3607 – Always the Same Tree

 Mitakon Speedmaster 25/0.95  Comments Off on 3607 – Always the Same Tree
Sep 032016

A rarely use the Mitakon Speedmaster 25/0.95, and when I do (usually only for a week), I rarely use it for what it’s intended. It does not matter though. Sometimes I like it slow.

As we’re speaking of “slow”, well, there is one thing that bugs me. It’s that I have no way to automatically set lens information in the EXIF data. I don’t care for the f-stop. You see that anyway, or at least I see it. I know the tree, I know how big it is and that at that distance it must have been something between f2.8 and f4. And if I’m wrong, I just don’t care.

No, it’s the lens itself. At the moment I have only two manual lenses, the fish and the 25, ok, that’s also easy to spot. This image has not been taken with a fish 🙂

But still, I may buy other lenses in the future (I used to be in the habit), and then it may be less easy to distinguish them by looks of the images.

What I currently do is tagging images with “Lens Tagger“. That’s a manual step in Lightroom though, a step that I forget at times.

What do I really wish? Well, ideally the camera would ask me to choose a lens from a list of lenses maintained by me. After buying a lens, I would enter its name and data into the list. Maybe this could be supported by an app over WiFi or by a program running on a computer connected by wire, but this is so rare, even entering using a pseudo “keyboard”, the cursor keys and the OK button on the back of the camera would be acceptable. At the moment, entering copyright information on Olympus cameras works that way. It’s slow, painful and rare. The pain goes away though and soon you can’t remember it – until next time 🙂

OK, so we would maintain a list. The list would have to survive firmware updates, which is currently impossible on Olympus. All your settings are always gone after an update. It could work like this:

Whenever you mount a lens that identifies itself, the camera knows that no manual lens is mounted. After you’ve taken the first image with a newly mounted manual lens, the camera asks you to choose from the list, to enter a new lens or to skip the step. If you choose a lens, data for that lens is automatically recorded in EXIF.

This works perfectly for cases where you have only one manual lens and at least one automatic lens with you. You change back to automatic, the choice gets cleared, next time you are asked again. If the list is short, you don’t change lenses all the time, this works really, really well.

If you change between multiple lenses and the camera can’t detect changes (probably it could detect the lens release button, but that may be fully mechanic), then you have to remember making a choice from the list manually.

And, of course, the whole thing should be manual. What do you think about it?

3605 – More Rural Beauty, Less Color

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 3605 – More Rural Beauty, Less Color
Sep 012016

OK, back to Carinthia, back to the E-M1, back to the big, long and heavy lens. Well, at least for Micro Four Thirds that is.

Does it make a difference? Sure, it does. Here we have a dreamy, rural scene, shot wide open through a lot of foreground dandelions, augmented by a pseudo-infrared black and white conversion in Lightroom. You can’t do that with the cheap plastic lens at f5.6 or, as I mostly use it, at f8.

On the other hand, aside from the conversion, the use of foreground bokeh is an effect. I like it, but using it makes the image less dependent on composition. In a way it just looks good all of itself.

I wouldn’t call it a cheap effect (certainly not in a literal sense, when you consider the price of the lens), but when I think of it, working without it takes more creativity.

Well, look at yesterday’s streetlight overwhelmed by the tree. Positioning the light was a conscious decision. I put thought into it and I like the image, because there is much of myself in it.

You know that I have my problems with the concept of “style”, but as it is, you can’t escape developing something like that. Yesterday’s image has more of my style than today’s. Today we see just a technique that I employ a few times a year, when I feel like it or, like here, when the lens permits it.

Here’s the color version.

3604 – Overwhelmed by Nature

 Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 R  Comments Off on 3604 – Overwhelmed by Nature
Aug 312016

OK, back from yesterday’s pessimistic mood 🙂

This is one of the trees that I see very often. Sometimes I see a scene like this, sometimes I don’t, and sometimes when I do, I lack a long enough lens. It’s 62 mm, almost the wide end on this cheap plastic zoom, but still, in order to get this frame, 45 mm would have been too wide, 75 mm (the other long prime that I frequently carry) would have been too tight. In this particular case the macro would have been perfect, but as I never carry more than one long lens, I wouldn’t have been able to make yesterday’s image.

