Jan 272013
 

We’ve been here, only it’s colder now. It’s still the same park in Styria, but this time it’s all snow and ice.

I won’t be back in that place in spring or summer, but I found that I really enjoy looking at the same things as time passes. On the other hand, isn’t this what we do all the time?

We really better start linking it 😀

The Song of the Day is “Cold Cold Ground” from Tom Waits’ 1987 album “Franks Wild Years”. Hear it on YouTube.

2280 – Caught Between

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Jan 132013
 

I didn’t make any photos today. Instead of taking the car back to Carinthia, leaving it there and taking the train to Vienna, I drove to Vienna directly. It’s not much of a difference, and that way I escaped the snow front coming up from the south.

The image is another one taken yesterday. I guess it would have looked better today, amid the falling snow, but I was eager to leave, worrying about road conditions.

The Song of the Day is “Caught Between” from Brian Eno’s 2005 masterpiece “Another Day on Earth”. Hear it on YouTube.

2279 – Gloomy

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Jan 132013
 

Yesterday it already felt like snow, although it fell only today. Yesterday I also began to feel sick, and later I spent a feverish night in a hotel room in Styria.

I lay down at 5 pm and when I woke up at 10 pm, I wanted to process and post this image. I couldn’t though, because I had forgotten the camera in the car 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Gloomy” from the 1968 self-titled Creedence Clearwater Revival debut album. Hear it on YouTube.

Jan 062013
 

I don’t know if the American Dream ever came true. I suppose it did, and maybe it still does sometimes for some chosen few, but regardless of whether it did or does, it is an enormously mighty instrument to keep up the central fiction of the ruling class, namely that their rule is due to merits.

The canonical version of the Dream is that, given enough effort and a bit of luck (but decidedly more effort than luck), everybody can make it from dishwasher to millionaire.

That’s not true. Dishwashers likely stay dishwashers and millionaires even more likely stay millionaires, but in order to keep it that way, it is important that everybody believes in the dream.

Didn’t make it? Bad luck, Buddy, you obviously didn’t try hard enough! And by trying hard and harder, people always work against each other, never in their common interest.

The American Dream also makes it possible to blame the victims. It gives an excuse to anybody who refuses to help the needy. This is something we hear so often: “Why should I give money to someone who chooses to be in that situation?”, even although people rarely choose to be miserable and dependent on mercy. The Dream explains it all: they deserve their fate, because they have not worked hard enough.

Hmm … I guess it’s time for the mandatory George Carlin now 🙂

The Song of the Day is “American Dream” from Marcia Ball’s 1997 album “Let Me Play With Your Poodle”. Hear it on YouTube.

Jan 062013
 

I’ve read an article yesterday. It is called “America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead“. It tells the story of how scientists found strong evidence that lead, mostly from leaded gasoline, is a likely cause for high levels of violent crime. It sounds ridiculous, but really, read it for yourself. I think it is plausible, and even if it ultimately turned out as only a freak series of highly unlikely correlations, let’s for the moment just assume it were all true.

The authors explain the perils of lead, how dangerous lead is still out there, how exposure to it as a child increases the chance of having a lower IQ and becoming a criminal. They also try to make a case for government spending to clean up the environment, and they argue that in the long run, over roughly a generation, it would even be an excellent investment.

Again, let’s assume that it is exactly as they say.

How big do you think are the chances that politicians will tackle the problem at all, how big that they are able to fix it?

Exactly. Zero is my answer as well.

Here we have a problem (always assumed it really exists) that

  • is invisible
  • is indirect
  • is hard to measure
  • is expensive to fix
  • takes a long time to fix
  • can only be shown as fixed after a generation

If you ask me, this is pretty much of a worst case. Would an American president tackle a problem that, even if he solved it perfectly, would have no influence on the chances of a re-election? Would any politician care for a problem, when he is likely to be dead before he even has a chance to know whether he succeeded?

Unfortunately that is exactly the kind of problems that we increasingly face in our interconnected world. Most environmental problems are of that kind: Pollution, the question of clean energy, climate change, everything is complicated, everything has multiple causes, whatever you do has more than one effect, and in order to work at all, actions need to be coordinated on a global basis.

You may probably have heard of Adam Curtis and seen one or all of his brilliant documentaries. The one I recently saw was “The Century of the Self“. In the introduction to his four part series he says it “is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy“. It shows how Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, invented Public Relations and created the modern consumer, how focus groups were used to analyze consumers and voters, and how the results were used to sell what people didn’t need, and how this could even turn out to decide elections.

Again, all this is hard to explain, you really need to see it, but it completely explains where we are now. Politics are sold just as a commodity, populism reigns and nobody even tries to solve real problems.

Of course I have no solution either. In fact I am worried and what worries me most, is that I have not the slightest idea how we can ever get back to a responsible way of dealing with problems.

