art, culture, history, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, travel, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #100 – “The Long and Winding Road”

Today, it’s Tina’s turn to challenge us and the asks for long and winding roads.

Come, follow me to the fantastic island located in the nothern Atlantic: Iceland

even this is a road for cars

I love this image very much. The tiny car crossing the river in the front part of the image isn’t a toy car. It’s a big offroad van instead.

 

Or do you prefer Scotland?

Now, we’re on the Isle of Skye:

 

 

 

You can also travel in Wales.

 

Maybe you like a railrod more than a paved or a gravel road

A short trip to the Czech Republic for visiting their nice capitol: Praque

In the Alpes, like here in Switzerland, you can find lots of winding roads .

Sometimes, roads don’t look like a road, but they are like here in the wonderful Valley de Viñales in the north of Cuba

 

Also, rivers are roads:

 

You can see the roads even better from above by getting in an hot-air ballon:

Now, lets sing together with Louis Armstrong “(What a) Wonderful World”!

 

btw. some guys really love winding roads:

 

Take care

art, culture, history, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, travel, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #99 – “old an new”

Today, it’s Amy’s turn to challenge us. And she did.  She was thinking of people wearing traditional clothes in a modern city or using modern machines. Another idea she told us, is a cityscape taken in a city with a history where new building standing beside old buildings or modern vehicles in front of historic buildings.

Here are my images for this challenge. As usual: click on the images to enlarge them.

I want to show you modern machine digging in the ground for coal, cerated eons ago.

Modern art in the middle of the king’s castle of an old kingdom?

Coal made the Ruhr area rich. Nowadays only the once dirty but now the remaining symbols are keeping the memory alive.

Some ancient traditions are kept alive by modern soldiers in traditional uniforms to keep the memory alive.

Once this was a dirty and busy harbor. Now startups, expensive restaurants, media agencies and hotels residing in the brick stone buildings as well as in the modern glass-and-steel buildings.

Even when visiting tiny greek islands you will stumble upon the achievements of modern society.

 

Have a nice weekend and

Take care

art, culture, history, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, travel, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #98 – “Delicate Colours”

this week the Lens-Artists photo challenge is organized by Leya

Spring is the season of colors. While some colors are very intense others are soft and delicate. Here in my region spring is nearly over. This week we even got the first day of summer. It was so hot, we were able to sit outside ’til 11 p.m.. Great! I love it!

Thus, I picked some images from my archive. The pasqueflower and the white-pink magnolia are from 2017 and the other images from March and April 2020.

Take care

art, culture, history, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, travel, world

Lens-Artists Challenge #97 – “past times”

this week the Lens-Artists photo challenge is organized by a guest-host: Sue from The Nature of Things.

She told us that she’s currently locked at home as many (if not most) of us. So, there’s plenty of time to think about things and the past. That’s why she asked “pasttimes”.

When I thought about the topic, an idea came up to my mind: let’s dig in your digital archive and pick the oldest images you have.

I switched from film to digital in the fall of 2008. The first time I was only playing around with the camera to get used to it. I started photography in the late 1970s and bought my first own SLR in 1984. Up to now, none of the films of those days is digitized. In January 2009 I stumbled upon a group of photo enthusiasts organizing photography trips over the internet and I joined them for the February trip. These images are the oldest digital images I still have on my disk.

The funny thing is, the photo trip in February 2009 was to a garage for classic automobiles. Here you can buy and sell such cars. You can also find craftsmen being able to repair these old cars. The main floor of the garage is used to be a showroom. I really love such old automobiles. Unfortunately, they use the available space very efficiently. So, it’s no fun to take photos. There nearly no room to get good images. 😢

The second important thing is, I met a group of people I’m still friends with. We still meet once a month for photography trips. I’m so glad to have been brave enough to ask if I’d be allowed to join.

Take care

animals, bird, landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, wildlife

Lens-Artists Challenge #96 – “crop”

To crop your image means cutting away unimportant or disturbing parts and giving the important part the best position in the frame. This is part of the so-called image composing. Patti challenges us this week for Lens-Artists photo challenge with this topic.

Because I started photography back in film days, nearly 100 % of my landscape and people images are (IMHO) well composed. But in wildlife photography, it’s a very often used technique.

Here you can see one of my raw images without any editing. Below, you can see the final image

You can see, I balanced the horizon and placed the cormorant on one of the golden ratios.


The image is taken with an 80-400mm lens attached to a APS-C camera body at 400mm.

Take care

Computer, gear, Linux, macOS, photography, review, software, technical, Windows

How to recover lost files – a software review (ad because of naming a product)

Photographers nowadays need solid IT skills for their job. How to run a computer. How to install, update and uninstall software. How to do backups. Know your operating system (Windows, MacOS, Linux) and the relevant file-systems. Each photographer hoards huge piles of valuable data (the images) on his or her computer disks. They need a strategy to recover the images after a disaster i.e. computer theft, hard disk failures or SSD corruptions (you know, each cell in flash storage has a limited lifetime because the cells die after a certain number of write cycles).  Sometimes one is faced with an empty storage card because of an unintentional re-formatting. So, what can you do?

