Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Photo on the Cover of the Book Throwing Stones

Cow with bended Horn
Originally uploaded by theowl84
A few months ago I received an email from a publisher from Australia who was interested in putting my picture of a cow on the front cover of a book.

I let them use the photo for free and asked them to send me a copy of that book. Last week I got a copy of the freshly printed book "Throwing Stones" by Michael Dawson where the cow has found its place in a collage on the front cover.

The book is tag-lined "Throwing Stones will change the way you think, and think about religion and underwear". I'm pretty excited reading it in order to find out what it's all about. Then I'm probably write a blog entry about it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Selling Photos on Shutterstock

Lately I started selling my photos at Shutterstock. This was actually one of the first microstock sites I signed up to but I had to wait a long time until my initial reviews got accepted. They have a entry policy that requires you to upload 10 pictures and no less than 7 of them must be accepted.

Now I am a submitting member on that site and downloads are rushing in. In my first week I made more than 10 downloads with only around 30 pictures online already. I'm expecting to see these number increase in the future.

In the meanwhile I'd love to see you browse through or even buy my pictures :)

My latest images for sale at Shutterstock:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Make Money with your Photos

View My Portfolio
It's been a while since my last post. That's partly due to my work and studies but to a new use of my photos as well.

After being on flickr for a little more than a year now, I started selling my images on various stock images sites. Why? Because you can make real money there and if you are seriously into photography, you need to make some money to afford all the equipment.

How does it work? You need sign up and take a short test to prove that your photos are ready for stock. This means that you can't sell your snapshots on stock-photo sites. It's all about pictures that sell. And only things that will be used can also be sold.

Just take a local newspaper or magazine and browse through the pages and read where the photos come from (e.g. ©iStockphoto / Photographer). I hardly see any newspaper that does not use stock photos. They are a lot cheaper than paying a photographer take the images on demand. But they give you only some idea what it means for an image to be a good stock image.

Once you've started uploaded your first image, you will need to wait for 7 to 10 days until it has been reviewed. This means that some woman or guy somewhere in the world will have to look at your photo and check if that picture is compliant to the rules. This means no noise, no company names or logos, no artifacts and loads of other reasons that would make your image not useable. Don't be disappointed if your images get rejected. I have not yet exceeded the 50% approval rate so far which means I still need to learn and improve.

So, if you like to enter the world of stock photography the doors are open. Everyone is accepted and there is a fair competition with those already in the business. The only thing that counts is that your image can be used by someone out there!

Of course, if you like to buy on of my images, just use the following link and license your copy...
View My Portfolio

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Losing my Sense of Taste for a Day

Last week something strange happened to me. After eating loads of Wasabi and Chili, I woke up the next day without any taste from my tongue.

I realized while having my breakfast because the chocolate syrup didn't taste as sweet as usual. It still took some time until I fully recognized my loss of taste.

So if you ever wondered how chocolate tastes when you can't taste, I can tell you it's boring. And because I lost all my other taste senses, it didn't taste bitter either, just like an tasteless paste.

The good part about chocolate is that it has a very good smell, so smelling it makes you remember what it tastes like, so you imagine the taste. This does not work with salt for example. I tried a little bit with the tip of my tongue. Normally it's quite intense when tasted pure, but for me it had less taste than a few grains of sand.

For lunch I had salad with many ingredients. Again, I know what most things taste like, so I imagined the taste and really thought I had little bit of my sensuality back. But I rather blame my memory for that, again.

The evening was even worse. I had potato wedges with tomato ketchup. If I didn't know ketchup before, I would be wondering why people love this viscid cream so much. At least it had a slightly sour taste when swallowing. And that taste came from my palate. I didn't know you can taste with the roof of your mouth... but it's true.

I better skip the part about how beer tastes without a taste, and even water tastes horrible without any sense of taste. Yeah, not tasting has some kind of anti-taste. Probably water has some taste that cancels out this anti-taste to taste neutral... who knows.

Luckily, the next day I slowly regained all my senses and now this temporal disability has vanished. But it left some great impressions on me and I want to summarize those for you:

  • You judge a lot about food by it's smell and your imagination about how it could taste.
  • You only fully realize how wonderful the sense of taste can be when you lose it
  • Never eat too much of Wasabi unless you intend to have the same experience I had :-)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Focal Length Calculation for a DSLR Camera

Canon 400D with a Vivitar 400mm Lens
As I'm studying for a subject concerning cameras at university, I have to used a formula for calculating the required focal length to fill the sensor with an image. And I thought this formula could be quite practical for you as well.

That formula is
f = d * I / (I + O)
where f[m] denotes the required focal length to picture an image with the width of O[m] on the sensor with the width of I[m] when the object is d[m] away from the camera.

For my Canon EOS 400D camera with a sensor dimension of 22.2mm x 14.8mm a sample calculation could look like this:

I would like to picture an object that is 20cm wide and 1m away from my camera. So I set d = 1m, O = 0.02m and I = 0.0148m (sensor width).
Inserting into the formula from above this gives me a focal length of f=0.0689m or 69mm.

