Fourteen licks -or: Organ demonstration at the Bonner Münster

Yesterday Julian and me were visiting the 1961 Klais Organ at the Münster in Bonn. It was Markus Karas, a well known german  choirmaster, conductor, composer and organ player (he is the cantor of the Bonner Münster since 1992) who made the guidance.
Julian is a member of Rheinischer Kinder-and Jugendchor Bonn and he loves to meet "his" Markus Karas every thursday. I don´t know how many times he asked me: "If the piano is the king of instruments, how can it be that the organ is so much bigger???" And I don´t know how many times I answered: "Well the organ is the emperor, which is more than king!" Normaly he responds: "And which instrument is pope?" I used to answer: "The trautonium!"

I took some 40 Pictures with the Olympus E-PL 1 and enjoyed the pics so much! I used no flash, no tripod... but: the little Camera and the set-lens 14 -42 mm did a great job! Some post production with the free software Olympus Viewer 2 has making the files shine (as Ming Thein would say). Who says, that he micro four thirds cameras have problems with 1600 ASA? Don´t talk BS I say!
The price of that little wonder is now USD 149,-- at amazon.com (body only). Nothing more or less than a sensation.

As the Open Goldberg Variations all pictures that I show today are governed by the Creative Commons Zero license, which means that they are a part of the public domain. So perhaps the Bonner Münster, Markus Karas, or the Organ Builders could use them (or even the original very large files) as an example for doing some public relations in their own affaires if they want.

So, here we go: Fourteen licks (not the legendary Rolling Stones fourty)!



Don´t like Finland

Thanks Stefan, for doing the stitching stuff. The results have been in some way pretty much as I intended they were:
I had not liked these holidays. Pictures were taken with a Fujifilm F 50 fd. I don´t really like the camera also. The Canon Ixus Compact cameras seem to be  a little more suitable to me.

10 Pictures stitch. Photos taken 2010, July 22

Don´t like Finland!

8 Pictures stitch. Photo taken 2010, July 31

Don´t like Finland!!

4 Pictures stitch. Some Postproduction.

Don´t like Finland!!!
Thank you for watching and reading!


die ärzte - M & F

Die ärzte haben mal wieder zugeschlagen: Nicht anhören!!! Es ist einfach widerlich, wie diese Scheusale ihre verdammte Verweigerungshaltung zelebrieren. Sie verweigern sich der Jammerei, sie verweigern sich dem Geflenne, dem "copy-kills-music" Gesülze... sie verweigern sich dem GEMA - gut - finden und der Jagd auf Raubkopierer ("Mammi, wann wird Vati wieder Weihnachten mit uns feiern?"). Das kann nicht richtig sein!
So wird die Jugend verdorben von einer moralisch fragwürdigen Bande, die vorgibt Musik zu machen. Das hatten wir vor knapp 50 Jahren schon mal bei den Beatles. Wozu soll das führen? Zu Drogen und schlechten Arbeitsleistungen und dem unguten In-Frage-Stellen aller hohen moralischen elterlichen Werte, zu miesem Funktionieren des Zombie-Modus, außerhalb dessen man auf diesem Planeten definitiv FALSCH liegt.
Die ärzte machen nämlich einfach alles anders als der staatstragende mainstream den ich hiermit leidenschaftlich und inbrünstig unterstützen möchte: Stellen ihre merkwürdigen Videos in gerade mal HD- Qualität  unter bademeister.tv selbst bei Youtube rein, wo sie jeder kostenlos anhören und ansehen kann (manches gleich in 2 Versionen!)... Und machen doch mehr Umsatz als die allermeisten anderen. 

Nein! DAS DARF NICHT SEIN! Nicht anklikken, n-i-c-h-t anklicken! NICHT anklicken! Den folgenden Link bitte unbedingt boykottieren! Ärzte sind Schweine! 


