Tip jar:

Saturday, January 31, 2009

HDR Max Contest

Sent an image to an HDR photo contest. Not sure what to think about the concept of photo contests from a photographer's perspective. The company which is organizing it has a clear motivation, though. They want people to try and fall in love with their HDR software. My first impression: the program works nicely.

What I found most interesting about it is the fact that it can load RAW images. You can find more about it follwing this link.
If you are thinking about entering the contest: the deadline is today. I'm last minute...as usual.

Have a nice Saturday!...and maybe Sunday as well!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Zion's Red Church

Somewhere in Pennsylvania between Ashland and Central New Jersey.

I'm always amazed how different everything is just after driving two hours out of my regular range. I notice it on the people, their pace, the landscapes. This picture doesn't really show this. Those experiences are hard to capture and too subjective anyway.

I just know that once I left the US and I'm back in Germany, I will be sorry that I didn't explore this country more. I have seen a few corners, but I think a lot of beauty is hiding off the beaten paths and can only be seen after slowing down the pace.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Featured on T-Online.de

T-Oline is Germany's biggest Internet Service Provider. Their website t-online.de has a section dedicated to photography. It can be found at augenblicke.t-online.de. I'm happy to tell you that T-Online contacted me. I'm featured as a serious photography newcomer.

The newcomer-section just started off and shows the work of ten international talents, when I looked at everybody's excellent work I got seriously nervous to be part of this.

The other artists are:
- JanLeonardo Wöllert und Jörg Miedza
- Florian Schüppel
- Emmanuel Decouard
- Fabrizio Cestari
- Jakob Wagner
- Juha Arvid Helminen
- Li Wei
- Martin Preissner
- Michael Schlegel

Here is a link to the newcomer section.
And here is a link to my part.

Some text on my images needs to be corrected. Also the images appear a bit funny. I will try to resolve this with T-Online.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

About my umbrella setup and going full-frame

The two pictures below show my latest construction. No, it's not a time machine. It's a 50D on a tripod with a Bogen Super Clamp attached to it, which is also attached to another Super Clamp that's holding a golf umbrella :-)

With this construction it should be easy to take pictures during rain and snowfall. It gives you more freedom with your hands while staying dry. I originally had the idea from Dave's blog without remembering the details on how he got the umbrella attached to the monopod. Anyway, I thought it was a very original idea. When I told it to a sales person at the local camera store, he knew exactly what I needed. Turns out that this is a common setup that is used by sports photographers. Compared to internet prices, I paid way too much for the Super Clamps by buying in that store, on the other hand I wouldn't know how to do it without their advices. There were not many good chances for me to try this yet, but once I do, I will let you know how it went.

About going full frame. I finally sold the 50D. Man, it's so much harder to sell a camera body than selling a lens. I didn't think it would be like this. Fact is, camera bodies are outdated quickly whereas lenses are kind of timeless. They don't update a lens often, and even if, what you mostly pay for is the glass, and glass doesn't wear out. I'm still getting requests for the 24-70mm 2.8.

So here is the thing: I only have the 20D left and I think I will keep it. The camera was outdated years ago, which would force me to sell it for almost nothing. I won't do that. It is an excellent digital SLR, so why throwing it out of the window?
Other than that, I'm pretty much ready to do the final step going full-frame and get the 5D Mark II. The problem is: this camera is not in stock anywhere. Canon seems not to be able to produce them as fast as they sell. Pretty amazing.

I'm currently using the 20D again.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Night at the Clothing Store

Wouldn't you do the same if you were a manakin?

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I just discovered this on my hard disk. Took it with a 20D in 2006 with ISO 3200. Back in the days I didn't dare making an HDR out of a single ISO3200 shot. Nowadays, I'm a bit more adventurous and also more experienced in struggling with image noise.
All that noise reduction made it look a bit funny, but I think it's still worth a post.

Fotocommunity News

I have a second image voted into their hall of fame in one week. How funny, I always thought the FC is too conservative for me and that my images wouldn't fit there. The excitement is a bit gone now, so maybe I won't report about it in case it happens again. It probably doesn't interest you much anyway.

Times Square Rush

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ice Skating

This one was taken in Bryant Park.

