I don’t know if you’re familiar with the idea of an April’s fool, but I’m very interested in your responses regardless if you’re familiar with it or not. Here it’s quite common to ‘send one into April’ (In den April schicken) as the term is literally translated from German. It’s telling a story that might be true, but when the recipient follows the instructions she got, she will see, it was a fool. Then, the sender proofs it with “April, April!”.
The editor of a computer magazine fooled their reader a couple of years ago, with a listing of program code containing a lot of machine code. In those days it was not something unusual to print such a listing instead of offering it for download. The background story for that listing was, a research group were been able to reverse the computer screen’s cable and convert the CRT screen into a scanner. The paper to be scanned should be backlit by a simple desk lamp. By using the computer program printed in the magazine the paper would have been scanned and stored as an image on the hard disk.
I didn’t believe that story. But, many people did. They typed down the listing, started the program and saw the output of the program on their screen. Instead of scanning something, the words “April, April!” were printed on the screen. A perfect April’s fool!
So, news have to be proof-checked more carefully as usual on April 1st.
I don’t want to send you into April. But, I want to encourage your mind to find out, what’s in the above image! Later this week, I’m posting an update here in the post with the result.
When freshmen start in their first job as an apprentice, they are also often fooled. They were often told to fetch a certain tool or material from the storage or even a so-called partner-company on the other side of the town. There they get something very heavy to bring back to their boss. I guess, this habit is also derived from April’s fool, because, in the old days, apprenticeships started on April 1st.
These are a few examples:
Manson, carpenter, …
I guess you got the idea. Some more of these fools can be found in the German Wikipedia. If these habits are common in your area, I’m also interested in hearing them. Please tell me a bit in the comments.
The idea is, a freshman might never hear this word before and starts investigating. All experienced colleges know what is meant and keeping the freshman busy until the initial college solves and explains. Now, the freshman has passed her initiation rite.
Nowadays, many of these fools are commonly know and the freshmen know much more about the jobs they start with than it was common in the past. So, not every fresh apprentice is faced with such a fool. But, I was told, some of them are still used in some companies.
The next isn’t an April’s fool. You know, last year I introduced you to Exire Foto, software to organize your images and, most importantly, find them!
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As proposed last week, here’s the image we planned to take.
The sky was so fantastic.
A few minutes later, we got the planned, blue sky instead of the red one
To be honest, although I like images taken during the blue hour (that’s the about 20 minutes starting from approximately 30 minutes after sunset in my region), here I like the firey sky more.
Recently, a friend of mine from Prague posted a winter image from Prague. His image reminded me of my visit to Prague nearly 11 years ago in June 2010. One evening we headed to the river for some night shots of the castle above the river on the other side. We were in our hotel for collecting our tripods and went down to the tram when I noticed the cathedral in the far.
I still like this image very much. Next week, I’m going to show you the final image we planned to take.
I took this image on Saturday before last. Near the end of this year’s winter. But starting in the beginning.
Friday night two weeks ago we got severe ice-rain. For a week we had temperatures below 0°C. So, the ground was frozen everywhere. The upper areas in the air were warmer than the lower so that we were supposed to get rain instead of snow. But, because of the frozen ground and the low temperatures in the lower air areas, the rain would freeze as soon as it reaches the ground. Very dangerous conditions, when out in the streets. All plants got wet and encased inside the ice because the rain started freezing right after coming to rest on the ground or on twigs as well as on the streets and passways.
The next day, the rain changed to snow and from Sunday the landscape turned into a winter wonderland. Very soft and quite dry snowflakes were laying everywhere, even in the lowlands. You know, I’m 200m above sea level. So, we get about 15-20 cm of snow that weekend. The next few days only a few additional flakes came to accompany those already arrived. Starting on Thursday, the weather changed again: the clouds vanished and the sun came out more and more. On Saturday we had a stainless blue sky, temperatures around -10°C (up -20°C at night).
Perfect conditions for a winter hike!
At around 16:30, when the sun was already quite low (sunset at 17:42), I noticed this golden glow in the trees. Do you remember, I told you about the ice-rain. These ice encasings are the reason, why the trees are capturing all the golden light and glowing so much.
Yesterday, I already showed you an image, how the ice encaged the twigs.
Recently, I was talking with someone about photography. Because that guy is living near Frankfurt, I was checking, where and when I published my images taken in Frankfurt. Surprisingly, they are not here on my blog. The posts are still online but don’t have any images in. I put the images on a separate gallery server that doesn’t exist anymore and set only a link to that location in the post. So, this is kind of a repost.