 

The basics

First of all, be prepared! Here you can find information on how to recover such lost files. Get the necessary software now and practice with test data to know the steps when it comes to such a disaster.

In the past, Microsoft brought us FAT as the filesystem. In 1977 it appeared first in MS-DOS. Since then it was developed further and got more features. Because of the ease of organizing data (especially when it comes to sequential writes), it’s still popular for storage cards used by smartphones and cameras.

The computers itself use usually more sophisticated filesystems like NTFS, HPFS, HFS, HFS+, APFS, ext2, ext3, ext4, xfs, btrfs and more. Unfortunately, these modern filesystems are organizing data very differently to FAT and its ascendants like vFAT, exFAT or FAT32. So, recovery data from disks using one of the modern filesystems looks like a game of hazard or spinning a huge wheel of fortune where only one winning chance is set randomly. When using data recovery software you might have luck recovering recently deleted files. On FAT the chance is much higher because of the different principles the data is organized.

Now you might remember having read some reports of found data on thrown-away disks. Yes, that’s true. Forensics are able to recover the blocks of destroyed disks and scratch tiny pieces of data from the disk and reassemble it. Data is organized in blocks. The size of each block is about 512 or 2048 byte, depending on the used filesystem. For getting information like names, account data, credit card information or so, that’s enough. But, look at your images. Each image uses several MB on the disk. To recover your image, it’s a necessity to have ALL blocks and they must be in the right order. A single corrupt byte is tolerable but a couple of bytes can result in a complete loss.

In more than 20 years of handling digital photos, I never lost a complete card. But, 2 or 3 times I deleted a couple of files from the cards unintentionally. In the past, photorec was the tool of my choice. It’s an open-source tool. You can download and use it for free. But, you have to understand, how it works.

First, you have to avoid any further writings on the disk from where you want to recover data. That’s essential for successfully recover files.

 

Photorec (part of the open-source product testdisk)

The installation of photorec is easy. Linux users can install it usually by using their packet manager, while Windows users need to download it from the developer’s homepage and unpack the zip-file. MacOS users can install it via brew

$ brew install testdisk

Now you open a console (Terminal on Mac or Linux, and CMD on Windows). Next, you start photorec by telling it, where to search

MacOS / OS X

$ photorec /Volume/SD-card (or whatever name the card has)

Linux

# photorec /media/SD-card (or whatever name the card has; mountpoint also might vary i.e. /mnt/)

Windows

C:\> photorec d: (or whatever drivename the device has, where you want to recover files. Check it with the Windows Exporer)

If photorec recognizes an already started recovery, it asks you if you want to continue the session or start a new one. Next, it tries to read the directory and offers you to browse where the lost data was stored. Photorec can recover several types of data, not only jpg images. It can also recover lost partitions, if necessary. But that’s beyond the subject of this post.

When you’re fine with the position, photorec needs a location on a different disk to copy the recovered data to. After that, it only needs time.

FAT filesystems don’t delete the data on the disk when files are deleted. Instead, only the first letter of the filename in the directory is replaced by a ‘?’ which makes the file invisible and marks the occupied space as reusable. So, the magic is, photorec reads the directory and scans for filenames starting with ‘?’. Then it looks up each filename and checks based on the location information (block numbers) stored along with the filename if the relevant file is completely available (all blocks from the chain of blocks ’til the end-of-file mark). If so, the blocks are copied to the chosen target destination. But, the filename is lost. Instead, the name of the first data block, where the file was stored, is used to keep filenames unique.

As photorec runs in the console, not everyone feels skilled enough to use it.

 

Disk Drill by Cleverfiles

Recently, I got a review version of a newer data recovery software: Disk Drill by CleverFiles. It’s available for Windows and for MacOS and has a visual GUI to be handled with the mouse. On MacOS the current version needs at least the latest version of Mavericks. But older versions are also available for download, in case your MacOS is still running an older version of OS X for whatever reason. Disk Drill comes as an app to be pulled in the Applications folder only, to get installed.

I installed Disk Drill on my Macbook, which I’m also using for developing my images.

So, I have a lot of images on my disk (raw data), which I process and delete after processing them. Thus, I should have a lot of files potentially being recoverable on my disk. It’s a 512 GB SSD formated with APFS. The deep scan has run for about 40 minutes. But, as expected, Disk Drill found nearly nothing! No raw-file, no jpgs, no text documents or spreadsheets. The only files Disk Drill found were a couple of files I have had in my trash bin, which was emptied just before installing Disk Drill.

My other tests were on a disk formatted with Windows NTFS and an SDcard from my camera formatted with FAT.

Recovering files (raw data written by my digital camera) from the SDcard was very successful, just like expected. A 256 GB drive was scanned in a couple of minutes and offered tons of recoverable files.

