MY BLOG & SOAPBOX

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:

MEIN BLOG & SEIFENKISTE

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:

Der Push, das unbekannte Wesen

decay_car

Als ich vor vielen Jahren die Schwarzweißfilme noch bei Foto Kreidler zum Entwickeln gab, da war mir schemenhaft klar, dass man Filmen beim Fotografieren weniger Licht als eigentlich notwendig geben darf, und das dann in der Entwicklung durch das sogenannte "Pushen" wieder ausgleichen kann. Das klang dann meistens so: "Guten Tag, hier sind zwei Ilford HP5, die habe ich auf ISO 1600 belichtet, können Sie mir die bitte pushen?"

Wie das Pushen genau funktioniert, und welche Auswirkungen es hat, wusste ich nicht. Nur, dass mir die Bildergebnisse immer ganz gut gefallen haben. Meine Bitte, die Filme dann noch auf hartes, kontrastreiches Papier auszubelichten, wurde meistens mit einem ungläubigen Kopfschütteln quittiert, gemacht hat er es dann - wenn auch widerwillig - trotzdem.

Heute weiß ich, dass der Push nicht zwingend das Korn vergrößert. Ich weiß, dass das Kopfschütteln des ausgebildeten Fotografen der Verschiebung der Kontraste galt, die nicht so ganz in sein Weltbild passten. Ich weiß, dass der Push nicht nur die ISO erhöht, sondern eher an der Ausbildung der Kontrastkurve rüttelt. Und das wirkt sich vor allem auf den Bildausdruck, auf die Kontrastverteilung und die Auffächerung der Grauwerte aus.

Das wirklich schöne daran: diese Bildergebnisse passen perfekt in die Bildsprache der heutigen Zeit.

Und ich weiß jetzt auch, dass es unglaublich Spaß bereitet, sich an die Grenzen des machbaren zu tasten und zum Beispiel den 400er-Film zur Abwechslung mal mit ISO 12800 zu belichten und mit der entsprechenden Entwicklung Ergebnisse zu erzielen, die einen locker vom Hocker hauen.

Die Freude an diesen Extremen möchten wir natürlich nicht für uns behalten, darum haben wir gemeinsam mit Spürsinn zwei Workshops kombiniert, die sich genau diesen Themen widmen.

Workshop 1: Fotografie am Ende des Lichts mit Michael Weyl und Tilla Pe
Workshop 2: Extremes Entwickeln für Fortgeschrittene mit Chris Marquardt und Monika Andrae

In dieser Tandemveranstaltung geht es darum, in extremen Lichtsituationen gut zu belichten und das belichtete Material dann auch entsprechend zu entwickeln. Pushen bis der Arzt kommt. Vielleicht auch etwas Pullen, denn auch das hat seine Berechtigung.

Das Tandem findet statt von 15.-17. Juli 2011, und bis Mitte Juni gibt's das Paket zum Frühbucherpreis: mehr Informationen hier


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MixTour Feinkorn v2

Piano Truck

When you shoot digital at ISO 100 and the light goes down, you change the ISO to something higher, let's say 800. But what if you shoot analog and you have half your film exposed at ISO 100? One option is to change film, which is a hassle. Another option is to carry a second camera with a higher ISO film. Also a bit of a hassle. My new favorite option is to just change the light meter to a higher ISO and keep shooting with a different sensitivity onto the same film.

"But how do you go about developing that film?" I hear you ask.

Up

I have recently had the pleasure to play with a new developer, called MixTour. It's a product by German company Spürsinn (full disclosure: I am friends with them and we hold analog workshop together). It is actually more than just a developer, it's a four-component DIY kit that you can use to mix any type of developer you like. Fine grain, contrast, push, pull, universal, ... you name it.

MixTour comes with a set of recipes to get you started, and one of them is a universal developer that goes by the name of Feinkorn v2, and dare I say, I've fallen a little in love with it.

Here's what I did: I used Monika's Holga Wide Angle Pinhole camera to shoot of roll of Efke 100. The camera features an f/135 pinhole. Precise exposure? Virtually impossible. Especially in changing light conditions. I measured once, then timed the exposures according to my gut. AND THEY WERE ALL OVER THE PLACE! More precisely they were spread over at least three f-stops, probably closer to four. On one roll of film, next to each other.

Cracks

Turned out MixTour Feinkorn v2 handled this range of latitude without even blinking. Now I'm looking forward to finding out what other tricks it has up its sleeve.
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Six degrees too hot

20110406 scan681 2 So I return from that film dev workshop that we held in Braunschweig, home of Rollei and Voigtländer, and I had completely forgotten about that one incident.

Until just now.