Skin tones: small improvements

While I have been looking over the post from June 7, and comparing the pictures with the very decent ones from June 5, I was not completely satisfied with the result. I betrayed my beloved adobe RGB (for web browsers "wrong") colour space in declaring my fifth attempt as looking as something I could realy live with. As I am not so shure about this now, I will look, if there are no better Interpretations for that slightly underexposed, very critical lightened file, which shows my favorite "victim" Julian.

Here we go:

This is file five, oiginally shown June, 7   - Perhaps the best one from the five I have shown

sRGB Colourspace   + 0.4 ev and some other corrections in Olympus viewer 2, as a gamma correction (0.8) and a desaturation (20 %) and some sharpening (+1 Raw sharpening; + 5 jpeg sharpening)

But what about that?
Back to adobe RGB, some further brightening makes it look more likely:

File six
adobe RGB, with less desaturaion and more brightness:

adobe RGB Colourspace   + 1.1 ev   gamma correction to 0.8   desaturation of 15 % sharpening was + 2 Raw sharpening and + 3 jpeg sharpening, but I did that sharpening not wth the files which are shown here (as Mingh Thein this would have done, for maximum wow-effect in browsing that) - I did it with the large files, that are downsized from google afterwards.
Now: THIS is what I intended to get: A look like the Ming Thein files in his Leica X 2 review: This photo from him pleased me so much, that it gaves the whole inspiration for that work! I loved the colours he could produce with the Leica X 2 exceptionally and couldn´t sleep for days, until I reached my target!

Some may say, that copying the work of someone elses is not much ado, no great thing. But before I can learn to "fly" I must do some training. Before I can start making a nice song, I have to sing and interpret some Beatleas Songs before. Well the Fab Four did this with Little Richard Songs in the beginning of their carreer (and just for fun also in the later career as well!!!) also! As Yoko said: "The only thing to beat John is to copy him narrowly". Thank you Ming, for doing such incredibly good work: If I would own a Leica M 9, I would send it to you to calibrate...

Thank you for reading and viewing!


Wolfgangs answer
-his thoughts about RAW file differences and Raw-Conversion

His answer was to long (more than 4k). So he could not load it as an answer to my blog article. It may be interesting for anybody who is thinking about buying a new camera / beginning with working in Raw-Coversion!

So I started a new blog posting with his detailed words. Any comments are welcome for sure!

 Hi Thorsten,

first, about the raw files from different cameras and sensors: of course
they differ. A Leica (with Kodak sensor), a Nikon (with Sony sensor),
and an Olympus (with Panasonic sensor) will definitely show differences
from the raws - just go to Imaging Resource, and download some from
different cameras (they have the same studio scene, so you can really
see the differences). Same with the DPReview studio scenes, which you
can also download as raw files once a camera is officially tested by them.

That's why we need profiles for these cameras, and that's also why
people are waiting for these cameras to be 'supported' by their raw
converters of choice (for an overwhelming majority, that would be Adobe
Camera Raw, which is used in both their Lightroom and Photoshop software
products). RawTherapee also uses such profiles, which are close to the
ones of Adobe. Plus you can load any other profile (I used to use some
'Huelight' profiles from Colin, but didn't with these last versions of
RT (RawTherapee)).

What Olympus does in their in-camera processing as well as in the
Olympus Viewer 2 raw converter is also to use such a profile, and
Olympus baked their own 'special sauce' right into their camera firmware
- which is what all camera makers do, but somehow they get the colours
very nice and very right. A bit oversaturated in the reds (and slightly
less in the yellows), but very close to what lots of people like. That's
why the OOC jpgs from Olympus are famous, and what differentiates them
from other makers who are even using the same chips, like Panasonic.
Only in Panasonic's latest models (like the G3, GX-1, GH-2, and so on)
they came closer to what Olympus can do. Close, but no cigar, as Groucho
Marx would have said.

Second: your photos and conversions here. Like said above, it's all a
matter of taste of course, but starting with real pictures is the most
difficult way to do it. What I mean is: first, this photo is/was
slightly underexposed on Julian's face - the background was so bright
that it fooled the camera's metering. You can try to get around this
with spot metering, and a lot of experience - or with using an incident
light meter. This is better than having to work with gamma curves and
exposure in post-processing to "save" a photo (for this one, the cap
darkened the boy's face, and to get a 'correct' photo is really
difficult without using reflectors or even flash).

