Last night I took The Significant Other downtown Nuremberg to visit a concert by the Zurich based Indie-Folk-Pop Band Steiner & Madlaina. I used the opportunity to try my hand at some concert photography using my Olympus PEN-F with the mZuiko 75mm F/1.8 prime lens. For more info about a truly fantastic show and more images continue after the jump…. (more…)
Yesterday I went into downtown Nuremberg for some street shooting, but the weather was super miserable, it was snowing heavily but due to the above freezing temperatures it melted immediately into a big soggy mess. So I decided to escape the streets and took my Olympus PEN-F with the mZuiko 12-40 F/2.8 Pro Zoom into the “Neues Museum Nürnberg“, our modern architecture art museum within the historic city walls. It currently features a special exhibition “On the Art of Building a Teahouse – Excursions into Japanese Aesthetics”, a topic that fits perfectly to a fascinating book I recently read – “Wabi-sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers” by Leonard Koren. For more photos and some more information about the exhibition continue after the jump….(more…)
The taxi picked me up at 4:30 am in the morning. The first leg to Amsterdam took a good 60 minutes, leaving Nuremberg Airport at 6:00am. Connection time in Schiphol for the intercontinental flight to Portland is a good two hours, most of which is taken by the security controls before boarding a flight to the US. When I’m lucky I have time for a quick coffee in the KLM Lounge and doing a first round of business e-mails and a quick call or two. The westbound flight to PDX takes about 10h 30 mins.
Delta changes its meal selection every three months, so doing this trip twice a month there is no surprise about the food I will get. I don’t even bother to take the menu any more. Another nasty disadvantage of a frequent traveler is the movie selection. Having roughly 40 hours of flight time a month there is also not much left to see on the inseat entertainment system. Typically I load a couple Netflix movies on my iPad and use this, normally watching one movie per flight while eating. After the food I usually take a short nap on the westbound flights which are day flights. Then I usually work the rest of the flight, which is quite nice as there is no telephone that disturbs, but a good WiFi connection so I have email access.
The Amsterdam flight arrives in Portland at 11:30 am local time (which is 8.30 pm German time). I pick up my rental car and do the 30 minutes drive to our office, where I usually arrive around 1pm. By then my day is already going on for 18 hours. Normally I work until 7pm on my arrival date, then head to the hotel, normally skipping dinner. By the time I’m settled in it is 8pm, which translates to 5am in the morning German time. On the next day! This is a 25 hours nonstop travel and work day, minus the 90 minute nap on the plane. I normally have no issues falling asleep, but it happens that due to the jet leg and 9 hour time difference I’m wide awake at 3:30 am in the morning. And another full day ahead. The glory of business travel. So for all of you who aspire a traveling job – be careful what you wish for 😉
I took this image with my Olympus PEN-F and the mZuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 Pro Zoom. Image specs are 1/15 sec @ f/3,2 and ISO 1600. Raw and monochrome conversion in Lightroom CC Classic.
I wish all of you a great and stress free Wednesday!
They grow to serve us for just two weeks. We select them with a lot of attention. We decorate them with a lot of love. They brighten up our lives for two weeks. Families gather around them on Christmas. And then we throw them away. Isn’t it a bit crazy?
While walking to a doctors appointment I saw a bunch of disposed Christmas trees laying at the side of the road, waiting for the city to collect them. I had the PEN-F with the Lensbaby with me, and took this shot with 1/100 sec, f/3.5 and ISO 320, focal length of the lens is 28mm.
The photo is out of camera, no postprocessing. Sure, you can create this effects artificially with Photoshop, but isn’t it more fun to get it right when pressing the shutter? Walking around with a Lensbaby forces you to see differently.
In a recent post I mentioned the 400 hours I’ve spent in airplanes on business trips last year. And that I’m happy for some Holiday downtime. And what did I do? Climbed into the cockpit of an Airbus A320 and took to the air again. Only that I was not really flying. Sounds crazy? Not really. My kids have treated me to 90 minutes in the cockpit of an airliner simulator. Not one of the real full motion simulators that airlines use for pilot training, but in a detailed cockpit replica with all systems fully simulated. And the near 180 degrees view of the scenery on the screen outside the big cockpit windows was enough to give you the full sensation of flying.
I think I’ve written in a previous post that I’ve got a private pilots license many years ago and that I’m a real airplane nut. Not only have I logged many hours in Cessnas, but a few years back I also flew an Airbus A340 full motion simulator in a Lufthansa Flight Training Facility. And I landed the big iron just as fine. The basics of flying are the same. regardless if piston engine planes or big passenger jets.
So after a short briefing by the flight instructor I did a first takeoff in Frankfurt, flew a pattern and landed successfully on the same runway. Then we did a full flight from Frankfurt to Nuremberg. It was so much fun. All the more, as the kids and the significant other (who took all the photos) where sitting in aircraft chairs behind the cockpit. We landed in snow drizzles about 40 minutes later and docked at the gate.
After a successful landing
I do fly the Airbus in a simulator on my PC, so operating the systems was quite familiar, but doing it in a real functional cockpit replica was so much fun. A got a certificate for my successful landings. So should ever the need arise in a real flight, that the crew would search for an emergency pilot, I’m definitely ready for it!
All photos taken with the Olympus PEN-F with the mZuiko 12mm F/2. Image specs for all are 1/60 sec at f/2 and ISO1600.
As I wrote in a previous post, there are two ways to approach Street Photography. You can actively “hunt” for an interesting image to happen, for example following an appealing subject until it enters the right background scene. Or you come across a background that catches your eyes first. Then it is a matter of you waiting for the right subject to enter the scene to get the photo you are after. I call this the “gathering” approach.
