3945 – Frost on Grass

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3945 – Frost on Grass
Aug 082017
 

A patch of frosty grass, lit by low afternoon sun in December. I was visiting my parents – this is in front of our house.

My father was diagnosed with colon cancer a year and a half ago. Surgery left him with some inches of colon less, and the immediate outlook was positive. He’d just need some mild precautionary chemotherapy.

Well, it turned out to be more severe. Last year in September, two tumors were found in his liver, and after two more attempts at chemotherapy (largely hampered by his weak heart), he was essentially given up in January. A few weeks ago we all decided that my mother could not carry on attending to his growing needs, and since then he has been in a residential care home for the elderly.

If you follow the link to this old blog post, you see the image of a man who definitely doesn’t look like 72, his age at that time. This was true until after his surgery, when he already was 80. People who didn’t know him that well always judged him much younger than he actually was. During the last year, this has radically changed. From his looks, he seems to have aged a decade in a year.

He himself didn’t feel old. Sure, he had problems with his knees and his back, but that’s just what you get from decades of heavy physical work. Now, with that cancer diagnosis, he suddely got a sense of urgency and a feeling of mortality that he’d never before had. He told me in a moving, almost childishly naive way, that he always had thought he’d live forever. Today he knows he won’t, and seeing that process has given me a feeling of mortality as well.

Anyway, at the time that image was taken, I thought he’d probably die much earlier. So far the old man still carries on and I hope he’ll do so much longer.

Psychologically his situation is not easy. He can’t do anything that he loved to do, and – going to live forever – he never tried to develop interest in things he would be able to do under present conditions. I never thought about it myself, but if there is something to take away from that story, it is probably this: It is not sufficient to just make sure you have no dire monetary needs. You have to foster interests that are not bound to physical well-being. Otherwise you may find yourself in a situation where all your options seem to be cut off.

Reading? You could go blind. Writing? With computer assistance you’d probably be able to write a novel by dictation and proof-hearing, but you’d still need people helping you. Which again brings us to people. I’m a loner myself, but even I recognize that with increasing age there may be an increasing need for social contacts, not the least for their ability to help fighting depression and give us a sense of being tied into something bigger, something transcendental (and I don’t mean this in any religious way), something that may need us to carry on, even in moments when we’d otherwise be inclined to give up.

Having children and an intact family may help, and if you happen to be religious, it may help as well. It would have to be the real thing though. You can certainly fool other people and some people manage quite well to fool themselves, but fooling yourself wouldn’t do in this case 🙂

3450 – Frosty Situation II

 Mitakon Speedmaster 25/0.95  Comments Off on 3450 – Frosty Situation II
Mar 302016
 

It’s already early Spring around here, but image-wise we are just diving into Winter. Rest assured, it won’t last very long.

Actually I had already wondered whether my lust to take images was gone. Then last Saturday I made 20 images on one short walk through Villach. This is not 20 exposures taken, this is 20 images processed and ready to be used on the blog. Not all of them are first rate, but, well, neither is everything I’ve published so far. In any case, I seemingly need just a lazy hour from time to time 😀

Jun 122015
 

Sure, Micro Four Thirds has a smaller sensor, and the appearant DOF of a lens is as if it were two stops slower. Thus my f2.8 looks like your f5.6 (at least if you use a 35mm sensor), but that does not mean that my f2.8 does not gather as much light as yours. It may capture less light, but it concentrates it on a smaller sensor area. Light density is the same and so are my shutter speeds for the same exposure value as yours. It’s only that my lenses are smaller and lighter 🙂

And if I really crave for very shallow DOF? Well, depth of field depends at least as much on subject distance as it depends on aperture. These images have been taken at f2.8, but due to the lens’ great close-focusing capability, I can just go a little closer.

You probably know the effect best from macro lenses: once you get close enough, DOF is shallow even at small apertures.

Now, with shallow DOF clearly achieveable, bokeh is the important factor. Do the out-of-focus areas look good? Creamy? Soft? The Image of the Day is obviously as creamy as it gets. Out-of-focus highlights from the droplets are even discs with no obvious borders or onion rings, and even the second image looks pleasing to me. Its abundance of hard lines at all background distances is more or less a torture test for bokeh, and I’d say this lens behaves quite well.

The Song of the Day is “Summer Grass” by Kiyoshi Yoshida. Hear it on YouTube.

2763 – Green Grass

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 2763 – Green Grass
May 112014
 

Morning light in Spring. It’s as beautiful in Vienna as it’s everywhere, and with that kind of light you often don’t need much of a subject.

I’m writing this and a few other posts while riding the train from Vienna to Villach, knowing that the new Panasonic 12-32 has already arrived. At the time when you read this post, I will already how it performs, especially in regard to purple fringing. On Olympus cameras this has been the major weakness of three of the Panasonic lenses that I’ve tried so far, of the 14/2.5, the 20/1.7 and – worst offender of all – the 7-14/4.0. Only the 25/1.4 has been flawless and we’ll see how this tiny zoom behaves.

The Song of the Day is “Green Grass” from Tom Waits’ album “Real Gone”. Hear it on YouTube.

Jun 062013
 

Why do I make such an image, you ask? This image is not beautiful, you say?

Yes, yes, you’re right, it ain’t, still I do. It’s not that I don’t have enough “beautiful” material to draw from, it’s more that I sometimes feel an urge to show things “as they are”, another fallacy, but one that’s widely accepted among photographers.

Of course it did look like that and it didn’t at all. This image is restriction of an unbounded reality to the narrow bounds of a square, and it reduces a complex reality to a “yin-and-yang-ness” that the whole situation clearly didn’t have. And then, what is a “whole situation” anyway?

The Song of the Day is “Muddy Waters” from the 1992 Vaya Con Dios album “Time Flies”. Hear it on YouTube.

Dec 312012
 

When I finally got out today, it was almost too late to go anywhere. Thus I decided to try my luck with frost at the edge of a meek forest a few hundred meters away.

It is almost midnight, people have been burning fireworks for hours and there is no end in sight (Crisis? What crisis?) and I am happy to be done with blogging for today. Let me just wish you a happy New Year, health and peace, freedom and democracy.

Thank you for visiting!

The Song of the Day is “Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere?” from Nick Cave’s 1997 album “The Boatman’s Call”. Hear it on YouTube.

Aug 122012
 

A rather stressful weekend, but in the end I managed to get to our place at lake Keutschacher See and swim a round.

Here’s a view back across the meadow towards the entrance of our place. I loved the pattern of the shadows on the grass.

The Song of the Day is “That Sunday That Summer” from Natalie Cole’s tribute album to her father “Unforgettable: With Love”. Hear it on YouTube.