Feb 202017

A lot of people hate science fiction or are at least completely unmoved by it. I keep hearing complaints about sci-fi’s speculative nature and that it does not relate to anything “real”.

That’s true in a way, but when the same people read crime stories and historic novels with gusto, I begin to feel doubt 🙂

Anyway. The Image of the Day strongly reminds me of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy. This is what his mars looks like after terraforming 🙂

The Mars trilogy is also a good example for the not-so speculative nature of “Hard Sci-Fi”. It was written in the first half of the 1990s and it is basically the blueprint of all current efforts to reach out for Mars. I’m afraid it’s also a blueprint of what awaits us on our way there politically, and I am not sure that KSR’s resolutions are more than desperate hope. It may turn out much worse.

If you haven’t read the Mars trilogy, and if you do enjoy science-based fiction, and if you are interested in where we go as a society, I can hardly recommend anything better. A mostly optimistic and non-dystopic look into a not so unlikely future.

Feb 182017

Blog-wise we are still in E-P5 territory. These images are half a year old and in the meantime I have upgraded both cameras. The E-P5 and the E-M1 share a shelf in a closet, the PEN-F and the E-M1 MkII are what I use these days. Or rather should use, I might say.

In reality I rarely take images at all, and if I do, I use the PEN-F. Last time I went to Vienna, I decided to take the E-M1 with me. Maybe with the 7-14/2.8 and the 12-40/2.8 only?

I grabbed an old, small Sony shoulder bag that I had originally bought for the E-P2, and really, I could pack the 7-14 and E-M1 MkII with the 12-40 mounted into that tiny bag. Even the 40-150/4.0-5.6 fit in. Cool!

But still too heavy. I replaced the 7-14 with the 9-18 and kept the 40-150. Nope. Off went the 40-150.

Didn’t make much of a difference. The 40-150 is a featherweight anyway. Basically the culprit was the 12-40. Dammit!

The next idea was a small kit with 12-32, 9-18 and 40-150. That’s what I had on the E-M5 when I was at Lago Maggiore a few years ago. In terms of weight this was much, much better, but neither the Panasonic 12-32 nor the Oly 40-150 focus particularly fast. Much more the opposite. They are hardly the right lenses to use on one of the fastest cameras on the planet.

9-18, 25/1.8 and 45/1.8? That’s what I finally packed. Mission accomplished, although in a somehow unsatisfying way. So unsatisfying in fact, that what I went out of the door, I found the other bag with PEN-F, 12/2.0, 17/1.8 and 75/1.8 hanging from my shoulder 🙂

Oct 232016

If there is anything like a composition typical for me, this is probably it. You may have seen similar pictures over and again. If it’s not your thing, you must be annoyed by now. I can’t help it though. The moment I see such a scene, dying light caressing an old wall, I have to take a picture. It’s automatic.

If it’s not your thing, please come back tomorrow. There will be something different 🙂

3490 – Night’s are Fallin’, Trains are Rollin’

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May 092016

Vienna does not have much of a skyline. The slim, dark building to the right is the tallest in Vienna. It may get a sibling in a few years. The broad office buildings in the foreground right are the local UN headquarter, and the top three stories of the big building in the middle are used by the US secret services to spy on the UN.

Vienna is not that big of a city 🙂

3317 – Casa Da Prosperidade

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Nov 182015

Yes, the world is bad, but it can also be beautiful, can it? So can we please just stop for a moment, stop talking about terror and death, just stop and enjoy some beauty?

At your command, I say, here’s some beauty 🙂

It’s a few steps further from yesterday’s image, and now we look back and into the reflections of the sinking sun.

Nov 232014

Different people have different motivations to take photographs. Some do it for the memories. That’s the typical vacation shooter, often taking family pictures with varying backgrounds: Mom in front of the Akropolis, Dad in front of the Fontana di Trevi. There is nothing wrong with that, but it bores me. Always did.

A variation of that is someone shooting for memories, but without the people and with at least some attention to composition. That’s what I did in film days.

It’s interesting, of my vacation trips through Europe I have forgotten almost everything. Memories of the Provence or of Strasbourg are sparse, but I’ve pretty vivid memories of a trip through southern France not much later, only that this was the first time that I’ve used a camera. I came back with 32 films, 36 pictures each. That was pretty substantial for me and that time, and when I think of what I remember, then it’s almost only the places where I took images.

Of course one of the reasons is, that I saw the pictures later, but I think it was also the process of taking pictures. It made me look harder, made me see things that I’d have never seen consciously otherwise.

Some people, and this is prevalent among selling artists, make “conceptional work”. Yesterday I’ve seen an exhibition of contemporary Carinthian photography in Klagenfurt. As to be expected, almost everything was of the conceptual type. Series of images that exhibited a strong sense of sameness. One series (that I found particularly impressive, by the way) consisted of images of people in front of landscapes. Judging from the print size and the incredible detail, a medium format or large format camera had been used, though the actual prints were from an ink jet printer.

Four images had four different people right at the center, completely different landscapes in the background, but in all cases the person stood in more or less the same pose (rather no pose), looking straight into the camera, and the extra thin depth of field made for a very characteristic look that I can’t produce with Micro Four Thirds. A tilt/shift lens or movements on a large format camera seem to have been used, but I have not enough experience with those types of photography to say for sure. You can see for yourself, Christian Brandstätter is the photographer and the series in question is “animateria“.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like those images and I find them interesting. It’s only not what I want to do photographically. In a way to make such series of images would feel a little bit like doing a job for me 🙂

What I do is what you see in this post. I take the situation that I find myself in (here still waiting for the tires to be changed) and I exploit the geometry of what I see. Lines, distributions and balances of tones and colors. Yes, these are cars, but what I see is more or less an arrangement of lines.

In a way what I do now is still what I did on vacations 30 years ago. Then I documented the places that I visited and today I kind of document where I am, only that the actual place does not matter any more. What matters are much more abstract properties that I can find almost anywhere and that I can even construct if I need to. Which I normally don’t do, because that feels like doing a job as well 😀

The Song of the Day is “Long Line Of Cars” by Cake. I’ve numbered this post’s title, because a night-time variation will follow in two or three weeks.

Hear the song on YouTube.

2957 – Brilliant Adventure

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Nov 222014

Winter often comes early in Carinthia. I had to wait for the tires of my car to be changed, and while I waited, I did what I always do when waiting: I took a few pictures.

Looks more like a wide-angle shot, right? Wrong. It’s the 75/1.8, stopped down to f10 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Brilliant Adventure” by David Bowie. Hear it on YouTube.