I was in Frankfurt for a training in November 2009. As I would have been alone in a hotel each night, I took my tripod and my camera with me and planned to go out after the training for taking some night shots in the city. That was my first trip for night photography. The difficulty is to balance the bright lights with the extreme darks while having quite long exposure times.
First I went to a certain skyscraper where you can go on top of the building to have a view over the city. The sky was proposing, unfortunately, it was extremely windy. Setting up my tripod as planned was impossible. The wind simply moved the tripod away. So, I dialed in a quite high ISO to get my shots hand-held without the tripod. The ultra-wide-angle lens allowed me to use a quite open aperture to get a good depth of field and still have the exposure time on a handleable value for hand-holding the camera despite the heavy wind.
At that time, I wasted a lot of quality not only because I had to use high ISO instead of my tripod. I also relinquished to photograph in RAW instead of JPG. For this post, I took out the original images and retouched them as much as possible. But, there was not much possible to recover.
Whenever possible, go the extra mile and photograph in raw. You have so much more quality.
After leaving the tower I also walked a bit through the city. Now, I was able to use my tripod. These images are taken at ISO 200 and aperture times of several seconds each.
What have I learned from that trip?
Inside the castle of the former king of Saxonia. To the right, you can see the colonies of the former royal stud. Now, people using the area to cut short from the river Elbe or the new town on the other side of the river to come to the old town.
This image is taken during our photographer’s roundtable in January 2010. It’s 11 years old. But I guess, it’s a symbol for this year: a vaccine is available, distribution of the vaccine hast started and the bright area in the sky is proposing a “back to normal” to come soon. Until then, keep safe!
December 31st, the last day of the year! Time for a look back. I guess all of you are happy, this wired year finally came to an end. All of us are tired of the regulations, limitations, and lockdowns we were faced this past year and had to follow even if we didn’t want to.
Right before Christmas, I got my 2020 yearbook. During the lockdown in March-May, I feared, my 2020 yearbook would be quite thin, there was no possibility to go out and take photographs. But, I was wrong. I even had to work very hard, to reduce the number of images to fit in a book. So, I want to name the major topics now:
In the end, I created 4 books this year Iceland, Iceland monochrome, Iceland wildlife, and my yearbook. So, 2020 was a very productive year and without the limitations, it wouldn’t have been possible to have all my 2020 images developed up to now.
But, there were also a couple of downsides this year. Our vacation at the sea in April was canceled because of the lockdown. Our family vacation in May was also canceled because of the lockdown. The extended weekend trip end of September for visiting my brother in Switzerland was also canceled. But this time for bad weather (first heavy snowfalls and closed streets). Our plan was to make a trip to a wine-growing area in October. But, because of the increasing number of infections. We didn’t book a hotel in advance to be able to react short-term to the weather conditions. So, we stayed home instead. Around the first of Advent, my wife wanted to visit a couple of Christmas markets. You guess it: canceled – no Christmas markets were planned or set-up. Visits for Christmas with my parents or our moved-out children??? Very distributed and no gathering.
When looking at my job, it came out, I’m not affected by the lockdown and the limitations to go out for work. I can do my work perfectly from home. All I need, is my company notebook, a headset to telephone, and a connection to the internet. Lucky me! My wife is working at a pension home to keep the inhabitants mentally active. So, she’s working in a secure place.
All in all, it’s good to know, the first vaccines are already approved, and also the pop-up vaccination centers are ready. So, the most endangered people are getting their vaccines now (if they want) and all others will follow during the next months following a priority plan.
In my personal life, there were also a couple of changes. I started a completely new job. I changed from being a project manager for IT projects to vendor management. Instead of reporting to clients, I now get the reports from our vendors. A very interesting change of view.
My daughter also started working again in February. Back in 2016, she started getting educated in nursing but had to quit because of her baby. Despite being a single mum, she’s working shifts (early and late, but no nights) as a nurse in a pension home. She got employed in March after 4 weeks of working voluntarily in that pension home. For 2021 she’s planning to start again to get educated in nursing so that she will be able to earn a bit more money. She also moved to a new apartment in June (after living again with us for about 9 months, because of some problems with her apartment and since February because of her work). Now, she lives only 300m away from us, so that we can take care of her son when he’s not in kindergarten.
