Thursday, December 15, 2011

3 Musketeers online

A gallery of pictures from the performance of "3 Musketeers" in the Luitpoldhalle in Freising on October 28. and 29. Oktober are now online.

Here are some samples:

Milady de Winter in "Men"

Athos sings "Crystal Angel"

The choir can dance!

All for One

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Using Canon WFT-E1 with Mac OS X 10.7

I've written a post about how to set up Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) for use with the WFT-E1 (or later). As it is quite technical, I've placed it in Random Problem (solved) blog:


Friday, October 14, 2011

(Another) Queen Anna

Queen Anna, too, is cast twice. Like in Joseph last year, there is no first and second ensemble, but two of equal calibre (internally, they are "1" and "A"). That is too complicated for me, so I'll just introduce the queen:

Queen Anna in the musical '3 Musketeers'.
The date of the performance in Freising is rapidly approaching. For some of the performances there aren't all that many tickets left. It would pay off to get some before it is too late.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Louis XIII

König Louis XIII in the musical "3 Musketeers" is a weak and easily to manipulate ruler. He does not know that his wife, Queen Anna, is having an affair. This gives the scheming cardinal an opening for an intrigue. Luckily, his loyal musketeers rush to aid him ...

König Louis XIII in the musical "3 Musketiere"

If you want, you have the opportunity to see the cast and the performance live in October. Check it out!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Queen Anna

Queen Anna in the musical "3 Musketeers" is one of the central figure around which the intrigue the cardinal schemes revolves. The three (four, really) musketeers rush to aid their queen and are thus involved in the power struggle.

Queen Anna in the musical '3 Musketeers'.
Queen Anna in the musical '3 Musketeers'.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


What would the Three Musketeers be without the young hero d'Artagnan?

In the Freising production d'Artagnan is cast twice in order to cover all six performances.

D'Artagnan in the musical '3 Musketeers'. D'Artagnan in the musical '3 Musketeers'.
d'Artagnan ... ... and d'Artagnan

It is fascinating to watch how two actors interpret the same role differently. This a matter of "better" or "worse" but rather of personality and artistic freedom. It also makes the two cast different enough to warrant watching them both - I count myself fortunate to be in a position that allows me to do so.

Monday, August 22, 2011


At the end of October, the Musical "3 Musketeers" will be performed in Freising. One of the main roles is Constance, Queen Annas handmaiden and d'Artagnans lover.

Constance aus "Die 3 Musketiere"

The story of the 3 Musketeers is set in 17. century France. That is why Constance is lit with a soft, diffuse light, as if the light was falling through a diffuse window. This style (Chiaroscuro) reminds me immediately of the great painters Rembrandt and Vermeer and carries me to the past.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pauline with Felix and other Fair Folk

My entry for the Strobist Boot Camp (BC3) assignment #1:

Pauline with Felix and other Fair Folk
Pauline with Felix and other Fair Folk

When I read the assignment, Pauline Hermann was the first person that came to mind. I knew that I wanted to do a picture of her because I admire the work she does in my community.

Pauline Hermann is a native Freising artist specializing in the various fairy creatures (the Fair Folk) of the area. She initially started to create the fairies her grandfather told her stories about when she was a child. When she ran out of space, she converted a room of her grandfathers old house to fairy living space. With time, the house has filled up room by room ...

During long walks in nature, the fairies seem to find Pauline. She then offers them a home in the house so people may become re-acquainted with the enchanted fairy world and the special ways of its denizens. Pauline believes that it is important in this very rational age for children and adults alike to elope to a magic realm every once in a while in order to stay connected with the creative and imaginative powers that are inherent within all of us.

I had planned to spend an hour on the entire shoot, but I overran the time by over 100% ... My initial plan was to light the background and throw just a tight spot of light on her face. But that did not work out, I needed more separation from the background. So I set up the hairlight (which I don't usually use) and over an hour was gone by the time that looked right.

Then Pauline sat for me and we chatted and I shot away another hour. Finally, the doorbell rang and we had to stop. I can only thank Pauline for being so patient - I hope she had as good a time as I did and is just as pleased with the results!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lunar Eclipse over the Munich Airport

A total lunar eclipse was visible over Germany tonight. After an hour spent waiting anxiously, the clouds did finally clear and revealed the red moon:

Airport Eclipse
Airport Eclipse

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Learning to Swim

My son is learning to swim and consequently I am regularly spending time at the pool. I recently took a camera along.

Swimming Lesson
Swimming Lesson
Stefan Schoberth of is watching a student who is quite low in the water ...


... until he reaches solid "ground".

I like how closely Stefan pays attention to the children, creating a safe environment for them to experience water on their own terms. It seems that it's not just the children who are having a great time!

