12 February 2018

Birds on my balcony

Over the years I have befriended some birds that are territorial in my neighborhood; they live there and don't migrate.
Magpies are often seen roaming around gardens and are rather used to people in the suburban sprawl.
From my initial timid toss of some cheese towards them, the magpies soon regarded me as a "friendly" person (they can recognize dozens of people and they form an opinion if you are deemed as "safe").
It did not take long for them to fly in onto my balcony when they saw me around and started to expect a hand out every so often.
I was more than happy to have the feathered guest: after all they sing much nicer than the crows.

Brutus confident

And then all of the sudden they disappeared: did not see them for a month.
Eventually returned and were more hungry than ever but rarely consumed their food on the balcony: they would fill up their beak and fly away to return a short time later.
Something was going on: they must have young ones that they are feeding?

I was right: one day I saw a brown looking, fluffy feathered nagging (for food) bird in the nearby tree with parents now shuttling food from my hand to him.

Fritz18 first visit
M.Zuiko 75mm f1.8 1/160sec

A week or so and the young one was able to fly well enough to be brought closer and soon he was right beside the parents, eventually accepting food from my hand.
A few timid bights (some to my fingers when he missed) he now can feed himself rather well.

At the same time the Butcher Birds also started to observe that good food was handed out at my place; they soon joined in and after some initial protests from the magpies are now on friendly terms: there is enough food for all.

Gill and Brutus' dinnertime
adapted E.Zuiko 4,5cm f2.8 (for Olympus ACE) 1/160sec

Much more agile than the magpie these birds will catch food mid-air but I prefer the interaction of them reaching for my hand

Fluffy feed
adapted Jupiter-9 85mm f2 1/800sec

And yes, the butcher birds also has their young which is much more cheeky than the magpie chick.

Samyang 12mm t2.2   1/160sec

Breakfast with Fluffy_3
Samyang 12mm t2.2   1/1250sec


19 December 2017

Genuine feeling

While often I am drawn to the conventional "pretty features" of people, beauty can also mean something different to me: often not just their physical appearances but their sincerity and genuine disposition
I found that in a very small village on the Coral Coast in Fiji; somehow the look on their faces seems to radiate the altruism that they carry within.

Leone's passion
refitted F.Zuiko 32mm f1.7  (from Pen EED)  1/25sec

They share their passion for helping others, would that be trough singing and praying, on a mission that doesn't discriminate religion; all are welcome.
I was invited to their humble premises where I was welcomed to sit on the floor to listen to their beautiful voices accompanied by a guitar.

Leone and Johnny

I didn't notice any shyness and no reservation in me taking a few photographs there. Nobody asked me: "What are going to do with those photographs?"
A very refreshing interaction, so different than the self-image obsession of the Western world.

Mary at the mission
refitted F.Zuiko 32mm f1.7  (from Pen EED)  1/2500sec


03 November 2017

Inverted autumn

The Northern hemisphere is enjoying that wonderful time of the year where leaves turn pale, yellow and eventually fire red. In some locales the spectacle is indeed a feast for the eyes and I envy the photographers that have the opportunity to witnesses such beauty.

autumn on blueberries bush
early autumn colors in Sweden, adapted Canon TV-16 50mm f1.4   1/640sec

While in here in Australia the opposite is happening right now: spring is in full bloom. Trees are covered with flowers and some have new growths that mimic the autumn foliage.

new sprouting leaves
adapted Kodak 102mm f2.7   1/1000sec

colors of spring
adapted Kodak 102mm f2.7   1/500sec

Trees bloom and loose the petals at a fast rate covering the forest floor with flowers instead of leaves

yellow carpet creek
refitted F.Zuiko 32mm f1.7  1/320sec

leafy cascade
adapted Kodak Cine 63mm f2.7  1/25sec


09 October 2017

The art of being lost

In a world where roads, sign and people are everywhere I can't get lost.
For most of the year I live in a structured society and my little niche is well defined, I am just a small cog in a massive machine and there is very little wiggle room.
I never have to really think how to find a place even if I have never been there before. My car or my phone can talk to me and tell me where I am or how to get where I want.... there is never any guessing.

The art of being lost
F.Zuiko 32mm f1.7  1/5000sec

Once I year I have the luxury to be off grid where I can exercise the opportunity of being lost.
I paddle out in my kayak away from houses and roads and I just wonder around, not really too concerned with where I will end up in the evening. After all, I have right with me what is needed for a least a few days, food and shelter are guaranteed.

Lingon highway
Canon TV-16 50mm f1.4  1/320sec

I generally take the direction that looks prettiest to me and I wiggle my way through the islands trying to not go around in circles, but if I do that's fine too. I have given up on "destination anxiety" and I no longer set myself with a goal of so many miles per day. I rather spend some time on a particularly interesting island and explore its shore to spend some time photographing.

almost full
Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f3.5-5.6  1/100sec

I have no desire to find out and then go to "good campsites", the "must see spots" and I never plot a course beforehand and follow it. I much prefer to travel spontaneously to suit my mood and interest as the day goes by.
I don't carry a GPS as I don't want a machine to tell me how I am doing, how fast I am going and how far I have to go. What is the point of getting away from it all to then create yet another unnecessary constraint?
I have a basic map with me that helps me find a place that might have supplies for the next few days and I consult it when time comes.
And in between those necessary stops I feel free to think and I am present in the moment, absorb my surrounding and allow myself to be off-line, not answering to any calls or not slave to this screen.

shore exploring
Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f3.5-5.6  1/500sec


18 September 2017

me, hipster?

