustments that would break color.

And not only that: had I included more from the left side, I would have had a bicycle rider in the image, and he was quite nicely balanced with the couple, and had I included him, I would also have had a nice sweeping curve of street lights above.

But then, fully concentrating on this couple, two people full of tension, dancing their Tango on the streets of my mind, concentrating radically on the unfathomable meaning of a chance meeting, I just had to give in, had to give up what was not absolutely necessary.

The other image is of the fringe of the red marquee of that very bar that we last had in “1258 – Walkin’” and before in “908 – At The Break Of Day“. I took a series of eight or ten images, pretty unusual for me, but that’s the problem with things that move in the wind 🙂

The third image is a good illustration for the only really annoying effect of working with such a long lens: You are constantly tempted to make images of long perspectives, but here in this image there are at least 50 meters between me and the two people out on the street. This is not a very busy way, but even here it can task your patience.

Originally I just wanted the dog and no person in the view. The problem was, that constantly someone was either walking into the image, slowly all the way through, or a van held out on the street, just in front of the door, or this person on the right simply would not vanish, and then a second person came from the left. From time to time I made an image, actually more to bide my time, waiting for the people to go on, and when they finally did, and when I finally wanted to take my image, a woman came out of the bakery and led the dog away. Life can be hard with a long lens 😀

The Song of the Day is “More News From Nowhere” from the 2008 Nick Cave album “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!”. Damn fine music. The video on YouTube will cost you 7:58 minutes of your life, but believe me, it’s worth every second. Oh, the T-shirt, oh the mustache! And besides, there’s nothing wrong with the dancers 🙂

Feb 172010
 

I’ve just nuked my laptop. Really. I did.

After two installations of Windows 7, performed on two different desktop computers, one from scratch in Carinthia (you remember the hard drive failure?) and one upgrade in Vienna, I had become reckless: I decided to do it on my Laptop, a Sony VGN-Z21MN, as well.

The laptop had come preinstalled with Windows Vista Business 32 bit, and I wanted to run Windows 7 64 bit (I really intend to use all of my 4 GB RAM). I didn’t want to ever go back to Vista, thus I decided to make no recovery disc. Reckless. Did I say “reckless”?

While installing, Windows 7 did not give me any option to keep the recovery partition, so I simply opted for the possible, wiping everything that was there, installing Windows 7 from scratch.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Windows 7 installed, and then it rebooted into … a black screen. Oops! Uhhh … this Sony has two graphics cards, an Intel chipset on the motherboard and a separate NVidia graphics adapter, some 9300 or so. Switching (via a hardware switch) to the Intel graphics adapter at least gave me back my display, but then I got a crash a little later.

Well, the new installation did not work. It says something about an unexpected crash and that it needs to reboot, and upon reboot it just gets to the same point again. The Visa installation is gone, Windows 7 can’t install, the Windows XP DVD, that came with my laptop, does not even boot. My laptop is a brick. A brick, that has cost me 1400€.

No reason to panic. I will find some solution. Probably. Wish me well. I need it.

The Song of the Day is “The Cost Of Freedom” from the 1993 Marla Glen album “This Is”. Hear it on YouTube.

Jul 142009
 

This is the third blog post for today, this time the images were really made today.

You will notice that none of today’s images uses the painting effects of Alien Skin’s plugin Snap Art, but on the other hand, all were processed with the help of Topaz Adjust, and one of them, the tractor from behind, also with Topaz Clean.

It’s not that I grew tired of the painting effects, and I could probably have used them well on the forest ground, but sometimes … well, maybe I did grow tired of them 🙂

I had to fetch some things from two shops in Villach, and afterward I drove to our parcel of land at the lake. Actually that’s where those Mock Strawberries grow. After swimming I took a series of those leaves and berries images and thought that would be it, but on my way back, I drove behind a tractor.

At first it only annoyed me, because I could not overtake, but then I noticed the dog. Uhhh … I had the camera on the passenger seat and, yes, I shouldn’t have used it while driving. On the other hand, how could I have resisted?

But it’s not only that one shouldn’t do that, it’s also that the dirty windshield took away contrast, thus I overtook as soon as possible, and after some hundred meters I parked the car and waited for the tractor. I was lucky, it had not taken a side road, and so I got some more images.

Really, is that cool and is that dog cute? Obviously the driver did not mind being photographed, and neither did the dog.

For a short time I considered playing the game once more: overtaking, waiting, making more images, because that way I probably would have got an image with a less cluttered background, but I was already in a hurry and decided to go with what I’d got.

The Song of the Day is once more “Reasons For Waiting” from the 1969 Jethro Tull album “Stand Up”. Hear it on YouTube.