Swimming Instructor Stefan
Swimming Instructor Stefan

A word of advice: because a lot of intense sunlight passes through the giant windows the air temperature can easily reach close to 40°C (104°F) with high humidity. Cold metal or glas immediately collects a film of condensation. On the one hand this can quickly damage the electronics, on the other hand it is not really possible to take a picture through a fogged lens.

In order to avoid this, the camera and lens should have enough time to acclimatize and reach the ambient temperature. This is best done in an airtight plastic bag. I have had good results using Ziploc bags, such as Ziploc Double Zipper Gallon Storage Bags. Pick a size suitable for your camera. If you do not get the double-zipper bag, you can use two bags, one inside the other, to ensure that the content is really kept dry.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Uncurling Nascent Fern Spiral

With seemingly nothing better to do than to crawl around on my belly wrangling a tripod with a camera, I found the this little baby fern:

Fern Spiral
Fern Spiral

I find the hairy stem of the fern quite lovely and I really like the way the fern spiral repeats itself in the background.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tech Tip: Soving the need to Authenticate a "Print Operator" to Change Printer Settings on Mac OS X 10.6

On Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) a non-administrator user can not change all settings of the installed printers. This is really annoying when a printer error causes the print queue to go on hold: the user can not resume printing when the problem has been solved. Instead, a dialog pops up asking for the user name and password of a member of the "Print Operators" group. Usually, that means a system administrator has to manually enter the credentials before the user can resume working.

The problem is caused by the fact that only members of the group "Print Operators" are allowed to control the printer. Normal users (i.e. members of the group "Staff") are not automatically added to the group "Print Operators". This makes sense in an environment where you don't want Joe Public messing with printer settings. It makes less sense in a lab or production environment where the staff can be trusted with the printers.

Fortunately, I found a simple solution here:

In, type the following:

dseditgroup -o edit -u ADMINUSER -p -a USER -t user _lpadmin

where ADMINUSER is the user name of an administrator and USER is the user name you want controlling the printer.

You will be asked for the password of ADMINUSER and then USER is added to the "_lpadmin" group, solving the problem permanently.

A word of advice to the wise: I do not know if adding a user to the group "_lpadmin" has any side effects. The users of the machines I administer are considered trustworthy. The only reason they do not have administrative privileges is to protect the machines from unintended damage. So giving limited administrative privileges is not a problem. This may be different in your environment.

Consider the implications carefully before making changes!

Background Information
It appears that the problems observed are not uniform: some machines always show the problem, some not at all, and some only for some users.

It looks like Apple changed the defaults some time during the life-cycle of Mac OS X 10.5 (I have been unable to ascertain when exactly). Users created before the change were all members of "_lpadmin", users created later are not members.

The best solution would be to tell CUPS (the printing system used in Mac OS X) to allow members of the group "Staff" to control the printer. To do so, the file /etc/cups/cupsd.conf section

    AuthType Default
    Require user @AUTHKEY(system.print.operator) @admin @lpadmin
    Order deny,allow

needs to be changed to something like

    AuthType Default
    Require user @AUTHKEY(system.print.operator) @admin @lpadmin @staff
    Order deny,allow

I did not try this myself. If you do, you may find cupsd.conf documentation useful. I would appreciate a comment telling about your experiences. Good luck!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Common Wood-Sorrel Blossom

Under a hedge in our garden, a small colony of common wood-sorrel is doing quite well. Because of the warm weather, the wood-sorrel is now in bloom - an opportunity I did not want to miss!

It is shady under the hedge and when a ray of light penetrates through to the wood-sorrel blossoms, the blossoms light up like magic:

Common Wood-Sorrel Blossom
Common Wood-Sorrel Blossom

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cherry Plum Blossoms

All the trees are braking out in blossoms, including my favorite cherry plum. It's a prunus cerasifera 'Nigra' (as far as I can tell) which means that instead of green leaves it grows red-brown leaves which get darker with time until they turn almost black in late summer. You can see some of the young leaves if you look closely.

Cherry Plum Blossoms
Cherry Plum Blossoms
I took this picture during a lunch break, so the light was a bit harder than would have liked. But I adore its color and the light, springy (pun intended) feel of the image.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Siberian Squill

Spring has really hit the ground running here, it was over 20°C this weekend! So nature is now extremely busy and all the plant are growing like crazy. Especially the flowers are competing for the attentions of the first bees and bumblebees.

I'm quite taken with the following little blue blossoms that cover the lawn like a sea of blue:

Siberian Squill
Siberian Squill

I'm fairly sure that it is the siberian squill (scilla siberica), but it could also be the Scilla bifolia. Who am I to say? Maybe a reader is more knowledgeable on the subject?