It was his expression while looking intently at me that made me think: is he the original hipster that started the trend?

me, hipster?
adapted Kodak Cine 102mm f2.7


04 September 2017

Winestraße, Steirmark

A wonderful landscape that has been labelled the "Toscana of Austria"
While the images were recorder in full color spectrum I felt that color was not giving justice to these scenes: there was some haze in the air and the light was a bit harsh in some.
Converting them to monochrome helped conveying the unique features that these hills offer

rolling hills
M.Zuiko 75mm f1.8  1/160sec

On the Southern border the Winestraße in places runs right on both sides: vehicles straddle Austria and Slovenia. Before the political relaxation of this region there would be no such liberal thing but now there is no longer anybody to make you sternly aware that you a crossing into "enemy" territory :-)

Svečina, Slovenja
Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f3.5-5.6   1/500sec

On the ridge
adapted CanonTV-16 50mm f1.4  1/800sec

hidden in the forest
adapted CanonTV-16 50mm f1.4  1/320sec

18 July 2017

When grass is enough

Grass is enough for me to make me dream of wide open spaces, while still living in a city.
There is this open field left untouched by urban sprawl where the sun can though the horizon.

ghostly branches
refitted projector lens RO501-1 100mm f2  1/6400sec

As the sunset comes I like to squat or even lay on the ground and observe the light filtered by the thin texture. As the breeze moves the sunlit field, one can imagine gentle waves on a golden sea.

golden grass
refitted projector lens RO501-1 100mm f2   1/1250sec

There is something about the wonderful structure of the stalk supporting the grains of seed in the crown.

pure gold
adapted Kodak Cine 50mm f1.6  1/4000sec

grass on dusk
refitted projector lens RO501-1 100mm f2   1/1250sec


10 July 2017

The little park

There is a park along a creek on my way to work, that I pass every morning.
The drive is short and sometimes I opt to walk that 1/2 hour to get a bit of fresh air.
In winter solstice the sun has been rising later allowing some low light to filter through the trees creating an interesting scene for me.
A few times I wished I was earlier and that I had a camera with me (a phone is not one, for my style)
So, instead of being the usual lazy and sleeping in, I got out of the house earlier last Saturday, with my camera.

Good morning
refitted F.Zuiko 32mm f1.7 (from Pen EED)  1/1250sec

There was a faint remnant of fog left in the low laying area and the sun illuminated it burning it off. A few joggers were about otherwise the place was still very quiet.
The dew was glistening on the grass blades asking me to have a closer look.

Dew lingering 
adapted Kodak Cine 50mm f1.6  1/5000sec

Rainbow in a bubble
adapted Kodak Cine 50mm f1.6    1/1250sec


04 July 2017

The fire and the ghosts

When I see an image that doesn't just clinically depict a subject or a location my mind is left free to imagine what it could be.
Blurs and bubbles of light play with my creativity and I imagine things beyond of what I can see.

fire beyond ghosts
refitted projector lens 35KP-1,8/120    1/100sec

So, what good is that?
Well, it's no different than a book that vaguely sets a scene allowing the reader to create his/her own vision of the story. Some say that they prefer the book to the movie :-)
Images that don't state the obvious feed my dreams.


15 June 2017

Because storytelling is what engages us

Because storytelling is what engages us, not facts and figures*

That phrase resonates so well with me where in images I look for a story, not just a record of an event or place.
And that's why I am attracted to images that isolate the subject, take it away from the visual noise of the background and present it with a message, abstract if needed be.

life's twisted path
refitted Russian projector lens 35KP-1,8/120 

It's where my mind then has room to explore the scene and create my own scenario or recall a similar situation or place close to my heart. And fundamentally that is why some images might evoke a reaction from some viewers and not from others; it's one's image bank that is tapped into to recall, subconsciously if you want, an emotion from the past.