This was the case when I saw this colorful mural in Portland. I loved its shape and dynamic, and its colors that really came to life during the blue hour of this late Saturday afternoon. I really wanted to capture it in a street photo, but taking a photo of a mural by itself is a bit lifeless without a foreground that adds interest.
I was with my PEN-F and the 12mm F/2 prime lens, which limited myself to this composition, as I had to stand between to parked cars half on the street to have mural and sidewalk filling my viewfinder. A frontal position would not have been possible as due to the lens being very wide angled, I couldn’t stand behind the car parked in front as the roof would have blocked the lower part of the mural.
Then it was a matter of waiting in the freezing cold wind for passing people, and there weren’t to many around. The first that passed came in groups, blocking the mural, then people passed on my side of the sidewalk, with only their top half visible in the frame, also blocking the mural. I needed someone to pass close to the wall, so I could capture the whole person in front of the big face behind him.
With this guy I finally got lucky (after about 15 minutes and a few unsuccessful shots), as he passed close to the wall, and I managed to capture him in full stride, always something I look for when pressing the shutter. Perseverance paid off once more.
Finally got to do some photography in the streets of Portland, heading to the Pearl District on my free Saturday in the Rose City, on a splendid but freezing cold afternoon.
I started shooting people through restaurant windows, where I got some cool reactions from the guest like from this genuinely surprised guy. As always, making eye contact and throwing some genuine smiles did the trick.
But I also experienced my little Portland Christmas miracle, when I approached an interesting looking guy and asked him if I could make is portrait, which he readily accepted. So I snapped off a couple shots why doing some small talk with him. We chatted about why I’m in Portland, and I asked him what he was just up to. Telling me he was just coming off work in one of Portlands large theaters (the Armory – where we happened to stand just in front), he suddenly asked if I would like to see one the shows that were on last night. When I said yes he just took me inside to the box office and presented me with a complementary ticket.
I was totally taken aback by is genuine friendliness and generosity. Just because I asked him for his portrait and was interested in what he does. So I got to see a Truman Capote Christmas play with integrated musical performances by two stunning singers, a show I enjoyed tremendously.
This is why I love Street Photography – you meet so many great and interesting people.
The photo was taken with my Olympus PEN-F and the mZuiko 25mm F/1.8 prime lens. Image specs 1/125 sec @ F/2.5 and ISO 200.
Putting a camera in someone’s face takes some getting used to. It is obviously something where you need the consent of the person you are photographing. This image I took with my Olympus PEN-F and the mZuiko 25mm F/1.8, the “nifty fifty” of micro four thirds (due to the m43 crop factor of 2). Which by the way is also an awesome portrait lens, if you are close, like a good arms length away. Image specs are 1/160 sec @ f/3.2 and ISO 200.
This is for sure not the prettiest of street portraits but it shows a couple of things that are important for this kind of photography. This guy caught my eye, I walked up to him and asked if I could make his portrait. Turns out he is visiting from Montreal, Canada, and he was just looking for a place to eat some typical German food. A win-win for sure. I got to shoot his portraits, he got directions to a place where he could find some good beer and a “Schweinshaxe” (he asked me to type everything in his iPhone).
While we chatted I snapped away. I liked the shot of him best. I had asked him what he liked best about visiting Europe, he closed his eyes and thought hard. Asking people about something (e.g. what they like best about something….where they got their interesting outfit, glasses…what they are doing here, what is their profession…) puts their mind away from being photographed, puts them at ease and tends to draw some interesting poses, face expressions and gestures.
And this what is missing here. I wish he had made a hand gesture, putting his fingers to his face, adding interest to the shot. I didn’t want to ask him to do that, maybe I should have. But then again, I’m just starting this kind of street photography, and I will learn. And you can learn along here on the “Streets of Nuremberg”.
Street Photography Quick Tip 13 – Shoot in a Coffee Shop
My Street Photography Quick Tips are short, easy to read and easy to use tips that I think could help you while shooting in the streets. Today’s post is for those of you who dread hitting the streets in this awful wet and dull November weather. Take your camera into a coffee shop near your, sit down, enjoy a strong Espresso, observe the other guests and take some candid portraits of scenes that will catch your eye. People in coffee shops tend to be really relaxed, engaged in talks with others, reading papers or books, staring obsessed into their mobile devices or simply use the free wi-fi to blog or do their studies. And believe me, they will not notice you.
The photography above I took last weekend (during my Street Photography workshop with Eric Kim) at the Bonanza Café (Oderberger Str 35) in Berlin with my Olympus PEN-F and the mZuiko 25mm F/1.8 prime lens, image specs are 1/60 sec @ f/1.8 and ISO 640. Raw processing and monochrome conversion in Lightroom Classic CC.
For a few more coffee shop shots continue after the jump… (more…)
This past weekend I have spent in Berlin together with Street Photo Legend Eric Kim, his wife Cindy, his sister Annette and a great crew of 12 other like minded Street Photographers who joined Eric’s “Conquer Your Fears In Street Photography” workshop in our Nation’s capital. It was a truly unforgettable experience. Mainly for meeting a bunch of fantastic and fun people. Thanks so much, Eric, Cindy, Annette and all of my co-students!! And it did the trick. Normally being rather “unobtrusive” in my street photography, I was blown away by how much fun it actually is to simply walk up to interesting looking people, asking them if I can “make” their portrait and share a few life stories with them. So the workshop really delivered on its promise, thanks to Eric.
Already back in the treadmill of the job that pays the bills, I just wanted to quickly share the success message and a couple of my street portraits taken during the workshop, all with my Olympus PEN-F and the mZuiko 25mm/F1.8 prime lens.