Italy

Shopkeepers Dreams

1/250 sec - f/4.5 - ISO 3200 - 100 mm

1/250 sec – f/4.5 – ISO 3200 – 100 mm

What are they thinking about? This series  of shopkeepers, all waiting for customers, all lost in thoughts, I took while strolling through Genoa’s medieval old town. An awesome place for Street Photography.

1/320 sec - f/4.5 - ISO 3200 - 100 mm

1/320 sec – f/4.5 – ISO 3200 – 100 mm

 

1/250 sec - f/4.5 - ISO 3200 - 100 mm

1/250 sec – f/4.5 – ISO 3200 – 100 mm

 

1/200 sec - f/4 - ISO 3200 - 100 mm

1/200 sec – f/4 – ISO 3200 – 100 mm

Grab your camera, head to the streets and take a themed series of photographs. It helps to train the eye! Try it!

Wish you a great Friday!

Marcus

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Keep calm and drink coffee

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Stay Interested !

Storefront Lambada

Smoke but no fire

Keep Calm | Genoa | 2018 | 1/50 sec - f/4 - ISO 1600 - 100mm

Studies| Genoa | 2018 | 1/50 sec – f/4 – ISO 1600 – 100mm

After yesterday’s coffee photo (a vice I admit adhering to) here is one with a bit of smoke.  Like coffee drinkers, also smokers claim they can relax over a cigarette, although I personally can’t find why that is, with all that smell. But I do admit, a passerby puffing steam can make for an interesting street image. And this lady sure looks relaxed, as she is studying real estate offers in a shop window in Genoa’s old town.

I thought of converting the photo to monochrome, but eventually decided against, as the blue-yellow-blue sequencing of colors makes for an eye-catching color combo (as blue and yellow combined always does). Also, her blowing smoke (and looking) towards the upper left corner and her body shape angling towards the lower left adds a triangular component to the composition. And there is a story, as you would wonder what she might be looking at (in case I hadn’t told you before).

Taken with my Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the mZuiko 12-100mm F/4 – image specs 1/50 sec @ f/4 and ISO 1600,  100mm focal length.

Have a great Wednesday!

Marcus

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Keep calm and drink coffee

Coffee Break | Genoa | 2018 | 1/60 sec - f/4 - ISO 1600 - 100mm

Coffee Break | Genoa | 2018 | 1/60 sec – f/4 – ISO 1600 – 100mm

I’m a coffee addict. I could drink coffee the whole day. I can drink a coffee before going to bed and still sleep like a baby. When I’m all stressed out (from the job that pays the bills), I drink a coffee, take a deep breath and carry on. Coffee also gets my creative juices flowing. That said, I’ve spent the last (slightly extended) weekend in Italy. And there is no other country (I’m aware of) that provides for great tasting espresso.

The above photo I took in Genoas old town from outside a coffee bar with my Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the mZuiko 12-100mm F/4 – image specs 1/60 sec @ f/4 and ISO 1600,  100mm focal length.

There are a couple of things I like about the photo, the overall story, the nice bokeh of the 12-100, the juxtaposition of the big, slightly tilted head of the coffee drinker in the foreground and the small slightly tilted head of the barista in the blurred background. What I don’t like is the clutter in front of the head of the main subject. Although blurred, it still distracts. But in that situation there was no chance for a composition with a clean background. Street photography is full of trade offs.

Wish you a great Tuesday!

Marcus

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The sun is coming out again

Summer Smile

Summer Smile | 2016

After a few intense days researching the impact of the new European GDPR law going into effect next week (May 25th) my initial slight panic attacks have subsided. I think I think I know what requirements I need to fulfill in order to make my personal, non-commercial blog compliant, at least to a degree where I feel comfortable. There is still a lot of uncertainty out there, but I think it will be a process where we all (bloggers, lawyers, service providers) will need to learn how to adjust to adhere to the principle of data privacy, which, and I hope we all agree to this, is doubtless necessary, considering the recent data scandals of Cambridge Analytica and the likes.

After my initial rant about WordPress / Automattica I must concede that WordPress has come out with tools that we can use to mitigate a few of the GDPR induced challenges. As of me writing this post, these tools have seemingly come out only in the English version of WP, but should be available across all WP platforms shortly. You can read the WP announcement about this privacy and maintenance release here. Also, Automattica is now providing a Data Processing Agreement that will be signed by both sides (unfortunately only available for paid plans (so far)). So things are progressing, there, but should be monitored closely.