I'm really happy with the larger images, by the way.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sunday Morning in Central Park

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Exposure on Fotocommunity.de

Once again, four of my pictures will be featured on the main page of fotocommunity.de. They are scheduled to appear for an hour on Wednesday, starting at noon (German time), or 6 am EST.

Last time it caused tons of fc-comments, page-views, and messages, which is a big deal for a little photographer.

Post No Bills

Taken on a cold night in New York City

Monday, January 19, 2009

An original exposure of "South Street Diner"

It's probably not a highlight in my portfolio, but I figured that I did so much editing on South-Street-Diner that it might actually be interesting to post an untouched exposure. Now don't tell me that the original looks better, that's the worst comment one can get!

OK, do it...if you think so.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

South Street Diner

The symmetry is a bit off. Besides that, the lower right quarter of the image had originally a parked car in it. I tried to push it away...didn't move :) ...fixed it in Photoshop. Conclusion: I'll keep it in mind and try again one night.

Friday, January 16, 2009

More Template Talk

Okay, I calmed down a little and went from giant-size to large. Some fine tuning on the fonts and experiments with text formatting in order to have it look somewhat appealing even in this large content width. This should be a good compromise for now, until I find the perfect template.

By the way, what are your thoughts on sidebars? This current template doesn't have it and I always thought it looks more clean, lean, and mean...or in other words: elegant. But here is the catch:
A visitor who comes here through let's say Google usually ends up on one particular post. He might read it, maybe not, and surf on to somewhere else. He is not seeing any more relevant information for himself and bounces off my page. He bounces off not only because of the crap I'm writing, but also because of the lean design. There is nothing more to see that could catch his interest and make him click deeper into the page. I think it would be good to show a decent selection of images on the side and link them with the shop section.

Besides that, I should probably also add a personal profile to give this page a face.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is Bigger Better?

I made everything a bit bigger. Does that make sense?

The main reason is to have larger images right here in the blog. So I also scaled the last two color images up. It was just as I feared:

When you upload an image into blogger and later on scale the thumbnail up, no matter if in the HTML code or with the mouse in the preview, blogger uses the little thumbnail it created as a base for that. Which means that the up-scaled thumbnail looks terrible.

A solution is to upload the large picture somewhere else (e.g. flickr), and use its web location (or URL) in the blogger-post HTML when specifying the thumbnail. Now you can scale it much better, since it uses this larger image, which obviously has more information in it.

My dear blogger.com team, this is way too much overhead. From what I heard, if you use Wordpress, you can actually upload images to flickr including image description, and have that automatically show up as a post in your blog.

As you can also see, I'm playing with the fonts right now. Please pardon the appearance!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thumbnail Sizes on Blogger

Either I'm not getting it, or Blogger actually sucks for photo blogs. If it really sucks, then I suck too, because I haven't noticed it till now.

So here is the question: Is there a way to have larger image thumbnails using Blogger, or do I really have to switch to Wordpress for that? Are there Blogger templates that allow larger thumbnails?

The last two images were almost square, which means that they take advantage of the maximum thumbnails width as well as the maximum height. I like how they are taking a larger area, and I think it makes sense.

So any thoughts about thumbnail sizes in Blogger? Share your knowledge! Share it here! Share it now!

We Buy Gold

"You didn't say cheese! I had smiled!"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Rat's View of the Chrysler Building?

That's how I imagine rats doing sightseeing. Out of the sewers, a quick glimpse, and back inside where it's safe.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

An essay-like post on a snowy winter night

Don't worry, this text is not going anywhere.

I have excellent night vision, and I'm frowning a lot in daylight. On winter weekends, when I don't work and everybody leaves me alone, I often don't leave the house before sunset. I have to force myself a little bit in order to have a regular day/night rhythm. That's nothing difficult to deal with, but I noticed how quickly I switch into my personal default rhythm as soon as I have the chance. Once I read that it's genetic. That's good to know, but doesn't help about the fact that I'm kicked out of places half of my "day".
Usually I'm first kicked out at work, because the building closes at 10pm, then comes either the library or the gym. Later at night there are opportunities for being kicked out at two Cafes in Princeton. Everything that's open 24/7 excites me and I have never gotten an early-bird special.
Being "kicked out" sounds more harsh than it is. It's usually not more than a friendly "hello we are closing in 10 minutes" kinda thing. My last being-kicked-out experience of the day however is indeed physical. That's when my girlfriend wants me to go to bed and pulls me from the couch. She is tiny compared to me, but over time she figured out this incredible technique that lets me find myself on the carpet after a 180 degree turn. No idea how this works, but once I'm on the floor, I'm pretty much ready to call it a day.