Some have a green tint - reflections from the grass I suppose, enhanced
by different post-processing modes. You corrected that in the last two;
bravo! Maybe I like No. 5 the most here.

But let's be honest: we're not trying to get professional fashion shots
here, are we? For a family album, does it really matter if a photo is a
bit too dark, or too green, or even unsharp (I don't mean your photos
here)? I think it isn't, and that is why Mitchie for instance never
post-processes any of her photos - she takes those OOC jpg files and is
happy with them. That 45mm she loves so much also makes focusing a bit
more challenging - not like a D800 would, but also not P&S-easy, if you
know what I mean.

I guess in the end all of a discussion like this is more or less
pointless, and it's a matter of taste if we like an image or not. About
the cameras and sensors: look at what <a
href="http://www.mikekobal.com/blog/?p=5139">Mike Kobal</a> just did
with two very different cameras and sensors. And he can do absolutely
the same with one of his Sony or Nikon DSLRs. The same is true for Ming
Thein; doesn't matter much if he's using an E-PM1 or even a Leica. This
is their style, yes, and it's very appealing (means I like it). But I'm
not going to copy it - I will show (and probably enhance) blacks if
there were any in the original scene (in yours here, that's probably
only true for the underside of the cap, and portraits are difficult and
sensible to this anyway), but I will not try to 'improve' a photo if
there were no stark contrasts anyway, or if it just doesn't fit the
'mood' (or anything like this; hope you know what I mean).

About these photos again: yes, skin tones are what Olympus does very
well. But for this example, I think your last one is indeed better than
the straight OOC one. So you achieved a good result from a difficult
photo to start with; bravo!

Skin tones:
Five interpretations of one RAW file
- or: how to top the Olympus jpeg engine 

Step by step. Wolfgang Lonien  talk in his post "Colours" from yesterday, June 5 about his slow approach to reach perfect jpeg-files. He started last sunday with blacks and showed us some nice pictures with some basic colours like blue, green and yellow which he has taken yesteday morning. Wolfgang worked just with the newest version (4.0.9.) of the softwarer RawTherapee for his research. He told me in his blog, that because of that... " what you see here are not the original (and in a way legendary) Olympus colours".
However: His colours were very very nice and I have to ask him some quesions about the loosing of the Olympus colours in using a "non-olympus Raw-Converter". Wolfgang: Does that mean, that -in terms of colours- it doesn´t make ANY difference whether you use a Nikon or an Olympus or a Leica if you shoot in Raw AND use only an "independant" Converter??? For me that would be a new information and I am not shure about it! I know of course that even RAW files are not absolutely untouched and some kind of -as an example - noise reduction and some other things are part also of the raw files. RAW Therapee goes very deep into the basics of these files. I know that. As an example the RAW Therapee Olympus E-PL 1 files have a size of 4088 x 3076 pixels (that means that they show some pixels on the edge of the file wich viewer 2, the Olympus Converter, doesn´t show, because of some intern reserve (distorsion correction abilities).
But, does that mean, that there are NO, ABSOLUTELY NO diferences between two Cameras of different manufacturers in terms of colours, when shooting in RAW?

I would feel that the outstanding Olympus jpeg engine is one thing: No other cameras could do such files right out of the camera.
But: Isn´t it still "Olympus" what Wolfgang showed us yesterday?

As a supplement to his yesterday posting I want to show here in five examples how I would process a RAW file just with four or five settings in the Olympus viewer2 software and only wih this software to achieve something I would call very descent skin tones.

File one: Just out of the camera (no post processing!) I simulate here an "in camera setting sRGB" In fact I did this with viewer2 because normaly I set the camera to Adobe RGB.

