Nov 012016
 

You can take a lot of images of an architectural marvel like Silvacane, but once you’re through, you’re through.

In our case it was only half past noon, exactly the time we’d reckoned. Speeding from one Abbey to the next, we came around this bend and through this gate 🙂

Well, photographically there would have been much better places than that where I chose to take two images. In fact I had seen quite a few fantastic places. The problem is, that you find no proper spot to hold the car. In fact this always makes me nervous, and when I finally can stop, I often take a few images, mostly to at least document the type of landscape that I’ve passed through.

The village in the third image is Bonnieux. Their website claims

No matter what route you take to Bonnieux, you will see the church tower well before you arrive

It seems I managed to find a spot from where you don’t see it 😀

Anyway, it’s a nice place, but we were only passing through. You can’t properly visit every place that deserves it. Sad but true.

3586 – Spring Blossoms

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3586 – Spring Blossoms
Aug 132016
 

Both of today’s images were taken with the same lens, the Olympus 75/1.8, a lens able to achieve shallow DOF as well as the compression of a lens equivalent to 150 mm.

The Image of the Day may not look like it, but I used f10 for maximum sharpness of the foreground blossoms. The background is still pleasantly out of focus, because I was close to my subject and the distance between subject and background was comparably huge.

The other image was taken at f1.8, but focused somewhere in midground, with the whole subject pretty far away for slightly different values of “far”. The result looks much more like a continuum.

3128 – Spring Street II

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3128 – Spring Street II
May 122015
 

Same spring, another street, this time in Villach, 200 meters from home. Normally in spring Vienna is at least two weeks ahead, weather-wise, but this year the weather north of the Alps was so bad that the vegetation progresses in lockstep.

The Song of the Day is again “Spring Street” by Vanessa Carlton. Hear it on YouTube.

2959 – On My Way

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 2959 – On My Way
Nov 242014
 

The Image of the Day is my so far most successful image on Flickr. It made it into Explore early and ended up as #22 on November 12. The first day it drew 26,000 views, followed by 8,300 on the next day.

The second image has been taken with the same 12-40/2.8, this time on its long end. It also got into Explore, but only near the end of the day. Still, that made for 50,000 views in three days. Not that I particularly agree with the choice of images, but then, when have I? 😀

The Song of the Day is “On My Way” by Mavis Staples. Hear it on YouTube.

Aug 052013
 

As I said, I used to buy lots and lots of lenses for my Nikon system, and while I still like buying lenses for Micro Four Thirds, my approach is different now. I began to sell.

I have owned four Panasonic lenses, the 14/2.5, the 20/1.7. the 25/1.4 and the super-big, super-heavy (for Micro Four Thirds standards) 7-14. The 7-14 is obviously wider than the 9-18, but apart from its physical characteristics, it had a big, big problem: on the OM-D it ghosts and flares like mad. It’s not just the usual kind of lens flares, it’s lots of purple flares whenever a light source is in the frame.

It does that not only with the sun in the frame, lots of good lenses do that, even the fabulous Sigma 8-16 on my Nikon did it, no, you see those ugly internal reflections even with artificial lights in the frame. Strong street lights can cause it, lights in the Underground, head lights of cars, and that all builds up to a big problem, at least for someone like me, who absolutely loves shooting into the light.

My first image with the new lens was taken at the shop, at 9 mm, wide open, and looking out through the window onto a brightly sunlit street. That’s as bad as it can get in terms of purple fringing, but although there is some of it in extreme situations, it’s well controlled and no problem to get rid of in Lightroom. That’s much better than the two cheap Panasonic lenses, about on par with the Panaleica and the 7-14. Of course lateral CA is also there, but it’s well corrected in in-camera JPEGs, and – as always – Lightroom does an excellent job removing it when developing from RAW.

The images in this post have all been processed, but I have not cloned out any flares. Although the images have the sun in or slightly out of the frame, there is only minimal ghosting. In that respect the 9-18 is not only infinitely better than the Panasonic 7-14, it’s better or at least as good than the Sigma 8-16 or any of the wide-angle lenses that I’ve ever owned.

The near focus distance is 25 cm, that’s the same as the Panasonic’s and one centimeter more than the Sigma. Actually the Sigma on a Nikon adapter would have been the wider lens and the one to focus closer, and while I still had the Sigma, for a short time I had even considered keeping it. Of course it is twice as big and with the adapter it’s four times as heavy as the Oly 🙂

In terms of size and weight the Panasonic was considerably better than the Sigma, and now the Olympus is much better again.

Well, here we are. My new lens is not as wide as some that I had in the past, its optical quality is not as high either, but in terms of usability it is exactly what I always wanted. I finally can carry an ultra-wide at all times, just in case I need it, and the weight does not break my back. You’ll see a lot of pictures made with this lens in the following days.

The Song of the Day is “Compared To What” from Roberta Flack’s 1969 album “First Take”. Hear it on YouTube.

2388 – What A Wonderful World

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 2388 – What A Wonderful World
May 052013
 

Wednesday morning was “Labor Day” here in Austria, a public holiday, and I used it to drive back from Vienna to Villach by car. On Sundays and holidays trucks are banned from Austrian highways, and that makes for much more relaxed traveling.

The image was taken later that day in a place very near to where we lived for so many years.

The Song of the Day is “What A Wonderful World” in the rendition of Tony Bennett and k.d.lang. Hear it on YouTube.

Oct 202012
 

“Calma” means calm in Italian, and that’s what the Image of the Day means to me: the calm of shortly after sundown.

Thursday was just as beautiful as predicted and I spent most of the day inside working, the blinds down to be able to read on my monitor. That’s after I had taken off the three rainy days before. Very bad timing 🙂

Just before sundown I took the car and went out to still catch some light. The first image was taken 50 meters from home. We live a little bit off the main street into Villach, at the end of a small road partly lined by trees. I figured I had to take images very quickly or else the sun would be down behind mount Dobratsch, and so it was.

When I arrived at the church of Maria Gail, maybe two kilometers away, a gothic church on a small hill, overlooking river Gail, I just managed to catch a few last rays, and then the afterglow that you seen on the walls in this image.

The Image of the Day finally was taken as a series of bracketed exposures, developed from RAW in Lightroom, exported as 16 bit TIFF images, merged to HDR and tone-mapped in Photoshop CS3. The algorithm used was “Highlight compression”, an algorithm perfectly suited to sunset images.

I could have used Photomatix Pro or some other HDR tool, I have a few, but when I strive for a natural and calm look, I always try Photoshop first.

The Song of the Day is “Calma” from Umberto Tozzi’s 1980 album “Poste 80”. Hear it on YouTube.

2165 – Infralove

 Panasonic Lumix G 20/1.7 ASPH  Comments Off on 2165 – Infralove
Sep 222012
 

Between Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom 4.1 the guys at Adobe have improved their faux infrared B&W conversion a lot.

Of course this is not only fancy curves applied, this is negative clarity and faux grain as well – and it works.

I wouldn’t go as far as to claim that this looks like the “real” thing, but that isn’t at all important to me either. What is important is, that it pleases my eyes and that it doesn’t look faux at all.

Btw, the toning is not part of the standard effect, that has been added by me.

Why at all? Sorry, I don’t know. I just tried what I never try – and it worked 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Infralove” from the 2006 Diablo Swing Orchestra album “The Butcher’s Ballroom”. Hear it on YouTube.