7 Apr, 2014
Photography - Hamburg



I'm on a little trip to Hamburg. Photos, visiting friends and relaxing after some crazy last weeks. I'll wrap up the latest pictures in a new photography post when I'm back in Berlin tomorrow.


Check back soon, there's lots of photos to come ...





27 Mar, 2014
Photography - NIKOLAIKIKI Prints



Like big prints? 120x80cm for example is a great size for wall display and the quality is gorgeous. This photo is made with a 12,8 Megapixel camera and it wouldn't be any better if it were 22 or 36. 10 MP is generally fine for all but giant prints. But even then, all you loose is some fine detail. The bigger the print the farther you stand back, so there's not really much use in endless Megapixels. They won't help to make an average photo any better and having less will never ruin a great photo ...


You'll can order prints in my online shop, here.





27 Feb, 2014
Photography - What happened in 2014 so far?


... a lot, here are some snaps from the last two month ...


Südstrand, Friesland


Ferry to Constance

Some very nice front garden in Baden-Württemberg ;-)




At Lake Constance and wine


An arty case from Thailand in 2009



Double Bounce

Books from Cambodia

Stretch Bus

Berlin Industry at Night


Last Party at old Picknick


First Teaser



Street Lights




Red Bounce


New National Gallery

Green Week

Russian products

Kyrgyz Brandy and chocolates

Eye Art


Mai and me


Last photo of Lilith, R.I.P.

On old snap from Las Vegas

Stratosphere Tower

Fukuoka 2009

Organic food

Old and New



Old & New

Old & New


The Box

Tidied up desk

Ukraine and Putin

Facebook profile pic and sun in my room



Sun coming back

Park in the morning





New Setup

Guitar Rig






A snap from Hong Kong airport last autumn

Somewhere in China in the middle of the night

Laos 2009





In two days it's March, spring is coming, yay!





12 Feb, 2014
Weddings 2014



With wedding season ahead make sure to pick a photographer for your special day that takes images you can enjoy for the rest of your life. If you like my style I can cover your day from dress up till last dance. These are some of my photos from the last years ...



If you're interested just drop me a line.





11 Feb, 2014
Photography - Difference between a sub-frame and a full-frame camera, quick ...



Why would you want to shoot a Canon full-frame camera that costs more than twice as much (3.700 € incl. the lens for the Canon, 1.330 € for the OM-D), weighs a kilo more (1.609g vs. 587g), is much bigger and bulkier and doesn't even look as good?


Simple, because it gives technically better images. How much better lies in the eye of the beholder and whether it outweighs the above downsides as well.


Full-frame gives you better noise performance at higher sensitivities, about a stop in this case. With 4 times the sensor area (2,0 crop factor) I would expect the Canon to do better, the OM-D really has pretty little noise, but the Canon is still superior. I don't give too much on noise. Out of my over 100.000 images I've shot not a single one was ruined because of noise, so what.


The reason I shoot full-frame is you get a big finder. The 5D finder is smaller than of classic film SLRs but much bigger compared to sub-frames. The OM-D actually has a pretty nice and big electronic finder, the 5D's is just bigger.


The second reason, probably the most important, images look like they did with film in terms of depth of field. With full-frame and a fast lens you can nicely blur backgrounds and emphasize your subject, it's much more difficult with sub-frames. To show you what I mean I shot both cameras wide open, the Canon with a 35L at f/1.4 and the OM-D with the 17 1.8 at f/1.8, its widest setting.






You know what I mean?


If that doesn't impress you, forget full-frame and use the cheaper sub-frames, the OM-D is a wonderful little camera, I really like it. If images count, like on a wedding, I grab the Canon. Its images are just superb.


Happy shooting ...





6 Feb, 2014
Photography - What makes a great photo?



What is it that makes a great photo?


The answer is nearly as difficult as the one to what great art was. Photography has so many different types and genres that it‘s quite hard or nearly impossible to define a special type of photograph that is great. You could pick hundreds of completely different photos that could be all great in a different way.


The quality of a photo lies in the eye of the beholder. One photo may be great to me but pretty average to others. But I can try to explain what impresses me about photos and how I as a photographer try to achieve a good photo.


When I think about photographers those like David LaChapelle or Gregory Crewdson come to my mind quickly, but it‘s more because they create impressive artworks, that are loud and in your face and stay in your mind. I do not particularly love them as photographers but more as artists. Their images have more of a painting or a staged play captured with one exposure. But to be honest it‘s actually not what I love about photography.


Great photography to me means capturing a moment, to freeze life in one photograph. That creates a whole lot of different scenes you can imagine to fit that purpose. It can be a portrait of a person that is happy and the capture of this happiness, during a wedding or just a stranger in a restaurant. It can be a sport event and a fascinating moment of the hit of the ball. It can be a sad moment in your family. It can also just be the sky and a crazy formation of clouds. It can also be a flower and its intriguing colours. It may as well be just a normal daily street scene in your hometown.


The subject doesn‘t really matter, life gives you endless opportunities to create a great photo. But what is it that makes your photo stand out?


It‘s hard to define one way that makes a photo great, I think there are many. Let me give you an example, a photo of a woman I shot in Vietnam. To me it's pretty much a perfect portrait. I saw this beautiful old woman in a little village. She allowed me to take her photo. Not only does she look amazing, it's also her clothes and this perfectly balanced background that just emphasized her magnificent expression. You could have done the same in a studio with someone casted and pose this way. But the great thing about this image is it's completely natural and I managed to just captured this graceful attitude. It's one of my most favorite portraits ever, I just love it.