Julian, Kos 2012, Mai 01, around noon (9.39 UTC)

So: what you see is sRGB interpreted (from your browser) as sRGB, absolutely no post processing. The noise reduction was set in the camera to "off". Sharpening was +/- 0!
Perhaps this file is your favourite and I would not be angry with you. Nice colours, but out of the Camera slightly oversaturated and a little bit on the warm site. Better than any Nikon would do it out of the camera, I think!

File two: My standard workflow until three days ago
I set the colour space to adobe RGB. Then I use it as it would have been shot in RGB (as an example of course your webbrowser only can work with sRGB). This causes slightly less saturation. Perhaps nearer to the physical truth as the picture on the top (because the E-PL 1 produces in correct application of sRGB a saturation of 103.4 % (Imatest)).

adobe RGB interpreted as if it would have been shot in sRGB, while it was nearly high noon and the light was harsh and blueish, I think this is closer to physical reality

File three:

Alternative workflow to achieve these beautiful Leica X 2-"Ming Thein"-colours:The Raw-file was developed by a Gamma setting to 0.8 and an exposure addition of + 0.4 EV. Perhaps I took a little bit to much saturation from this file (saturation was - 20). The sharpening I did was really brutal: Fist I set in the Raw developer the sharpening to + 1 (of max. 2). Then I sharpend the resulting jpeg to +5 (of max. 7). Perhaps to much, I know. But: look at theese beautiful moiree. This is because of the extremely thin AA Filter in the E - PL 1, which allows overwhelming sharpnes!
White Balance was corrected by using Julians shirt (it has a nice grey and it is 100 % cotton, so I have no problems with uv highlights which could influence the white balance to much if a person wears synthetic fiber

A close look on file three which is extremely analytic, shows us the problem. Because also on the field where the ruins in Kos stood was some green gras, you can see a very veryslight greenish tint in that file (and just in that!). So I went on and eliminated this greenish tint and voila

File four:

Same settings as file three, but green was set to - 5 / 100
As you can see, the result is of course not everybodies taste! Specially if there is not so much colour in the file, that looks of course not very "vivid". But it was not an evening scene and the red of Julians cap in file one doesn´t fit the reality also. If you would prefer file one in this series, you can shake hands to perhaps 95 % of the EVIL Camera users. It shows, what an increadibly good job the jpeg engine of that wonderful little Camera is able to do.

I prefer file Nr. 4, alsough it is sligtly (obout 0.2 ev or so) developed to dark and slightly (about 5 / 100 or so) undersaturated

But what about this:

File five:
all that postproduction stuff just right in the colour space you will use it in (sRGB interpretet as sRGB and then the Corrections of Gamma, EV, and saturation). Let´s take a look!

sRGB interpreted as sRGB, all postproduction settings are the same as in file four

I definitely could live with this result!

Thank you for viewing, would be nice to receive any comments!


Five Pictures - four hours 

how to achieve this beautiful Thorsten Overgaard / Ming Thein look without Leica Cameras or Lightroom
Wolfgang did his work - I did mine

 It is just three days ago that Ming Thein posted his highly recommended review of the Olympus OM-D EM-5
Some of the pictures he has posted were so breathtaking and incredible good in terms of natureness, that I began to think about taking part to the discussion that Wolfgang Lonien has with Bill Bebee  and Ming Thein and me since many weeks via eMail and weblog messages in a deeper way. Bill has questioned Wolfang, how to achiefe those deep blacks in the black and white postproduction. Wolfgang started his in Terms of deepnss of black 100 % succesfull experiments just two days ago (target reached yesterday).
But I, I thought about the colours, mostley the colours that as an example Thorsten Overgaard reached in his shooting of the royal danish family, or -as another example- the genious Ming Thein reached in his review of the famous little Leica X 2.

I did ask myself: How did he done this?

Well I have no adobe Lightroom stuff, and I am even not a Leica owner, but I want to have those colours nontheless.
As you might know, I like to shoot all of my pictures I am able to shoot in RAW -in RAW (Olympus ORF -files). I also have special reasons to put the Colour space to "adobeRGB". 
What can I hope to receive as an result (if I spend some time in postproducion) in terms of deeper blacks AND perfect colours?

