3650 – All Around the Station

 Walimex 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye  Comments Off on 3650 – All Around the Station
Oct 162016

Today’s image has been taken in an Underground station that I pass through every time I travel to Vienna. It’s always well after midnight and I regularly arrive half a minute after the train left. That always gives me about ten minutes, and normally I use the time to make an image. You’ve seen a few, this is just a little wider and more curly 🙂

3638 – A Red Dress

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3638 – A Red Dress
Oct 042016

This image and the last few, they were all taken in a part of Vienna near to where I used to live for almost 30 years.

It’s different there. Better perhaps. But it’s not lost. I just have to ride the Underground, and it takes me no longer than 25 minutes to get back to the old hunting grounds. It’s just that I don’t do it as often as I should 🙂

3630 – A Room with a View

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3630 – A Room with a View
Sep 262016

Outside of the center, Vienna’s “Underground” lines tend to rise above ground, and sometimes quite high above. On the right side you see the building of such an “Underground” station.

On the left side, you see a building that 20 years ago would have been impossible here in Vienna. The distance between it and the tracks is maybe ten meters at maximum.

I remember having seen train tracks go so near to aparment buildings when I visited Paris for the first time, maybe 35 years ago. Then I was shocked. How could you possibly sleep in such a place? Of course I also remember having seen American movies with Subway trains in New York passing near apartment windows. But here?

Well, yes, here, and obviously it’s good business. Politics seem to have given up protecting people, and if there’s space, someone will build on it. It’s not even cheap.

3583 – Uncertain Situation

 Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0  Comments Off on 3583 – Uncertain Situation
Aug 102016

Things got shaky in Europe pretty quickly. I write this post two weeks ahead of publishing, so everything could have happened between now and when you’re reading this.

Everybody seems to have gone mad. We’ve had an almost daily succession of violent events during the past week. It is all blamed on IS terrorists and the IS itself (if there is such a single entity indeed) claims responsibility. In reality it does not seem so clear though.

One guy born in Iran and having run amok in Munich seems to have been more of a Nazi, racist and convinced of his Aryan superiority, full of hate for his victims who all were immigrants of Bosnian, Arab and Turkish origin. If you think of it, this guy definitely didn’t sympathize with the IS. He still began his rampage in the same week as some other guys likely related to IS, or at least saying so in their final vanity.

It all does not make sense. The only common thread seems to be a desire for violence, coupled to a disregard for their own lives. It’s depressing. Meanwhile we wait for the next thing to happen, and at the same time the populists try to take advantage of the situation, try to hurl us down into a maelstrom of violence and counter-violence.

Yesterday a priest was cruelly killed in France. The two terrorists, shot by the police when they left the church, were said to have been “neutralized”.

The discussion forums of the newspapers were full of comments. The last I saw were 6000 comments below one single article.

Wise words? Few. One comment suggested family, friends and indeed the whole circle of acquaintances of all terrorists should be “neutralized”. I asked if he really meant mass killings, and he said, no, he had only meant those people should be detained.

Well, asking for plain murder still seems to be off-limits, but obviously concentration camps become thinkable again. And I’m afraid that’s exactly where we’re heading.

3509 – Two White Geese

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3509 – Two White Geese
May 282016

While I used the Nikon D300, I had an 85/1.4 AI-S and an 85/1.8. In terms of size and weight, the 85/1.4 was a monster. I’ve later tried to use it with the Olympus E-P2 and an adapter, but I soon lost interest. The adapter added to the length, and the whole thing was pretty unbalanced.

The 85/1.8 was much smaller and lighter, but wide open it suffered from purple fringing. It was an old design, clearly not made for digital cameras.

Why do I mention that? The reason is, that in terms of equivalent focal length at 35mm they are more or less the same. It’s the classic portrait lens.

Of course the Olympus 45/1.8 can’t match the mighty Nikon 85/1.4 in bokeh wide open. In fact it can’t even match the Nikon 85/1.8. It does not matter though. If I want something close to that, I just use the much bigger and heavier Olympus 75/1.8. In terms of bokeh it’s wonderful, in terms of shallow DOF it’s close but not there. It is still smaller than the 85/1.4 AI-S that I had and it weighs 300g. That’s half of the Nikon. Of course both Olympus lenses focus extremely fast, none will ever show front- or backfocus. That’s one of the big advantages of mirrorless cameras: focus is always accurate and you don’t ever need focus adjustment settings.

But really, most of the time I am not interested in shallow DOF at all. I can have it if I want to, but if not, I enjoy a trio of featherweights, for instance 12/2.0, 25/1.8 and 45/1.8. That’s one main reason why I always come back to this small, sharp and precise lens.

3505 – There She Goes

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3505 – There She Goes
May 242016

Another image, another tool. This time it’s not DxO, this time it is Viveza, the probably most interesting part of the Nik suite recently released by Google.

If you don’t know Viveza, but have a Nikon background, then you probably remember Nikon Capture NX2. It was a relatively slow but very good proprietary RAW converter with an unusual user interface designed by Nik Software. It circled around the concept of “Control Points”. You set a point and it was immediately decorated with a vertical bar and a set of sliders. One of them could be used to change the diameter of the affected area, the other changed things like luminosity, saturation, contrast, color temperature, etc. The usual things.

This concept proved very successful. It was immediatly accessible, easily understandable, and you could do a lot of things that would have needed painting and layers in other tools. All in all I would consider the user interface great. A minimum learning curve, maximum effect.

For one reason or the other the relationship between Nikon and Nik Software broke, Nik was bought by Google, and now Google has given everything away for free. Viveza is basically Capture NX, but not restricted to Nikon.

You can use the tools stand-alone or as plugins for the usual hosts, most notably Lightroom and Photoshop.

Do I need it? Let’s say that took this image early March, and so far I have not processed any other image with Viveza. Well, I have Photoshop available as part of my Lightroom subscription and I hardly use that either. Your mileage may vary though, and if you’ve never tried it, you should definitely give it a shot. You may well like it.

3490 – Night’s are Fallin’, Trains are Rollin’

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3490 – Night’s are Fallin’, Trains are Rollin’
May 092016

Vienna does not have much of a skyline. The slim, dark building to the right is the tallest in Vienna. It may get a sibling in a few years. The broad office buildings in the foreground right are the local UN headquarter, and the top three stories of the big building in the middle are used by the US secret services to spy on the UN.

Vienna is not that big of a city 🙂

3365 – A Long Way to Fall

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 3365 – A Long Way to Fall
Jan 052016

I already mentioned that Lisbon is not easy to navigate for wheelchair users, that not even all of the underground stations are free of barriers, but then there are some that must be scary to anyone who suffers from vertigo.

The descent from Chiado into the station Baixa-Chiado is such a place. A stairway down, then a chain of four steep escalators, followed by one final stairway. A long way to fall if you fall 🙂