Vacation is near! Vacation is near! Vacation is near!

My vacation is just around the corner and I’m so excited about it, you can’t even imagine. I’m not traveling far away, I’m just going to stay in the forest, in a bungalow, near a lake.

My plans for this week are mainly – relax, relax, relax and relax. And I’ve also got some photography “projects” that I want to try out. I’m planning to do some time lapse capturing with my good old Canon EOS 500D. Aside from this I want to spent my free time to get a little bit more into strobe photography, since I haven’t really found the time to dig deeper into this, since I’ve got my new Yongnuo flash lights.

I’m also sticking to my sports activities. I want to do some cross running through the forest, as well as some swimming in the three lakes nearby and finally do some trips with my new bicycle. Swimming’s going to be the most interesting one because I’ve got this sort of phobia in lakes that usually makes me swim like a pregnant duck and not like a technically oriented swimmer. I want to work on my technique and want to conquer my fears of the unknown depths of the lake.

I’m sure that there’s no monstrosity on the ground, but I’ve to teach this my blooming fantasy.

Sister Sinister

I usually don’t make picture posts, but this model from Sweden totally deserves a post. Model’s called Sister Sinister (obviously not her real name). I find her absolutely unique and just gorgeous. When you take a look at her official website or on deviantArt (links at the buttom of this post), you’ll also find that she’s very versatile.

Links: Sister Sinister’s Official Website

Sister Sinister on deviant Art


A long time ago, in a galaxy not far away. A young man decided to start taking photos. By that time the man thought that using a flashlight is too sophisticated and he wanted to stick with natural. That sounds logical, because natural light comes from mother nature – from the sun. And the sun is good – if you don’t stay in sunlight unprotected for too long.

Anyhow, this young man shot picture after picture. He was pretty horrible in the beginning and still is. But then there was this evil dark force that avoided taking good pictures. He needed more light. Artificial light. Strobe light. And strobe light it was…

…after this short introduction, I just wanted to announce, that I made my way into the undiscovered field of flash photography. Not undiscovered for so many others out there, but yet for me a very unknown territory.

As you might have noticed, I wasn’t always a big fan of using a flashlight with a camera, but after all these years in photography using natural light, I found, that it was time to try something new and tear down some walls. I tried to take pictures of several still lives lately but wasn’t satisfied with how it came out. I was using a macro flashlight with a ring set on top of the lens, but the results I received with this were even more unsatisfying.

Twelve strings to heaven

Anyhow, I finally ordered a bunch of of Yongnuo flashlights, two light stands and several additional things to complete the setup. And what can I say – the first shooting was complete mess. Yes, a complete overkill in setup and lack of knowledge. What followed afterwards wasn’t a period of face palming. I thought I was sort of prepared when I bought all these things, because I found that I read and watched enough on the internet to get enough view inside. But I was wrong.

I studied the manuals for multiple times, I watched more and more tutorials on the internet to gain more knowledge on flash photography. And I read more and more guides on how to do flash photography. Actually, all these things didn’t make me a professional flash photographer, but I received the lost pieces of the puzzle I needed to actually get a solid beginning. The basic knowledge to start and also know where the path is leading to.

Without a doubt, there’s (and always will be) a lot of things to learn about, but that’s the intriguing part about in photography. And it’s a lot of fun to learn all these things, because it combines two aspects in my life I’m a big of – art and technology. And to merge these two and get a fine creative output, that is what drives me.

A lack of everything

It’s been quite some time… (n’yah, yet again another post that starts with this lame excuse) …but I haven’t actually found the right amount of enthusiasm to write. And last but not least, nothing worth writing about happened.

For the those of you interested in my “sports career” I can tell you, that it is currently not existing. I’m pushing the gym appointment in my schedule from one week to another and it’s frustrating. On the one hand I feel the lust and passion to get to gym again, but on the other side I’m just sick and tired of this stuff. Right now, there’s a massive need to actually do some sports because I – once again – gained a lot of weight and my nutrition in the recent has been more than just wrong. According to my BMI and a look in the mirror I’m obese.

But like I said, it’s some sort of a battle of conscience in my head and I wonder who’s going to win. My next appointment for gym is set for tomorrow afternoon and I’ll tell you in the near future if I made it or dumped it.

Yet another hobby of mine that got a little abandoned is the photography. But that’s basically a problem with everything that I currently have no real drive or creative inspiration to go out and take pictures. Right now it’s just the comic books that give a little bit of satisfaction and enthusiasm.

