3589 – The Secret of the Spiral

 Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0  Comments Off on 3589 – The Secret of the Spiral
Aug 162016
 

Do you also like this kind of images? Exotic spiral staircases? I certainly do. You see a real lot of them on Flickr and elsewhere, and I have always wondered how people find so many of them.

Well, I suppose I know now. I’ve always looked in public places for big spiral staircases. Of course the few that I found were always full of people. Recently I discovered this one, and suddenly it all became clear: they are tiny and narrow! They are not in big public buildings, they are in private houses.

It doesn’t mean that I’ll suddenly find more of them, but it means I can stop looking in the wrong places 🙂

2961 – The Climb

 Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0  Comments Off on 2961 – The Climb
Nov 262014
 

This is the stairwell of a pedestrian crossing over a railway line near to where I work. I had to hold the camera very low above the dirt, at the same time trying to avoid being in the shot. It took me about ten images until I had something usable. An ultra-wide would have helped, but the 12/2.0 was the widest in my bag 😀

The Song of the Day is “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana. Hear it on YouTube.

May 292014
 

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12 mm on Micro Four Thirds give you an equivalent focal length of 24 mm. That’s wide but not ultra-wide, but along with the increased apparent DOF the effect can sometimes be startling.

Here I have taken a shot down a staircase. The top floor got daylight, the lower floors were lit artificially. When I was there, the difference in color temperatures was not so obvious and I may be guilty of having over-emphasized it, but to my eyes the effect is fairly cool.

If you look at it, the image is not entirely symmetric. I have tried to “fix” that in Photoshop using “Edit / Transform / Skew” and quickly found out that it’s not possible. You can’t get all the angles and symmetries right and still have straight lines. And even if that were possible, my nearest approximation looked much worse than the original. It was unbalanced because of an uneven distribution of light. And it’s not only luminosity, it is also that cool and warm colors have different apparent weight. Balancing this image is extremely tricky, and in the end I found out that my original shot was pretty much the best I could get 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Jump Down, Spin Around” by the great Harry Belafonte. Hear it on YouTube.

2654 – Goin’ Home

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 2654 – Goin’ Home
Jan 222014
 

I may have used this title a few times in the past, but I’m too lazy right now to find out how often.

This is the staircase at work, you see me leaving. Or rather you don’t see me, but I’m leaving anyway. You just have to believe me, which is what you have to do with photography in any case 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Goin’ Home” from the 1966 Rolling Stones album “Aftermath”. Hear it on YouTube.

Dec 192012
 

I’ve announced to my friends that Monday’s purchase of the 17/1.8 was the last time that I would buy a lens. Of course everybody laughed and the bets are out on how many weeks it will take.

If like me you follow Mike “The Online Photographer” Johnston, you may have read his recent post “The Geeky Tweaker Conundrum“, and like me you may now think of it.

Am I a Geeky Tweaker? At the moment I certainly feel a sense of completion. My new system is done. It may not be perfect on the long end, but I don’t want to shell out big money for the 35-100/2.8, there’d be too much overlap, and seemingly Olympus sees no need for the rumored 40-150/2.8, thus the cheap 40-150/4.0-5.6 will have to do for a while. I may buy a manual focus Nikon 180/2.8 AI-S as my long prime, but I certainly wouldn’t carry it around every day.

Flo’s comment today made me sum up the weight of my current equipment. At the moment I am at pretty exactly 2 kg for 1 camera, 8 lenses and a camera grip. Add to that two batteries, the bag (676 g), a battery loader and the macro light arm. I suppose this will add up to around 3 kg. Yes, that’s already much again, but compared to DSLR standards it is fantastically lightweight, especially considering that I cover focal lengths between 14 mm and 300 mm, and between 24 mm and 150 mm I have a set of six fast primes.

It’s what I try at the moment. I can always slim it down, just as I did with the DSLR. I still have all the intermediate bags, thus I can always select a subset for a given purpose. In that sense, 3 kg is the worst case. How about 1.3 kg for camera, grip, two batteries and four fast primes? Or 800 g for camera, grip, two batteries and a single fast prime? Basically the advantage gets bigger the more lenses you add, but there is an upper limit for what makes sense to carry, even if it’s composed of only light parts. Where exactly that limit is, I still do not know. It may be all that I have now, it may be less, it may depend on the purpose.

