Tag Archives: Interior

2790 – This Is Called My Home

How about some color images for a change? I’ve taken this one in my apartment in Vienna. It is not what I recently have written about, not something created organically over a period of long years, but I still have spent plenty of time with the details in this one-room apartment. Colors were one important factor and the area near entrance is green with red Chinese furniture and a big gold framed mirror. I guess it’s a photographically interesting place and I could show you more of it.

The Song of the Day is “This Is Called My Home” by We Are the Ocean. Hear it on YouTube.

1304 – Pink Noise Waltz II

As promised, here’s more about Topaz Denoise 4, the new version of the noise reduction plugin, that Topaz claims gives you four additional stops. Again I compare to Noise Ninja, but now I not only use auto-profiling, now I use camera noise profiles as well.

Paul Butzi’s comment to yesterday’s post caused me to download and install Noise Ninja noise profiles for the D200 and the D300. Of course I have tried them before, at least for the D200, and all I could remember, was that I had not been overly impressed. Now I know why.

This is a detail that I have also shown in yesterday’s post. I have omitted RAW and instead added the profiled Noise Ninja. Yes, there is more detail, but in order to deliver detail, Noise Ninja leaves much coarse noise in the image. In fact, the result does not look much better than the RAW file without noise reduction.

The next detail is from yesterday’s train image. This is from the bright part with some kind of word or number scribbled on the side of the wagon. Topaz Denoise almost completely smudges it away, and the profiled Noise Ninja actually does a marvelous job.

Unfortunately this is over as soon as we get into the dark parts. The profiled Noise Ninja is really bad at removing color noise.

The next image is quite old and it was taken with the D200, a Nikon 50/1.8 at f4, 1/40s, -0.33EV and ISO 1600. The effective ISO is somewhere around 2000. The image is interesting, because it has a lot of architectural detail, combined with a still blue sky.


The first detail from this image is of one of the most difficult areas. The dark, low-contrast upper part of the remote building is easily smudged away into kind of a dark cloud. In fact that’s exactly what happens when you use any of Topaz Denoise’s presets.


In the second detail Noise Ninja shows mottled sky again.


And here is a final look at the sky. Again the low-frequency color noise is Noise Ninja’s major weakness.

I will conclude today’s post (that actually counts not for today, but for yesterday, Sunday) with two details from the Image of the Day. This was taken from the escalator of a shopping center, but actually I have no idea what it really is that we’re seeing here.


I have taken this image with the Nikon D300, my Sigma 20/1.8 at f8, 1/200s and ISO 6400. This is a correctly exposed, well-lit image, more or less a best case scenario.


It’s not that Noise Ninja were bad, not at all, but again Topaz Denoise 4 delivers the best results. Just look at the texture of the white fur on the right side of the first detail, and then look at the two lamps in the next detail.

The conclusion so far is clear: Topaz Denoise 4 wins over Noise Ninja, regardless of camera profiles.

The Song of the Day is still “Pink Noise Waltz” from the Diablo Swing Orchestra’s 2006 album “The Butcher’s Ballroom”. Just as yesterday, it can be heard on on YouTube 🙂

863 – Gotta Be This Or That

Another lazy sunday. Today we had sun for at least half of the afternoon, and I spent the time in the most un-photographic way, I spent it sleeping on the balcony.

It was warm in Carinthia, whereas in Vienna more snow fell. Well, I’ll see, I’ll be there in four hours 🙂

I saw the Image of the Day when I stood in the bathroom, looked into two angled mirror wings, seeing two similar but different views of the Arcimboldo poster in the hall and of the doorway into the living room.

I had planned to drive to Villach’s biggest shopping center in the afternoon, because yesterday I saw something there that should always make for a good image. Anyway, having this split image, I decided to keep the other image for desparate moments.

The mountain image, the reds of sunset behind Mount Mangart, well, I saw it and I couldn’t resist. It’s probably a little over the top, but that’s OK with me 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Gotta Be This Or That” from Ella Fitzgerald’s 1958 album “Ella Swings Lightly”. Deezer has the whole album for you to hear.

856 – Sweet, Soft and Lazy

We had another wonderful, sunny day in Carinthia, and again I have chosen to not go out photographing.

I’m tired at the moment. It’s not a lack of creativity, it’s a lack of motivation. Whatever I did these two days, I did it slowly, almost had to force myself. I guess I’m slightly overworked.

It felt good staying at home though, essentially doing nothing. I had made some images at about 11 am, when I went to the local baker’s shop, nothing really usable, so I used the last rays of sun coming in through the living room window.

