May 202017
 

This is Petřín Lookout Tower (Petřínská rozhledna), a smaller cousin of Paris’ Eiffel tower, built only two years later. There’s a restaurant at the base and a long spiral stairway along the spine. It does not look like it, but the spine even contains an elevator.

I could have managed the stairway up, but I was curious and took the elevator instead. I was lucky, but you might have to wait in a row. Down I took the stairs and I suggest you do so as well, at least in one direction.

Feb 092017
 

HDR is an invention of the “Digital Age” of photography. It just wouldn’t have been possible with film.

These days I mostly shun the technique. Dynamic range has become pretty good, even on “inferior” small sensors like those of Micro Four Thirds cameras. Still, there are situations like this, I on top of a tower, taking images into the sunset, where HDR tremendously helps with shadow detail.

Once you have your bracketed exposures, guesswork begins. What is the correct white balance? There is no right or wrong here. In retrospect I prefer the warmer colors and lighter tonality of the image that ended up as Image of the Day, but that’s largely a matter of taste.

3757 – The Crowd

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Feb 012017
 

You may ask yourself, is this the right time to get an E-M1 MkII? Isn’t this a little bit late? Should I wait for the next model?

Well, no. If at all, it’s still a little bit early. Lightroom only has “preliminary support” for now. It looks good, but the usual Olympus color profiles like “Normal” and “Vivid” are not yet available. Neither is support in DxO. The latter is announced for February. In other words: no need to hurry 🙂

Jan 302017
 

If you think Orthanc, well, looks close, but you’re wrong. Rovinj it is 🙂

So, now that I have the E-M1 MkII, was it worth it?

Yes and no. Strictly speaking, frankly, no. There is nothing earth-shattering that the new camera can and the old couldn’t. If you’re happy wih the E-M1 and you consider upgrading, well, you might get an few new things to like, but you won’t get anything that opens up new horizons. It’s the same, already almost perfect camera with a bit of further perfection. You may like some of it, some of it may come unneeded, but then, if the standard is that high, I refuse to complain 🙂

I’ve tried continuous autofocus on cars and people on the street. It works, even impressively so, at least as well as on the Nikon D300 … and I don’t need it. I may not use it ever again 🙂

High-speed modes? That pre-event “Pro Capture Mode”? I didn’t try it and I probably never will.

The most important things for me are the 20 megapixels (finally the same resolution as on the PEN-F). the fact that I can configure the camera to leave “Magnify mode” (14 times magnification as focus aid) upon shutter half-press, The fact that I now can configure manual lenses to be recorded in EXIF, just as I can do it on the PEN-F, and the fact that I have one more fully programmable button. Yes, it does not sound like much, but those and the few other small improvements all add up. As regards myself, I call this a success.

Is this a recommendation? Let me put it this way: If you look for a new camera and the price does not hurt you, it is certainly one of the best cameras you can possibly get, regardless of price. If you’re already set for Micro Four Thirds and you are mostly a stills photographer, you can’t get anything better. Panasonic may beat it in the video game, but for stills the E-M1 MkII rules surpreme.

Well, actually, yes, it’s a recommendation 😀

3703 – The Symbolic Top

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Dec 092016
 

There’s a story about the see-through clock tower helmet of Aix’ town hall. It’s something about a lazy bell ringer and the necessity of being able to see him at work. I forgot the details, but I can assure you, it’s not true. You see the same kind of towers all over Provence. It’s just an architectural style.

3658 – Blue Lights

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Oct 242016
 

This is not a church, it’s the town hall or Hôtel de ville as the French say. I don’t know how old it is, but in any case the lights are pretty new. Of course their color cycles through the whole spectrum, a fancy and tasteful effect never seen before 🙂

My camera and I preferred blue.

3492 – The Chapel

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May 112016
 

Carinthia is a rural part of Austria with a nice mix of lakes, soft valleys and high mountains. This image has been taken in one of the more mountainous regions. The bit of snow on the roof of this small wooden chapel, along with the snow-capped mountain in the background even gives an impression of winter.

3444 – The Wooden Tower

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Mar 242016
 

Here we have two images of the new wooden tower on Pyramidenkogel (“Pyramid Hill”), a free-standing hill with a great view over most of Carinthia.

It was the first time I’ve been there since they’ve replaced the old concrete tower, and unfortunately while I drove the 20 km from Villach down to the tower, clouds gathered. When I arrived, the sun was gone and the light flat. I decided to skip buying a ticket and try it another time.

The images were taken with the Mitakon Speedmaster 25/0.95 at something like f4 or f5.6.