Well, that’s not the real truth. I’ve bought a new notebook a couple of days ago. Actually it’s a refurbished one – an IBM ThinkPad with Core 2 Duo processor. I’ve added a few more gigs of RAM that I had around and replaced the HDD with a faster model by Western Digital and this baby runs like hell with a Linux Mint installation on it. That’s basically why I bought this notebook, because I felt a little “disconnected” with Linux and everything what’s going on in the scene.

I’ve rented this vServer for TeamSpeak several other net related things, but the maintenance is not that intense, that I’ve to work with Linux on a daily basis. And in my current job I do more IT management that actual IT administration, but hopefully this will change during the next two years.

So as you can see, there isn’t anything special going on at the moment. I’m having this serious issues with my sports activities – or the lack of it. And my creative inspiration is still gone and missing.

Exaggerated focus

“The best camera is the one that’s with you.” – Chase Jarvis

With apps like Instagram, CameraFX and even Photoshop Express one does have a large variety of tools of the trade to chose from to be creative. I’ve got a common job like every other common, working person that does not leave me enough room to carry my SLRs with me to wherever I want. I also do not have the chance to process my pictures in Lightroom each and every time I want to. So I took the quote by Chase Jarvis and made it my personal challenge. My phone is my buddy that’s with me all the time and it’s the device that captures pictures when I’m without my beloved SLRs.

Of course, I’m limited to a file format like JPEG that does me the opportunities like RAW does. I barely have any  option to do any preprocessing like choosing the aperture or the exposure. And the quality itself cannot be compared to the results you would receive with a professional SLR processor and sensor. But these things do not actually matter, what matters is the composition.

One of my weaknesses in photography is an exaggerated focus on technical details and in reverse I often fail on the rules of composition. The phone camera gives me a fine chance to take pictures pretty basic. As previously mentioned, the quality does not matter. With a picture that may deserve it, I can also wait till I’m home and edit it in Photoshop to get it top notch.

I hated Instagram for quite a long time, because it’s yet another app with filters and effects. After a period of giving it a try, I finally came to the conclusion that it’s a good way to process pictures quickly and easy. And you’ve also got a good way to share them with your friends or publicly. One might say, one can do this with almost every other app as well, but I finally felt comfortable with the Instagram community and I don’t like to share every sodding picture on Facebook. The opinion of a complete, unprejudiced strangers counts more to me, than an opinion of a friend on Facebook.

I’m not going to post these mobile pictures in communities like deviantART or 500px. I still believe that these platforms were made to display artworks with a high standard and even (semi) professional artworks. Even though they do look “pretty fine” I still believe that these mobile phone camera pictures do not belong there. Additionally, there are billions of people out there that share pictures like these on almost every common social network, there’s nothing special about them in a hobbyist way. You don’t need any more of them spread out.

So for me it’s a good way to improve my composition skills and learn. With Instagram I’m also limited to square format. Which makes it easier on one side, but also difficult on the other side. I do not only use Instagram, CameraFX is another great app as well and even Photoshop Express does the trick. If you’re interested in my pictures, search and follow ‘InV4d3r’ on Instagram.

Danbo Mania

As a person who is into photography and watches tons of pictures every day, trends rather get unnoticed. I’ve seen HDR passing by, even though the 3D hype last year and the tilf-shift-mania a while ago. I didn’t jump the train of any of these trends. I’ve taken several pictures in HDR or tilf-shift style, but I never made it my main passion.


For quite a while, one can find lots and lots of pictures that do not follow a specific technique but focus one particular object – the Danbo. These little figures have one attribute that makes them special – they are cute. It’s this one thing that only kittens have and they make you want to say “Awwww!” no matter what they actually do in the photo.

The Danbo is a tiny figure that looks like as if it was made of several cardboard boxes usually used to delivery goods by retailer Amazon. There’s one rare 7eleven edition and you can also get some without any special prints. I personally ordered the Amazon edition, which is the most popular. I imported them via Amazon Japan because the prices in my country are way too high for a figure that is around 80mm tall.

I’m now a proud owner of a small and a big Danbo and I’ve already took some pictures with these tiny, cute bastards. And it was a good investment. And I can follow one trend in photography. Even though I’m not a big fan of that. But sometimes you’ve to howl with the wolves.