What I know for sure is, that 3 kg is the absolute maximum that I am willing to carry. It is eased by the fact that I always hold the camera with grip and one lens in my hand, or if I don’t use it at the moment, I still have it dangling from a wrist strap. That’s how I walk around. The effective weight on my shoulder is thus more like 2.2-2.4 kg. Still, that’s it. I won’t go back to DSLRs and their heavy lenses.

Going smaller does not make sense to me either. Currently there are only two mirrorless systems that are smaller and lighter. One is Nikon’s System 1, the other is the Pentax Q. Both have smaller sensors with worse (Nikon) or much worse (Pentax) image quality, both can’t compete on the lens front at all. Really, it seems like I have arrived at my sweet spot.

I could invest in fast Panasonic zooms. Why not? They are expensive, but my experience with the 7-14 has shown me that I like the build and the quality. But then, why? The zooms are of fine quality, still, the primes that I already have are better. I just have no need for zooms. I had that on the Nikon and I don’t miss it.

I could invest in fastest Voigtländer primes, but they are manual focus, and although they are faster, they are not better, and due to the OM-D’s excellent sensor stabilization I don’t need lenses to be that fast, at least not when it’s such a heavy compromise.

Funny, huh? This could really have been the last time. Sure, it’s unlikely, but it could. I never had that before 🙂

The Song of the Day is “The Last Time” by the Rolling Stones. I chose it although I weirdly enough don’t own it. This is against my self-imposed rule, but this time I make an exception. After all, I’ve known it by heart for maybe 35 years. Even though I don’t own it, it certainly feels as if 😀

Hear it on YouTube.

Oct 032012
 

OK, I admit, this is a truly stupid title. No hero involved, only I who could not resist a very dangerous subject 🙂

Dangerous subject? Why?

Oh, it’s just because it has been covered extensively by Karin Buerschaper (aka sediama) from Hannover, in a way that lets all my efforts pale, regardless of what I do.

Therefore, whenever I make photos of staircases, I always link to her site. If you’ve never seen her photography, please head over to her Flickr set of staircases. You’ll immediately see what I mean 🙂

The Song of the Day is “When Heroes Go Down” from Suzanne Vega’s 1992 album “99.9 F”. Hear it on YouTube.

1949 – Spiraling

 Panasonic Lumix G 14/2.5 ASPH  Comments Off on 1949 – Spiraling
Feb 172012
 

I’m still on the train and I’m almost in Carinthia. I’ve got to hurry now 🙂

Normally I would have been perfectly satisfied with the disapproving look of this cat, but then I read Mike Johnston’s posts of yesterday and today.

Of course I’ve sent him my own take at his image, and working on it I found it interesting to do a little B&W again. The image of the staircase was the obvious candidate among today’s images, so here we go.

On the other hand, if you are really interested in staircases, nobody does them better than Karin Buerschaper, aka Sediama on Flickr. It’s incredible what she does not only with staircases but with architecture in general. I enjoy every single image of hers.

The Song of the Day is “Spiralling” from Antony And The Johnsons 2005 album “I Am A Bird Now”. Hear it on YouTube.

Oh yes, the Image of the Day has been taken with my new lens, the Panasonic Lumix G 14/2.5 ASPH. Got it today 😀

1840 – Hamgehn

 Panasonic DMC-LX5  Comments Off on 1840 – Hamgehn
Nov 012011
 

It’s Tuesday night. November 1st, “All Saints”, is a public holiday in catholic Austria, I took Monday off and had a long weekend. This image was taken Monday morning in the staircase leading to a lawyer’s office. Reminds me of my recent reading of Kafka 🙂

For a change, the Song of the Day is in no way connected to the image. I don’t know why I chose the title, it’s just a song from the last album that I got, “Hamgehn” from the 2011 self-titled Talltones album. The Talltones are a Carinthian group playing a mixture of Carinthian folk music, Tom Waits and Jazz. Great music, see the video on YouTube.

Apr 052011
 

Here’s some geometry form the Underground, but in reality it is nothing but an excuse to use a song that I otherwise wouldn’t possibly ever have been able to use.

Really: can you imagine an image that cries to be called “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo”???

I always wanted to use that song. It’s from “Wake Of The Flood”, the 1973 studio album of The Grateful Dead. You either have it or you need it. There’s no way around 😀

Hear it on YouTube.