This formula is valid for all cameras (just find out your sensor dimensions) and all lenses.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili
Originally uploaded by theowl84
My home grown chilies start to grow bigger and bigger, the first are bright red already. Soon others will follow. I'm planning to sell some of them on eBay as I can't handle the huge amount of them on my own.
So in case you want to try some or grow them yourself, just mail me and I can send you some exemplars.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Software Update for Nokia 5310 Version 5.81

Today I updated my Nokia 5310 phone to the new 5.81 version. As I have read that there may be some problems with it I thought I'd report about my experience on my blog.

To find out what version is installed on your phone, type in *#0000# using your keypad. I had the 3.6 version installed. So I downloaded the latest version of the Nokia Software Updater. After a reboot it detected my phone connected via the USB cable.
I took the hint to backup the phone settings seriously. You can do that via the phone menu. Go to the Setting->Sync and backup->Create Backup submenu.

Then I started the update which ran automatically without problems. 10 minutes later the phone rebooted and requested the PIN code. Unfortunately all my personal data were deleted. So I had to restore the data I backed up before. That worked quite fine and I didn't loose any contact info or calendar settings.

What's new?
So far I found the following new options and functionalities:

  • I can now add Java programs to my favorite's list.

  • There is now a quick dial function. Just press one of the keys from 2 to 9 for 2 seconds.

Update: The newest version is V 09.42 which can be installed just as easy. I haven't found any major improvements yet (except for a new status bar when loading things).

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dark Cloud

Dark Cloud
Originally uploaded by theowl84
What's more interesting than a dark cloud on a all sunny day. This one passed the sun and cast shadow over the whole place. I got my camera out just in time to catch this wonderful moment.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Cokin Filter System on my Canon EOS 400D

My newest purchase for my Canon EOS 400D camera is a part of the Cokin Filter System. It basically consists of a filter holder and an adapter for 58mm lenses. The filter holder can hold a variety of filters. The set I got from eBay consisted of 7 filters including stars, blue color, pastel and others.
Later, I bought a much desired gradient filter and closeup lens (+3). Compared to the price of individual screw in filters, Cokin filters only cost a fraction if you buy them on the used market as most of them only consist of a glass plate with some printing on it.
I'd like to give you a review of the filters I have got. It may help you decide if you want to buy the same for your digital or analog camera. I will continue this list as I gain more experience and probably more filters.

Diffractor Galaxy (42)
This is a very odd filter that adds rainbow like beams to point light sources. The effect is rather strong and I think it destroys more of the image than adds to it.

Star 4 (57 A)
This filter adds nice star effects to your image. You can rotate it and use it for point light sources like street lamps at night.

Parallel (58)
This works similar like the star filter but only creates stars with two beams of light. You can also use it for point light sources like this image.

Spot-Orange (66)
This is an orange glass with a transparent circle in the middle. I have not found suitable scenes where to use it yet.

Coef. + 2 BLUE (80 A)
This is a blue filter that makes the colors the image. I made some wonderful images with a cloudy sky.

Pastel 2 (87)
This filter makes the picture look much smoother, almost like a painting. I found it best for closeups and the effect destroys the image on wide angle scenes. But for flower pictures it really adds a lot to the image.

Close-up +3 (103 A)
This is a classic closeup filter that allows you to move your camera closer to objects.

Gradual G1 Grey (120 A)
This filter is a gradual gray filter. You can use it to make the sky darker than the foreground which helps you a lot when it comes to correct exposure in high contrast outdoor scenes. You could do this effect on your computer when shooting in RAW but for JPEG images you get best quality when using this filter. The filter is color neutral and you can rotate the filter holder to adjust the effect.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Reviving an old Eumig R 2000 projector

A few weeks ago I was carrying out the waste when I found something strange in the waste room. First it looked like a television, but when I took a closer look it turned out to be something different. It was a 8mm film projector.

I couldn't resist taking it into my flat and take a closer look. I plugged it into the power plug and turned it on. The lamp was still working and a motor was transporting the non-existent film. But there was some flickering on it's screen.

It must have stood somewhere for ages, so it was quite dusty. I started cleaning it and also opened it's case. It was quite a surprise when I found out that you can flip it's mirror outwards so you can watch movies on both the internal screen as well as the projection on a wall. The only thing it didn't have was sound.

As soon as this day I ordered a 8mm movie on eBay, the cheapest I could find as I just wanted to try it out. A week later I had the movie.

But how to get the movie into the projector? I failed feeding it at first. So I thought: "Maybe I need to rewind it". So I transfered the movie onto another film roll and tried again. I had quite some troubles getting the film through all the rolls and gears inside the projector. But finally I succeeded and had to find out: the movie was upside down. So maybe it was all right the way it was before. I retransfered it to the original film roll and tried another time. This time the projector accepted it and started showing the pictures on the screen. Hurray!!!

