Sep 032011
 

Today I’ve used the D300. It is in Carinthia now, with only some of my lenses so far, but I will keep it here and gradually carry my lenses to Carinthia as well.

Today I have mounted the Sigma 150/2.8, one of my rarely used lenses (but the only macro here in Carinthia), and although I’ve made some better images (technically in any case), I somehow like this critter. I was photographing some transformers through the fence of a power plant when I saw the bug crawling into my direction. It was big, at least 2 cm, and it was fast. I tried a few shots and only this one was even slightly usable. I had panned the camera and in a way the image retains the feeling of speed.

The Song of the Day is “I’m Just a Jitterbug”, a recording from 1938, featuring Chick Webb and the young Ella Fitzgerald. Enjoy it on YouTube.

Aug 292010
 

OK, this is the last post for tonight, promised 🙂

This is an image taken today, again with the 50/1.2. The butterfly was friendly anough to give me time to focus.

Btw, speaking of butterflies, don’t you feel that this is a funny name for an insect? But what is more funny, is that the names for butterflies in different languages are completely unrelated. Normally you see the same stem used in the romanic languages, sometimes English agrees with German, sometimes with French, but here it is all totally different: butterfly, mariposa, farfalla, papillon, Schmetterling. It’s rare that you see something like that. It is almost as if butterflies had suddenly appeared maybe a thousand years ago, when the peoples in Europe had already settled 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Butterfly” from Jason Mraz’s 2008 album “We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.”. Great album, great singer, and YouTube has the song.

Aug 302009
 

Does it happen to you as well? Does it happen to you, that you come to a place that has long been your home, and that your inspiration is simply there, no effort needed?

Today I needed an image and I also wanted to go swimming. I had enough time, and so I decided to make a detour through the region where I have lived for 20 years.

It’s so much easier there. I don’t need to search for places, I know them. I know where the flowers are, where the water is and I know what to expect under what conditions. It’s home.

And although I know the places, there are still some puzzles left: I have made many images of this fence, and I have not liked a single one. These I do, because they show the essence of this fence, the roughness of old wood, the repetition of the always different, the straight and the crooked.

I don’t mean to imply that one should not go on travels, I’ll do next week, and I don’t mean to say that all people are equal, but at least for me, these home places are much more important for my work than all travels. Sometimes it takes you years to find out how you want or need to photograph a place. How can you expect to go abroad and get it right the first time?

The Song of the Day is “Old Love” from Eric Clapton’s 1991 live album “24 Nights”. See him perform on YouTube, here is part one, and there is part two.

Aug 282009
 

This is just more of the same, but really, I like it 🙂

Today I returned to the place with the cables and the dragonflies. They seem to love the heat, and they seem to be pretty unimpressed by photographers and big macro lenses.

I could have gone on for hours, but in the end there are only so many perspectives that you can use, and some of them are impossible for me without being able to fly myself.

It’s really interesting: macro photography is so much fun with this lens, it completely crosses my original plan of abusing it as a street lens. I’m stubborn though 🙂

The images were all taken with the Sigma 150/2.8 Macro and post-processing is about the same as in “1048 – A Clown With A Funny Nose“: local contrast enhancements of the sharp parts with Topaz Detail and Topaz Adjust, taking the presets that match best, Hue/Saturation layers in various blending modes to push saturation without burning out color channels, sometimes a vignette, basically that’s it.

The Song of the Day is “Same Old Thing” by The Streets. I have it on their 2002 album “Original Pirate Material”, an album that I got from Michael as a birthday present. Hear it on YouTube.

Aug 282009
 

Sorry for the delay. I had some technical problems and it took me a while to get connected to the Internet again, yes, to even get my images off the memory card. Hmm … a digital camera without a card reader or a USB cable is pretty useless, but so is a film camera without a lab 🙂

Interestingly enough, using the Sigma 150/2.8 Macro I am much more prone to actually make macro images than with the 70/2.8. Must be the increased working distance. There were lots of dragonflies on a cable, baking in the sun, and I saw some people taking images with compact cameras, but when they came too much into the comfort zone of the insects, they normally flew away. No problem with the 150 though.

The Song of the Day is “Bravo Pour le Clown!” by Edith Piaf. I have it on a collection that is not available any more, but almost any collection will do, for example “The Voice of the Sparrow: The Very Best of Edith Piaf”. Hear it on YouTube.

Aug 232009
 

As promised, here are two more images for today, like the birds of the last post taken with the Sigma 150/2.8 Macro.

The first shows a wasp struggling to get out of a spider’s net. Cruel things happen around us all the time, most of them going unnoticed. And even if, a wasp is dangerous, just look at the colors. Our compassion is only for the furry, cuddly animals with big eyes.

In case you’re interested: this ended 1:0 for the wasp. It finally got free.

The other image is more like what I was looking for in this early morning after a rainy evening. I set out so early, because I hoped to get scenes just like this: mountains shrouded by wind-torn mist.

Just like yesterday’s image (which actually also was from today), this is a rather brutal re-mapping of tones, certainly much more dramatic than it was in reality. While yesterday’s challenge was to isolate the birds, today I wanted a certain balance between the cliff in the foreground and the bright spot in the sky.

The Song of the Day is “Misty Mountain Hop“, originally from the 1971 album “Led Zeppelin IV”. I have it on the 4 CD collection “Led Zeppelin Remasters”. Hear it on YouTube.

Jul 282008
 

Schmetterling, farfalla, mariposa, papillon, butterfly, … It’s interesting, in different languages some things have completely different names, just as if these languages did not have common roots. Butterflies are one of them.

The Nikon 85/1.8 is not exactly a macro lens and these images are cropped, but at least it is sharp and focuses precisely. I saw the two butterflies this afternoon in a forest, on my way to the lake. It took me 40 images and some patience to come up with these.

The Song of the Day is the Johnny Mercer standard “Too Marvelous for Words“, this time sung, yes, sung indeed, by Oscar Peterson on his 1952 album “Romance (The Vocal Styling of Oscar Peterson)“. Very recommendable, sometimes hard to get, at the moment a tad expensive, even if you get it used. Of course there’s no video of Oscar singing, but I can recommend Ella instead 🙂

562 – A Grumpy Old Bug

 Sigma 70/2.8 Macro  Comments Off on 562 – A Grumpy Old Bug
May 012008
 

Remember that I bought a macro flash kit last year? Well, mostly I don’t use it. For the kind of photography that I tried on Sunday, images of live insects in the grass, you need tons of images. I shot about a hundred images in this session, and most of them are either not sharp enough, sharp in the wrong places, have leaves of grass in awkward places or are simply compositionally bad. With these critters it’s a little bit like press photography: you can anticipate what the subjects are going to do, but only once in a while you get a truly good expression, a pope caught up by the wind in his own garment or a stumbling president. Well, I even suppose that insects are worse. They move extremely fast, at least considering the scale, and you simply have no control at all.

Anyway, patience is the name of the game, and this is how I got this unfriendly guy, bitching at me. They are really cute from a distance, but looking right into their faces, you can imagine where Giger’s design for the Ridley Scott classic “Alien” came from 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Bugs” from the 2002 Lambchop album “Is a Woman“. No video on YouTube, sorry.