Rewind. Imagine a group of photographers experimenting with different developers, fighting about water of the right temperature, stepping on each others' toes (in a nice way of course) and then imagine me standing in the middle of this, thinking "why don't I develop that roll of Efke 50 in T-Max developer?", then elbowing my way to the basin and mixing the developer.

According to the Massive Dev Chart development should have been 6 minutes at 20 degrees Celsius. Turns out amidst all the chaos I ended up with 26 degrees (don't ask), and I didn't notice until it was already in the development tank. Oh well, no harm done, higher temperature can be somewhat evened out by shorter dev time. Didn't have a formula though, and I'm a sucker for strong contrasts, so I went with what my gut told me: "shorten it, but not too much. Maybe down to 5 minutes", which is what I ended up doing.

After the full cycle of developing and fixing the film, I got a bit of a shock when I opened the tank. The film looked like it wasn't fixed. Brownish in nature and the bits that should be transparent didn't look very transparent. Luckily film is pretty much light proof after only a short time of fixing it, so you can always fix some more if you need to. 10 minutes of fixing later the film still didn't look right. It looked pretty much half fixed. Bummer. I asked my favorite film photography expert Michael of Spürsinn on what to do and he finally resorted to bathing the film in undiluted fixer for a minute, just to see if that would do something.

But it didn't.

We rinsed the film, pulled it out of the spiral and lo and behold, it was transparent, just with a pretty strong tint that looked opaque from certain angles. Super weird.

I forgot about the experiment until a few minutes ago, when I began scanning some of the pictures.

Turns out the Efke 50 / T-Max developer combination produces great contrast that still leaves enough room to work on in the (digital or analog) darkroom.

Here's a negative scan straight from the scanner, uncorrected:

20110406 scan681 2

And here it is with just a slight black point adjustment and a tiny raise in exposure level:

20110406 scan681

I love it when the photos are 80% where I want them straight from the camera and they still give me enough headroom to play with. I'll file this film/dev combination under B as in BINGO!

What's your favorite combination?

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Two days, ten developers, and fourty rolls of film later...

withered
withered by nahlinse

I've just returned from one of the most fun and enlightening workshops in a long time. Ten analog photographers filling roll after roll after roll of film and trying out over nine different developers, comparing notes and results. Heaven!

Seriously, this was a ton of fun and sitting in on Michael's lectures, even I learn a lot of new things every time. It was the first workshop in the new building of Spürsinn. They are our friends and they are some of the most savvy analog photography people that I've ever met. Even though they are just in the middle of moving their business, they still made sure everything for the workshop was there, that we had a great room to teach in - and an even greater room (the future dark room) to play with what analog photographers like to call soup. Thanks guys!!

We did what most film photographers would like to do at home, but most don't have the time to do: we tested what different developers do in combination with different films, different light situations and even different cameras. Rodinal, T-Max, XTol, Spur SD2525, Spürsinn MixTour, A49, Cafenol, .. the list gets longer each time I do a re-count.

Not only did we test all different sorts of combinations to our heart's content, and not only did we experience how different developers (and developing times, temperatures, agitation rhythms, ...) influence the development results, the participants also learned more about why those results differ and how they can use this knowledge to get to the desired results in the future.

If you want to see us in action, you can watch a short video here.

More about the workshops here.

What's the geek thing that makes you happy?
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Lighting the fuse...

The Invisible Camera - CHRIS MARQUARDT KAMERAPRODUKTIONTo get to finish a project, it's sometimes important to get started with it in the first place, even if you don't have an exact idea about how all the details are going to work out. Or if you're going to be able to finish it at all.

Some call that "jumping off a cliff and building your wings on your way down" (I like that a lot!) and I call it "lighting the fuse". Once it's burning, there's no easy way back, which in turn puts enough pressure on you to keep working on it.

One of those projects has been going on for years. Not always at full speed, but with constant progress.

I'm not at liberty to talk too much about it yet ($%^# NDA), but the lifting of the curtain is not too far in the future now.

In the meanwhile, let me give you this:

» www.theinvisiblecamera.com

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Himalayan mobile data: Chirpie wins

TibetiphoneThe next Himalayan Workshop is getting closer, a bit over one more month and we'll meet Jon and the new group of photographers and trekkers in Kathmandu, and not only does that mean I'm in the middle of shaping up a bit, it also means that I'm in the process of figuring out how to stay in touch while in Tibet.

Tibet is in China, and as you know there's the infamous Chinese Firewall that makes some forms of online communication rather tricky. Last year the most reliable way seems to have been via mobile data, so I've been looking into plans and options to at least be able to send out the odd tweet or email.

Only issue with mobile data is that, as you know, it's super expensive, especially if you try to use your plan on a different continent. The cheapest option for me seems to be a package that gives me 50MB for roughly 25 Euro. Each 100KB on top of that will cost me 0,79 EUR, that's 7,90 EUR per effing megabyte or 395 EUR for another 50MB. Believe me, you don't want me to elaborate on how I feel about the whole mobile data roaming cost issue, so I better not write about that here.

