Today, I have something special for you. I’m currently preparing a review of the most recent version of Excire Foto. In my opinion, each photographer needs such software, regardless if one is a pro or a hobbyist. While I was preparing the post, a marketing email reached my inbox with keys. I got voucher codes for Excire Foto to raffle them off among my followers. So, you can win one of the serials.
To win one of the vouchers, I want you to post in the comments two things:
why do you want/need Excire Foto
how big is the pile of images on your disk to dig through for finding a certain image i.e. for using it for a competition, a blog post, or friends and family
I’m putting all replies into a hat and ask my daughter to draw the winners.
I’m running the same drawing in my German blog, too. I’m putting each commenter’s name in the hat only once. The comment has to be filed here in my blog on WordPress.com or on my German blog. (No Twitter, no Instagram, no Facebook). The drawing will take place after my vacation: June, 14th. Only comments with a timestamp before June 14th, 00:00h are eligible for the drawing.
When entering your comment for a chance to win, you’re accepting to receive a one-time email in case you’re drawn containing the voucher code and some instructions on how to get the software. The data will not be used for any other purpose.
Today is the first day of my summer vacation. I’m supposed to be where I could hear the sound of the seagulls, the wind, and the waves while having a distinct smell of salty air in my nose. But, it’s pandemic time. Still, many regulations although some travel is allowed again for a few days. Fortunately, the weather is still too cold for the end of May, it’s raining a lot and the weather is changing very quickly. It looks more like early April than late May. Thus we’re enjoying (or at least try to) our vacation at home. But, I guess, farmers and rangers are quite happy about the rain. And old farmers rule says: when May is cool and wet, it fills the farmer barn and barrel. ( in German this saying rhymes)
So, this memory of three black-headed gulls standing in the wind captured in April 2019 has to comfort me.
These are the days, where I’m happy to have software helping me discovering images quite fast. Tina asked for images with blue and green for the Lens-Artists photo challenge and this way I’m able to deliver very fast. Opening the find dialog, choose the two relevant colors and I’m presented with dozens of suitable images to choose from.
I hope you like the selection:
If you’re interested to give the software a try, there’s a free trial available:
A few weeks ago, I was on the road quite early for capturing flowers right after sunrise. Unfortunately, they were not blooming when I arrived, because of the too cold temperature we had during the last couple of weeks.
On my way back, I stopped at this huge machine, standing in a vast hole in the ground. I’m standing at the edge of the hole. In the back, you can spot another of these machines right above the edge of the excavation. Also, compare it with the white car. This car is a pickup. So, it’s not that small. I’ve never before been so close to such a huge machine. It’s used as a stacker to put the unusable earth back in the hole because they only want to have the brown coal.
I already published images from that digging pit a couple of times. In this post, published about 10 years ago, you can get a bit of an overview. Or, here, you can see, how it looks at night. While you can here find an image of the hole taken with a fisheye lens.
Although I hate how they treat the earth so badly by grabbing brown coal from the ground for using it inefficiently to burn it for producing electricity power, I find these huge machines really fascinating. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to the day they are not needed anymore.
What a spectacular sight. While raining, the sun was able to shine through a hole in the clouds. Upfront, fog-like conditions because of the dense rain combined with the bright light of the sun. I’ve never seen such conditions before.
Spots and dots ….. a hard challenge when photographing primarily nature. But, nevertheless, Ann-Christine, I’m taking the ball. Nobody said a challenge would be easy. That’s the essence and character of a challenge.
So, take the word “spot” first. It can mean a (dust/dirt) spot on a surface, but it can also mean a very certain location of activity or where something is located. In nature, you need to know such certain spots to find your subject.
First, I have a checkered lily and a spring snowflake. Do you see the spots and dots on the petals? I found it a couple of years ago in a very certain spot. Next, a holly blue, a spotted dogfish, and a gray seal. Nature uses spots for hiding the shape of animals to either hide them from predators or, vice versa, to be recognized too early by their prey.
When stepping back a bit, you can see i.e. poppies like dots in the fields or in early spring fields of alpine squills under the trees when they have no leaves yet. And, don’t forget the red dots of Ilex during winter.
The spots in the last image, I’m leaving for your imagination. Guess, what you see 🙂 I’m solving it later 🙂
Edit: the last image is taken by an intentional mis-focus of the tiny wavelets of the Mediterranean sea on a calm day backlit by the rising sun. The nice bokeh is the result of the mis-focus. Each of the circles was a sun sparkle
Recently, I started analyzing my images a bit. You know, nearly all cameras are writing some metadata in the image files in addition to the image you’re capturing. I dug all this information out of my developed images but left the undeveloped raw data alone. In this analysis, I’ve included only landscape, macro, Astro, and wildlife images, but no people photography like portraits, models, weddings, or similar things.