So what were my initial activities? I did some upgrades to the pages “About Me” and “About this blog“. As this is a personal blog I am not required to have a detailed, official contact page (Impressum), but I want to make sure people can understand who his behind this blog and  how to reach me. And I want to make clear that this is a personal blog with which I do not pursue any commercial interests. I also want to explicitly state that this blog about capturing life in the streets as it happens is an art form, as also recently stated by the German Constitutional Court. This should give some freedom about posting photography with people in it. As before, I have a clear statement that if anyone thinks a photography of himself or others is inappropriate, this person can contact me and I will take down the photo without discussion (has never happened in two and a half years of blogging – fingers crossed).

The other change is the publication of a Data Privacy Statement, which I understood every blog should have, regardless if commercial or personal. Again, there are mixed opinions out there, and I’m no lawyer to judge objectively. As personally I don’t have a problem with that I created a statement. There are German IT lawyers who offer for private bloggers for free the generation of a tailored DP statement based on a questionnaire they have on their website. You just copy it on a word press page including the reference to the generator website. I added some information I regarding the purpose of my blog and my service provider Automattica, including a link to their GDPR privacy page. Unfortunately for my English speaking blogger friends, this DP generation service is only available in German language. Research the web if in your country similar services are available. I will do a translation of it in the next days, as even a German blog in English language needs also to have an English DP page. The German version of my Datenschutzerklärung you can find here. It is also accessible form every page of my blog via the side menu on a PC and bottom menu on the WP mobile version.

DISCLAIMER: This is a best try at putting together a compliant DP statement, I am not a lawyer and the page has not been created by a lawyer. If you want to have a legally checked DP statement, you will need to spend money and go see a lawyer, that can create  a legally foolproof page tailored to your exact situation.

The next thing I will do later today is signing the Automattica Data Processing Agreement and send it to them for counter signature.

For now I will not turn off any features of this blog, and will wait and see how things will eventually fall into place and what needs to be done.

With my implemented measures (that were not all that complex) I feel comfortable taking the “Streets of Nuremberg” into the GDPR age. I will stay on top of this DP issue and improve this blog as I gain more knowledge. I will continue to write about it here and share my experiences.

But the good thing is I continue with my blog which I am passionate about.

The sun is out again!

Have a splendid weekend!

Marcus

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Favorite Place

Lanterna di Genova

Lanterna | Genova | 2004

The Weekly Photo Challenge calls to depict a “Favorite Place“,  an image of a happy place  or a faraway location you return to again and again.

The city that has a special place in my heart, a city I return to again and again, is Genoa. “La Superba”, as the city on the Ligurian Riviera is also called, was our home from 2001 to 2005, and where we have many very good friends.

Typically the first place we head to, when visiting, is the “Porto Antico”, the old port, that dates back to Roman times. Towering above the harbor basin is “La Lanterna”, the historic lighthouse, and the principal landmark of Genoa.

For centuries the tallest lighthouse in the world, it is, at 249 feet (76 m), still the fifth tallest lighthouse.  Considered as a whole with the natural rock on which it stands, its height is even 383 feet (117 m), making it the second tallest lighthouse in the world. Originally constructed in 1161, it was rebuilt in 1543 in its current structure, making it the world’s third oldest existing lighthouse. One of its keepers was Antonio Colombo, uncle of explorer Christopher Columbus, who was born in Genoa in 1451.

Sitting in on of the bars at the Porto Antico, looking at the Lanterna, sipping a cocktail and enjoying a warm sunset, there are not many places on this planet that mean more to me than this one.

Have a great Thursday!

Marcus

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence

Pensieve

Pensieve | Cremona | 2016

When I read the title of this week’s Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge – “Silence” – it was this street photo that was immediately in front of my eyes. I know I have posted it before, but this photo is all about silence, as silent as street photography can be.

The sounds of a bustling Italian market were barely audible inside the cathedral of Cremona, where only a handful of visitors were present in this huge church that was  totally silent.

And then there is the silence in and around this old man that was totally lost in thoughts.