If I allow myself to dream a little while looking at the picture above, it takes just a little bit of imagination for me to see tiny fairy-creatures dancing about, celebrating their joy in the golden rays of the warm sun ... yes, a hopeless romantic in spring, our author. ;-)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Carved Praying Monk

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the Buxheim Charterhouse formerly of the Carthusians. The church St. Anna, which is part of the complex, contains absolutely wonderful baroque choir stalls, carved from 1687 to 1691 by Ignaz Waibl. Apparently he carved all of the figures himself, which is quite a feat seeing how much work he had to do and how well he did the work

Here is a sample of his work:

Carved Praying Monk
Carved Praying Monk

As an ironic footnote, despite all of Waibl's talent, he died impoverished, receiving support from the Carthusians. I do not know if he actively tried to get work elsewhere or if he was content to live a simple life in Buxheim. But it certainly did not help that, even though he clearly was one of the most gifted wood carvers of his time, no-one ever got to see his work because the Carthusians never let outsiders into the charterhouse.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Freysing Larks in Concert

I was lucky to be able to attend a concert by the gospel choir Freysing Larks recently. The choir finished a weekend of musical workshops and a small concert tour with a concert at home in a packed house (well, church, actually). I was thrilled and moved by the music!

Freysing Larks in Concert
Freysing Larks in Concert

Having a seat in the front row, I couldn't resist taking a few pictures. I was fascinated by the observation that the singers not only sang the same note in any given moment, but they would often have exactly the same expression while doing so.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mónika und Christophs Wedding

Mónika und Christoph got married yesterday and I was there to experience and photograph the event. Today my back is killing me and my feet are sore, but I am still excited and touched by the beautiful ceremony, the moving service of thanksgiving and the many amazing and loving people.

Here is a first impression:

Mónika und Christophs Wedding

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Photo: Munich Hypo-House

When the Hypo-Haus was completed in 1981, it was the highest office building in the city of Munich, Germany. At 114 m (374 ft) that may not be saying much for a skyscraper, but Munich has city ordinance that disallows building taller than a fixed limit. Since the Uptown Munich building was completed in 2004, it does not even bear that distinction anymore.

For me, that is not the point, however. I used to dislike the building intensely until I happened to drive past it in absolutely wonderful light as storm clouds were rippling across the sky. All of a sudden it struck me what the architects must have envisioned when they designed me. I still regret that I did not stop immediately and photograph the building then and there, so I try to make up for the omission by angling for a good shot whenever I am in the area.

Hypo-Haus in Munich

In this photo, I really like the slight golden sheen to the building, which I have never noticed before. The building usually looks silver. The outside surface is made of aluminum, which may have been anodized to protect it from corrosion, giving it the gold tint - who knows?

The full resolution image also shows remarkable detail, which goes to show what an Olympus PEN E-P1 is capable of with the right lens (in this case a Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7). It's not about the equipment ... but that's a topic for another day.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Two Cats Playing with Water in the Sink

In my experience, most cats do not like water - at least not on their fur. I was quite surprised when I opened the door to my friends bathroom and I was overtaken by two cats that jumped into the sink.

Since I wanted to wash my hands, I lifted the two out of the sink and opened the tap. Quick as lightning (certainly before I had my hands wet) the two cats were sitting the edge of the sink to ...

Cats in the Sink Playing with Water
Two Cats Playing with Water in the Sink
... play.

Usually the first contact with the cool fluid provokes a disgusted look and a revulsed shake to get it off. But not with these two!

Clearly enjoying themselves and playing with relish these two explored and prodded the dripping and running liquid. Even when water ran over their fur the two just shook themselves a little and carried on. That was definitely a first for me!

Later, they repeated their game in the kitchen and I was told that they will even hop into the running shower - one of them had even fallen into a filled bath tub when curiosity got the better of her. I wonder, if they will learn to enjoy swimming at some point? :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Heads Up!

Here's another photo from the recent shoot with Amy, Grace, and Richard:

Heads Up!

Grace was happily lying on her tummy when she found the carrying-on of the adults so fascinating that she raised her head all by herself for the first time to get a better look.

Given the expression on the face, it seems like she is quite ready to start crawling!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Family: Amy, Grace, and Richard

Recently, I had a wonderful shoot with a young family. Baby Grace is only a few months old. So it is quite important to create a stress-free and familiar environment for her. So we decided to do the shoot in their family home.