See, I have been thinking lately about what’s wrong in this world and how it would be better, and while I have no influence nor reach at all, even if I came up with neat solutions, even if we’d join up and, in a gigantic community effort (say, like creating a Linux free software operating system) we’d find solutions to the world’s major problems (or maybe only one major problem), I am afraid nobody would listen.

This is bad, real bad, and it worries me a lot.

The Song of the Day is “Pencil Full Of Lead” from Paolo Nutini’s 2009 album “Sunny Side Up”. Hear it on YouTube.

Dec 172012
 

OK, today’s images are a mixed bag. I could have thrown in some more, but let’s leave it at that, it is late enough anyway 🙂

The first three images were taken with the 75/1.8. Now that I am almost through with buying lenses, I can get back to actually using them 😀

I really like this lens, and I like to shoot with it wide open. It is completely sharp at f1.8, actually sharper than most lenses at their best aperture.

The last image was taken first in the morning. I had the Panasonic 25/1.4 mounted, the camera set to B&W, and even though it was foggy and dull, the pattern of the leaves immediately caught my attention. It doesn’t have to be color all the time.

The Song of the Day is “Where Is The Line” from Bjork’s 2004 album “Medulla”. Hear it on YouTube.

Dec 172012
 

Here are the images for Saturday. I was out in the snow (not much admittedly) for a few minutes, armed with my new 7-14 mm lens.

The figurine of the frog is only maybe 10 cm high and sitting on a planter used for herbs, but that’s exactly the kind of foreground / background trick you can do with ultra-wide lenses: focus very near on something small in the foreground and the proportions shift completely.

Oh yes, one new lens, one new bag. It was inevitable, and this time there will be enough space: The Tamrac System 3 bag comes with an enormous number of dividers, and using micro-fibre cloth as a separator to stack two small lenses upon another, I can put the camera with one lens into it and up to eight additional lenses. At the moment I am at one camera and seven lenses.

As the bag is big enough, the Olympus 40-150 is back. I have decided not to sell it, because it is a decent lens and a long lens that I can keep with me. The rumored Olympus 40-150/2.8 seemingly won’t come and so far the 35-100/2.8 does not entice me.

What definitely will go into the bag as soon as it becomes available (probably next week) is the Olympus 35/1.8. I guess that’s it, I can’t imagine any other lens that I would need or want.

Maybe for special occasions the Nikon 180/2.8 AI-S, but I wouldn’t carry that around regularly.

The new bag has an excellent shoulder strap, much better than the Hama bag last time, has plenty of additional space for cards, filters, pens, papers and whatever, and it is extremely comfortable.

The Song of the Day is “The Coast” from Paul Simon’s 1990 album “The Rhythm Of The Saints”. Hear it on YouTube.

2245 – A Little Bit Later On

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Dec 092012
 

Can you remember “2217 – Running On Faith” and “2230 – Endless Cycle“?

I’ve been there again today, this time using the 25/1.4 for both shots. Not much time has passed, it’s only a little bit later on, but everything looks profoundly different now.

The Song of the Day is “A Little Bit Later On” by Chick Webb and Ella Fitzgerald. Hear it on YouTube.

Dec 092012
 

This is the post for Saturday, but the only image actually made yesterday is the one made on the highway.

Just like last weekend we had snow, only this time I couldn’t avoid it while driving.

The Image of the Day was taken in Styria today, for a change on a bright, cold, sunny day. You’ll see more of that tomorrow.

For today I have only this architectural pattern, and if you’re interested in what the hell this is, I’ve uploaded a more conventional view for your illumination 🙂

I’ve worked with the 75/1.8 at f11, and still there was not enough depth of field. It’s a compromise, but I really like the image.

The Song of the Day is again “I Got Stripes” from Johnny Cash’ “At Folsom Prison” album. Hear it on YouTube.

2237 – Stuck In The Middle With You

 Panasonic Leica DG SUMMILUX 25/1.4 ASPH  Comments Off on 2237 – Stuck In The Middle With You
Dec 012012
 

I’m in Styria, it’s December, the weather is bad. Very bad. Remember “2202 – Walking In The Park I“, “2208 – Wild Leaves“, “2209 – Stardust“, “2217 – Running On Faith” and “2212 – Walking In The Park II“?

Well, I was in the same park again, but now everything looks dead and almost completely drenched of color. Browns are to be had and it is wet and cold. Being asked what I wanted to photograph on a day like this, I hesitated for a moment and then said that I would set my camera to B&W. And so I did.

When importing the images into Lightroom, they show up B&W for a short moment, but then Lightroom begins to render them in color, and when I saw the result, I immediately re-applied the B&W “Orange Filer” preset – for all images but one. This one. Everything else looked better in B&W. No wonder, the images had been seen and taken in B&W.

The Song of the Day is “Stuck In The Middle With You” by Michael Bublé. Today there is no link to Amazon, because I was unable to find the song. It’s on an extended extra version of the album “Call Me Irresponsible”, and that version does not seem to be available any more. One more example for the bizarre ways of the music industry. Hear it on YouTube instead.