Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Good enuff... / Gut genug

Rebecca Madelein Katz
 Last Sunday we were invited to an event of the local Jazz club, taking place in Neu-Ulm's Wiley Club. Now I connect with Jazz mostly Freestyle Jazz tormenting you in an unluckily chosen radio station, therefore I was a bit sceptical what to expect. In the end, it was Swing Jazz delivered by Al Cat & the Roaring Tigers, a group of eight mostly gray-haired, experienced musicians who delivered, together with his daughter Rebecca Madeleine Katz, an trained opera singer, almost two hours of widespread entertaining repertoire. The fun certainly showed they had doing this and I myself was pleasantly surprised. Classics like Sentimental Journey appeal to just about anyone.

It is refreshing to say in todays age of technically perfectly delivered music anytime anywhere, and extremely expensive musical performances, that there still exists live music professionally delivered near home, too.

Photographically, on an impulse I took with me my old Nex 5N together with an assortment of manual focussed legacy lenses of the Canon FD era: 28, 35, 135mm at f2.8 and the 50/f1.4.
After making sure that taking pictures was allowed, I remembered to manually white-balance and also to to underexpose by at least a stop to avoid blowing out the faces in the beamlights.

At home when going through the harvest, I was pleasantly surprised that both the old camera and the legacy lenses delivered quite sharp results even white open and manually focussed at minimal shutter speeds.
Letzten Sonntag waren wir zu einer Veranstaltung des örtlichen Jazz-Clubs eingeladen, welche im Neu-Ulmer Wiley-Club stattfand. Nun verbinde ich mit Jazz eher Freestyle Jazz, der mich manchmal bei einem unglücklich eingestellten Radiosender foltert. Deshalb war ich etwas skeptisch was da auf mich zukam. Schlussendlich war es jedoch Swing-Jazz, den Al Cat & the Roaring Tigers, eine Gruppe von acht zumeist ergrauten, erfahrenen Musikern auf die Bühne brachte. Mit dabei war seine Tochter Rebecca Madeleine Katz, ihrerseits ausgebildete Opernsängerin, die mit zu den fast zwei Stunden an breit gefächertem Repertoire beitrug. Man konnte gut sehen, was für einen Spass die Musiker und natürlich auch das Publikum dabei hatte, und ich war angenehm überrascht. Gut ausgesuchte Klassiker wie Sentimental Journey gefallen natürlich praktisch jedermann.

Es ist schön, dass in den heutigen Zeiten technisch perfekter und überall jederzeit verfügbarer Musik zum einen, und extrem teuren Musikerauftritten andererseits, es immer noch professionell dargebrachte Livemusik fast vor der Haustür gibt.

Fotografisch nahm ich spontan meine alte Nex 5N Kamera und eine Ansammlung alter manuell zu fokussierender Objektive aus der Canon FD Ära mit: 28, 35, 135mm bei f2.8 und das 50/f1.4.

Nachdem ich mich vergewissert hatte, dass Fotografieren ok ist, habe ich mich daran erinnert einen manuellen Weißabgleich durchzuführen und um mindestens eine Stufe unterzubelichten, um die Gesichter im Scheinwerferlicht nicht auszubrennen.

Bei der Durchsicht meiner Ernte zuhause, war ich angenehm überrascht das die alte Kamera und Objektive ziemlich scharfe Ergebnisse lieferten, obwohl ich praktisch immer voll aufgeblendet, mit manuellem Fokus und grenzwertigen Belichtungzeiten gearbeitet hatte.

Al Cat to the left

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Portugal - Heated days / Heisse Tage

This year's summer vacation has led us into Portugal. During many days, we encountered +45° C daytime dry heat as an unusual heat spell has hit this country this year. Nevertheless, with the help of air conditioning running in the rental car and most accomodations, one gets by without getting into the "well done" state.

Water. A fundamental need. Tavira

A speciality of Portugal are the use of colored glazed tiles as outer and inner coverage of houses

This orchard won't yield fruits this year.

Another absolute necessity: The local firefighters station

The refreshing, cooler west coast with its dramatic rock formations facing the atlantic waves.
A good place to cool down and relax. Suited a short walk away from our house accomodation in the Monte Carvalhal da Roche Camping site, the scenery was well worth the trip there.

Battled by full tide

and at ebb

Using Sony Smoothening app, recording 100 shots and then processing them automatically

Through this dark tunnel something will come.

Back in the inner country, higher temperatures greet one back.

Castle of Beja

Alternating between 45°C during walks, air-conditioned 5-Star hotel room and the pool, living is not bad :-). Having a Hotel situated within the mediveal city wall allowed to make frequent explorations of the old town on foot.

The big refresher - taking a dip

 On the road again - Villa Vicosa
Sommer residence of Portugese Monarchy


Portugese beer is well-drinkable, even when applying german standards. It is also available in so-called minis, which are bottles sized at 0.25 or 0.33 litres. A good size to avoid getting knocked out after refilling when coming in from the heat.


A very special place is the small mediveal city of Marvao, located within "spitting"distance of Spain, the former archenemy. Waking up way above the valley floor to the rising sun, staying some relaxing days there left a good memory. Like in Spain with its Hotel chain of Pasaderos where historic and scenic sites have been made into interesting Hotels, in Portugal there are the Pousadas. The one in Marvao is charming with its many viewpoints of the far below valley and Spain in the distance from the dining room, the hotel rooms themselves and other places.

Mountain castle and city of Marvao

Castelo de Vide

And then Lisboa - Lissabon. It can't really compete with its big brother Barcelona splendidness, but it has still some interesting and charming corners and vistas.
The big elevator

View down the Tejo river

Historic architecture
A stepvisit to the nearby Sintra town put my perspective of Disneyworld into a new dimension. This rebuilding and remodelling done here at the late end of the 19th century outdoes Cinderella castle by far.

Central Station of Lisboa

Eden Theatre, nowadays a Hotel

Summer break
Some last words: Portugal is a friendly country and its people seem to be more open than their Spanish cousins. There are only two things that can be somewhat bothersome:

One is the toll system on some of their highways: Part of it is electronically done without prewarning and without any option to pay manually - except after two weeks at one of the local post offices where you have to inquire the charges and pay there. Bad luck to you if you have already left the country at that time. This system is incredibly stupid in my view, which is shared by many Portuguese I have talked about. Therefore get the toll machine for your rental car and have it done by the rental company.

The second thing is more delicate: A certain part of the male population simply can't be bothered and seem to take a leak anywhere convenient. This results in some few alleys and streets etching your nostrils off. I haven't encountered anything like that in any other mediterranean country up to now. This may be however due to illegal immigrants, with the lack of rain not washing anything away exacerbating things, what do I know.

In any case, Portugal is worth a trip and may prove to be more relaxing and affordable than other well-trodden holiday destinations.

Monday, August 8, 2016