I also run Disk Drill on a 1 TB NTFS hard disc formatted by Windows. The scan lasted nearly 3 hours while the well-equipped computer got a lot of stress and the fans run at a high level for certain times. But, I was able to work with it as usual for the whole time. In the end, the so-called deep scan found a reasonable number of recoverable files of different types. Unfortunately, all of them lost their names and were offered to me for recovery grouped by file type. Hard to find the file you accidentally deleted 😦

So, the result is not much different from the outcome of photorec.

Similar to photorec, Disk Drill also works with sessions. But, differently to photorec I was unable to make Disk Drill forget the saved session and do a re-scan after i.e. running a cleanup (I tried to wipe out some files I don’t want to be able to get recovered and check if they are unable to be recovered)

Further functions:

Disk Drill has a couple of further functions.

You can open a backup of an iOS device (as long as you know the recovery passcode) stored on your computer and recover files from iOS backup (iTunes). Works great. You can get contacts, appointments, reminders, photos, and even files.

There’s also a cleanup function. It seems it is to wipe out unused space. But, in fact, I was unable to find any result. So, I can’t say, what this function is doing.

Next, there is a function suggesting it could duplicate the boot disk, but instead it only creates a boot media similar to the recovery boot mechanism you always have on your mac. So, I have to stay with Carbon Copy Cloner for this feature.

After finishing my tests I uninstalled Disk Drill. Unfortunately, a not-quitable tool survived in the menubar. I had to dig through my applications folder and my Library folders to find where this tool resides to delete the files. After a reboot, it was finally gone!

Resume

Now it’s up to you to decide, how often you have to recover lost files and on which filesystems they are stored. I was very interested if a professional tool is better than the open-source tool. The lack of a GUI is a point against photorec. But, in my opinion (as an IT pro for more than 30 years), that’s not so dramatic. I even found the text interface much more straight forward and clearer than the GUI of Disk Drill. On the other hand, I guess, Disk Drill is even more complicated than photorec.

Nevertheless, I repeat my statement from above: be prepared for the disaster because the disaster situation isn’t a good time for such a complicated topic. Get a tool and make yourself familiar with it to avoid making a disaster situation worse.

 

 

animals, bird, landscape, nature, photography, technical, travel, wildlife, world

I’m back …

… from the Dutch coast.

While I was in Wales, my wife changed the destination for our summer holiday. Instead of heading south to the Bavarian Alpes for staying two weeks near the National Park “Berchdesgardener Land”, we were heading north to the Dutch province Groningen. Beach instead of mountains. Fair change in my eyes 🙂

But, what a surprise. No beach 🙂 Only a harbor for ferries and fishing boats. But, a huge lake with no tide and lots of birds was nearby. So, from a wildlife photographers point of view fantastic opportunities. But, this wasn’t her intention. So, she was quite disappointed with her choice although the area was very nice and offered many options for walking, hiking or biking, but no town nearby. The next shops were about 15 km away.

I also was a bit disappointed, because I left the lens, I usually use for wildlife, at home. I didn’t expect these conditions. So, I have to return 🙂 Is anybody out there willing to accompany me?

So, now tons of images are waiting on my hard-disk to get developed. Most of them are birds, but I also have many landscape images. Some of them are a mixture of both kinds, just like the one above: a flock of seagulls is chasing a spoonbill at sunset. In one of the next frames, you can see them attacking the spoonbill. But, I like this one more because of the light conditions.

When taking wildlife images, I use a technique called panning. The camera settings are continuous shutter speed, a fixed shutter speed depending on the kind of animal and expected action, fixed aperture (wide open), continuous auto-focus spreading over a couple AF fields and Auto-ISO with spot metering. The camera has an APS-C sized sensor and a tele-focus lens sitting on a monopod. These settings help me to get pretty sharp images even of flying birds. I start taking photographs in a certain moment and following the movement of the birds with my camera. That’s quite easy because it’s mounted on top of the monopod and follows my turns. So, I’m able to follow the movements of my main subject. Back at home, I have to view lots of images and many of them get deleted. But, this technique gives me the opportunity to not miss a shot.

The exact settings for the above image are: APS-C sensor, 1/1000, f5.6, 80-400mm lens at 280mm (~420mm equivalent for a 35mm camera or full-frame), ISO 500

Some images taken during the trip are already on my Instagram account. Check them out over there and consider following me on Instagram, too.

Take care!

 

 

 

culture, history, landscape, nature, people, photography, technical, travel, urbex, world

a rolling museum

Monochromia

During summer, this steam train rolls along an old track.

Once, this track was used to connect coal mines and steel plants with the industrial inland harbor from where the steel plants got the ore and the coal mined sent the coal. For several decades the track was closed, when a railroad museum got the idea to send one on their steam trains on the track again.

During summer you can meet the train on track at the first Sunday of the month. Additional driving days are in winter around St. Nick (Dec. 6th)

More of my images can be seen at my own blog.

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