Long story short, in order to squeeze the last bit of usage out of those 50MB, and in order to not step into any financial traps, my iPhone will have to go on a serious diet, so here's the plan:

Switch off: First of all there are a lot of tiny little background processes (aka daemons) constantly running on an iPhone, and some of them use data. As a result I'll have to switch off everything that potentially might call home in the background, such as automatic mail checking, push notifications, calendar syncs, etc.

No really, SWITCH OFF: Simply switching those services off might do the trick, but having worked on Unix-based systems for over 20 years (and the iPhone is a Unix-based system), I don't really trust the peace. In fact, having my iPhone just sit there with push switched off and without it checking emails seems to use up some small trickle of data that might sum up to something bigger over time. Remember, 50MB is not really a lot in today's times where a single web page can very easily exceed one MB. So to be on the safe side, I'll have the iPhone in airplane mode whenever I don't use it to communicate.

Identify data sources: I have identified two must-haves and one nice-to-have. Sending tweets is on the must-have side, email for emergencies is too (I run a business and need to be able to communicate, even though I don't really plan to, it's just a safety net). Receiving tweets would be nice, but if data usage dictates it, I should be okay with the send-only option while we're in Tibet.

Counting bits: Important question: how reliable is the iPhone's built-in byte counter? I couldn't find a lot of good information about that other than Leo Laporte's story about it not being accurate (he had to pay quite a bit extra after a trip abroad) but it's the best option I have for now. Other options include apps that check on T-Mobile Germany's network, which means they'll cause more data usage and I don't even know how up-to-date their data is. So it's the iPhone's built-in counter and a bit of a safety margin for now I guess.

Twitter: Twitter's own iPhone client uses up too much data. Not only does it send tweets, it also reads them, updates several timelines, checks periodically. I don't have exact numbers, but a quick check shows that simply starting the Twitter app and letting it do its initial sync used up 76KB, and that's just starting it. Subsequent tests showed 91KB and 105KB on startup, and sometimes even more, which probably has to do with the length of the timelines it has to download.

mobile.twitter.com: Twitter has a mobile web page, which I thought might to the trick. It doesn't. Loading it uses up a whopping 458KB of traffic in my case. That's almost half a megabyte.

Birdhouse: Next I tested two Twitter clients that only send tweets, they won't use any data to receive tweets, they won't update any timelines, they'll use the Twitter API and send one tweet at a time. The first one is Birdhouse. It's a nice client because it lets me save tweets in a list, then send them out later. This functionality has by now been incorporated into the official Twitter client, so I don't use it that much anymore, but it's still nice to have around. Even though it only sends out data, it still uses up a little data every time it you start it, probably from checking connection to the server. The iPhone's built-in bit counter tells me Birdhouse uses up 15KB per start. Not too bad, we're getting somewhere here.

Chirpie: I was almost going to settle on Birdhouse, when @schlingel suggested Chirpie. It's also a tweet only client, it does one thing: it lets you send a tweet. And even though it didn't consistently clock in with the exact same data usage, I got it to start up with an average of about 6KB of data usage. I sent a tweet with almost 140 characters and the entire process clocked in at 17KB. If I didn't use any other data, this would allow me for about 3000 tweets. Guess that covers the Twitter side. Write-only for me, but anything that also reads will significantly inflate data usage, so I'll stick with it.

E-Mail: e-mail will be tougher. Even if I had an iPhone client that would allow me to only download the mail headers via POP3 (is there such a client?) that would be significantly more data and probably squeeze the life of that data plan. A quick fact check: the iOS mail app uses about 6KB to check my two mail accounts if there's no new mail. With new mail it seems to download the headers first. In a test case that I just did that ended up being about 35KB worth of data. Tapping on the mail then downloaded the rest of the mail (a Flickr status mail, HTML body, two small pictures that you can't disable on the iPhone) and that alone drove data usage up to 304KB. And that wasn't even a big mail and it didn't have any attachments. Half a megabyte for ONE mail.. that would allow me to read 100 mails on the 50MB plan. Or I wait until I'm near Wifi when we are back in Kathmandu. Guess I'll scratch mobile mail for now then.

Conclusion: I'm pretty glad that I used to be in system and network adminstration in one of my former lives and that I know a bit about Unix. Chances are I'll survive the trek on a 50MB international plan while still being able to keep everyone at home in the loop.

I still have a few open questions:

1.) Is there an iOS app that counts data usage more reliable than the counter that is built into the iPhone? (or is it reliable enough?)

2.) guess I have the Twitter side figure out, but do you have any suggestions with regards to very-low-data emailing?


