To help order and sort some of the things in my mind, it often helps me to write them down. And this is the place I do just that. Not always related to photography. Not always in English. Manchmal auch auf Deutsch.
I have recently switched blogging platforms. Here is my new blog:
I have recently switched blogging platforms. Here is my old blog:


Die Dinge niederschreiben hilft mir, sie zu ordnen und einzuordnen. Hier ist der richtige Platz dafür. Nicht immer geht es um die Fotografie und nicht immer schreibe ich auf Deutsch. Manchmal auf Englisch.
Ich habe kürzlich die Blog-Plattform gewechselt. Hier ist mein neues Blog:
Ich habe kürzlich die Blog-Plattform gewechselt. Hier ist mein altes Blog:

Rolleiflex Calibration Wall

This is the story of a group picture.

Last weekend Monika and I held an analog photography workshop in Braunschweig, Germany. We held the workshop together with our friends Micha and Tilla of Spürsinn; they have helped make this a very special event with their never ending knowledge about all things cameras and film. When it comes to analog photography, we couldn't have been in better hands. And when it comes to photography history, Braunschweig is a true gold mine - it's the birthplace of both, Voigtländer and Rollei, two iconic German camera brands.

Not only did we hold the workshop in the city of Braunschweig, we held it at the very spot that used to be the office of Mr. Heidecke, one of the two founders of Rollei. The very same rooms actually! I can't think of a better place to hold an analog photography workshop and the surroundings did their part to make this a very special event.

Now you might be are aware of the fact that I love taking unusual group pictures at workshops. This one was no exception.

We literally had an analog camera museum around us during the workshop with everything from folding pocket cameras from the 1920s to medium format cameras from Japan, but when the time came for the group shot, the camera that was at hand first was a Polaroid 640 Land Camera from the 70s, loaded with original Polaroid 600 film. This film has been out of production for a while, and I happened to have one of my last few film packs with me, possibly even one of the last original Polaroid 600 film packs in existence today. So what better occasion could there have been than using the last three pictures in that pack for the group shot of our first analog workshop.

We went to find the original Rollei calibration wall, where we had to improvise the above images due to not having a tripod. But it was all in the true spirit of our workshop: trust the medium, don't take it too serious and most important: enjoy photography to the max! The photographers of those three pictures: Michael Weyl, Monika Andrae and yours truly (in cooperation with several "composition helpers"). We tried to get Tilla Pe for a fourth shot but noticed that we had ran out of the valuable film.

Thanks everyone for making this workshop a memorable experience!

You DON'T want to make money? Really?


Picture by chotda on flickr

Man is it SOAPBOX time again today. Hold tight. Lean back. Get the popcorn out.

This story was handed to me by a friend. Let's call him Thomas. Thomas lives in Germany.

Thomas recently got a recommendation by another friend of mine (let's call him Michael) to check out the work of a Science Fiction author (let's call her Sue). "If you're a fan of Heinlein, Gaiman and Gibson, you've GOT to read her books, she's excellent! A real discovery!"

Being the modern guy he is, Thomas got online to buy one of her books. The original English version, not the German translation. Not as a hardcopy, but as an eBook.

With the iPad on the horizon (first deliveries in Germany will start in about a week) he also wanted to future-proof his investment. Buy it now, start reading on the iPhone, continue reading on the iPad as soon as it arrives. Sounded like a plan.

Apples iBooks app and iBookstore aren't an option here in Germany yet, so he looked into Kindle. Turned out the book in question wasn't available in the German Kindle bookstore. Bummer.

Next stop Stanza. Yes, it's not available as a native iPad app just yet, but with the Kindle app having made it to the iPad, there is a chance that Stanza will be allowed in too. So Thomas installed Stanza on his iPhone, fired up the built-in book search and lo and behold, there was the book in question, available on the BooksOnBoard store right from within Stanza. For $12.72. He hit the "Buy" button, was transferred to the BooksOnBoard web store in Safari, he registered an account with BooksOnboard, diligently filled in all his information, got to the book page, put it in the shopping cart, clicked the check out button in anticipation, and ...

"This title is not allowed for sale within your country. Item failed to add to cart! Please close this window and try again."


After some more research Thomas had to learn that it seemed impossible to legally buy the book in question as an English version in Germany in any eBook format.

Thomas was ready to spend $12.72 of his hard earned money for this eBook. He happily wanted to throw money at an online store (e.g. the entire chain: the shop owner, the publisher, the author, and even the government if you take taxes into account). But for some very stupid reason he wasn't allowed to. What's wrong with this picture? Everything!

And this is where Thomas had it. He wanted the book. "If they don't want my money, I'm savvy enough to get a hold of this eBook in another way."

20 minutes later he not only had a copy of this one eBook on his hard drive, but about 500 others too. Five friggin hundred. Why? Because he couldn't find the book on its own on BitTorrent, but instead had to download it as part of a ridiculously large Science Fiction book collection.

Just to make it clear: this download was not a paid download. At this point let me add a quick word about BitTorrent: No, not everything on there is illegal. By far not. BitTorrent is first of all a great technology. The telephone is a great technology too, and I don't even want to start thinking about the amount and kind of illegal activities that the telephone is being used for at this very moment...

Back to the story:

Let's do the math. Thomas was ready to pay $12.72 to BooksOnBoard, and I'm sure they would have loved to take the money and give him the book. Instead he now had 500 not-quite-so-legal eBooks sitting on his hard disk. Assuming the same price, those books summed up to over $6000 in lost sales potential.

Book industry? Government? Authors? Collecting Societies? I don't really care who's fault this is, but are you reading this? Instead of losing a sale of $12.72 you have just lost the potential to make $6000. If Thomas wasn't such an honest soul, that lost potential could have easily multiplied many times. "Look what I just downloaded, let me send you a copy..."

Imagine the amount of people searching for (not necessarily legal) ways to get a hold of digital goods, that they cannot get otherwise for ridiculously stupid reasons.

PS: Honest soul that he is, Thomas of course deleted the 499 eBooks that he had to download to get to this one book. And he hasn't shared the downloaded copy with anyone. Not even with me. He's now trying to find out if there is a way to send Sue a donation, because he loved her book so much that he wants to give her something in return. Which will probably be way more than what she would have earned if he had bought it the "normal" way.

What is your take on this?


Everest Trek 2010 - We're Back!

Quomolangma Nature Preserve, originally uploaded by nubui.

Wow, what a journey, what a trip. And we all returned safe and with lots of pictures, not only on our memory cards but most important in our mind. It's often impossible to portray the true scale of things, so taking a scene in instead of shooting a quick snap of it is sometimes the better choice.

I have now started posting some of my photography from the trek here:

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