State of the Union – late October 2012

Status update

It’s another grey day here in Vaterstetten but I had a breakthrough yesterday: I put up the first ceiling lamp replacing the bare bulbs hanging from the wall. It looks good but it took me three month. Some call it procrastination … I call it skill.

Here is what it looks like outside …

Want to know what I read currently?

A nice guy I was sitting next to in a plane recently recommended Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther stories to me. So, I took five minutes to find out which is the first which isn’t my normal style. I usually start with the latest and work my way back. This time I started with #1 “March Violets” which might me also the last Bernie Gunther story I’ll ever read. Why? Don’t look at me with these question marks in your eyes.

I think Philip Kerr is scottish and yep, they do have a weird accent which by the way I really like to listen to especially when a scott tells a joke. I always laugh before the end of the joke. Anyway, the question was why I don’t like Bernie Gunther.

Bernie is a private detective in Berlin during the Third Reich and I think the observation about the general mood in the German society is quite good and subtle. I quite enjoy crime novels as a mirror of society like my favorites Ken Bruen, Xialong Qiu and Lee Child since I can’t do Peter Handke with an empty stomach.

Another anyway, or maybe a “but” … Reading the book is like reading it with a German accent. I’m not sure if it is just me but it’s written like a German with a heavy accent would speak English and that annoys me. I partially hear me, I hear my German co-workers in meetings and I don’t need that when reading a couple of pages at night.

I give you an example: Kerr calles the police throughout the book “bulls” which is the direct translation of the German slang “Bulle”. Yet, I have never heard a native english speaker use that word. It just sounds wrong and I can’t get used to it.

It might take me a long time to finish it since I still want to know who the killer is.

Check it out here: Philip Kerr “March Violets”


Neuschwanstein or a nightmare on a beautiful autumn day

The Story

Last weekend I went to castle Neuschwanstein which is one of the castles King Ludwig II erected in his Bavarian kingdom during his twenty two year rain.I took a co-worker from Singapore there and wasn’t really aware of the still ongoing nut race of the Japanese, Chinese, Koreans and last but not least Americans. I mean the castle is nice to look at from the outside in spite of the scaffolding covering the entire southwest wing until mid 2013 and it’s certainly built in one of the prettiest landscapes of Germany but …

… why would you visit the inside massacred by themes of Wagner’s operas?

If you really need to go there, climb the Tegelberg right next to the castle which offers an amazing view onto the castle and the lake behind it.

Another alternative is the castle Linderhof in Ettal which is about 50km away from Neuschwanstein. It was also built by the fairy tale king (as if this is a good thing) Ludwig II. However, the castle is surrounded by a beautiful park and it’s just fun to walk up and down the hills and enjoy a nice autumn day.

 The Summary

Autumn in Bavaria is nice this year. But avoid any people who chase a Wagnerian fairy tale and its mad king


The Making of a Self Portrait

Last Sunday I posted a self portrait on my g+ account and I just wanted to share the making here.


The Taking

I used a Elinchrome Quadra Ranger RX with two head. One head with the main power output (2/3) with an 8degree grid was positioned on my left with the narrow spot on the half without make-up. The other head with less power (1/3) was basically in front of my in a softbox. My Nikon D3 was on a gorilla pod on the table (my arca-swiss ball head is in service) right next to the softbox. A macro lens was on the cam to create a real lens blur and I tried to get my left eye in focus which turned out not to be totally easy. I tried different poses and angles until I finally got the image I liked. I was leaning forward looking in a thirty degree angle left of the camera, rotating my shoulder back and releasing the camera with a cable release. The make-up side had decent fill light to work with and the spot created highlights on the other half of the face.

The Editing

When I loaded the image into Lightroom 4, I really didn’t know what to do with the image and how my vision realizes. I started with some basic adjustments in Lightroom. I increased exposure slightly, got clarity down to almost -100% but painted the clarity back into my right eye. Now I brought the image into Photoshop and started removing blemishes in the white make up. I started NIK’s Viveza and got the structure down even more but placed again a local adjustment on my right eye to keep structure and sharpness in there. I opened OnOne’s Pefect Effects next and applied the Movie Look “Velvetees” but blended it down to about 30% opacity. In the last step I went to NIK’s Color Efex Pro and applied a bit of tonal contrast, Darken/Lighten Center and last but not least the midnight filter which I reduced to about 30% on the right eye only.

I gave it a final touch up with the healing brush and changed the opacity of the filter layer to about 80-85% to get a bit of detail back on the left half of my face.

What do you think?



Hello world!

Hi there,

I decided to start a blog again. I know I’m already busy keeping up with G+ and I never went anywhere with Twitter. But hey, let’s see where this goes. Before I was nicely hooked to all the apple gadgets. I used iPhoto for albums, web galleries and books. I handled my web and blog presence with iWeb and published to the web space but they will discontinue the service in 2012.

So, here we go. I’m new at WordPress and will see how it works out.


Dark, Sinister and Fabulous