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Reverse Kill - New Album by lastfuture

Reverse Kill - Album by lastfutureI have a brother, his name is Peter. He was born in the early 80s and he's the graphic designer responsible for the look of PocketChris. In his spare time he makes music.

I'm in the lucky position to have seen and listened to his musical development right from the start.

Peters music is highly influenced by video games, by the 8-bit world, by trackers, by the demo scene, but still managed to keep a very clean and modern overall feel. I like it a lot, I even used some of his music on earlier episodes of Tips from the Top Floor. I also happen to like Karl Bartos and Kraftwerk.

After unofficially having released years and years worth of music to the public, Peter aka lastfuture has now released his first official album Reverse Kill and you can officially buy it on iTunes.

If the flight scene in 2nd Reality needed a new soundtrack, I'd vote for the title Enigma as a worthy successor, I like Jet Car because its seemingly simple structure is interrupted by some quite intricate play with the rhythms, the first chords of Rude remind me of some of the sound effects of Stalker, the title Rubber, Bacon, Rock & Roll is a homage to some of the German bands from the 70s, and some of the other titles make me think of some of the epic computer games and overall it's fun to realize how many influences have helped shape this album.

If there is anything that I don't like about Reverse Kill, it would be that it only has eight songs. I would love it to be longer, I want more of it. Is that a reason not to buy it? Hell no!

Let's hope this isn't the last we'll hear from lastfuture's musical side.

» Official announcement by lastfuture
» Buy it on iTunes

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www.internationalpinhole.com

MipbwSometimes things move forward faster than expected. As it's just now happening with the Marquardt International Pinhole.

We had a meeting today and one of the outcomes was that we are going to build a run of ten cameras to see how people accept it. This will be a very special camera, not only because it creates beautiful pictures, but because each and every one of them will be a hand-made unique one-of-a-kind item.

I will not go into more detail right now because I simply can't - I know the general direction and I like it, but as you, I will have to wait for the final cameras to know what they will exactly look like.

As soon as they are finished, I will post pictures.

If you are interested in one of the first ten cameras, please send a mail to chris@internationalpinhole.com

Offical website: www.internationalpinhole.com


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Workshops 2011: Hashtags und Kurzlinks

Du meldest Dich für einen Workshop an. Und dann?!

Wäre es nicht klasse, wenn Du mit anderen Workshopteilnehmern Kontakt aufnehmen könntest?

Aus Gründen der Privatsphäre verschicke ich normalerweise keine Adresslisten, aber es gibt ja noch andere Wege.

Wenn Du in den Social Media wie z.B. Twitter oder Facebook unterwegs bist, oder wenn Du bloggst, dann sind Hashtags und Kurzlinks eine gute Möglichkeit, mit anderen zu diskutieren.

Hier ist die offizielle Liste der Hashtags und Kurzlinks für die Workshops 2011:

5.-6. Feb, Hannover Spielzeugladen
#hsspielzeugladen1
http://tfttf.com/hannover22011

19.-20. Feb, Absolut Analog I
#absanalog2011a
http://tfttf.com/absolutanalog1

2.-3. Apr, Absolut Analog II
#absanalog2011b
http://tfttf.com/absolutanalog2

8.-10. Jul, Berlin
#hsberlin2011
http://tfttf.com/hsberlin2011

2.-3. Jul, Hannover Spielzeugladen II
#hsspielzeugladen2
http://tfttf.com/hannover72011

27.-30. Jul, Klostergeister
#klostergeister2011
http://tfttf.com/klostergeister2011

2.-4. Sep, Northeim
#lichtnortheim2011
http://tfttf.com/northeimlicht2011

10.-11. Sep, Absolut Analog III
#absanalog2011c
http://tfttf.com/absolutanalog3

Was ist ein Hashtag?

» zur Englischen Workshopliste

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2011 Workshop Hash Tags and Short Links

You sign up for a workshop. And then what...?!

Wouldn't it be nice if you could connect with fellow workshop participants to discuss sharing a ride, what to bring, or just to know who else is coming? I usually don't send address lists for privacy reasons, but there's another way.

If you use social media such as Twitter, Facebook, or if you blog, hashtags and short links are a great way to let others find your information.

Here is the offical hashtag and short link list for the 2011 workshops:

Apr/17-May/3, Tibet
#himalayanwkshp2011
http://tfttf.com/tibet2011

May/27-29, Berlin LIMITED
#berlinworkshop2011
http://tfttf.com/berlin2011

Aug/13-14, Washington DC
#dcworkshop2011
http://tfttf.com/dc2011

Aug/19-21, San Francisco, CA
#sfworkshop2011
http://tfttf.com/sf2011

Sep/23-25, Toronto, Canada
#torontoworkshop2011
http://tfttf.com/toronto2011

What is a hash tag?

» go to the German workshop list

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