The cool thing about these Danbos is, that you almost get a decent picture every time. As long as you do not totally suck with setting up your camera right or you are completely blind or something like that. Danbos are just sooo cute, that they have these almighty uber powers to rescue even the shittiest pictures. Well, almost – like I said, as long as you know your camera you can’t fuck things up totally.

I’m sorry that this post doesn’t contain any special message and only the information that I now got two Danbos and I’m totally into this stuff. Sorry, next time something with some thoughts that go deeper.

The grey flap

Always talking about changing gets quite odd and is simply not the bottom line I actually want to drop here. I’m saying this, because I just wanted to start this very post with words like “Something has to change” or “It’s time for a change”. But that’s basically wrong, after rethinking the choice of my words. A correct term would be something like “I’ve to continue following and influencing evolution”

So, what does that basically include. First of all, it will include a change, but for certain reasons I won’t and can’t mention it here. Details will follow in a couple of month, when everything is safe and secure to talk about here. Period.

On the other hand, I will start doing sports again, no matter what. My spare time shrunk to a minimum, which is still pissing me off, because most of the time that it has finally gotten that way is because of the incompetence of others. I’m a person that don’t like to fail because of the mistakes of others. The only fail I can accept, is when it’s based on my own faults. Messing up, just because of anybody else, is completely unacceptable.

But back to the actual point – sports. I gained an overweight that became badass dead serious. It’s like 25 to 30 kg too much and it’s getting more and more the more weeks do pass by. I’m not having a detailed and completely scheduled plan at the moment, but the basic rules are set. It’s the ban of sweets again. Nutrition has to change as a whole in my life again. Even though there’s a lot of seduction going on with commercials and ads in the supermarket popping your eyes like a needle. I simply have to learn to resist again. I pretty often think back to those days where I lived straight edge. And then I remember how lucky and happy I actually was.

It wasn’t only a thing because of the endorphins that were pumped through my body and brain in this sports period. It was also a thing that all the poisons that I once ingested were gone and my whole body fell back to its basics. This sounds pretty much like the words of an odd and creepy philosophy professor, but that’s what describes it the best. More than ever do I feel like I’ve to get back to this way of life again. I’m probably go to make certain rules again, but not that strict like I did back in the days.

The other thing that I’m currently try to improve on is my creative eye. I revisited my photo collection and reviewed all the pictures I’ve done on several journeys and it’s terrible. Apart from all the technical mistakes I made, it’s a creative disaster. Seriously, out of around 7,000 pictures I took, only a handful is actually worth using and editing. It has improved during the last couple of month, because I took a lot of effort by studying workflows of other photographers, their techniques and composing pictures itself. I underestimated how much wrong camera settings can do, to actually destroy your vision of a certain picture you have in mind.

I have tons and tons of examples in my collection to prove that particular fact and I will continue working on getting better and drift as far away as I possibly can from these terrible results. I’ve recently ordered some books to give me more theoretical understanding in the field of composing and simply seeing things creatively. One of the reasons I’m doing this, I’m tired of only working with computers and networks, they bore me to death.

These are the things for now, my plans on how to influence my own personal evolution and give certain things a flap and improve. Because improvement is what makes lives worth living.

Cathedral excursion

The Cathedral of Saints Catherine and Maurice, or Cathedral of Magdeburg, was one thing I had in focus for a very long time to photograph. But I never actually managed it. On Monday, my day off, I finally made it to this wonderful, beautiful piece of Gothic architecture. Currently it’s only worth taken interior pictures, because it’s getting refurbished on the outside. It’s such a rare event, to see this cathedral without any scaffold.

After getting the photo permit and clarifying certain things me and my Canon 60D were on the hunt for subjects. And we’ve found a lot. I did lots and lots of pictures of small figures in mural reliefs. It was so nice to see, with how much love for detail everything got restored. Back in the days, as far as I can remember, the Cathedral of Magdeburg was a very dark spot to visit. These days, warm diffuse light reigns inside the cathedral, not to divine.


Seriously, I was very impressed how beautiful everything looked like and most importantly, no dark spots. Having a lot of light and also a lot of good light makes taking pictures so easy and such a pleasure. I spent more two hours inside the cathedral. I used my 17-85mm zoom lens, but only for a few shots. Most of the time did I walk around with my cheapo 50mm with a completely opened aperture of f1.8.

