Dienstag, 28. April 2009

Good combo

Good combo, originally uploaded by topfloor.

I really like a piece of Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. Combined with a fresh Coffee Latte, this was my pleasure on a short break on my way to Berlin. I like the nice style of the McCafe's in Germany, so much nicer than classic McDonalds in my taste. Surfin the Web to check some of my COntacts Flickr-pics on the iPhone via the Darkslide (free) App added some extra fun.


Montag, 27. April 2009

Sometimes it's handy to have a cell at hand

Cake Stop, originally uploaded by topfloor.

This shot was made while queuing up for a Latte and a piece of cake en Route to home (Cake Stop), the (big) camera was in the car and the iPhone was my friend.

As I am a latecomer with this gadget (only have it for a week now), the camera feature is nice. Of course, the other stuff works well, too, but compared to a Blackberry (was a hardcore BB user for 3 years now) the hard facts / features of an iPhone are not outstanding / inferior to the BB in regard to the Outlook Exchange client.

Go out and take pictures, have fun!

Samstag, 25. April 2009

Shallow Depth of field

Just a snapshot - with a 40 mm lens on a 1,5 x crop factor body, at f/1.4. By chance, the flowers were in focus, the rest is nicely blurred. I like photos like this one :-)

Have fun

Shot for Photochallenge.org 2009 Day 048 - B&W: Flower

Montag, 20. April 2009

From highis often rewarding

From high, originally uploaded by topfloor.

I managed to find my way up to an old castle tower of Schloss Münchhausen. The last steps were very small and steep, but the view made up for it.

Have fun!

Donnerstag, 16. April 2009

Bokeh - Alien Skin Plug-In for PS

Beauty, originally uploaded by topfloor.

On the Blog PhotoWalkPro I read an interesting article about this new plus-in. You may want to read it as well, the link is provided at the end of this post.

My comment for Jeff (the author) I wrote on his Blog was . . .
. . . Hey Jeff! Thanks for showing the effects of this very cool plug-in. I am a Bokeh addict, In MHO achieving nice Bokeh is possible with lenses with a max. aperture under 2.0, depending on the length / mms. A 85 mm f/1.8 will give you nice Bokeh, whereas at 21 mm a f/1.4 usually are needed. With a 50 mm lens, f/1.8 should work, f/1.4 is better. Lenses in the 50 mm range and f/1.8 or 1.4 can be bought (sometimes used) at the price point of this plug-in. But this is not the point, i think - with this fine plug-in you have the absolute control what is 'out of focus' or 'in Bokeh' - long after the shot. Even pics shot with a Point and Shoot as the Canon G10 etc. (small sensor -> big DoF) might be 'bokehd' with this plug-in. I hope Alien Skin has a trial period available for this thing and I'll start playing with it if possible. I look forward to your video, thanks for your post!

I checked the Alien Skin site and they have a 30 days full functional trial period. On theier site, you find interesting examples of Point and Shoot pics altered with this plug-in. I think it's worth considering if this tool may work for you.

Link to the Alien Skin product site: http://www.alienskin.com/bokeh/index.aspx

Link to the Blog-article by Jeff with good pics illustrating the tool: http://www.revellphotography.com/blog/?p=2781

Have fun!

Dienstag, 14. April 2009

Mood against the sun - Lost and Found

Lost and Found, originally uploaded by topfloor.

On a nice trip to a castle 2 hours from home, I had the chance to take this snapshot. The light was harsh and I was shooting a wide angle lens against the sun. With a little bit luck I managed to get the light on the hand holding the ball and a rim light around the head of my FirstLady standing to camera right.

Sometimes it's worth a try even in difficult light situations.

Have fun!

Mittwoch, 8. April 2009

Welcome to the castle - 15 mm Super Wide Heliar Lens

Welcome to the castle, originally uploaded by topfloor.