It is also much more pleasant if you do not have to travel when it is below freezing outside - I know what I am talking about! And it is very pleasant when the photographer is served tea and delicious cake during work. Thank you! :)

Baby Grace really seemed to enjoy being pampered with a blow-dryer and warm, cuddly-soft towels. I think her pleasure shows:

Baby under Blue over Red

I was blown away by the fact that Amy and Richard took so much time for the shoot. Babies have a different rhythm from adults (or even older children) and the best pictures are created when you immerse yourself into the childs flow. So we took pictures when baby was happy and breaks when she got tired and unhappy. That way the little angel got sleep and I was able to change the "studio" for a new look.

The proverbial icing on the cake, however, was that Amy and Richard where quite open to try unusual takes. That was how we got one of my favorite photos in this session. I was unsure if I could manage to capture tenderness and protective security using hard light and deep shadows:


It was very special for me to have the opportunity to experience and capture loving and tender moments from the perspective of a welcome guest. May the three of you continue to experience so much happiness together!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Using PocketWizard FlexTT5/MiniTT1 with non-Canon Cameras

If you want to use a PocketWizard FlexTT5/MiniTT1 on a non-Canon (make that non-Nikon if you have the recently released Nikon version) camera, you can do so by using Basic Trigger Mode which has been available starting with FW 4.100.

It’s quite simple to set up, if you know the magic sauce.

We will set Basic Trigger Mode in configuration C2. That way configuration C1 will remain available for use in ETTL mode. To keep things simple, we’ll use a MiniTT1 as transmitter and a FlexTT5 as receiver. You can actually use many FlexTT5 to drive multiple flash units. In this case, repeat the procedure for the FlexTT5 described below for every unit.

MiniTT1 (Transmitter)

    1.    Start the “Pocket Wizard Utility” on your computer. The screenshots below are from version 1.35. Other versions may differ a little. You can download the utility here for Mac and Windows.
    2.    Hook up the MiniTT1 to your computer using the supplied USB cable. The MiniTT1 should be turned OFF.
    3.    Go to Configuration C2 >> Channel and set the Standard Transmit Channel. The default is 2, you may want to change it to a different value if you expect to be shooting around other people with PocketWizards.

    4.    Go to Configuration C2 >> Misc and check the box Basic Trigger Mode.

    4.    Now press the button Apply Changes, confirm the question in the dialog box, and wait until the changes have been written to the device.

You are now done with the transmitter.

FlexTT5 (Receiver)

    5.    Now hook up the FlexTT5 receiver unit using the same USB cable. You can leave the PocketWizard Utility running, just remember to turn of the FlexTT5.
    6.    Go to Configuration C2 >> Channel and uncheck Use ControlTL for Receive Channel. Then set the Standard Receive Channel to the same channel you used as the Standard Transmit Channel in step 3. In this example, I used 7.

    7.    Press the button Apply Changes, confirm the question in the dialog box, and wait until the changes have been written to the device.

You are done with the receiver.

Repeat the receiver procedure with any other receivers you want to trigger simultaneously.

Let's test it to see if it works:

Hook up a flash to the FlexTT5, turn on the flash, and set it to M (manual mode). Then turn on the FlexTT5 to setting C2.

Next, attach the MiniTT1 to the hot shoe of your camera and turn it on to setting C2. Then turn on the camera.

If you press the camera shutter release button, the flash should fire. Congratulations, it works!

I tried this using an Olympus E-P1 with a Canon 580 EX II and it works just like a cable - without the wires. ;-)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

[Linux] Network Manager Applet Not Visible

Using Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lync), I have one machine that does not show the network manager applet (mn-applet) in the Gnome panel after login. Adding the notification area to the panel as suggested here does not work.

Try this:

> restart network-manager

This starts the network manager again and, for whatever reason, makes the network manager applet show up again.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Airport Morning

Airports, to me at least, tend to be very technical looking. There is nothing wrong with this, I can find incredible beauty in these man-made constructs.

But I was delighted when I saw this sunrise over the airport one morning:

Airport Morning
Airport Morning

I love the luminous quality of the sky and the way the dramatic clouds are making way for the blue sky (or is it the other way around?). The ground mist softens up the shapes of buildings, airplanes, and other artifacts of man just enough to make it clear that everything is part of nature, whether we realize it or not.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Stormy Landscape

I'm a bit behind with my photos, so here is another one from the fall:

Stormy Landscape

We were visiting friends and as I looked out the window, the incredible light in the storm clouds caught my attention. Fortunately, my friends know me and did not comment when I grabbed my camera and ran to the door.

A few hundred meters further lay some fields, which made a wonderful counterweight to the clouds in the sky. While I was still standing and thinking about the composition, the sun broke through the clouds and shone on the grass below. In that moment, everything came together and I simply pressed the shutter release.