You name it.

Pixathlon

Post created on October 20. 2013 in #photography

We took part at the Pixathlon in Klagenfurt this year. A pixathlon, or photo marathon, is an interesting concept trying to throw you back to the roots of photography. It's all digital but no image manipulation is allowed! All images have to be OOC JPG files.

A list with 12 topics was handed out at the beginning and all participants had 12 hours to fill their memory card with 13 images. The first image had to be your start number followed by one image per topic in the exact given order on the handout. This required each photographer to actually think about the current topic, you couldn't take shots by opportunity – hello film rolls.

Topics

  1. Deine Startnummer
  2. Alles hat einen Anfang
  3. Nasses Vergnügen
  4. Ich, einfach unverbesserlich
  5. Ins Grüne
  6. Wenn ich groß bin, werde ich...
  7. Tierisches Spektakel
  8. Grenzenlose Freundschaft
  9. Von Mythen und Sagen
  10. Einsame Straßen
  11. Das ist Kärnten!
  12. Magie in der Altstadt
  13. Der Morgen danach

I enjoyed this concept a lot. Being tied to a single topic at a time was an inspiring diversion from my general, opportunity driven, style in photography. The awareness that tweaking in post production is no option required some rethinking, although I'm always trying to do the shot right in camera. You were allowed to delete and retake shots as long as you don't mess up the correct order. These rules required you to know the gear and it made you think more about what and how you shoot.

An enthusiastic photographer like me can learn a lot from challenges like these. Less is more, think how and when you push the trigger. Don't hit it in 10 fps burst mode and decide later. Be there in the first place, calm down and concentrate to make the image you love right where your are – enjoy the moment and imagine the outcome.

MindMeister Geistesblitz Workflow for Alfred App

Post created on March 21. 2013 in #code

I discovered this post introducing an Alfred App workflow for Trello a few days ago. After trying this extension by Miko, I realized how easy it is to create a workflow for Alfred and decided to code a similar (side) project for the Geistesblitz feature of MindMeister.

Prerequisites are the Alfred 2 Powerpack, a (free) MindMeister account and OSX 10.7+. If you have all of these, fetch my Geistesblitz workflow file and install it by double clicking the downloaded file.

Granting write access to your MindMeister default map is the first thing. Type blitz auth into Alfred to authenticate and equip the workflow with permission to modify your default map in the newly opened browser window.

blitz auth

You can now start inserting Geistesblitzes by typing blitz {query}, where {query} stands for the idea(s) you want to add to your default map, e.g. "blitz Create the next big thing". You can also add multiple Geistesblitzes with one command by delimiting them with a semicolon like "blitz idea1;idea2;idea3".

blitz {query}

A second feature is ad-hoc creation of new mind maps by typing blitz new {mind map name} (mind map name is optional). The newly created mind map will automatically open in a browser window.

blitz new {mind map name}

Changing the authenticated user can be achieved by typing blitz auth again (login with the new user in your default browser first). Additionally you can also remove the authentication token for blitz from your keychain by typing blitz logout. A keyboard hot key may also be defined beside the text based interface. Use such a short cut to send any selected text to MindMeister without copy & paste and opening the browser. Watch this short video showing the main workflow in action.

You have to define a default map on mindmeister.com if you get the error message "No default map was found for inserting". Open the mind map you want your Geistesblitzes to be stored in and define it as default map within the map's properties.

I like Alfred's non disturbing integration and with Geistesblitz it allows me to quickly take down ideas flashing into my mind during work without drastically interrupting my current task. If you'r not already using Alfred, give the free version a try and buy the power pack as soon as you get hooked! I had a lot of fun coding this little workflow and please leave me a commend if you have any feedback, problems or suggestions.

Honey, I shrunk the camera

Post created on December 24. 2012 in #photography

I sold my complete DSLR gear last week --- which was a very hard decisions to make for me. I didn't do it for the money, neither did I do it because of lost interest in photography. In fact, I would like to do more photography again and asked my self: "What is the reason for not taking so much pictures anymore?". The answer was: "Because you got lazy and you don't want to carry all the heavy DSLR gear anymore". Combine this answer with Chase Jarvis's statement "The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You" and you get your new camera requirements --- you need something small and lightweight with the capabilities of a modern DSLR.

2012 was the year of iPhone photography for me. I enjoyed taking pictures with Instagram but if you have a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and a lot of glass sitting at home, you always want to get more out of the scenes you try to capture. The camera market 2011 / 2012 revealed two exciting releases, the Fujifilm FinePix X100 and Fujifilm X-Pro1. They got praised for their design, size, weight and image quality (especially the X-Pro1 with it's brand new Fujifilm-designed 16MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor). Their retro look is very appealing, but with only one fixed focal length the X100 feels too restricted for a DSLR replacement and the XPro-1 was is too expensive. There seemed to be place for something between the X100 and the X-Pro1! Fuji saw it the same way - they released the Fujifilm X-E1.