Sometimes slow but light zooms are sweet 🙂

3587 – Rural Beauty

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 3587 – Rural Beauty
Aug 142016

A spring meadow with flowers and blossoming trees, the shot taken low and with blurred flowers in the lower foreground, well, that’s kind of a classic. You could also say that it’s a cliché, but I don’t care and allow myself the luxury of a few such images per year 🙂

Looks nice, huh? Incredibly rural, far from the madding crowd?

Nope, it’s halfway between a busy street, leading into Villach from the south, and our apartment complex, basically a hundred meters in each direction. I love living in a small town 😀

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.

3538 – A Row of Trees on my Way to the Castle

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3538 – A Row of Trees on my Way to the Castle
Jun 262016

The images of the next three weeks were all made on a single one day trip to Schloss Hof, a castle or more of a palace that once belonged to Prince Eugene of Savoy.

Rejected by Louis XIV for service in the French army, he moved to Austria and became the Habsburg Monarchy’s most successful general in their war against the Turks on the Balkans, in northern Italy and where else Austria cared to meddle.

These two images were taken in the morning on my way to the castle.

3514 – Sidelight

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 3514 – Sidelight
Jun 022016

The Freedom Party scrupulously planted unfunded rumors, and despite all the smut everything went correctly. That’s how I’ve explained, that’s what I believe and that’s what I can back with some experience and insight.

A lot of my compatriots don’t do so. I can’t tell you any percentages, but you feel it in the commenting sections of the newspapers. 10% of the electorate may be convinced of having been cheated, but the percentage may be much higher. It may even go up to 30%.

It is a matter of trust. It’s how people present the bill for decades of democratic abuse. And why not? In the wake of Snowdon’s revelations, is there any crime against the democratic spirit that you can rule out with confidence? For any government?

And while I think about all that, I also think about the primaries for the presidential elections in the US. Major irregularities in Nevada. The DNC calling it quits before California has even be asked. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Hillary Clinton trying all the dirty tricks to cheat Bernie Sanders, the only one who will without a doubt stop Donald Trump.

At least that’s what I read on the Internet. What do I know? Do I know at least as much as Hofer’s frustrated fans know about our own election? I doubt it.

We all live in a filter bubble. When I say “The Internet“, I should instead say “The part of the Internet that I have chosen to recognize“.

Any first-hand information from the US? Is Bernie cheated? Is it just the same rumor mongering that our Freedom Party practices?

3472 – The Bark

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3472 – The Bark
Apr 212016

I think I haven’t taken less images in any period of the last ten years than in in the last few months. Here we have the sole survivor of a desperate attempt one afternoon in Villach. Nevertheless, in black and white it even turned out interesting.

It’s hard to tell what the reason for my dwindling interest in photography was. A that time, in late December, I didn’t have the stress at work that I currently have, and I didn’t have anything else that occupied me or my mind. It was just some kind of sluggishness. Thankfully that seems to be over now 🙂

Mar 032016

Two images of red trees, taken about a week apart, one on a sunny Carinthian day, the other on a foggy morning in Vienna.

The foggy image is more than slightly exaggerated. I remember it that way though, and only the image out of the camera was almost devoid of color.

Well, the eye is a very sensitive organ. If contrasts are low, if colors are pale, our eyes and minds just boost sensitiviy. Evolution really has made us able to detect patterns, even when absolute contrast or color differences are low. It was a matter of survival.

In comparison, sensors act just the same, regardless of what they record. In order to boost a photo sensor to the next of its 255 shades, always the same increase in the number of photons is necessary. Therefore a foggy image always looks dull. At least before you process it 🙂

And yes, I know that was unscientific and plain wrong in a number of ways 😀

3369 – The Big Tree

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 3369 – The Big Tree
Jan 092016

There are two botanical gardens, one of them, Jardim Botânico da Ajuda, is just behind the unfinished Palace. Leave the palace through its anticlimactic western gate, cross the street and turn left, down towards the river. The entrance to the garden is after a few dozen meters on the right side.

Again it was the wrong time for blossoms, but at least this tree was worth going in.