Our older son was able to convert his fixed-term contract into an unlimited one and our youngest wasn’t limited too much by the lockdowns to learn for his job. By the end of 2021, he has to pass the written exam and in January 2022 he has to pass the oral examination.
My wife is currently recuperating from the lung inflammation she got surprisingly early December.
This is the sun at noon on Dec. 24th. That’s a very typical winter sky here in my region. You can see, how low the sun is in the sky. It’s taken from your bathroom window on the second floor. From the street, I would be unable to see the sun at all. The trees are not that large and are about 100m away from our house. But the sun is standing so low during winter.
The image above is also a good illustration of my year 2020: there was a lot of struggling and complicated situations. We were pained by strict regulations to fight against SARS2-CoV. But, there was still some light. Think about your past 12 months. I guess you are also able to find some enlightening memories. Keep them well and let them carry you through the remaining time of the pandemic.
See you next year! Happy New Year!
8 years ago! What a day. Perfect weather. Even stars above the scene!
Our monthly photographer’s roundtable led us to this closed former steel plant in the north-western Ruhr area. Instead of tearing it down, the area was converted into a park and many parts are accessible for the people. This was neither my first, nor my last visit. Unfortunately, it’s nearly a 100km drive.
I took this image a couple of years ago, but it could be taken today.
This image is illustrating, how I currently feel: bored, annoyed but at the same time lacking drive. I have so much to do, but I’m not motivated to do anything. So, I’m waiting for the time passing by when I’m back from work.
Only three weeks until winter solstice. Today, sunrise was at 8:24h and sunset is at 16:22. On Dec. 21st the sun will rise at 8:33h and set at 16:22h. But, when having so deep hanging clouds and fog, the days don’t get bright. People living further north even have way shorter days at the moment.
The weekend before last, the temperature was below 0°C even during the days with crisp blue skies. But, on the next Monday, the temperatures rose again and brought this uncomfortable weather: slightly above the freezing point, drizzling rain (with the ability to create black ice on the frozen surfaces of the streets), and the bad sight. A thick, warm jacket or better coat is important. Not because of the low temperatures, but because everything feels colder because of the moisture in the air. An umbrella does not help much. The drops are so fine, they find their way under the umbrella and make your clothes wet.
Unusually we have this kind of weather during November (but with much more rain). This year, November was way too dry. Forests are dying because of the lack of water. Lakes, and especially the artificial lakes for ensuring we have enough drinking water, are dramatically empty. Three hot years in a row without enough rain to refill all the reservoirs have consequences. Nature is fighting back!
We need more large forests to make sure, the rain will come back. But, without water, no forest can grow. Even, if it could, it would last decades.
This is flu weather. Keep yourself warm and take care of not getting infected by any of the bad viruses roaming outside at the moment. You know, there are a few viruses around much worse than flu.
Today’s subject is inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s famous movie as I kind of felt like the main actor of the story (played by James Stewart) might have felt. No, I’m not sitting in a wheel-chair, nor I’m handicapped otherwise. But, the remaining parts have some similarities.
Last Sunday morning I was attending a personal video conference from our living room. I was sitting on the couch with my notebook standing on the coffee table in front of me. So, I was able to easily watch out of the big window when I suddenly recognized a movement in the garden. That day was already winterly: cold (around 3-4°C), a gray covered sky and it was drizzling. Very uncomfortable being outside. Fortunately, I was sitting inside.
I tried to discover, what kind of movement I recognized from the corner of my eye. It was different from the regular bird’s movements. About 20 meters away from me I saw a gray subject laying on the lawn. But, I was still unable to determine what it was. After staring a couple of seconds on the subject, I got the idea, it could be a bird of prey with its prey after a successful hunt which it now covers with its wings to hide it from greedy competitors. Hurring upstairs for getting my camera, but I was too slow. The gray patch was already gone when I returned.
But, after a couple of minutes, it flew into our apple tree for a short rest. This time my camera was ready.
Here he sits, still having the prey in the left claw. I’m not perfectly sure, what it is (was). I guess it could be an Eurasian blackbird.
Btw. the German name “Sperber” is derived from the Old High German words Sparo (sparrow) and Aar (eagle). So, we have a sparrow-eagle 😊
Btw2. The German title of the movie is “Das Fenster zum Hof” and translates to “The window to the courtyard”, which is in my opinion a better description for the movie. But, as it is Alfred’s creation he has the right to name it whatever he thinks is right.