That is why images with a story are so much more powerful

Hold my hand_bw_c
refitted Russian projector lens KP-16 50mm f1.2

* from this video at 2:44


09 June 2017

More Russian love

I had no idea that the cumbersome Russian would deliver so much love.
At first I had my doubts I would be able to handle such a big thing and appeared rather difficult to get along with.
Then I worked out where she shines best and how to focus on her strengths; if I am careful and don't push her too hard she does reward me.

gold in the mangroves
refitted Russian projector lens 35KP-1,8/120  1/3200sec

The images I can create with that big lens, that never was intended to make but rather show (it's a projection lens after all), are unique.
The blend of relative sharpness and the quirky bokeh for the background really help to isolate subjects where I want to tell a story, instead of just mere recording a place or event.

fishscales on the water
refitted Russian projector lens 35KP-1,8/120   1/10000sec

stay with me
refitted Russian projector lens 35KP-1,8/120  1/1250sec


31 May 2017

Tiny rainforest mushrooms

The mushrooms I find in my area's rainforests are usually small, very small.
They often grown on rotten downed branches where there is plenty of moisture.

protect me
adapted Fujinon 55mm f2.2   1/13sec

Some are really delicate with an almost see-through consistency, some are very colorful but I don't believe any are edible.

magic mushrooms
adapted Fujinon 55mm f2.2  1/6sec

Trying to capture the magic in the depth of the rainforest requires a steady hand and careful focusing: I also wanted to emphasize the beauty by consciously framing them with lenses that produce an unusual look.

spiral on bubbles
refitted Helios-89 30mm f1.9 (from 1/2 frame FED Mikron)  1/50sec

sunset party
adapted Fujinon 55mm f2.2  1/60sec


18 May 2017

Texture and patterns in the bokeh

I am drawn to the abstract pattern that a lens can create when the the whole subject can not be in focus resulting in some areas of the image blurred.
Much can be said about bokeh and it's rather impossible to be fully quantified or describe it but most purist cherish the "smooth" out-of-focus backgrounds.
I, on the contrary, prefer to find lenses that offer "texture" in the blurred areas of my images.

enchanted forest sunrise
refitted projector lens 35-KP 1,8/120   1/640sec

I do understand that such traits in these lenses are not so well suited for subjects where the attention should remain in the in-focus areas but a lot of my photographs are often of close-up and semi-abstract subjects where a "busy" bokeh might be the crucial component of an image

grass softness
adapted Pentacon 50mm f1.8  1/1600sec

Initially my visual adventures were concentrated on "bubbles" in the bokeh; now I am pursuing the textured, busy and "weird" bokeh.
Some lenses are specifically sought after for those incredible traits and unfortunately my favorite looks are out of my price range (like the Dallmeyer Super-Six 102mm f1.9 lens)

Slowly I am starting to understand which subjects, what patterns and what light will be a suitable theme for my experiments. Repetition of small objects and lines, combined with the correct subject/background ration and lens will reveal surreal images.
And it's a look that the mighty iPhone has not conquered yet :-)

Floral tentacles
adapted Kodak Cine 63mm f2.7  1/50sec

refitted Helios-89 30mm f1.9 (from FED Mikron)  1/4000sec

watercolored ants
refitted Russian projector lens 35KP-1,8/120  1/800sec


21 April 2017

Images from a Russian projector lens

I have a case full of modern lenses that can deliver ultra sharp images, all with the comfort of auto-focus, yet I am drawn to use old manual lenses that somehow give me a feel in my images.
In my book sharpness is overrated and the bokeh is king, but that must be textured and dynamic, not just soft out-of-focus blandness.
In my search for unusual glass, that often was never intended as photograph-taking lens, I came across an old Russian projector lens that is rather long and bright allowing for particularly interesting shallow depth of field.

late Sunday afternoon
refitted 35KP-1,8/120 (120mm f1.8)  1/1600sec

The lens is heavy and very cumbersome to use: it took some effort to refit it and make it usable on my small cameras. The images I take with it are often a bit soft, low contrast and they exhibit flare easily if pointed towards are strong light source, yet I love the results.

golden filigree
refitted 35KP-1,8/120 (120mm f1.8)  1/8000sec

Images that come straight of the camera could be considered a fail by some but with a bit of contrast and sharpness enhancement often they give a feel to my image that modern lenses can not.

painting with grass
refitted 35KP-1,8/120 (120mm f1.8)  1/1000sec

The eye has not got the opportunity to scrutinize the details but rather takes in the whole scene as one and draws on my recollection of places I have vised before for an unconscious trip down memory lane.

sunshine in the forest
refitted 35KP-1,8/120 (120mm f1.8)  1/1000sec


06 April 2017

Autumn leaves

Finally the summer heat has given up and opened the doors to more temperate days, the harsh light replaced by more subtle and lower angle with softer warmer hues for a longer "golden hour".
And while there are no frosts around to change the color of the leaves, like typically in the Northern hemisphere, autumn foliage takes its own twist here in Queensland.

Dusting on scarlet
adapted Kodak Cine 63mm f2.7  1/400sec

Recent heavy rains have reversed the typical role of spring new shoots making it happen now, in autumn. Some bushes have come alive with new pink and purple leaves

after the rains
Kodak Cine 63mm f2.7    1/320 sec

soft new leaves
Pentacon 50mm f1.8    1/1250sec

On the other hand other trees are starting to change color and shed some of their leaves. It's a mixed combination of spring and autumn at the same time.

Signs of Autumn_3
Kodak Cine 63mm f2.7   1/10sec

Bubble spill
Kodak Cine 102mm f2.7  1/200sec

Spiky graveyard
Kodak Cine 102mm f2.7   1/80sec