Later that day me and my girlfriend made ourselves a movie evening with 5 minutes of film. It was the Max and Moritz movie, part 1. As the projector is a silent one, we played a Ennio Morricone CD in the background. What an amazing experience for a guy who grew up knowing the television only.

As I never intended to watch movies on this device, I had the idea to sell it on eBay later on. But before I did, I came to a flea market and started talking to a dealer there. He said, that a few minutes earlier a guy wanted to buy a projector like mine. Before he could write down my number, that guy came back and I talked to him directly.

A week later that same guy came to visit my flat and took a look at the projector. And he actually bought it. So I sold my projector which didn't cost me anything.

Summing up I avoided that the projector would have been disposed in an inappropriate way, I had some fun playing around with it and I made some money selling it. I wish things like that would happen more often to me.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Total Lunar Eclipse

Total Lunar Eclipse
Originally uploaded by theowl84
This night there was a big show on the sky. A total lunar eclipse over Graz, Austria. But when I got up at 3 a.m. I was very disappointed. There were clouds all over. So I went back to sleep until shortly before 4 am. Again, I went to my window and looked outside. I could see the moon, but only a slice of it. Then it disappeared.
A few moments later it was back on the sky. All clouds were gone and the moon turned red. That's what I wanted to see. I kept taking pictures for more than one hour until the earth moved away and the sun touched the moon again.
Interestingly, as soon as the moon started to reflect the sun's light, the clouds were visible again.

This was one of the days where I was happy to have my Canon EOS 400D camera with all the lenses I have got. For this picture I used the Vivitar 400mm f/5.6 with and without a 2x Minolta Teleconverter and my Canon EF 28-105mm USM lens. I needed to set the ISO to 800 most of the time as I the earth turns very fast when using a 800mm lens.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens

Beautiful Sunset on Schlossberg
Originally uploaded by theowl84
I was asking myself if I really need a fixed focal lens and if so, how much it should cost. After almost a month I decided to get myself a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. I didn't want to get the cheaper f/1.8 as I read that it's build quality isn't that good. And in addition to that I already have a 58mm filter, so the f/1.4 was a perfect fit there. Another plus was the USM focus, which I am used to from my Canon EF 28-105 USM lens. I don't want to miss that anymore.
So I decided to go for that lens. As it isn't that much cheaper on the used marked, I got mine from Amazon.
Last weekend I went on a photo trip with my Canon EOS 400D and my new lens. I tried it out in various situations. And I have to say, I am impressed by it's sharpness, how fast it is in both light and focusing speed and when using it with the 400D's x1.6 crop factor, you can use it for almost any situation.
The thing that I love most about it is that it allows digital zooming on my computer. As almost every pixel is sharp, it's no problem cropping the picture to about 10% of size and still get a good quality picture.
If you like to view more of the pictures I've taken with the lens, take a look at my flickr-page.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

It's raining satellite dishes today

On Jan. 27th 2008 there was a stong storm in Graz, Austria. In the news you hear from fallen trees and people getting hurt.
When I looked out of the window this morning, a satellite dish was just dropping down from the forth floor of the building I'm living in. I don't think it will work anymore. I brought it inside, so the owner can at least pick up the remainings of it.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Vandalism on Hans Kloepfer

Vandalism on Hans Kloepfer
Originally uploaded by theowl84
Today I was walking on Schlossberg in Graz. I realized the green head before but today I also took a picture from it.
It's so sad that there are people destroying the most beautiful things. This head used to be black, but now somebody has spray painted it green. There are also other statues destroyed in the same way near this place.
When I took this picture an old woman started talking to me about what she'd do to prevent this: she'd place police men with bats and guns everywhere. While she admitted that shooting the perpetrators isn't the best choice, she suggested beating them.
Well, I don't think that this is the right treatment, but I do not have a good alternative neither. The best thing would be giving young people something better to do or at least make them realize that there are valuable things that shouldn't be destroyed.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sample Picture taken with Nokia 5310 XpressMusic

As some people have asked me to show them some pictures taken with my Nokia 5310, I'll post some here.
For the beginning, here is one I took in a park in Graz:
Augarten Park

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Rokkor 50mm/f1.7 meets Canon 400D

This week I got my lens adapter to be able to attach the old Minolta lenses that we have at home with my Canon EOS 400D. I got it for about EUR 30 at eBay. It was cheapest in a shop in Hong Kong.
It works quite nice. I can attach all MC or MD lenses (with manual focus of course). It also features a correction lens, which is important if I want to focus to infinity.
I did some tests with the MC Rokkor - PF 50mm f/1.7 lens. It performs great when wide open and the object isn't far away. For infinity I do have to stop it down a little - but for these ranges I do have other lenses.
The only negative side is that I do have to focus manually, which is quite tricky with the lens wide open.