Technically the image is strongly overexposed and then in the highlights overlayed with a strongly blurred version. Works fine to bring back smooth gradients. Of course this is surgery, but the result has more of the original atmosphere than an HDR would have, and it is dirt cheap to make as well.

The Song of the Day, “Sweet, Soft ‘N’ Lazy”, is from Belgian singer Viktor Lazlo. At the beginning of the 90’s she (yes, Viktor Lazlo is a woman) was very popular in Europe, but although she has continued to make music and seemingly still does, she could never repeat her early successes.

The album that I have is not available any more. The nearest thing is “Canoë Rose/Pleurer des Rivières”, having almost the same list of songs. Hear her live on YouTube. And while you’re at it, why not hear “Pleurer des rivières“, her wonderful french version of “Cry Me A River”?

841 – Au Fond du Temple Saint

At the moment the prevailing weather pattern in Carinthia is high fog, covered by even higher clouds.

Yesterday I was unable to locate any sunny destination that could have been reached within less than two hours. I tried my luck in Gailtal, in the valley along the southern border between Carinthia and Italy. They had the most snow this winter, and I hoped to find a freshly fallen cover, alas to no avail. Everything had this typical, dirty look of old snow. Without much enthusiasm I tried some landscapes, and this B&W conversion is the only one that I even bother to show.

It’s not a great image, but at I guess it’s quite OK from a technical POV, and it illustrates the most important thing when shooting snowy winter landscapes: not to let the snow burn out. Exposure is very critical in snow. Why? Because you want to strongly accentuate local contrast, and this would make burnt-out highlights much more obvious.

The image is a sandwich of two different conversions made with DxO, one darker for snow and sky, and one lighter for trees and distant mountains. Then I have run PhotoLift on a “copy merged” layer and set the result to “Multiply” blending mode, applying it with reduced opacity and a mask to the snow areas and the sky. I frequently try a B&W conversion to my images, and here it looked very well, because it took the occasional dirt color out of the snow. I think the result looks not too unnatural, even though the local contrasts are borderline high, and in color I would have had to tone them back.

The snow image is much better than reality, and in reality I was so disgusted with the conditions, that I decided to turn around and drive back home. I could do so, because I already had an image, taken in the small gothic church of Saint Peter, to fall back.

The Image of the Day was converted in DxO like almost all my recent images. I took it with the Sigma 20/1.8 (like all my recent images, I’d like to say), and that lens is certainly not free of distortions. DxO does not support it yet (and likely never will, it’s simply too exotic), but of course PTLens does, and this is what I used to remove the distortions and to slightly correct perspective.

The Song of the Day is (Surprise!!) by David Byrne. It’s a somewhat bizarre version of “Au Fond du Temple Saint“, the duet from Georges Bizet’s “Les pêcheurs de perles”, with David Byrne interpreting it together with Rufus Wainwright (some might say it’s the other way round). An interesting idea, demanding more than a price for courageous folly 🙂

You find it on David’s outstanding 2004 album “Grown Backwards”. Deezer has the album, and YouTube has a more orthodox version sung by Robert Merrill and Jussi Björling, recorded in 1950.

835 – Home

Michael had visited yesterday evening and stayed over night. When he left after a late breakfast, it was almost 11:30, and I had to make a decision: Go out or stay home?

The day had started quite well, only to go down in quick decline. This image is about the last sun that I saw today, and, honestly, even that is exaggerated 🙂

I did not go out. Of course you never know what happens, once you are above 2000 meters, but at least at 2pm there was no sun at all on the mountains, and the high cloud cover made no signs of breaking up.

Instead I wandered around in the apartment, camera in hand, the Sigma 20/1.8 mounted, and made some wide-angle macro shots of the curtains in the living room, of a yellow sewing machine that someone gave to my father 13 years ago and that has finally found its place here in Villach, of book shelves, lamp shades and all sorts of things. When I was satisfied to have at least one usable shot, I went to bed and slept for an hour. That’s what I call a lazy afternoon 🙂

At the moment I am on the train back to Vienna. I have just seen President Obama’s Weekly Address on YouTube, and I can’t even begin to describe what a wonderful feeling it is, that this long, dark nightmare is finally over. I have always regarded the United States as something special, a refuge of freedom, a place where hope can come true. Well, good luck, Mr. President.

I guess by now everybody has been at OBAMICON.ME and tried some images. So have I, and Tonto, our cat, made a fine model 🙂

Hmm … it’s one of these David Byrne times. We had him yesterday with the Talking Heads, we had him last week on his (first?) solo album “Uh-Oh” and today we have him again with Brian Eno on their new album “Everything That Happens Will Happen Today”.

The Song of the Day is “Home” by David Byrne and Brian Eno. Hear it on YouTube.