I still am astonished to see that a 15 mm lens with a max. aperture of 4.5 is able to creae a DoF - effect like in this picture - wow. This is not only a 'Point and Shoot' lens but it can be a creative tool as well. A successor to the current model (screw mount without rangefinder connection) is coming in May 2009 for about a 30 % higher price tag, with amin. distance of 50 cm instead of 30 cm and with the ability to accept filters (IR for M8). Ken Rockwell and Stee Huff ( www.stevehuffphotos.com/Steve_Huff_Photos/VOIGTLANDER_15_... ) have posted decent reviews of this Voigtländer bargain lens.

Have fun!

Montag, 6. April 2009

Camera and Coffee

Camera and Coffee, originally uploaded by topfloor.

A combo that is photographes quite often. There is a Flickr Group with that name http://www.flickr.com/groups/cameracoffee/pool/ with several nice exammples.

To watch the most interesting pics of this group, try Flickriver with this link http://www.flickriver.com/groups/cameracoffee/pool/interesting/

Have fun and enjoy your camera and coffee :-)

High tech structured chaos

High tech structured chaos, originally uploaded by topfloor.

In these boxes, medical care items are stored for later shipment. The system is called organised chaos, because the system put new items in the next empty box (chaos) but the computer knows where :-)

Sonntag, 5. April 2009

Light strikes

Light strikes, originally uploaded by topfloor.

Sometimes the Light is just where I need it, as in this starway of a parking garage. Have fun!

Short book review: Paris City of Bikes

Blurb Book Paris City of Bikes, originally uploaded by topfloor.

As I enjoy reading photobooks very much, I order Print on demand books via Blurb.com from time to time, especially when fellow Flickr shooters publish their work via the Blurb site.

Searching for tags such as city names and Streetphotography brought my attention to this book 'Paris City of Bikes' by Nirit Sumeruk (48 pages for 23.95 Euros plus Shipping). The book is all around Streetphotography in Paris with at least part of a bike in the frame.

- - -
Description of this book on the Blurb site: 'A photography book that captures Paris in it's very natural picturesque form, using bicycles as an excuse to do so! Every photograph is a timeless snap-shot of the city - with bikes gracing every single shot carrying the viewer to the next page... This is an unconventional "travel" book to make one fall in love with Paris.'
- - -

The book arrived yesterday, so I glanced through it. The pictures often have some poewer in them, and quite many of the shots on the left and right hand side of a spread work well together.

The downside of a good portion of the pictures in this book is that Sumeruk published pics that have really over- or underexposed parts in them and in a way that is not pleasing the eye. Working with the ND-Filter in Lightrrom (or with a grad ND filter in front of the lens) might have helped. Judging these pics as they are, their compositional quality is okay or good, but the wrongly exposed parts weaken the pics.

Conclusion: While an inspiration as a Streetphotography theme when visiting a city (linking pics via a theme such as bikes) the overall quality of the pictures in my opinion is not good enough to justify the price.

You can find this book at Blurb / bookstore via a search for the title.

Feelings about a Lens (21 mm f/1.4)

Lux21mm14, originally uploaded by topfloor.

A Flickr user JJSmartman asked me to share some words about this lens after seeing this picture I shot Pipes

This lens (pictured here on the blog) was the reason to move into Rangefinder cameras. In Hamburg, I had the chance to rent a digital Rangefinder and this lens for a day and a night. Walking the streets, bridges and tunnels of the city, taking some hundred shots and reviewing them in LR2, I was very pleased with the results.

Besides the known differences between DSLRs and Rangefinders (such as size, formfactor, shutternoise etc.) that I do not want to discuss here, the this lens is really special. While I am not qualified to do a technical review of this lens, I want to share some impressions and feelings I experienced when using it.

I own this lens for about 3 weeks now and used it in some bigger cities (Hamburg, Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Mannheim) in Germany and for a industrial / architectural shoot in a modern medical industry complex in the northern part of my home state Hessen.

Weight / Size: This lens is - for a rangefinder lens - big and heavy (580 gramms and about 770 mm long). Compared to my DSLRs lenses (14-24 mm f/2.8 or the Sigma 50 mm f/1.4) it is pretty small and defintely not heavy, for me a clear plus of the rangefinder system as I enjoy to have high performance lenses at my hand that weigh less and are comparabily small.