I also did some shots with my 8mm ultra wide angle Walimex lens, but I’m not very satisfied with the finals results. It’s still very difficult to get something in focus. And taking pictures with an aperture lower than f8.0 could have only been made with an extremely high ISO filmspeed, which I try to avoid as often as I can. Normally, I take pictures at f22 with this lense, because focus is no longer an issues you have to care about.

The final result was a virtual box of almost 400 photos to chose from. It’s a lot of material, but also, despite my excursion in the past, a lot of pictures are worth to get seen. I’m releasing them all publicly, but you’ll find a couple of pictures when you visit my profile on deviant art. You’ll also find some pictures I did on my last trip to Berlin, which was the first photo excursion with my 60D.

The gallery on this domain is currently down and will probably stay down, because I’m currently working on a new website, which will be dedicated to photography only. I’m not giving any details right now, but as soon as progress has gone far enough, I’ll inform you.

Lightroom 4 experience

Sodding time is the issue, once again. And a bunch of different things that keeps me busy. Basically it’s my PC that I use for editing pictures and developing photos that soaked a lot of time recently. I abandoned my AMD Phenom 965 and switched to my old Intel Q9550. Main reason for this was the overclockability of the Intel CPU. The 965 is also a fine CPU to overclock, but the only platform I could give is a AMD 770 or 790 chipset. Bummer! One can overclock with the boards I’ve got, but the CPU clock is static. And I don’t want to waste the majority of my salary for the utilities.

So, I rebuilt my PC that I usually use for work and the more serious things. It’s overclocked at 3.86GHz with an air cooler and everything looks save. Temperature and stability are within limits. And most importantly, the overall performance has increased as well. Working with Lightroom became much smoother. One of my main issues was developing with the two-monitor setup. I use one monitor for the main-view and the other one is for comparison view and cropping.

Additionally do I have to mention, I was running on Lightroom 4.0 for the last few weeks and I had performance issues on both systems, Intel and AMD. Nevertheless, the Intel system felt smoother, thanks to a much higher clock rate. I upgraded Lightroom to version 4.1RC2 and Adobe has done a brilliant job. Some slight improvement on the UI and several new featues, but most importantly, Lightroom performs much better with two monitors. As far as I’d experienced, it’s even with Lightroom 3, but there’s still room left to get it even smoother.

Deviant improvement

As some of you may know, I’m an active member of the deviant Art community. I had an interest in photography, did not have any equipment, except my cam on my mobile phone and some crappy HP Photosmart that still seem to run on steam.

Back in the days, I wanted to see, if my interest for photography is actually real. I wanted to see if I stick with it, or if it’s just a mayfly. It turned out, after a couple of month, that this romance with photography was for real. In the meantime did I start doing some research on photo equipment, because I wanted to take decent pictures, too. As a fellow reader of this blog, you may remember that my final choice was a Canon EOS 500D with a standard 18-55mm lens.

My first pictures were taken with the creative programs that came with the camera. But after a very short period of trial and error I decided to switch the program wheel to the ‘M’ position and take control of every single aspect of the picture. It was a very steep learning curve that I took and without a doubt, the first pictures I took were absolutely horrible. Overexposed, underexposed, terrible f-stop, horrible composition, you name it.

I’m still in a learning progress, and hopefully will always be, when it comes to photography. Simply, because the curiosity, that drives you and the will to experience and learn something new, is the gasoline that keeps your creative engine up and running. I don’t say that the pictures I take these days are greater art, but compared to the shots I took two years ago, I would say, I’ve improved.

I’ve recently upgraded to a new camera, a Canon EOS 60D. Very, very recently, to be exact. Next step is to save some money for my first Canon L-lens. The lens that I currently use for the everyday situations starts to have more and more issues, I can no longer live with on a daily basis. Manufacturing wise and also in picture quality. But the main issue is definitely its slow focus response time and the weird focus itself. Well, we’ll see what lens the future brings.

After over two years of being a “deviant”, I can say, that it’s still fun to watch, what so many other people all around the earth create in photography. The community is still a very polite one and it’s mainly the new and unexperienced user that offends from time to time. But the community is aware of that as well and most of these newbies leave as fast as they came.

The only thing that bothers me a little, is that the quality deviant Art once stood for has turned more into a matter of quantity. Unfortunately do a lot of people put out so much rubbish and crap on deviant Art, that it’s almost close to be declared as spam. I mean, why so many pencil sketches of anime characters that no one actually cares about? But nevertheless, it’s still fun to be deviant.