Just to answer the questions that came with my earlier post of this, I shot this photograph at the long end of my small mZuiko 14-150mm F/4-5.6 telezoom (300mm full frame equivalent) and my Olympus was set to silent mode. I was standing behind a column shooting around it, so I was sure not to disturb in any way through my photography.

I wish everyone a great Thursday!

Marcus

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Shopkeeper's Dance

Shopkeeper’s Dance | Meran | 2017

Just a quick snapshot from today’s stroll through the streets of Meran in Italy. For me, this photograph represents perfectly why I love Street Photography. It is all about capturing life as it happens. It is about walking around with open eyes, observing people going about their daily routines, anticipating what interesting scenes might just emerge in front of your lens. Capturing that candid shot that makes you laugh or makes you think…

Taken with the Olympus PEN-F with the mZuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 Pro Zoom. Image specs are 1/80 sec @ F/2.8 and ISO 640, 40mm focal length.

Next weekend will be all Street Photography, as I’m heading to Berlin for a workshop with Street Photo legend Eric Kim, and I’m really exited about it.

Have a great weekend!

Marcus

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Why you should never be without your camera

Allerheiligen Schenna 03

Remembrance | Schenna | 2017

What is the cardinal sin of a photographer? Not having his camera on him/her at all times.

Using the double public holiday week for a short getaway my significant other and me took to the roads and headed down south to the Italian Alps to spend a few days in Schenna near Meran, in Alto Adige province.

Dinner at our hotel was as excellent, the 5 course menu taking us to the limits. This obviously caused the inevitable, with the significant other asking for an after dinner walk. So we headed down into the historic village below the magnificent castle, to the impressive church sitting on top of a small hill surrounded by a grave yard.

Today, November 1st, is All Saints Day, a religious fest where the faithful remember their death (see yesterdays Halloween post). Custom is to light candles on the graves. So when we entered the grave yard, we were greeted by a sea of mostly red candles, casting a magnificent atmosphere across the deserted cemetery.

And what did I not bring along? You guessed it right. Consoling myself that I could return tomorrow and hoping the big candles would still be alight tomorrow, I pulled out my iPhone 6 and did the best I could to capture the magic of the moment.  For a couple more photos from that beautiful scenery, continue after the jump… (more…)

Happy Halloween

Kill the Monster

Little Monsters | Cremona | 2016

“All Hallow’s Eve” is the eve before the religious feast All Saints (aka All Hallow’s Day), remembering the dead, saints and martyrs of christianity. Many of the traditions of Halloween are believed to originate in ancient Celtic harvest festivals and pagan traditions. It was mainly Irish immigrants to the USA who brought along the many more secular traditions like  trick-or-treating,  Halloween costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns and lighting bonfires.

While in Europe All Saints was mainly celebrated in the religious sense (remembering the dead, lighting candles at their graves), in the last ten years the more “American” way of celebrating Halloween became more popular into what is now a big commercial business for retail.

That said, I still have some candy at home in case there are some trick-or-treating kids at the door (which happens less and less as our own kids and their friends are grown beyond collecting candies) and watch a good classic horror movie in the darkened living room.

I wish all of you a very creepy Halloween (stay safe noneless)

Marcus

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The End is Near

Thunder

Thunder | Camogli | 2013

No, don’t get me wrong, I’m not referring to the end of the world, just to the end of a summer day at the beach of Camogli on the Italian Riviera.

As a series of thunderstorms passed overhead Nuremberg today, I thought I post this one from the archives.

Camogli is an Italian beach paradise in Liguria, just a few miles east of Genoa, and just over the hill from Portofino, which was subject to yesterday’s post.

The photo was shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 with the mZuiko 14-150mm F/4.0-5.6 travel zoom. The RAW was shot at 1/320 sec f/9 and ISO200 at the wide end of the focal range. I converted the RAW (that actually looked quite dull) to B&W in Lightroom. I opened up the shadows, increased clarity, played with graduation curves and increased the reds and oranges in the image, bringing out the detail in the buildings. To finish of I sharpened the image, introduced a bit of grain and added a vignette.

If you are looking for tips and inspirations around photography, visit the Leaning Center of this blog, by clicking on the link. It is also accessible from the top menu.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Marcus

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