Manual focus: This lens has manual focus (as has the whole Leica M - System), no problem for me as long as the subject does not move too fast. Either I choose hyperfocal settings of was often able to hit the focus point well.

Max. Aperture: This lens is a f/1.4 lens, giving me a shallow depth of field when sot open. This, combined with the 21 mm focal length (wide lens, even on the 1.33 crop factor digital body), makes this lens unique. I was drawn to this lens because of the outstanding combo of wide angle (though not superwide) and limited DoF. Looking for interesting foregrounds and combine them with the limited DoF is great fun and to my knowledge can not be achieved with any other 35 mm - camera-/lenscombo in this wideangle area.

Optical quality: The lens is capable to capture sharp contrasty pictures as long as the photographer (me) does not shake the camera and is able to hit the focus point :-) - the abilities of the lens succeed mine. Of course, the lens is not free from vignetting etc., things that can't be avoided when shooting wide and wide open - but only slightly showing in the pics. I was only able to spot optical effects when scanning the 75 - 100 % zoomed picture on my monitor.

Build quality: This lens is made as lenses should be made - fine metal, smooth moving rings and a superb feeling when placed in my hand. Far superior to most modern DSLR lenses that have a lot of plastic inside and outside.

Conclusion: This lens is really fun and I enjoy shooting it immensly. The emotional factor outweighs other issues of this lens for me. Although I do not really need this lens (as my DSLR system is well stocked with beautiful lenses and bodies) for my shooting, i enjoy the Rangefinder Streetphotography thing very much. Besides this lens, I enjoy the 15 mm f/4.5 Voigtländer and the 40 mm f/1.4 Nokton Classic Voigtländer lens. I shoot film and a 1.33 plus a 1.5 crop factor body with these lenses, mainly cities / on the streets and in buildings.

I can recommend ths lens if you enjoy the same style of shooting as I do and do not mind the price tag that comes along with this lens. But I advise shooters that are making up their mind to buy this piece of glass to try this lens for a day or two first and to check the results. If you like them, the lens is probably right for you if you can afford it.

Donnerstag, 2. April 2009

Worauf kommt es beim Objetivkauf /-auswahl an?

Kwerfeldein (Martin Gommel) hat in seinem Blog aufgerufen, dazu in max. 100 Wörten Stellung zu nehmen. Link: http://kwerfeldein.de/index.php/2009/04/02/was-ist-beim-kauf-eines-objektives-eurer-meinung-nach-wichtig/

Zeitgleich kam auf TWIP diese (englische) Liste von Kriterien:


First, you should know the criteria for choosing a lens. Some of the criteria are subjective like: “Is this lens appropriate for your purpose? Is it versatile enough? Do you like the look and feel of the lens?” These are important, but hard to measure criteria.

You should also consider more measurable criteria:

1. Lens sharpness
2. Lens speed (F/2.8 is a faster lens than F/5.6 and faster is usually better)
3. Minimum focus distance
4. Number and type of lens elements
5. Manufacture for film, digital or both (Lenses made specifically for digital cameras will often not work properly on film cameras)
6. Amount of lens flare
7. Amount of chromatic aberration
8. Bokeh (How the out of focus background appears)
9. Light fall off (Corner to corner illumination)
10. Lens weight
11. Lens construction and build standards
12. Lens focus speed
13. Stabilization
14. Ergonomics
15. Price

Diese Liste ist so vollständig, das ich nichts mehr hinzufügen kann.

Ganz subjektiv sind bei mir aus der obigen Liste wichtig . . .

- fürs fotografieren in der Stadt muß die Linse KLEIN und LEICHT sein bei möglichst hoher Lichtstärke (ist eine Quadratur des Kreises, gibts aber)
- für Makro sind mir Schärfe / optische Abbildungsleistung wichtig

Billiges Plastik und wacklige Einstellringe kann ich auf den Tod nicht leiden, da darf es lieber ein paar Euros mehr kosten.

Alles ganz subjektiv, wie immer ;-)

Look up

Zeughaus, originally uploaded by topfloor.

Kassel's Zeughaus with a new Cafeteria für pupils. Wide Angle is fun.