War Photographer

Vor ein paar Tagen sah ich nun endlich die Dokumentation War Photographer über James Nachtwey, einen der besten und bekanntesten Kriegs-/Dokumentar-/Reportagefotografen unserer Zeit.

Der Film ist zwar bereits 2003 produziert worden, hat aber kein Stück an Wahrheit und Dramatik verloren. Ganz im Gegenteil, igentlich ist es noch unglaublicher dass Nachtwey mit seinen 63 Jahren noch immer in den Krisengebieten dieser Welt unterwegs ist und sein Leben riskiert.

Wenn man sieht was dieser Mann schon geleistet hat und noch immer weiter leistet, wenn man sieht und hört was er von sich gibt und wenn man sieht welche Probleme es in der Welt gibt von denen nur viel zu wenige wissen und um die sich, sollten sie dann doch mal bekannt werden, nur wenige kümmern, dann kommt einem das eigene Leben und Tun so unglaublich nichtig vor.

James Nachtwey hat sein komplettes Leben dieser einen Sache verschrieben. Den Bedürftigen dieser Welt eine Stimme zu geben, das zu dokumentieren was andernfalls ungesehen bleiben würde.

Ich kann jedem von euch nur ans Herz legen diese Dokumentation anzuschauen. Mich persönlich hat sie sehr stark zum Nachdenken angeregt und es fällt mir unmittelbar danach sehr schwer meinen Fotos irgendwas abzugewinnen. Sie sind einfach so belanglos.

Die Doku gibt’s bei Amazon für rund 16€ auf DVD.
Ich möchte euch außerdem auch den TED Talk von Nachtwey ans Herz legen.

Photo book review: Vivian Maier – Street Photographer

Last week I ordered a copy of the Vivian Maier – Street Photographer photo book. Yesterday I got it and it’s great. Really. Vivian shot most or maybe even all her images with a Rolleiflex on black and white film. But I don’t know which ones specifically. It’s great because obviously she didn’t care too much about equipment but about moments, about capturing life as it happens. At that she did a lot.

In most of her photographs there is much to discover and the moments she captured are often centered around more than one person. So it happens that there often is someone in the picture who discovered her taking the photo. I don’t mean that in a negative way. It just caught my eye and since then I look for that person in every image.

The pages are made from very solid, matte, somehow rough paper. I like it very much.

The book puts a spell on the viewer, not literally of course, but I wasn’t able to put it aside. I was always curious which story was waiting on the next page. After seeing about half of the photos I forced myself to stop and keep the rest for later.

If you are interested in black and white street photography you definitely should buy Vivian Maier – Street Photographer. You won’t regret it.

Testing the Lumix G5 on Sylt

Last week Panasonic invited me and a bunch of others to Sylt to test the new Panasonic Lumix G5. In on it were Stefan Groenveld, Torsten Muehlbacher, Michael Kirchner, Felix Meyer, Marcel Wichmann, Manfred Huszar and Christoph Boecken.

As last year on Mallorca, where we layed our hands on the G3, it was a lot of fun and perfectly organized by JDB – thanks to Catie.
We had two days packed with sun, rain, wind and a lot of activities. Thank you Panasonic!

I have to say I like Sylt and would like to go back there to photograph more of the landscape and the people. It’s an interesting mix.

Short review of the Lumix G5

The Lumix G5 is a really good camera in it’s market. It sits perfectly in my rather small hands and after knowing the Lumix G3 I was really quickly comfortable using it. The AF is fast and the electronic shutter is completely silent. That makes this camera perfect for shooting completely unnoticed. Combined with the brilliant 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens it’s a small, light and very fast camera.
I can’t say much about the image quality because I’m not able to process the RAW files, yet. The JPGs look good, though.

If you are in the game of buying a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, definitely have a closer look at this one.

Shooting square format right out of the camera is what I really like and what my X100 isn’t able to do. So I took the opportunity and only shot squares on Sylt.

But now let’s look at some images I shot with it on the first day. I will post photos from day two in a separate entry. As I said these are JPGs, processed in Lightroom.

Coda 2 Review by Andy Soell

Andy Soell:

Coda 2 is big. Really big. It’s been five years since the original version of Coda launched, and this new major release brings a lot of features that Coda users have been clamoring for

In-depth review of the upcoming Coda 2 by Andy Soell. I haven’t had time to read it but I don’t want to hold it back until I have. So here you go.

App Review: VSCO CAM

I know what you think, ‚please not another photo taking/editing app. The App Store is full of them and only a few are good enough to use them on a daily basis.‘ That’s exactly what I thought when I first heard of VSCO CAM. But this morning I downloaded the app to try it out myself because I heard sme good things.

First impression

I am really excited about this app. The design is not perfect, but it is very minimalistic, so it’s all about your photos. I like that. There are some other things I don’t like, for example the camera icon in the shutter button doesn’t turn when you hold your iPhone in landscape mode and if you locked your phone to portrait, you aren’t even able to take a landscape shot. This is a mistake a lot of photo apps do and I know it can be fixed because some apps behave differently. I always keep the global lock on, but take most of my photos, which are not going to Instagram, in landscape. So this ‚bug‘ annoys me a bit.