So, take a look, Wolfgang, this is what I ´ve got:

I shot the first four pics during a walk before noon within just 21 minutes

Running Businesman   Bodrum, Turkey, 2012-04-25   8.39 Universal Standard Time (UTC)     focal length 18 mm    f 1: 5.6       1/ 1600 s

Laundry      Bodrum, Turkey, 2012-04-25   8.52 UTC   focal length 29 mm f 1_5.6   1/1250 s

Bright colors  (Anzac Day!)    Bodrum 2012-04-25   8.58 UTC      focal length 14 mm f 1: 5.6      1/1600 s

Electricians   Bodrum 2012-04-25   9.00 UTC   focal length 18 mm   f 1: 5.6      1/2000s

This shot was taken some 29 minutes later

   Blue Minaret      2012-04-25   9.29 UTC   focal length 14 mm   f 1: 7.1   1/1000s

Thank you for viewing!


Awareness of little things
- do it like Wolfgang does!

(or do ask yourself how Lubitsch did it, if your shooting comedy movies)

It was not his beautiful picture of an apple he posted in January 29, 2012 which made me thinking what kind of remarkable man this guy must be, it was the series of 3 pictures (2011, December 18) which shows just a lamp, build by his daughter Zuleikha, that had made a deep impression to me and made me a constant every-day-follower of his weblog (I have found his weblog just a few weeks earlier (Oktober 2011) and passed by from time to time): This man takes care of even the small things in life, which could be seen not from anybody. His style of photography is quite laconic, honest and clean. He sees himself as a learner (like all true masters do!) and therefore he has some "Guru" Qualities: Like John the Baptist he is declaring to the world that he is just a little pillow farter in comparison with that great man he learned from: Kirk Tuck  !
However, Wolfgangs pictures, even those he took more randomly/diarystyle like that from a shopping center parking place at night or a "Hello Kitty" toy, (both posted 2012, March 18) all have a beauty in their own and shows us what photography can be: A window to a miracle called time and a window to eternity. For me he is a sculpter like the man who has made this piece of church art

So I spend during a pentacostel excursion (2012, Monday, Mai 28) some time in thinking: What kind of picture would Wolfgang shoot in exact this situation, right in that moment? Perhaps Wolfgang sometimes has equal thoughts about Kirk Tuck ;-)

So the result was this:

Abandonned shoe at the left border of the river rhine. I shot that shoe right as I have found it. No other shoe was nearby! Good condition. Think I might have taken the shoe with me, sell it at ebay and bought myself a Panasonic 20 mm 1: 1.7 lens.... 

Light bulb. In a row with 50 or 60 other light bulbs. Shoot that at the right border of the river rhine at a funfair in Mondorf / Bonn, Germany

Suntan lotion
I took all these pictures with an Olympus E-PL 1 and it´s remarkeble Kit-Zoom (1 : 3.5 - 1 : 5.6   14-42 mm). The aperture was 1 : 6.3 at all three pictures, which is perhaps the best aperture for nice, tacksharp resolution from edge to edge for this lens. The shoes @ 18 mm. the light bulb @ 35 mm and the Suntan lotion @ 25 mm. I did no real cropping (I don´t like cropping so much, because it kills the authenticity a little bit). Just converted them to 6 x 6 and decided to do something with the centering or not (changing centering seems to me a lack of authenticity also, but I am a photographic beginner since 1974 and this allows me to brake the DOGMA-rules). So the pictures have full resulution in terms of theit heigh: 3000 Pixels.

I took some care in white balance in these three pictures: As an example I set the white balance in the raw converting of the "shoe shot" at 5730 Kelvin. That was exact the Temperature the Camera has used for some pictures I have taken just some Minutes later and which have that "Bang" Charackter where you say: Every kind of post production can just make the file less perfect! The automatic would have created a much colder white balance for the shoe -something like 5300 K or so. Hip Hip hooray for raw converting and its flexibility!!!

Next week: no new pictures, just some thoughts about our goverment in terms of light bulbs and solder and why Anders Breivik was right.

Thank you for watching and reading.