952 – I Bet You’re All So Happy In Suburbian Dream

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May 232009
 

Well, that’s not really suburbia, at least has not been for 150 years now 🙂

This is in Vienna’s 8th district, very near from where I work, very near to the heart of the city.

Are these dreams? Does any of these images qualify? Actually I don’t know. I am struggling with “Urban Dreams“, my SoFoBoMo book. No, it’s worse, I am struggling with the very basics: How do I get a sequence out of a bunch of images?

I have played around with grouping in Adobe Bridge and with manual “Lighttable” sort in IMatch, my image database, but that will only take you so far.

I guess my problem is not grouping. After all, when I have found groups, what am I supposed to do? Sequence inside of the groups and then string the groups together?

Apart from the obvious problem, that the applied categories are not sharp, have overlaps, it sounds rather boring to me, a little bit like pointing with fingers, and it gives up on possible dramatic effects, on implied stories. It’s not what I’m going to do. But then, what else?

At the moment I have 85 images processed and published since May 4, the day that I began shooting with the project “Urban Dreams” in mind. Some more sleep unprocessed and I could pull them out if I need more of a certain kind. I will make some more in the remaining 12 days, today included, although three of those days will be spent in Carinthia, thus we’re down to 9. If I happen to come up with good candidates, I really plan to make changes until the last possible moment. That makes for at least about 100 images.

My next step will be to simply begin a book. I will use the measurements that Blurbs specifies for their 8×10 inch landscape book. This is not very big, in fact it’s rather small, but I just held a book with polaroids by Manual Alvarez Bravo in my hands, and I found it to be very comfortable to hold.

I will begin by selecting safe candidates that must go into the book. Then I will try to surround them with what feels good, makes sense, tells a story, juxtaposes them, whatever. Finally I’ll try to bring those strings into a sequence. We’ll see how far I get with that 🙂

If you wonder, today’s title is a line from the Sex Pistols song “Satellite“. I really like the version from their 1996 reunion tour “Filthy Lucre”, but your taste may be different. YouTube has a video of the original.

May 192009
 

I’m back to Vienna and back with some candidates for “Urban Dreams“, my SoFoBoMo book.

I have some more from yesterday, but I guess I’d rather post this now than falling behind again on the first day of the week 🙂

All these images were made with the Nikon 70-300 VR in the afternoon. In the morning I have shot as well, some 30 images, with a remarkably low yield of one single image, but in the afternoon all was well 🙂

Today’s mannequin image and 829 – Dedicated Follower Of Fashion were both shot in front of the same shop in Siebensterngasse.

The two bicycle images are actually the same bicycle. I liked this kind of lurking behind the corner. It feels very childish to me and in a very positive way.

I have grown up in an old house in Klagenfurt, a big, old house with shabby, yellow walls, and warm, yellow walls baking in the sun, in my mind that has always been associated with comfort and childhood.

And then there is the Image of the Day. This is totally a product of this long lens. The perspective compression has created a room that does not exist in reality.

OK, I’ll have to stop now. It’s Tuesday morning, the sun is bright and already high in the sky, the birds are chirping outside, some rain has fallen in the night, but now it looks like a wonderful day. Let’s see what I can get.

The Song of the Day is Johnny Mercer’s “Hit The Road To Dreamland” from the 2006 Dr. John album “Mercernary”. YouTube has it for you.

Feb 182009
 

We had five centimeters of liquid snow in the morning, then falling temperatures and ice in the evening. Seems like it’s going on, and I suppose I like the cold version better 🙂

I write this in the morning, and as I’m looking out of the window, I see it’s snowing again. Guess what you’ll see tomorrow 🙂

Unfortunately I am beginning to experience computer crashes again. I think the culprit may be my oldest hard drive, the one with my music collection. I have deactivated it for the moment and have to do without music. No problem, I have it all in Carinthia and at work, nothing is lost.

It’s bad timing though. I have planned to buy a 2TB disk as soon as it is available, but that seems to take some more weeks. Some shops here in Vienna list the new Western Digital 2TB “Green” disk as available from next week. We’ll see. Normally that only means “not now” and it may take some more weeks.

Anyway. I’ll wait, then change the 1TB image disk for the new 2TB, the 1TB becomes the music and spare disk, and the old 500GB disk gets replaced. At least that’s the plan. Now let’s hope that the crashes stop, or else the plan would need reconsideration 🙂

Music-wise I’d like to stay with Vivaldi’s “Winter”, but this time we look at the complete opposite to yesterday’s Nigel Kennedy: Herbert von Karajan and Anne Sophie Mutter. No, it’s not fashionable, no, it’s not on period instruments, but, boy does this recording sing! In a way it’s the technical culmination of the pre-“period instrument” age, and it’s certainly perfect. Hear “Winter” again on YouTube.