Using the app is very intuitive on first sight. But when you dive deeper and try to understand if you can revert some specific editing steps or what happens if you apply a settings twice and so on it’s not always immediately clear what happens.

Taking a photo

The photo taking is very simple and like the build in camera app. Nothing exciting here, but it is enough for me. Although sometimes it would be nice to place exposure metering and focus separately.

Editing a photo

You have three choices while editing your photos. You can either simply apply a filter, there are three black and white ones and seven color filters, or edit the photo yourself or combine both methods, which is the way I go.

The are nine editing controls, from which you first only see five. You have to scroll horizontally to get to the other four. I simply didn’t recognise this at first. Same for the filters, but there I swiped intuitively. I don’t know why.
The editing is very simple, you choose how much you want use a certain effect, tap ‚done‘ and choose another setting. You can apply every setting as often as you want. The effect stacks up. As far as I can see there is no way to reset a specific setting. Just the possibility to reset your whole editing process or do a global undo.

I am especially pleased with the black and white editing. And that’s something not one photo editing app I tried was really really good at. So here we go. And I love the ability to add grain. Overall the editing settings support the image style I like.

Sharing a photo

There are all kinds of sharing possibilitys as well as saving different sizes to your camera roll. You can even share to Instagram, which is pretty much useless, because it just opens the Instagram app with your chosen photo locked in the editing screen, letter boxed.

I really like VSCO CAM. This first version is very good, but I also hope they will ship some updates in the future to make the app even better. Go try it out yourself.

My Thoughts on the Fujifilm X-Pro 1

Rinzi Ruiz:

No camera is perfect so it’s just about learning how to use it. For me it’s just a great camera to use and am very happy with it so far.

Rinzi Ruiz is a very passionate X100 street shooter and now owns a X-Pro 1. He talks about both cameras even if it’s about the latter. The review is non-technical and therefore very good. I followed him on Flickr for quite some time and I really like his style. Have a look.

Clicky Keyboards

Shawn Blanc:

If you too want to adorn your desk with an ugly keyboard — one with a loud personality and which increases typing productivity — then I recommend the Das Keyboard. I prefer both the tactile feel and the sound of the blue Cherry MX switches, and though I find the Das to be the ugliest of the bunch, a serious typist knows you shouldn’t be looking at your keyboard while you’re typing.

Ever thought about switching away from your slim, silent Apple keyboard to a clicky keyboard? You should probably read and hear this very detailed review by Shawn Blanc.

I’m really happy with my small Apple blueetooth keyboard and wouldn’t want to give it away. But I can see now why you might decide differently.

Fuji X-Pro 1 Review by Zack Arias

Zack Arias:

This isn’t the camera you hand to your mom to grab a few shots. I’ve watched very talented photographers pick up my X-Pro1 and sort of scratch their heads after taking a few shots with it. I then explain how you have to stick your tongue out a certain way, stand on your left foot, grab your elbow, and click your heels three times to get the most out of it. When you do all that… angels sing. Really.

Da ist es endlich, das lang erwartete X-Pro 1 Review von Zack Arias. Ich verrate mal noch nichts und lasse euch einfach selbst lesen und gucken.

The Fuji X-Pro 1 Digital Camera Review by Steve Huff

Steve Huff:

Basically the Fuji X-Pro 1 is a camera capable of putting out SUPERB IMAGE QUALITY. To many, this is all they need to hear. When you nail it you will be rewarded with beautiful color, depth and sharpness. The 35 1.4 lens is THE lens to get so if you do order the body, make sure you order this lens with it. JUST BE AWARE that in LOW LIGHT, as in indoors or outside even that the focus will hunt some and occasionally NOT lock on. I feel Fuji will be able to improve this with a Firmware update just as they did with the X100, which users are reporting is now MUCH faster and MUCH more accurate. In fact, I am confident Fuji will do this. You can also turn on the AF assist which helps lock focus quicker. Also, keeping the power save mode to OFF is said to increase AF speed, which I confirmed does indeed do so.

Super langes und ausführliches Review der Fuji X-Pro 1 von Steve Huff. Solltet ihr überlegen eine X-Pro 1 zukaufen. Lest unbedingt vorher dieses Review damit ihr Bescheid wisst mit welchen Stärken und Schwächen ihr zu rechnen habt.
Und jetzt bin ich noch gespannt auf das Review von Zack Arias, das auch in den nächsten Tagen kommen sollte.

The Pentax K-01 Camera Review – Design Masterpiece or Design Fail?

Steve Huff:

I will say right now that ME…I am not a fan of the design at all. In use it is very boxy, not ergonomic, and feels like I am shooting with one of those toy cameras you see in the little kid isle at a toy store.

Ich finde das Design einfach nur furchtbar. In schwarz noch halbwegs zu ertragen, aber was soll denn diese gelbe Variante?