Fujifilm X-E1

The X-E1 fixes most of my problems with the other X models. Its smaller and cheaper than the X-Pro1 but with the same great sensor and it's interchangeable high quality lenses. After struggling for a while, and finally getting my hands on @wranner's in Vienna, my order was placed. Taking pictures with this camera is more puristic and feels like "the poor mans Leica". I guess, it is the place where Fuji wants position these bodies on the market. Pictures out of the X-E1 are stunning, very sharp, rich in detail and the ISO performance of this ASP-C sensor is at least as good as my "old" full frame 5D Mark II, if not better. Size and weight makes it a "all time with you camera" and less "in-your-face" on the street. Furthermore, the available X-mount lenses seem to be very high quality, as all reviewers praise them as outstanding. I got my self the 35mm 1.4 which feels better than my Canon EF 50mm 1.4 and it's extraordinary sharp, even at 1.4.

"This Fuji lens has the superior sharpness and lack of distortion of the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2, with the speed and superior bokeh of the LEICA SUMMILUX-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH, and focuses faster, focuses closer and has less light falloff than any of them. Bravo, Fujinon!" --- Ken Rockwell

As great as the images out of this camera are, there are downsides. The auto focus is very slow, it often refuses to focus in dark scenes at high ISO and the battery is some kind of a joke. I had to recharge it 3 times the last week taking a few 100 shots (ok, it's f***ing cold outside at the moment) --- ordered two extra batteries. Unfortunately there are also some problems with the RAW conversion in Light Room (respectively Adobe Camera Raw 7.3). ARC is able to read the RAW files but sometimes details get messed up with very strange artifacts. This issue is discussed a lot and Capture One seems to handle the X-Trans sensor's RAW files better in their latest beta version. Out of camera JPG is the best option for now because the camera internal RAW to JPG conversion seems to work extremely well - Fuji should share this knowledge with Adobe & Co (I guess they already do).

This camera is not for everyone, you have to be familiar with the exposure triangle and enjoy shooting in (half) manual mode. Action shooters may not get happy whit the X-E1 as a primary camera body because of the bad auto focus performance and slow image saving speed. I'm also considering it an expensive camera compared to what you can get for the price of a X-E1 and the 35mm 1.4 prime. For my share, I'm absolutely convinced that the X-E1 (or X-Pro1) is the perfect choice for enthusiasts who want a lightweight DSLR alternative for still, portrait and landscape photography with a great look and feel. The upcoming X-mount lenses also seem very promising and the moment I can get the 14mm 2.8 it will be mine :-).

I'm not surprised that a lot of professionals own an X-Trans based camera as lightweight alternative for their work. Most importantly, this camera is a joy to use and I'm excited again, exited to grab my camera and create.

Full resolution images taken with the X-E1 can be found on Flickr.

256 Seconds Later Wallpaper for you iPhone, iPad and Mac

Post created on August 24. 2012 in #photography

I like landscape shots as wallpapers and always wanted to share some of my pictures as background images. After changing some today this thought crossed my mind again. Feel free to download 256 Seconds Later formatted for your device and leave me a comment if you would enjoy more wallpapers out of my camera (500px, Flickr) "released" in appropriate formats.

Download

256 Seconds Later iPhone

For your iPhone or iPad

For your MacBook

For your iMac

Other resolutions

Home made power bars

Post created on July 28. 2012 in #sports

Once in a while I'm getting my self a bike magazine. This month's issue included a review of power bars, questioning if they are as good as they promise. The moment I stumbled upon this article I instantly remembered a recipe mentioned by @sugarmelon last year. He tested self made power bars proposed by the Austrian triathlete Max Renko. After a year waiting on my todo list I finally conquered our kitchen and made my own power bars today!

What it takes

First mix together the following ingredients in a bowl.

  • two big bananas
  • 6 mid sized cooked potatoes
  • 360ml honey
  • 2 tea spoons salt
  • 4 table spoons cinnamon
  • 1 full egg
  • 2 white of an egg

Take a separate bowl and mix all missing ingredients for your power bars.

  • 300g oat flakes
  • 160g flour
  • 1 package baking powder
  • 200g raisins
  • 60g rubbed hazelnuts

Now mix both bowls contents together, put the mass on a backing plate and bake it at 160° C. Take out everything after 50 - 60 minutes. È voilà, your first batch of home made power bars! Use a knife or pizza wheel to cut out bars after cooling down. The given recipe produces ~25 power bars which finally get wrapped in aluminum foil separately and put into the freezer for conservation. Max noted they will defrost very quickly and be ready to eat the moment you need your first energy boost (~30 minutes).

Beside their tremendous lower price, these DIY power bars are also very tasty. They contain everything the body needs to refuel quickly but also store some energy for later. A lot of carbon hydrates, some proteins and cinnamon which is influencing your blood sugar level. You can also use different dried fruit if you don't like raisins and of course other nuts like walnuts or almonds. I will surely experiment in future.

I'm looking forward trying them on my first bike tour next week. The upcoming half marathon in August might also be a good testing opportunity, they should perform well for re-energizing mid-race. 27 bars should last a while - depending on how much my biking buddies like them I guess.

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