Today I left the house around 10:30 pm, I guess that's okay, it was a Saturday night. As soon as I pulled out of the parking spot, I turned on the radio. Before I came to the east coast, I somehow assumed that New York City would have fantastic Hip Hop stations with cool stuff that you would never get to hear in Germany. Fact is there are two stations. There is "the official number one for Hip Hop and RnB"
and there is "the new number one for Hip Hop and RnB". Another fact is, I can rarely find good music on either of them. What I noticed is, there is a lot of whining going on, which must be the RnB part. Other that that, the radio DJs do a lot of megalomaniac yelling accompanied by much fanfare and razzmatazz. The yelling is however limited to the words "NEW YORK CITY!" and sometimes the names of some apparently sensational people that are "IN THE BUILDING!". Which building they are talking about has however always been a mystery - there are so many in the city. Oh, and the words "LET'S GO!". Go where? To another building? I noticed that they are always leaving the house the same time I do.

Tonight was a bit different though. No one seemed "in the building", instead the radio host yelled several times "TONIGHT IS ONE OF THEM NIGHTS!". This was followed by commercials, "we are paying some bills now" he said. Wow, I guess "one of them nights" is somewhat relative. Maybe I'm just paying my bills too regularly. So what did I do with "one of them nights"? It was "one of them nights" where I took some pictures. Ha! This is a photography blog, what else would you expect? It was quite nice, everything was covered with snow, and the pictures will probably show up here later in "one of them posts".

I told you this is not going anywhere. But maybe I can give a useful advice to someone looking for a unique radio program.
Try WPRB. It's located here in Princeton, but you can tune in over the web via WPRB.com. Oh, and please don't judge on me if you hear something terribly weird on there. Just wait for an hour and you will listen to something totally different, it might be an interesting folk music from a remote region you've never heard of, it might be a Mozart Symphony, or it might simply be the best Hip Hop music you have listened to in years.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Central Philadelphia

Friday, January 9, 2009

A little update on the selling

What I still have available:

- Canon EOS 20D body + lens kit
- Canon EOS 50D body
- Tokina 12-24mm f/4.0 lens
- Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens
- Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'm selling my cameras

My cameras and most of my lenses. I finally decided to go full-frame, namely the Canon 5D Mark II. My favorite lenses are made for APS-C sized sensors, so those need to be exchanged as well. If you are interested, I have a pdf-file ready for download with pictures and prices.

Anyway, here is a short list with everything I'm selling:

- Canon EOS 20D body + lens kit
- Canon EOS 50D body
- Tokina 12-24mm f/4.0 lens
- Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens
- Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens

I'm first owner of all items, some things are barely used.
Comes in original packaging and accessories.

For details: PhotoSale.pdf

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Times Square - in-car view

An Alley in Philly

Sunday, January 4, 2009

JPG Magazine says Goodbye?

On Thursday I received an email from JPG telling that the magazine is shutting down, because the makers of the mag couldn't make it work financially (here is a link). What a shame! IMHO the whole concept as well as the content of this magazine was beyond what all the other photo magazines had to offer. So the notice came on Thursday telling that they were going to shut down everything on Monday. Obviously, there is a lot of commotion in the JPG community now. The latest news are that the big bang came to the attention of some potential investors. Fans are now also discussing how the mag could be saved and started a page called savejpg.com.
What surprises me is...there were never many commercial ads in the magazine, but it was printed on very expensive paper. At the same time they provided each issue as a free download on their website. This was all great, but now that they are shutting down it shows that it was probably a bit too idealistic for the real world. The point I don't understand is, why would you never make any changes to your product during all that time, if it doesn't bring enough money in? And then shut everything down from one day to the other and tell your "community" that it won't exist anymore starting from Monday? LOL

Friday, January 2, 2009

Little Hall

PU Campus
Sometimes perspective distortion is just right.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Recession Special

This one made me laugh. However, I hope it's not gonna go too much downhill in 2009. And in case you don't have your goofy 2009 glasses yet, the "recession special" is $3 instead of $5. The price might actually drop dramatically in just a few hours.
Have a good one!