I installed the open-source software DigiKam on my computer and configured an image directory. All of my developed images are stored in that directory, but in different folders for each trip. You can find out a bit more about my storage principles in one of my past articles.
DigiKam now read in all the metadata from the jpg files and stored them in an SQLite database. After terminating DigiKam, I was able to open the SQLite database with an SQLBrowser and select all the information I want. I first duplicated the database and started then normalizing the information. Over time, I used different software products for developing my images and not all of them used the exact same writing style for naming the different cameras and lenses.
I was very interested in getting to know my most favorite focal length over time. So, this was the first step: selecting the different camera bodies. Here they are listed with their sensor size and resolution in Mega-Pixel.
used from .. to
2008 – 2009
adv. level APS-C
2009 – 2017
2012 – 2014
2015 – 2020
Hint: body 2 was used a lot for wildlife in addition to the common jobs like landscape, portrait, model, event, and weddings until it was replaced by body 4. From that point in time, I used it only for wildlife until it was replaced by body 3, which is nearly solely used for wildlife. That’s the reason for the very high shutter count of body 3. Body 1 and 2 are already sold and body 4 was replaced because of a product recall. I still own body 5 but only using it for portraits or weddings because of the remote flash capabilities. The shutter has a proposed lifetime of 150,000 exposures (5 + 6) respectively 200,000 (3). So, no need to worry.
In the next table, we have the overall usage of a certain lens in combination with one of the camera bodies. The totals are as interesting as the number of images per camera body.
10.5mm f2.8 fisheye
16mm f2.8 fisheye
90mm f2.8 macro
100mm f2.8 macro
105mm f2.8 macro
12mm full manual lens
Hint: I don’t own all of the used lenses. I owned some of them at a certain time and sold them already, while I got borrowed others. But, the cameras I got borrowed for testing purposes are not included in these statistics.
Hint 2: the totals per camera in table 2 don’t correspond to the number of shutter releases from table 1. In table 1 I have the total number of shutter releases from the counter inside the camera. The total per camera in table 2 is the number of developed images. Sometimes, I’m taking security shots and develop only one or doing HDR images, where 3 or more different exposed raw files are merged into one final image to benefit from the expanded dynamic range. Astro images are quite similar to HDRs, but here are tens up to hundreds of raw files merged. In wildlife, portrait, and wedding photography, you also take more images as you need for different purposes.
Hint 3: I left out all portrait, wedding, event, model, and engagement photos because I know the most favorite lens for this purpose: the 85mm prime, the 50mm prime as runner up, followed by the 35mm prime. These lenses are quite old. They were made for film cameras (pre-digital). They are perfectly sharp and don’t have distortions, as all modern lenses have (you usually don’t notice this fact, because of the firmware of the lens and the camera, where the distortion is automatically corrected more or less well. But the corrections have an influence on the sharpness. Therefore I’m preferring the prime lenses.
Next, I will see my most favorite focal lengths (shown as 35mm equivalent), aperture, and ISO values.
The last step will be a script, correcting the wrongly labeled images.
Gardens! Nowadays you can find them around many houses. But, the idea of having a garden is not that old. When spinning the time back for about 100 years, you would also find gardens, but they were generally looking way different than today. Instead of flowers and blooming bushes, you would have found vegetables and fruits. The gardens were used to grow food. Not everything was in shops available for sale. So, people had to take care of themselves. Only farmers used to have small so-called farmer’s gardens. But, even in these farmer gardens, you were able to find herbs among the flowers.
In Japan, gardening has a quite long tradition. The gardens usually have a religious background. In the past, I already told you, that our state capital Düsseldorf has one of the three biggest Japanese ex-pat communities (besides London and Paris). Not far away from my home, there is a Japanese garden, built by a Japanese garden architect. In Japanese gardens, each detail has a reason. Every position, size, and direction of each detail has a meaning. So, each year a group of Japanese gardeners comes over to reshape the garden.
I was there a few times and would go again when we would not have the pandemic still around. So, enjoy my images from the past.
This post is my contribution to The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge hosted by Amy. Head over to her page and read to rules to participate.
feels kind of strange in Scotland (at least for me). Having such wonderful weather while being on the coast and even have a sandy beach and wearing a warm jacket is strange. Although I was already on Helgoland in mid-January, this felt kind of wrong.
On the other hand, the Icelandic beaches are different. Even when having one of these warm days hours with a blue sky, the beaches are black and the waves huge. They don’t invite for a bath.