But a photo of houses in Hongkong may be as interesting to you. What I like about this photo are those crazy lines that give it dramatic expression. I shot the image late in the day and the light was just perfect and created all shades of crazy colours. It's a completely different genre of photos and still I love them both in their own way.



A photo to me has to tell a story at best in an arty or powerful way. For example you can take a photo of someone in the streets by just point the camera straight towards her or him. But you can make it a better photo by including some of the surrounding into the photo in an interesting way.



You can try to compose a photo in a very symmetrical way to make it look more appealing. Photographing only straight lines sometimes make a great photo.



There are different factors each possibly contributing to a good photo. Subject may be one factor. A photo of a beautiful woman may be great just because it‘s a great looking person. But to me photographing obviously beautiful people or things often lead to not so interesting photos although the subject may be interesting. That‘s why I never really liked photographers like Helmut Newton or Peter Lindberg too much. Without a doubt you have to be recognized and proven to be a really good photographer to get the chance to shoot celebraties or Supermodels, but there‘s not such a great story behind it in the end.


To me a photo is more interesting when the person is not amazingly beautiful in the first place but becomes beautiful the way you take a photo of her/him and tell their story in one exposure, maybe by including some of the natural environment the person is working or living in. A photo to me is more interesting when you see someone on the streets that could be a Supermodel but simply isn‘t. I rode a bike on the countryside in Myanmar and passed this young woman. I turned around after a couple of meters and went back to take her photo. It‘s one of the most beautiful people I‘ve seen last year and on this trip. She was just sitting beside the street in a little booth to sell some goods to the village people. It‘s a completely natural portrait.



Good photos draw peoples attention and stay in their heads. But it‘s very difficult to tell what this special something has to be. Light for example plays a huge role in almost every photo and morning or evening light is much more pleasing because its softer and often gives interesting skies and colours.



Compostion has a huge impact on a photo. Placing a person or couple right in the middle of the frame is not as interesting as placing it on the sides or the bottom sometimes.



Timing is a key factor in making a photo special. To capture the exact moment of a unique situation sometimes make the photo a winner.



Sometimes it's simplicity that makes a photo powerful.



Very noisy images with lots of different things going on like in a street scene can be as interesting, too, though.



Sometimes it‘s one factor alone that make a photo good but often it‘s only a combination of all those factors that make a photo great.



I‘m very critical for example. One photographer that I am probably the most amazed of is Henry Cartier-Bresson. He used to shoot for Magnum, one of the greatest photo agencies in the world. Bresson's photos are outstanding. They often combine a very special moment in life with incredibly interesting people, his ability to hit the exact neccessary moment and an incredible talent in composing all this in an image you will never forget. Bresson is one of the very few masters that I consider an idol for me. And his images keep me hunting for those moments in life that are very, very hard to put into a photograph quite the same way. If you succeed you got a great photo, only others may tell if it was truly outstanding.



As photographer you always think you could have done better ...


I think this can only be a Part One of what makes a great photo, there's so much more to write about it ...





31 Jan, 2014
Photography - Quick dynamic range test


Today I just quickly made a new dynamic range test with my fullframe Canon 5D Mark III and my Olympus OM-D E-M5. Dynamic range is the spectrum the camera is able to record with a single image from bright highlights to dark shadows. I know that Canon is not the greatest regarding dynamic range, but it's not bad at all, you just have to be careful sometimes.


This is how the cameras' jpegs look. I shot both at the exact same settings (the base ISO of the E-M5 is 200, the Canon's 100, so I took that into account; they are similar regarding actual sensitivity, means they both give the same brightness for a scene at identical settings). The jpegs usually are somewhat limited in dynamic range and you can see that in the images below, most of the windows' detail is blown due too digital clipping at values over 255, it's pure white (with film you have a smooth shoulder characteristic in highlights, means you can pull back overexposed areas very nicely).






With digital the highlight range is much more limited and therefore you have to be careful, once white, always white. But you can pull back about a stop (one brightness level in photographic terms) in RAW images, you can see that below.


5D, I pulled back highlights and shadows at once to easily show dynamic range.




As you can see both cameras are able to recover highlight detail, and shadows can be opened nicely as well. The OM-D actually has a slight edge in highlights, shadows are about the same, the 5D shows much better colour and of course detail.


Here are crops from both highlights and shadows, Canon left, Olympus right.




and shadows


It's a shame, though, given the 5D is 2-3 times more expensive and has a four times bigger sensor (2x2 crop factor). I don't really know why Canon is losing in this regard. It's by no means bad, but with such a big sensor you physically should be able to achieve a wider dynamic range. Oh well, you always find a way to work around.


I'll show some samples comparing depth of field of a crop camera compared to a fullframe, in this case the physical difference will show, no doubt.





28 Jan, 2014
Photography - Canon, can you hear me?


Look, Canon, this is what the Autofocus does in my 5D Mark III, your best and highest resolving camera for people and nature shots. Does this look out of focus only to me?



But that's not the whole story. I bought the camera nearly a year ago and it has been to Canon Maerz Berlin, to Okam in Zwenkau and to Canon Germany in Krefeld, too. Only Maerz in Berlin admitted after the second time the camera had been in for adjustment it had a defect and they didn't know how to fix it. The 5D has been away for over two month in total.


I took the 5D on a dedicated two and a half month photo trip that brought me to ten different countries. I shot over 10.000 photos with it during that time. But now comes the trick, I only used the Single Center AF point to focus, reframing every of those 10.000 shots. 61-point AF mode would have been totally unreliable and would potentially have ruined every single of my unique shots from this amazing trip through Poland, Ukraine, Moscow, Kyrgyzstan, China, Hongkong, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. Not so great!


How do we get together about this?